St. John's Episcopal School

Upper School Shared Experiences

Programs | Schoolwide | 5th Grade | 6th Grade | 7th Grade | 8th Grade

Shared Experiences are student and family activities which are deemed to be integral to the mission of the school. These are activities that are regularly undertaken (daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly) that relate directly to themes in our Mission Statement:

  • A challenging academic experience.
  • A community of inspired students, teachers, and parents.
  • An everyday commitment to Christian values and the development of moral character.

Programs: Shared Experience Chart

P= Primary Focus      S= Secondary Focus

Shared Experience Grades Mission: Challenging Academic Experience Mission: Community of Inspired Students, Teachers, Parents Mission: Everyday Commitment to Christian Values
Programs:
Success Traits K-8 P P P
Shaking Hands K-8 P S
Assembly K-8 P S
Chapel K-8 P P
Community Service K-8 P P
Buddy Program K-8 P P

Success Traits – Success Traits are a core component of the St. John’s community. Research has shown that success in life is determined by character and commitment as much as intellect and ability. We teach our students organization, attentiveness, courage, faith, persistence, positive attitude, flexibility, generosity, and responsibility through assemblies, chapel services, community activities, and direct class instruction. By the end of their career at St. John’s our students are well versed in and have experienced first hand the value and challenges inherent in living a life of character, guided by our mission and the success traits.

Shaking Hands – Students and staff are greeted with a welcoming handshake each morning at the school entrance by the Head of School or another designated person. The school handshake is an important recognition of the personal connections we all share every day in our community.

Assemblies – Students attend school assemblies twice a month, once as a whole school and once as an upper school at the end of the school day. Assemblies are shared experiences intended to establish community wide mission themes of challenging academic program, inspired students, teachers, and parents, and everyday commitment to Christian values.

Chapel – Students attend chapel each Friday in which they share in common experiences of spiritual growth and development. Chapel services follow an Episcopal worship model, but are designed to be welcoming to students of all faiths. Through chapel students learn a common vocabulary for our commitment to Christian values of kindness, honesty, respect and compassion.

Community Service – All students participate in community service projects. Serving others is a consistent Mission Statement theme of challenge, commitment, and inspiration.

Buddy Program – Each student in the school is matched up to an older or younger Buddy in another grade. Buddy activities, including Community Building Day, are designed to connect older students to the ways they serve as positive models for our younger students.


Schoolwide Events: Shared Experience Chart

P= Primary Focus      S= Secondary Focus

Shared Experience Grades Mission: Challenging Academic Experience Mission: Community of Inspired Students, Teachers, Parents Mission: Everyday Commitment to Christian Values
Community Building Week K-8 P S
Back to School Night K-4, 5-8 P S
Fall Festival/Picnic K-8 P
Christmas Celebration K-8 P P
Caroling K-8 P S
International Festival K-8 S P
International Immersion Week K-8 P P S
Multicultural Fair K-8 P P S
Festival of the Arts K-8 P S
Field Day K-8 S P S
Baccalaureate Service K-8 P S

Community Building Week: (September) Older students learn to be positive role models for their younger buddies.

Back to School Night: (September) Parents attend an evening devoted to learning about the expectations and character of their children’s classrooms.

Fall Festival/Picnic: (October) Students, parents, and teachers share an afternoon of community building fun, food and camaraderie.

Christmas Celebration: (December) Students, parents, teachers and extended families share an evening of Christmas joy and celebration.

Caroling: (December) Students, parents and teachers share in a family-like gathering to spread holiday cheer.

International Festival: (February) Students study cultures from around the world. Each class presents a folk dance in which students demonstrate an understanding of teamwork, community respect, and cultural pride.

International Immersion Week: (February) The week preceding the International Festival students are involved in an in-depth study of the grade level’s international festival country and participate in related activities.

Festival of the Arts: (May) Students demonstrate skills in music, art, writing, and other forms of artistic expression. Students, parents, and faculty share in the inspiration and pride inherent to artistic expression.

Field Day: (May) Students participate in athletic challenges that foster team work, school spirit and individual challenge.

Baccalaureate Service: (June) Graduation service for our students in grades K through 7. An opportunity for our younger students to say heartfelt goodbyes to our graduating eighth graders

Graduation Service: (June) Eighth Grade graduation service for eighth graders and eighth grade families. A day of celebration.


5th Grade Activities and Events: Shared Experience Chart

P= Primary Focus      S= Secondary Focus

Shared Experience Mission: Challenging Academic Experience Mission: Community of Inspired Students, Teachers, Parents Mission: Everyday Commitment to Christian Values
Gettysburg books P S
Gettysburg trip P S S
Human Development P S P
Baseball Celebration P P S
Poetry Tea P P S
MAESA Fair P P S

Gettysburg Books: During the months of April and May, students complete an extensive study of the Civil War culminating in an overnight trip to Gettysburg., PA. Through note taking and teacher lead lectures, each student plans, develops, and implements a researched based document, that is published and presented to the entire class.

Gettysburg Trip: During the spring the class travels to Gettysburg to expand their studies of the Civil War.

Human Development: In the spring, 5th graders study human development Activities and lectures are coordinated with parents to insure common.

Baseball Celebration: A celebration of a national pastime that allows students to better understand baseball’s role in American society. The classes celebrate with food, baseball and other games.

