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Pastor Merrie shares the changes she has witnessed

S o many things have changed for the better since I originally put foot on the St. Anne’s campus. When I first

came, teachers were proud of the work they did and with good reason. However, I had also come from rigorous transformations to education in the public schools that had sprung not only from the demands of state exams but also from new knowledge about how the human brain worked. Yet without those transformations, St. Anne’s was still outperforming the public schools. “How?” I asked myself. Then I discovered that St. Anne’s had not forgotten that their primary task was to create good people and good citizens. When children feel safe with one another and their teachers, there isn’t anything they cannot learn. Of course, St. Anne’s did not ignore the changes that were occurring in education. They just prudently tested what they thought would work best, before implementing it. Since I have been here, there have been two math programs, each one requiring so many adaptations that coaches for the teachers were needed and supplied. However, the teachers tried first the one program, which then was cutting edge, and opted for another when it rolled out a few years later. This was because the second program better nurtured “number sense,” a deeper understanding of the processes required to put math to work in the real world. A grass roots attempt to improve the teaching of writing came from a felt need that this school could produce better writers. That initial urge has now blossomed into a full-blown writing curriculum in the Lower School, thanks to the tireless effort of Dr. T. Similarly, the middle school revamped its writing program. The improvement was and is measurable. The teaching of reading similarly transformed with the reading of “just right” books in small groups or alone, followed by presentations intent on enticing others to enjoy the same book. The idea was and is to build “reading stamina” so that students immerse themselves in reading enjoyment at any age. More reading, along with teacher conversations about ways to read for certain information, has also added measurable improvement.

10 | St. Anne’s Episcopal School

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