14 15 ACDS students are encouraged to understand community in both local and global terms. They take an active role in the school community as classmates, leaders, mentors, and friends, and find ways to have a positive impact on communities, here in Alexandria and throughout the world. COMMUNITY MINDED Zethan bounds up the front steps eager to begin his day in Kindergarten. He is greeted warmly by the Heads of Lower and Middle School at the front door, as well as many students and staff on his way to his classroom. Later, while walking to Spanish class, Zethan sees his eighth grade buddy in the hallway, exclaims “Hi, Davis!”, and receives an enthusiastic greeting and high five in return. These daily social interactions with adults, classmates, and older students let Zethan know that he is safe, known, and valued at ACDS. At ACDS, the social and emotional well-being of all our students is of primary importance. One simply has to walk into a classroom or see students interacting with one another at recess or in the hallway to feel the nurturing and supportive climate. Character education and building self-esteem are woven in throughout the school day through the use of Responsive Classroom in the Lower School and Developmental Designs in the Middle School. Lower School students begin their day with a morning meeting in which every child is greeted Zethan by name. There is also an activity meant to teach a certain social skill or strengthen the classroom community. In the Middle School, students are assigned an advisor and meet with their small advisory group of approximately ten students first period each morning. These meetings are used for Circle of Power and Respect (CPR). A key component of the Developmental Designs program, CPR periods are carefully designed to give students and teachers opportunities to engage in conversations and activities that build character and community. The sessions explore challenging questions our students face as they consider their role in their school, their community, and the larger world around them. Combined with the informal interactions that take place during the day, teachers and students have significant time each day to build strong relationships that help them grow. The sense of community is also fostered through our buddy program in which older students become mentors to their younger peers. Buddies participate in a variety of activities together throughout the year, including service learning projects and a joint art/technology field trip. COMMUNITY MINDED