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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.

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!

Meet the New Staff at ASA: Getting to Know Ms. Nadine Maxwell-Henry

This year at ASA, we have started using our blog space to introduce you to our wonderful educators and campus staff. This month’s focus is on Ms. Nadine Maxwell-Henry. Ms. Max (as she is fondly referred to by our students and parents) is the school counselor at All Saints Academy, and her talents are used in many different ways within our staff and student body. She brings with her an extensive background full of experience and education in order to serve our ASA community.

Ms. Max has always enjoyed helping her peers with problem solving. Even as a young child, she discovered that she was the one her friends turned to when they needed someone to listen — someone with whom they could discuss problems or concerns. This experience led her to pursue a degree in Social Sciences and Spanish at the University of the West Indies, Jamaica, and propelled her to complete graduate studies in Counseling Psychology at Howard University in Washington, D.C. A variety of practical opportunities were incorporated into her counseling educational journey. She worked at a Women’s Crisis Center in Jamaica, followed by a mental health facility where she continued to work for several more years. Here, she worked with a wide range of mental health issues spanning all age groups from children to the elderly. She also completed graduate studies in Mental Health Counseling at the University of Massachusetts in Boston, before finally finding her true passion in school counseling. Working in mental health counseling prepared her for the variety of issues that she encounters as a school counselor. Ms. Max believes in practicing a holistic manner of counseling in the school environment; she believes in including parents/family, educators, and other adults involved in the child or adolescent’s life during assessments and interventions. By evaluating and offering support to all of these individuals — not just the single student — she believes counselors are better able to help the child. This holistic approach is how she has practiced counseling from ages Pre-K to grade 12 for the last 22 years, and it’s one of the many reasons we are so thankful to have her as part of the ASA family. She also is a champion of diversity and feels this helps her better assist students, families, and teachers regardless of background or circumstances.

Ms. Max’s daily work here on campus is multi-faceted, but her main areas of work at ASA include:

Individual Counseling. Students come to her for “in the moment” issues, either as walk-ins, or through teacher, parent, or Administration referrals. Crisis management is a big part Ms. Max’s day-to-day work in this area of counseling.

Group Counseling.  Ms. Max uses her expertise to group like-minded students (dealing with the same issue) to emphasize they are not alone in their struggles and can overcome any challenge by working alongside one another. Occasionally, Advisors are included in these sessions, which are less clinical in nature and focus more on problem solving, guidance, and life skills related to social and emotional issues. Parental permission is required for this type of counseling.

Peer Mediation. This leadership opportunity is an area of counseling that is near to Ms. Max’s heart. In peer mediation, she selects 8th grade students and Seniors who receive training on how to work with peers and help serve the student body (with supervision). They also have the opportunity to use their acquired training and skills to assist in the Lower School. Ms. Max looks forward to seeing how this growing program will train our ASA students to do extraordinary work on our campus and beyond.

Teacher and Administrative Consulting. This portion of Ms. Max’s job includes working alongside our ASA faculty to create intervention plans for classrooms and for individual students. Ms. Max along with teachers and Administration have regular “Student Success Meetings” where the group brainstorms techniques and ideas to help with current challenges to better serve the students.

As you can see, Ms. Max is a huge asset to our staff, and she provides a wide array of services to our students, faculty, and parents at All Saints. While she is obviously very busy with her job, she also has quite a busy life outside of campus as well! So what does Ms. Max do when she’s not busy on campus?

  • She has two sons, Jazz a Junior and Kobi in the 8th grade, who keep her busy with club sports. Weekends are spent traveling throughout Florida and the Southeast to various athletic games. If you ask her about free time, she’ll tell you she has none (but she loves spending time with her sons).
  • She enjoys going for a run (especially around Lake Hollingsworth!) or participating in Zumba classes.
  • She enjoys being outdoors and attending Festivals.
  • She loves Latin and Caribbean dancing, and hopes to pick it back up one day when she is less busy driving to sports games and practices. For now, she is devoted to being there for her boys at home and on the field.

Ms. Max really enjoys the work she does. If you ask her where she sees herself in 10 years, she says: “I am genuinely a support-service person, so I would say continuing on this track. This type of work is one where you go home and feel good about how you spent your day, and I want to continue feeling like that.”

