Read More - Service Learning at St. Anne’s Episcopal School: Nurturing Compassionate Learners and Enriching Our World

Service Learning at St. Anne’s Episcopal School by Assistant Head of School, Lori Frank

Service has always been at the heart of St. Anne’s Episcopal School. Our Founding Sisters first came to Denver with the goal of taking care of children who were suffering from illnesses such as polio and tuberculosis. Later, they created a school with the purpose of meeting the needs of children who were not being well served by their neighborhood schools. Loving God and loving children was at the heart of everything that the Sisters did. 

Years ago, inspired by the work of the Sisters, St. Anne’s committed to creating opportunities for students to reach out to the Denver community and serve those in need. Middle-school students would pay regular visits to a soup kitchen, a day care center for the elderly, and local public schools. Younger students would make donations to animal shelters, visit nursing homes, and write letters to troops, among other projects. As a school community, with the support of the Outreach Committee of our Parents’ Association, we have collected food, books, clothing, shoes, toiletries, and coins for various organizations. 

Of course, many of our initiatives were stalled or permanently canceled during the pandemic. While we continued to collect donations, opportunities for in-person service were limited. With a return to more “normal” school activities and a strong desire to deepen our commitment to helping others, the school decided to take a new look at how we do service. 

Thus, in the spring of 2023, faculty volunteers met to discuss how service could be made more meaningful for our students and those whom they serve. We brainstormed possible projects and how they might impact people, places, and/or pets. We also discussed the importance of teaching children about service in a sustained, holistic manner. 

What is service learning and how is it different from volunteering or other one-time philanthropic efforts? Primarily, service learning is a pedagogical model that combines critical thinking, social responsibility and civic education to benefit authentic community partnerships. It is a way to practice and express our values, to form thoughtful leaders, and to inspire a heart for positive change. Service learning is at the nexus of theory and “real world” experience, and is intentionally designed in response to the genuine needs within our community be it the classroom, the school, our city, or even the world. Service learning teaches agency, ownership, belonging, and is driven by students’ agency. It does noy bypass historical causes of social and economic inequalities, and allows students to develop civic and cultural literacy, enhance personal growth and self-image. At its core, service learning remains about helping and empowering other people. But rather than simply sharing goods or money, service learning focuses on providing opportunities for real engagement with others, guided by the cycles of investigation, planning, action and reflection. In our overhaul of the program, we aspired to embed service learning in our curriculum, integrating math, reading, and writing with projects that support others. Service learning can support the fundamental curriculum as well as be co-curricular! 

When we approach service with dignity, humility, and compassion, we acknowledge the inherent worth of every person we encounter. This means treating individuals with respect, regardless of their background, status, or circumstances. It means recognizing that we are all human beings with unique stories and experiences. By approaching service in this way, we create a culture of empathy and understanding that can help to break down barriers and promote positive change.

Our revamped service learning program has several key features: designated dates for lesson planning and program implementation, teacher-led lessons, integration with the curriculum, and opportunities for student reflection on their experiences. In our August in-service, teachers at each grade level chose topics to explore this year: gratitude (PS/PK), pet care (K), community support (Gr. 1), wildlife (Gr. 2), food insecurity (Gr. 3), wildfire prevention (Gr. 4), literacy (Gr. 5), recycling and composting (Gr. 6), microloans (Gr. 7), and trail building at St. Anne’s in the Hills (Gr. 8). 

While this program is still evolving and developing, early feedback has been quite positive. Teachers have eagerly embraced this opportunity for meaningful conversations with their students, and students have expressed surprise and wonder at the impact they can have on their greater community. As one student shared with her teacher after working in the St. Anne’s vegetable garden, “At first I felt sad that there are people in the world who need this much help. Then I felt happy that I could actually do something about it as a 3rd grader. And at the end, I looked at what we harvested and I was so excited and proud of what we accomplished." 

