CONNECTION AND COMMUNITY
PTF provides multiple opportunities for new families to connect to school community
Promoting a genuine community among our students and their families is one of Worthington Christian’s core values. So many Warrior alumni and their families share deep connections with each other, often lasting well beyond their years at the school. There is a distinct beauty and richness to these long-lasting WC connections because of the unity we find in Christ. Yet, like any new or unfamiliar social scene, initiating and fostering connections can be challenging for families that are new to the school community. In the last few years, major changes in social routines, as well as the transition to new school buildings, have created additional challenges for families looking to build relationships with school families. To address these challenges and in alignment with WC’s community-centered core value, the Parent-Teacher Fellowship (PTF) is piloting a program for new WC families this year.
“It’s easy to forget what it’s like to be a new parent when you’re not a new parent anymore,” explains PTF Leader Amanda Haines. In the last couple of years, Haines and her fellow PTF leaders have sensed the need to create pathways for easy connection between new families and families that have been at WC for some time. “We wanted to facilitate more connection, more community among WC parents, so we launched the ‘PTF Mentorship Program’ to that end.”
The concept is a relatively simple one: match each new WC family with a current WC family that has a child in the same grade or class. Current WC families serve as “point people” for their mentees, offering their wisdom, encouragement, and practical information on everything from specific assignments to pick-up and drop details to uniform questions.
Over the summer, Haines personally reached out to all 35 new Lower School families to field interest in participating in the mentorship program. She recalls of that initial invitation, “I didn’t get a single ‘no.’ I received dozens of responses, many of which expressed their heartfelt gratitude for the idea. These responses included, ‘We were worried we wouldn’t get able to find community at a new school’ and ‘We live in a different area of town, and my kids take the bus—I’ve been concerned about finding connections with other families.’” For each positive response she received, Haines then matched the new families with mentors.
Kelley Studder’s family is one of many already blessed by the mentorship initiative. Her second-grade daughter and fourth-grade son are new to WC this year and have previous educational experience in private and public schools. Studder explains that finding connections and community at WC were especially important to her. So, she felt encouraged to hear about the mentorship program during the New Parent Orientation in August.
After responding with interest to Haines’ initial invitation, Studder was connected with the current WC mom of four Allyson Short. They have sons in the same class this year and were able to connect over the phone and meet in person at the “Meet the Teacher” event before the beginning of the school year. Studder explains what a blessing it has been to have someone to look to for answers to her random questions. “We have felt welcomed in general at WC so far this year. God put the mentorship program in our path this year, and I am so thankful for it.”
Nearly one-fourth of the way through the school year, Haines explains, “The mentorship program has far exceeded my expectations.” With a successful Lower School pilot program underway, the PTF hopes to expand the mentorship opportunities to the Upper School in the coming years. The PTF leaders have also made strides to promote community through regular “stay and play” events after school for moms and kids to interact outside the regular school day. This Friday, at WC’s 50th Anniversary All-School Tailgate, the PTF will have a special tent set up near the event’s entrance. This will be an especially great first stop for new families to meet school leaders, connect with other families, and pick up a complimentary t-shirt for new students and other WC swag. All are welcome to stop by the tent to say hello.