How Would You Build an Ideal School?

If you had the opportunity to found a school that would be uniquely positioned to help students thrive in the twenty-first century, what would you choose to include in its foundational elements? In this day and age, there are endless choices to consider, but I believe the schools of the future should provide students with ample opportunities to be deeply engaged with both knowledge and ideas—particularly ones that expand world views. And given the challenges the next generation will face, it is also essential to create an environment that cultivates the virtues to help make the world a better place, particularly those that build an understanding of our common humanity. And after establishing these two fundamental principles for strong academics and meaningful character education, I believe schools should also offer programs that foster an appreciation for beauty; provide ample opportunities for students to see themselves as innovators and problem solvers; nurture listening skills, particularly those that develop deeper understanding and empathy; and encourage students to reflect upon and learn from past experiences and apply these lessons to the unique challenges they will face in their lifetimes.

All of these goals for this new school lead toward a single objective: helping students become their best selves. And while many schools may also have parallel missions, there is always room for new ones that address the particular challenges and opportunities that will help the next generation of students in the many ways they will need.

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