How does the UCDS administrative team stay connected to our students in a meaningful way? Jane Griffin is here to tell you how. -Ed.
I’ve worked with youth in a number of ways throughout my professional career – I worked as a Nanny, as an aide at after school programs, and as an elementary school teacher. I have worked in social services programs, and now as the UCDS Assistant Director of Admissions. I went into the field of admissions because I am passionate about youth and education. In admissions, my work is centered around prospective students and new incoming families. Because of the age of the applicants, I primarily engage with the parents of the children who are applying to UCDS. Meeting the applicants in person is an important part of the admissions process and I look forward to Visit Days when I am able to get to know them. However, it is the parents I spend most of my time with during the year. Once decisions are made, and the new students are admitted, we start the admission process over again, and meet a whole new set of parents and children.
Luckily, after the admissions process, I continue to interact with the UCDS students. It is an expectation at UCDS to be a collaborative team member, and to support the school in all ways. My interactions can be as simple as my weekly curb duty. On Monday mornings I am one of the first people to provide a warm smile to the students and welcome them into school for the day. This may seem like a simple task, but it’s really important for kids to see familiar and caring faces as they enter their school. I also have a weekly lunch duty with the Early Elementary students. At lunch duty I help the kids make healthy choices, help them to resolve conflicts, tell jokes – and sometimes have super deep conversations about superheroes. At UCDS we have faculty and staff based committees that work side-by-side with student based committees. I am on the Admission Committee and we work with 5th grade students on the Admission Service Learning Committee. We meet weekly and our 5th graders work on everything – from the start of the admission season – to the end, from admission tours to the New Family Reception.
The time I get to spend with the students serves me in invaluable ways. I truly enjoy being around kids, and it definitely helps me do my job better. Knowing our students and having anecdotal stories about them is one of the best ways to give prospective parents insight about UCDS. I believe that it serves students just as much. They learn how to interact with many different adults, which helps them as they move on to middle school, then high school, and throughout life.