All independent schools have souls, but, as independent school folks, we cannot pinpoint exactly when and where "ensoulment" happened in a given school, even our own. Suffice it to say that somewhere along the way, ensoulment occurred, and it now serves as a marker of each school.
The point of thinking about the soul of a school has nothing to do with trying to identify the precise moment of ensoulment, but represents instead a process of uncovering the soul, of lifting the cover in order to reconnoiter a bit, looking for those hard-to-define pieces of school life and culture that contribute to the school's soul.
If you were to give an assignment to your school's senior class to uncover the soul of your school, what would that project look like? Where would the student go? Whom would they question, and what questions would they ask? Here's a bigger question: are students today, i.e. those about to graduate our fine institutions, prepared to handle this kind of assignment? I think they are, but I also think this kind of question represents a prime opportunity for us to assess whether they've been able to synthesize everything they have learned. If we were to create teams of, say, five students, and give them this assignment ("Uncover the soul of your school"), would they be able to 1) tackle the question by cross-referencing disciplines and "the abstract" in their minds and 2) coordinate the team appropriately? Also, how much time would we give them? One week? More? Is it a year-long project? What would we expect as the final product? A video? A paper? A dynamic presentation allowing for multiple inputs and media choices?
How might a faculty member or an administrative leader go about uncovering the soul of the school, especially if that person is new to the community?
Is it easy to "see the soul" at your school?