Philosophy, Objectives, and Strategic Plan

Philosophy

The Park School embodies both in its tradition and in its daily practice three assumptions. First, human beings are capable and desirous of rational self-discipline and of acting towards others with respect, kindness, concern, open-mindedness, and moral conviction. Second, the activity of learning is an expression of positive energies, fulfills natural impulse, and enriches life. Third, authentic learning flourishes when people work, think, and collaborate within a diverse community.

As young people respond to the influence of these ideals, learning to trust and assert their own intellectual and moral powers as they develop, they acquire a sense of confidence in themselves and others, which will inspire a productive adulthood. Since the quality of expectation is most important, the belief that positive expectations produce positive virtues is fundamental to the practice of the school.

The conviction that the child contains inner strength, talents, and powers, which can be liberated and nurtured, allows a variety of educational techniques and methods and is manifested in the school in different ways. Accepting this belief requires recognition of the excesses it may bring: occasional sentimentality, self-indulgence, disorder, and untidiness. Yet it insists that the teacher’s authority as an adult and as a scholar should be used not to suppress or constrain, but to provide the skills, opportunities, challenges, and encouragement to bring about the flowering and fulfillment of the individual to think and act in the world with responsible freedom.

The academic process offers young people a dynamic view of the nature of knowledge and the experiences of learning, and supports their efforts to construct life-affirming meaning. In every area of the curriculum the school encourages substantial student commitment to reading, writing, enquiry, and focused discussion in order to secure the factual knowledge and conceptual structures essential for intellectual competence.

Thus considered, school activities become both ends in themselves and means toward more complex, more difficult ends. But however rigorous, school work need not be alienating or painful, nor need success be measured by comparison to others. Rather, achievement is the result of the use by the child, under proper stimulation and challenge, of the natural powers of mind and body, which in their exercise and application provide pleasure and happiness.

To participate in the life of The Park School requires trust in these good prospects, effort to sustain these positive expectations, and confidence that, under their influence, children will grow to adulthood possessing the power to enact in their lives these beliefs about themselves and others.

Objectives

INDIVIDUAL AND SCHOOL

It is the objective of the school to be a place where each person is respected and valued, and plain speaking, honesty, and authenticity govern all relationships. By striving to create and maintain a community of diverse perspectives and experiences, the school encourages its students to question their assumptions, develop empathy, and achieve a richer understanding of the world. Such a community inspires young people to develop the capacity to think carefully and act responsibly.

It is the objective of the school to encourage discipline and student behavior based on reason, on a cooperative sense of community, and on a sympathetic understanding of the rights and needs of others. This approach, rejecting arbitrary authority and prescriptive codes, creates opportunities for moral and social growth and allows each student to acquire internalized discipline, autonomy, and self-control.

It is the objective of the school that students become deeply involved in intellectual endeavors and significant extra-curricular activities. In addition to a stimulating, flexible curriculum and a varied program of activities, this objective is supported by a high degree of teacher involvement in advising and counseling students.

SCHOOL AND SOCIETY

It is the objective of the school, through its identity and history as a co-educational, pluralistic community, to prepare students to participate in the public life of a diverse and increasingly interconnected democratic society.

It is the objective of the school that students develop sensitivity to the needs of others, within the school and in the larger community, and that they find personal satisfaction in helping others and addressing social problems.

It is the objective of the school to teach those skills and encourage those traits of character, which enable achievement in a society undergoing constant social and technological change, changes which demand both accommodation and critical scrutiny.

It is the objective of the school to prepare students in the broadest sense, not only for further academic achievement, but also for the continuing process of choosing for themselves from the widest range of possibilities life offers.

It is the objective of the school that these values, reflecting the aspirations and goals of the original founders and benefactors, should be recognized as the central component of its communal life.

—Revised 2009-2010

The Park School of Baltimore, Inc. seeks to have a diverse student body and has a non-discriminatory policy as to students. The school does not discriminate against applicants or students on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, religion, ancestry, gender, gender expression or sexual orientation. The school admits students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin, religion, ancestry, gender, gender expression or sexual orientation to all the rights, privileges, programs and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. The school does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, religion, ancestry, gender, gender expression or sexual orientation in administering its educational policies, admission policies, scholarship program, loan program, and athletic and other school-administered programs.

Strategic Plan

Fall 2012

In 1912, Park’s founders imagined a school that would offer new approaches to learning by embracing the groundbreaking philosophy of progressive education. One hundred years later, the success of their early vision is clear. Park School has grown and thrived. It has earned recognition for its distinguished programs, the achievements of its faculty, and the accomplishments of its graduates. In this centennial year, there is indeed much to be proud of and much to celebrate.

In the spring of 2011, the Board of Trustees committed to the creation of a strategic plan that would launch Park School’s second century. From the outset, the year-long process acknowledged and sought input from diverse constituents—parents, employees, students, alumni, and trustees. Through focus groups, surveys, and committee meetings, hundreds of people were engaged in sharing information, opinions, and suggestions. The intent was to insure that we look forward with purpose and careful thought, build on the school’s considerable strengths, maximize its financial stability, and honor its founding precepts.

This strategic plan both affirms our core values and reminds us to “Strive On,” as our school song implores. Great schools reflect, think critically, and work diligently to attain their goals—as they motivate their students to do the same. With this plan as our guide, Park will continue to make history and will create a very bright future. 

Please click here to download a pdf of Park's strategic plan.

Dan Paradis
Head of School

Jim Wyda
President, Board of Trustees