writings and Reflections

What Hewitt Is, What Hewitt Will Be
Tara Christie Kinsey

I shared the following message with the Hewitt community at the close of the 2017-2018 school year. 

As we bring the year to a close, I want to take a moment to share why I am excited to be at Hewitt right now, and what inspires me about our future.

Everywhere I look, I see examples of the expansive creativity, distributed leadership, and collective commitment of Hewitt’s teachers to advance girls’ learning, to guide students to discover their strengths so they can create fulfilling paths forward, and to interrogate, resist, and ultimately redress practices that unintentionally train students for a world that no longer exists. To my mind, there is nothing more central to our mission than this.

When I pass by a group of Hewitt teachers meeting on their own after school to rethink some aspect of the curriculum, or I watch teachers leading faculty meetings by sharing how they revised a long-held teaching practice to yield deeper and more meaningful learning for their students, or I witness a senior present her capstone project as a manifestation of her larger purpose in life, I get goosebumps. When educators at the National Coalition of Girls’ Schools Global Forum on Girls’ Education approach me to say how amazed they are by Hewitt’s innovative faculty leaders, I get goosebumps. For it is in these moments that Hewitt is actively positioning itself to be a school where students experience meaningful and profound learning–the kind of learning they will need to thrive in a future that will look in many ways unrecognizable from the present. 

At Hewitt, teachers and students are busy preparing themselves to rise to the challenge of being future-ready with a combination of urgency and possibility. Hewitt is embracing the fact that the world is rapidly changing and so must the work of schools. 

In the fall of 2020, Hewitt will celebrate its 100th anniversary. This historic milestone compels us to fix our gaze forward to a new horizon. Next year, we will engage the broader Hewitt community in conversations about positioning Hewitt for its bold and bright future. As we convene these strategic conversations, there is one thing I know for sure: positive, transformational, and sustainable forward planning for the school cannot and will not be possible without a shared sense of responsibility and collective commitment to Hewitt and what it aspires to be on behalf of each and every girl.

As I shared with Hewitt’s faculty and staff at our closing session of the year, I have observed a growing momentum and collective enthusiasm–a sense of “we”–for what Hewitt is today, and for what Hewitt will be in the future. Thank you for being a part of that “we” this year and in the years to come as we commit together to the goal of being a school where girls and young women pursue high standards of performance in areas of great meaning, relevance, and purpose to them, while also pursuing health and wellness now and for the rest of their lives. 

While none of us can predict the future, I believe it is fairly certain that great schools ten years from now won't look the same as they do today. A clear, compelling, and collective sense of our institutional purpose will be a powerful launchpad for our objectives. No matter the strategic direction Hewitt pursues, what remains is our aim to ensure that each and every Hewitt girl develops a unique, compelling, and authentic response to the question posed by the American poet Mary Oliver in the final couplet of her poem “The Summer Day”:

Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

Thank you for a marvelous academic year, enjoy your summer, and I look forward to seeing you all in the fall.

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