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Finding the Words: Bringing Steward's Mission to Life

Dan Frank, Head of School
Head of School Dan Frank gives an in-depth look behind these three sentences: "Fuel the Mind. Stir the Imagination. Unleash the Possibilities."
I hope your summer was full of rest, fun, and reflection. I spent a considerable amount of time during the last few months thinking about our mission as a school and these three sentences: “Fuel the mind. Stir the imagination. Unleash the possibilities.” These words describe our common purpose as a community. They’re not empty catchphrases; they’re not clichés. They’re an anthem, a rallying cry for the Steward community. Tied together with our guiding principles of robust academics, inspiration, engagement, and care, these imperatives help tell our story:

  • Fuel the mind. We will give students information and tools and challenges. No engine can run without fuel; no child’s mind is invigorated without stimulation.
  • Stir the imagination. We will ask them to design and think creatively, to share and debate. Whether inventing a new recipe in the Bryan Innovation Lab kitchen, conducting a chemistry experiment, or mixing paint colors in the Cramer Center, students’ dreams will be sparked and provoked.
  • Unleash the possibilities. Students will speak and publish; they will prototype and innovate. And, over the course of their time at Steward, each of them—each person, student, athlete, and artist—will unleash the possibilities that are uniquely theirs.

The Steward mission makes a point of stating that our goal is to prepare students for college and for life. In the short term, college is essentially the “now,” while life could be considered the “next.” We know what colleges look for in applicants, and we can get them ready for that phase, but when we’re talking about preparing for life, that’s a long way off, and we live in a world defined by rapid change and flux. We believe that our graduates will need to have more varied knowledge than algebra and physics. Their skillsets will need to include knowledge of coding and entrepreneurship, for example, and they should be prepared to apply more open-ended talents than in any previous decade. We must design our curriculum to prepare our students for these opportunities.

As we continually evaluate our program, we are not merely working to be the best small school or the most spirited; we are working to be recognized nationally as a leader in innovative teaching and learning. We have put instructors and curriculum in place to allow these young minds to tackle challenges, some of which cannot even be anticipated in today’s society. We can’t say for sure what careers they will choose, what products they will invent, or what businesses they will start, but we know the world is changing and that children need to be rigorous, perseverant, collaborative, and creative. With these traits, they will thrive in the “now” and be well-prepared for the “next.”

So, with the reinvigoration that comes at the start of a new school year (I truly look forward to the rituals and traditions that accompany this time of year), we are excited to push forward on fueling minds, stirring imaginations, and unleashing possibilities. We don’t want to be a school where our students just pass tests…we want to break new ground, to foster out-of-the-box thinkers, and to do good work in our communities. In other words, we believe Steward is more than school. I’m so glad your family is part of this journey!
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