At Riverdale, the belief is that all community members should learn and thrive in order to change our world for the good. Toward this end, there is a concerted effort to align Riverdale programs, practices, and systems with core educational outcomes focused on curiosity, purposes, and belonging.

“Thriving” has been described as a dynamic, complex, and context-specific process of development that enables individuals and communities to be their best. According to research conducted by PLUSSED, Riverdale’s research and development studio, which exists to support, enhance, and amplify the process of teaching and learning, thriving can entail a range of emotions and states, such as struggle, power, and joy.

To better understand the impact of thriving and its components of curiosity, purpose, and belonging, PLUSSED conducts research on pedagogical interventions, and best practices in teaching and learning. Earlier in 2022, PLUSSED released a summary of findings related to thriving to the Riverdale community. These findings may be found on the Riverdale website. 

To explain, Head of School Dominic AA Randolph says, “Thriving for our School encompasses a strong commitment to excellence and a curriculum that students can apply beyond their academic studies. They also have numerous opportunities to explore the world beyond campus. Through a program of interdisciplinary learning, students pursue their intellectual, personal passions, while developing keen skills of analysis and synthesis. This strengthens their curiosity.”

“This work leads to their discovery of purpose,” adds Mr. Randolph, “which is an individual and collective journey — a process and not a fixed objective. Purpose enables students to create meaningful change in their lives, communities, and the world around them.”

“Ultimately,” says Mr. Randolph, “curiosity and purpose assist the experience of belonging. At Riverdale, belonging is more than being accepted and embraced by the community, it is the commitment to create opportunities for belonging for others.”

According to the research, thriving is the result of growing up in an inclusive and welcoming community that both challenges and supports the values of curiosity and purpose, while co-creating with students the experience of belonging.

“Thriving is what visitors to Riverdale often remark upon,” says Mr. Randolph. “It is the love of learning that is evident in our classrooms, libraries, labs, makerspaces, playing fields, and throughout both campuses. It is palpable.”

Thrive Project Research Summaries