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Welcome Summer! Why Students at ASA Know That A Break from School Isn’t A Break from Learning

Congratulations to all of our students, faculty and staff, educators, and parents here at ASA on making it to Summer Break 2018! We enjoyed a great year of learning, creating, having fun, and continuing the tradition of excellence in education that All Saints Academy is known and loved for in our community. While we are all ready for the relaxation and time away that summer offers, parents, teachers, and students alike know that summer is no reason for the fun of learning to end, and is, in fact, the perfect opportunity to enhance what you’ve been doing all year long in the classroom.

Reading is a huge part of keeping your child’s mind active during the summer months. According to the U.S. Department of Education, each year teachers report students suffering from “summer learning loss,” and unfortunately, it can have long-lasting consequences. Failing to keep your child’s mind engaged over the summer with educational opportunities (especially reading) means they can fall behind. In fact, experts calculate that students who lose reading ability over the summer break period can end up with approximately 3 years of reading loss by the time they reach 5th grade. So, what can we do to protect our children from falling behind while still letting them enjoy their summer vacation? Read to them, read with them, and let them see YOU reading too! Households with a “reading culture” produce students who love to read, and therefore, love to learn. Florida’s own Ann Scott says, “The gift of literacy is one of the greatest gifts we can give our children. Books can have a profound and lasting impact on the reader and I encourage Florida families to take every opportunity to make reading a part of their daily lives.” One of your greatest tools you’ll employ this summer when establishing a reading culture in your home is a library card. This free resource opens up an entire world to you and your student(s), and allows you to provide them with a blend of both fictional and non-fictional reading material that will keep their minds fed all summer long. Plan to make regular trips to the library, and ask about programs offered to students during the summer at your local branch. Many of them offer incentive programs or clubs with prizes offers for books read, and most libraries in our area also offer a story time for younger children who can’t yet read on their own. Even road trips for your summer travels can become learning opportunities with audio book selections offered through your local branch. These let students of all ages learn about a topic together, and are a huge help for children who may get carsick when trying to read from a book or a tablet screen. Along with reading when thinking of road trips, plan ways to make your summer travels and vacations an immersive learning experience for your student too! Visiting aquariums, zoos, museums, art galleries, historic sites, and more can be a great way for students to make connections between what they learned in the classroom and what they can see/touch/experience on their travels. This type of immersion is a great way to help your student fully understand the subject at hand and remember it in a way only possible with these in-person, real life experiences.

In addition to reading and travel experiences, there are plenty of educational camps and programs in the Central Florida area and beyond. We have an extensive list of summer camp choices right here at ASA, for the youngest K-5 learners all the way through high school. With subjects ranging from Exploration, to Sports, to Fine Arts (including dance and drama), your student is sure to find something they love, and won’t even realize that they are investing in their education in the midst of having a great time. We know that YOU as the parent will see the exponential benefits of these camps for years to come. Older students at the high school level can also use the summer to participate in volunteer projects, internships, and other activities that will go a long way in boosting their resume as they apply for college in the coming years. Local colleges and universities even offer summer courses for students who would like to engage in continued learning during the summer months, and these can be a wonderful opportunity for young people who want to further explore a specific subject, or better master skills they’ll be using in the upcoming 2018-2019 school year.

We hope all of our families here at All Saints Academy have a wonderful summer vacation, and we can’t wait to see all of you back on campus this Fall. We encourage you to get out there and enjoy the world around you this summer, and take every opportunity to live and learn to the fullest during your time out of the classroom. See you soon!

Excellence in Education…and Application! What Makes the ASA Admissions Process Unique

When it comes to choosing a school for your student, first impressions are vital to making a decision, and those impressions are most often made during the admissions process. From application to interviews with leadership, the admissions process can look very different from school to school. We feel that All Saints Academy has honed the art of this process into something unique, enjoyable for students and parents, and effective in continuing our legacy of excellence in education. So, just what sets the ASA application process apart from other schools?

First, we are highly personal with potential families from the start. From the moment you click on that Application page on our website (found here), you have access to our Director of Admissions who is always ready and willing to answer any of your questions, address any concerns, and walk you through each step so you can move forward with confidence. You aren’t just “another number” or a random application coming through the system. You are seen, heard, and valued as a potential ASA family and we want to be here for you from the very beginning.

