The Power of Story
I am headed to the NAIS Annual Conference this week, and the theme this year is about the power of story. It’s a topic that is close to my heart and close to the ethos of ESA.
I’ll be reminded of that in a really visceral way as I meet with alumni in the San Francisco area and we tell the stories of their ESA Experiences—stories about that class trip, or the lab experiment gone completely wrong, or the outing club trip to the Rio Grande, or the independent study that inspired an engineering career. I’ll be able to tell them that ESA was just ranked as the Number 1 private school in Louisiana by Niche.com
. The first six schools on that list are top-notch independent schools that I’m proud to be associated with, and we’re delighted to be at the top of the list. Three of the top six schools are Episcopal Schools! I think that speaks to the power of Episcopal education.
A sub-category ranking placed the ESA faculty as the Number 1 Faculty in Louisiana. That one I agree with as well. Actually, the strong faculty-student connection at ESA is what creates the stories that are so powerful in our students’ lives. It’s also what comes out in the comments ESA parents left on the Niche.com survey. Thank you for telling your families’ stories, both online and among your friends and neighbors, and for spreading the word about what makes ESA the best!
You should be receiving the latest edition of The Oasis in the mail this week, and it is filled with stories about our students’ unique ESA Experiences and achievements. In addition, each week, my wife Lauren and I are constantly amazed at the depth and breadth of what our students are doing when we read the Falcon Forecast. The Niche.com rankings don’t really capture any of that, except as a byproduct of student and parent satisfaction. So while the extrinsic rewards and recognition are nice, and the ACT, SAT and AP scores represent one aspect of ESA’s success, they are not the whole story. In fact, as impressive as the numbers are for ESA, those are not the characteristics that emerged when we worked a few years ago to develop a “Portrait of an ESA Graduate.” It was put together at a joint Faculty/Board Retreat, and it amounts to a list of ESA values. ESA Graduates exhibit the following characteristics:
- Honor and Integrit
- World Citizenship
- Problem Solving
- Critical Thinking
- Lifelong Learning
- Risk Taking
- Open Mindedness
As I am fond of saying, when you put motivated students together with talented and passionate faculty you can create a culture of excellence and achievement. And when students grow up in a culture of excellence and achievement, the most natural thing for them to do is achieve. So I am proud of our current Number 1 status, but I am continually awed by the culture we have created and the stories that flow so freely from our students living out their own ESA Experiences. Arete!