We are so glad to have Mrs. Max as part of All Saints Academy. We all appreciate her service to our school and our ASA families!

 

ASA Presents Our 2017 National Merit Scholar Semi-Finalists!

unnamed-4All Saints Academy is proud to offer excellence in education, and as an independent school in Florida, we strive to provide the very best in the educational experience, from extracurricular activities to curriculum choices. It’s encouraging to us as a school to see our students graduate and enter the world as successful young adults, many of whom receive high-level scholarships, internships, and recognition at various universities and companies around the world. Perhaps one of the most exciting events though is when we have a student selected as a National Merit Scholar.

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) provides scholarships to students each year at universities across the U.S. The competition is rigorous, and being selected as a finalist is considered a mark of educational prestige and is a huge honor. The NMSC was established in 1955, and chooses its winners each year based on abilities, skills, accomplishments both in and out of the classroom, and their potential for success in college and beyond. Everything from grades to extracurricular activities are taken into account, and they seek out only the most well-rounded, knowledgeable students to participate in the various stages of the competition.

There is no government assistance with the NMSC. It is an independently supported program, with over 400 loyal sponsors committed to recognizing students for their hard work and outstanding achievements in the academic world. While over 1,000,000 students take the tests and enter each year, only 16,000 of these students will be selected to move on to the semifinalist round, with only 7,500 of those semifinalist becoming National Merit Scholar finalists. Approximately half of these finalists will end up being awarded scholarships of various types, from one-time payments to go toward their higher education to annual scholarships provided each year for the selected student.

As a finalist, a student still has many steps to go through before finding out if he or she will be awarded a scholarship. Academic records will be examined, the high school’s curriculum and grading practices will be reviewed, two sets of test scores will be required, and the student’s high school must provide a written recommendation. Additionally, the student’s activities and leadership roles will be looked at, along with an essay written and provided by the finalist. All of these factors will be used to determine whether or not a particular finalist qualifies to earn the status of National Merit Scholar.

All Saints Academy is thrilled to announce that we have not one, but TWO National Merit Scholar Semi-Finalists in our Upper School this year. James Eschrich and William Skipper have worked hard and accomplished much in their time here at ASA, and we couldn’t be more proud of them for making it to this point in their journey to becoming National Merit Scholars! If you see them around campus, make sure to congratulate them, and stay tuned for news of their status in the competition in the coming months!

Kickoff BBQ 2017: Building Community One Plate at A Time

Our annual Booster Club Kickoff BBQ is tomorrow night, Friday September 22nd, and we can’t wait to see everyone for good times, great food, and some friendly competition at the football game following the cookout (Go Saints!). We are starting things off at 5:00PM and you won’t want to be late! While we are looking forward to the food certainly, the fellowship with fellow ASA families and faculty, alumni, and people throughout the Polk County community is what we are most excited about. Events such as our Kickoff BBQ are a great time to enjoy the togetherness that makes All Saints Academy so special, and following recent events with Hurricane Irma and her resulting devastation, there is no better time to celebrate those that rallied around our school to give us a hand up as we all attempt to rebuild together.

The Kickoff BBQ isn’t just a “cookout”, but rather, is a catered event thanks to the Terrace Hotel in Lakeland. They have been so generous to provide the food for this year’s BBQ, and have been so helpful in making sure the evening is successful. Plates will include some delicious options, and tickets are still being sold on campus, so snag yours before they sell out! You don’t want to lose out on this event.

Following the BBQ is the Saints vs. Bulldogs game here on the ASA campus, so purchase your tickets for that as well and continue the fun and fellowship inside the stadium! After a great dinner, you’ll be ready to cheer them on as they try to pull out a victory for All Saints Academy. Note: the tickets to the game are NOT included in price of the BBQ tickets, and must be purchased separately. The game starts at 7PM so you have plenty of time to enjoy the BBQ and still get great seats for the football action.

Thank you to all who have made this event possible this year, as we rebuild from Hurricane Irma and continue forward with our local community here in Central Florida. We as a school have been so blessed by the outpouring of love and support from not only our ASA families and faculty, but by those in and around our area who aren’t directly involved with our school on a daily basis. This support is how we can make tomorrow night’s event happen, and we are grateful beyond words.

See you at the BBQ!

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