I am regularly asked, what makes Crescent different? How are we unique among a class of other great schools? I welcome these conversations because they evoke what parents are looking for in a school and what they are imagining for their son’s education. Often, current and past parents tell me that there seems to be a “special sauce” to the Crescent experience. The first ingredient, I believe, is relationships.
The research is clear: a boy will “learn his teacher” before he learns any content or skills. As a result, relationships are the gateway to boys’ learning and character development. A relational teacher is the single most important factor in a young man’s education. This is something that Crescent has always focused on and always will.
Since we aspire to have a high relational quotient in our school, we commonly think of Crescent as a family. Families are places where people are loved and valued, seek to belong, and receive support through life’s challenges. Families evolve as people age, grow, learn and change. Ideally, families are what people long to return to, especially if they have been away for a period of time.
Last week, the Crescent family was enriched by a first-of-a-kind encounter. A class of Grade 8 students from Baltimore Collegiate School for Boys (BCSB), visited Crescent School and were billeted with our Middle School families. BCSB is the first tuition-free public charter school serving exclusively boys from Grades 4-8 in the Baltimore area.
My family was fortunate to billet two BCSB boys. This was the first time my own children were hosts to people they did not know. It was a life-changing experience for all of us. Through conversation, with play, and by sharing meals together, we learned that our differences were not as profound as our similarities. For four days, my family grew in size but also in spirit as we laughed, learned and lived together with people from an entirely different context, history and perspective on the world. And yet, we were better for being with one another, for creating a space of mutual respect and dignity. From my conversations with other host families, I know this was true of their experience too.
Crescent is nearing the end of its current strategic plan, which focuses on people and place. As we forecast our preferred future through the lens of our difference, our diversity, our standing and our campus, we are called to be people with and for others. This is how we will plan and communicate our important next steps as a leading school for boys. Crescent has always endeavoured to be a welcoming and supportive community. In a world that is becoming increasingly polarized, where authoritative communities such as schools, families, congregations, and other youth-serving organizations are becoming untethered from one another, our past commitments to building and strengthening community must continue to guide our present and future reality. And while this work is not always perfect, similar to our boys’ character development, we must strive to be excellent in how we imagine new ways for us to inspire human difference as a strength and as a promise.