From our founding in 1906 as the Terrill School for Boys, St. Mark’s School of Texas and its predecessor schools have always placed value on developing each boy’s intellect as well as his character.
Beginning in 2005, St. Mark’s launched an initiative to design a character and leadership education curriculum that would teach character and leadership with the same outcome-based intentionality applied to teaching math, history, English, science, and foreign language. In that year, our comprehensive approach to Character and Leadership Education began. We defined leadership as a person’s efforts to advance his community no matter his position of authority; we designed a framework, vocabulary, and essential concepts to help our students discover answers to important questions about leadership, manhood, and thriving. By 2010, we developed programming that occurred during the school year, and we created summer institutes for faculty and students. By 2010, we had developed a foundational framework, and strategic goals formed to guide our efforts during the next five years.
From 2010–2015, we continued to develop content, refine the framework, expand the curriculum across grades 1-12, and broaden faculty understanding. Since 2015, the School’s Character and Leadership Education efforts have led to the development of an enhanced English 10 class, The Habits of Thriving, which serves as a curricular home for teaching students the basis for Character and Leadership Education at St. Mark’s. In addition to English 10, campus-wide integration is taking place across the School.
In the spring of 2018, St. Mark’s published the Path to Manhood: Character and Leadership Education Handbook. The Handbook explains concepts, framework, and logic used to inform curricular development. Additionally, the School has developed teaching videos that integrate the concepts and logic of Character and Leadership Education into curriculum, instructional teaching guides that show how to teach literary works through the lens of Character and Leadership Education, and learning outcomes for boys in grades 4, 8, and 12 that inform curriculum design across all three Divisions. In the fall of 2018, the School will launch the Path to Manhood Portfolio project, a digital portfolio for students that will capture each boy’s reflections on his path to manhood journey as he grows in his understanding and skills regarding character and leadership.
Planning for the Future
Looking ahead to the next decade, St. Mark’s will continue to develop Character and Leadership Education. In addition to expanding our own curriculum, we will share resources with schools and host professional conferences to increase the reach and impact of this work in schools around the country.