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How Caregiving and Learning Intersect at UPrep

Read an excerpt written by Assistant Head of School for Academics Ed Billingslea from the upcoming UPrep Magazine.

How Caregiving and Learning Intersect at UPrep
Assistant Head of School for Academics Ed Billingslea shares why nurturing well-being matters  

Our theme at UPrep this year is community. This summer, faculty and staff members read The Art of Community by Charles H. Vogl. This author defines community as “A group of individuals who share a mutual concern for each other’s welfare.”

I think this is an excellent definition. And I wonder, in a school setting, what does it mean to nurture someone’s well-being? In any situation, supporting someone can be challenging. Especially if the care you are offering is not what the person whose welfare you are overseeing wants to hear. Attending to another’s welfare requires courage: courage to support someone in the way that is in their best interest.

Community in schools is so important. My time working in independent schools across our country has taught me that for learning to happen, students must be in an environment that they feel a part of, are invested in, and that they believe is invested in their success. Students must believe that they belong, which requires them to be known by their teachers, advisors, and coaches.

When students trust adults to care for their well-being, they grant the adults the moral authority to push them to be the best versions of themselves. The result? Students are more likely to try new things, take academic risks, and challenge themselves. And if they stumble, they have a community that supports and helps them move forward.

For me, another important part of school communities is recognizing that we are made up of individuals with distinct views, beliefs, backgrounds, and needs.

UPrep teachers do a very good job of getting to know our students well, recognizing their differences, and figuring out how to offer students what they need to be successful, whether that is providing support, coaching, or challenges.

We teach young people about community by showing them how to take care of one another. Adult members model community building for our students. We’re at a pivotal time in education as our global community gets smaller. UPrep’s mission to develop each student’s potential to become an intellectually courageous, socially responsible citizen of the world has become even more important in today’s world.

This article is an excerpt from the upcoming winter UPrep Magazine. Read more magazine content here. 

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