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The Phillips Academy's educational philosophy is guided by the core values of respect, integrity, cooperation, resilience, and humor.

Respect: To receive respect, one must give respect.
  • Students are treated with respect by all  staff.  They are addressed in a respectful manner when they are given directions, feedback, when requests are made, when they are disciplined, and when staff responds to student questions and requests.  They are instructed with a full appreciation of their strengths and their challenges.  They are encouraged to do their best and are accepted and validated when they struggle.
  • Staff is treated with respect by the administration.  Their requests are addressed in a timely manner, their input is solicited, their performance is evaluated and supported, and their contributions are recognized.
  • Staff treats each other with respect.  Staff uses communications skills and follows existing policies to resolve conflicts, seeks help when needed, and works collaboratively to meet students needs.
  • Parents and community members are treated with respect.  Families are welcomed, their concerns are addressed in a timely manner, their input regarding their child and the school is solicited, their contributions are appreciated.  
  • Students behave in a respectful manner when in the community, respect community property, and show appreciation to community members for the contributions they have made to the school.
  • Students are guided to be respectful to their peers and to staff.  When respect is demonstrated it is appreciated; when it is not, it is corrected.  Students learn that everyone has the right to be treated in a respectful manner.  In addition to direct instruction, the behavior of staff serves as a model for this lesson.
  • Students are also guided to respect themselves.  This includes doing their best, engaging in positive behavior that enhances their and others’ well-being, and refraining from self-harm, self-deprecation, and self-defeating behaviors.


Integrity: In order to respect oneself, one must develop integrity and adhere to one’s moral principles. The Phillips Academy as a community appreciates honesty, the ability to accept responsibility for one’s actions and one’s mistakes, treating others with kindness, celebrating differences, and doing the “right” thing for the “right” reason. 
  • Students are supported in these behaviors with the school-wide level system.  They initially receive feedback from each teacher each period on behaviors that reflect integrity.  As students progress, they self-evaluate.  
  • A student who honestly admits to a transgression and accepts responsibility is rewarded for his or her integrity. 
  • A student who resists temptation is similarly acknowledged. 
  • A student who defends a peer or who demonstrates kindness and consideration for a peer, staff, animal, community member, family member, or stranger is recognized. 
  • Students learn to demonstrate integrity in their relationships and what it means to be a good friend.  Staff attempts to model integrity in their interactions with students and with each other.
Resilience: Many students come to the with a history of failure.  They have struggled academically, socially, and emotionally.  The hallmark of resilience is academic, social and emotional competence. The program at the Academy strives to help students become resilient. 
  • Students develop a sense of self-efficacy in their academics by receiving appropriate instruction to enhance adequate progress and by valuing effort and persistence as necessary for mastery.  
  • Students develop positive relationships with peers and staff, and experience a level of acceptance and social competence.  
  • Students learn to manage their emotions and use coping and problem solving skills to negotiate challenges.  
Cooperation: The Phillips Academy embraces the team approach in guiding students and in teaching students to work with each other.  Staff work collaboratively with each other, with families, with school districts, and with community members to enrich the lives of our students.  
  • Students learn to work in groups, help each other learn, and participate in team sports.  
  • School-wide events contribute to the development of a sense of cooperation and community. 
  • The importance of the collective good is balanced with the recognition of individual achievement.
Humor: The importance of humor and the contribution of laughter to mental health is demonstrated in staff’s informal relationships with students, their ability to laugh at themselves, and to use laughter as a coping mechanism and a means to keep things in perspective. Humor is also used to make lessons engaging and memorable. 
  • Students are encouraged to access and express their own sense of humor, to accept playfulness, to keep humor appropriate and positive, and to share it with others. 
  • As many of our students experience a great number of challenges in their lives, and since a fair number have difficulty appreciating humor, we strive to share the gift of laughter with all.   
The following core principles form the basis of our educational strategies:
All Students Can Learn: The Phillips Academy was founded on the principle that all students can learn if provided with the right instructional strategies, the right support, and the necessary motivation. Thus a skill building approach using the behavioral principles of task analysis (breaking down a task), shaping (recognizing steps to the achievement of a final goal) and positive reinforcement (acknowledging positive behavior) has been adopted for all areas of student development. Personalized educational plans, a growth mindset which fosters the belief that practice leads to mastery and mistakes are to be embraced rather than feared, and the experience of success lead to self-efficacy and a willingness to face new challenges.
Relationships Foster Learning: Growth is also seen as a direct outcome of the positive relationships students develop with staff and peers.  Students must feel safe, connected, and engaged in order to learn.
Students Have a Voice: Students are viewed as necessary and active participants in their educational plans, are taught self-management skills, and are encouraged to express their concerns openly, appropriately and effectively.  
School, Family, and Community Partnerships Contribute to Student Success: A team approach including family participation, accessing community resources, and contributing to the community is cultivated to develop the most comprehensive and effective educational plans.  
Process and Outcome-based Program: The implementation of instructional strategies and behavioral interventions is assessed for fidelity and effectiveness on an on-going basis. Teaching strategies and educational plans are adjusted for each student based on these data.
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