Redefining Excellence: Learning Beyond Boundaries

Excellence Beyond Boundaries

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Hackley is an exceptional school. With a strong and distinct school culture, Hackley places great value on character and on relationships formed on the Hilltop. The faculty is passionate, talented, and dedicated to their students and the school. The campus is beautiful, enrollment strong, and the community is generous in their support. In light of these strengths and numerous others, why does Hackley need a strategic plan?

A Hackley education must constantly evolve to meet and anticipate the demands of constantly changing world. Simply put, learning - as individuals and as an institution - should know no boundaries.

Hackley has now admitted and enrolled the first classes of the 2030s.  While it is hard to imagine dates so distant, one only has to look at these students as they walk our halls each day to know that their time on the Hilltop will come to an end sooner than we think.  To ensure that we are maximizing learning for current students and those that will follow, Hackley must lead important conversations about what it means to educate and to be a school.

Although teaching and learning have changed immeasurably since Frances Hackley opened the school in 1899, there remain timeless competencies, knowledge, and experiences that are as important today as they were then.  Teaching students to communicate clearly, to think deeply, to master difficult subjects and skills, and to work together are - and will remain - hallmarks of a Hackley education, whether taught in the classroom, the studio, or through athletics.  At the same time, Hackley recognizes and embraces the dynamic context in which today’s students are educated, a context that is markedly different than for the those that came before them. In a world that is more interconnected, more complex, and evolving more quickly than ever before, students require an education that provides them with tools new and old to thrive, adapt, and make a positive impact in their community and beyond.

Redefining Education — Excellence Beyond Boundaries is Hackley’s contribution to the conversation on the changing nature and future of education. Our plan contains four major strategic priorities:


Redefine a Liberal Arts Education: articulate and broaden the curriculum in terms of competencies and experiences to meet the needs of tomorrow’s global citizens.

Promote The Hilltop as a Learning Hub: increase learning opportunities for students beyond the boundaries of disciplines, classroom, and campus, and serve as an educational leader and incubator to push the boundaries of existing programs.

Build for the Future: promote lifelong professional learning within Hackley’s faculty and assume a leadership role in cultivating the next generation of independent school educators.

Nurture a Culture of Wellness:  establish wellness - both at the student and institutional levels - as cornerstones of a healthy learning environment and enduring school community.


Hackley is poised to take a leadership role in shaping the educational landscape for the future


Embedded throughout these strategic priorities are signature programs that will shape Hackley’s future.

They include (i) developing an approach to K-12 curricula that centers on enduring and emerging competencies, (ii) elevating creative expression in all its forms and improving our performing, visual, and digital arts programs and facilities, (iii) integrating service work and service learning, including building out Hudson Scholars into a four-year program, (iv) creating culturally immersive opportunities for students domestically and internationally, (v) integrating the Hackley Forest and surrounding natural ecosystems into our program, (vi) creating a series of culminating “Big Experiences” at important transition points for students, (vii) affirming our national leadership in teaching excellence, and (viii) fostering a culture of individual and institutional wellness.

By virtue of our history and current strengths, Hackley is poised to take a leadership role in shaping the educational landscape for the future.  Hackley’s strategic plan, “Redefining Education”, was conceived to provide students and the faculty with the tools, experiences, and environment necessary to cultivate enduring habits of “character, scholarship, and accomplishment” as defined in the Portrait of a Graduate.  As a community of curious, creative, and committed learners, Hackley seeks to help individuals understand themselves, empathize with others, and work across disciplines and areas of expertise. “Redefining Education” sets out an ambitious vision in all of these areas of school life.

“Redefining Education” is intended to be an active and living document and its implementation will be as dynamic as the plan itself, ensuring that Hackley students leave the Hilltop to “Go Forth and Spread Beauty and Light.”