Newly enrolled students in Middle School and Upper School enjoyed a three-day crash course on all things Ravenscroft at Ravenscroft 101, which this year took place July 31-Aug. 2. The optional summer program gives new students the opportunity to learn their way around campus, take sample classes with teachers in their division and get to know other new students as they prepare for the first day of school on Wednesday, Aug. 16.
This in-depth experience for new Ravens was developed several years ago by Upper School English teacher Shelley Brown — who recently assumed the new schoolwide role of Dean of Community, Culture and Belonging and will now oversee Ravenscroft 101 for both divisions — as a way to help new students feel welcomed, informed and prepared to start school at Ravenscroft.
Middle School Ravenscroft 101 director Shayla Coleman was joined by colleagues Catherine Hanes, Amie McCall, Janet Hedges, Sarah Baker and Erin Altshuler in preparing rising sixth- through eighth-graders for their first days and weeks at their new school.
“The academic piece of Ravenscroft 101 is really important to us as Middle School teachers,” Coleman said. “We also know that, for the students, knowing they’ll see some familiar faces on the first day of school makes a big difference in terms of feeling confident and enthusiastic about the year. We were so excited on the last day of the program to see students exchanging contact information and beginning to build friendships with one another.”
Attendees agreed that the program helped them get ready for the first day of school.
“I think it’s a great way to show new students the school, so they know where everything is and where to go,” rising eighth-grader Emily Roth ’28 said. “It makes the first day less stressful.”
Incoming sixth-grader Sophia Dong ’30 said about the experience, “I don’t have a favorite thing about it — I just liked it!”
Students who participated in the Upper School program said they found it worthwhile as well.
“I liked meeting the new people, and the campus is great,” new ninth-grader Eric Sinanis ’27 said.
Jim Martin, who took the reins from Brown as Upper School program director this summer, worked with fellow teachers Jordy Baende, Colby Bogie, Amber Whitney, Katie Barnwell, Erin Kate Grady and Zoe Welsh to help rising ninth-, 10th- and 11th-grade students understand everything from the daily schedule to the school’s learning management system, Canvas. Along the way, they strived to make meaningful personal connections that would support the school’s bigger goal of creating a sense of community for all students.
“It’s been great getting to know these students in this way,” Grady, a history and social studies teacher, said. “Even if it turns out that I don’t have them in my classes this fall, I can be a friendly and familiar face in the hallway and help them feel recognized and welcome as the new school year gets underway.”
“Joining any new community can be scary,” Martin added. “Our goal at Ravenscroft 101 is to share Ravenscroft’s community early so students feel more comfortable on Day 1. By giving them the opportunity to meet teachers and other students, we have shown our new Ravens that joining our community will be a great experience.”