Education Matters—Sanford School's Private School Blog

Make the Most of Your Parent-Teacher Conferences

Posted by Christine Yasik on November 1, 2017 at 12:00 PM

The Parent-Teacher Relationship is Key in Your Child’s Success

A positive parent-teacher relationship is vital to a child’s success in school. Parent-teacher conferences provide an opportunity to strengthen the home and school communication. You and your child’s teachers are a team, and a conference is similar to a team huddle where a game plan for success is being reviewed and, if necessary, revised. Both the parents and the teacher are highly invested and interested adults who will use the meeting time to exchange information that will ensure that your child’s academic and social-emotional well-being are moving forward. This spirit of collaboration and cooperation between home and school will go far in enhancing your child’s opportunities for success. There are a few strategies that parents can do to ensure that your private time with your child’s teacher is used to its maximum benefit. 

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Topics: Education, Parenting Tips, Community

4 Ways Diverse Schools Benefit Kids

Posted by Tanya Graham on October 6, 2017 at 5:15 PM

Many schools take the time to highlight the amount of diversity on their campus, and with good cause: time and again research shows that all students benefit when the student body is diverse. Below are four reasons that it’s worth your while to take notice when schools affirm that diversity matters.

Reason 1: Working with people who are different than you builds problem-solving and critical thinking skills.
It’s easy to have a conversation if everyone agrees with you, but when classrooms include students from many different backgrounds and lifestyles then all of a sudden discussions get more interesting. Different people think differently and it takes significant mental work for students to listen and respond to those whose experiences aren’t the same as theirs. Doing these kinds of cognitive gymnastics—forcing themselves to consider new ideas and understand unique perspectives—means that students have more opportunities for intellectual growth. 

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Topics: Education, Community

What to Look for When Choosing a High School

Posted by Olivia Civiletti on August 4, 2017 at 10:45 AM

High School is one of the most important influences on the lives of adolescents. It becomes a student’s world at an age when they are still developing their identities, growing into adults, and learning about life. The teachers, students, and learning material serve to influence how teenagers think and view society as they adopt more responsible roles in their own lives. Something that has such a large impact on students' lives should be chosen with careful consideration. A student’s school should be welcoming and tailored to their needs with many exciting opportunities to take risks, make connections and be creative. There are many factors in this monumental decision to consider in order to get the most out of the experience, including:

Classroom sizes
Whether big or small, this choice should be influenced by a student’s learning style. If they do well working in groups with more peer input, having many classmates may be best suited to them. If they do better in a calmer environment with more personal attention from the teacher, a small number of classmates may be the right choice.

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Topics: Education, Admission, Community

Why We Read: Sanford School Shares a Love of Literature

Posted by Sanford Faculty and Staff on May 17, 2017 at 5:20 PM

Reading is more than a valuable skill for academic and career success; it can be a door to an adventure, exposure to a new culture, or a temporary escape to another realm. At Sanford School, we encourage students to read for meaning, but also to read for joy. Here are some favorite books to read and reasons to read from Sanford's administration, faculty and staff:

"I love reading because it allows me to travel through time and across borders even when I’m in the waiting room at the dentist or curled up cozily on my couch. I love the way reading can challenge me to think about what I believe and why I believe it." For me, Edwidge Danticat offers the marriage of these two experiences in her Haitian novels, particularly my favorite, The Farming of Bones, Brianna Smale, English Teacher and Department Chair.

"If it is fiction, then I can taste what it might be like to travel to different places and times. If it is non-fiction, then I am able to bring meaningful input into conversations with my friends about various topics. My favorite authors are Rick Riordan and Tamora Pierce."  A favorite book is The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. Danielle Winter, Upper School Latin Teacher.

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Topics: Education, Academics, Admission, Community

School Traditions: Building Community in Schools

Posted by Janice Payne on May 9, 2017 at 4:08 PM

Unity and understanding, both in families and societies, are created through traditions. Schools are both large families and small societies. School traditions bring together unique students, staff, and families to create a strong and cohesive community. Traditions remind us of the history that defines our past, molds who we are today and shapes who we are likely to become.

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Topics: Community

Staying in touch: what's the value of attending high school reunions?

Posted by Amy Shirley on September 20, 2016 at 5:00 PM

 

Some days I wish that I could go back and do it all again. I remember the friends,teachers and coaches that made my time in school so special. I am reminded of the relationships that I enjoyed with the teams I competed with and the student groups that I planned activities with. I recall the excitement of traditions, whether it be Friday night basketball games or homecoming dances. Most days I’m just thankful for where it got me. Showing my gratitude to my alma mater can and should be easy.

