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Why choose a PK – 8 school model?

August 29, 2019
By The Rev. Dr. James Hamner, IV '70

In recent years, a considerable amount of research and attention has focused on comparing the PK-8 school model with the elementary, then middle school format.  What has emerged is evidence that the PK-8 model offers unique strengths for students during this period of considerable cognitive, physical, and social-emotional growth.  At St. Luke’s Episcopal School (SLES), creating a nurturing environment facilitates the ability to provide a challenging, rigorous education. St. Luke’s prepares students with a solid foundation of learning skills and a strong knowledge base, ensuring a smooth and successful transition to high school. Our model also permits us to offer leadership opportunities to our Middle School students at a time when they are naturally developing these skills and need the exposure, encouragement, and responsibility that come with being the oldest students in a school.  At SLES Middle School is not in the middle. Our sixth, seventh and eighth graders assume authentic leadership roles, which results in greater levels of confidence and self-esteem as they progress toward high school.  As an Episcopal school, we value a truly holistic vision of educating the mind, body, and spirit, so developing leadership skills is an intrinsic part of our mission.

At St. Luke’s, everybody knows your name. There is a sense of belonging that deepens as a child grows from pre-kindergarten to eighth grade, both for the child and for the family. Parents at a PK – 8th grade school are more inclined to stay connected and involved beyond the elementary school years, a factor which correlates highly with student success. The school becomes a virtual neighborhood in which families raise their children together, creating enduring bonds with one another and with the faculty and administration.  In a culture which often diminishes the joy and wonder of childhood in a rushed acceleration to premature adulthood, PK-8 schools provide a measured and secure place to navigate the challenges of adolescence and emerging adulthood.

 Students and their parents have the unique benefit of choosing the right high school at the right time: when students and their families more deeply understand the student’s strengths, interests, affinities, passions and challenges. Throughout the eighth grade year, we communicate with students and their parents to help determine the best high school options for every student.  One of the most gratifying experiences is to hear from our alumni as to how well they were prepared to flourish academically, socially, and emotionally, in high school and beyond.

We invite you to join us on Wednesday, October 16 for our Admission Preview starting with registration at 8:45 a.m.  Parents will have the opportunity to hear from school administrators and tour our hilltop campus. If you are not able to join us on October 16th please contact Margaret Ann Casseb, Director of Admission, at macasseb@sles-sa.orgs  or call 210.826.0664 ext.239 to schedule an individual tour.

It's Time to Get Ready for School

August 05, 2019
By The Rev. Dr. James Hamner, IV '70

“Summer time and the living’s easy”.  So goes the classic tune from Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess.  Certainly summer for children is a delight and wonder, a time to relax and explore.  A time for travel with family and friends, a time to play at the beach, lake, or mountains.  Our children need unstructured time to be themselves and to cultivate their imaginations without the ceaseless drone and distraction of social media and electronic stimuli.  Ideally, summer can be a time for recharging and renewing ourselves, children and parents, and of deepening our family bonds.     

            As we prepare for the start of a new school year, we turn our focus on how best to prepare our children for an exciting and engaging year of learning and growth.  Below are some time tested ways we can help our children to successfully start the school year.

  • Transition to school year routines.  School is a highly structured environment.  Children need a good night’s sleep to function well.  It is a good idea to start moving to good sleep habits in the weeks before school.  Likewise with other activities, such as family meals or extracurricular activities (sports, dance, music, etc.), it is good to begin to move towards making such activities part of the daily routine.  School can seem exhausting to children, particularly the first few weeks.  Transitioning to a school schedule can help to alleviate this stress for children (and parents!).
  • Talk positively about school.  Children can be nervous about new classmates, new teachers, and a new environment, even in the same school.  Parents can reassure their children that they will be with friends and teachers who know them and will support and care for them.  At St. Luke’s, we continually stress the vital influence and importance of a strong partnership between parents and teachers.  We want each child to flourish and believe that happens best when there is clear communication between the school and its families.
  • Talk about their school day.  Parents can talk about the many exciting activities their child were be participating in, when school begins and ends, how carpool will work, and how proud they are of their child.
  • Visit the school and classrooms before the start of the new school year.  At. St. Luke’s, we begin our school year with “Meet the Teacher” day where students and parents can come and visit the teachers and classrooms, set up their lockers, meet their friends and classmates, and hear more from their teachers what they will be learning and about exciting upcoming classroom events and activities.  And then, everyone goes to the Rollercade to enjoy some great fun!

I hope everyone enjoys a great start to the new school year!

Recent Posts

1/16/20 - By Webmaster
11/13/19 - By Webmaster
9/20/19 - By Jen Wentlandt, SLES Middle School Teacher
8/29/19 - By The Rev. Dr. James Hamner, IV '70
8/5/19 - By The Rev. Dr. James Hamner, IV '70

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