Welcome to St. Paul's Episcopal School!
I invite you to get to know St. Paul's Episcopal School as you search for an academic home for your child and family.
This year begins my thirteenth as Head of School at St. Paul's (my 28th year overall as a head of school) and, as I tell my children, I have the best job in the world. I remember how anxious my husband and I felt as we looked for the right school for our two children. We were living in Boston and options were plentiful.
I'm going to suggest to you what my mother told me: Take your time, talk to the teachers, and trust your instincts.
With warm regards,
Head of Schoolkmerry@spes.org
Inclusiveness, Kindness, Empathy in 6th Gr and MS 2012-13
Mrs. Merry's Remarks at a Prospective Parent Open House
Welcome! I’m Karan Merry, Head of School. I’m going to talk for about five minutes and then I’d love to take your questions.
This is a major transition for your family — preparing to send your child to kindergarten. It’s a big deal. Starting kindergarten is a major milestone.
Our focus at St. Paul’s is on preparing your child for high school, academically and socially. I know high school may seem like a long way off, but we are preparing your child for success every day, just as you are at home.
Academic Foundation and Character Education
Foremost in this preparation is giving your child a strong academic foundation. That’s a necessity. I’ll say more about our curriculum later on and I’m happy to answer your questions. But first I’d like to talk about another area that St. Paul’s is known for: character education and civic engagement.
We work very intentionally to teach our students to treat each other with empathy and respect. Much of this work is through our Responsive Classroom approach to creating a classroom community – through greeting each other each morning, sharing stories, and knowing what the expectations are. Our teachers are trained in Responsive Classroom and it sets the tone.
This year, the kindergarten teachers formed the Kindness Club, complete with Kindness Club crowns that the students wore. We are very intentional in talking about what kindness looks like.
Face-to-Face Social Curriculum
We also have a very clear social curriculum called Face-to-Face. This is an anti-bullying curriculum about including everyone. The rule is, If you wouldn’t make a comment to someone’s face, don’t make the comment. Our teachers teach the social curriculum every day.
From this foundation, we talk to our students about caring for the world around them, for the seniors at St. Paul’s Towers, the environment, and beyond. Even kindergartners learn that they can contribute to making the world, and their School, a better place.
Service Learning is woven into our curriculum, whether it's first graders making sandwiches for families in transitional housing, third graders conducting a bird census at Lake Merritt, or sixth graders cleaning Lake Merritt in hip waders.
We have an advantage in teaching service because we are in the city. We are across from Lake Merritt and we take care of the birds and the water. And as we walk Grand Ave. with our students, we teach them that it’s okay to be in the world. It’s okay to be around people who look may look or act different. They are us and we are them.
Bridges Math Curriculum
Now to touch on the curriculum for a minute. We’re very excited our new Bridges math curriculum at the Lower School. Bridges is a visually based math curriculum. From kindergarten, children are learning to look at a diagram and recognize number patterns. It’s very exciting! Bridges also includes a great number of math games and math vocabulary. The children and the teachers have loved it, and we’re already seeing that students are more adept at explaining math concepts as a result. It's also a curriculum that is differentiated. Every child is challenged to go to the highest level possible.
We also focus a great deal on writing skills, which are so crucial. I could say more but most important, our teachers connect with their students; you will find that our teachers understand your child.
Thank you so much for coming out tonight. Please come talk to me. I’d love to hear about your children and their interests.
|A Letter from the Board About Mrs. Merry's Retirement|
Dear St. Paul's Community,
As you have now learned, our long-serving Head of School, Karan Merry, has informed the Board of Trustees and the greater school community that she will leave her position at St. Paul’s Episcopal School effective June 30, 2014.
On behalf of the entire Board, we want to express our deepest gratitude to Karan for her unswerving commitment to the mission of St. Paul’s School and the children in her charge. For the past 13 years, Karan has worked tirelessly for the betterment of our School. She embodies the School’s core values, particularly social justice, and has shown a deep concern not only for our children, but also for our families, our outstanding faculty and staff, and the greater community.
Karan’s vision and enthusiastic service to our School and community have been invaluable. The result has been nothing short of amazing. With her leadership, St. Paul’s School has grown and prospered.
|Head of School Karan Merry Announces She Will Leave Position in 2014|
A letter from Karan A. Merry, Head of School
It seems only yesterday that I arrived in Oakland and fell in love with a community called St. Paul's Episcopal School. As the new Head of School in the summer of 2000, my intention at the time was to stay for 10 years — next year, I will be entering my 14th year. The opportunity to be deeply involved in the life of St. Paul's School, to collaborate closely with Trustees, faculty, staff, and families, has been richly rewarding and has made the time pass quickly. I have especially enjoyed watching our children grow and mature. Each student has held a place in my heart.
I write to let you know that I will be leaving my position at St. Paul's on June 30, 2014 at the close of the 2013-2014 academic year. I am eager to try new opportunities, but what calls me most is my family on the East Coast. My first grandson was born during my first year as Head of St. Paul's, and his brother followed five years later; it's time to go back East to spend time with both of my grandsons before they are grown.
My time at St. Paul's has been an extraordinary era of growth for the School. When I began as Head, St. Paul's School offered one class section per grade level in kindergarten through fifth grade. The Middle School needed a complete renovation, the Lower School was in need of seismic work and classroom improvements, and the library for the entire school was housed in a cramped space on the mezzanine at the Lower School. Needless to say, the School had no gymnasium. In my first years here, it became clear that we needed to upgrade our campus. We had the team to do it. The Board of Trustees completed a Campus Master Plan in 2004 and we set to work.
"I treasure St. Paul's because the students receive excellent academic and values training. Each student is treated as a unique individual.”
– Mary W. Adams, grandparent of Isadora ’17