Peck School Blog

Character Education Is A Culture Not A Program

Posted by Andy Delinsky on May 6, 2020 12:46:06 PM

“We believe that, in life, that knowledge must be guided by values.” The timeless opening to Peck’s mission statement anchors our community and our pursuit of developing students of character. For years, our InDeCoRe (Individual Development, Community Responsibility) program has been the vehicle for us to talk about character, to understand the importance of consideration of others, and to unite our community with a common language and a common set of values.

Over the course of the past year, an InDeCoRe steering committee, made up of faculty and staff, undertook the important work of giving the program a refresh to ensure it remains vibrant within our community and, equally important, relevant to our students. While our previous values will continue to be part of our vernacular, we are excited to share our new values, values that will guide our work as a community: Care, Courage, Gratitude, Resilience, and Respect. Each value was carefully chosen to capture traits, actions, and behaviors important to us and, in our minds, important to the future success of our students.

  • Care is being thoughtful while being compassionate;
  • Courage is overcoming difficulty to take action;
  • Gratitude is recognizing and appreciating what is good and what we are fortunate to have;
  • Resilience is being able to adapt and grow from challenges;
  • Respect is recognizing the worth and value in ourselves, others, and the world around us. 

Not only are these values incredibly timely in today’s COVID-19 world, but they are also timeless in their importance and meaning as we help our students grow and develop. 

We are excited that, each year, we will add an additional value that will be chosen in the spring by our rising eighth-grade students.  As a class, they will be empowered to choose a value that resonates with them and that they believe warrants specific focus as a community. That value will be woven into our work as a school that year.

We’ve had many discussions over the past year about our InDeCoRe program, and what has become clear is that it is not simply a “program”. InDeCoRe is a culture. It is part and parcel of who we are as a school. As faculty, staff, administrators, and parents, it is our collective responsibility to embrace these values and to ensure that our students are always striving to care, to be courageous, to be grateful, to have resilience, and to show respect. It is our responsibility to help them achieve the highest definition of these values, knowing that we will be there to help them learn and grow and bounce back when they fall short—which is, after all, how the best learning happens.