Earlier this year in the Curtis School community, we asked teachers what they want their students to become. They used words like compassionate, cooperative, creative, critically thinking, and curious. We asked parents and guardians to identify the words they'd use to define the future "success" of their children—they used words like independent, open-minded, self-motivated, resilient, and engaged. And we asked 8 to 12-year-old students to describe the very best they hoped to become—they used words like balanced, flexible, enthusiastic, honest, cooperative, and determined.

In October we invited similar input from participants at "Teaching and Learning at Home and at School", a conference held on our campus in Los Angeles for passionate educators and parents/guardians—engaged members of both public and private school communities—to reflect on our common commitments to the lives and the learning of school-aged children at school and at home. The 600 participants were stakeholders from 125 schools and districts—yet nobody used words like accountable, competitive, distinguished, or exceptional.

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