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SPS Parents' Association

Meeting Minutes

January 17, 2020 // Meeting Minutes

Introduction: Michele Jensen and Kim Larkin, Co-Presidents 

Featured Topic: Navigating Social Media with your Child

  • Kate Childs, SPS School Counselor, LPC
  • Matt Evans, Head of School

St. Peter’s has been working for some time with The Social Institute. 

The Social Institute partners with schools nationwide to empower students, parents and leaders to navigate social media and technology positively

The Social Institute has a robust parent portal.

SPS will continue to support our teachers as we move forward.

The school encourages discussion and feedback from parents – what kind of information do parents want and have access to, and what questions do they have.

Professional Development: There have been several professional development days for faculty thus far about the topic of social media

Books we recommend that speak to this topic: 

Growing Up Social: Raising Relational Kids in a Screen-Driven World by Gary Chapman and Arlene Pellicane 

Screenwise, Helping Kids Thrive (and Survive) in Their Digital World by Devorah Heitner

Kate Childs Presentation: Navigating Social Media

  • Screen time and social media opportunities & challenges
  • “Wired and Tired” theory – kids so tired and wired and then can’t go to sleep; can’t bring the level down 
  • Connection with friends and community through gaming (challenges, for kids from a social perspective) 
  • Dependence – what are the guidelines, the rules, the balance 

How do we support our kids so they can monitor themselves?

Freedom with restrictions: SPS employs a company called Securely for the school’s Chromebooks. SPS receives alerts when students’ searches hit certain and/or multiple keywords. Securely also sets up firewalls.

The Social Institute has resources about mental health, how to help children make good decisions, social-emotional learning component.

Parent component – quizzes, conversations that we can have with our children. 

St. Peter’s policy calls for all personal devices to be turned off during school hours. Children can bring devices to school in backpacks but are not allowed to use them during school hours or on school property.

SPS students receive an email account in fourth grade. Rules are set up and discussed with students beforehand that they are expected to abide by. 

Parent feedback during meeting: 

  • Request regarding what to expect with technology at both the lower school level and upper school level.

The school’s mission about being your best self creates a standard. We aim to help families understand that there is a learning opportunity from every choice we make. 

The Upper School is already doing work around online presence – the school has already started these conversations with the students.

St. Peter’s has begun working with Safe 2 Say Something, which allows students (sixth to eighth grade), through technology and a safe space, to report through a text message, any concerns the students might have about themselves or their peers.

These texts go into a portal and the portal directly contacts Kate Childs (Mr. Evans, Mr. Nord, Mrs. Seltzer, and Ms. Childs all have access).

Positive approach: We know punishment does not work. Consequences, however, make sense. 

Navigating social media. This will become integrated into curriculum in classrooms as part of the SEL program, and will touch on topics such as how to deal with different scenarios specifically on the computer. 

This conversation will continue.

Emily McHose Auction Chair

First auction items have started to arrive, first sponsors have signed up. 

There are many different ways that parents can support the auction – please let us know if you want to be involved or have any questions. or reach out to SPS.

Venue visit – everything is looking great.

Still looking for sponsorships outside the school community ($300 to $2500).

Class projects or contributions (not just art projects) were very successful – everything sold last year. Just sent out emails to VPs to send to class parents so these projects/contributions continue.

REACH Summer Camp – Josh Pritchard

Still building on program, continuing the rebranding effort and growing into the program. 

The school has raised the bar during the rebranding process, stepped away from REACH simply being “afterschool” (an afterthought), and actually being something meaningful.


The camp will be mainly STEAM-based, with ample opportunities for children to play, and learn while playing. Each week will have theme-based programming (sensory, fine and large motor skills). One of the weeks will celebrate different cultures.

Camp will run for 8 weeks, from June 22 – August 14.

Children will be grouped by rising grades and/or by age if enrollment is robust. Registration has just begun. 

Many of the current REACH staff are interested in working during camp weeks. Current faculty might likely participate as well as outside staff. 

Please reach out to Josh Pritchard for questions. 


LAVNER CAMPS – Michael Lavner, Executive Director, Lavner Camps

St. Peter’s School has partnered with Lavner Camps, a summer enrichment program for children ages 6-14.

Camp will run for 9 weeks, from June 22 – August 21.

Stem/technology, creative arts, culinary arts, Steam

Each day is structured in the same way (schedule on the website).

The camp holds a “red carpet event” at the end of each week, where everyone comes together and all kids will be invited to receive their “certificate of excellence” (something to celebrate their accomplishments for the week). 

The Lavner camps are credited by the American Camp Association – many important criteria (top priority is the safety, well-being and happiness of the children; children are to be safe while learning and most importantly having fun). 

All staff have background checks, and staff to camper ratio never exceeds 1:8.

Different age groups are not only based on age but also on experience (i.e., for Culinary Arts, Lavner splits kids into sous chefs and executive chefs).

Progress reports are required of staff, making sure all children are equally experiencing and thriving from camp activities.

If anyone has questions, please contact Michael at or reach out to SPS.