4-20-19 Friends of the Heron
Dear St. Anne’s Episcopal School Family,
A good friend once said that sometimes you just need to be still and be silent in order to allow the universe to catch up to you, to once again become in sync. My path to St. Anne’s Episcopal School was one of synchronicity, vulnerability, trust, safety, belonging, and faith. From the time I read the words of Harvey Zendt about his vision for St. Anne’s, which included a commitment to the environment, developing an understanding and appreciation of world cultures, and standing up for those who cannot stand for themselves, I found hope and energy in the mission and core values. I remember being drawn to the mission statement, in particular to the portion highlighted below:
St. Anne’s prepares students for secondary education and lifelong learning. We strive to enhance the intellectual, spiritual, physical, social and artistic growth of our students, so they realize their potential for good, as citizens of local and global communities.
As I gathered information about the St. Anne’s community, I found the phrase open hearts, open minds resonating through the vision of Harvey Zendt, and ever present while walking through the hallways and visiting the classrooms. It was on the faces of the children and in the thoughtful questions they asked. In addition, I learned of the rich history of Middletown, Delaware. A history that included the Lenni-Lenape Indigenous people, of the Underground Railroad, which passed through Middletown, Delaware, and the connection to Absalom Jones, former slave and Founder of the African Episcopal Church in 1746. I heard the impassioned, thoughtful words of Peter Thayer and spoke with Bishop Kevin Brown; they brought the core values of Respect, Responsibility, and Compassion to life, and I knew I wanted to belong, to be a Heron. My two-day visit to St. Anne’s Episcopal School confirmed that I was totally connected with this warm and exciting community. I stepped through the red doors into a space that felt like home.
I am privileged to follow in the footsteps of Peter Thayer for this next leg of the St. Anne’s Episcopal journey. I want to thank the entire search committee and the board of trustees for supporting my candidacy and entrusting me with the opportunity to lead this amazing community for years to come. I am grateful for Ana Ramirez, board director and co-search committee chair, and co-search committee chair Jason Honsel for overseeing an outstanding and professional search process. I also want to thank Jill Reilly and Danielle Cummins for playing an instrumental role in making my visit to campus both seamless and most hospitable. I am appreciative of the students, faculty, staff, and parents who were an important part of the interview process. When I arrive in July, I will be working with Danielle to schedule time to meet with members of the community. I look forward to hearing the wonderful stories about St. Anne’s Episcopal School, and to personally say thank you.
My wife Karen, my sons Alex and Jordan, my furry companions Wrigley and Bozley, their feline sidekicks Stella and Reuben, and I are so thrilled to be joining this community. As I said earlier, “the friends I sought were seeking me...we recognized each other’s face.” Go Herons!
Barry L. Davis
Thanks to you, we are giving St. Anne's students the tools they need to succeed!
"We take such joy now in seeing our children thrive as young adult teachers themselves and using the diversity, equity and inclusion values and skills that they were taught to nurture the variety of students in their classrooms who have diverse academic abilities, socio-economic and cultural backgrounds, and family experiences."
-Founding Chaplain Louise Howlett and
Former Trustee Lindsay Brown,
Parents of Malcolm '10 and current trustee Forrest '07
Louise and Lindsay Brown, reflect on how instilling St. Anne's values prepared their children to flourish as young adults:
We believe teaching and living out the values of diversity, equity and inclusion are essential for the personal, interpersonal and community success of ourselves and our children. This means giving children tools to thrive in a diverse world: to appreciate themselves and others, and utilize the strengths that come from understanding different ways of perceiving and experiencing the world.
It all starts with St. Anne's values of respect for others and the environment, responsibility for ourselves and our communities, and compassion for those who may struggle or feel marginalized. And then it grows into realizing how much we can learn from one another and powerful ways we can work together to improve our communities and have hope for the future of our world.
This year alone St. Anne's has hosted nationally recognized speaker Dr. Howard Stevenson, initiated affinity groups, launched the "One Book, One School" picture book project, and sent a number of students and staff for requested diversity, equity, and inclusion training.
