How do we select the right school for our children?
As an educator, this question has been on my mind for quite some time now. However, this question became much more personal and much more immediate last year as I found myself moving quickly towards becoming Headmaster of Cathedral School for Boys. The decision seemed like the perfect professional one, but was it the right decision for my sons?
Perhaps like many, I sought the data — those markers that offer an objective indication of school status. What do the results show? Are the programs excellent? Are the faculty members committed? Are the students motivated? Is the school healthy? As you might imagine, the numbers affirmed my impressions of Cathedral School’s reputation, its educational quality, and its understanding of boys. The data showed a school operating at the highest level.
As I made my way around the halls, however, I realized that there was something more at work. While the numbers told a great deal, I began to understand that numbers, by themselves, fail to offer a complete picture. When dealing with schools, our emotional response — that highly individualized, somewhat immeasurable feeling we get whenever we enter a campus — is equally important. Perhaps this is because the real measure of a school resides within the relationships that happen every minute of every day. Such relationships defy computation.
What I now know is that the real strength of Cathedral School for Boys is best understood by seeing our school in action. There is a feeling that you form when you walk our hallways and you witness boys singing with delight and without reservation, boys discussing the place of integrity in society, boys walking arm-in-arm, boys evaluating who they are and what they have to offer, boys showing compassion in an often hostile world and exhibiting strength in a world gone soft, and hopefully, most hopefully, Cathedral boys living lives of consequence and meaning. These observations and so many others confirmed Cathedral School for Boys as the right school for my sons.
As parents, we know our children better than anyone else. We occupy the best position to evaluate their educational needs and to select the school that will foster their growth and development. The process of selection is so important. Not every school can address every need.
What Cathedral School has the unique capacity to do, though, is to ensure that each and every boy strives to become his very best self. In doing so, it has come to represent not just a school, but also a place of transformation.