This summer I came across a greeting card that advised: “Dance as though nobody’s watching; text as though it will be read in front of a jury.” It made me smile. It also made me think that the spirit of this message would be wise counsel for students navigating the Crane waters, for it emphasizes two hallmarks of our school – balance of program and importance of community.
Crane students have exposure to a beautiful, boundless education. From kindergarten through eighth grade, they are invited to do it all. Students are scientists one moment and poets the next. They go from tackling word problems in math to sketching trees around campus. Indeed, the Crane experience is about engaging in a gamut of subjects and activities, and this breadth is a wonderfully healthy thing. In Range, David Epstein celebrates the idea of being a generalist, encouraging young people to sample widely, seek diverse experiences, and recognize the upside of failure. In other words, the adolescent years should be for exploring and for trial and error, which is why we advocate that students metaphorically dance as though nobody’s watching, embracing the bust-out moves as well as the missteps along the way.
Crane also places a premium on relationships. Whether in morning meetings in Lower School or advisory activities in Upper School, there is a definite focus on community. Students are urged to reach beyond themselves and to think about their ethical footprints. We ask them to examine how what they say and what they do impacts others. When I began working at Crane eighteen years ago, “the kindness rule” was frequently referenced. It’s still mentioned on the opening page of our handbook, providing a blueprint for communal living. Adhering to the principle of “being kind to everyone” means lifting people up rather than putting them down; this includes not saying or writing or texting anything that you wouldn’t want shared aloud.
As we kick off yet another school year, let’s encourage students to study with abandon and communicate with care. Here’s to the beauty of a balanced curriculum and a benevolent community!
Peggy Burich Smith
Head of Upper School