Strategic Vision

A Centennial Vision for Hewitt

In preparation for our 100th anniversary in September 2020, the Hewitt community engaged in a comprehensive strategic visioning process. We challenged ourselves to think ambitiously and boldly about designing a better way for girls and young women to prepare for college, the workforce, and a life of meaning and purpose.

 

I invite you learn more about our centennial vision by watching this video, reading my introduction below, and exploring these pages to hear our students' perspectives on–and excitement about–their educational future. I hope you will join us in celebrating Hewitt's bright future.

Dr. Tara Christie Kinsey, Head of School and Parent, Class of 2027

The Hewitt School Announces New Downtown Satellite Campus Opening in 2023

 

New Downtown Innovation Campus to Expand School’s Footprint and Prepare Girls and Young Women for Real-World Leadership
 

NEW YORK, NY, Nov. 22, 2021 -- On Friday, The Hewitt School announced plans to expand its presence in New York City with Hewitt Downtown, a new innovation campus scheduled to open in 2023. The school, founded in 1920 and serving girls and young women from kindergarten through twelfth grade, has an established Upper East Side campus that will continue to operate as its main campus alongside the new downtown satellite location.

Featuring open-concept collaboration studio and classroom spaces amid Downtown Manhattan’s vibrant mix of for-profit and nonprofit businesses and community organizations, Hewitt Downtown will offer every Hewitt student immersive, real-world learning and leadership development. Hewitt educators are launching several pilot projects with downtown community and corporate partners this academic year, while preparing for the opening of the downtown campus.

“Girls and young women are excelling in school, but we know that the rules of school are not the rules of the real world. Our world needs more women who not only ‘do school’ well but who also have the knowledge, skills, experiences, and habits of mind to lead in a rapidly changing world,” said Head of School Dr. Tara Christie Kinsey. “The Hewitt School is already known for its commitment to closing the research-practice gap for girls and young women in a purpose-driven academic program. We are thrilled to expand our footprint to downtown Manhattan with our new innovation campus that intentionally removes the firewall between education, the workforce, and society. With our distinctive program and unparalleled opportunities to collaborate with academic and industry experts in New York City, our students will be identifying real-world issues they care about and have the chance not just to study these issues but do something about them. As a result, a Hewitt graduate will be uniquely well prepared to lead and make a difference.” 

Hewitt trustee and parent Adaora Udoji stated, “As a digital storyteller and tech innovator who does a lot of hiring, I see an enormous need for a school that prepares young women for real world leadership. Hewitt is the absolute best of both worlds—combining a tradition of over 100 years of educating girls on the Upper East Side, with a forward-thinking campus in a part of New York City where no other independent girls’ schools are located. Most importantly, Hewitt Downtown is not just a location, it’s a strategy; our program is designed for students to partner with industry and community leaders to build critical skills and perspectives to lead into the future.”

In early March 2020, in celebration of its 100th Anniversary, the School adopted a new mission: To inspire girls and young women to become game changers and ethical leaders who forge an equitable, sustainable, and joyous future. That year, Hewitt was one of four schools in the nation to receive an Educational Leadership Grant from The Edward E. Ford Foundation, providing funding for the school’s inaugural Learning and Innovation Researcher, who is charged with translating research findings into impactful, authentic, and measurable learning experiences for girls and young women. 

“I have been repeatedly struck and impressed by the school’s bold, courageous, student-centeredness as Hewitt reimagines an education that will better prepare the girls they serve for the future their students will help create,” John Gulla, Executive Director of The Edward E. Ford Foundation, said. “From the very first exchange I had with Tara Christie Kinsey in April 2019, through the conversations I subsequently had with faculty, students, parents, alumnae, and Board members during Hewitt’s successful proposal for an E.E. Ford Educational Leadership Grant, it has been clear this is the right strategic vision for the years ahead.”

