This year, Darlington has had the opportunity to work with Atlanta PR and marketing firm Jackson Spalding to hone in on how we tell our story, and on Wednesday of last week, we shared this work with our faculty and staff.
Now for some of our teachers, this was not the first time they had seen it. Faculty and staff members -- as well as students and alumni -- were integral in the process from the very beginning. We started with student focus groups, which led to the formation of a committee of students and adults who did an excellent job sharing with Jackson Spalding everything that makes Darlington the very special place that it is.
From there, Jackson Spalding helped us craft our story, which explains who we are, what we do and why we do it. Read it below!
Darlington is a preparatory school that gives day and boarding students the opportunity to discover their place in the global community. We do this by offering academic and extracurricular explorations personalized for each student, and led by teachers and staff who are exceptionally accessible and encouraging. Darlington students graduate with the confidence, connections, and compassion they need to succeed in college and their career, and be meaningful contributors to the greater good.
I don't know about you but I think this perfectly captures who we are, highlighting the most valuable and unique aspects of the Darlington experience. Not only that, it makes me very proud to be a part of this community!
Another component of our work together involved defining our "brand essence," which is, in a nutshell, the heart and soul of our school. Here at Darlington, we're proud to help graduate students who are "confident contributors." They confidently contribute in class, on their teams, on stage, in the dorms, in their communities through servant leadership, in their careers, and so much more. And in doing so, they are becoming meaningful contributors to the greater good.
As Head of School Brent Bell shared these messages with our faculty and staff on Wednesday, we talked about specific examples of things they do every day to help build confident contributors. It was inspiring! He then challenged them to capture photos and videos of students who embody the brand essence, exhibiting characteristics of a confident contributor.
We decided to have a one-week photo contest, which has been so much fun. Teachers and staff could enter the contest via Twitter or Instagram by tagging their content with #confidentcontributors OR send it directly to me. We had more than 50 people enter, many of whom sent in multiple photos or videos.
One of my favorite outcomes of the contest is this public display put together by our teachers on the third- through fifth-grade hallway. Big thanks to BeBe Cline for texting me this photo. These teachers really took our messaging and ran with it! Here, you see photos of confident contributors spreading kindness during Kindness Week, sharing aspects of their lives during Exploratory, and collaborating with one another in class. (I was so impressed that I even texted the photo to our friends at Jackson Spalding; they loved it!)
Another great entry was this video of junior Amy Chen and senior Thompson Liu sharing their cultural talents with the students at McHenry Primary School. Thanks to Head of House Reba Barnes for submitting it!
Upper School English teacher Jennifer Sikes, who sent in the very first contest entry and several more, did a really good job illustrating what confident contributors look like in her classroom. In this photo, for example, AP Literature students confidently discuss race, gender, power and life as related to their study of Toni Morrison's "Song of Solomon."
Laura Woford, Upper School Spanish teacher, and Molly Jordan, who teaches second grade, get the award for most entries. Each of them captured students in a variety of different settings, confirming the idea that a confident contributor is the culmination of all of the experiences our students have at Darlington. I love Laura's photo below of freshman Chloe Duck contributing to the greater good by mentoring students at the Boys & Girls Club.
Molly's photo shows kindergartener Asher Kizziah working with his classmates to complete STEM activities on the 100th Day of School. Now that is confidence!
Thank you to all my colleagues who participated in the Confident Contributors Contest. We hope that you will continue to share examples of the confident contributors you teach, coach, advise and have the opportunity to build relationships with on a daily basis through your work here at Darlington. And as you do so, don't forget to use #confidentcontributors in your posts!