We start this week looking back to Friday, when all of our high school students returned from their various spring trips. Many of our juniors and seniors were returning from a busy week in Washington, D.C., where they spent the week touring the city, meeting with some of their congressional leaders, seeing the sites, and learning about how government works in our nation's capital. The trip was organized through Close-Up, a national program that has been sponsoring interactive trips to Washington, D.C. for over 40 years, and this is the third time Stanbridge has participated. Malia, John, and Travis went along as chaperones and—to use Beltway parlance—early returns are overwhelmingly positive regarding how things went during the week. We were able to snag a couple of pictures from the group before everyone left to go home on Friday, so check out our Facebook page for a few highlights. More photos will be added online later this week.
High school students who did not travel to D.C. last week stayed on the West Coast for their own experiential getaway—an outdoor adventure along the Sonoma Coast hosted by Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods. Students on this trip left Stanbridge on Wednesday morning and spent three days camping, learning about nature, visiting tide pools and estuaries, rock climbing, exploring the night sky and more. Everyone returned Friday afternoon a little tired, but energized after an exciting and fun trip. Chaperone Kenny Katz shared the photo above (at right) with us before heading home on Friday, and there will be plenty more uploaded next week as well.
This week, high school students don't have to pack anything for their next getaway, as they will get a taste of Europe here in Hayden Hall. This Friday, May 1, Stanbridge will be hosting our annual High School Prom and this year's prom theme is "Paris in the Springtime." All Stanbridge high school students are invited to attend this final dance of the school year. The event will be held from 6:30 to 10:00 p.m. in Hayden Hall, and will feature a catered sit-down dinner served by faculty chaperones. Attendees are welcome to bring a guest or come solo; tickets (or "bids") are $40 per person and are available to purchase through Wednesday in the main office. This is a wonderful opportunity for our students to have a real prom experience: Get dressed-up, enjoy a fancy dinner, and celebrate the end of the year with their friends. In the past, girls have worn short or long dresses, or skirts with a blouse. Girls may also wear pants if they prefer. The guys have worn khaki pants, dress shirt, and tie, a suit and tie, or a tuxedo. Always a highlight of the school year for our high school students, ensure your student purchases his/her bid by April 28. Please note that SPA is also looking for some friendly volunteers (bénévoles amicales) to assist with set-up, kitchen help, and clean-up duty throughout the day on Friday. Please visit their Sign-Up Genius page if you are able to assist, merci.
In other news, the Stanbridge Board of Trustees announced last Monday that John O'Brien will be the next Stanbridge Head of School, stepping-in to the role at the end of the school year. The news was announced on Monday evening via email and we have posted formal letters from Board President Jean-Louis Casabonne as well as John O'Brien on our Head of School Search News page. John comes to Stanbridge with a strong background in education, having served as a headmaster for the past decade at schools in New Jersey and Aliso Viejo. Over the next few weeks, John will be meeting with me, the staff, and all members of the Stanbridge community as he transitions in to his new role. (He will also be transitioning from Southern California, where he currently lives with his wife and youngest son). More news will be announced in the days and weeks ahead as John's schedule is finalized. In the meantime, a sincere Thank You to everyone for their input, feedback, patience, and support throughout the search process, especially the members of the Search Committee. I appreciate all of your support for Stanbridge and look forward to working with John to make this transition as smooth and seamless as possible. In the meantime, I simply say "Welcome, John!" We are happy to have you as a member of the Stanbridge Community, and you are taking over one of the best jobs in the world.
That news is a tough act to follow, but this is a pretty big story as well: I am thrilled to announce that this year's Annual Fund Campaign achieved 100% participation from all current Stanbridge families! Not only did we receive the full $10,000 in matching funds promised if we reached the 100% threshold, we also raised over $300,000 in total funds, making this a record year for the Stanbridge Annual Fund Campaign. On behalf of the Annual Fund Committee, I offer a sincere Thank You to everyone who made a contribution. Your contributions truly make a meaningful difference and show the strength and cohesiveness of the Stanbridge community. Together, we are Stanbridge, and I thank you again for your amazing support.
