Purpose, Promise & Principles

Hawken School is guided by our Purpose, Promise, and Principles, which affirms our School’s long-standing mission of the development of character and intellect and forward-focused preparation for the real world. As we prepare our students to enter a new and ever-changing world, our 3 P’s ensure that we continue to proactively empower our students with the skills and traits required to navigate a complex and dynamic world with self-confidence and determination.

Our Purpose

Forward-focused preparation for the real world through the development of character and intellect.

Our Promise

Hawken School prepares students to navigate a complex and dynamic world with self-confidence and determination; embrace challenges with disciplined analysis and creativity; and engage others with empathy and integrity.

Our Principles

  1. We truly know our students as learners and individuals.
  2. We pay purposeful attention to the development of character through the cultivation of virtue, helping students understand Hawken’s motto of “fair play,” and its founder’s call to find their “better selves.”
  3. We consider developing the intellect to be a critical part of developing character and, as such, we expect the highest levels of academic excellence and work ethic from our students.
  4. We orient our program with a primacy toward the development of essential skills beyond the acquisition of specific knowledge.
  5. We use classroom methods that place the student at the center of learning. We teach children to make choices, manage their time, think critically and creatively, and develop ownership for their learning.
  6. We believe students find energy and passion through engagement, and we expect them to participate and contribute meaningfully in an array of activities outside of the classroom.
  7. We believe in the power of community, and foster connections through teamwork, partnerships, and shared experiences.
  8. We appreciate difference and individuality, and embrace diversity in our community.
  9. We believe students need authentic experience in the real world to make meaning from knowledge. Nature, Cleveland, and the global community are extensions of our classrooms.
  10. We believe that to provide the most relevant education possible, our faculty and administrators must be learning continually about educational best practices, advances in technology, and developments in the world.
Hawken School’s original rule book nearly one hundred years ago consisted of two words: Fair Play. Signs depicting the motto were hung in every classroom, and if the spirit of Fair Play was violated, the sign would be temporarily removed from the walls.

Today, you will still find Fair Play signs on the walls of all Hawken classrooms – a reminder of our school’s emphasis on the importance of character. The concept of Fair Play remains at the core of our community’s collective consciousness, along with our founder James A. Hawken’s original goal for his students: “That the better self shall prevail and each generation introduce its successor to a higher plane of life.” These guiding principles and shared beliefs, which apply to academic, athletic, personal, social, and professional conduct, keep our community grounded in integrity, accountability, and respect. 
An independent, coeducational, college preparatory day school, preschool through grade 12

Lower & Middle Schools, 5000 Clubside Rd, Lyndhurst, OH 44124
Upper School, PO Box 8002 (12465 County Line Rd), Gates Mills, OH 44040
Gries Center, 10823 Magnolia Dr, Cleveland, OH 44106

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