Exciting Enhancements for St. Anne’s-Belfield Over the Next Two Years

The New Normal is Here, and We’re Ready to Embrace It

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There is no doubt that St. Anne’s-Belfield’s culture of innovation and flexibility is what enabled the community to reinvent school on a dime three years in a row: first, to pivot to online in spring of 2020, then to reopen the following fall as the only five-day, in-person PS – 12 school in our region, and now shifting again from pandemic mode into endemic COVID-19 management. During the toughest days, school leadership would dream of what St. Anne’s might look like for our students outside of the pandemic. Working collaboratively with faculty and staff across divisions, they began to turn those dreams into plans, and then into actions. 

Today, Head of the Lower School Lisa Keeler, Head of the Middle School Marie Reed, and Head of the Upper School Beth Miller are excited to present some exciting enhancements, some beginning this school year and others planned over the course of the next two years.
 

Programs 

Academic excellence in whole-child education continues to be the driving force in our plans for the 2022-23 school year. View video:

 

Programs: Lower School (Pre-School – Grade 4)

  • Next year, we are planning for the full return to co-curricular offerings in K – 4. 

  • The introduction of SAS Class this year has proven to be a welcome learning enrichment for students in K – 6. Now in our third round, we have expanded to 12 options from hiking, to art, to 3D printing. We intend to continue the momentum of this after school program next year.

  • Our newly revitalized Computer Science programming for Lower and Middle Schools has been such a welcome addition this year. We look forward to the many ways this program will grow.

Programs: Middle School (Grades 5 – 8)

  • In the Middle School, a redesigned schedule for 2022-23 will expand course offerings and increase academic continuity as we emerge from the past two years of disruption. 

  • We are planning for an extended day for Grades 5 & 6 ending at 3:35 p.m., and Grades 7 & 8 ending at 2:45 p.m. plus athletics and physical activities. This will increase frequency of class meetings, expand instructional time by about 15%, and will enable:

    • Broader exposure to arts offerings in Grades 5 & 6, including Strings, Music & Movement/Choir, Visual Arts, and Theater

    • Expanded arts choices in Grades 7 & 8, including Strings, Choir, Visual Arts, and Theater & Film

    • An option for a second art experience for Grades 7 & 8 through the Quest program

    • Time for learning support, enrichment, and student groups/clubs built into the school day

  • In addition to the SAS Class and expanded Computer Science programming discussed in the LS section, the Middle School has also implemented a re-envisioned Humanities 8 program this year, a course that explores community and citizenship in the modern world and prioritizes the essential academic skills and dispositions that support robust academic growth beyond middle school and prepare students for a life of global citizenry and leadership.

Programs: Upper School (Grades 9 – 12)

  • AP Human Geography is being added to the Humanities 10 curriculum, providing all Grade 10 students the opportunity to prepare and sit for the AP exam.

  • Dramatic Literature and Writing will be an additional course offering in the Humanities. We are looking forward to the many creative ways our students will no doubt find to explore the course topics. Upper School students who wish to experience the performance side of dramatic literature have an opportunity to do so through the Shakespeare and stage combat session in Saints Summer Camp this June, a new partnership with Silver Line Theatre Exchange.

  • We are thrilled to announce that we have been approved as an AP Capstone™ school, making St. Anne’s-Belfield the only school to offer this program in Central Virginia and one of only 2,000 schools in the country with this distinction, out of ~24,000 total secondary schools according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). 

    • Beginning in 2022-23, Grade 11 students enrolled in American Studies and 12 students enrolled in Senior Seminars will be eligible to sit for an AP Seminar assessment.

    • Starting in 2023-24, we will implement the AP Research program. 

    • With successful completion of the AP Seminar and AP Research exams, students can earn the AP Capstone Diploma™ or the AP Seminar and Research Certificate™, gaining more national recognition for the notable academic endeavors they undertake during these courses.

People

The strength of our school is our community. We are looking forward to these changes that will benefit all students, from our youngest learners to our oldest. View video:

 

People: Lower School (Pre-School – Grade 4)

  • Pre-School (PS) is growing! PS is fully enrolled and adding families to our waiting list. Next year’s PS will be our largest enrollment ever.

  • Early Childhood Fellows will join our faculty in the fall. This new partnership with UVA will provide first generation college graduates with the opportunity to earn their master’s degree while teaching full time at St. Anne’s. Read more.

  • In LS, we welcome the return to community gatherings that are core to our foundation, including live Chapel and Grandparents and Special Friends Day.

People: Middle School (Grades 5 – 8)

  • The expanded dean of students role will support student life programming and student leadership opportunities. We are delighted to announce Hattie Francis’s appointment as our new Middle School Dean of Students. Hattie Francis will be coming to us from the Miller School of Albemarle, where she has served as the director of campus life and student experience. 

  • Acknowledging the importance of mental health and wellness for this crucial age group, we are splitting our Belfield Campus school counselor role into one full-time position for Grades 4 – 8 and one part-time position for K – 3. Middle School students will have familiar and trusted support in Trā Nicholson, who has accepted the Grades 4 – 8 counselor role. Trā Nicholson has been serving as an MS/US teaching fellow for academic support and counseling and built lasting and impactful relationships during his short time in our community. 

  • This trimester, we have an astounding nine Grade 8 students teaching their peers during 7 & 8 Quests. This brings the total student leaders to 14 for the year, exploring questions like "How are great songs born?" "How can a Lower School intern make a difference?" and "How can we master engineer design challenges?" The redesigned MS schedule mentioned in the previous section will allow for expanding Quest time to support deeper dives into topics and more opportunities to foster student leadership. 

People: Upper School (Grades 9 – 12)

  • Our goal is to enhance leadership development opportunities throughout the Upper School. Recently, Grade 9 students met with Beth Miller to discuss a new model for student government and leadership development in a positive and energizing conversation. The new model will provide more pathways to leadership and make an impact on school culture and student life.

Places

Our plans to improve our facilities and physical spaces. View video:

 

Places: Belfield Campus

  • In the Pre-School, plans to continue to build out the outdoor classroom spaces are beginning to take shape. See the video for architect renderings of our initial vision and hopes for the natural classroom.

  • Our hopes and dreams for strengthening our stellar PS – 12 athletics and physical activity programs include a new wellness center on the Belfield Campus and a major overhaul of the SAC on the Greenway Rise Campus. We have reached out to select architectural firms with a Request for Proposal (RFP). The selected firm will help facilitate an inclusive process for our community to help design these new facilities and support our vision. 

Places: Greenway Rise Campus

  • Construction to renovate Randolph Hall auditorium into a reimagined community center will begin soon. 

    • The new space will provide flexible and high-tech areas for small and large group gatherings, space for reading, research, and study.

    • A food lab, makerspace, and video and sound recording studio will offer opportunities to expand and transform curriculum to take advantage of these experiential learning spaces. 

    • In addition to providing beautiful and flexible areas for our residential life and day students, the space will serve as a convening place for all families PS – 12 and hopefully the broader community as well. 

    • We are excited to share the architect renderings in the video and will be sending additional communications about the Randolph Hall project in the future.

 


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