“Rapport-driven,” is how James Mill of Vail Mountain School describes the school’s culture, where ethical discourse, community, and service to others lie at the heart of character education. “We’re not afraid to get to know our students as people,” says Mill, noting that students not only show new teachers around the school, but around the community. With a campus and schedule designed to maximize interaction between students of all grade levels, and supplementary programs that support the notion of service and global interconnectedness, Vail Mountain puts Ethical Literacy at the center of its learning goals.
“Every class in every discipline has ways of connecting ethical dilemmas to their curriculum,” explains lower school director Julie Schlossinger. Vail Mountain’s Home Base advisory program coaches students of all ages through explorations of complex issues using developmentally appropriate discussion and collaboration techniques. “The teacher is just another member of the conversation,” says Schlossinger. All this work flows from and reinforces Vail Mountain’s mission to prepare students for global citizenship by helping them learn to consider issues from multiple, complex perspectives in a community fueled by a shared sense of responsibility and respect.