Once you send in your student’s application, he or she will be asked to schedule an entrance exam. Students applying for Pre-K through Grade 3 will have a time scheduled for an on-campus evaluation to determine their readiness for the upcoming year, whereas students entering Grade 4 and above will most likely be asked to take the SSAT, especially if applying from out of town. We do have in-house assessments available, given here at the school for those that shadow with us. Our Lower School candidates work one-on-one with Donna Lyle to complete the K-TEA III (r1-r6) and the NIH Toolbox (PS2-PK). Rising 7-12 graders take the OLSAT 8 here in Admissions. We also offer financial assistance with any applicable testing fees in some circumstances, and we provide assistance in scheduling the exams, so feel free to contact us about this at any time. Following the evaluation/testing, students ages 2nd grade through 5th grade are also asked to provide a teacher recommendation and submit a candidate questionnaire. Students 6th grade and up must give both an English instructor and Math instructor recommendation, in addition to the candidate questionnaire. Once these steps are completed, if results are satisfactory, the student will move on to the next step in the ASA application process, which is where the real magic begins.

During the application process, students are invited onto campus for a “Shadow Day,” where they are paired with a current student in their own grade level. This peer is their buddy for the day, and your student will go with them through an entire “day in the life” at All Saints Academy, from lockers to lunch and everything in between. Unlike a basic visit where you walk through with the Principal or office assistant, this experience gives your child a true sense of what everyday learning and living is like at ASA, and is a great way to make an informed decision about whether or not our school is a great fit for your student. For students who are currently 5th grade (Lower School) but are applying for their 6th grade year (Middle School), he will be placed with a 5th grade peer, but will spend a portion of their day with a 6th grade student as well so they get the best of both worlds: meeting their (hopefully) future peers, but also getting an idea of the Middle School campus and classes.

Another unique aspect of the application and admissions process at ASA is how we do our tours. School tours for both the Middle and Upper School are not done by administrators or a teacher, but rather, from the students that are actually attending our school. Our Student Ambassadors (a group of Upper School students dedicated to welcoming new faces at All Saints) offer tours of our campus during their advisory periods during certain times each week. If you are interested in one of these tours, you can contact our office and learn more! Here’s what some of our current students had to say about their own application process:

“I really liked everything in the process…everyone was very nice and supportive. I loved the process, and I love the school.” 

-Erica, Grade 10

“I really liked how everyone was friendly and welcoming during my shadow day.” 

-Ciara, Grade 10

We look forward to welcoming all new students for the 2018-2019 school year, and can’t wait to have them as part of the ASA family for years to come. Please feel free to contact us if you think we are the right fit for your family, and know we are here to answer any questions and help in any way we can. See you soon!

Time to Dance: The 2018 ASA Spring Dance Show

It’s that time of year! The annual dance showcase here at All Saints Academy is not just a tradition, but something looked forward to by our students, our parents, and alumni. This April show is a combination of pieces performed by ASA soloists, group dances, sibling numbers, and even father-daughter numbers. It’s a wonderful way for our dancers to show what they’ve learned in their dance studies throughout the year, and for them to get a taste of the stage.

According to the Huffington Post dancing isn’t just for fun – it’s really good for your health. “Research shows dancing can improve your mental health by boosting your overall happiness.” How?

1. Dancing is a great workout for your heart.
2. It’s fun!
3. It’s social.
4. Anyone can do it.
5. Keeps your brain sharp.
6. Gentle on the body.
7. Improves your balance.
8. You don’t need equipment.

This year’s performance is themed “No Business Like Show Business” and will be made up of numbers set to music from popular movies, iconic tv shows, theater pieces, and even show tunes. Our much-loved Mrs. Jeaniene Wright is our dance instructor and choreographer, and is a veteran of this “May show” as this is her 19th year heading it up! She answered some questions about why she values this annual show and why it’s important to her and to all of the families at ASA…

What is your all-time favorite memory from this show?

 “I love the senior dances. They are really fun to rehearse.”

Why is this show so important for ASA? 

“I feel being in a show teaches you self-discipline, organization, material management, commitment, and the performance builds confidence. I love that the older dancers help teach and assist at all the Lower School dance rehearsals.”

What would you like to say to future dancers at ASA? 

“Experience all the opportunities that ASA has to offer – BUT COMMIT! If dance is your main interest, take classes!”

We can’t wait to see what Mrs. Wright and her students have in store for us at this year’s show. Join us at the Polk Theater on April 28th at 4:00 PM to enjoy this school wide performance and encourage the students who have worked so hard to make it possible. See you there!

Augmented Reality Is Becoming A Reality at ASA

Augmented reality is a hot topic in current technology, and many gaming systems and entertainment sectors have capitalized on it, allowing gamers to seemingly experience sights and sounds that would otherwise be inaccessible. Of course, this technology can also be used in a variety of ways for educational purposes, and companies such as Google are jumping on board and inviting schools to sample exactly what augmented reality can offer their students and how it can enhance the educational experience for students of all ages.

