The Institute for Leadership & Purpose


The Institute for Leadership & Purpose recognizes that in order to build the strongest program for our community, we need to establish collaborative partnerships with regional, national, and global leaders in education. The relationships reflect a commitment to bringing the outside world into our School and ensuring we are providing the best experiences for our students, teachers, and families. 
Middle Grades Partnership

Beginning in 2018, the Institute for Leadership & Purpose at Calvert School has collaborated with the Middle Grades Partnership (MGP) to create an interactive School Year Student Leadership Program for two hundred students at area public, charter, and independent schools.. Since 2006, the Middle Grades Partnership has been changing the trajectory of the lives of Baltimore middle school students. The nine public and private school partnerships provide exceptional summer programming that halts summer learning loss, balances enrichment with skill development and brings communities together to address silos of race, class, and opportunity.  Our newly launched School Year Program will bring together like-minded stakeholders from across the city to inspire students from Calvert and beyond to discover their own strengths, and design initiatives to improve our schools and our city.

St. Elizabeth School

In 2018, the Institute for Leadership & Purpose at Calvert School began a partnership with St. Elizabeth School (SES), a nonpublic special education school just one mile from our campus. In partnership with Calvert parent Ms. Ali Clark and SES Principal Ms. Erin Upton, the two schools have built strong bridges across our communities. Inspired by Calvert student Oliver Clark and St. Elizabeth student Sutton Clark, the students from both schools became “plunge buddies” for the 2019 Special Olympics Maryland’s Cool Schools Plunge. This partnership was celebrated in a spring 2019 article in Baltimore Fishbowl “Calvert School Takes The Plunge and Supports Special Olympics Maryland.” Combined, the two school communities raised over $15,000 for Special Olympics Maryland. The plunge buddies meet monthly from November through February, and jointly hosted an end-of-year bingo night at St. Elizabeth School last May. 

In 2019, we are expanding our collaborative programming to our Fifth and Sixth Graders. In Fifth Grade at Calvert, one English class is piloting the Nora Project. The Nora Project is an empathy-based curriculum that pairs typical students with non-typical students. These students meet once monthly throughout the year, create friendship videos celebrating their partnership, and will host an end-of-year Nora Night each May. Our 2020 Nora Night will be hosted at St. Elizabeth School on May 28, 2020. Project coordinators for the two schools are Ms. Elizabeth Ernst (Calvert) and Ms. Allyson Wynn (St. Elizabeth School). Our Sixth Grade collaboration is a social interaction buddy program. Calvert students visit SES monthly to lead and participate in social skills training with SES peers. Project coordinators for the ISP program are Mr. Jay Parker (Calvert) and Ms. Samantha Ambinder (St. Elizabeth School).

Project Wayfinder
Calvert School is a strategic partner with Project Wayfinder, an organization that provides dynamic, powerful curriculum and coaching for schools and universities across the world. Project Wayfinder is affiliated with Stanford University in two distinct ways. First, its purpose learning curriculum model is grounded in research by Dr. Bill Damon and Dr. Heather Malin in Stanford’s Graduate School of Education, Center for Adolescence. Second, its experiential approach and student engagement model was created in concert with design research from Stanford University Design School. 

Beginning in 2020, the Institute for Leadership & Purpose will begin utilizing Project Wayfinder toolkits and curriculum in summer leadership programs, student leadership development during the school year, and host Wayfinder Workshops for other area schools and educators.

Christopher O’Neil Peer Health Program

Beginning in 2018, the Institute for Leadership & Purpose at Calvert School has partnered with the Christopher O’Neil Peer Health Program to initiate an age-appropriate, character and social skills program for our eight and nine-year-olds spearheaded by Sixth Grade Peer Educators.  The Calvert Peer Education Program is based out of our new Sixth Grade Leadership Course, a one-a-cycle course co-taught by Jay Parker (Director of Student Life), Kim Daly (Fifth Grade Homeroom Teacher), and Joe Ali (MS French Teacher). This Peer Education Program will bring our two divisions together around the collective mission of delivering meaningful socio-emotional lessons to both our Eighth and Ninth Ages as well as our Sixth Grade educators. Through this leadership experience, our 6th Graders will grow into more confident, self-aware adolescents.

