We know that learning occurs best in the context of a connected community. We know that establishing this sense of connection and belonging is more important than ever as we begin our school year in a 100% Distance Learning mode. We realize that nothing online can live up to the expectations of rafting down the American River, or kayaking across Lake Sonoma. Still, we need to come together as a class and reconnect. We’ve created a program we’re calling “The Returns” to differentiate them from our usual school year retreats. These Returns will be short meetings online with some activities to see each other and have some fun.
Normally, we’d have a couple of class days and then go on retreats. This year we're starting out the school year with "The Returns” because we feel it's so important to come back together even before classes begin. We have two separate programs—one for our new 9th graders and transfer students and one for our returning students.
We are excited to welcome 92 new students to our community (85 in the ninth grade). We are putting more time and energy into planning our New Student Orientation than ever before, realizing what an important year it is to welcome our incoming 9th graders and transfer students and provide for them a sense of place and belonging. New Student Orientation will be held online via Zoom on the mornings of August 17 and 18 from 9 am to 11:30 am. 9th graders will meet their Health and Wellness cohort, which will get together weekly throughout the year, along with their senior TAs. Our transfer students will create their own cohort with two of our All-Stars who will help acclimate and welcome them to SA. The focus of the program will be on establishing connections and learning about our caring and vibrant student culture at SA. Dean of Student Life Darren Duarte will be sending out links and information to new students prior to August 17.
In lieu of our typical off-site retreats, our 10th, 11th, and 12th graders will gather via Zoom on August 17 and 18 (times TBD) to reconnect and kick off the year. The agenda is being created collaboratively between Darren, new Student Activities Coordinator Jasmine Wingard (see this weekend’s Need to Know News for her bio), and the Student Leadership Council to create the best program possible given the circumstances. Darren will send more detailed information and links to each grade level prior to August 17.
Parents & New Parents
Connection and belonging are important for our parents too! While the Sonoma Academy Parents Association is developing a number of plans to support our parents, we also want to highlight a couple important connection points for parents coming up at the beginning of the school year.
New Parent Welcome Coffee, Thursday, August 20 (10:00 am–11:00 am)
In honor of our tradition in welcoming our new parents for a cup of coffee during the first week of school, usually on the morning of Convocation, we welcome you to join Tucker, Ellie, and Darren for a cup of coffee via Zoom.
New Parent Orientation, Thursday, September 3 (6:30 pm–8:00 pm)
This is a great way to learn the nuts and bolts of Sonoma Academy while also building connections within our parent community.
SAPA is a vibrant organization that sits at the heart of the school, working with administration, staff, teachers, and coaches in enthusiastic support of SA's mission and values. Our goal is to nurture a culture of collaboration and generosity within the adult community, reflecting the same values of participation, leadership, and inclusivity that the school embraces for our students. We meet on the first Thursday of every month from 10:00 am- 11:30 am via Zoom and, new this year, we have added an evening meeting on the same day from 7:00 pm-8:00 pm. Join either or both (Zoom links to be posted in the Need to Know Digest)
Please also expect to hear more in the coming weeks in our Need to Know News and the Coyote Courier about opportunities for parent engagement, education, and connection.