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Meet the New Staff at ASA: Getting to Know Coach Stuart Weiss

We are thankful for our excellent team of teachers, coaches, and staff that make All Saints Academy one of Polk County’s best educational opportunities. One of those valued team members is Stuart Weiss, our Athletic Director and Head Football Coach who joined ASA in the summer of 2017. From his first day as a Saint, Coach Weiss got to work to preparing the student athletes for a successful year. His efforts certainly paid off, as our Fall Sports teams had tremendous results, with a second Football State Championship title, and players from both the Golf team and the Swim/Dive team heading to the state level of competition. Not bad for the first semester at ASA!

So who is Coach Weiss? The son of a career military father, he felt a strong pull towards serving and protecting his community, and worked as a law enforcement officer for 20 years. Following retirement from the police force, Coach Weiss returned to school and earned a degree in religion and criminal justice from Liberty University.

Coach Weiss’s coaching career began at Cambridge Christian School in Tampa before continuing to Seffner Christian Academy where, along with coaching football, he taught PE, religion, and high school elective courses. He became president of the Sunshine State Athletic Conference and accepted the opportunity to serve as the Head coach of International Community School of Orlando. Through his work with the Sunshine State Athletic Conference, he worked with Coach Hollway and became familiar with ASA’s athletic program; that knowledge helped him hit the ground running when he joined the All Saints Academy family in July.

Coach Weiss and his wife, Joanna, live in Valrico and enjoy an active lifestyle with their 5 sons, ranging in ages from 8 to 27 years old. They enjoy family trips to the beach or the lake when they have down time. In his pre-coaching life, Stuart enjoyed racing cars. Some other fun facts about our own Coach Weiss:

When asked about plans for the future, Coach Weiss shared his excitement as our student athletes continue to represent the Saints with integrity and good sportsmanship – and he anticipates additional championships to come! We are thankful to have Coach Weiss here as part of the ASA family, and look forward to seeing our student athletes achieve excellence under his leadership.

Want to learn more about athletics at All Saints Academy? Check our our school athletics web site for information on coaches, teams, and upcoming competitions.

New Year, New Beginnings: Making 2018 A Great Year at ASA

Happy New Year to all of our ASA students, families, and staff! We are excited to see what 2018 holds for all of us here at All Saints Academy, and we want to encourage our students to think of this year as a time for a fresh start. This is a wonderful time for setting new goals, trying new things, and putting your best foot forward as we begin our second semester. We wanted to share a few habits to incorporate into your new year to make it your best yet:

  • Set up a new routine: Sometimes, a fresh start needs nothing more than a few adjustments to your schedule. Getting up 30 minutes earlier than you did last semester could be exactly what you need to make sure you can begin your day with a good breakfast, plenty of time to prepare for school, and much less stress than a rushed schedule caused by sleeping too late. Ensuring that you get enough rest is important too, so keeping a consistent and reasonably early bedtime is another great way to kick off the spring semester in the right way.
  • Branch out and try something new: While it’s great to have sports, clubs, and activities in which you are comfortable and experienced, there’s much to be gained by exploring new opportunities. This could be your year to step forward and try out for a new sport, pick up a new instrument, or join a new club. You never know what talents and skills might be revealed!
  • Be proactive and have a plan: Creating a plan and setting goals is key to building a framework for success, whether they be academic, personal, or (in the case of our graduating Seniors) professional. Take the time to write down your goals and place them where they will be a frequent reminder to keep you motivated as the semester progresses.
  • Reach out and expand your social circle: We are excited to have several new students join the All Saints Academy family this semester. Look for opportunities to get to know our newest Saints and encourage them to join in the many aspects of life at ASA.

We look forward all that the coming year holds for each of our students. All Saints Academy families know that faculty and staff are here to work alongside each student to ensure success on all levels, and we make it our own personal goal to see each child achieve his or her highest potential both in the classroom and out in the world.

