Chinese acrobats, Service Hours, and more!

By Reed Gabhart, Head of Goshen Campus

Looking ahead to next week, I want to invite all of our Middle School parents to Back to School Night for the Middle School next Wednesday, September 16th at 6:30 p.m.  We had a very successful Lower School evening last week and High School evening this week in which parents were able to hear from all of their child’s teachers about their curriculum plans for the year. We anticipate the same for the Middle School next week, and it’s also nice to meet the “new faces” and see classrooms during the open house portion. In a change for this year, the informational meetings usually held for the 6th grade class trip to Pine Mountain and the 8th grade annual trek to Big South Fork will not be this night, but we plan on hosting parent coffees to answer your questions in the next few weeks. Stay tuned for those dates!

Also on the horizon is the big Fall Sports Picnic next Friday, September 18th on all our fields! It will be an action-packed day with our 2nd – 4th grade soccer team starting us off, followed by our Middle School field hockey and soccer teams, and finally our High School teams battling into the early evening! We hope to have lots of SFS families out to enjoy the food, wear your red and blue proudly, and get your pictures taken with the Wyvern mascot!

As far as this week goes, we ended it Friday with a very special assembly, thanks to our status as a Confucius Institute School. We were offered the opportunity for the New York Chinese Acrobats_10Traditional Art Center to visit us and perform for the whole student body, as well as our Chinese Language students from the High School. While the assembly was a little later than “press time,” the lineup includes Chinese acrobats demonstrating plate spinning and contortions, the “Monkey King uproar,”  traditional Chinese instruments and more! Look for some pictures in the photo gallery!

One other thing I want to pass on to Middle School parents is that our Faculty Forum made the decision at our final meeting last year to eliminate the eight-hour service requirement for students in 5th-8th grades. The reason for this isn’t because we don’t value service — far from it! This requirement pre-dates our current Service Learning program in which each grade chooses a project and works on it all year.  We believe these grade-level service projects are important and meaningful to the students and we want to put the focus on the wonderful work we are doing in the community instead. The eight-hour requirement was a “loose” requirement and we found that many students either tried to get their hours here at school (which was not the original intent) or scrambled at the end of the school year to fulfill them. We think it’s better to have the entire grade put their efforts toward one overarching service project in which they learn about an organization and its mission. I  do want to mention, however, that we realize that many students will continue to have significant dedication to service outside of school.  Those students, as 8th graders, will still have the opportunity to be considered for the Class Day Volunteer Service Award that recognizes dedication to service.  (8th graders will fill out a form each year to explain their service outside of school.)

This is extremely meaningful work, and we look forward to all the fantastic contributions our kids and teachers will make this year — not to mention the lessons learned!