Throughout the 2020-21 academic year, the Rye Country Day community will actively engage around the school-wide theme of character, one of the “big four” outcomes in the RCDS Portrait of a Graduate. The theme will be woven into community discussions, curricular conversations, guest speaker events, faculty meetings, advisory group work, and more. Specifically, helping students understand and cultivate strength of character includes supporting social and emotional development and awareness, developing ethical analytical frameworks and decision-making skills, and fostering a sense of purpose based on an awareness of others and the ways we are all connected.
Faculty, staff, and administrators have been having generative conversations, discussing the most meaningful integration of the study and practice of character along with building community throughout our program, both in the classroom and beyond. Students and teachers will apply the theme of character to a number of timely issues, including systemic racism and the path towards change, the COVID-19 pandemic, dialogue across difference, and the upcoming national election, to name a few. In a year that has seen great challenges nationally, globally, and here at school, our focus on character will serve as a guide for RCDS and a reminder that we all can—and must—be agents of change for the greater good.
The community-wide examination of character will also be tied to last year’s citizenship work, as the Portrait of a Graduate represents an integrated and interconnected set of outcomes. Those who exhibit strength of character are active, ethical, and engaged citizens. And, active citizenship strengthens character.
As the RCDS community works together to distill, understand, and put character into action, the conversations and lessons that will result from this year's theme will have poignant relevance for students through the various stages of their lives.
Character in the RCDS Portrait of a Graduate