Let’s make 2018 the best year yet at All Saints Academy!

Home for The Holidays

Christmas is quickly approaching, and All Saints Academy is bustling this week with students taking midterms, faculty completing first semester lessons, and preparation for the celebration of love, joy and peace with friends and family from far and near. We are enjoying the many visits from alumni who are back home for the holiday season and are looking forward to spending time with them at various school events and at our annual Alumni Holiday Party.
This year’s event will be held at Lakeland Brewing Company on December 22nd. We’ll be celebrating together from 6-8 PM in this fun venue right beside Lake Mirror. Come out and enjoy catching up with other ASA alum and faculty as we enjoy delicious food, a beautiful view, and the relaxing ambiance of Lakeland Brewing Co. Please RSVP to events@allsaintsacademy.com by Monday, December 18th so we can save your spot and add you to the guest list!
Another meaningful way for our alumni to participate in the festivities at ASA this year is by giving back to our school as we continue to serve the current student body and prepare future All Saints alumni. This year has been both wonderful and challenging so far, as we kicked off the 2017-2018 school year with Hurricane Irma and saw the beauty of our community rallying around our school amidst the damage sustained in the storm. Charitable gifts go a long way in helping us get return to normal, and therefore open our doors to even more students in the coming year. If All Saints Academy has touched your life, either as a student, parent, grandparent, or faculty member, and you feel led to give back this holiday season, visit our site for more information on how you can help us inspire independent thinkers, principled leaders, and humble learners. We thank you in advance for paying it forward and helping us continue to create a transformational experience for students.
Welcome home to our alumni, and Happy Holidays to our friends and neighbors from All Saints Academy!

Finishing Strong: Being Your Best At The End of The School Semester

As Christmas break quickly approaches, and we prepare to wrap up the first semester of the 2017-2018 school year, it can be hectic with various holiday activities, school assignments, exams, presentations, performances, and more. While all of the flurry can be fun with the anticipation of this special time, it can be helpful to have some tips to help you through when the days seem full and you aren’t quite sure from where you’ll pull the time or energy to make it through the next thing on the calendar. We are encouraging our students (and teachers) to finish strong this semester, and put their very best self forward at the end of 2017.

Some tips we offered them in the classroom might help you too, so keep these things in mind as you prepare for the upcoming holidays:

Be Intentional with Your Time

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed if you look at a to-do list, or a weekly calendar, and see a variety of due dates and activities facing you. If you just start running from one thing to the next with no forethought or a plan, you might end up wasting valuable time. Have a loose “game plan” for each day, with the highest priorities at the top of the list, and things that could wait at the bottom. If items could be grouped together (such as, studying for a final exam on the bus ride to your basketball game) it will save time and effort, and could leave you with more checked off your list each day than you expected! Also, have a planner or calendar where all activities, homework assignments, exams, games, etc. are listed with times and specific notes. This gives you a “master plan” to work from each day, so nothing important gets overlooked. This intentional planning of your time will guarantee that you end the semester with everything checked off and ready to enjoy the holidays!

We Succeed Together, NOT Solo

Teamwork is important in education, and not just in collaborative projects or on the football field. At ASA we encourage students to think of their teachers, mentors, advisors, and other school faculty as part of their team, and to use them as a support system when trying to finish the semester strong. We want our students to succeed, so extra help is ready and waiting for those who ask. Don’t struggle along by yourself! Pull resources from those around you so we can all enjoy a successful end to the semester.

Take Care of YOU

Don’t forget about yourself in the hustle and bustle. Taking time out for health and wellness is most important at this time of year, since no one wants to be under the weather over break! Engaging in regular physical activity through exercise such as yoga, running, sports, or other fun choices is a great way to relieve stress, improve circulation and cardiovascular function, and give you a clear head to keep working hard. Be mindful of what you eat as well, since holiday treats are lurking at every corner and the excess sugar can actually decrease energy and make you feel worse instead of better. We aren’t saying you can’t enjoy a Christmas cookie or a party treat, but make sure you’re fitting in all your healthy choices too! Finally, get enough SLEEP. Lack of sleep is a common issue at the end of the school year, but failing to get your 8 hours each night could have consequences far greater than dozing off in class. Lack of adequate sleep means you’ll have a harder time studying and paying attention to lectures, might struggle on exams, and have overall poor performance which is not how you want to finish out 2017.