In the spring, students will have an opportunity to share their service experiences with parents and caregivers, giving everyone a glimpse into how service learning at St. Anne’s has always aligned with the school’s mission: Grounded in our founding values, we cultivate a community of curious and compassionate learners who are inspired to serve and enrich our world.

We are proud of how dedicated St. Anne’s community is to service and are excited to be developing the best ways to bring it to life! 

Read More - A Thanksgiving Reflection: Celebrating Faith and Unity in the St. Anne's Episcopal School Community
Dear St. Anne's Episcopal School Community,

Over the past week, I have spent time pondering one of our founding values: faith. I want to convey my gratitude for the shared faith that binds us together, nurtures resilience, and fosters meaningful connections among us.

Beyond being just a PS - 8 school, St. Anne's is a closely-knit community offering mutual support and encouragement. This collective belief in our community's strength creates an environment where everyone is acknowledged, valued, known, and inspired to thrive.

Our commitment to education is deeply rooted in faith, dating back to the establishment of our school in 1950 by the Sisters of the Order of St. Anne. Their vision crafted a school characterized by compassion and a commitment to education. When Sister Irene sought guidance on how to build the school, the answer that she received from Mother Noel was succinct yet profound: "With faith."

Today, both within classrooms and beyond, I am continually impressed by the potential displayed by our students. Their daily actions consistently emphasize the importance of belief in one’s own ability and trust in each other. Their dedication to educating and mentoring younger students in the community is notable. Moreover, their trust in their teachers becomes a reciprocal lesson, illuminating the impact of strong student/teacher relationships. This is a direct acknowledgment of the strength that comes from having faith in oneself, others, and the community, highlighting the practical dimensions of this value within our educational community.

Our faculty and staff embody this faith through their unwavering commitment to fostering our students' intellectual and emotional growth. Their dedication goes beyond knowledge acquisition. Our educators act as mentors and role models in every classroom and interaction, guiding students academically and cultivating virtues beyond textbooks. They mold students into individuals who not only excel academically but also embody the cherished values of St. Anne's that are dear to us all and live out our motto, “We grow good kids.”

To our alumni, we extend a heartfelt thank you for embodying the values of a St. Anne's education. Your achievements illustrate the inherent value of our educational approach, demonstrating the impact of St. Anne's extends beyond eighth grade and well into adulthood.

We are grateful for our generous donors, whose unwavering support reflects a steadfast belief in the mission and values of St. Anne's. Through your generosity, we can provide valuable opportunities and resources that enrich our students' educational journey, fortifying the school's strength and longevity.

Above all, I want to acknowledge the shared faith within our community. The engagement in the early stages of the strategic plan was truly remarkable, showcasing our community's unity in shaping the future of St. Anne’s. The energy in the room from faculty and staff and parents reminded me that people are genuinely invested in this community and are excited and eager to help shape the future.

As we gather with loved ones to express gratitude over the next week, let us celebrate the faith that defines us. I hope this Thanksgiving is a moment for reflection, appreciation, and the reaffirmation of our commitment to cultivating a community where faith, in all its forms, remains one of our founding values.

I wish you and your families a happy Thanksgiving and a joyful upcoming holiday season.

Go Cyclones,
Chris Cox
Head of School

School Closed TUESDAY

January 16, 2023

Read More - School Closed TUESDAY
St. Anne’s will be closed due to expected weather conditions tomorrow, Tuesday, January 16. Extended day will be closed. Chapel and Character Power will be rescheduled to next Tuesday, January 23.
The Board of Trustees of St. Anne’s Episcopal School is pleased to announce that Chris Cox has been appointed as Head of School beginning on July 1, 2022.
Each morning, I welcome a parade of mask-wearing children channeling their inner cat, dog, panda bear, tiger, mermaid, unicorn, princess, and action hero. Colors and geometric patterns add to the tapestry of wild imagination...
Through thoughtful planning and a mission-focused approach, the SAFE (St. Anne’s Future in Education) Planning Team has developed a reopening plan that prioritizes health and safety, community and well-being, and academic excellence.