In my current role working with alumni, I look for ways to share this message and to create opportunities where our graduates know that their story matters. We want our alumni to know we cherish their memories and contributions to our school for so many reasons.

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Topics: Community

Private School Education: A student's reflection

Posted by Justin McLellan'16 on June 28, 2016 at 12:00 PM

Private schools will always hit you with the same buzzwords: Small class sizes, rigorous academic curricula, engaging teachers, and accessible extracurriculars. They aren’t wrong. These core tenets of private school education are what make private schools so attractive to parents wanting the best for their children and  for students who are eager to grow. Yet, after being in a private school for twelve years I have come to realize that the most valuable aspects of private schooling are the most intangible ones.

Private school students are exposed to new ways of thinking.
A product of the relationships I have formed with my teachers is the level of respect and maturity they both treat me with and expect from me in return. My teachers do not shy away from delving into conversations about real-world issues out of fear that I cannot handle them. Rather, this type of discourse is encouraged, and with it comes the expectation that the conversation will remain civil, that all perspectives will be regarded seriously, and that the end goal is to learn from one another rather than to prove someone wrong. I’ve learned that different perspectives are not wrong, or offensive, just different, and that all are to be treated with respect. As a result of this mutual comfort I am not hesitant to share my opinions or have in-depth conversations with people much older than I, which is something that I value as I prepare to graduate high school and expose myself to so many different types of people.

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Topics: Education, Academics, Community

Modeling Good Sportsmanship – Everyone is a Teacher!

Posted by Joan Samonisky on May 10, 2016 at 3:00 PM

Too many times, headlines revolve around negative behavior taking place at sporting events involving coaches, players, parents or spectators. As a lifelong athlete and career educator in the field of physical education and athletics, my experiences in sports as a participant, teacher, coach, and athletic director have been many, and varied. I have experienced, and witnessed, winning and losing at all levels. 

Early in my high school career, I became aware that others are always looking to see how those in leadership positions react to difficult and trying circumstances. I watched my team captains and coaches to gauge a proper reaction to trying times on the fields and courts. I have carried this lesson with me throughout my career, knowing that teammates, players, parents, spectators, and other coaches will closely observe my reaction to a “blown call”, a big loss or a thrilling victory. I have learned that the reaction of the leader, in situations good or bad, clearly sets the tone for all of those around him/her.

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Topics: Athletics, Community

Understanding Private Schools: Philanthropy 101

Posted by Janice Payne on April 26, 2016 at 6:00 PM

When you choose a private school for your child, you’re not only investing in a rigorous and broad education. You’re also choosing to be a part of a community that will develop your child’s character and leadership qualities. The financial commitment is a serious one, yet it comes with a unique opportunity—the chance to give back to the school and the community. Students and parents, as well as alumni and their families, all participate in “paying it forward” to the school and the greater community.

Community service is part of a strong private school’s curriculum. Students at all age levels benefit from age-appropriate service learning.

Parents and alumni also become involved in the life of the school, with many benefits for all involved.

  • Volunteering in the classroom and at all-school events strengthens the school community.
  • Dynamic and inclusive volunteer programs assure there are opportunities for all interests, abilities, and availability.
  • Drives for clothing, food, school supplies, and other items encourage collaboration.
  • Community service activities lead to natural discussions about philanthropy.
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Topics: Community

Parent Involvement Improves Your Child’s Educational Experience

Posted by Janice Payne on April 19, 2016 at 3:00 PM

Students with parents that are involved in their schools are more likely to be successful.

When looking for educational options for your child, it is important to select schools that welcome and encourage parent volunteerism. Look for options that meet your own schedule, whether you are working outside the home or are available during the school day. Schools should share their expectations of parents, as well as opportunities for them to become involved.

Research collected over the past decade by the National Education Association on parent involvement found that, regardless of family income or background, students with involved parents are more likely to:

  • Earn better grades
  • Score higher on tests
  • Pass their classes
  • Enroll in higher level programs
  • Attend school regularly
  • Have better social skills
  • Show improved behavior
  • Be more positive in their attitude toward school
  • Complete homework assignments
  • Graduate and continue their education

Student achievement is boosted when parents can talk to their student about what is taking place in their classroom. Seeing that their parents are invested in their education creates an atmosphere where education is a priority. Expectations that the student will achieve educationally, as well as in extracurricular activities are reinforced through parent involvement.

When schools build partnerships with families that respond to parent concerns and honor the parent’s contributions, they are able to create the relationships that improve student achievement. In addition, faculty and the school receive significant benefits from parent involvement in the school.

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Topics: Community