Character & Community


In keeping with our commitment to nurturing young adults whose knowledge and attributes will be put in the service of improving our world, Poly’s Institute for Ethics and Leadership (IfEL) was created to help students build the strong sense and understanding of ethics that will enable them to act thoughtfully and with integrity, at school and beyond.
IfEL’s four pillars include:

  • Community engagement
  • Diversity, equity, and social justice
  • Sustainability
  • Well-being

Led by expert directors, each institutional pillar includes programming and curricula that actively encourage students to understand themselves and their world and, from that baseline of thought and understanding, craft ingenious solutions to today’s most vexing problems.

In Grades 9 and 12, students enroll in IfEL courses which underscore their responsibility to be agents of positive change in the world. At the start of their Poly careers, they explore case studies in equity and sustainability (in our food systems, for example); a senior year required course interrogates the work of philosophers past and present who have delineated compelling ideas about the well-lived life. IfEL’s Student Service Board, meanwhile, engages students in peer-led community conversations and action (including sustainability initiatives, voter registration programs, and blood drives, for example), modeling how classroom learning and purposeful behavior in the service of equity and justice reinforce one another.

IfEL’s work is an innovative manifestation of our long-standing commitment to mind, body, and character, and a constant reminder of the thoughtfulness and energy that are the prerequisites of personal and social responsibility.

Mandala creation
Mandala creation