A New Beginning

There is no more joyful place to start the day than at the front door of the Lower School building at Derby Academy. To see children bounding up the sidewalk, greeting their friends and teachers, ready to tackle another day of learning and growth, offers a daily reminder of what a truly special place this is.

This joyful enthusiasm carries Derby students as they explore the wonders within their classrooms, on the playground, and throughout the campus each day. This magical environment doesn’t happen by accident. During my first months at Derby, I have been astounded by the passion and dedication of the educators with whom I am so lucky to work. The thoughtfulness with which they approach the art and science of teaching is inspiring.

As a school that embraces the Responsive Classroom approach, we pay careful attention to the first six weeks of school. Establishing routines and expectations as we create a climate and tone of warmth and safety is an investment of time that pays dividends all year. Helping children understand the global expectations of what it means to be a Derby student—that our school is a place where people try hard, and take care of themselves, each other, and our facilities—is paramount when creating a space where all members of our community feel safe, cared for, free to take a risk, and joyful.

At home, too, you are surely establishing routines anew, with the different expectations of a new grade level, new teachers, or just the changed rhythm that comes with the transition from summer to fall. While establishing an afternoon homework routine with your third grader may not feel quite so joyful at moments, know that doing so will pay dividends, too. The effort is worth it, both at home and at school!

What a pleasure it is getting to know your children. In this joyful place, we are poised to have a wonderful year with them!


-Kathleen Smith

Head of Primary /Lower School

Derby Academy

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