As we prepare for the next couple of busy weeks here at All Saints Academy, we hope you feel encouraged to finish strong. Whether you presented at the Innovation Studios NuVu exhibition this week, performing in the Upper or Lower school holiday concert, or gearing up for exams, know we are here for you and ready to help you accomplish your goals and be your very best in the coming New Year.

The “Nu” Way to Collaborate: How ASA Is Building Creative Leaders

Creative problem solving, ​innovation, ​and collaboration ar​e​ important parts of the curriculum at All Saints Academy. ​Our students ​are challenged ​to carefully consider all angles of a problem and brainstorm multiple solutions both in and out of the classroom, and we ​encourage them to work with ​their peers to get a well-rounded perspective and diverse opinions when ​exploring these solutions. Few things embody this more though than our partnership with NuVu​​ ​and our Innovation Studio coursework for high school students.

NuVu​​, based out of Cambridge, Massachusetts, is by their own definition, a “full-time innovation school” for students of middle and high school age. They teach their students how to understand and participate in the full creative process, from the very beginning when an idea is sparked, to completion of the prototypes​, through the final presentation of their product. ​They do this through collaboration with other students, and offering “studios” rather than courses, where students work with coaches on solving open-ended questions. They give students large chunks of time to work through their ideas, rather than breaking the work into short, one-hour segments like ​a​ ​traditional class ​model. Throughout the process, NuVu students are creating a digital portfolio, which will serve them well as part of a college resume.

​Last year, ​All Saints Academy unveiled our own ​dedicated ​space for our NuVu partnership, in ​creating ​the Baldwin Center for Innovation and Collaboration. Our “Maker Space” was even featured in a write-up by the Winter Haven Chamber, and ​gives our students a place to take their ideas from a simple concept to a fully-developed, tangible product that is able to be used by its intended audience. Named after our Head of School, Carolyn Baldwin, ​whose vision established the partnership with NuVu, the space offers access to multiple 3D printers, high-end Mac computers equipped with CAD (Computer Aided Design) software, and a laser-cutting machine. There is also common space for students to meet and participate in discussion while collaborating on their topic’s potential solutions, and a variety of studio workspace and materials at the students’ disposal.

If all of this creativity interests you, we’d love to invite you ​join us at the upcoming Innovation Studio Exhibition, on December 5, 2017 at 5:30 PM​, beginning in the Pou Chapel​. The exhibition will showcase the work our 9-12th grade students completed in our Innovation Studio this ​semester, and will give you an opportunity to see how ​transformational the NuVu partnership has been for our school. We can’t wait to see how​ our students use​ the skills ​mastered in ​their Innovation Studio as they graduate and head out into the world.

Integrated Education: How Our Youngest Students Learn Through Play

Here at All Saints Academy, the phrase “no pencils required” is often used to describe our educational philosophy. This means we strive to provide learning through a variety of experiences, hands-on activities, rich literature and reading materials, and discussion among educators and students. For our youngest students in our Lower School​,​ a lot of this learning comes through play.

Play is something that comes naturally for children, yet gives them a wide array of educational opportunities​, and we endeavor to create an environment where “learning” and “fun” are one and the same for our young students. ​ Walk into one of our Pre-K or Kindergarten classrooms here at ASA and you’ll find days filled with music, dancing, imaginative play, visits to our hydroponic and vegetable gardens and pond habitat, and of course, plenty of time in our “Discovery Zone.”

