Why Riverdale

Character + Mind

Character strengths enable us to tap into our potential and develop perspective, self-knowledge, and empathy for others. The VIA Institute on Character has identified 24 character strengths; Riverdale focuses on seven: grit, optimism, self-control, curiosity, zest, gratitude, and social intelligence. These concepts are part of the culture of the school and the conversation between students and their teachers and coaches. We see that when students can approach learning with open-mindedness, curiosity, and intellectual humility, they become better listeners and thinkers.


In New Orleans, students canvassed residents of the Lower Ninth Ward to find out about health care services, education options, and air and water quality.
In New Orleans, students canvassed residents of the Lower Ninth Ward to find out about health care services, education options, and air and water quality.

Character + Community

The Riverdale community champions caring, inclusion, equity, and justice. We believe that free expression and diverse viewpoints contribute to deeper and more nuanced questioning, reflecting, and understanding of the world in which we live. Participating in a team, helping others who are less fortunate, forming friendships with people from different backgrounds, and seeking to make positive change are all part of Riverdale’s tradition that continues to this day.


An Upper School student tutors a child at YindaYin Coaching, a nonprofit that works with Tibetan immigants and refugees in Jackson Heights, Queens.
An Upper School student tutors a child at YindaYin Coaching, a nonprofit that works with Tibetan immigants and refugees in Jackson Heights, Queens.

Character +
Global Initiatives

Riverdale is involved in national and international efforts to bring research about character education and positive psychology to parents and schools. Head of School Dominic A.A. Randolph is a co-founder of Character Lab, a research institute at the University of Pennsylvania directed by Angela Duckworth, the author of Grit, that supports scientific research and disseminates it to classroom teachers and parents. He is on the advisory board of the International Positive Education Network (IPEN), a group that brings together scientists, psychologists, teachers, parents, and organizations from around the world to share research, policy, and practice regarding character education and well being.  Jenna Rogers King, the director of admission and enrollment, is a member of a nationwide team that developed the Character Skills Snapshot, an online assessment tool designed to measure character skills that many independent schools seek to build in their students. 


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