Play, Passion, & Purpose | March 2024

As part of crafting a new strategic plan for Hopkins, we’re taking a fresh look at the curriculum, exploring ways to integrate deep academic learning with the skills leaders need to thrive in a rapidly changing world.

What kind of skills? CEOs around the world often cite innovation and creative problem-solving among the most widely sought-after and highly valued skills in the 21st century workplace.  Across a wide range of industries, the capacity to imagine new ideas and find innovative solutions to problems is critical to success. 

In his book, Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World, Tony Wagner suggests that developing an innovator’s mindset starts in childhood. The natural curiosity of children serves as a catalyst for play and exploration, which—if nurtured and channeled appropriately—often lead to the discovery of passions and the lifelong sense of purpose common to innovators like Jeff Bezos.

The key is having the courage to follow one’s curiosity where it leads, even if the path is circuitous, full of obstacles and setbacks, and the end point is far from certain. Schools can play a role in fostering this kind of fortitude and resilience by creating an environment where learning is active, experiential, and focused on discovery—of oneself as much as any particular field of study. Having visited more than 150 classes at Hopkins in the past two years, I know that our teachers appreciate this inquiry-based approach and understand that the process of learning matters as much as its outcome.

I’ve also met many Hopkins alumni already, and it’s noteworthy how many are doing truly remarkable things after pursuing their passion along a winding path. In this edition of Views from the Hill, you’ll meet Dr. Thomas Lipp ’04, whose odyssey from Hopkins to SpaceX is a testament to the possibilities that await those who follow their curiosity.

In this issue, we also feature Hopkins’ flourishing robotics program, which has evolved from humble beginnings into a beacon of innovation and collaboration in just a short time. For the teacher and students involved, the field requires constant learning and rewards commitment.
In reading this feature, you’ll witness the transformative power of hands-on, real-world learning and the way it can ignite curiosity and a passion for further study in college and beyond.

The next issue of Views, which will come out in August 2024, will feature Hopkins’ full strategic plan and will highlight ways that we are preparing our students to do both well and good in the complex world of the 21st century. I look forward to sharing this important update with you as we steer this historic institution decisively toward the future.

Matt Glendinning, Head of School
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Hopkins is a private middle school and high school for grades 7-12. Located on a campus overlooking New Haven, CT, the School takes pride in its intellectually curious students as well as its dedicated faculty and staff.