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Why Less is Always More in Schools

Carrie Koch- Head of School 10-12-2021

When choosing a school, many parents believe that the more programs a school has to offer, the better the opportunities are for their children. While in theory, this seems logical, the case is often that the more programs a school offers, the less focus it has on what it set out to do in the first place. This happens so frequently that there is a name for it: mission-drift.

Mission-drift is when a school starts out with a strong focus, (it may be to offer hands-on learning, or religious inculcation, a superior athletics or performing arts program), but the school continues to add other departments and activities that take time, energy, and resources away from the original purpose. Overtime, the focus shifts from a clear purpose to a fuzzy compilation of programs and events that evolved as reactions to parental desires rather than strategic alignment to the mission. One day, the school wakes up and wonders who they have become.

From the very start, Vandermont has committed to the principle of intentionality. Everything we do has meaning, purpose and intent aligned with the founding mission. Vandermont cannot be everything to everyone, and we wouldn’t want to be. Instead, we exist for families who want a wonder-filled, value-rich, inquiry-based education that is guaranteed to spark creativity and open young minds to a learning that will result in a life of purpose and meaning. Every decision we make returns to the question: “How will this offer the child a sense of wonder? How will it enrich a child’s sense of purpose and understanding about who he or she is, and what they have to offer the world? If the answer is that it won’t, or that it might, but it will come at too great a cost, we simply say “no”, so we can say yes to what matters to us.

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