There is so much more we could be doing, however. To continue to sharpen intellectual inquiry, and invite children to become flexible, critical thinkers who value opposing viewpoints, make good judgments and seek social justice in their community, we need your help!
- Continue the "One Book, One School" monthly Picture Book project
- Send the entire 6th grade and their teachers to the empowering Student Diversity Leadership Conference next fall
- Purchase new books, visuals, and toys that are multicultural and support a global education throughout the day and in every classroom
- Continue the important professional development our faculty and staff seek
Our faculty need teaching materials that reflect the student members in their classes as well as the rich diversity of the world. Your gift will bring this to life!
A generous donor has offered a 1:3 match of up to $7,500 for gifts received by May 10th. This means the first $22,500 raised will receive a 33% boost to $30,000!
Questions? Please call Jenny Randolph at 302.378.3179, ext. 347 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!
We have uploaded the video of Dr. Howard Stevenson's cultural literacy presentation on March 27th. Please enjoy and note that you may need to turn up the volume on your device.
Below is Dr. Stevenson's Bio for your reference and the flyer to promote this event on March 27, 2019.
Dr. Stevenson is a recognized clinical psychologist and researcher on negotiating racial conflicts using racial literacy for K-12 schools and in community settings. His research publications and clinical work involve developing culturally relevant “in-the-moment” strengths-based measures and therapeutic interventions that teach emotional and racial literacy skills to families and youth. His most recent publication is “Promoting Racial Literacy in Schools: Differences that Make a Difference.”
Dr. Stevenson is the Constance Clayton professor of urban education, professor of Africana studies, in the human development & quantitative methods division of the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania. He holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and is an expert on psychology, racial literacy and racial trauma, having served as a clinical and consulting psychologist working in impoverished rural and urban neighborhoods across the U.S. since 1985.
St. Anne’s Episcopal School is pleased to announce that Barry L. Davis will be the next Head of School starting on July 1, replacing Peter Thayer who has filled this role for 11 years.
Mr. Davis is coming to St. Anne’s from Greensboro Day School in Greensboro, North Carolina, where he has been the Middle School Director for four years. With 38 years of experience as an educator, Mr. Davis has helped young people to reach their potential as an administrator, teacher, and coach at schools including Brooklyn Friends School (New York), Flint Hill School (Virginia), the Metropolitan Learning Center, Inter District Magnet School for Global and International Studies and Technology (Connecticut), Worcester Academy (Massachusetts), Eastern Connecticut State University, St. Lawrence University (New York), and University of Dallas (Texas).
“My path to Middletown has been one of synchronicity and faith,” Mr. Davis said, “The friends I sought were seeking me as well. St. Anne’s Episcopal School is a place that is committed to the relationship between religious values, ethical behavior, academic rigor, social justice, and environmental sustainability. The Herons’ core values of Respect, Responsibility, and Compassion are not a mere suggestion, they are the foundation and fabric of the community. I am delighted to step into the role of leading this school.”
Mr. Davis earned his B.S. in Physical Education at St. Lawrence University. Two years later he earned an M.Ed. in Educational Counseling and Human Development. These degrees were followed by a second M.Ed. in Educational Leadership and School Administration and Supervision from Central Connecticut State University.
"I am delighted to welcome Mr. Davis as St. Anne's third Head of School in 17 years," said St. Anne's board president and search committee chair, Ana Ramirez. "Mr. Davis’s appointment is the culmination of a search that included qualified candidates from across the nation and around the globe. Ultimately, Barry’s experience as a leader and educator in a variety of school settings, coupled with his values, passions and goals for the St. Anne’s community as well as his vision for its future success made him the clear choice to follow and build upon the excellent work of his remarkable predecessor, Mr. Peter Thayer."
Ashley Hartshorn has been an associate teacher at St. Anne’s in Preschool, First Grade, and now Kindergarten. She is not only a talented teacher, she is also a gifted writer!
This is the second in a series of articles on her observations about Singapore Math from the viewpoint of a teacher who has observed student growth at different grade levels. In this piece, she shares her observations about how children at St. Anne’s have reacted to Singapore Math.
