Living Out Our Mission

I recently attended a special lesson in Mrs. Lindbloom’s Grade 4 class. The speaker began with an icebreaker, revealed a dazzling display of pedagogical knowledge, and even worked in a quiz. The presenter, however, wasn’t one of our usual line-ups of expert speakers, but a Grade 8 student presenting on responsibility as part of her Capstone Project for Ethics class. 

At WES, we believe that character matters. Our religion program helps our students understand the historical and cultural components of Christianity and other faith traditions and also encourages the development of universal values such as perseverance, generosity, and thankfulness, among others. In the early years, religion classes focus on the traditions of the Episcopal Church and major themes in the Bible. In Grade 6, our Dragons learn about world religions, and for the final two years of their time with us, our students take an in-depth look at Ethics. 

As the children enter formally into their study of Ethics at the beginning of Grade 7, Chaplain Kristen helps our students reflect on their individual values and they create a personal moral code to act as a compass for their lives. During the spring semester, our Dragons apply these newly developed moral codes to contemporary issues under the guidance of Middle School Director Kristin Cuddihy. I teach Ethics and Leadership in the fall of Grade 8, as the students take a deep dive into what makes a great leader and how to be effective while remaining ethical in our decision-making. To conclude this two-year course, our students design a Capstone Project to demonstrate moral leadership in our school community.

 These Capstone Projects have already begun and will continue over the course of the next several weeks:

  • Two students are creating an interactive art project for Grade 6 in which they explore the value of forgiveness. 
  • Several students are making a playlist of contemporary music illustrating our virtues of the month for Chapel.
  • One group is developing a new game, a special type of scavenger hunt, to illustrate the value of cooperation. 
  • Several students have made children’s picture books illustrating one of the virtues or another moral lesson. They will be sharing these books with younger classes.
  • Several have developed classroom lessons or chapel talks about topics such as generosity, responsibility, and self control. 

Human development research reveals that the seeds of empathy, caring, and compassion are present from early in life, but that to become ethical adults, children need positive adult role models to nurture these traits into full development. Our dedicated faculty build loving, nurturing relationships with students from their earliest years here to establish themselves as role models our Dragons can trust. They then model our community values of kindness and empathy, supported by virtues lessons woven into the curriculum. Our children are provided opportunities to put these values into action through our community-wide service learning projects and other class assignments. And they are challenged to be ethical thinkers and positive changemakers in their community through projects such as these amazingly creative Ethics Capstone Projects, SGA fundraisers, and so much more. 

Make sure you follow us on Facebook and Instagram at @GoWESDragons to learn more about these individual Capstone projects. We are very proud of the thoughtfulness that has been put into these personalized demonstrations of our students’ emerging ethical codes. 

Danny Vogelman

Head of School