The High School Student News Site of The American School in London

The Standard

The High School Student News Site of The American School in London

The Standard

Building strong K-12 relationships


At the beginning of every school year, all grade levels, faculty members and staff watch as the Kindergarten classes walk hand–in–hand with Grade 12 students into the Farmer Family Gym. As the oldest students lead the youngest, students age 4 to 18 come together to prepare for and celebrate the year ahead.

During this short time, Grade 12 students have the opportunity to spend time getting to know the youngest members of our community as they enter their first years of school at ASL, while Grade 12 enters their last. However, this is where the interaction between these grades ends.

As a K-12 community, it is essential we use all areas of our school to connect and grow together. At the basis of this lies broader relationships between younger and older students.

These connections established with Lower School students should not be limited to a brief hour–long assembly, and rather should be available to all High School students throughout the course of the year.

This Editorial Board would like to see the establishment of a better relationship between the Lower and High School, and the implementation of a program that allows high school students to connect with lower school students on a frequent basis and foster new connections.

Throughout middle school, some students had the opportunity to have a Lower School buddy through their advisory program. This buddy system allowed middle schoolers to be able to speak with younger students in varying grades and make new connections. Whether the advisory period consisted of recess time with the buddies, or a session to complete a project or help teach a subject, the Lower School and Middle School student developed a relationship over the course of the year.

This is the type of program we hope to see in the High School for all advisories, allowing all high school students equal opportunity to connect with the Lower School.

In the 2010 Strategic Plan, one of the main pillars was connecting all three divisions of the schools, as they appeared to be in separate silos. Although high school and middle school interaction is limited, connections are fostered between some students through extracurricular activities. Due to the age difference between High School and Lower School students though, that connection is limited and harder to cultivate without guidance. This buddy program would further unify the community and bridge the gap between the three divisions.

For younger students, this buddy program would provide them with role-models that they can directly talk to and learn from. Whether that be in sports, the arts or as a new older friend, High School students can share their experiences and bond with younger students.

For High School students, interactions with younger grades provides multiple learning opportunities on patience, understanding and simply the ability to have fun playing with younger kids. It would allow older students a break in their day and a dedicated time and place to have fun getting to know someone who is much younger than they are.

One advisory can be taken out per month where students are paired with lower school classes and do various activities, such as playing outside, reading books, or arts and crafts.

By taking this short amount of time to spend interacting and connecting High School and Lower School students, the School would take a large step in the right direction in bridging the gap between divisions in the school, and enriching the experience for all students involved.

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