A Letter to the Shorecrest Adult Community:Our daily lives have changed in ways that might have been unimaginable even a week ago. We are all feeling a wide range of emotions as a result of the changes in our lives due to COVID-19: anxiety, sadness, anger, loss, loneliness, frustration, maybe even irritation. These emotions are, of course, very normal human reactions to such an extraordinary circumstance.
Often when we think of high-schoolers, we are reluctant to single one out over another, or lump several students into a group. After all, college admissions, class standings and athletic achievement can put enough pressure on our kids. But, sometimes, being part of a team, and working together to win a good natured competition is just the thing to bring a group of classmates together and build memories that will keep them coming home.
The Homecoming Spirit Week tradition at Shorecrest Preparatory School in St. Petersburg, Florida is a frequent feature in the speeches of graduating seniors, spoken of as one of the best group experiences for their class, and something they hold dear.
Empathy among young people is a popular conversational theme these days. Indeed, educators across the country have noticed a need to teach basic moral values in the classroom. An article by teacher Paul Barnwell in “The Atlantic”, expounds the reasons for that trend, and gives examples of teachers taking lessons outside the classroom and into the community to give students valuable moral insight. Mr. Barnwell notes that while schools say high moral standards are embedded in a rigorous curriculum, it’s rare to see those values in action.
At Shorecrest Preparatory School, in St. Petersburg, Florida, the core values held by the school are actively modeled. The largest single demonstration of our community's commitment to Responsibility, Respect, Integrity, Knowledge and Compassion happens every year at the holiday season. Students, faculty, administrators and parents join together to provide gifts to children in foster care.
Just over a year ago our Shorecrest community was preparing for the worst, as Hurricane Irma barrelled toward St. Petersburg. The stress, worry and difficult choices of evacuating and keeping loved ones safe made for a harrowing couple of weeks. We were lucky. The hurricane passed us by, and the damage was far less than anticipated.
This year our state was not so lucky. Schools in the panhandle and Gulf were deeply affected, when Hurricane Michael made landfall in October. Calls for help went out across the state and country, and the Shorecrest Community decided to take action. Through contacts made by our headmaster, Mr. Michael Murphy, we focused on the needs of Holy Nativity Episcopal School in Panama City, Florida.
“What are they teaching kids these days?” It’s a question that perennially pops-up among parents. From “new math” to iPads in the classroom, school curricula are ever changing. But, the more things change the more they stay the same. The goal at the forefront of education is still to equip students with the skills to solve the problems they will face as working adults. One of the newest approaches to problem solving integrates social and emotional learning with basic science and social studies. A process called Design Thinking is taking hold with educators across the country.