What is this Discovery Zone? Essentially, this area is where students in Pre-K through Grade 1 are introduced to math, science, technology, and design concepts through ​the ​exploration that comes naturally to children of this age. Activities like the magnetic wall, the light table, engineering blocks, sensory table, artistic tinker lab, and even robot exploration are available for children to enjoy through play, all the while building the foundation that will make up their education throughout their time at All Saints Academy, all the way up to our Upper School Innovation in the Baldwin Center for Innovation and Collaboration.

Collaboration is another important part of our Lower School (Pre-K to Grade 5) at ASA, and we incorporate it through programs ​like our ​Learning Buddies, pairing students across grade levels,, and through various clubs and extracurricular activities available for various age groups. These clubs and activities also bridge subjects like performing and fine arts, leadership opportunities, technology, and more. Nothing is one-dimensional in the curriculum at ASA. Our goal is for each activity, and each learning opportunity, to engage many parts of our students’ minds, and give them the highest quality, well-rounded education possible.

If you are interested in learning more about how we approach education from the earliest age at All Saints, we have plenty of information here, and with a simple click or two you can learn more about our learning opportunities and curriculum for middle school and Upper School students as well. The spark of a love for learning begins early, and our goal is to fan that flame and turn it into a blaze that motivates our oldest students far beyond their days at ASA.

All Saints Academy: Preparing Students for College and Beyond

As we wrap up our fall semester at ASA, the talk of college begins to play a big part in conversations around campus and within the families of our current juniors and seniors. We are a College Preparatory school here at All Saints Academy, as we know that investing in a higher education gives our students a much wider variety of bigger and better opportunities as they start out in life. We take pride in our legacy of 100% college acceptance, and our students know that our College Advising Program is dedicated to making sure they don’t just go to college, but that they find the institution that is the right fit for them and their future! Just this past year, our 2017 graduating class had all 54 students enroll in 4-year college or university. Those are numbers we can be proud of!

All Saints students are accepted into an array of quality, prestigious schools all over the southeast and east, and we currently have alumni attending Harvard, Northwestern, Washington University, Samford, University of Florida, and many more. Elizabeth Martin here on our ASA campus says the big decisions for our seniors will be coming up during second semester, which means we will likely hear exciting announcements of All Saints being represented at a whole new wave of universities for the 2018-2019 academic year. All Saints offers plentiful support during the process of researching and choosing colleges, since we know this is a big decision for our students (and their parents!) and isn’t to be taken lightly.

Nancy Korman, our Director of College Advising, is your go-to person to talk about your student’s upcoming preparation for higher education, and she can let you know about upcoming events right here on campus that can give your child a glimpse into various college choices. ASA frequently has college representatives on campus to visit with our students and discuss their school. The list over recent years has included, but is not limited to, UF, FSU, University of Miami, UC Davis (California), Boston University, Vanderbilt, University of Chicago, University of Alabama, Auburn, Southern Methodist College, Washington and Lee, Davidson, and many more. These opportunities can help students make a short list of schools they are most interested in, and can then focus on researching intently during their senior year.

Another way we prepare our students for the college search process is with our annual college class trip. Each year, our juniors take a trip to visit multiple college campuses including Flagler, Clemson University, Wofford College, Erskine, Mercer University, Oglethorpe, and Georgia Tech. Seeing campuses firsthand gives our students a better idea of what to look for when choosing a university, and some key things they may want to look for and/or avoid when selecting a school. As our juniors are just beginning this journey, many of our seniors are currently working out details of their final selection, and Auburn, FSU, Berry College, University of Tampa, and Furman University are already on the list of chosen colleges for the 2018 graduating class.

Want to learn more about how we handle college advising here at All Saints Academy? Our College Advising Program page has plenty of valuable information (find it here) and can give you an idea of what to expect for your junior or senior student here at ASA. Congratulations to our 2018 graduates who have already chosen their next step, and to those who are still researching and deciding, know we are here for you this school year!

