Be More Connected

by: Stacy Alexander, Director of Alumni and Community Engagement
First grade and eleventh grade buddied-up on the lawn in front of Charger Commons for storytime last week. The younger Chargers brought some of their favorite books to share with their buddies, and each took turns reading to each other. Scenes of intentional cross-divisional connections are becoming more common as the Shorecrest Buddies program grows. [More photos.]

The Buddy program between the then kindergarteners and sophomores began last year with a letter exchange and classroom visit. So far this school year, the first graders have written stories for their buddies, shared a playdate on the LS playground, and taken part in Wednesday’s storytime. 

Next up, the eleventh graders will write letters to their first grade buddies during an advisory meeting and will walk them into the all-school Homecoming pep rally on Friday, October 18. 

Dominique Craft, Assistant Head of Lower School, oversees the schoolwide Shorecrest Buddies program. Steven Gende, Upper School English teacher and Junior Class Sponsor, works in conjunction with Ms. Craft as the Upper School lead for the connection between grades 1 and 11. Shorecrest Buddies encompass grades K/10, 1/11, 3/7, and 4/8. Next year, the program will expand to include grades 2 and 12.

“Mirroring the construction of a physical building that serves the entire community at Shorecrest, we wanted to create a program that fosters connection and relationship-building across grade levels," shared Ms. Craft. "Each time a first grader, or 3rd grader, or 8th grader connects with their buddy, we witness a strengthening of those bonds of compassion, empathy, and community that make us a living, breathing, authentic community of learners.”

Building school culture and community is one of the five priorities of the 2020 Strategic Plan. Creating these buddy relationships between the older and younger Chargers enables powerful, cross-divisional relationships, provides opportunities for students at both ends of the age range to practice social skills, and creates a caring spirit in the school.

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St Petersburg, FL 33703
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Shorecrest Preparatory School is a private, non-sectarian, coeducational, college preparatory day school for students preschool through high school, located in St. Petersburg, Florida.