By Amanda Carter, Head of School
What to expect at the beginning of a Noble Academy school year? It is a great question, as so many of our families are new or some are like me and struggle to remember from one year to the next. I feel like each year, with my own child, I have to relearn the cadence of the school year, reset the expectations at home, and re-remember the nuts and bolts of school. It also always sneaks up on me and I feel like I’m in a tornado in the two days leading up to the first day. But, that might just be me.
At Noble Academy the new year can be so different for our families coming from other school settings and I thought a quick play by play could be helpful.
The first thing parents should pay attention to, is making sure you have signed up for a time to Tell Us About Your Child. Each advisor will reach out or have a sign-up sheet available during the Meet Your Teachers event. This is your opportunity as a parent to tell us all the wonderful things about your child and the important things we should know upfront. Every one of our students is different and we find that hearing directly from the parent about their child is incredibly valuable and helps us quickly make that school to home connection our students need to be successful.
On the first day of school, the Parent Faculty Association (PFA) hosts a coffee outside starting around 7:45 am and lasting until everyone has had their caffeine and muffin fill. The first day of school is short, with dismissal at 10:45 am, so many parents have taken the day off of work, or don’t plan to drive back home. This coffee is a great chance to meet new people, talk to experienced Noble parents who have been there and done that, and even talk to some leadership team members who pop in and out of the coffee throughout the morning.
At Noble we have found that a gentle entry into the school year works best for our students. We always start on a Wednesday with a very short day. Students have provided us feedback that two and a half days of school and then a weekend is helpful for them to acclimate to the new school year. It also gives our teachers the right amount of time to review school rules and expectations, set the tone for their classrooms, and start the “getting to know you" process before the heavy lift of curriculum starts on Monday.
I also like to encourage parents to use the new school year as an opportunity to continue developing independence at home. Middle School and High School students should be working towards an independent wake-up strategy, like having an alarm set in their bedroom. All of our students should be involved in packing their bookbags and making sure they have what they need for the day. We are going to work hard with them at school for independent executive function skills, but starting at home is imperative. Our students have needed extra support throughout their educational journey, so it is easy to try and alleviate some responsibilities at home. But remember, at some point they will have to wake themselves up, pack their own bags, and make their own lunch plan. For some of our students these skills may take years to develop, so I encourage you to start, even in some small way, this year!
I can’t wait to see all of your children on Wednesday! The first day of school is one of my favorite days of the year. It is a culmination of a lot of hard work over the summer, exciting activity and collaboration during the faculty inservice days, and the actualization of the dream our founders, Rita Rice Ledford and Ginger Parnell, had in 1987, to create an amazing school that empowers students who learn differently to pursue their highest potential.