Preparing Boys for Life

Character & Citizenship

Building upon substantial progress made under the Global Readiness pillar since 2010, The Haverford School has broadened its vision and efforts in this area to a theme of character and citizenship. Encompassing global education, service learning, leadership, community life, and health and wellness, our approach to building character and citizenship is woven throughout a student’s experience. In the classroom, on the athletic fields, on the stage, and in all related student activities, Haverford’s emphasis on character is designed to create good leaders, active and questioning followers, and engaged members of a number of communities. We offer structured opportunities for boys to develop into self-aware and socially reflective young men with the strength of character to make a difference.

The essential questions “Who am I?,” “Who are we?,” and “How are we connected?” frame the journeys that Haverford students travel on their road to character development. A Haverford student belongs to and is responsible for a number of circles (see below). The School builds character by creating the conditions and opportunities in which he experiences defining moments, moments of discomfort when he is challenged and stretched, when he learns something about himself and about others.

The Haverford School Strategic Vision Character & Citizenship


  • Examine the School culture and climate to inform programs and policies related to student health and safety
  • Develop partnerships in the greater Philadelphia area that bridge the gap between classroom study and community engagement
  • Create a curriculum-based approach to fostering qualities of character and citizenship
  • Empower the offices of global education, service learning, leadership, community life, and health and wellness to play visible and leading roles in developing programs that foster character and citizenship


  • Under the leadership of the Headmaster and Board of Trustees, implemented the Safety, Culture, and Character Task Force, including the “My Brother’s Keeper” program to identify and support students struggling with substance abuse
  • Reconceived School-sponsored international student travel so that it has an academic focus, including a formal pre- and post-travel curriculum
  • Fostered boys’ emotional intelligence through service learning, leadership programs, and course offerings
  • Implemented international-themed service learning projects across all three divisions
  • Administered annually the Comprehensive Assessment of Student Life, a school climate survey, and benchmarked results against a cohort of peer schools

The Path Forward

  • Assemble a character and citizenship committee to examine every facet of School life
  • Conduct a curricular review across divisions and disciplines to ensure that academic Provide opportunities for students to capture and reflect upon their personal growth in the areas of character and citizenship

A person’s character is the embodiment of how he thinks, feels, and acts in relation to his moral code. At Haverford we build each boy’s character through robust programs and experiences that are centered on understanding one’s personal values and leveraging those values to contribute to various communities. Allowing a boy to understand his strengths, interests, and value system helps him make sound decisions and develop a clear vision of how to be a man of character. Bill Brady P’23, Director of Leadership Programs