One of the best things about school life is its rhythms.
The sun sets on an old year and a new one dawns, with new faces, new possibilities, and a fresh start. That’s not something I take for granted. I enjoy starting fresh each fall because the new year offers a chance to do things we’ve not done before and also to improve things we have done before. How thrilling and delightful it is to see new faces in our halls and classrooms, to reconnect with friends and students, and to begin another stage of our journey together. These are precious gifts indeed.
God has blessed Providence with a fresh start this fall, and by His grace we are enjoying yet another foretaste of the ultimate fresh start brought about by the gospel of Jesus Christ (see 2 Corinthians 5:17). And with a new year comes new things. Here are a few of them.
New friends: New students, families, and teachers have joined the Providence family. What a joy it is to get to know them and to join together in the great cause of classical Christian education. Welcome, new families and new students! We are glad you’re a part of the family, and we look forward to getting to know you better in the days ahead. And we are very glad to welcome aboard Mr. Brown, Mr. Fisher, and Mr. Underwood. (Also, see below as we welcome our new strings teacher, Ms. Julia Gaines!).
Revised Mission Statement and new Portrait of a Graduate: These two foundational documents answer two big questions: (1) Why does PCCS exist?, and (2) What is the long-term vision for your children that is the purpose of our partnership? Please take the time to think deeply about these updated documents, and, better yet, make them a frequent topic of conversation and training with your children.
Scripture memory and virtue call-outs: We have updated our schoolwide Bible memorization program. Rather than the verses and concepts the school used before, now we are memorizing sections of the Bible each month. In September, for example, all students from youngest to oldest are memorizing Psalm 1. Please join in and memorize along with us, parents – what a blessing it is to place God’s Word in our hearts and to do it together. In addition, we are emphasizing a couple of virtues each month. These are call-outs that help teachers and students develop a common vocabulary for growing in Christ (“Faith – trusting God to do what He says” or “Diligence – Working all the way to the end”).
Ma’am and sir: A big part of what makes the culture of Providence beautiful and distinct is its cultivation of respect and obedience. Something we are doing that is both new and not new at all is training students to say “ma’am” and “sir” when they speak to their teachers. Many of you already follow this Southern custom in your homes, and now we are training students to practice it daily at school. Listen for a while and you’ll discover that “yes ma’am” or “yes sir” is far more dignified and respectful than “yeah” or “uh huh.”
Trimester schedule: We have moved away from 4 grading periods in quarters and semesters to 3 grading periods in trimesters. Our goal is to make the yearly schedule better for both students and teachers. The three terms are called Trinity Term (fall), Advent Term (winter), and Easter Term (spring). Parents will receive a report card three times a year (and see below for more about changes to the report card).
Updated report cards: You will notice changes to the report card in a few weeks. First, the report card will cover a longer period of time (a trimester is about 12 weeks). Also, while the report card will still report grades, it will focus on habits, virtue, and character. Teachers will include narrative reporting that offers observations about students’ growth, and we hope this helps create conversations with you about the needs and nurture of your children. What if report cards help us assess how we are doing at cultivating wisdom and virtue in students’ hearts and lives?
Updated science curriculum: Mrs. Leo and many teachers have been working hard to update the science curriculum, and we believe the result is a more robust, God-centered, and engaging experience of learning science. It is so exciting and rewarding to explore God’s creation and admire the grandeur of His handiwork.
New Logic and Rhetoric School traditions and practices: We are excited to get our House System off the ground. The House System will provide opportunities for new traditions and milestones, fellowship and competition, and student leadership. Through the House System, Upper School students will be given the opportunity to create a godly culture for our school. Also, each day Upper School students now have a 30-minute flex period, when they can not only work on homework or skills but also have access to their teachers. In addition, students and parents can now access lesson plans on FACTS anytime so they can keep up with their assignments better and see make-up work if they miss school. Finally, keep an eye out for our new letterman jackets on campus!
Field trips are back: New, but not new! We are planning (Lord willing) to leave campus for field trips this year, including overnight field trips. So much great learning takes place off campus. We are excited that with things opening back up, students and teachers will be able to have new learning experiences away from campus this year.
We are getting into the rhythm of a new year, parents, and I know I speak for the whole Providence staff when I say how glad I am to be taking this journey with your family!