The safety of our students is my most important priority; nothing matters more to me. I am keenly aware of the trust parents place in the School to provide an environment that is safe, supportive and respectful. As consumers of media, we are all aware of boundary crossings in the workplace and of predatory behavior toward students at schools and colleges. Not surprisingly, I am frequently asked how we atSt. Mark's protect our students from abusive and unsafe situations. I am pleased to be able to answer these questions by describing an extensive and sophisticated array of policies and practices. At the same time, I know that we cannot be complacent about the topic, so we are constantly on the lookout for ways we can make our approach even better.
Head's Reflection Archives
We have all seen the portrait of our School's founder, Joseph Burnett, on the far wall of the Dining Room, and I trust you have also noticed the relief sculpture on the wall just outside the entrance to Belmont Chapel. As with so much that becomes familiar, we can pass by these objects without giving them much thought. I hope that by telling you a bit about Joseph Burnett today you will develop the same respect and admiration I have gained for him. As I will explain, Joseph Burnett subscribed to certain admirable values that are familiar to all of us as St. Markers. Most importantly, though, he walked the talk: he acted in accordance with these values, leading a life of consequence and leaving a positive legacy that continues today.
Innovation is one of the most commonly used words in today's education literature. St. Mark's publications are no exception to that trend. Indeed, we are very proud of The Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning, a major initiative of our Strategic Plan, and often write about its innovative work.
I am very proud of our Global Citizenship Program because of the way it benefits each one of our 360 students and because of the way it benefits our School as a whole. Our students gain knowledge and insight about themselves and the world from courses, from spending time with students visiting St. Mark's from our partner schools, and from participating in exchange or travel opportunities. The climate of our School is enriched by the periodic presence of students from our partner schools in Australia, Korea, Germany, and Chile. Valuable conversations result in the Dining Hall, in classes, in the Houses, and elsewhere around campus that enlarge our students' perspective. The climate is also enriched by what our students bring back from their travel. Our students who return from places like Haiti and the Dominican Republic and Cuba share their stories both informally and in formal settings like Chapel and School Meeting enlarging the perspective of their peers.
One winter evening in 1966, walking down a hallway at New York's LaGuardia airport, after returning with my family from a visit to my grandparents in Cambridge, I was excited to see TV cameras, and spotlights aiming toward someone in the middle of a small crowd. As I got closer I recognized the subject of the attention as Robert Kennedy, who everyone called Bobby at that time, then a United States Senator from New York. I suspect Kennedy had been on our flight. An avid follower of the news, even at age 9, I was very excited. I quickly pulled my ballpoint pen out of my jacket pocket and asked my parents for a piece of paper so I could get the Senator's autograph.