In the weeks before the U.S. presidential election, our 3rd graders dove into the history of voting and the current voting process as part of their social studies curriculum. They used this research to write persuasive paragraphs on the importance of voting and Zoomed with our Upper School AP U.S. Government and Politics class to share their ideas. As Sky '30 said, "If you're eighteen years old, you are able to watch the debates and pick the candidate you want as President. Election day is a chance to make a difference you will never forget!"
The annual Veterans Day assembly on Chesapeake Campus is a tradition loved by all. Our 5th grade class leads the ceremony, sharing information about the history and importance of Veterans Day along with personal interviews with or anecdotes about family and friends who have served. Because we can't gather to honor our veterans in person this year, 5th graders used what they've learned about history, community, and technology to prepare a digital ceremony with personal touch.
Success in math involves much more than just working with numbers. It's about developing a growth mindset and the confidence to bravely tackle challenges when they inevitably come along. As an extension of our annual "Week of Inspirational Math," Lower School Math Specialist Ms. Stacy Shaener is using strengths-based strategies in the classroom to bolster our students' sense of self-efficacy and inspire them to reach toward their fullest potential in math.
COVID-19 has impacted every part of our lives — how we work, how we interact with others, how we teach and learn, and more. From the rapid transition to remote learning this past spring to the uncertainty of fall, preparing for both in-person and remote learning, our teachers have navigated uncharted territory for months. But one constant is their steadfast commitment to providing a safe learning environment where every Admiral feels a sense of belonging and is known and valued. Leading with that promise, our teachers spent the summer in remote professional development workshops, classes, and conference sessions to help their students thrive in this time of tremendous change.
mySevern is the online hub of Severn School. It is designed to make teaching, learning, and communicating easier by connecting all of our digital tools and resources into one interactive platform — everything from academic classes and advisory groups to clubs and counseling services. For families, it is also a central location to submit forms, access grades, manage accounts, and stay up-to-date on school news and events. And this past spring, when our campuses closed due to COVID-19, mySevern enabled us to hit the ground running during remote learning.
The end of the year is always a busy time at Severn. As students finalize projects, take exams, give presentations and get ready for the next big step, our faculty and staff plan celebrations to mark important milestones in our students’ lives. Each ceremony gives our community a moment to reflect on all that we have accomplished this year and in years past. Although unable to gather physically due to the COVID-19 shutdown, we recreated these occasions on Zoom with every resource possible, including student performances and speeches, heartfelt messages from faculty, and even an in-person (properly distanced!) diploma ceremony for our seniors. Things looked a little different, true. But the unfaltering love for and from our community couldn’t have shined any brighter.
Each semester, our Lower School student council takes on a service-learning project to support our global or local communities. Part of our leadership program for second through fifth graders, it’s a chance for young students to develop advocacy and organization skills — thinking outside of themselves to make positive change. Most recently, the council wrote thank you notes to Severn parents and alumni who work in healthcare and are dealing with the stress and challenges presented by COVID-19.
It has fast become a tradition for our kindergarten and first-grade students to visit Teel Campus and deliver homemade letters of advice for seniors during their last few weeks of school. It is a beloved event for our community — a bookend to the year that begins with those same students paired together for Convocation. And although we are in remote learning mode, the tradition carries on thanks to our dedicated faculty and students. This past Thursday on Zoom, we watched the kids’ faces light up as over 160 Severn Admirals joined our virtual celebration — we are grateful to each and every one.
Guest article by Teel Campus Associate Librarian Ms. Diana Ford
Remote learning presented a new challenge for the Battle of the Books 2020, for participants and organizers alike. Typically, students from area schools meet together for this quiz-bowl competition that digs into a fantastic selection of books for young readers. This year, the tournament was virtual. And although the teams couldn’t meet in person, the event proved that our students have a passion for reading (and competing!) no matter the format.
Fitness is a big part of daily life at Severn School. From PE classes and recess to sports teams and clubs, being active and outdoors is something we greatly value in every grade. In addition to the proven physical and mental health benefits of exercise, fitness teaches lessons in character, teamwork, perseverance, safe risk-taking, self-confidence, and more. And although we are not physically on campus together, our values haven’t changed. Severn teachers, coaches, and athletic trainers are keeping us healthy and active during remote learning, raising our collective spirits with creativity, commitment, and love for the kids.
Word problems can be intimidating for even the most confident math students. The language is typically complicated and students often don't understand exactly what is being asked. To help our 5th graders tackle word problems and equations with ease, “math missionary” Greg Tang invited Severn to a Zoom workshop last week. The group used number relationships and visual models to make better sense of seemingly complicated math.
The past several weeks have been a storm of uncertainty, presenting challenges that many of us have never faced before. But like a beacon of light through the fog, we find direction and strength in our community. Starting with meetings in early March and through spring break, our faculty and staff worked tirelessly to ensure that we deliver our promise of excellence to families and students while our physical buildings are closed. Wednesday, April 1st, 2020 marked the first official day of comprehensive remote learning for our Lower, Middle and Upper School students. As we navigate through this together, we grow stronger in every way.