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Meet the New Staff at ASA: Getting to Know Allison Futch

It’s time for an introduction to another new All Saints Academy staff member, and this month we are highlighting Allison Futch. Allison is one of our third grade teachers, and she is becoming an integral part of our Lower School staff here at ASA. We were thankful to have the chance to sit down and interview her this week and learn more about her, and now we get to share her story, her love for teaching, and even a few fun facts, with you!

Allison was born in Jamestown, NY, and moved to Winter Haven with her family when she was only 12 years old (she says she still misses the changing of the seasons). Throughout her childhood she danced (from age 3!), was part of the Girl Scouts of America (beginning as a Brownie) and she enjoyed being a member at Beemer Methodist during high school. During high school she fell in love with the arts – specifically drama, theater, and playing the flute. But it was during these latter years of high school where she discovered her passion for education and teaching. Her lifelong love of being a role model and working with children started with the inspiration of her own 2nd grade teacher, Mrs. Cimo and continued through her time teaching Sunday school and leading children sermons at her church. She graduated from Winter Haven High School, class of 2006, as a member of the National Honor Society, and then attended Florida Southern College where she earned her Bachelor of Science in elementary education and was a member of the Kappa Delta Sorority. She completed her degree in 2010 and then went on to teach at Winter Haven’s Elbert Elementary until her second daughter was born. She continued her career in education at Florida Virtual School starting in 2016 and stayed until an opening came available right here at All Saints Academy where her daughter was already attending school.

This year at ASA, some of Allison’s favorite moments in the classroom have been working with a great group of kids who have a “helper’s” mindset. Their “Robot Roamers” class project required students to work together to design a maze, and then use a robot to navigate it to solve a math problem. This project incorporated teamwork and collaboration, both of which are very important skills to learn during the early years. At All Saints Academy this is also an integral part of our Middle and Upper school curriculum. Allison and her co-teacher Mrs. Hutton are building the foundation for the higher-level education to be received by each and every student at ASA as they move upward toward graduation. Another major part of her classroom is helping children become comfortable with the technology they’ll be using in their education at All Saints for years to come. As third graders, her students utilize laptops, iPads, and Promethium Boards help them practice skills such as reading comprehension and fluency (at their own pace) and gathering information. This part of their learning not only helps them during their years in school, but also as they head into a world that is increasingly invested in technology and its use in everyday life.

When it comes to goals for the future, Allison is currently working on her Reading Endorsement, which she will complete, within the next two years. This will help her as she encourages students to become better readers, and therefore, better students. She will also be serving in another role in our community in 2019/2020 as the President of the Junior League of Greater Winter Haven. This amazing organization seeks to empower and better women and families through volunteering in the community and participating in acts of service such as a mobile food pantry that serves many families in Dundee, Wahneta, Snively, and other local areas by partnering with a food provider in Tampa. The Junior League also sponsors the Light Up The Night 5K, and last year’s race raised over $15,000 that will go toward helping people in need.

Beyond teaching and volunteering, Allison enjoys spending time with her two daughters, Kate (age 4) and Victoria (age 1), and experiencing the great outdoors with her family. A few fun facts about Allison…

In 10 years where do you see yourself?

“Still teaching, taking care of the girls, and road trips across America.”

What do you enjoy doing with your daughters?

“Legoland, Bok Tower, and the Children’s Museum locally. We also enjoying being outdoors, going to restaurants, and traveling.”

What Is your favorite food?

“Tacos. Taco Tuesday is my language.”

What Is your favorite music?

“Country. The new stuff.”

If you were stranded on a desert island, what 3 things would you want with you (kids not included)?

“Cookware, matches, and a tent.”

Thank you Allison Futch for taking the time out of your busy schedule to allow us a glimpse into your life, and letting us get to know you a little better. If you see Allison around campus, make sure to stop and say hello!

