Skip To Main Content

Search Menu

A Culture of RESPECT Begets a More Productive Learning Environment

A Culture of RESPECT Begets a More Productive Learning Environment
  • The 4 Pillars

It’s easy to see how The Four Pillars — Kind, Honest, Responsible and Respectful — foster character and integrity in RCDS students. What is not always obvious however, is how The Pillars, particularly, respect, leads to a more productive learning environment. In the latest Four Pillars video, “Respectful,” eighth grader Susanna Tortolini ’22 observes, “When you’re inside the classroom, The Four Pillars make it easier to learn because kids are not being loud. They’re being respectful and it makes it a quieter and easier space to learn in.”

When courtesy and consideration reign in the classroom, lessons are more constructive, and students can take their learning farther. “We understand that our students are capable of a lot,” explained Head of School Carson T. Smith. “Respect is a big part of that. It allows teachers to set high expectations of their students. What we have found is when we have high expectations, our students rise to the occasion.”

Creating a culture of respect starts with daily traditions. During Morning Greeting at RCDS students shake hands with the Head of School or other adult before entering the school. “For me, that’s what being respectful is all about,” said Mr. Smith. “It’s looking someone in the eye and saying hello.”

Sophia Memtsoudis ’20, a sophomore at Trinity Hall, remembers how instrumental respect was to the Mock Trial, an RCDS tradition where eighth graders prepare and argue a fictitious court case. “You definitely have to be respectful to your classmates, [even if you are on opposite sides of the case,],” she notes. “That’s something I definitely learned here. It’s okay to have different views than everybody, and you can talk about it in a very humane and very respectful way.”

Director of Student Services and Head of the Jayne S. Carmody School Natalie Diehl says students have to internalize respect in order to understand it – something she sees often at RCDS. “I truly believe that the respect here is genuine. Students recognize that this is not just any old school. This is their place that they have to take care of. And the people in it are part of their family that they need to take care of, respect and be kind to, so that they can enjoy all the amazing things that the school has to offer.”