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The Cardigan Way

It’s a Way of Living 

More broadly, the Cardigan Way speaks to our way of life here on The Point. The adults at Cardigan see every interaction as a teaching moment that can nudge a boy forward on his journey toward reaching his potential.

We’ve created a community where boys flourish with:

Room to Grow. Boys feel comfortable, un-self-conscious, and safe enough to take healthy risks in a single-sex environment where expectations are clearly stated, where feedback and positive reinforcement are constant, and where relationships with adults are characterized by consistency and kindness.

A Commitment to Core Values. We all live by our core values: compassion, honesty, respect, integrity, scholarship, and fairness. Through discussion, class assignments, and community-building activities, students explore the meaning of each of the Core Values. Modeled by adults in the community, the Core Values become the basis for personal decision making. Every day, the boys are expected to put the Core Values into action in every campus context. Our Heart of the Cougar awards regularly acknowledge random acts of kindness that reflect our commonly held values.

Engagement of the Whole Boy. The Cardigan Way is not just an academic curriculum. In addition to the academic program, every boy has the opportunity to participate in the arts, spiritual and ethical development, service, leadership activities, and athletics. Each boy has a chance to shine in areas of strength, to become more well-rounded, and to enjoy a variety of fulfilling experiences.

A Structured Environment. We provide the structure boys need to succeed. Daily life at Cardigan is characterized by predictable routines that keep students productively engaged from the day’s first class, through afternoon sports, at meals, and during the evening study hours. Boys know where they need to be, what they need to be doing, and, importantly, when and how to seek extra help.

Skills for Life. We purposefully develop the interpersonal and communication skills that make a student successful at Cardigan and beyond. The firm handshake and eye contact, along with the common courtesies, confidence, and respect fostered here—at Chapel programs, during school assemblies, at mealtimes, and in meetings with adults—serve our graduates well both at Cardigan and for the rest of their lives.

A Community That Cares. We show boys that we value what is important to them. Boys thrive at Cardigan because they feel a sense of fellowship and belonging as they work and play together under the supervision of adults who understand and appreciate them.

It’s a Way of Teaching and Learning

The Cardigan Way features a carefully crafted educational program, which is grounded in our decades of experience in teaching middle school boys and informed by the most developmentally appropriate, research-supported, best practices in teaching today. The Cardigan Way rewards effort, promotes achievement, and encourages boys to take more responsibility for their learning. 

The Cardigan faculty is a professional community of educators who have chosen to work with middle school boys. Our educators:

Capitalize on student strengths. We channel boys’ energy and enthusiasm into positive engagement. Varied, active, hands-on learning activities and the use of current educational technology generate interest and excitement.

Instill good study habits. We place special emphasis on organization, study skills, and time management. We don’t expect boys to arrive knowing how to use a planner, how to take great notes, or how to budget their time. We explicitly teach them how to do it.

Provide positive reinforcement. Frequent feedback from teachers, coaches, dorm parents, and advisors is important to motivating boys and keeping them on track. The honor roll, the effort honor roll, our Heart of the Cougar awards, our Dorm Citizenship Awards, our Leadership Development Awards, and our Student-Athlete-of-the-Week awards are among the formal ways by which we reward hard work and perseverance, as well as achievement and good citizenship.

Are dedicated to middle-level education. Cardigan teachers serve as role models who are committed to enhancing learning through developmentally responsive approaches. Cardigan’s “team teaching” model ensures that all the teachers of a particular grade communicate and collaborate to enhance curricular objectives and to monitor the progress of individual students.

Collaborate with parents. Positive parental involvement can only enhance educational outcomes. At Cardigan, students’ advisors are the primary contact for parents and communicate with them regularly and as needed.

We Know Our Boys as Individual Learners

Our expertise with boys in general is just the beginning. We firmly believe that excellence in the education of boys requires an approach that is based on the recognition that every person learns and grows in different ways, and at varying rates and times. Our strength is in knowing each boy well as a learner and as a human being. Many aspects of the Cardigan Way support boys’ individual growth, not the least of which is a department unique to Cardigan called PEAKS® (Personalized Education for the Acquisition of Knowledge and Skills). PEAKS focuses on guided self-development and follows a specific study skills and health curriculum for each grade level. In required PEAKS classes and in a variety of other settings, PEAKS coaches help students to become aware of how they learn best and to develop the fundamental study, organizational, and technological skills necessary to become more successful, self-sufficient learners.