New Hope School: Fostering the Upbringing of the Whole Person

Hope School
New Hope School

Schools play a vital role in the upbringing of children by providing them with education, socialization, values, skills, and experiences that contribute to their holistic development. The partnership between parents and schools creates a well-rounded foundation for children’s growth and prepares them for a successful and fulfilling future.

New Hope School believes in fostering the upbringing of the whole person: intellectually, emotionally, socially, and spiritually.

New Hope School’s education philosophy is that education involves more than simply addressing the intellect. The school accomplishes this through a challenging academic curriculum, a strong character education program, and a creative music and arts program.

All grades begin the day with inspirational readings from various scriptural, historical, and cultural sources to help students gain a deeper understanding of their own identity and value. The importance of moral and ethical principles is stressed as a foundation for healthy character development.

A Peace Academy
In addition to its academic program, the school places great emphasis on its character education program, from which the school derives its motto, “A Peace Academy.” New Hope School seeks to raise children who will be peaceful both with themselves and in their relationships with others.

Throughout the school year, in regular classes and special sessions, students are instructed in timeless virtues, such as honesty, fairness, and compassion, and are encouraged to participate in service projects for the community.

The school fosters a dedicated learning environment through small class sizes in which teachers are able to get to know their students deeply on a personal level. In this way, teachers know their students’ strengths and weaknesses, their learning styles, and their abilities and interests in order to give them the support and encouragement they need to fulfill their tasks well and leave them with a sense of accomplishment.

New Hope’s commitment to excellence begins with a well-organized and challenging curriculum provided by the Core Knowledge Foundation. This curriculum is supplemented by various project-based learning activities at each grade level throughout the school year in which students are challenged to apply their learning to real-world scenarios. For example, over the years, students have built a 3D model of the Delaware River Gap, created their own businesses, developed the concept of a model school, play-acted investing in the stock market, learned to pitch a city of their choosing to a fictitious IT CEO looking to relocate the company’s headquarters, and researched the history of the city where the school is located, among many others.

New Hope School expects its teachers to love teaching and engage their students enthusiastically in their lessons. The more teachers do this, the school believes the more their students will love learning.

Fostering a Family Atmosphere

As a small school, New Hope School prides itself on having a family atmosphere in which everyone knows each other. The school actively encourages older students to be role models for the younger ones and to see each other as brothers and sisters. It sees teachers as having a parental role in their relationship with their students.

Almost invariably, its students go on to do very well in high school and beyond. Upon graduation, they are regularly accepted to a selective charter high school in the area. They very often are honors students in high school and college. One of its graduates became the valedictorian at her high school. Another recent graduate was featured in the city magazine for winning first place in a film competition.

New Hope School offers a variety of extracurricular activities after school, ranging from clubs in art, math, reading, robotics, and chess to martial arts, yoga, and dance classes to choir and various kinds of sports activities. It regards these opportunities as important supplements to their academic education to help students develop themselves in both mind and body.

Enhancing Educational Facilities

During the COVID pandemic, New Hope School distinguished itself by remaining open and maintaining its regular academic schedule even at times when, by state mandate, it was entirely virtual. The school purchased special equipment to enable students to access the classrooms and teachers from home and offered a hybrid system for a period of time as the pandemic began to wane.

Every year the school partners with various organizations in order to enhance its educational program. New Hope School has collaborated with Defined Learning for its project-based learning program; Mad Science, Renaissance Child, and KidzToPros in support of its after-school activities; Elevate to promote social-emotional learning, and Boss Club to teach students how to create and operate their own businesses.

New Hope School intentionally limits the use of technology in the regular classroom. Its education program highlights the teacher-student relationship and encourages collaboration among students in various types of group work. At the same time, all its classes are equipped with interactive whiteboards, which are used extensively. All students have computer class once a week where the lower grades learn basic computer skills and the upper grades more advanced skills like coding and design. Teachers make use of the computer lab at various times throughout the week for special projects that require students to have a computer or internet access.

Offering Greater Personal Assistance

As a school with small class sizes, as mentioned earlier, teachers are able to offer their students a greater amount of personal support than those in schools with larger classes. Its classes typically have 10-12 students. Beyond this, New Hope School offers one-on-one tutoring after school for students who need extra help with their studies. In addition, the school has a special services teacher who comes in twice a week to work with students needing extra help in certain areas. The teacher may work with students in the classroom or as pullouts from the class.

To ensure that its educational program remains rigorous and relevant, New Hope School’s staff reviews the school’s curriculum on a regular basis. It also holds professional development sessions at the school throughout the year to support teachers to be able to deliver the material and engage the students in the best way possible. New Hope School finds itself fortunate that the Core Knowledge Foundation itself is engaged in the ongoing development of its educational materials. At the beginning of each school year, its faculty are informed of new developments in the curriculum and given support to include these developments in their teaching. In addition, each year, the school conducts a survey of parents, asking for their ideas on ways the school can continually improve its educational offering.

Celebrating Accomplishments

Each year the school holds a spelling bee, the winner of which represents the school at the regional spelling bee. The names of all the students who have won going back to 2006 are highlighted on a plaque in the front lobby.

At the end of the school year, various awards are presented to students to recognize and celebrate their achievements in different areas. Among these are the President’s Awards for Academic Excellence and Achievement which are accompanied by a letter from the President of the United States. Students who showed a good example of public-mindedness and a sense of responsibility are presented with Citizenship Awards. Students who had perfect attendance are also recognized with an award. Also, various kinds of character awards are also presented to students at the year-end assembly.

Laying a Foundation for Good Education

New Hope School has two major fundraisers during the school year, one in the fall and one in the spring, which are about more than simply raising money for the school. The fall fundraiser is also a Read-a-Thon in which parents are asked to find sponsors for their children who promise to read a certain number of books during the month of November. This is in keeping with the emphasis the school places on reading development as a key foundation for good education. The spring fundraiser, called the Race for Education, similarly asks parents to seek sponsors for their children who pledge to accomplish a certain number of laps around a quarter-mile track over the course of an hour. This is in line with the importance the school puts on physical education. Although the school lacks a physical gymnasium, the school encourages lots of play activities on the playground before and after school and during recess. Thus, students are frequently engaged in various sports, such as soccer, basketball, kickball, table tennis, tag, etc.

Blending Strong Discipline with a Loving Touch

New Hope School’s first-grade teacher, Jan Mendoza, has been teaching at the school almost since its inception. Montessori-trained, she is very adept at engaging her students both inside the classroom and out. She is often seen leading her charges in and around the school like a mother hen. Ms. Jan blends strong discipline with a loving touch which has endeared her to her many students over the years. It is not uncommon for a former student of hers, now in college or a successful professional, to stop by for a visit. The quality of the learning she delivers is exemplified by the fact that her students are nearly always above the 90th percentile on the standardized test they take each spring. Kudos to Ms. Jan!

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