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The Gordon School

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Mission, inclusivity and sustainability

The Gordon School is a racially diverse, nursery through eighth grade, all-gender independent school in East Providence, Rhode Island. Child by child, the Gordon School community cultivates successful students by inspiring joyful learning, encouraging intellectual leadership, fostering an empathic spirit and stimulating a drive for positive societal impact.
Guiding Principles
We emphatically believe that each of the following five principles is essential for the success of our mission:
  • Our curriculum is rooted in multicultural practice, which develops academic skills, thinking strategies, active imaginations and children’s social competencies
  • We teach students to investigate and study concepts and topics from multiple perspectives, a basic skill for success in school and in life
  • Students are challenged and inspired to be active workers toward their education
  • As articulated in the Gordon School Statement on Inclusivity, we create and sustain a diverse community of faculty, staff, students and families
  • As multicultural educators, our teachers strive to establish relationships of understanding and trust with each child and their family

Founding Purpose

Founded in the fall of 1910 by pediatrician Dr. Helen West Cooke as the Open Air School, Gordon began in Dr. Cooke’s living room on the East Side of Providence. Windows were kept open year round to foster good health and clear thinking. In that year, Dr. Cooke’s son Gordon and a neighbor, Margaret Arthur, comprised the school’s first class. In this way, Gordon became Rhode Island’s only non-public coeducational school.

Today, the school remains true to its progressive roots. We seek to instill what Dr. Cooke termed “the true spirit of joyous work” into each day of school. Our faculty implements a challenging multicultural curriculum to fuel each child’s innate curiosity and idealistic spirit. We prepare our students to enter an increasingly complex and diverse world with skillful awareness, unwavering hope and the capacity to advocate confidently for justice.

As Gordon enters its second century, we proudly follow the directive highlighted on the bronze plaque that was placed at our entrance at the time of the school’s move to this beautiful 12-acre campus in 1963: “The Gordon School: founded in 1910 in the belief that mind and heart should be educated with equal care.”

Our vision for sustainability

Teaching, learning, and practicing the habits of environmental stewardship are essential parts of Gordon’s history and reflective of our commitment to stimulate in our students a drive for positive societal impact.

Environmental justice must be at the forefront of our commitment to addressing social inequities and the imminent threats to our natural world.

This work will be integrated across all aspects of school life and operations and guided by a “do no harm” philosophy and a holistic adaptation of current research and best practices.

We seek to cultivate environmental literacy among all members of the Gordon community and foster a culture of sustainability that inspires students to be lifelong stewards of the planet.

The Gordon School statement on inclusivity

Gordon proudly honors each individual within its community. The school respects the customs, traditions, values and perspectives of individuals of different gender, race, religion, socioeconomic status, family configuration, sexual orientation, ethnicity, ability and age. The faculty actively teaches students to confidently consider multiple perspectives, examine and express their own beliefs and respond respectfully to the ideas and beliefs of others. To the greatest extent possible, Gordon takes steps to ensure equal and equitable participation for all members of the school community.

Gordon’s emphasis on inclusivity, an evolving process, is essential to its mission to prepare students for active citizenship in the world.