Producing Oklahoma! How YOUR Support Helped Shape the Performance

It’s no secret that the bi-annual All Saints Academy All School Musical takes a village (or in the case of this year’s show, a town) to pull off, and the 2018 performance was no different. Oklahoma! was a huge success and was enjoyed by all who were able enjoy the live action! While our multiple student and faculty cast members did an outstanding job with their singing, dancing, and acting, we realize that the success of the show relied just as heavily on the behind-the-scenes support received from family, friends, and staff in the weeks leading up to the show.
Many people don’t understand just how deep that support goes. For the all school musical to be successful, students are needed to spend long hours well into the evening each night leading up to the play. So much so that they wouldn’t even have a break for dinner…unless someone brings it to them. Special thanks to Aggy Tolentino for organizing meals year after year! Our theater parents always come through, and they never fail to sign up and provide food for all of the theatre performers, musicians, directors, etc. In addition, these same parents have to spend time hunting down specific makeup, portions of their costumes, driving their student(s) back and forth to multiple rehearsals and practice performances, and still mange to keep their families on the rigorous school schedule that is well-known (and appreciated) at All Saints Academy. As you can see, the ASA All School Musical is greatly tied to our ASA parents and ASA community.
We also owe a huge thank-you to the staff of ASA, from stepping up and helping with last minute things related to the performance, to giving students specialized help to keep up with their studies in the midst of preparation for Oklahoma! and other extracurricular obligations. We believe that the skills learned through participating in performances like our all school musical are a huge asset to our students, and help them grow in ways that enhance their education instead of hinder it. Our educators believe in supporting our students’ various talents and will work hard to make sure they keep up academically while still putting their all into their acting.
Oklahoma! was so much fun, and while it took a village to pull off, it was well worth the effort! Thank you again to all who made this year’s fun performance possible. Stay tuned to find out what the next theatrical production by ASA will be!

ASA Serves: Our 2018 Special Olympics

An important aspect of student life at ASA is cultivating a heart of service. Community involvement, volunteer work, and other service-based projects are an integral part of not only our core values, but also our campus environment and education. One of our greatest and most beloved ways of instilling this service-driven mentality into our students is by our annual hosting of the Polk County Special Olympics.
While there are many articles and posts written online about how the Special Olympics benefit and enrich the lives of the participants, we want to give you some insight on how it benefits our students as they serve and volunteer their time and efforts to make the event possible. There are so many wonderful outcomes from time spent volunteering for our Special Olympics including:
  • Learning to celebrate diversity. The Special Olympics give insight that people of all backgrounds, walks of life, and abilities have value and are fully capable of achieving their goals. It’s important for children (and adults) to recognize that we all have varying talents, looks, resources, etc. but we are all an important part of society and the world around us.
  • Aspirations to achieve goals. Our students get to see, firsthand, the goal-driven and inspirational personalities of the various participants in our Special Olympics event. These athletes overcome obstacles, statistics, life circumstances and more to achieve their goals and our own students come away inspired to do their very best and reach their goals as well.
  • Learning to have a servant’s heart. Learning to serve is an important part of learning to be a true leader. By participating in the hosting of our ASA Special Olympics each year, our All Saints students are learning to go through life with the mentality of serving others and enriching the lives of those around them, and that will spill over into their daily life with peers, family, and future relationships.
Thank you to everyone who came out and made our 2018 Special Olympics so wonderful. We are so appreciative of the hard work and countless hours spent by volunteers to make it successful, and we know all participants and their families are thankful as well. We are already looking forward to Special Olympics 2019!

New Website Release! All Saints Academy’s New Integrated Site

This week, we were excited to launch our brand new integrated website for All Saints Academy. Our new site not only got a facelift and a fresh new look, but we updated and improved all aspects of the web experience for both ASA families and visitors to our website. What’s new and what can you expect?

First, we have an all new parent portal. To access, simply click on the yellow “Login” button in the top righthand corner of the home page. This will take you to the login page for the parent portal where you can access your student’s courses and schedule, and other pertinent information to help you manage your child’s school experience here at ASA.

