News Archives

Head's August Message

August 1, 2019

It’s true! This campus never really sleeps. Over the last two months, hundreds of students, volunteers and teachers have been actively engaged in a wide range of activities. Here’s a sampling:

  • 20 JBS students participated in PRAXIS Week, which provides hands-on experience with STEM professionals from throughout the St. Louis community.
  • 460 elementary-age kids built their skills at Bomber Sports Camps.
  • Another 714 pre-schoolers through 6th graders spread across campus for Burr Oak Camp’s 68th summer.
  • 223 motivated middle schoolers, most of whom come from challenging circumstances or environments, attended Aim High St. Louis — and they were supported by 25+ JBS teaching assistants. (Aim High St. Louis was founded by JBS faculty in 1991.)
  • 35 librarians, from as far away as Canada, New York and Seattle, took advantage of the Association of School Librarians’ Summer Institute, focused this year on building diverse library collections. (JBS launched this program in 2013 and has hosted it three times.)
  • 28 educators and administrators from across the country participated in The Equity Exchange, a think tank of public and private educational leaders sharing strategic solutions. (JBS founded the Exchange, which has run for five summers.)
  • 39 kids from the Youth and Family Center in downtown St. Louis and 29 JBS students spent two weeks together during Summer Days, playing games, taking field trips and becoming buddies. (Originally called August Days, this program was created by JBS faculty and students more than 50 years ago.)
  • 250+ JBS athletes attended football, field hockey, soccer, weightlifting and other sports training camps.
  • As I write, 65 kids with Arch City Theater Troupe are practicing for their annual musical revue with performances on August 9, 10 and 11. (ACTT raises funds for JDRF, formerly the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.)

On top of all of this, 140 JBS students traveled on school-sponsored trips to Greece/Turkey, Spain, France and the Grand Canyon. And soon, the seniors will head to Drey Land to plan their year, fall sports teams will return for early practices, and everyone will pick up their schedules and books for 2019-2020 school year.
It is always inspiring to me to see so many community members — students, teachers, parents, faculty and staff — devoting so much time and so much care to community service, cultural competency and personal growth.
We devote a great deal of time as a school to the growth mindset — as a community, not just as individuals. For instance, every summer, we spend hours and hours reviewing every single parent survey that so many of you fill out at the end of each school year. Typically, more than half of our parents give feedback. This year was no exception.
We share all comments with the relevant department chairs. We also share the statistics with the entire faculty and staff and with the Trustee Committee on Education and Diversity.
While these surveys have led to hundreds of very nuanced improvements in the school, this fall when the kids return, you'll quickly see three clear changes:
Principals in the Commons. Over the summer, the three principals moved their offices to the second floor of the Commons, where they will be more easily accessible to students during the day. Students will be able to find the college counseling team, the school nurse, the registrar, the director of diversity, equity and inclusivity, and the director of service learning along with the principals just steps from where they spend most of their free time.
Common Day Schedule. We've built a new schedule for most Wednesdays that will include a 30-minute “Common” period. We will be able to use that period for time with advisors or for full-class meetings. Having these Common periods will give students more time to meet with their advisors, rather than trying to find free periods to connect. It will also allow for deeper grade-level and age-appropriate programming during the school day around health and wellness, college counseling, leadership training, diversity, community service, orientation and preparation for school trips. This will be a welcome and wonderful change.
More Parking! As you’ve probably noticed, the temporary lot off of Clayton Road is in place at the head of the field hockey field. Later this year, we hope to add about 75 additional permanent spaces in time for spring sports, when we have so many more cars on campus.
I look forward to seeing everyone soon, and hope you all are enjoying the last stretch of summer.