Co-Chair of The Hewitt School Board of Trustees, Suzanne Baillie added: “The time for change is here and now. As a trustee, co-chair of our Strategic Vision Committee, a lawyer, and the parent of four thriving Hewitt girls—two graduates in college and two upper school students—I have witnessed first-hand at home and in the boardroom the ways in which Hewitt is leading a strategic and ambitious redesign to ensure that our girls and young women are even better prepared to lead in school and in life. With this one-of-a-kind innovation campus focused on women’s leadership through immersive, real-world learning, Hewitt Downtown will change the landscape of girls’ education in New York City, and I couldn’t be prouder to be a part of this Board of Trustees, which voted unanimously to support Hewitt’s exciting future.”

Mission and Vision
Read about Hewitt's new mission and three commitments at the foundation of our vision.
Academic Philosophy
Our centennial vision takes as its foundation the academic philosophy that guides teaching and learning at Hewitt.
A Centennial Vision for Hewitt
By Dr. Tara Christie Kinsey

The Hewitt School was founded in 1920 in the immediate wake of the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment, which granted women the right to vote -- a watershed moment in the ongoing effort for women to achieve social, economic, and political equality. In the 99 years since our founding, Hewitt has evolved from its origins as a finishing school into what it is today: an empowering, vigorous, increasingly diverse, and forward-thinking school with a defining commitment to educating girls and young women to effect positive change in our world. 

In September 2020, Hewitt will mark its 100th anniversary of educating girls and young women. Our centennial takes place in a moment full of urgency and possibility, as well as uncertainty and anxiety about the future. Society is changing at a rapid rate, utterly transforming the way we communicate, the way we work, and the way we live. Among parents, educators, and employers alike, there is growing consensus that our nation’s K-12 educational model no longer successfully prepares young people for college, for their careers, or for lives of meaning and purpose. As educational reformer John Dewey wrote over one hundred years ago: “If we teach today’s students as we taught them yesterday, we rob them of tomorrow.” Or as Harvard Professor Christopher Dede more recently stated: “The most dangerous experiment we can conduct with our children is to keep schooling the same at a time when every other aspect of society is dramatically changing.” The need for change in education is here and now. 

At Hewitt, we believe that the needs of society should determine the work of our school. Our society faces a dizzying array of challenges and opportunities, both locally and globally, including poverty, lack of water and food security, inequality, climate change, social and political discord, and the uncertainty of employment and economic prosperity in light of emerging technologies and globalization. These extraordinary times require extraordinary women who have developed the faith in themselves and the courage to put their knowledge and skills to use to become leading entrepreneurs, innovators, business leaders, policy makers, scholars, artists, and activists. Through our student-led and purpose-driven academic program, Hewitt girls and young women are learning how to rise to these and other challenges and provide the kind of ethical leadership that will shape our world for the better. 

It is imperative therefore that we respond to this moment and ask ourselves: 

  • What is the role of a girls’ school in an increasingly complex and rapidly changing world? 

  • How can we take full advantage of what it means for our school to be located in New York City?

  • What do girls and young women need to become the game-changing, ethical leaders our world needs?

Our response to these questions is our centennial vision for Hewitt, which redefines our work through a new mission: To inspire girls and young women to become game changers and ethical leaders who forge an equitable, sustainable, and joyous future.

To achieve this ambitious and bold new mission, Hewitt will embark upon the following three major commitments:

  1. Redesign learning around transdisciplinary real-world challenges to build students’ leadership capacity and sense of purpose. 

  2. Reimagine where school happens to take full advantage of immersive, collaborative, and hands-on learning in New York City.

  3. Redefine women’s leadership by convening student, academic, and industry leaders to challenge, transcend, and transform conventional assumptions about gender, power, and leadership in our society.

We cannot continue to expect girls and young women to play by the same old rules and achieve different results. It is time for us to empower girls and young women to change the game. In so doing, they will forge a more equitable, more sustainable, and more joyous future.