We're All Admirals Now: The New Family Experience

With schedules set, advisory groups and homerooms introduced, and new friendships forming, it takes little time for new-to-Severn students to acclimate to daily routines and fell at home in their new surroundings.
And while transitioning new students into Severn naturally takes center stage, there is another group that is just as important when it comes to integration into the Admiral community – families. Which is why Severn’s New Parent program is just as thoughtfully designed. It takes a multi-tiered approach, ensuring that the parent community is equally welcomed and as full of Admiral pride as are students.
One of the earliest interactions with Severn’s strong parent community occurs right after a student commits to Severn. That spring, the Admirals Parents' Association (APA) hosts a welcome reception that coincides with a special introductory event for new students. Staffed with seasoned parents who are at the ready to answer questions and make connections, new parents immediately see the strength of the Severn community.
Each new family is then carefully assigned an ambassador family over the summer, who reaches out directly, establishing a personal connection. "We remember what it’s like to be new and have those questions about daily life at Severn that you are not quite sure who to ask,” says Marci Monaldo, APA President, Teel Campus. “The program connects you to another family in your grade or someone who has already been through the grade and lends the opportunity to ask anything, from where to buy books and uniforms to parking, how to be involved, and more.”
To further reinforce that pride in Severn, a new parent welcome kit – chock full of everything maroon – is presented to new parents by the Development Office during the first few weeks of school.
Once the school year is in full swing, the APA offers another opportunity to connect at the Welcome Back Bash, a favorite event held the Thursday after Labor Day on the Daiger House lawn. While all parents are invited to the event, the APA makes a special effort to welcome new families by way of the New Parent Welcome Tent, a place where they can gather and meet staff and other new parents, APA representatives, and even their ambassador families from over the summer.
“Walking into a party of 400-plus people early in the school year can be daunting, and we want to make sure that our newest parents feel comfortable joining in by connecting them with others from the start,” says Deb Smith, Director of Stewardship and Campaigns.
With up-front efforts complete, new parents are fully integrated into the community and join other parents in grade-level socials, meetings, coffees, volunteer opportunities, and events throughout the fall and winter. There is even a winter check-in from their ambassador.
Finally, with the all-school APA Admiral Auction scheduled for March, new parents are invited to a special VIP hour that occurs before the general start of the event. "Having the new parents or anyone new to the auction come to preview the room and items, meet other parents, and feel even more comfortable at this event is so helpful and continues to build our community,” adds Kristi Painter, APA President, Chesapeake Campus.
Ultimately this initiative becomes a cycle of its own. As new parents transition to returning parents, many enjoy the opportunity to return the favor, becoming an ambassador the following year or taking on other volunteer roles and reminiscing on what it was like to be new while continuing to make lasting Severn connections.

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