Seven Principles That Define a Blair Education

The Seven Principles That Define a Blair Education were written in 2010 as part of the School's strategic planning process. The entire Blair community–faculty, students, Trustees, parents and alumni–helped to inform and shape these principles.

We know our students.

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Blair faculty members are not only experts in their subject areas, they are also highly knowledgeable about individual students. Knowing our students is a priority at Blair. To that end, the entire faculty meets four times a year to discuss each student’s progress; faculty members are active in the dorm every evening; and each student is guided by two faculty members, an assigned academic monitor and an advisor of his or her own choosing. We believe that boarding school is not college, and that even the brightest, most independent 14-to-18-year-olds do best when they are among adults who know them well, focus on their development, and mentor them.

Community is the hallmark of this School.

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Students learn what they live. Blair daily life is rich with challenges and opportunities–both in and out of the classroom. We embrace a talented and diverse student body each year and build a dynamic community to which students remain connected long after graduation. Engaging classrooms, student-led School Meetings, leadership opportunities and learning to work together on athletic teams and in the arts all help students become independent, responsible and confident young adults.

Superior academic preparation is the heart of the Blair experience.

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We consider a student’s academic commitment his or her most important responsibility. At Blair, students learn to read closely, think clearly, analyze quantitatively, communicate effectively and broaden their understanding of the world. The open architecture of the curriculum allows students to find the appropriate level of challenge in their courses. Teachers set high standards, but are generous with their time and support. Founded on academic honor, a Blair education fosters intellectual initiative and persistence; its ultimate aim is to create a life-long love of learning.

Beyond self is happiness.

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Adolescence is a time of intense self-absorption, but Blair compels students to look beyond themselves through engagement in community life, service to others and the responsibilities of leadership. Blair’s traditions of School Meetings, Chapel and Vespers, along with daily conversations in classrooms and dormitories, embrace moral issues in the world today and in students’ personal lives. As a community, we focus deliberately on the development of skills and values that lead away from preoccupation with self to adult lives of purpose. At Blair, integrity, responsibility and respect for others are the three essential values that shape community life.

School size matters. Residential matters.

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If our knowledge of students is what distinguishes us as a school, then size of school is critical. Personal knowledge of individual students is possible only in a community small enough for genuine relationships. Yet providing a variety of programs and diversity of student experiences requires a certain breadth and scale. At Blair, we believe that being a mid-size, residential school allows us to achieve both goals. We are committed to being a “boarding school” and offering our day students the same experience as boarding students.

Communicate, communicate, communicate.

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At the heart of any successful human enterprise is frequent, open and thoughtful communication. We believe we work best with students when we partner and communicate well with parents. We also seek to communicate effectively with students, alumni and with each other as colleagues. Equally important, we expect students to learn to communicate and advocate for themselves. Only through purposeful, effective communication is progress possible.

Outcomes are important.

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The Blair experience provides students many opportunities to achieve excellence and learn to become their best selves. Yet the Blair experience and a Blair diploma are never ends in themselves. Blair expects worthwhile accomplishment in life. We expect students to prepare for and attend a college or university that will further their intellectual and personal development. And, with Blair as a foundation, graduates are ready–when called upon–to serve and lead.
These Seven Principles lead to an exceptional School community. We know that parents and teachers must work together. We understand that a healthy student culture must be passed from older to younger students. We depend upon collegiality within our faculty. And we believe that the learning that takes place between a great teacher and a willing student is one of the most powerful influences in the life of a young person.