A Letter from the Head of School

Welcome to Burroughs.

Abbott_091012_228.jpgWe have designed our web site to answer most of your questions. I hope you will explore this site — whether you’re a student checking out the bell schedule or pictures from a recent school play, a parent interested in what happened in assembly or what was served for lunch, an alum wondering how your favorite team is faring, an educator exploring teaching opportunities or a prospective family researching our curriculum.

Burroughs was founded in 1923 by a group of parents who wanted a coeducational, non-sectarian, college preparatory secondary school for their children. They named the school for the 19th-century naturalist, and we continue to take great pride in the physical simplicity and beauty of the campus, the trees, the pond, the natural Missouri plantings — not to mention our 44-acre campus, Drey Land, in the Ozarks.

We also hold on to our founders’ original ideas:  that education is not simply to be handed down on high from the teacher to the students. We take a progressive method of education and apply it to a liberal arts curriculum. We want students to be active learners. To be curious. To think. To question. To be involved not just with their heads but with their hands and with each other. To be involved in student government. To compete on the playing fields. To create in fine, performing and practical art studios. To try, to learn, to succeed and, sometimes, to fail and try again. 

This is possible because Burroughs is a close community. It’s a place where people are known. Every student has a grade-level principal, a school counselor, and an individual advisor. And this is on top of five core teachers, three or four elective teachers, several coaches and faculty members with whom they have a family-style lunch. 

Our teachers respect our students as individuals. They do not expect — or want — our students to follow pre-set paths or achieve specific goals. Instead, their common mission is to help our students discover and develop their own strengths and passions in any number of different ways. 

Our faculty average more than 19 years teaching experience, and 77% of them hold advanced degrees. They love their subjects, and they love teaching. The school supports them by guaranteeing small class size, providing state-of-the-art classrooms and athletic facilities, and granting a significant degree of independence with the expectation of high standards.

This is my 30th year in education, my 19th year at Burroughs, my 11th as head of school. I have taught English, served as an 11th- and 12th-grade principal, coached football, directed college counseling and been an assistant head of school. And I must tell you that I am still in awe — in awe of what can happen when curious and capable students join forces with motivated and experienced faculty, all supported by caring and engaged parents and alumni. 

Burroughs is a special place. I hope you will take the time to get to know us — and let us get to know you.

Most sincerely,

Andy Abbott
Head of School