Recently, All Saints Academy was honored to be chosen by the Google Expeditions AR Pioneer Program to participate in a day of introduction to the AR software being promoted for schools. We were excited to have Google on campus for a day of training teachers and exposing students to the amazing technology offered and how it can open up a world of learning opportunities in the classroom. While ASA has already incorporated AR into some of our classrooms (like that of Mrs. Kelly McNeil), the software brought by Google is a much higher level than many on the market, allowing students (and teachers) to “go through” and inside objects and see details of the subject matter not previously possible with other programs (such as Quiver AR, NASA 3DV, etc.). For the demonstration day here at All Saints, we had to meet certain classroom requirements and follow guidelines set by their representative, but once we met those they brought in all of their own equipment and were very helpful in using it. The hardware consists of Asus cell phones mounted on selfie sticks (this could change as the technology is further developed before being publicly released) and utilities an app. Mrs. Kelly McNeil says this about the process:

“Once the app is launched, the teacher has a ‘lead device’ and the teacher’s phone can control the other phones in terms of a pause button and go forward in the images. There are QR-type codes on laminated 8.5×11 pieces of paper all around the vicinity where the students are standing. The teacher instructs the students to scan the codes, and when they do, the Augmented Reality image pops up. There were different images based on each teacher and the lesson they chose to lead. I chose DaVinci’s Creations, so the first image was The Renaissance Man. Teachers had bits of information on their devices that they could read about each image, and students walked around the images looking at them up close and through them on their devices. Some images were a little more interactive  (like the Crossbow would actually shoot out little pebbles, the Robotic Knight had moving gears, etc.). If you are familiar with Pokemon Go AR – how you can ‘superimpose’ a Pokemon on top of the real background you see through your cell phone camera – this is how AR works. So the students were seeing giant images of all sorts through the camera while also seeing the real background of the library or room they were in.”

Other lessons taught to 362 of our students during the demonstration day at ASA included:

  • Jeanine Yacoub – Organic Chemistry and The Circulatory System
  • TJ Woolford – The World of Ancient Rome
  • John Iskra – Moon Landing
  • Amy Jahna, Heather Womersley, Marty Lopez, Kat Morris – Ecosystems of a Coral Reef
  • Jen Giansiracusa – The Space Race
  • Barbara Sheekey and Valerie Satterfield – Phases of the Moon
  • Allison Futch and Eileen Hutton – Dinosaurs
  • Virginia Drake-Jacobson and Kelly Harrington – Forces of Nature
  • Kelly McNeil – DaVinci’s Inventions
  • Grant Lyons – Topographical Continents

All Saints Academy is thrilled to have been picked to participate in trying out the trial of this technology. We look forward to offering our own feedback, as well as the feedback of our students, to further the project and hopefully move the product toward a public release and the opportunity for more schools to incorporate it into their educational programs. We look forward to seeing Augmented Realty become a reality at All Saints Academy, and hope it will only add to the already outstanding curriculum and educational environment we offer at ASA.

Now Open: 2018 Re-Enrollment at All Saints Academy

This week, on February 5th, we are kicking off our 2018 re-enrollment period here at ASA. All Saints Academy operates with two separate enrollment periods each year. The first, priority re-enrollment, is reserved for current ASA families to register their children for the upcoming school year before those seats are available to the public, ensuring that their child has a place. Once priority re-enrollment ends, enrollment will open up to the public. That means you can still find a spot for your student at ASA if you are already part of our school, but you will be doing so alongside new families who wish to join the All Saints family as well.
There are a variety of benefits to re-enrollment, not just for parents, but for our teachers and faculty as well. Open enrollment offers:
  • An estimate on what the incoming class for the upcoming school year will look like. By knowing which grades have more/fewer openings, we know how to tailor our efforts during open enrollment through marketing, Open Houses, and other community outreach opportunities to bring new students into our classrooms. Having an early estimate of what the next year will look like in regards to the student body is a huge help to the faculty here at ASA.
  • Help for our teachers when planning for their individual classrooms. Needed supplies, amount of space, number of chairs and/or desks, etc. are all dependent upon knowing how many children one will have in his or her classroom. Our teachers at ASA like to plan and prepare early each year, since their goal is to offer the very best to their classes on the first day of the next year. That planning begins before the previous year has ended, and our re-enrollment period helps immensely. Teachers will have a “pre-estimate” of the number of children in their classrooms, and that is a huge factor in preparing for the upcoming school year.
  • An idea of how many “extras” are needed. From sports, to arts, to clubs and activities, we pride ourselves on an extensive extracurricular selection at All Saints Academy. These electives take effort and time on the part of staff, coaches, and other leadership though, and being able to plan early for them is important. An early opportunity to know how many potential students we could have will help us as we plan for the learning that will take place outside of the classroom.
As we embark on re-enrollment this year, we encourage you to take advantage of our priority re-enrollment period, and secure your spot for the 2018-2019 school year. While you’re at it, share your ASA experience with your friends and neighbors. Getting them excited about open enrollment could be all it takes to make sure their children are next to your own on the first day of classes next year. We are ready to make this the biggest, and best, school year yet.

