INSIGHT: Reflecting on the EPS Values

By Paul Hagen, Director of Student Well-Being

Eastside Prep’s Mission and Vision are what first drew me to this community and remain prominent reminders of why I find it such a fulfilling place to be. The Mission and Vision are everywhere. They are displayed prominently in classrooms, students know them by heart—and shout out the Mission at the top of their lungs during TALI Rallies—and teachers frequently refer to both the Mission and Vision in class (“let’s think critically about this problem” or “wonderful wise innovation today!” or “how might this help to create a better world?”). Gosh, we even have a building—the largest on campus—named TALI!

Less ubiquitous, but no less important, are the Eastside Prep Values—Flexibility, Understanding, Balance, Self-Knowledge, Respectfulness, and Dialogue.

These six simple nouns are anything but simple in practice. We don’t have to look far to see the antithesis of these Values in our world—and even in ourselves. Dialogue is diluted with rigid dogma. Self-Knowledge is sabotaged by comparison and conformity. Flexibility is forgotten, understanding is undermined, respectfulness is replaced by rudeness, and balance is brushed aside in favor of busyness.

As difficult as these values are to live, they are the ever-important ingredients in the fulfilment of our Mission and Vision. They buoy all we do and all we hope to accomplish as a school. And, perhaps most importantly, they are the foundational building blocks on which individual and community well-being are built.

Well-being at EPS is more than just physical and emotional health, it is also belonging and purpose. We strive to ensure that each unique individual in our community is known, supported, and celebrated for who they truly are. We work every day to build a community that welcomes all, that shares diverse ideas freely, that demonstrates kindness, and that allows each member to become the very best version of themselves. In short, we strive for all members of our community to thrive, and our shared Values support that effort.

We all value our kind, diverse, thoughtful, and creative community in large part because of the Values that our community is built on. Will we always get it right? Of course not! These Values are aspirational—something for us all to work toward daily. The approach of summer gives us the informal opportunity to pause and reflect on our progress, and to plan our path forward. This is an opportunity to consider, as individuals and as a community, how we are doing as we develop and practice our shared Values. It is also an opportunity to redouble our efforts in the coming year. How can we better show respect, flexibility, and balance? In what ways can we gain greater understanding and self-knowledge? And, in an academic community dedicated to diversity of ideas, how can we foster authentic dialogue?

I am grateful for another wonderful year here at EPS, and I look forward to the year to come as we continue to grow as a Mission, Vision, and Value-driven community. There is no other place on earth where I would rather engage in this meaningful work than right here, as part of the EPS community.

Happy Summer and Be Well!