As the summer turns to August, our thoughts begin to take shape anticipating the new school year. It has been quite a summer with international soccer competitions, presidential election campaigns, and the Olympic Games just ahead. I hope that you have been able to find time for relaxation and rejuvenation, for reunions with friends and family, and for passions, new or enduring. While I did find myself on Southern California beaches on occasion, I also enjoy the easy atmosphere of Saint Andrew’s during the summer days. It is a time when the important takes precedent over the urgent, when there is greater freedom to reflect, research, collaborate, create, and strategize.
As is typical at Saint Andrew’s, this summer afforded us time to take on big facilities projects and extended periods of reflection, professional development, and preparation for the new year. The facilities work has been primarily above our heads. The Church roof is being replaced and the Center and the Hall roofs are being repaired. It has been fascinating to watch the team of workers operating the cherry-pickers and cranes and balancing on such a steep slope. The projects are on schedule; we do not anticipate any disruption to the opening of school.
As I completed my second year as Head of School, I reflected upon the three enduring commitments of the Saint Andrew’s education: academic excellence, outstanding character education, and an inclusive, connected community. All three of these elements together comprise our “whole child” approach. Our small class sizes and daily personal attention to each student allow us to support and challenge each student appropriately. We value learning in community, where students express themselves in front of their peers, listen and learn from their peers, and build positive relationships with their peers. The supportive, generous community of students and adults inspires confidence, encourages empathy, expects kindness and celebrates growth. The learning experiences that we create and the feedback for students that we provide is intentional, grounded in our mission and focus on our “whole child” commitments.
Our guiding purpose for our summer activities is no different than the school year; we seek to advance our academics, character education, and inclusive community. The faculty and staff summer reading is a book by Harvard Graduate School of Education professor, David Perkins, called Future Wise
, which adds a lens on our curricular review that encourages teaching topics that are relevant and adaptable to the lives our students may live in a rapidly changing society. Also, faculty teams are collaborating on matters such as the articulation of our Learning Philosophy, a comprehensive, cohesive science curriculum, and our student discipline system. We are continuing with our Responsive Classroom
training for the Lower School teachers and beginning a similar program called Developmental Designs
to inform the advisory program in the Middle School. The students should expect a smooth transition between Lower and Middle School, as both programs complement CHARACTER COUNTS!
and promote positive classroom communities with consistent language and philosophies with age-appropriate content. A major initiative this year is our adoption of the Schoology
platform to facilitate communication and collaboration between teachers and students, school and home, and specific sub-groups of community members. Perhaps the group that has consulted Schoology most this summer is our new families, as we have hosted a new family group filled with information to make the transition to Saint Andrew’s easier. Furthermore, many new families have accepted my invitation for a summer meeting, and they have shared with me that they have been in touch with host families and with classmates at gatherings organized by room parents.
I am excited for the first day of school on Tuesday, August 23. In preparation for Day One, there are links to a couple 'housekeeping items' that we ask you to please complete by August 15th
. Additional news and reminders will be shared in our weekly parent newsletter, The Leaflet
, (and duplicated in Schoology as we roll out this new tool) in the weeks ahead.
Enjoy the last few weeks of summer. I look forward to seeing you back on campus soon.