Boarding schools in the United States have been a small yet leading player historically in the shaping of the American public square and the discourse thereof.
With their disproportionate influence on many of the leading institutions in American society, these schools are, at their best, places where “preparing for college” means far more than merely earning good grades, excelling at sports, or joining the right clubs.
As a total institution, the boarding school is a self-contained environment that, though much more carefully monitored than the university, nevertheless offers teenagers unparalleled opportunity—”24/7″—to engage intelligently with one another, their instructors, and the current ideas, issues, and voices that are shaping the world they are preparing to enter.
The boarding school track at this conference will offer school faculty and administrators (of the Christian faith especially) the chance to reflect on their respective roles in contributing to the conversations and debates that are so important for the future of our schools, the country, and the world.
Participants will be encouraged to reflect upon the legacy of religion in creating and/or limiting intellectual freedom in America’s boarding schools, particularly on their own campuses. As well, they will be challenged to articulate their sense of how things stand presently in the relationship between the faith communities in their schools and their individual or collective impact upon institutional culture.
Finally, participants will wrestle with emerging issues that, though they may not do so now, will likely make a deep impact on the schools’ futures and their capacity to welcome, freely and respectfully, a true plurality of religious and non-religious voices to the culture-making table.
July 8 (morning-afternoon): The Boarding School Roundtable
A series of three presentations and subsequent conversations
- Morning session: A History of Faith & Freedom in Boarding Schools, Presenter: Fred Jordan (History Chair, Woodberry Forest School)
- Early afternoon session: Living Faith & Freedom in Boarding Schools, Presenter: Deborah L. Davis (Religion Chair, Pomfret School)
- Later afternoon session: The Future of Faith & Freedom in Boarding Schools, Presenter: Peter Becker (Head of School, The Gunnery)
July 8 (evening) – July 10 (morning): The Conference Proper
Plenaries, break-out sessions, & performances for faculty, clergy, writers, & fans of C.S. Lewis
Over these two days, we boarding school folk will immerse ourselves in the general conference and reconnoiter formally in break-out sessions and informally in Amherst and/or Northampton to contextualize the conference’s content for our lives in the schools.