Compared to other schools in the area, Providence Academy is not a huge school. Even so, students still find their eyebrows creasing in confusion when they are confronted with a faculty member whom they have never seen before.
Though nearly every student is familiar with their everyday teachers, they might not know everyone. Mrs. Schommer, the Development Coordinator here at PA, said that even though a lot of her job doesn’t often have a huge, direct impact on the students, there are lots of ways she involves them in her daily life.
“Sometimes I ask students to volunteer,” she said, “a lot of my job involves fundraising and special events.”
These special events, like the gala, are a great way to involve students in the non-academic setting of PA.
As the Middle School and Upper School Learning Specialist, Mrs. Annette Crider also has a smaller student audience. She assists students with accommodations, as well as offers general advice for the students that ask for it, especially regarding studying, organization, and test-taking skills.
“My hope is that they trust the knowledge I give them, and that they are able to find some success through that,” she said. This is not her only involvement with students, however. “Hearing their funny stories, things I learn about them, these things are all important. It’s really critical to know who the students are when they’re outside of school.”
Mr. Michael Scholl, the Director of Advancement, said that “even though we’re not directly connected, there’s still a link between students and administration.”
His main work for PA is for students who are not physically in the buildings. This includes perspective families for all grades as well as alumni. During a student’s time at PA, he is in contact with the parents; especially for financial aid, communications, marketing, development, and fundraising. However, he does have one direct impact on some students.
“My son is in Pre-K this year, so I’m getting to know those students a little better as well.”
As the adviser to the FIT Team, Enrollment Manager Mr. Josh Anderson has a more noticeable relationship with the students. He oversees open houses, school visits to parish schools, and brand new students in grades K-12.
He commented on the importance of seeing students in these settings, stating, “being able to know the students allows me to provide stories to perspective families.”
By having these more specific examples of PA life, Mr. Anderson is better able to “sell the PA experience” to curious families. He encourages students to volunteer as FIT members, as well as urges them to be more involved in non-academic aspects of their school.
Though these four PA staff members are just a small portion of the 100 or so PA staff, their crucial roles beg the question: why are students unfamiliar with the people who work at their school?
Mrs. Schommer put it best when she said, “Your day is so full as a student, that when you do have free time, you aren’t spending it getting to know your school better.”
However, these student-staff relationships are extremely beneficial. Whether it enables the student to feel more comfortable in a classroom setting, ask questions, or go in for extra help, knowing their teachers makes them learn better, faster, and more efficiently. These same relationships could exist with all staff, with the same positive results. So, the next time you see a PA staff member you aren’t familiar with, say hello!