MAESA Fair: Students actively compete among the Episcopal Schools in a spelling bee, geography bee, technology-based activities, and art initiatives.


6th Grade Activities and Events: Shared Experience Chart

P= Primary Focus      S= Secondary Focus

Shared Experience Mission: Challenging Academic Experience Mission: Community of Inspired Students, Teachers, Parents Mission: Everyday Commitment to Christian Values
Outdoors Program P S
Worm Dissection Project P S
Upper School Book Club P P S
Roller Coaster Design Project P P
Science Fair P P
MAESA Fair P P S

Outdoors Program: This trip serves as a fall orientation experience for 6th graders. The class spends two days and one night with a professional outfitter, engaging in team-building activities.

Worm Dissection Project: This portion of the science curriculum offers students the chance to explore the anatomy of a worm. They learn to identify various organs and make connections between worm and human physiology.

Upper School Book Club: The Upper School Book Club meets periodically and is open to all students in the Upper School.

Roller Coaster Design Project: After an introduction into Newton’s Laws, students work in small groups to design and build an amusement park ride that highlights the notions of speed, force, and energy. The groups then show these applications to the larger school community.

Science Fair: This is the first foray into this comprehensive science activity, giving students an opportunity to select a topic of study, perform various experiments, and share the results with the school community.

MAESA Fair: Students compete with other Episcopal schools students in a science fair, spelling bee, geography bee, technology-based activities, and art initiatives.


7th Grade Activities and Events: Shared Experience Chart

P= Primary Focus      S= Secondary Focus

Shared Experience Mission: Challenging Academic Experience Mission: Community of Inspired Students, Teachers, Parents Mission: Everyday Commitment to Christian Values
Study of Wallops Island P S S
Belize Climate Change Program P S S
8th Grade/Faculty Christmas Luncheon P S
Upper School Book Club P P S
Frog Dissection Project P S
Holocaust Museum Trip P P P
Mapping the World by Heart P S
8th Grade Dinner Dance P P
MAESA Fair P P S

Study of Wallops Island: Students study the science and ecology of barrier islands prior to participating in a three day field study at the Wallops Island Marine Science Consortium. Students keep an extensive field journal including lecture notes on sections of the Barrier Island, barrier island movement, environmental issues, and organism identification.

Belize Climate Change Program: Students apply information learned in Wallops Island Study to compare and classify organisms in Belize. Using Skype seventh graders will be in contact with the Climate Change Center in Belize. In addition, some students will travel to Belize for further study. This program is supported by the World Leadership School whose goal is to develop confident leaders in a global world.

8th Grade/Faculty Christmas Luncheon: The 8th grade/faculty luncheon occurs on the last day before the winter break. 7th graders play an important role in this tradition by serving the meal.

Frog Dissection Project: 7th graders dissect a frog as a part of their study of anatomy and human physiology.

Holocaust Museum Trip: 7th graders study World War II and the Holocaust in Social Studies and read The Diary of Anne Frank in English leading up to a trip to the Holocaust museum in Washington DC. The unit involves significant class discussion of moral issues and frequent personal reflection through journal writing.

Mapping the World by Heart: After exploring each continent in Social Studies, students create their own detailed, accurate, and artistic maps of the world.

MAESA Fair: Students compete with other Episcopal schools students in a science fair, spelling bee, geography bee, technology-based activities, and art initiatives.

8th Grade Dinner Dance: This is a dinner and dance that celebrates the 8th grade and occurs the week before graduation. 7th graders play an important role in this event by serving dinner to their older counterparts.


8th Grade Activities and Events: Shared Experience Chart

P= Primary Focus      S= Secondary Focus

Shared Experience Mission: Challenging Academic Experience Mission: Community of Inspired Students, Teachers, Parents Mission: Everyday Commitment to Christian Values
Eagle’s Landing Trip P P
High School Application Process P S
8th Grade/Faculty Luncheon P P P
Upper School Book Club P P S
8th Grade Play P P S
End of the Year Trip P P
8th Grade Dinner Dance P S
Graduation P P

Eagles Landing Trip: Eighth graders kick off the school year with a class trip to Eagle’s Landing. The purpose of the trip is to build class unity through teamwork and outdoors challenges.

High School Application Process: Eighth graders spend significant time in the fall preparing for high school admissions. Activities include class discussions about the high school selection process, personal reflection and goal setting, essay writing, standardized test taking, and participating in interviews.

8th Grade/Faculty Luncheon: Faculty and eighth graders meet for a special luncheon after school on the day the school dismisses for Christmas break.  All participants share in celebrating each individual’s God-given gifts and their contributions to the school community, in the form of poems and songs.  Additionally, students exchange Secret Santa gifts or nominal financial value with faculty and staff.  Both the song/poem and the gift exchange reflect our respect for and understanding of the individuals in our community.

8th Grade Play: All eighth graders participate in a full scale musical production presented to the entire school community in the spring.

End of the Year Trip: Eighth graders travel for a culminating class experience before graduation. The trip includes personal reflection on their years at St. John’s.

8th Grade Dinner Dance: This is a dinner and dance that celebrates the 8th grade and occurs the week before graduation.

Graduation: (June) Eighth graders are presented with school diplomas in front of seventh graders, faculty, and family in the St. John’s Chapel.