Why Riverdale

What if we could harness the power of belonging, curiosity, and purpose to catalyze equity, thriving and, ultimately, learning?

NYC case study map

PLUSSED has launched a multi-year effort to glean new insights into what conditions, practices, and strategies promote thriving in schools.

We posit that a whole-school and research-informed emphasis on cultivating belonging, curiosity, and purpose has the potential to enhance both learning and thriving for students, staff, and families. This initiative arises from Riverdale’s decades-long commitment to supporting academic and personal thriving and its signature focus on mind, character, and community. 

We’re excited to share the summaries from the first phase of our research here.

Thriving is a dynamic, complex, and context-specific process of growth that enables individuals and communities to be their best.


Riverdale Administrators and Faculty

Angela Duckworth, Anne Johnstone, David Levin, Marc Sternberg, and Veronica Boix-Mansilla


In 2021, PLUSSED undertook a yearlong effort to survey and analyze the research base on belonging, curiosity, and purpose, producing a comprehensive compendium of promising practices for thriving to guide our work at Riverdale and beyond.


PLUSSED’s literature review informs Riverdale’s five-year strategy, which now explicitly prioritizes belonging, curiosity, and purpose in service of learning. The development of a robust collection of resources and guides to support our work with Riverdale and its partners is currently underway.


During 2022 and 2023, PLUSSED will design a discovery process to connect research on belonging, curiosity, and purpose to practice. PLUSSED will also work closely with Riverdale colleagues to test innovative interventions focused on these themes.

Questions about this project?