Prep Stories

Preparing students for lives of purpose, achievement, and service.

“As I listened to folks who have kids in other schools, I knew we were in good hands.

Saint John’s Prep “Walks their Talk”, A parent reflection.

With all the extraordinary challenges and changes imposed upon our little family by COVID-19, we are moved to reflect on the gifts that make up the foundation for our daily living; the gifts we have learned we can rely upon to get us through this surreal time to keep our spirits intact. The teachers and staff at Saint John’s Prep have provided us with some priceless gifts that have proven to be solid ground during such an uncertain and shaky time.  We are so grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the Saint John’s Prep community.

Our decision to embrace the Saint John’s Prep community was a tough one. Our family was fortunate to have had a great elementary experience at Saint Katherine Drexel; one that set the bar very high for teachers and administrators. We decided that what mattered most to us was that we find a community that cared as much about supporting and growing our kids in a holistic way, as they did about growing them academically. We wanted to find our place within a community that would “walk their talk” when it came to articulating and breathing life into the idea that every single person is equally valuable and deserving of respect. We wanted our kids to learn about social justice and to be challenged to see the world from many different perspectives. We wanted our kids to be in a space that would show them how music and art are not just fun, but that they are actually vital and necessary for our spirits and our world to thrive. As we connected with the staff at Saint John’s Prep over the course of a year or more, it became clear to us that this was a community committed to relying upon Benedictine values to guide them to strike a healthy balance of challenge and support. We felt Saint John’s Prep was the kind of community that could best help our children, Joey and Lizzy, discover and make the most of their gifts in this lifetime.

As we began 6th grade, not only did Mrs. Anderson and Mrs. Loesch make a commitment to understanding and guiding Joey and Lizzy as people with unique gifts and challenges, they also offered Paul and I support to help us make the transition to middle school parenting. It was so comforting to know that we could rely on them to take the initiative to reach out to us with feedback, support and resources. They were also very intentional about creating opportunities for all of us to be in community so we could begin to create our own network of resources and support. We felt like we were partners.

As we began 7th grade, we learned very quickly that the expectations and experiences our kids were facing would really stretch them to meet new and unfamiliar challenges. I have to say that this transition was really hard as parents and we needed as much support to strike our own balance and to find our legs as our kids did. Once again, we have found partners in the teachers and staff at Saint John’s Prep. As we navigated some tough stuff this year, we were met with strong support and lots of patience, compassion and the willingness to listen to our concerns and experiences with an open mind and heart. I am so grateful to know that I can reach out to our school leaders, counselors, staff and teachers and always find a partner willing to help.

Like many families, with the changes that have been thrust upon us by COVID-19, we found the necessary transition to online school initially pretty challenging. The upside of that challenge was getting to see the depth of empathy and commitment of our Saint John’s Prep leadership and teachers in action. As we navigated the new format and the loss of our in person connections and face to face social interactions, the leadership team took great care to check in with us routinely about how things were going. They listened to our feedback and then responded quickly with changes to provide the kind of support we needed. We had teachers provide second chances when it was obvious the learning didn’t happen as it might have in person. This demonstrated such kindness and respect. We had schedules altered to allow for more breaks from the iPads and more time for actually getting the work accomplished. As I listened to folks who have kids in other schools talk about their transitions, I knew we were in good hands. I am so grateful that Saint John’s Prep made the difficult and brave decision to start online school as early as they did and that they stayed tuned in and responsive to the teachers and students feedback.

Lastly, one thing that I was not expecting, but absolutely love about our transition to an online community, is the morning meditation with Brother Lucian and Brother Richard. Paul and I have been tuning in and it is a great way to start our day and to feel a real connection to our Saint John’s Prep community. Lizzy has also really liked this gift of intention. The chance to connect with staff and other parents and kids visually in Zoom has been precious!

 

Julie Diethelm
Middle School Prep Parent
Saint John’s Preparatory School

 

 

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