All Saints Academy Named 2018 Winner of the National FETC Excellence in STEM Award

At All Saints Academy, STEM learning is an integral part of our curriculum in all Divisions, starting in Early Childhood and continuing through our Upper School. We feel strongly that preparing students with strong fluency in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics will better prepare them for the world into which they will enter. Additionally, as we help them gain these skills, students are also exercising their skills in collaboration, creative problem solving, innovation, and communication, all of which are invaluable as prepare for success in college and beyond.  We have intentionally increased our focus on STEM areas in recent years, proactively seeking opportunities to both enhance our programming and highlight the work that our faculty and students have done.

Last week, All Saints Academy’s efforts were recognized with the STEM Excellence Award for high school at the annual Future of Education Technology Conference (FETC). This national award was presented to a cohort of faculty and administrators in recognition of our Innovation Studio curriculum and our partnership with NuVu Cambridge.  During the presentation, a video compilation of our Fall 2017 Exhibition was displayed for the audience of several hundred attendees, showcasing our students’ work and the unique nature of our Innovation Studio curriculum. Following the award presentation, Mrs. Knowles gave a detailed presentation about our NuVu partnership and how we are inspiring independent thinkers, principled leaders, and humble learners at All Saints Academy.

We are honored to receive the national STEM Excellence award and are excited to see how this will have an energizing effect on our curriculum planning for future years. We deeply believe that the time our students spend in Passion Periods, Tech & Design, and Innovation Studios compliments our core curriculum to establish a learning experience that is unique to All Saints Academy. We are proud of the many ways our faculty draw out each student’s individual talents while also challenging the student to achieve his or her personal best. This drive, paired with state-of-the art learning spaces, like the Baldwin Center for Innovation & Collaboration, create an environment where creativity and innovation thrive.

In the coming year, we plan to expand our partnership with NuVu Cambridge and actively seek opportunities and experiences for our students that result in a transformational education, providing them with the tools and skills on which future success is based. At All Saints Academy, STEM programming is simply an extension of the extraordinary learning opportunities that take place each and every day.

Quality Education with Plenty of Extras: How Extra-Curricular Choices Are Different at ASA

Electives, co-curricular courses, and extra-curricular options are certainly not new concepts to enhance education; however, they can sometimes get pushed to the side or eliminated altogether in the wake of testing requirements or budget restrictions. At All Saints Academy, we recognize the importance of supplementing the core curriculum subjects of language arts, mathematics, science, and the humanities, with coursework that is integrated into the school day through electives and co-curricular options, plus opportunities for extra-curricular activities before and after school. These opportunities both play a major role in understanding and mastery of core subjects as well as allow a student to engage in their learning process in their own way while pursuing activities and experiences about which they are passionate to learn.

In support of this goal, we have tailored our class schedule to give students the opportunity to choose multiple electives, which provides them with exposure to an expansive array of topics to pursue, including fine arts (dance, painting, music, etc.), technology, athletics, and many more. Since electives give our students more chances to connect their in-class learning with hands-on experiences, we know that their education is being enhanced in the best ways possible.

In addition to electives, there are a variety of extra-curricular activities at ASA in which students are actively encouraged to participate. Students have the opportunity to strengthen leadership skills through various clubs and organizations, explore and enhance their talents in dance and theatre, and improve their performance in the athletic arena. Coaches and mentors are pro-active in establishing partnerships that will make the experience shine. For example, our Dance Ensemble students just had the honor of participating in Master Class dance workshops at the Walt Disney World complex, culminating in a performance in front of guests at Disney Springs. This provided the dancers with the opportunity to learn from new instructors and hone their performance skills — both of which helps prepare them for future success.

The best part about our extra-curricular options are they’re not just limited to high school students; dance, sports camps, the musical, and more, are all available for student participation in the Lower, Middle, and Upper divisions.
Are you considering All Saints Academy for your student this coming year? We would love to discuss the many options available, and create an educational experience uniquely designed for your student. Contact our Admissions team today and explore the many ways that electives and extra-curricular courses can enhance your child’s educational journey!  

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!

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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