Mission Statement

Future

As we formulate our goals for the future...

Dalton continues to welcome the challenges and opportunities of working as a community to adapt to rapidly changing times. Dalton is focused on incorporating the wealth of new information into our curriculum, on implementing new methods of teaching and learning, and on instilling community values in our students. We are aware that our world is changing and sources of information are exploding. It is essential that we prepare students to enter a society that is very different from the one in which many of us grew up. A global perspective is required. This means new courses, such as our recent introduction of Mandarin Chinese, and broadening our English and History requirements to include more understanding of non-Western cultures. This means helping students develop greater knowledge of geography, emphasizing the ability to work collaboratively, and increasing the incorporation of technological advances into all aspects of our curriculum. An initiative to facilitate the achievement of these goals and others is already underway. On a rotating basis, departments are engaging in curricular reviews with the help of noted scholars to assist in analysis and assessment.

Though tools of the Dalton Plan (House, Assignment, and Lab) are in place, we are refining them to meet the needs of today's students. We want to assure more varied approaches to teaching and learning in accordance with children's individual needs - a concept fundamental to Parkhurst's thinking. We will continue to emphasize the importance of faculty professional development. Over the past twenty-five years, research has uncovered information about how the brain works, various types of intelligences, different learning styles - sometimes gender specific - and varied ways to teach and to assess. Our outstanding faculty constantly review what we teach, how we teach, and how to collaborate with one another across disciplines.

Helen Parkhurst in Education on the Plan, 1922

Children who grow up with a joy in the work which interests them will be likely to find that interest useful to them in their later life. It is certain at all events, that our education which allows a child liberty to develop and time to think and plan must favour the expansion of all the good qualities innate in his* personality.
*The use of male pronouns in Helen Parkhurst's writings reflects language usage of her era and does not denote male preference.
The academic program has always been a key piece of the education of a Dalton student.
However, the unwritten curriculum - ensuring the moral and socially conscious development of students - is equally important. Dalton recognizes the value of developing an understanding of people and cultures different from our own. The school has a responsibility in this process. In the future, Dalton will continue to offer an increasing range of opportunities to expose students to international and local service projects and other community initiatives. More than ever, instilling the values of empathy, awareness, and responsibility is a significant role that Dalton plays in students' development. 

One of the school's distinguishing characteristics has been and will continue to be the people of Dalton. Dalton's student body is a microcosm of New York City's culture and reflects diversity in the broadest sense of the word - in race, ethnicity, religion, economics, geography, family style, etc. Learning from peers with varied experiences and backgrounds provides a critical component of a Dalton education. 

Another key people component of Dalton is, of course, the faculty. The influence of great teachers lives forever. Dalton teachers develop relationships with their students that nourish students' souls as well as their minds. As so well stated by a current senior: "When we reflect on Helen Parkhurst's original vision for Dalton, we think of a place where creativity, individuality, and intellectual curiosity are prized and encouraged to thrive and where every student plays an active role in fashioning a personal learning process that is effective and meaningful. We think of a school committed to the cultivation of independent, critical thinking and to the value of intellectual and artistic exploration for their own sake." It is Dalton's teachers who will continue to ensure this vision is carried out in the classrooms and halls of Dalton. It is the school's teachers who will educate our students to be active participants in society and leaders for the twenty-first century.