Character & Community

Character and Community - High School

We attend to the development of character within the High School

by integrating relevant topics throughout the framework of a Dalton education: House, Assignment, and Lab.  Also, the rich co-curricular life that balances students’ academic programs yields fantastic opportunities for the school to focus on supporting adolescents as they stretch themselves in a community that expects the most of them on every level. Character here is developed within the community and because of the community.

Aspects of High School Character Community

List of 4 items.

  • House

    • Mixed grades in each House allow upper-class students the chance to mentor younger students as they learn to navigate the high school.
    • Upper-class students lead by example and communicate the values and traditions of the House and High School.
    • Houses have developed traditions such as bake-offs, waffle-days, or music fests that help instill a feeling of community. Many Houses design t-shirts for the whole House to wear on Spirit days.
    • Monthly Long Houses give students the chance to spend more time together on bonding activities such as dodge ball tournaments, community service projects, and board game contests, building community through fun and relaxation.
    • Houses attend weekly assemblies together and often discuss programs in House. Annually, the school hosts a speaker addressing issues of substance use and House Advisors facilitate House discussions on this topic.
    • Through report conferences, students have the chance to discuss who they are, who they want to be, in addition to how their work has been progressing.
  • Assignment

    • Sharing classroom expectations and work requirements in advance give students independence and a measure of choice in how they will structure their time to accomplish their goals.
    • Problem-solving is a distinct feature of all classrooms, strengthening independence and resilience as student confront the unknown to devise solutions, rather than memorize answers.
    • Regular art critiques and peer editing help students to criticize the work of others clearly and supportively, developing their analytical acumen in a context that insists on civility and mutual respect.
    • In English classes, students grapple with moral issues, confronting such themes as identity, honor, ambition, rebellion, repression, virtue, corruption, and what it means to live a good life. Readings by Emerson prompt conversations about self-reliance, readings by King inspire discussions on power and humanity, readings by Woolf elicit projects on education and art. Juniors write a personal essay in which they reflect on their life and values.
    • History classes address social issues and prompt lively discussion of related issues, giving students countless opportunities to develop their own convictions. Through annual reviews of the primary sources that are the bedrock of the readings, the faculty ensure that marginalized voices are included, and pressing questions are asked.
    • The environmental studies program stresses our collective responsibility as a community in stewarding our resources.
    • The language curriculum addresses fluency through exposure to diverse cultures as well as through grammar, helping students consider who they are in the world community.
    • The peer leadership program for freshmen (led by seniors) develops character as students discuss complicated choices they might face as teenagers in a supportive and non-judgmental environment.
    • The Committee on Student Conduct, comprised of elected students and appointed faculty, meets as needed to review individual student issues on behalf of the community.
  • Lab

    • Each week students have multiple opportunities in Lab to meet with teachers, extending their classroom learning, discussing their challenges and progress, and building relationships with adults who care about them.
    • Students working on collaborative projects often meet in Lab with the faculty to get feedback on their work, which allows for a focus on the process, including lessons in persistence, timeliness, and cooperation.
    • The math Lab is structured so that students can meet with any math teacher for help in almost any class, which creates a collegial environment.
    • The culture of Labs with faculty builds a habit and ease that serves students well in college, as we routinely hear from our alumni.
  • Co-Curricular

    • The Dalton Global Initiatives Program regularly exposes students to different cultures, allowing them to apply their education and curiosity immediately and in challenging ways.
    • The peer-tutoring program gives students the chance to ask for help and others to learn how to tutor peers with respect under the guidance of teachers.
    • Regular student performances in assemblies help the community to bond and to applaud each other’s ongoing work.
    • Student-driven publications in journalism, politics, art, and creative writing give students the opportunity to collaborate on long-term projects on behalf of the entire community.
    • The largest club, Habitat for Humanity, sponsors many service and advocacy trips throughout the year, with the New Orleans trip being a highlight.
    • Clubs such as GLASS and Human Rights directly address pressing social issues. The Model UN chapter researches and addresses contemporary social justice questions on international levels.
    • As athletics become more competitive, lessons in sportsmanship, individual and team goal setting, and collaborative work take precedence.