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Setting Up for A GREAT Summer: 2018 Summer Camps at ASA

All Saints Academy is proud to have a reputation of offering high-quality recreational, instructional, and sports camps each summer for students in and around the Polk County area. This year is no exception, as we gear up for another great season of camps and prepare to welcome campers of all ages onto the All Saints Academy campus for weeks of learning, having fun, and making new friends. This year, our camp selection is better than ever, so check out our list of choices and register online at (https://www.allsaintsacademy.com/page/admissions/summer-programs). However, there are a few things that each camp has in common, and these elements are what make the ASA day camp experience different from all the rest.

First, ASA camps are convenient. If you’ve ever spent a summer dropping each of your kids off in different locations all over town (and then trying to coordinate the pickup schedule) you know how stressful camps can actually be for the parents. With All Saints, all campers have the same drop-off and pickup location, so you only have to remember one time, one place, and one routine for the duration of your child(ren)’s summer camp. Why can we offer the convenience of one drop-off and pickup? Because we have a wide variety of camp options for the interests and needs of an array of students. From our creative, hands-on choices for the littlest campers, to the expanse of sports, arts, and academic or interest-led camps for older students, there’s something for everyone at ASA.

Another beneficial component of the camps at All Saints Academy is the results of our camps. While some summer programs are “time fillers” for your children, camps at ASA are enriching experiences that offer skill building in soccer, lacrosse, drama, dance, art, science, technology, and more. Your student will come away with expanded knowledge of the topic (specific to the camp they’ve chosen), and the tools to utilize that knowledge as they further their education. Our camp leaders are highly-qualified professionals in the subject matter which they are teaching/coaching, and are dedicated to making your child’s summer not just educational, but FUN!

Finally, All Saints camps give you the unique opportunity to experience our campus and school environment whether or not your child is a student at our school. Have you been considering ASA for your student, but just aren’t sure it’s the right fit? While our summer camps aren’t a direct reflection of a day in the life of a typical school experience (our shadow days do that for potential students! Learn more about that here.), they do make your student familiar with the sights and sounds of the All Saints Academy campus, and will introduce them to some of the staff and leadership at the school. It’s a good first taste of what ASA can offer for your family in a relaxed, short-term setup.

We can’t wait to see all of our campers in just a few short weeks. If you haven’t reserved your child’s spot in one of our many camps yet, you still have time! Register today and make sure your student’s summer will be enriched with the fun and learning that only All Saints Academy can offer. We are here and ready to answer any of your questions about the upcoming camp season, so feel free to give us a call for more information. See you at summer camp!

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.

Meet the New Staff at ASA: Getting to Know Fred Koehler

It’s time for another “staff introduction” so you, our readers, can get to know one of our amazing faculty members here at ASA. This month, we were privileged to interview Fred Koehler, the new Director of Media and Design here at All Saints Academy and a welcome addition to our team. He loves to hear people’s stories, and he certainly has one of his own to tell. From central Florida to life in West Africa and back again, Fred is changing lives one story at a time.

Born in Columbia, SC, Fred moved to central Florida when he was three. In 1998 Lakeland called him here as a student at Florida Southern College, and he graduated with a degree in graphic design alongside a minor in communications. Following his graduation in 2001, Fred joined the Peace Corps and was assigned to Togo, West Africa where he was to stay for 2 1/2 years. During this time he spoke French along with a smattering of indigenous languages. Life in his little farming community was slow-paced, and that’s something Fred says he loved about his time spent there. He gained perspective about filling your days with what matters, taking time to notice life instead of constant busyness, and took away lessons in contentment. People there are happy with little because they don’t know life any other way, and in their eyes they have all they need. Fred was part of the HIV education and prevention program during his time in West Africa, and came away realizing how impactful the stories of people can be in the lives of others.

When he arrived back stateside, he was hired on with Polk County Public Schools in the public relations office, which gave him more opportunities to work with a variety of people throughout the community. Life back in the United States was good and he remained in his public relations position for two years before moving on to launch a creative services division for a marketing company in Winter Haven. Here, he kickstarted their in-house graphic design studio, and worked hard at it for five years, when he then bought out his portion of the company. Recently, he joined us here at All Saints Academy where he plans to use his background as a creative director and advertising agency owner to help ASA tell our story.

Fred has two children of his own, Abby (10) and Jack (8), and he loves spending time with them as often as possible. He is a self-proclaimed “water bug” and enjoys hitting the mud flats on the Gulf with a fishing rod in hand. In addition to fishing, he enjoys kayaking and diving. Fred is also a working artist who writes and illustrates for children’s book publishers, projects that have taken him all over the US and abroad. Fred loves to share his passions with his family, and brings them on as many of his adventures as possible. Another companion he enjoys spending time with is Cheerio, the family’s dog who was adopted from the local SPCA last year and who defends their home by attacking all packages left by the UPS man.

Here are a few more details about Fred and his story that we think you’ll enjoy:

What is your 5-year goal? 

Personally, I look forward to raising my family here in Polk County and seeing my kids become great students, artists or athletes – watching them bloom into whatever they decide to become. Professionally, I want to help ASA create a culture that celebrates all of the incredible things our school has to offer. I’m excited to see our halls filled with exceptional students and faculty. I hope to help grow this community by successfully telling our story to the world! It hasn’t taken long for me to recognize that this institution is thoughtful, generous, culturally diverse, and inclusive. I feel honored that they would invite me to be a part of it.”

