Dear St. Christopher’s Parents, Faculty, Staff, and Students,
What a remarkable first few weeks it has been across our vibrant campus. When asked about the opening of school, I have been telling folks it feels just like 2019 and before it. Truthfully, it feels even better, because all of our students, employees, and families are filled with a sense of gratitude and joy, taking special appreciation for all that we have today and all that we have endured since 2020. Thank you for your continued support and positivity.
I am pleased to offer several important updates from across our campus.
Overnight Student Experiences at Camp River’s Bend
I am excited to announce that this school year we are planning several grade-level student overnight trips to Camp River’s Bend, an all-boys, values-based outdoor camp located in Millboro Springs, VA, about 2.5 hours west of Richmond.
Our strategic plan, Momentum 2025, calls for us to enhance the student experience at St. Christopher’s through meaningful “rite of passage” moments as well as experiential, hands-on learning opportunities. We believe that outdoor learning experiences, in a secluded and natural setting such as Camp River’s Bend, can enhance our students’ learning and health through individual growth, grade-level team building, and the acquisition of practical outdoor skills. We know that today’s generation of young people spends more time indoors than previous generations, particularly through COVID. Therefore, providing meaningful outdoor opportunities as part of the JK-12 St. Christopher’s curriculum can become an important step to improving our students’ overall health and well being.
Our 9th-Grade students will enjoy a team-building overnight experience at Camp River’s Bend at the end of next week. We are planning additional trips this spring for students in all three divisions, including 5th graders, 8th graders, and 12th graders. We look forward to exploring additional ways our boys and faculty can benefit from outdoor experiences at Camp River’s Bend in the months to come.
Health and Wellness Update—Email Usage
I have been in schools long enough to remember what they were like before the advent of email communication. In the last several years, in particular, email communication has taken on an outsized role in our everyday lives, blurring the lines between work and personal time, often resulting in email activity well into the evenings and throughout our weekends.
During our faculty and staff meetings in August, I told our employees that, effective this school year, they were not expected to respond to non-urgent email communications from colleagues, parents, or students after 6 p.m. on Mondays-Fridays or on weekends. As we emerge from COVID, I believe it is very important for all of us, especially our dedicated and valuable faculty and staff, to have time in the evenings and on weekends to focus our attention inward and on our families.
Faculty and staff may choose to respond to emails and professional demands on evenings and weekends, but that is their choice. I kindly ask all parents to respect our faculty and staff’s ability to wait until the following school day to respond to non-urgent school matters. Of course, if there is ever a time-sensitive or urgent matter involving a student, we will respond to that promptly. As I tell our faculty and staff frequently, if we find that email is not proving to be a useful communication medium, please do as we did for decades, which is to pick up the phone for conversation. Better yet, meet face to face whenever possible.
I thank you for your support of this new policy.
Construction Update—Community Pavilion and Lights
If you have been near our athletic fields recently you know that we have begun construction on our new Community Pavilion. We are hopeful that this new facility will be ready for use by December or January, providing much-needed outdoor gathering space, storage, restrooms, and concessions for use during athletic competitions, academic activities, summer camps, alumni and parent events, and more.
After unexpected delays, I am pleased to share that we have secured our construction permit from the city of Richmond to begin installation of lights for Knowles, Massey, and Jacobs Fields. We expect work to begin very soon, and we are hopeful that we can offer our boys, particularly our Class of 2023, at least one nighttime lights experience this fall, with several to come this spring.
In that vein, mark your calendars now for Friday, November 4 at 6 p.m., when we hope and plan to play Collegiate “under the lights” for our Homecoming football game. This matchup would replace the originally scheduled Saturday, November 5 game at 1 p.m. More details to come, including Homecoming plans, in the weeks ahead. If our lights are not ready for usage by November 4, then we will resume plans for a Saturday afternoon Homecoming.
Saints Take a Break
In coordination with our sister school, St. Catherine’s, we are pleased to offer a “Saints Take a Break” day on Friday, February 10, 2023. This will be a schoolwide holiday, with no Extended Day or afterschool activities of any kind. Consistent with our commitment to student, employee, and family health and wellbeing, we encourage families to plan activities on this day that provide respite, health, and happiness.
Thank you for your continued support of St. Christopher’s.