Over several years, the Elysian community developed a five year strategic plan that will run through the 2019-20 school year. One of the outcomes of the plan was a description of the core values that undergird everything that occurs at Elysian. The entire plan was developed under the leadership of Dr. Ann Murphy, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies and an Associate Professor at the School of Business at Stevens Institute of Technology and an Elysian parent.
ECS Core Values
Through open exchange with all constituencies of our community (faculty, staff, students and parents) over the course of multiple meetings, a list of 9 core values was developed. Our values reflect what we collectively as a community care about and what we want to drive our behavior. Our values underpin our school culture. Like our mission, our values do not change from person to person or from year to year – they endure.
We strive to live these values through our curriculum and pedagogy, and all other school activities. We have and will continue to assess how well we exhibit our values, e.g., through staff/teacher and parent surveys. Where we fall short of our desired state, we took those gaps into account in our strategic goals and strategies.
When identifying the values, the community spent considerable time discussing the meaning of each value and examples of how we live the values. These discussions served as the basis for the value descriptions provided below.
We value strong participation and engagement of community members (faculty, students, staff, alumni) in school activities and events. We want community meetings and events to be celebrated and to enrich the school culture. We appreciate when other community members such as parents or older students, where appropriate, are involved with educating children. Strong communication is important to us, and we want all community members to be well informed of important school activities, events, and developments.
Diversity and Inclusion
We value all forms of diversity (e.g., ethnicity, socioeconomic, types of learners) in the classroom and throughout the community, and want all members of our community to feel included. We seek to foster a culture whereby people – big and small - feel safe to be who they are and express themselves. It is our responsibility to actively engage with our external Hoboken community to attract diverse groups to our school.
We value a child-centric culture that makes the needs of our students the first priority. We appreciate our small class sizes, which allow for close observation of our students and in-depth assessments of their skills and abilities as expressed in narrative feedback and parent-teacher conferences. It is important to us that, in keeping with our mission, that we educate each and every child to his or her fullest potential.
We value a learning environment where students actively learn. Rather than a traditional environment where children sit behind desks quietly listening to their teacher’s lessons, we want our students to problem solve and learn through open and spirited exchanges with the faculty and fellow students. We encourage students to be creative and innovative through our emphasis on the arts but also in core academic subjects through the use of projects and progressive teaching. We provide opportunities for students to move around in the classroom, and explore our outside world through field trips and other experiences.
Learning as a Process
We value an educational approach that emphasizes learning as a process. We believe our students should not be afraid to make mistakes, and should appreciate the role mistakes have in enriching their learning. We want our students to have time and space to solve problems, and understand that there are multiple pathways to solutions. It is important to us that our students become lifelong learners.
Authentic and Interconnected Curriculum
We value a curriculum that relies very little on traditional textbooks and instead includes material customized by our faculty to address the specific needs and learning styles of our students. We believe that much can be learned through exposing students to primary source materials. Opportunities are provided throughout the curriculum for students to read literature in different settings, including reading logs, quiet reading time and read-aloud experiences. We understand the importance of the ensuring the curriculum is aligned well between and within grades and across academic subjects.
Teacher Leadership in Learning
We value the leadership role that our teachers play in the education of our children. We respect their expertise and appreciate them as professionals. It is important to us that faculty have a strong influence over the important decisions made at our school.
Social, Emotional, and Physical Development
We value more than just the academic development of children; it is also our responsibility to nurture students’ social, emotional and physical development. We help students build meaningful relationships and develop skills for managing differences. We help students be aware of their emotions and the emotions of others, and how to constructively communicate. It is important to us that students understand the importance of physical wellness and that our education includes learning about healthy eating and living, and that students engage physical exercise and activity.
Social Awareness and Responsibility
We value helping our students develop into good citizens. Our curriculum builds their awareness of the world around them and those less fortunate, and we provide opportunities for students to make contributions to social causes. We want our students to have strong character and ethics, and be inspired to do the right thing inside and outside of the classroom.