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? 

“I would give myself a full head of hair, and the ability to do twice as much work in half the amount of time.”

Another fun fact about Fred? He keeps a bowl of candy on his desk much like his unnamed-26predecessor Kristin did here at ASA. However, his candy comes with a price. Students know that if they want the candy, they have to leave a story. It can be true, made up, written down, or told verbally, but it has to be shared to earn the chocolate. It’s a treat for a tale, and something Fred and the students enjoy. We love seeing our faculty developing relationships with our students because that personal, engaging aspect of teachers and staff is one of the many things that makes ASA so special.

We are thrilled to have Fred here at All Saints Academy, and we can’t wait to see how he helps ASA’s story spread throughout Polk County and beyond.

Lights, Camera, Action: Why Theatre Is Important at ASA

All Saints Academy is known throughout the Central Florida area for our high standards in curriculum and education. Our students enter college and, eventually, the work force, with complete mastery of all core subjects needed for their respective fields. We are also intensely invested in the arts, including music, dance, painting, theatre, and more. Theatre is an especially beloved extracurricular at ASA, because it pulls together students of all ages, various faculty and staff members, and a variety of other resources from our school to put on performances of professional quality. Our bi-annual all-school musical is a favorite among ASA families and the community alike, and we’ve enjoyed some wonderful performances over the past few years, including “The Wizard of Oz” and “Oliver”, and we’re looking forward to the upcoming show “Oklahoma!” in March.
While theatre performance is fun, there are a plethora of educational and social benefits reaped by participating in the various shows we put on at ASA including:
  • teamwork
  • confidence
  • exposure to music, dance, voice, and other fine arts needed for performance
  • community involvement
  • relationship building with participants of all ages
These reasons, and more, are why so many of our students look forward to being part of the all school musical every two years, and from costuming and backdrop design, to actually being in the spotlight on stage during the final curtain call, everyone is vital to making the show a success.
If it weren’t for our theatre faculty here at All Saints Academy, the show just couldn’t go on, and two of our performing arts staff members are an integral part of each year’s various performances at ASA. Paul Hughes brings a background strong in performing arts, and has served as the Theatre Department chair at Lois Cowles Harrison Center for The Visual and Performing Arts in the past. Here in our own area, he has held the position of Artistic Director at the Lakeland Community Theatre, and Programming Director at The Polk Theatre. He brings lots of experience to the table and serves our school community with his skill in putting on a show that will be enjoyed by all. Elizabeth Burton is another key component of our theatre staff serving as a guest artist when we put on performances like our upcoming “Oklahoma!” show. She has years of experience as an actress, singer, dancer, and theatre coach and is able to offer a well-rounded performing arts education to our students who participate in performances at ASA. She has, herself, toured with major performances throughout New York, Boston, Chicago, and more, and can give students perspective from someone who is not only an instructor, but also a performer. Elizabeth is a Lakeland, FL native and has returned to her roots to educate students and help them reach their full potential. Finally, our very own Laura Hutson is providing all music for this event. We are proud (and thankful) to have her as the music teacher here at ASA, and she does a wonderful job instilling the love of music into our students of all ages. Her talent and the hard work of her students is sure to take the “Oklahoma!” performance over the top.
We look forward to seeing what our All Saints Academy theatre group has in store for us with the upcoming “Oklahoma!” performance. It’s sure to be a show you don’t want to miss! Join us at the Polk Theatre in Lakeland March 9th-11th. Tickets are on sale now, and are available in the school business office or at the box office on the days of the performance. We’ll see you there!

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.

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.

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!

Politically Correct: The Benefit of Civics in Education

As young people grow up hearing terms like “representatives”, “electoral votes” or “legislation” thrown around in casual conversation around them, they likely will not fully understand what’s being talked about until adulthood; when hopefully they choose to engage in more of our political process. It is important for us at All Saints Academy to help change the preparedness of our young people at an earlier age to more effectively understand and engage in their civic duty by exercising his or her right to vote, understand how, or why, they should participate in government and politics and how it affects no only them, but generations to come.

All Saints Academy is proud to be part of the “Civic Education Project”, a collaboration between Dr. Anne Kerr (President of Florida Southern College), Barney Barnett (Publix Super Markets, Inc.), Bill Vass (ASA Trustee), Rick Jeffries (Head of the collegiate program at Polk State College), Carolyn Baldwin (Head of School for All Saints Academy), Ryan Walsh (Associate Head of School for All Saints Academy, and other ASA team members. These professionals have brainstormed a curriculum that will incorporate civic education back into mainstream teaching, and therefore, bring about a better understanding of politics and how government works.

This project has several main goals (read more about the project here) designed to build better citizens who understand why they get to participate in democratic process and how to work alongside fellow citizens to create win-win initiatives that better the country as a whole. The program features a weekly speaker and discussion around the presented topic — a simple, yet effective approach — that provides students the opportunity to hear various perspectives from peers. The discussion requires that points be based on facts and evidence and will use a foundation of government documents (like the Constitution) instead of textbooks or interpretations. The goal of this course is to ignite a spark of respect for our country’s foundation and foster an understanding of the real political process and its importance.

We are proud to collaborate with our fellow educators at Florida Southern College and Polk State College; we anticipate great things to come!

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