Other new features of the integrated site include a quick link to the school calendar at the top of the home page, a Campus Life page where you can access dining services information (such as weekly menus), an Athletics page where you can easily link over to our sports site, and more. New visitors can find plenty of information about what we stand for at ASA and what makes us the premier private school in Polk County, Florida, as well as information about our curriculum, tuition and fees, and more.

If you haven’t already, head over to the new ASA site and look around! https://www.allsaintsacademy.com/page We can’t wait to see how this integrated website will help our current and future ASA families better navigate their experience at All Saints Academy, and how it will make this school year our best one yet!

Preparing Your Student for The Transition to Middle School

Middle school is traditionally difficult since it falls during a time when students are going through many physical and psychological changes, and are learning a whole new way to relate to one another and the world around them. As they mature, life can be confusing for your child, and when you throw in a complete transition at school as well, it could cause problems. While there isn’t a way to make life transitions “easy”, you can make them better with specialized support for your student and a few key tips to try as you head into the next school year.

First, familiarize your student with the new environment at their middle school. Oftentimes, students will be changing campuses altogether when they move up to middle school. Here at ASA, our students remain on the same campus, but will be transitioning into the “Upper School” portion, which feels like a whole new world. Regardless of the change, whether across the campus or across town, take your student to any and all orientations offered in the new place, including teacher meet-and-greets, sporting events and pep rallies, etc. Any opportunity to expose your child to the new people and places that will greet them on the first day of Middle School will help them feel more comfortable when the day arrives. ASA offers a “Gearing Up for Middle School” weeklong camp for rising 6th graders starting July 24th.

Also, help your student get comfortable with some of their new tasks and responsibilities. The summer before middle school begins is a vital time to teach time management and self-imposed scheduling. Middle school means your child will be changing classes, managing a lunch break, etc. It’s necessary for them to know how to manage their time so they aren’t late to class, or don’t miss lunch. Learning to stick to a schedule is important at this age and will continue to gain importance as they head toward college and adulthood. Small tasks should be practiced as well, like remembering the code to the lock on their locker (and how to unlock it), packing for school the night before (including gym clothes, sporting equipment, instruments, and other items needed for their day), and lunch, if they aren’t buying from school. While you will likely help them with some of these tasks for a period of time, they need to learn how to do these things on their own as they pass through the middle school years.

That leads us to the final way to prep your student for middle school, and that tip is: step back. By stepping back and letting your child take over more tasks and responsibility, you are allowing them to fly, and that is an important part of growing up. Yes, they still need you and will require your support for a long while. Remember to keep asking about their day, keep up with their friends and their grades, and involve yourself in every area where you can offer support. But when it comes to managing their days, it’s time to let them learn some lessons on their own, and take on the challenge of blossoming into young adults.

We look forward to seeing our newest middle schoolers here at ASA in just a few short weeks, and we can’t wait to welcome ALL of our students back to campus!

Stay Connected at ASA with A Swipe of Your Screen

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All Saints Academy is very open with our support and promotion of digital media and technology, both on our campus and in our curricula.  This support carries over to our school within the community and among our ASA families as well, through social media, our website, and even our blog.  No longer do you have to keep a printout of your child’s school calendar on your fridge or your desk.  You simply click the site and the calendar is always right at your fingertips, no matter where you are!  In this same way, our social media sites allow you to stay up to date with what’s going on at All Saints and communicate with other parents, students, and faculty.

Where can you look for All Saints online?

Facebook is our primary way to share ALL info about what’s going on at ASA.  Here we can create events for you to join, share photos, advertise for our school, and more.  We post on here consistently throughout the day so chances are you’ll find what you’re looking for!  Like our page, and our posts will show up in your own personal newsfeed as they go live, so you won’t miss out on anything going on at our school.  Find our Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/LetsGoSaints/.

