Friday Letter

August 23, 2019

Dear Parents,

Thanks to all who were able to come out for Curriculum Night last night.  I hope you enjoyed learning about your child's classes and meeting their teachers.

Last night, Betsy distributed information cards for parents to edit/approve for the forthcoming "Green Book" (the school directory).  If you were not present at Curriculum Night and have specific information that has changed from last year or you don't wish to be included (cell phone, email, home address), please contact her at betsyalford@seaburyacademy.org and let her know. 

For new parents, I was approached by our student senate years ago about creating a "late start" on Fridays, and I agreed to what I considered a reasonable suggestion.  Unless you hear otherwise from the the school.  Students are required to show up on Fridays by 8:15 am and be present for morning meeting (or form meetings) no later than 8:20 am.  On all other days, students should be on campus by 8 am and be present in morning meeting by 8:05 am.

The first big Senate-led event of the year is tonight: the Back-to-School Dance, aka "the Rave."  Parents of the nineties, please do not be alarmed...this rave is a very safe and fun experience!  (As I often tell parents, our dances are not the awkward mating rituals you may remember from high school....they are basically a lot of students jumping up and down in a room until they are exhausted.)  The cost of the dance is $5, and proceeds support other Senate-sponsored events throughout the year.  Please see Ms. Czarnecki if you have any questions: sonjaczarnecki@seaburyacademy.org.  Please also see the attached rules for all school dances.

We discovered last night that the taller lights in our parking lot are not working--an unanticipated side effect of construction.  Facilities Director Eric Neuteboom is working with our construction crew to solve the problem, but in the meantime, please drive carefully in the parking lot tonight.

The 6th grade elected their student senate representatives this morning, and they are Xeva Oldridge and Madeline Williams.  Congratulations to our youngest student senators! 

Parents probably get tired of hearing my advice about methods for improving study habits--namely the importance of removing phones from a child's study area.  However, if you want (and can stand) a little more advice, you may be interested in this article from the New York Times.

On Wednesday morning, Fr. Rob Baldwin led the first Seabury chapel of the year.  Fr. Baldwin is the father of both a Seabury student and an alumnus, and he is rector at Trinity Episcopal Church.  We are glad to have him back to lead our Wednesday chapels.  People often ask me (or want to ask but don't) what it means to be an Episcopal School.  Most Episcopal heads of school talk about the difficulty of explaining Episcopal identity, partly because schools in the Episcopal tradition can look very different, despite having similar core values.  Our founders originally determined that Bishop Seabury Academy should be an Episcopal school, not simply because a few of them were Episcopalians but also because the Episcopal model of education stresses the elements that the founders wanted to see embodied: namely an emphasis on excellence, responsibility, moral development, and strong character.

An Episcopal school is a Christian community that is defined by an inclusive and graceful nature.  It celebrates intellectual and academic excellence as well as spiritual exploration--and believes those endeavors should be complementary.  The Episcopal tradition emphasizes social justice and respect for the dignity of all people, regardless of their differences in identity, politics, or religious belief.  One of the hallmarks of Episcopal schools is the celebration of diversity.  At Seabury, I have always been convinced that Episcopal identity should not be like an outfit worn on the exterior but an ideology written into the very DNA of its structure, playing out in its community, the relationships between people, the development and practice of values in daily life, and the commitment to self-improvement, among other things.

If you would like to know more about Episcopal schools, feel free to visit the website for NAES (The National Association of Episcopal Schools): http://www.episcopalschools.org/episcopal-schools/episcopal-schools-faqs

Yours respectfully,

Dr. Schawang