By Dr. Barry Shealy, Assistant Headmaster

First Presbyterian Day School is praised around the country for its “mission-directedness.” Everyone associated with the school knows the statement “to educate and equip students to change the world for God’s glory.” This mission is considered in every decision made, from day-to-day administration of all aspects of the school all the way up to the board level. The school’s Core Values, Core Principles for Curriculum and Instruction, and Profile of a Christian Educator define how the mission is operationalized. In recent years, consultants have challenged FPD to put in writing what might be called a “product definition,”  a Profile of a Graduate that grows out of FPD’s mission. It seems important to answer the question, “If the product of a school is its graduates, can the school define what the school program is designed to produce?”

The idea of a Graduate Profile is not so much to be aspirational as it is to describe what attributes, given cooperation from the student and family, the school can programmatically develop in all graduates. As the faculty, administration, and others discussed these attributes over the past two years, a striking consensus emerged. Six characteristics, while not having been explicitly written down in the past, have clearly existed under the surface at FPD for years due to the mission-directedness of the school. Every aspect of the school program including curricular and extracurricular is thus directed to produce these attributes in graduates.

A Graduate of FPD will be:

    academically prepared with knowledge, skills, and habits of mind to succeed in university studies, preparation for career, and as an independent lifelong learner,
    grounded in the Gospel and its implications, with the tools to grow spiritually and understand and apply a Biblical worldview and ethic,
    equipped with skills, knowledge, and habits of mind and body to live a healthy and responsible lifestyle,
    confidently developing academic, artistic, and/or athletic gifts and interests and using them in fulfilling and impactful ways while appreciating the gifts and interests of others,
    able to winsomely participate in the public marketplace of ideas as a listener and communicator – understanding, critiquing, and challenging worldviews and their implications – working effectively with others of diverse viewpoints and backgrounds while maintaining integrity of beliefs, and
    cognizant of the needs of others and the community and challenged to participate in meeting those needs.