The planning process for NSA’s first-ever professional development week involving members of all departments began more than a year ago, when a need for an integrated approach to training was identified. Staff members from all departments not only participated, but collaborated in the identification of themes for workshops and the development of engaging, hands-on learning opportunities.
Some of the themes of these important community-building workshops included: Communication, Work/Life Balance, Leadership Development, Diversity, and Supportive Immersion – the foundational approach which has guided our success at NSA from the start.
The week wasn’t all work, however, as each workshop integrated fun, relationship-building activities that promoted experiential learning. Faculty and Staff also dedicated an evening to further develop their interpersonal relationships at a celebratory all-staff dinner. The week was extremely valuable, and is certain to become a regular part of our professional development at NSA.
by Dr. Danny Recio & Andy Myers (Oct 2016)
Check out this great presentation by Dr. Danny Recio and Andy Myers - given at the Young Adult Transition Association conference in October 2016 in Idaho, USA. You will learn a lot about the psychological and social benefits of an appropriate, supportive cross-cultural immersion experience on growth and complexity.
"Therapeutic Educational Experiences" (similar version published in We Are NATSAP newsletter October 2016)
by Dr. Heather Tracy, Ed.M., Ed.D., Executive Director at New Summit Academy & The Bridge – Costa Rica
During the admissions process at therapeutic boarding schools, there is no shortage of educational symptoms listed: Grades declined. Skipped classes. Suspended. Fell into a negative peer group at school. Bullied. Whatever the case may be, what happens at school is often framed as a symptom of a deeper clinical issue that is the true reason for seeking treatment. What is often not highlighted is just how integrated an adolescent’s educational and personal development experiences actually are. The up side to all of this is that education does not solely serve to alert us to symptoms needing clinical attention, but
rather educational experiences can be important facilitators of healing and growth as well.
What could be more therapeutic than...
Each and every one of these examples is representative of how New Summit Academy is not just filling up students’ days with scores on tests and credits on transcripts. NSA's teachers and administrators work tirelessly to create “therapeutic” educational experiences for our students. We do this believing that someday soon other schools will catch on to the idea that therapeutic education is not just healing what has “gone wrong” for our students; instead, it is what education is meant to be at its core – an experience that facilitates learning about ourselves, each other, and the world around us so that we might meaningfully contribute in our own unique and positive way.
The staff and students – led by our Experiential Education mentor and health advocate Jaime – are engaged in a campaign to bring more mindfulness to the foods we eat at NSA. Our chefs have always prepared wonderful meals and are excited about the new opportunities for learning healthy, balanced recipes that include whole grains and brown rice, more plant-based proteins such as beans, lentils and garbanzos, and limiting meat to once a day.
Ecological Stewardship is our Global Citizenship focus this quarter, and students have been able to witness putting this into practice, as phase two of our solar panel installation was completed.
Modeling Eco-Stewardship is an important facet in our mission to develop global citizens, and this project – developed in two phases – is a big part of those efforts. Phase one consisted of installing solar water heaters on dormitory roofs. Water is traditionally heated in Costa Rica with electricity, and since our students love their long, hot showers, these solar heaters have cut our monthly electricity usage by some 35%.
Phase two of the project was the installation of dozens of solar cells on the roof of our Academic Building. The power generated by these panels should cover nearly all of our campus electrical needs, dramatically reducing our carbon footprint!
New Summit Academy is continually working to innovate and provide the best possible experiences for all of our students, parents, staff and educational partners. Each year, the Academic, EE and Personal Growth departments all set goals for improving our program. 2015 was a fantastic year for the New Summit Academy community – with achievements including:
2016 is looking to be a banner year for us as well, and as we develop our goals – guided by our organizational values – we would like to thank our community of students, families, educational consultants, faculty and staff, homestay families and the community of Atenas for the support and dedication they have provided to make New Summit Academy the amazing program it is today.
Blog authors may be students, staff, parents or colleagues. We're all-inclusive! Just enjoy!