The 2018–19 school year is in high gear. As I visit the divisions, stop into classrooms, watch the Lower School's news programs (one of which is shown being recorded in the photo), and talk with students—the positivity, energy, and engagement are evident. We are going to make 2018–19 a school year to remember at Sanford.
Speaking of school year memories—thank you to everyone who submitted last year’s parent satisfaction survey. Our 2018 Survey Results document summarizes the feedback we received. We will do everything we can to address your concerns, and we will use the data to strengthen our programs, campus, and community.
What's new for 2018–2019?
Mindfulness Our school-wide mindfulness initiative has had a positive and powerful impact on our community. Mindfulness is essentially the act of stopping, slowing down, collecting one’s thoughts and energy, and focusing on being in the moment. Research and science confirm that activities such as meditation and yoga can help students and adults live calmer and happier lives. In our anxious and hyper-connected world, happy people are healthier—and they work harder and learn more.
Sanford was fortunate to receive a generous grant from the Pia Family Foundation to fund our mindfulness program. Veteran educator and mindfulness consultant Bernadette Smith, who initiated mindfulness work with our faculty and students, will be a featured speaker at our first Home & School Association meeting on Wednesday, November 14th. I hope you join us to learn more about this important topic.
Improved safety and security Another initiative new to Sanford this year is our school-wide, enhanced key-card system. While Lower and Middle Schools have been locked buildings for several years, other buildings on campus remained unlocked throughout the school day. This summer, through the generosity of a few Sanford families, we have added a key-card system to every building on campus. I have been impressed by how quickly our students adapted to the new routine of using a key card to access buildings. The locked doors are just one more measure we are taking to improve the safety of campus. Additional strategies include:
Adding more security cameras throughout campus
Installing a new emergency weather siren, which can be heard on every corner of our property
Partnering with the Delaware Emergency Management Agency to become one of only a few private schools to develop a comprehensive and site-specific safety and emergency preparedness plan utilizing training and national best practices in school safety.
Your support helps us work hard and play hard Thank you to everyone who attended and supported our 2018 auction. The proceeds were used to fund teachers' summer study grants and improve our Lower School and Middle School playgrounds. We believe in the importance of working hard and playing hard. Much like mindfulness, solid research indicates that play during the school day increases academic focus and success. As some schools reduce time and budgets for play, Sanford is adding equipment such as our Middle School GaGa pit and the new Lower School stage to enhance unstructured play time. Recess is good for our children’s brains AND their bodies.
I’m confident that our continued commitment to mainlining a happy, healthy, and safe environment where students thrive will make 2018–19 exciting, productive, and joyous.