Swing Into The Swamp 2017

The countdown is on for All Saints Academy’s biennial “Swing Into The Swamp” event, and we can’t wait! This casual, adults only, evening of dining, dancing, and (friendly) rivalry surrounding an auction benefitting our school is always a great time for all who attend, and we hope to see YOU in the crowd! The auction is an opportunity for those in our school, and in the Polk County community, to come together for fun and support a great cause at the same time.

Our Swing Into The Swamp event isn’t your ordinary school auction. Items included in the bidding for past events have ranged from deluxe vacation packages to a variety of enticing locations, to sporting event tickets for the whole family. Local restaurants and businesses also generously support the event, and we always have a wonderful array of gift cards and service packages on the table. There is sure to be something for everyone at the auction, and competition is always interesting as bidders try their best to walk away with the prize. Swing into The Swamp 2017’s list of items up for grabs is better than ever before, including:

  • a long-distance getaway to Denmark! Enjoy a 10,000 Danish Krone gift card to smalldanishhotels.com and book your dream trip!
  • 6 2-park passes to Universal Studios AND a stay at any of the 5 Universal resorts. This package, valued at $1,300, could be a fun trip for the whole family, or an adults only trip with friends.
  • Dinner for two at The Chef’s Table at the Terrace Hotel. Enjoy an evening out with a relaxing atmosphere and delicious food. What a perfect date night!
  • Full-day pontoon boat rental on the Chain of Lakes. There is no better way to enjoy the very best of Central Florida than from the water. Grab your favorite drink, and relax with a day of sunshine and fresh air.
  • and SO MUCH MORE…

This year’s event is happening on Friday, November 10th at the Lone Palm Golf Club in Lakeland. The Lone Palm is a premier, private golf club and it serves as a beautiful and relaxing backdrop for a casual evening spent with friends while enjoying “Swing Into The Swamp.” Casual attire is appropriate, but if you really want to get into the “team spirit”, team wear of your choice is encouraged. You don’t want to miss this evening of camaraderie with fellow ASA parents and community supporters. Information about purchasing tickets will be released soon, so watch out for the dates and locations of sale so you don’t miss out on this event. After all, you won’t get another chance for 2 more years!

Let’s get ready to “Swing Into The Swamp”.. See you there!

Reason to Give: How the Halo Fund Helps ASA Serve Our Community

All Saints Academy is well known throughout Central Florida for offering the very best in independent education for students in and around the Polk County area. Our goal is to give children the brightest future possible in their chosen field, and we are fortunate that our tuition assistance funds make it possible for All Saints Academy to open our doors to students of all backgrounds. As an independent school, we do not receive government funding but instead rely upon tuition fees and the generous donations from our community who believe in our mission to inspire independent thinkers, principled leaders, and humbler learners.

That generosity is evident each year through the Halo Fund at ASA. The Halo Fund is the philanthropic embodiment of community at All Saints Academy. Board members, staff, parents, alumni, and even parents of alumni come together to meet the needs of the school with their willing hands and giving hearts. This fund helps us offer the creative, challenging, and community-oriented education our families know and love. This sense of community is why many families at ASA choose to give to the Halo Fund each year. They appreciate that their children are seeing the benefits of giving back being reaped in their own education each day. In other words, it’s a hands-on lesson of the benefits of generosity, and a great opportunity for those who are currently part of All Saints Academy, or have been in the past, to give back to the school. Read stories from our own families and ASA community members on our Facebook feed where we have been sharing about giving for the last several weeks.

We are proud to announce that we have 100% participation from our Trustees, Staff, and Teachers this year and are close to several classes reaching 90%. If you are interested in contributing to this year’s Halo Fund campaign, you can make a gift directly to the school here. We appreciate the generous spirit of all those who support All Saints Academy each year, and we look forward to continuing to serve the Polk County community for years to come. Let’s be #AllinforAllSaints!

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