Our Strategic Vision in Action
Our strategic vision is designed to build our students’ leadership capacity and sense of purpose in the world through immersion in complex, real-world challenges. We invite you to explore this page to see examples of our strategic vision in action and to learn more about the student-directed, purpose-driven, and joyful learning that is a cornerstone of a Hewitt education.
Transformational learning is deeply engaging and brings about intrinsically-motivated, kind, curious, and autonomous lifelong learners.
Lower School Students Embracing Peer Teaching
Peer teaching is a celebration of learning that draws on and builds comprehension, independence, self-awareness, and trust. When students teach their peers they take ownership of their knowledge and sharing new skills ceases to be a top-down exercise led by the adult in the room. Our youngest students created instructional videos on personally meaningful topics, building confidence in their abilities while sharing their passion and expertise with their peers.
Middle School Students Forging a More Sustainable Future
At Hewitt, we know that formative learning experiences take place when students are given time and space to address issues that matter to them. Our middle school students are committed to using their voices to make a difference in the world, and learning about the relationship between environmental and social justice inspired them to effect positive change in their community. These students discovered their purpose, nurtured their passions, and found joy as they forged a more sustainable future.
The Class of 2021: A Legacy of Leadership
The Class of 2021 were exactly the kind of inspiring leaders their fellow students needed during a challenging year. Against the backdrop of the pandemic, Hewitt seniors approached their final year of high school with fortitude, determination, and empathy. In their reflections on the legacy they hope to leave behind at Hewitt, members of the Class of 2021 demonstrated what it means to be game changers and ethical leaders building a brighter future for their community.
When immersed in the right kind of learning environment, students do not need to wait until college to find meaning, purpose, and opportunities to lead and make a difference.
Lower School: The Tiny House Movement
Inspired by our mission’s commitment to forging a more sustainable future, third graders engaged in a transdisciplinary, deep-dive study of the tiny house movement. They used Stanford University’s design thinking process to plan and engineer reduced-energy-usage tiny houses for real clients in the Hewitt community. Through their work, third graders developed literacy, deep listening, empathy, and public speaking skills in order to write effective interview questions and understand their clients' needs.
The students also delved into the scientific concepts behind how smaller spaces can reduce our carbon footprint by requiring fewer materials and producing less waste during the construction process. Third graders honed their math skills as they calculated accurate square footage and developed a budget for their client. They also immersed themselves in technology, architecture, and design as they worked with professional architects to learn about 3D modeling, rendering, and point cloud scanning.
Middle School: Tackling Global Warming
A new sixth grade interdisciplinary curriculum focused on the complex, real-world problem of climate change. In English, students joined one of three nonfiction book groups — the first read Chew on This by Eric Schlosser, the second read The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan (young reader’s version), and the third read A World Without Fish by Mark Kurlansky. This immersion in nonfiction reading encouraged the students’ explorations in research, note-taking, and the art of debate.
In science, those same book groups formed research teams to investigate how industrial farming causes climate change, how industrial meat production affects our environment, and how global warming damages ocean ecosystems. To enhance their real-world learning, sixth graders met with a young Hewitt alumna whose work is focused on renewable energy products and with Dr. James Baker, former head administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
As the capstone of this immersive project, each student team prepared and delivered a TED-style talk to publicly exhibit their knowledge. Between nonfiction literacy, writing, research, note-taking, teamwork, scientific discovery, and public speaking, our sixth graders developed the knowledge, skills, and will to tackle the wicked problem of climate change.
Upper School: Focus on Social Infrastructure
In an exciting new eleventh and twelfth grade history course, A Global History of Disasters, students read renowned NYU sociology professor and author Dr. Eric Klinenberg’s research on social infrastructure. After learning about the role physical places like parks and public libraries play in encouraging connections and relationship building in the aftermath of a disaster, our students spoke with Dr. Klinenberg over Zoom to discuss the implications of his research for urban design and disaster preparedness here in New York City.
As a capstone project, each student conducted research on their own New York City neighborhood to develop an online map showing the inventory of social infrastructure with specific, research-backed recommendations to improve the quality of that infrastructure. The students submitted their reports and recommendations to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. These young women are finding their voice, leadership, and sense of purpose through work that is helping New York City build back healthier, stronger, and more resilient than before.
Hewitt graduates arrive at college having developed real concerns in the world, and they are motivated to make a difference on their college campuses and beyond.
At Hewitt, our mission—to inspire girls and young women to become game changers and ethical leaders who forge an equitable, sustainable, and joyous future—informs our commitment to designing learning experiences that reflect the complexity of the world in which we live.
By incorporating social-emotional learning standards into English courses, teachers are building a classroom culture that prepares students to apply their developing emotional intelligence to the academic, interpersonal, and, eventually, professional areas of their lives.
We are delighted to announce that Sarah Odell will be Hewitt’s inaugural learning and innovation researcher. This new position will play an essential role in the research and design of an ethical leadership program for young women that centers equity, sustainability, and joy, and that is rooted in transdisciplinary, real-world learning.
We are dedicated to providing students with consistent and individualized feedback not only because it ultimately improves their outcomes on essays and exams, but also because the ability to process ongoing feedback and work iteratively toward larger goals will be critical to their success beyond Hewitt.
Effective feedback creates space for students to practice and explore different solutions and strategies so that they can transfer what they have learned to new contexts. At Hewitt, we are implementing research-based strategies for delivering frequent, specific, and actionable feedback that teaches our students the habits of mind necessary to respond to feedback with readiness and purpose.
Hewitt has been awarded a $250,000 Educational Leadership Grant from The Edward E. Ford Foundation. The Foundation supports schools that serve diverse populations, and that encourage bold, new ideas that will catalyze change beyond their individual institutions. Their endorsement confirms Hewitt’s position as a thought leader and model of best practice among independent schools in the country.