EPISCOPAL IDENTITY AND SPIRITUAL AWARENESS
The Gooden School is proud to be recognized and respected as an independent Episcopal school by the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles and by our membership in the National Association of Episcopal Schools. Ours is an inclusive community, one that welcomes and honors all faiths and cultural traditions and where kindness, responsibility, respect, and a commitment to bettering the world are lived with intention and grace.
Twice a week we gather as a community to reflect and celebrate in chapel, and we believe that the spiritual development of our students gives greater meaning and substance to their intellectual, creative, and physical endeavors. We seek to deepen each student’s awareness of God and their personal spirituality through developmentally appropriate chapel services, mindfulness practices, and character values lessons in lower school, and Faith and Ethics classes in middle school. These are not doctrinal lessons, but rather provide an age-appropriate forum for students to explore, reflect on and discuss various religious and wisdom traditions, as well as the interaction of faith and ethics in the global community.
Our Episcopal traditions provide the foundation for the community to live our motto: Respect for Self, Respect for Others, and Respect for the World.
Chapel services are held twice a week, and include one all-school, buddy chapel, as well as separate lower school and upper school chapels. Together we sing, pray formally and informally, share silence, learn about the basic building blocks of faith traditions, read from sacred texts, and learn from homilies and stories presented by our school chaplain or a guest speaker. Families and friends are encouraged to join the students and staff for this welcoming and inclusive worship experience. During the all-school chapel, birthdays are recognized with a birthday prayer and song, and other student achievements are celebrated.
Community engagement and service learning are essential to how we live out our Episcopal identity and our school motto, Respect for Self, Respect for Others, and Respect for the World. Purposeful community engagement is a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful service with instruction and reflection. This enriches a student’s learning experience, teaches civic responsibility and civil discourse, collaborative problem-solving, and strengthens the entire community. Projects are interwoven across the curriculum so that meaningful connections are made in all grades and in all subject areas.
Community Engagement examples:
- Making animal treats that are sold at Blessing of the Animals Chapel to benefit the Pasadena Humane Society
- In-gathering for Friends In Deed at our Grandparents’ and Special Friends’ Chapel
- Participating in Christmas For Kids event for Friends In Deed
- Growing and donating fresh vegetables in our Garden of Hope for Friends In Deed
- Assembling Easter baskets for the Women’s Room at Friends in Deed for our Lenten project
- Food and toiletries collection during our Chalk for Peace Week
- Class visits to local businesses and agencies throughout the year to see how our community works together, including toThe Kensington Assisted Living Center to perform songs and poems throughout the year
- Class visits to The Kensington to perform songs and poems throughout the year
- Students helping with local events in the Sierra Madre community such as the Winter Festival, Halloween Window Painting, and The Wisteria Festival, and the July 4th Parade
Gooden believes the spiritual development of students gives greater meaning to their intellectual, creative, and physical endeavors. The school’s Episcopal roots provide themes for these classes that support the goal of helping every student grow as a moral and ethical person. Gooden believes in inclusiveness and values diversity of opinions. Learning to question, consider, test, and evaluate are skills that this course helps students develop.