Words matter: Looking anew at our Mission Statement


Like so many members of our school community, I have always found the mission of Colorado Academy profoundly compelling. As an educator, I value the idea of a school truly committed to the development of the “whole child.” While other institutions may claim similar commitments, few deliver on this important promise.

At CA, the entire experience—from curriculum offerings to our programmatic requirements—is based on challenging students to engage deeply in academics, the visual and performing arts, and athletics. Look at the roster of any athletic team, and you will also see high-achieving students and very talented artists. Our program intentionally challenges students at all levels to find and develop talents and passions. Along the way, we also are developing students of high character, who are positive and engaged global citizens. We hear, over and over, from parents, students, and alumni how our mission sets us apart.

Today’s Mission Statement

As part of our upcoming reaccreditation process for the Association of Colorado Independent Schools, our Board of Trustees is tasked with reviewing and reaffirming our mission statement. When we last reviewed our statement ten years ago, we had different language. The statement was much longer and didn’t fully capture our identity and practices. It was my first year as a Head of School, and I was reluctant to make any changes.

However, our Board and many long-tenured administrators felt strongly that we could do better and come up with language that more accurately reflected what CA is about. We put together a committee, asked for community input, and came up with our current language:

A dynamic liberal arts and sciences program that challenges students ethically, academically, artistically, and athletically creates the foundation of Colorado Academy. Teachers, students, parents, and staff foster trusting and respectful relationships, enhancing our thriving school family. Students pursue excellence and seek to become life-long learners and contributors in our local and international communities. 

A key strength of this 10-year-old mission statement is the affirmation of our commitment to a balanced liberal arts and science program, as well as our desire to see students engaged in academics, the arts, and athletics.  A concept that was not in our previous mission statement, but one that all constituencies argued we needed to include, was the institution’s long-standing commitment to the creation of ethical individuals.

An evolving Mission Statement

To be sure, our mission has not changed, but in an age when we are so cognizant that words matter and carry meaning, I do think we can work to better reflect our mission, vision, and values in a memorable statement.

This year, you can expect, through surveys, conversations, and articles like this, a community-wide discussion on this effort. I believe we are starting from a place of having a good sense of ourselves and what we stand for, but I think we would benefit from an effort to improve how we communicate what that is and what matters to our community, whether it is student character, diversity and inclusive excellence, or our valued sense of community.

There will be an opportunity on our upcoming constituency survey for you to weigh in, and I will be hosting some parent “LISTEN” events in Denver during which we will discuss our mission statement.

Our goal is to ensure that we “walk the talk” at Colorado Academy. I know as a human-centered institution, we surely cannot be perfect, but a good mission statement can at least help us keep moving in that direction.