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Beyond the Classroom: Building community through parent education

The Ravenscroft community, guided by our legacy of excellence, nurtures individual potential and prepares students to thrive in a complex and interdependent world. — Ravenscroft’s mission statement

Ravenscroft strives to mold students into citizen leaders, confident in themselves so they can leave our campus and take on the world. Taking that mindset a step further, Ravenscroft offers parents their own window into learning opportunities at the school and beyond, so they can understand and support their students’ efforts.   

“Our parent education events help create a true partnership, where the institution is being transparent in what we do and say,” said Colleen Ramsden, assistant head of school for academic affairs. “We want to encourage the growth of all members of the community. We believe we’re all learners and can grow, and it is good for parents to model that for their children.”

In addition to those offered by parent-led volunteer groups such as Ravens Athletic Club (RAC), Global Parent Ambassadors, Fine Arts Association and Parents’ Association, Ravenscroft parent education opportunities include:

Lead From Here Parent Meetings

Lead From Here is an educational framework that has transformed our school culture and curriculum to imbue our students with values, teach them skills and equip them to take their place as citizen leaders in a complex, multicultural world.

Every couple of months, Ravenscroft hosts Lead From Here workshops for parents and other members of the community, allowing them to experience Lead From Here in the same ways our faculty, staff and students have experienced it. A trained faculty or staff member guides attendees in setting objectives and norms, leads them in an experiential activity (much like those in launch lessons and advisory lessons), and then debriefs with them, talking about how they can continue applying these lessons at home with their children.

“Children are often so busy watching what we do that they miss what we say,” said Chris Harper, a Lead From Here coach. “It’s important that our actions match our words and that our actions are lessons, too. If we want to be lifelong learners, we have to walk the talk. Faculty and staff, and parents, should continue to grow along with our children.”

Upcoming event:

  • Tuesday, Dec. 11, at 8 a.m. or Tuesday, Dec. 11, at 1:30 p.m., “Considering Challenges with a Growth Mindset”

Counselors’ Coffees and Meetings

The physical, psychological and emotional well-being of our students is as important as their intellectual growth. Ravenscroft offers a variety of ways for parents to support their children’s health in this way. Through our counselors’ coffees, the KORU course and other meetings as detailed below, our mental health professionals in each division share useful information, ideas and concepts that can be reinforced at home.

As Ramsden explained, “If we as adults, faculty and parents model that we are open to new ideas and willing to engage in a new, possibly uncomfortable topic, it is powerful modeling for our students.”

Upcoming events:

  • Tuesday, Dec. 4, 7-8 p.m., “Prevention starts with All” with Chris Herren. Join us for his motivational message on substance use avoidance and prevention. RSVP.

  • Friday, Dec. 14, Cross-divisional Parent Coffee on Mindfulness. RSVP will be emailed soon.

  • KORU Basic Mindfulness Course: While the fall course is full, our counselors will be offering the training again in the spring, so be on the lookout for the registration email.

DADS Group

DADS (Dads And Daughters & Sons) gives dads in all three divisions an opportunity to get together and discuss age-appropriate topics related to their child or spend some one-on-one time with a son or daughter. The DADS group works on projects such as the Lower School science garden, building trash and recycle bins around campus, building the cross country trail’s entrance archway, assisting with the Lower School food drive and spreading mulch in the gardens.

“DADS gives dads the opportunity to simply talk with other dads, share stories, trade ideas and build relationships and new friendships,” said Chuck Vitello, a DADS coordinator. “There has been a clear shift in family dynamics where dads are playing an increasingly larger and equal role in raising children, so a group like DADS plays a big role in supporting that trend as well as Ravenscroft's mission of inclusivity and building a community that supports our children in becoming citizen leaders.”

The Social Institute

Laura Tierney of The Social Institute offers support and information for parents who want to help their children navigate the challenges of social media in positive ways.

Ravenscroft offers one 90-minute parent session each semester. The next session will be held in the spring. The sessions are open to parents of Lower, Middle and Upper School students. During the session parents are shown around the Social Locker Room, a free online tool available to all parents that helps them stay ahead of the game when it comes to trending and emerging social media platforms.

The tool will help parents proactively empower their children to make smart decisions on social media, save time with expert breakdowns of apps teens and tweens use, and show kids what using social media positively looks like. Follow these instructions to join the Serial Locker Room at no charge.

“We understand that it truly takes a village to raise our children to make responsible decisions,” said Sarah Loyola, director of educational technology, who serves as Ravenscroft’s liaison with The Social Institute. “A healthy partnership between our parents, our faculty and our students is key to making this happen.”