This is now my sixth year of teaching young children at St. Anne’s Episcopal School. I have been blessed to teach alongside four fantastic lead teachers: in Preschool with Missy Derabertis, in First Grade with Tara Liguori, and now in Kindergarten with Kayce Scioli and Kari Kalloo. In the fall of 2016, St. Anne’s introduced Singapore Math in the First Grade, which coincided with my first year at that grade level.
I will never forget how the first graders reacted to this new approach to mathematics as we piloted the program that year. I recall the enthusiasm and utter joy I felt in the classroom each day when we would begin math instruction...it was palpable! I believe there was actually more than one occasion where a loud “YES!!” erupted across the classroom when Mrs. Liguori and I announced that we would soon be starting the math portion of our day.
I was completely shocked. I will be honest; math was never a subject that I looked forward to in school. I always thought the concepts were so abstract and difficult to comprehend, mostly because all we were given was a pencil, paper, and the use of our somewhat hazy memories to come up with answers to seemingly impossible problems. It was very stressful for me as a child, and I recall wishing there would be an opportunity for me to actually “touch” the numbers and be able to manipulate them in order to solve the problems.
This is an area where Singapore math excels. Each day in First Grade, we would begin our lessons with an “anchor task” which prompted the students to work together to solve a given problem, with little to no instruction from the teachers. This was sometimes challenging for the students, but more often than not it provided them time to work together with their cohorts and to “think outside the box” to solve the problems. There was always joy in the air and unbridled excitement as they worked together to come up with their answers.
Next, we would often make them “famous” by using the iPad to show their work up on the screen for all to see, and give each group a chance to share what they had come up with. Needless to say, the children loved this approach and I believe it was the impetus, many times, for them to work even more diligently toward their answer so that their “way” of solving could be broadcast to the class. Afterward, we would move on to the lesson of the day, which was always student-centered; another important part of the Singapore math approach.
This part has always been the most challenging for me to adjust to as a teacher. I no longer have “yes,” “no,” “Right!," "Correct!," and "Great job!” in my repertoire. Instead, those phrases have been replaced with “Hmm, I wonder,” “Interesting,” and “It must be your clever day!” You can imagine how much of a challenge this can be when you are used to either correcting or praising a behavior or train of thought, especially in regards to mathematical thinking.
Students that never felt comfortable sharing with the class before have now blossomed into some of the most boisterous in the class. The feeling of acceptance and lack of evaluative judgment seems to have provided them with a more secure sense of community and understanding, which frees them to share their most abstract thoughts and ideas.
Throughout the current year in the Kindergarten classrooms in which I teach, I have witnessed a lot of this type of growth and it is apparent not only during math instruction but across all subject areas. The students who would otherwise have had a difficult time explaining their thought processes are now able to utilize the provided tools to show their thinking in a tangible way, which often prompts others to either agree with their method or show a novel one of their own. It has been interesting watching the kindergarteners grow in their learning and I feel that they will have a much deeper understanding of mathematical concepts once they reach First Grade because they have learned the foundational principles they need to succeed at this pivotal point in their lives.
Singapore math helps to create a sense of wonder and intrigue within the classroom and provides a framework for the students to learn and understand a given concept through collaboration and discussion. Rather than sitting and listening to a teacher-centric lesson every day, the students essentially “teach” themselves while being gently guided in different directions by the instructor. This also promotes a sense of community and camaraderie within the classroom and allows students to share their personal thoughts and ideas without fear of scrutiny or correction.
Our job, as teachers, is to facilitate student learning and to open our own minds up to the ideas and conceptualizations of our students. I love to watch them explain how their minds work and what they see when they look at certain manipulatives. The confidence that these children gain as a result of this sharing is absolutely incredible!
Associate Teacher, Kindergarten
St. Anne’s Episcopal School
St. Anne’s is becoming certified as a Model School for the newly published Singapore Math textbook, “think!Mathematics.”
Looking Ahead - Mark Your Calendars!
Please mark your calendars for the following upcoming events:
- 7/04/19 July 4th Dinner and Fireworks 6:30 pm
- 8/14/19 Get Ready for School Fair & Social