September 30, 2014

President’s Update: School’s Out, but Activity Continues

President’s Update: School’s Out, but Activity Continues
June 5, 2014

School’s out! Most of our students have headed home for the summer, to camp, or off to summer internships. June sports camps and the Summertime Discovery program for 4- to 11-year-olds are keeping the School campus lively with activity this week.

And the College will burst back to life next week when Summer Session welcomes more than 160 participants to Elsah for two weeks of learning and playing together. This year, College Reunion will follow just after Summer Session—June 26–29.

Several affinity groups will bring together alums from across the decades to celebrate a shared interest during the reunion gathering. This year’s affinity groups include Anderson East and Howard House, solar car, Theatre & Dance, and men’s and women’s tennis. We’re expecting more than 500 people representing graduating classes ranging from 1939 to 2008. It’s not too late to register! Come join in the fun of reconnecting and making new friends.

As announced in February, Travis Brantingham is officially stepping in as School principal July 1. Travis will have three assistant principals shepherding the Early Childhood/Lower School, Middle School, and Upper School academic programs. We are grateful to have announced that Peter Dry will be filling the role of assistant principal for the Upper School.

Peter will be moving to St. Louis from Australia this summer, along with his wife and three children. He has been serving as the manager of professional and organizational learning for BMW Finance, Australia, following an international educational career spanning three continents. Peter has served as a teacher, coach, house parent, and administrator at schools in South Africa, as well as at the Claremont-Fancourt School in Surrey, England, and Huntingtower School in Melbourne, Australia.

During the interview process, Peter met with current Upper School students, parents, faculty, and staff. All of these important constituencies recognized his passion for helping students learn and his “obvious love for education and Christian Science,” as one survey responder wrote.

Teachers at all levels of the School are working this summer to better map and coordinate the curriculum across all levels. One of our most skilled math teachers, Jim Moser, has agreed to expand his role next academic year. In addition to teaching Upper School math, Jim will be coordinating the School math curriculum from Preschool–12th grade.

In all subject areas, professional learning communities of teachers across the grade levels are working together to ensure consistency and continuity within our academic program. The course overviews and targeted understandings being developed will provide clarity for everyone—teachers, parents, and students.

Principia founder Mary Kimball Morgan defined vacation periods as playing a definite role in the whole man educational approach at Principia. “Children will be active in some direction; we should see that their activity is properly directed,” she told a gathering of parents in 1921. “Both play and work should tend toward the same end—the fuller development of the individual” (Education at The Principia, p. 52).

Wherever your summer takes you, please help us get the word out about the opportunities available for students from preschool through college here at Principia. We are enrolling now for next fall and are always looking for ways to reach qualified young Christian Scientists.