Mission Statement

Present

The Dalton School's leading role in education:

The Dalton School has flourished and grown in ways only imagined in 1919 when it was founded by Helen Parkhurst. Today it is recognized as a national and international model of progressive education based upon a rigorous and challenging academic curriculum.

With a unique educational philosophy that is based upon individualized learning, Dalton fosters excitement and joy in the ongoing process of learning. The special relationship between Dalton students and faculty is the key to the intellectual liveliness and curiosity that thrives in the classrooms and beyond. Nurturing the children's natural inquisitiveness, inculcating self-confidence in their intelligence and in their ability to succeed, Dalton enables its students to become responsible and independent learners and thinkers.

From kindergarten through twelfth grade, the school offers its students a breadth of innovative programs. It encourages its faculty to develop new teaching methodologies, curricula, and materials. Dalton stands at the forefront of expanding the educational potential of modern technology.

Helen Parkhurst in Education on the Dalton Plan, 1922

The true business of the school is not to chain the pupil to preconceived ideas, but to set him free to discover his own ideas and to help bring his powers upon the problem of learning… Let us think of the school as a place where community conditions prevail as they prevail in life itself.
*The use of male pronouns in Helen Parkhurst's writings reflects language usage of her era and does not denote male preference.
When Alumni come back to visit the school, they frequently note how pleased they are to see what has changed and what remains the same about their alma mater. Administrators at Dalton work as a team, setting common goals to achieve consistency in academic excellence, behavioral expectations, and educational philosophy across the three divisions. Meanwhile, numerous staff members work tirelessly to ensure that every department and building operates smoothly.

The world outside Dalton is an intrinsic element of the school's educational process. The diverse cultural population within Dalton is a reflection of the extended urban community. Respect for others and an emphasis on each individual's responsibility to the group form the basis for interaction in resolving problems inherent in any grouping. Gender, ethnic, and equity issues are actively explored as part of community life at Dalton.

In the twenty-first century, Dalton continues to be firmly committed to Helen Parkhurst's pragmatic approach to education. Priorities change with the times. What time does not alter, however, is the school's reputation for developing independent thinkers whose knowledge and understanding are rooted in the real world, who are conversant with their culture, and who are confident, eager, and self-motivated learners.
This is and will continue to be the cornerstone of a Dalton education.