Community Assess Integrity

Advisories explore integrity


Cleo Kilpatrick

Max Vinar ‘26 and Jack Mark ‘26 from Anna Reid’s advisory look up the word integrity in the Merriam Webster Dictionary.

Ali Hecker , Student Life Editor

Oxford Dictionary defines integrity as, “the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles”. Beginning this year, grade deans have introduced the school’s core values as themes for each quarter. Each quarter, students are asked to come up with a collaborative definition for one of the core values with their advisory. This quarter, the theme is integrity. 

Lately, there has been much discussion amongst students and faculty about the meaning of integrity and how its definition applies to the school community. Sarah Warren, Assistant Director of the Upper School, says, “I think it’s often about your character and what it means to be a person of character, and that’s where that idea of wholeness comes in…when you are acting of integrity, your whole person is intact.” Warren explains that with third quarter being the longest, this core value was intentionally chosen as a reminder that integrity is an essential part of functioning in an academic institution. Aside from the academic honesty aspect of integrity, Warren adds that, “[The grade deans] also are not just thinking of integrity as not cheating on a test, they’re thinking about it more broadly in terms of your character and how you develop that.” 

Differing from past quarter values of respect and love of learning, the meaning of integrity seems to be less straightforward, offering more room for meaningful dialogue. Although some students feel these advisory conversations can become redundant, many feel it requires the community to reflect on the school’s values. Eloise Walsh ‘24 says, “I think that Blake creating a value per quarter is well intended, and as much as some students don’t agree [and] play along with it, I think it still makes everyone think about [the school values], whether you’re engaged in the conversation in advisory or not.” 

Warren reveals that quarter values were initiated with the intent of creating a more purposeful advisory experience. “This year, we really wanted to have a sense that all students were having the same conversations.” The planned advisory activities, such as the four corners activity and defining the school’s values, were the result of an attempt to make better use out of advisory time while uniting the students and staff in conversation about what the school stands for. Upper School Director, Joe Ruggiero, explains that, “there’s a lot of talk coming out of COVID about how we need to rebuild community and feel closer together to build spirit, and one of the ways to do that was both to think about the mission statement of the school and the core values.” As Ruggiero puts it, “why do we have these [core values] if we don’t reflect on them?”