At the Wilberforce School, our faculty arrives two full weeks before the students begin classes. We call this our "Summer Institute." Many friends of mine who are teachers return to school a day or two before the students’ arrival, which can sound enticing when trying to hold on to the last precious summer days. However, when we as Wilberforce faculty members arrive to prepare our hearts and classrooms for the upcoming year, I always look forward to how God will bless and guide our school.
During these two weeks of Summer Institute, we as faculty and staff revisit our mission, worship God in community, fellowship with one another, and prepare the school for the joyful students who will soon arrive. Of course, it would be difficult to start the year without getting our classrooms in order, but it would be impossible to answer our calling as teachers and to meet its inevitable challenges without remembering the “why” behind all that we do. When the busyness of school descends and students and teachers are immersed in readings, projects, or report cards, it is very important that we have taken the time before the school year to remind ourselves that we are called, above all else, to point our students to Christ.
Another thing that sometimes gets lost after the school year has begun is our time of fellowship among the faculty and staff. I think back upon my first Summer Institute in August of 2008, when the entire faculty fit around one small kitchen table; Today, we have an over 40-member faculty that gathered together for the last two weeks at Summer Institute. Even in these short weeks, we’ve gotten to know each other better in our meetings and discussions, and also through the unexpected means of skit performances, furniture repair, and eclipse viewings! We have had new areas to grow in this summer - video making and acrylic painting (led by our new art teacher, Mrs. Rivedal) - which our teachers have done surprisingly well in! We learned from one another and enjoyed the process of advancing new skills together.
Every morning of Summer Institute, we began with a time of scripture reading, singing, and prayer. Prayer is crucial to the flourishing of our school. With all the excitement and at times, anxiety that can accompany the start of school, we ask that you join us in praying for our students, families, and staff. I look forward to seeing how God will move and work at the Wilberforce School this year!