Established over twenty years ago, the Christopher O’Neil Peer Health Program is dedicated to the life of Christopher O’Neil., who in 1992 died in an automobile accident involving a teenage drunk driver. Since 1994, the program seeks to promote healthy decisions by addressing the attitudes that often lead to unhealthy risks for students. The Christopher O’Neil Peer Health Program is currently established in fourteen area independent schools. At each of these schools, teams of high school Peer Educators teach younger students in teaching teams. Calvert is extending this program to elementary students for this first time, enhancing the health curriculum for middle and lower school students with a focus on healthy friendships and positive behaviors.

World Leadership School

In 2017, Calvert cultivated a programmatic partnership with the World Leadership School (WLS). In June 2018, teachers Skip Howe (Middle School math), Sandry Sachar (Director of Global Outreach), and Kelley Schultheis (Middle School science) co-led a World Leadership language and service expedition to Costa Rica with eleven Middle School students. For over a week, these students were engaged in collaborative work with fellow students from El Licio del Paraiso to implement sustainable practices in the neighboring communities. This relationship will continue throughout the 2019-2020 school year, with another group of students traveling to Pueblo de Cochiti in New Mexico in October 2019.

Our relationship with the World Leadership School extends beyond expeditionary learning. Kelley Schultheis has been an experienced WLS instructor since 2013, and Sandry Sachar is a 2017 graduate of the WLS, two-week, intensive expedition Exploring Educational Practice in the Peruvian Andes. In 2019, Sandry Sachar also became a WLS instructor leading courses in Costa Rica. In October 2018, Jay Parker spent four days in Boulder, CO as a participant in the 2018 WLS Purpose Summit with educators from across the globe. In 2019, Lower School teachers Melissa Libertini and Megan DeLorbe will attend the Purpose Summit as we expand our initiatives to our Lower School. 

The entire Calvert School faculty worked with World Leadership School twice in 2019. In April 2019, the faculty attended a keynote session with World Leadership School founder Ross Wehner, and in August 2019 they attended a full-day Purpose Workshop with Ross. In January 2020, WLS Director of Education Dr. Shayna Cooke will return to Calvert for Project-Based Learning Workshops for our teachers. 

The World Leadership School was established in 2008 by Ross Wehner.

“The World Leadership School was founded on the belief that we live at a crossroads of world history. World population continues to increase and issues such as climate change and education are getting worse in many areas of the world. As educators, we have a responsibility to help young people develop a sense of purpose and make connections to the world around them with service learning. Empathetic, world-connected citizens can make a huge difference for our planet’s future. That’s why we bring service learning and student enrichment opportunities to our partner schools. WLS’s mission is to “empower young leaders to find innovative solutions to the world’s pressing problems.” We do this by helping K-12 schools transform learning.” - courtesy of the World Leadership School website.


Association of Independent Maryland and DC Schools

The Institute for Leadership & Purpose at Calvert School has a long-standing relationship with the Association of Independent Maryland and DC Schools (AIMS) that began in 2014. AIMS is one of the most robust regional independent school associations in the United States and provides risk management, professional development, and certification programming or one-hundred and twenty-one schools in Maryland and Washington, D.C. The AIMS network has a reach of over 8,000 area educators, and hosts over four dozen conferences and trainings each school year.

Since 2014, Institute Director Jay Parker has served as a committee member for the AIMS Learning to Lead Conference, one of AIMS’ flagship events each year. Since 2016, Jay has served as co-chair of the AIMS Student Leadership Committee, which plans and organizes the annual Learning to Lead Conference. In 2019, the Institute for Leadership & Purpose is hosting the sixth annual Learning to Lead event on April 3rd. Our keynote speaker is Ross Wehner, the founder of the World Leadership School.

Since 2017, the Institute for Leadership & Purpose has hosted and planned the AIMS Building Partnerships workshop each fall for area educators, students, and community leaders. In 2017, the event focused on best practices in service learning. In 2018, we co-hosted the event with the Chesapeake Bay Outward Bound School and the National Network of Schools in Partnership with a focus on public-private partnerships and community engagement. In 2019, the workshop will focus on best practices in outdoor and environmental education.
Calvert School is a coed independent lower and middle school.