Mission & Values


upper school assembly

Catlin Gabel supports inspired learning leading to responsible action through dedicated teaching, caring relationships, a challenging curriculum, and community service. We value each person's effort, imagination, and positive contributions to the community. We celebrate being inclusive and the partnership between family and school.

Core Values

beginning school children exploring mordini field catlin gabel school

Values that guide teaching & learning at Catlin Gabel


Good teaching and learning hinge on the quality of the relationships in the classroom. Students learn in a social context that colors their experience and directly affects their learning. Teachers understand that relationships provide fertile ground for learning, and strive to create the kind of classroom in which students are free to discuss, disagree, formulate ideas, and wonder. When teachers and students form healthy bonds, there are few limits to the learning that can take place.

Spirit of Inquiry

Our approach supports students' open inquiry, independent thinking, and respect for diverse views. This spirit of inquiry lies at the very heart of a well-educated person. Educator John Dewey asserted that the purpose of a good education is more education. We agree. We leave room for student questions, and we foster curiosity, openness to differing perspectives, and the desire to keep learning—lasting benefits of a good education.


Children and young adults learn to become competent, caring, and contributing people in a place that is a community as well as a school. There is room for the experiences and perspectives of all students to be included. Students learn how to work together as part of a larger whole, and to be good citizens. Feeling connected to teachers and to one another helps them become good people and good learners at the same time.

Diversity & Inclusion

We believe a diverse community is integral to maintaining a relevant, future-focused school. A community of diverse learners with different perspectives and life experiences is essential for deep learning and real-world preparation. We foster an environment in which students and adults are curious and supportive, and strive to recognize each person for their unique contributions.

Critical & Creative Thinking

Our teaching aims to help students use their minds well, to be independent thinkers accustomed to thinking critically and deeply. Creativity is expressed in many different realms and is essential in contemporary society. We want to create conditions that support students to know the power of their own ideas, develop new-to-them ways of doing things, be able to think inventively, and reason well and critically assess ideas and events.

Experiential Learning

We value experiential education, the idea that people learn by doing, not simply by being told. This means that students learn through real and direct exposure to places, events, and people. Hands-on lab experiments, outdoor education, field trips, lab work in science, creating music, and directing a one-act play—these are all expressions of our belief that experiential education makes learning come alive.


We want students to learn to live in concert with their values, and to do so with honesty, confidence, and courage. Our approach gives students freedom to explore their own core beliefs, then test and revise them—all within the context of a supportive community. Helping students develop integrity and understand its value is an important goal at Catlin Gabel.

Environmental Sustainability

Our school community is rooted in and dependent upon nature, and we take responsibility for protecting the natural world for future generations. We develop in students the knowledge and skills needed to find solutions to local and global environmental problems, including the challenge of climate change. Environmentally sustainable practices on our campus model our commitment and inspire our community. We seek to create an environmentally sustainable future, with awareness of economic and social implications.

barn building spring time

Come Visit Us

We encourage you to visit campus early in your exploration process. Registration is available via the admission portal September through early February.

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