At St. Andrew’s School we believe every child deserves an education that equips them to thrive. In 1894, founder Grace Arents was confident in her belief that a solid education was essential in preparing children to build successful lives as adults. Now 125 years later the school continues to be guided by that founding principle, educating children academically, physically, emotionally, and spiritually through a whole-child approach. Rooted in today’s best practices, our student-centered academic program is designed to develop passionate, lifelong learners. Children learn more deeply when they make their own connections through hands-on experiences and student-led questioning; this is the cornerstone of our model.
St. Andrew's School’s Music Program is modeled after an international youth development program founded in 1975 that uses music to support each child to feel like an asset within the community. Using the Violin as the primary instrument, the SAS Music Program was introduced in fall 2014. All students (K-5) have weekly group instruction during school hours. In addition the students have in-school performances, solos, and community performances. In Kindergarten, the students are taught by ear using the Suzuki method. They meet three days per week for 30-minute sessions. For the first nine weeks, they play in a “paper orchestra” of instruments the students make themselves out of recyclable materials. In First through Fifth Grades, they use the New Directions for Strings curriculum for Elementary Orchestra, which meets the requirements for the National Standards for Music Education. These 30-minute sessions include improvisation, composition and multicultural music. During this time, they learn to play in two-part harmony, learn all chromatic notes and more complex rhythms. Over the next three years SAS’ goal is to implement the program accurately and consider adding additional instruments.
Wellness and Nutrition Initiative
Because of the ever-growing body of research linking good nutrition and physical activity to positive learning experiences, St. Andrew's School established a comprehensive wellness and nutrition initiative that includes a signature Nutrition Program (NP), a Recess Coach (RC), a School Social Work Counselor (SSWC), regular physical activity, and nutrition classes for parents. Our wellness and nutrition initiative alleviates hunger and cultivates a commitment to healthy living. It supports learning at school and develops healthy habits. The initiative has three components: wellness education and support, nutritious food, and physical activity. The wellness education/support and nutritious food components include individual, group work, and classroom activities with the SSWC, offering hot breakfast, lunch, and 2 snacks to students, offering cooking demonstrations, and providing families with healthy eating workshops. The physical activity component was designed with Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move initiative in mind. SAS students spend 30 minutes a day on the playground. An RC provides opportunities to play. In addition to improving physical activity and health, research indicates that the presence of an RC improves classroom behavior and the civil settling of petty disputes. We also have a School Social Work Counselor that focuses on deepening learner engagement and developing our school environment to ensure that it is supportive and nurturing.
Extended Learning Time
Our after-school program was created in 2011 to provide mind and body enriching opportunities for our students by extending the school day. We started out with 24 students and gradually increased until FY18, when we implemented an extended day program for all 96 students. During FY18, we also expanded the school year to an 11-month calendar. Expanding to an Extended Learning Time program for every student was wholly connected to our mission and one of the first steps in executing our latest strategic vision.
St. Andrew's School is an independent, K-5 elementary school and is fully accredited by the Virginia Association of Independent Schools. We serve 96 students, and our classes average about 16 children per classroom. Our academic approach is rooted in today’s best practices for student-centered learning and is designed to develop passionate, lifelong learners. Children learn more deeply when they make their own connections through hands-on experiences, and collaboration between teachers creates a rich learning environment.