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2016-2017 School Year Reflections

Dear Families,

Happy Summer! Our St. Anne’s School’s community celebrated the end of our 2016-2017 school year with the energy and engagement characteristic of the entire year. The many events that closed our time together reflected our vibrant academic program, acknowledged students’ individual accomplishments and joyful collaboration, and promoted the sense of pride and connection that distinguishes this community.

As I listened to our graduates’ Capstone presentations in June, I considered the ways their learning experiences at St. Anne’s School enabled them to successfully present their complex, multi-faceted Capstone Projects. Their Capstone presentations struck me as a culmination of our graduates’ years of asking and investigating significant questions, actively engaging in meaningful projects, and responding to the challenge of presenting their learning to others in compelling ways. With that in mind, I share simply a few learning moments from the year that represent the St. Anne’s School experience:    

  • Our youngest learners in the Program for Young Children engaged in Camminate, the experience from the Reggio tradition that invites students to “stroll” from classroom to classroom, connecting with peers of different ages and exploring new settings. This activity, premised on the teacher’s strong belief in the strength and innate curiosity of every learner, fosters confidence, social interaction, and an inquiry-based mindset. From the Annapolis Twos through our Prekindergarten, our teachers regularly remarked that partnership with families enriched not only the experience of every child, but their own professional life at the school as well. Thank you, families, for extending the sense of belonging that distinguishes our program.
  • Many of you recall Kindergarten Crowning, where our entire Lower School sang in the Yoruba language of West Africa, “Funga, Alafia,” –“hello, welcome” to our Kindergarteners as they joined their first Lower School Morning Meeting. Throughout the year, we welcomed students from every grade to share their learning in this setting on Friday mornings. Student historians researched African American history or their own family history, teaching peers about topics through biographies, timelines, art, and more. Others explained, through songs, dances, and stories, the nature of interdependence in a community. Fledgling engineers enlightened the Friday morning crowd on the functions of simple machines, and our Fourth Grade Leaders identified, investigated, and offered solutions to real-life issues or problems about which they were passionate.
  • With great pride, we launched our 23 graduates, who were accepted to more than 37 highly competitive high school programs and awarded 9 scholarships in academics, leadership, and the arts. Across the year, our exceptional Middle School program provided unparalleled experiences for our learners. In November, many Middle Schoolers participated in the American Math Competition, and our school winners placed in the top 25% among more than 100,000 test takers worldwide competing this year! A group of students and faculty attended the AIMS Making Schools Safe for Students, Faculty and Staff: Complex Conversations, Courageous Lives, returning with innovative ideas to promote inclusiveness in all facets of school life. Our Chorus took the stage before 4,000 educators at NAIS in the spring. Through leadership trips and fieldtrip experiences that extended from Williamsburg to Massachusetts, and from Echo Hill to Costa Rica, our students learned life skills that will allow them to navigate in a complex, global community.

In one of my favorite memoirs, One Writer’s Beginnings, Eudora Welty reflects on her learning experience, writing, “Learning stamps you with its moments. Childhood’s learning is made up of moments. It isn’t steady. It’s a pulse.” The pulse of learning reverberated in our graduates’ sharing of their Capstone Projects and is strong throughout the School! I hope that your children have been happily “stamped” with many wonderful moments of wonder and discovery from the year.

On campus this summer, our staff maintains a steady beat of activity as we anticipate the new school year. We continue to welcome visitors interested in our program for the upcoming year. Teachers and administrators have embarked on professional development related to technology curriculum, International Baccalaureate World School training, and language arts instruction.  We excitedly anticipate the completion of our Outdoor Learning Commons and rain garden in back of the school, a project we have launched with the South River Federation and which has been funded through the Anne Arundel Watershed Protection and Restoration Program, the Chesapeake Bay Trust, and the generosity of our capital projects campaign donors. We are grateful for the support that allows our students to thrive in our distinctive program. I.D.E.A.S Summer Camp is underway here, and we’re enjoying seeing many students as campers this summer!

Please stop by this summer to say hello and to check out our progress with our Outdoor Learning Commons. I wish all of you and your families a restorative, peaceful, and sunny summer.

Warm regards,


Lisa Nagel
Head of School
St. Anne's School of Annapolis

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