Mission & Vision

Middle school boy working on social studies assignment

A small school community committed to kindness and trust, Whitfield inspires a diverse student body to lead lives of curiosity, integrity, and purpose.

To empower young people to discover and become their best selves.

Whitfield Adopts An Updated Mission Statement and First-Ever Vision Statement in October 2023

These guiding statements are the culmination of a year-long, community-wide process of reflection to understand and clarify the values behind and the purpose of the Whitfield School experience. In surveys, workshops, small group exercises, and full school presentations, the school’s faculty, staff, and administration worked with parents, students, alumni, and trustees to affirm who we are and why we exist as a school.

The goal of our work was to identify the best and most essential parts of our past and present, while thinking ambitiously and clearly about our future. Last fall, we surveyed the full Whitfield community, asking all constituencies to reflect on the current mission and to identify those parts of it that were the most resonant and meaningful for them. In the ensuing months, we engaged in a range of exercises with faculty, staff, administration, and trustees to understand the community’s experience of Whitfield, gathering people’s expectations and aspirations, and looking for language that would capture their passion for the school. 

Drawing on these community-wide conversations, we drafted a mission and vision that would be true to who we are while describing the school we aspire to be. At the end of last spring, we shared drafts of new mission and vision statements with the full community, gathering feedback through a broad and iterative process, ultimately presenting final drafts to the Board of Trustees this fall, which voted unanimously to adopt these guiding statements, listed above.

What do these statements mean to the school?

Together, these two statements reaffirm touchstone Whitfield School values: community and trust, kindness and integrity. These words and ideas are at the heart of what we do, and we heard consistently over the course of the year from all constituencies that they needed to be at the heart of our mission and vision. At the same time, these statements clarify our commitments to diversity and to providing a “small school” experience–to knowing each child and meeting them where they are. And they clarify that the Whitfield experience is about discovery–selfhood, talents, passions–and transformation–intellectual, social, emotional. That it’s about inspiring and empowering young people to become their best selves, to lead lives of meaning and purpose.

What is next for Whitfield?

Whitfield School is currently at work on our “self-study,” a year-long review of every aspect of our operations and school program, identifying strengths and challenges, plans and priorities. This 100+ page exercise in reflection will then be shared during the 2024-2025 school year with a team of visiting educators, who, in conversation with our own self-assessment, will offer a series of operational commendations, recommendations, and (but in exceptionally rare cases) a recommendation for accreditation. It is a long process, involving literally thousands of employee-hours of work, but the result, in conjunction with our strategic plan, will provide a roadmap for Whitfield in the years ahead.

Whitfield is partnering with Crane + Peters, a nationally recognized brand and marketing agency that specializes in schools, especially independent schools like Whitfield. Headquartered in Atlanta, George, Crane + Peters will spend the next nine months doing a deep dive into everything Whitfield, visiting classes, conducting interviews and focus groups, doing market research here in St. Louis–learning all they can about our history and culture, curriculum and community. If ISACS accreditation is an exercise in critical self-understanding, our partnership with Crane + Peters will provide us with an important outsider’s perspective. In the end, their task is to understand us better than we understand ourselves–and then provide us with fresh and compelling ways to talk about the Whitfield experience.