For me, and I bet for many of you, All Saints is more than just a school - it’s a community, and an extension of the family. At All Saints, we have always enjoyed strong bonds of affection for one another, and our tight-knit community and warmth is often cited by parents, teachers, students, alumni, and even prospective families after visiting our school. Coretta Scott King said “The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.” If such is the measurement of a community’s greatness, All Saints must indeed be considered great.
Last year I learned about a wonderful program called “School Families” at one of our peer schools, Doane Academy in Burlington, NJ. In this program, all students and faculty members are assigned to a particular school “family” when they join the community. School Families meets weekly to participate in a variety of activities. On the day I visited, I saw eighth grade students practicing math facts with their younger “siblings,” families enjoying breakfast together, and one family making origami paper cranes for a member of the school community who had fallen ill. I was so taken with the program that I asked the Headmaster if we could duplicate the program at All Saints, and he offered his enthusiastic blessing. I am excited to share that after planning for six months and putting our own special twist on the idea, we are ready to launch this new initiative in the coming weeks.
Here’s how it works. On most Friday mornings, students in Grades 2-8 will arrive at school and go directly to their “Family Room,” where they will be greeted by their family’s “parents” - Eighth Grade students who will be planning activities each week. (While this year we are only including students at our 707 location, we are hoping to expand to including students at our SNC location for the 19-20 school year.) Eighth Graders will be coached and supported by faculty members, who will help them to design and implement the Family Time activities for all of their “siblings.”
The All Saints School Family Program builds upon (and in some cases replaces) the Buddy Program we have had in place for several years. Students will remain in the same family throughout all of their years at All Saints, and when they are in Eighth Grade will have the chance to be the “parents.” I look forward to seeing the strong connections and bonds that develop in each family, and to learn about the traditions, values, and customs and emerge.
Be on the lookout for more news as this new program develops!
Questions? Comments? Ideas? I’d love to hear them! Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org