Culture of Integrated Ethics

Turning questioning into personal understanding and global engagement

MKA students work to develop habits of inquiry and reflection as the building blocks of their own moral and intellectual character. They learn about themselves and how they can impact the world around them.

“How can we best develop the moral and intellectual habits of good character?”

MKA’s Culture of Integrated Ethics, rooted in the MKA Character Standards, brings together many different facets of MKA’s curriculum and school culture that simultaneously explore answers to this guiding question.

As students question, reflect, collaborate and problem-solve, they are intentionally practicing the habits of good character and engaged in an authentic and relevant Culture of Integrated Ethics.

Character Standards for the MKA Community

All members of the MKA community strive to act, speak and think in ways that are:

Respectful

We act with civility in our relations with others while still valuing ourselves. We are conscious of the world around us and recognize the worth of all we have and treat it accordingly.

Friendly

We demonstrate good will and compassion in our relationships with others. We understand that in order to have friends we must be friends and treat all with understanding, loyalty and respect.

Responsible

We fulfill obligations and complete tasks to the fullest of our ability and we are accountable members of our community. We volunteer our assistance when called upon and budget our time, efforts and resources sensibly.

Confident

We uphold a positive image of ourselves regardless of the way others perceive us. We recognize our potential and challenge ourselves to improve the talents and skills we possess. We take pride in our work while remaining humble and accepting criticism. We express our opinions freely without fear of the judgment of others and always speak up when we see acts of injustice.

Temperate

We balance all aspects of our lives. By devoting personal attention to academics and personal commitments, we maintain moderation. While welcoming relaxation, we exert self-control and strength of will when faced with temptation and challenge.

Fair

We cultivate an environment where all students may act and speak without the fear of prejudice, intolerance or judgment. We recognize and seek to understand the differences between individuals in the community. While recognizing these differences, we also value the inherent equality among all.

Informed

We rely not only on our own experiences to make decisions, but we also actively seek a more thorough understanding of the world. With our knowledge, we envision a more peaceful and empathetic society.

Honest

We understand the value and necessity of being true to ourselves, as well as others and we are sincere in words and actions. We take pride in the authenticity of our own work and ideas and we have the courage and integrity to take responsibility for all of our actions.

Diversity & Inclusion

How can we better understand and appreciate both our own identities and the diverse identities of others? Read More

Educational Technology

How can we digitally connect with the world in ways that are both true to ourselves and respectful of others? Read More

Global Experience

How can we become more informed and active global citizens? Read More

Service Learning

How can we make a habit of helping others and positively impacting our local and global communities? Read More

Social-Emotional Learning

How can we know and value ourselves, our emotions and the dignity of others in ways that enable us to respond confidently when facing a challenge and contribute to a respectful and collaborative learning community? Read More

Sustainability

How can we develop responsible daily habits that help sustain our environment and improve our local and global communities? Read More

Student Leadership

Student ownership ensures that MKA’s Culture of Integrated Ethics remains relevant and engaging. In 2007, a group of student leaders redesigned the MKA Character Standards to make them more accessible to the student body and applicable to all members of the MKA community. Their work inspired the formation of the Upper School Student Ethics Committee and later the Middle School Ethics Roundtable, which provide opportunities for student discussion, reflection and action on the role of MKA’s Character Standards in and out of the classroom.

Members of the Upper School Student Ethics Committee also aid the faculty’s professional development by offering constructive feedback, which faculty members incorporate in their curricular and co-curricular planning during each summer’s Integrated Ethics Institute.

Additional student-led groups support MKA’s goal of helping students to develop the moral and intellectual habits of good character. These include the Student Diversity Leadership Committee, Student Laptop Leaders, Global Experience Student Leaders, Green Group/Environmental Action, Peer Leaders and Honor Council.

Professional Development

We balance all aspects of our lives. By devoting personal attention to academics and personal commitments, we maintain moderation. While welcoming relaxation, we exert self-control and strength of will when faced with temptation and challenge.

Integrated Ethics Institute:

During this weeklong summer institute, faculty from all three campuses explore the myriad ways in which integrated ethics can play a more deliberate role in our school—from the classroom and the advisory program to extracurricular life and support services. Faculty choose from a number of directed readings, interactive workshops and field trips to support their learning and individual and group curricular design projects. These projects not only further professional growth, but also honor the collaborative process of teaching and learning that is integral to MKA.

Blauvelt Award:

Demonstrating MKA’s commitment to helping faculty members study integrated ethics, the Blauvelt Professional Study Advancement Award offers monetary support for those seeking to explore creative ways to bring integrated ethics to the forefront of MKA life. Recent projects have included:

  1. Messages, Morals, Meaning and Me: Using Literature to Foster a “Culture of Care” in Kindergarten.
  2. Creating Socially Conscious Word Problems in Middle School Algebra.
  3. The Ethical Dilemma of Civil War in the Ancient and Modern Worlds.
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