Mission & Values
The Gunston School offers an intellectually rigorous, highly personalized, and nurturing college preparatory educational experience. Valuing a healthy balance between mind and body, a strong sense of community, the creative process, and our connection to the Chesapeake Bay, Gunston strives to educate ethically and environmentally minded scholars, citizens, and leaders for our globalized society.
The Responsibilities of the Community
Each new student and faculty member at Gunston, upon their Embarkation to campus, signs the Responsibilities of the Community, thereby pledging themselves to uphold our high community standards.
We the students, faculty, staff, and families of The Gunston School commit ourselves to a high standard of honor, and endeavor to live by the following principles:
- Respect for and trust in oneself, the school, and each other
- Responsibility for personal and academic excellence
- Awareness and appreciation of differences
- Honesty in speech and action
- Promotion and practice of camaraderie
By affirming these principles in daily exchanges, we create an environment which encourages responsibility, mutual trust, and personal growth.
- Personalizing Education
- The Learning Experience at Gunston
- Educating for Sustainability
- Fostering a Sense of Community
- Building Leadership Skills
- Cultivating Creative Expression
- Preparing for a Global Future
- Serving Others
- Developing Technological Fluency
- Embarking on a Lifetime of Learning
- Promoting a Healthy Life
Gunston delivers a unique, personalized educational experience to each student. Our small class sizes allow for sustained one-on-one communication between teachers and students and encourage in-depth critical thinking. We support students as they progress along their paths by tailoring advising, scheduling, and college counseling to match the diverse personalities, abilities, and potentials of the individual students.
The learning experience at Gunston flows from the goal of cultivating curiosity, ownership, self-reflection, confidence, and self-direction in every student. We seek to create a learning environment that builds knowledge and skills, engages students in authentic, real-world tasks, uses multiple modalities for instruction and demonstration of student understanding, pursues interdisciplinary connections, and provides students a high degree of intellectual autonomy and agency. We aim to offer a relentlessly student-centered climate that promotes a growth-mindset, honors diverse student needs and capacities, is emotionally astute, and explicitly mentors students in the development of study, metacognitive, and executive functioning skills.
Gunston acknowledges the interrelatedness of all species and the vital role that every human being plays as part of the biosphere. Moreover, because the school believes that environmental stress is a central challenge facing humanity, we seek to inspire in all members of our school community a commitment to environmental responsibility by placing three tenets of “sustainability”—ecological integrity, social justice, and economic vitality—at the center of our institutional and curricular efforts. Through classwork and co-curricular programming, an ongoing pursuit of sustainable practices, intensive and rigorous environment-based educational experiences for all students across all disciplines, and diverse environmental stewardship opportunities for students, we fulfill our mission of educating environmentally-minded scholars, citizens, and leaders.
Ours is an intentional, values-driven, safe, and supportive community that exists to promote personal growth and a strong sense of belonging. The Responsibilities of the Community articulate the values that guide us, and all members pledge to uphold and celebrate them. Gunston fosters a culture of high expectations while understanding, but not excusing, the fallibility of adolescence. Students learn to engage in behavior that demonstrates respect for themselves, the school, and the diversity within our society.
We believe that leadership is a skill that can be learned by every person. Through opportunities in and outside of the classroom, we seek to develop in each student the skills, vision, self-knowledge, motivation, and sense of responsibility necessary to lead effectively. Our expectation is that Gunston students will serve as positive, just, compassionate, and productive leaders.
We believe that the creative spirit animates all fields of human endeavor, that creativity is a teachable skill, and that every student possesses creative gifts that should be identified, nurtured, and shared. Although creativity exists in all disciplines, we place a uniquely high value on the visual and performing arts, and we encourage each member of the community to pursue his or her artistic interests with zeal.
We believe in maintaining a robust international program that enables students to learn about working within the greater world beyond the boundaries of the school and the borders of one's nation. In an increasingly interconnected global society, we seek to engender in Gunston students the cultural competence to embrace diversity of race, culture, nationality, language, as well as of societal and world views.
We instill in all members of the community a sense of civic responsibility and an awareness of our role as stewards of the school, the natural environment, and the community beyond the school. Our school's commitment to service reflects an expansive concept of community that includes individuals and organizations in local, state, regional, national, and international areas.
Acknowledging the wisdom that the beginning of learning is knowing that there is always more to learn, Gunston cultivates the habits of mind and the intellectual risk-taking that foster a lifetime of inquiry. We believe that students should develop a sense of ownership for their education, and we seek to make the educational process challenging, exciting, and engaging so that students will embrace the joy of learning as a life long pursuit.
We believe that physical fitness and healthful choices are essential elements of adolescent growth and development. Gunston promotes healthy life habits through strong programs in athletics and health education, and through social activities that direct students toward making thoughtful personal choices. Gunston provides a safe environment where trusting relationships between generations permit and encourage students to discuss important life issues as they transition into adulthood.
The Gunston School promotes a welcoming and tolerant environment that values the inherent dignity and worth of every individual. We recognize, honor, and celebrate the rich diversity that exists within our community and our world, and we seek to engender in Gunston students the cultural competence to embrace diverse ideas, perspectives and individuals. This includes, but is not limited to, diversity of race, ethnicity, language, nationality, gender, gender identity, physical and mental ability, learning style, religion, class, and sexual orientation, as well as of societal and world views. Our overarching aim is to prepare our students to navigate successfully as scholars, citizens, and leaders in a diverse global society.
The Gunston Teacher
In the pursuit of an active, highly engaging, and deep learning experience for all students, Gunston is committed to offering ambitious, transformative, innovative, and research-informed instruction. To this end, excellence in teaching at Gunston reflects each teacher’s commitment to igniting intellectual passion and interest in each student, sustaining a mastery of pedagogy and subject-matter content, gaining a sophisticated understanding of Mind-Brain Education science, and offering a high degree of care and empathy for adolescents. The school and our teachers model the lifelong learning process through an ongoing commitment to instructional best practices and professional growth, and by sharing individual talents through our robust co-curricular program.