Speaking of support, we are hoping that the Stanbridge community will support two other great causes: Our Class of 2015 eighth graders are currently sponsoring a special spring community service project. The group is organizing a sock, shoes, and clothing drive for Sleep Train Foster Kids. A collection bin is stationed in Maureen Zane's classroom and donations are being accepted now through May 4. Per the student organizers: "Please make sure if you are donating used clothes that they are still in good condition; no holes or stains. Please place all donated items in a bag. We believe that foster kids need new clothes, socks, and shoes for the upcoming summer, and they don’t need to wear old or tight clothing. When our drive ends, we will bring your donations to the closest Sleep Train. If you want to learn more about the Sleep Train Foster Kids program, visit the website sleeptrainfosterkids.com. We want to make an impact! Thank you so very much for helping."
Also, mark your calendars for Tuesday, May 5, when the Silicon Valley Community Foundation will host their second annual "SVGives Day of Giving," a day-long event to raise money for local nonprofits through a single online donation platform. Last year, Stanbridge participated in the launch of this new effort, and we raised over $8,000 thanks to friends and family sharing the news via social media. We will once again be promoting this event leading up to May 5th, so watch our website, Facebook, and Google+ pages for announcements, and help spread the work by sharing the link to our SVGives Razoo page, where you can schedule a May 5th donation today: svgives.razoo.com/story/Stanbridge-Academy.
Finally, a reminder that Summer School enrollment is now open. Once again, Stanbridge Academy is proud to offer a six-week Summer School program for current students and incoming students enrolled for the 2015-2016 school year. Our staff is presenting a variety of academic, athletic, and artistic courses, and there is something for students in every grade division during each week of the program. Classes are offered in one- or two-week sessions and students can enroll in as many classes as they'd like. This year's summer program begins the week of June 22 and runs through the end of July. Enrollment is first-come, first-served and the initial enrollment deadline is Monday, May 18. This year's course guide and enrollment forms are available to view/download on our Summer School page, as well as the Files & Forms page (hard copies are also available in the main office). We have a record number of classes being offered this year, including some exciting new courses. There's something for everyone, and enrollment is open now.
Before signing off, a few closing notes:
- This Tuesday and Wednesday, April 28 & 29, students will be taking their year-end reading and math assessments. Similar to the ones they took in September, these assessments allow us to monitor your student's academic progress throughout the year. As we have in the past, we will be using the "GRADE" (Group Reading Assessment and Diagnostic Evaluation) and "GMADE" (Group Mathematics Assessment and Diagnostic Evaluation) assessments. Please help students do their best by ensuring they get a good night of rest before assessment days, a healthy breakfast in the morning, and arrive to school on time. Also, students should bring an outside reading book so they can read silently if they finish their assessments before the rest of their classmates. A small treat will be provided to your student for doing their best. If you have any questions about the assessments, please contact Program Specialist Diane Chau.
- Teacher appreciation week is next month and SPA is looking for volunteers to help prepare for the festivities. SPA is running teacher appreciation events May 8 through May 14: Friday, May 8 is a professional development day (no school for students) and there will be a catered lunch for the staff; the week of May 11–14, SPA volunteers will provide different foods for the staff each day. Parents can sign-up to donate items through the online Sign-Up Genius page. Additional details will also be discussed at the May 6 SPA meeting.
- Finally, a round of Thank Yous to everyone who volunteered at Saturday's EdRev (Education Revolution) at AT&T Park. The staff members who worked at the Stanbridge booth report that they saw a number of current Stanbridge students and families, as well as many alumni visitors, too. Many current students from all grade divisions had their artwork on display at the EdRev gallery, and special mentions go to high school students Skylar Krieger, who was selected as the First Place Winner in the video category for her piece "Propaganda," and Alison Kahan, who was selected as First Place Winner in the written word category for her piece "Defeat the Grey." Great job!