Message From the Head of School

Dear Families,

The gift of knowing one’s path—where we’ve been and where we want to go—and having the confidence to take the next steps, is what we at the Geffen Academy seek to help your children discover in themselves. And it’s the gift that Mr. Geffen has bestowed upon our community through his generosity and commitment to create Geffen Academy at UCLA. Through hard work in academics, athletics and the arts; a focus on individual identity and growth; and a commitment to the world beyond one’s self, students at the Geffen Academy will experience an educational culture that not only looks forward but leads forward. We will ask your children to reach in to themselves, reach out to make connections and reach on to their futures.

We are clearly, squarely, in the Information Age, an era that demands multiple sets of skills, attributes and commitments to create successful lives. We need to be highly literate, best if we are literate in multiple languages, competent in numeracy, and develop our ability to understand, analyze and synthesize data – and then communicate what we have learned and listen to others’ ideas and feedback. We must be persuasive and yet humble. We need to have a strong sense of self and a commitment to understanding others. We need to see clearly, based on deep disciplinary knowledge, but we also must be comfortable with nuance, the gray area, multi-disciplinary problem-solving and ambiguity. Let’s not ask whether our children need to read Shakespeare or study statistics; let’s embrace the fact that they should have the opportunity to do both.

In short, there is no simple list of subjects, characteristics, attributes or skills that our children should have to succeed in their lives. Rather, it is an ongoing process of experience, learning, performing, questioning – let’s go to the root of that word, quest – that students of all ages must have. It’s this quest, accompanied by the vast resources of UCLA, Geffen Academy faculty, and the willingness to “school” differently, that your children will experience at the Academy.

Finally, Geffen Academy at UCLA is a place of inclusion. We will create among students and families a conversation and a program that enables each of us to reach in to understand our selves, to reach out to understand each other, and to reach on to create a community defined by connection, compassion and the challenge of hard work.

— SIBYLL CARNOCHAN CATALAN
Head of School

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