October 20, 2017
Dear Stanwich Families and Friends,

Stanwich is more than academics
As members of this compassionate community, we display our Stanwich Hearts in many remarkable ways. However in the energetic activity of a small, ambitious school, even I am not always aware of the full extent of our altruistic activity in support of our community and those less blessed.

Unlike other schools, Stanwich Lower School explicitly defines its value system. Predicated upon the  Stanwich Seven (commitment, compassion, courage, wisdom, honesty, forgiveness, and joy) and The Heart of Stanwich (Be your best, help others be their best, and make God's world a better place) our Lower School students reference and actively exercise our values in word and deed through morning assemblies and in our "Values" curriculum.

"Values" is scheduled regularly as would an academic course, and is led-by Co-chairs Linnea Davis in Lower School and Shaun Fletcher in Upper School. Lower School Values teachers include Head Trudy Davis, Director of Admission Keith Radcliffe, Librarian Linnea Davis, Wildwood administrator Beth Keifer, Learning Specialist Sarah Restrepo, and Math Specialist Nikki Miller.  The Values curriculum scope and sequence progresses developmentally through the age range and focuses upon a value, motto, and main idea each week. Those ethical principles are reinforced during assemblies and referenced as educational opportunities arise in classroom and recess. In so doing, our caring teachers engage students to reflect in a positive way upon their action and relationships and to appreciate the supportive context of this community. 
As an example of the enthusiasm and response to each class from the students, this week when Mr. Radcliffe explained to his Grade 4 values class that he had not brought a "treat" to celebrate his birthday with them, Beata answered without hesitation, "Don't worry Mr. Radcliffe, our Values lesson is always a treat!"
Parents should keep in mind that an essential aspect of the Values curriculum involves them. Students are encouraged, and occasionally required to practice these values at home. Family assignments provide a platform to continue, and hopefully reinforce, these moral tenets at home.

Learning by Doing
Supported and coordinated by the Parent Association Service Learning Chair Karen Richard, Lower School Service Learning provides opportunities to our teachers and students to practice what we preach and in so doing expand student awareness of the needs of others. Lower School students learn to demonstrate through action that their contributions are meaningful. Project activities culminate with a special assembly in which members of recipient organizations share their philosophies and express their appreciation of the assistance our students have provided. 

In the Upper School the Stanwich Values are reinforced through active engagement with the community through service learning in the Junior House and the Moral Leadership Project in the Senior House. Throughout the year, students in the 6th and 7th grades have the opportunity to engage in five different service learning activities with their fellow advisees.
As an example of our students' awareness of the needs of others, Grade 7 student Thomas Steel is using his Stanwich heart by spearheading a collection of items to help better the lives of the residents of Puerto Rico.
The 8th graders will develop their own initiatives through the organization "Kids Helping Kids." Jennifer Kelly, the Executive Director of Kids Helping Kids, meets with our 8th graders to brainstorm ideas of ways to help others in need and to support each advisory in creating a unique action plan for the year.

After their exposure to a variety of community needs and ways to help during their 8th grade year, in advisory our 9th grade students reflect and discuss the following goals: demonstrate a commitment to the Stanwich mission and values system, act from a strong self-concept, think critically and creatively, communicate and collaborate effectively within groups, take healthy risks, exercise power appropriately, and articulate a positive sense of direction and seriousness of purpose.  During their annual week-long trip to Costa Rica, while serving the needs of the local population, our students' moral leadership skills are put to the test.

Having developed an awareness of what it means to be an effective moral leader, 10th grade students plan a course of action to exercise moral leadership. The overall goals of the Moral Leadership Project are: continue the development of students' leadership skills through helping those who are less fortunate; promote self-reliance; and to d evelop research, networking and public speaking skills.

The project culminates in the senior year. Seniors have the option of pursuing two Moral Leadership tracks: either to pursue their original MLP program or commit to 30 hours of volunteer work to a cause about which they feel passionate about. For Seniors pursuing their Moral Leadership Project, Stanwich offers a Moral Leadership Grant, a small fund to support financially the achievement of specific MLP goals. In addition to Project Blessing initiatives in all three divisions to support the elementary school begun by Mr. Fletcher and the Stanwich community, all Upper School students have the opportunity to travel to Rwanda each summer to help build the school facilities there.

Since its inception, Stanwich School has been dedicated to a holistic educational experience to support the development of ethical citizens who can work effectively with others. Although not as easily quantifiable as other criteria, the character of Stanwich students distinguish our school.

With all Best Wishes,
 
Charles Sachs
Head of School
Reminders and Updates

If you have not already done so, please remember to complete the required Health Forms through " My Backpack."

Upper School parents are reminded to enter the Lower Lot for pick up via the south St. Agnes driveway, 247 Stanwich Road.