Not a fan of Facebook, or don’t want to go to the trouble of getting an account?  We share school events, photos, and information about our school on our Google+ page daily.  This account is accessible without being a part of Google+ yourself, so you don’t have to commit.  Simply follow this link https://plus.google.com/117265607845281462002 to keep up with ASA!

Finally, if Twitter is more of your style, you can find us there too!  We share short updates about what’s going on at All Saints on our Twitter page each day, and it’s also a great way for us to connect with other Twitter users in the community.  Follow us at https://twitter.com/AllSaints_FL to stay in touch!

We can’t wait to hear from you, and interact with you through our online pages.  All Saints loves using the same technology we integrate into our school to connect with our families and our neighbors in the Polk County community.  Get on your phone, your tablet, or your computer and get connected with ASA!

2017 Summer Camps at ASA

Now that Spring Break is behind us, many of us here in Polk County have summer on the brain, and we are gearing up for fun vacations with family, soaking up the sun, and resting up after another successful school year.  Many parents also use the summer months as a way to enrich their children’s educations with various camps and activities that continue the fun of learning outside of the classroom.  All Saints Academy is a popular choice for summer camps each year, because it allows children from throughout our community, whether an ASA student or not, to enjoy time with our fully qualified counselors and instructors, and spend their days on our campus.

Camps at ASA are of varying lengths, are open to differing age groups, and have an array of subjects and activities to choose from.  Our sports camps focus on soccer, football, cheerleading, or lacrosse and, depending on the sport, are offered to children starting as young as Kindergarten.  Pre-K and Kindergarten students can enjoy our day camps where they will participate in outside activities, arts and crafts projects, fun with friends, and more.  These camps also focus on Kindergarten readiness skills, so you know your child’s summer is being instrumental in preparing them for the following school year.

For elementary students and middle school students, our Recreational and Instructional camps are a huge hit!  Grades 1-5 can participate in Discovery Camps where we cover topics such as crime scene investigation, nutrition and health, space and planetary studies, and even physics.  Rising and current middle school students can choose from instructional camps focusing on engineering, drama, digital media, or even video game design.  The learning opportunities are endless!

If you are interested in signing your student up for one or more of our upcoming summer opportunities, check out our list and register your student here.  We can’t wait to see you this summer at All Saints Academy!

Q & A with Kwame (’13)

By Melissa Lobozzo,
ASA Director of Communications

This fall, Harvard Law School is gaining one of All Saints Academy’s best and brightest when All Saints Alumnus, Kwame Newton (2013) settles in for his first semester. I sat down for a Q & A with Kwame to retrace his steps from here to Harvard. Continue reading “Q & A with Kwame (’13)”

A Superior Education Symposium: Pasi Sahlberg on Finland And Its Educational System

Mark your calendars for Tuesday, January 31st, and join us at the Polk Theatre in downtown Lakeland from 6:30-8:30 PM as we glean valuable knowledge from Dr. Pasi Sahlberg, former Director General at The Ministry of Education and Culture in Finland.  Sahlberg was a visiting Professor at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, and he is an expert in his field regarding the educational system in Finland, and why it is considered superior to those throughout the rest of the world.

Dr. Sahlberg’s book, “Finnish Lessons: What Can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland,” is a best seller and explains in detail how the Finnish approach to teaching children outshines the global educational reform movement.  Some stark differences in the Finnish system compared with the educational model through most of the Western world include:

  • Children do not start school until they are seven years of age, and then are not measured (by assessments, tests, or other means) for the first six years of their education.
  • Science classes in Finnish schools are capped at around 16 students to allow for practical experiments to be performed by each student on a regular basis in class.
  • Elementary students in Finnish schools get an average of 75 minutes per day in recess.
  • The national curriculum serves as only a broad guideline.

These differences, along with many more, are why we are fascinated with the Finnish school system and their educational model, and look forward to hearing what Dr. Sahlberg has to say in his presentation.  We encourage you to come out for this event hosted by All Saints Academy and take the opportunity to learn about bettering the current and future education system here for our own children.

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