A private Episcopal school for primary through high school students in Houston, Texas

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Thoughts from the Den

St. Francis shares thoughts and insight on current and timeless topics in education, faith, academic success, and living lives with purpose as our students grow and challenge what's possible.
Developing an Understanding of Self, Finding One's Voice, and Practicing Agency
Cara Henderson EdD, Head of Upper School

A couple of years ago while in graduate school, I found myself hard pressed to come up with a definition for the word literacy that went beyond the skills of reading and writing.  Since then, through my studies and experience, I’ve developed a deeper understanding of the concept of literacy and how I hope to nurture the teaching and learning of literacy as a leader of learning.

Full literacy means recognizing there are multiple literacies used in different social, cultural, and political contexts. As educators, it is incumbent upon us to create learning environments that allow students to better understand their own identity and practice sharing their narrative with others. How do we accomplish this? 

Within the Spanish classroom, I’ve learned how important it is to build rapport with my students. Speaking another language can be intimidating and it’s essential that the student/teacher relationship is built on trust. The teacher should also recognize the unique gifts and talents of his or her students.

Further, teachers must move away from the need to feel in control of every aspect of the classroom. Ideally, teaching and learning is multidirectional—from teacher to student, from student to teacher, and between and amongst students. This also helps to nurture safe, trusting student-teacher relationships, while active listening helps create honesty, empathy, and mutual respect within the classroom.   

As students develop a sense of self and find their voice, they will begin to recognize acts of injustice, inequity, and unfairness when they see them. When they encounter these scenarios, we must empower them with strategies to push back respectfully—to do so is to care for our children and believe in their potential to serve as agents of positive, equalizing change.

Running with the Pack
T Riley | Director of Athletics

While the smell of autumn is not quite in the air yet here in Houston, the Wolves are off and running! This fall, we are fielding 13 total teams in Middle and Upper School. Our sixth- through eighth-grade athletes are competing in boys’ and girls’ cross country, field hockey, football, and girls’ volleyball. Our coaches and athletes have been working hard to prepare for the season, and we are excited to see each team in action.


Meanwhile, our ninth-grade students are making history as they compete for the school for the first time in the high school ranks! Upper School Wolves are competing in boys’ and girls’ cross country and girls’ volleyball this season. Some highlights:

·      Coach Cydryce McMillian and her team won their first high school match in school history on August 28, 2018, when they defeated Briarwood School in three sets, 14-25, 25-19, 17-15.

·      Coach Platt and our cross country team have already competed and have begun to lay the ground work for the future of the program by establishing a boys’ and girls’ school record—Katelyn B. recorded a 17:41.0 in her first race, and John K. ran a 15:36.8 at Burroughs Park in Tomball in the 2-mile race.

We are looking forward to a great year in Middle and Upper School athletics and hope to see you at a game soon. Go Wolves!


Making the start of the school year the best ever!
Carol Christ

Parents often ask me, “What is the best way to promote a positive start to the school year?”  With new friends, new teachers, and new classrooms, there is a great deal of adjusting to do! To overcome these adjustments, my advice is to GET CONNECTED.

First, GET CONNECTED with your child’s teacher. Reaching out to him or her by email or phone is a great way to feel like you are part of the journey. Simply mentioning what’s going on in your child’s life or family; introducing yourself, saying hello, and offering your help; asking particular questions about your child; or sharing general information about your child are all great communication starters. However, if there is a real issue or concern, please ask for a face-to-face meeting as we never want to have “conferences” by e-mail. Parents often say that they do not want to bother the teacher, but these types of communications are not bothers at all. We love hearing from parents and learning more about the children we teach!  Being proactive prevents having to be reactive.  

Next, GET CONNECTED to the division. Each week in Wolf Watch, I summarize division happenings and highlight relevant, timely topics. Knowing what’s going on and understanding why we do what we do helps you to understand your child’s experience and know how to be a part of the learning process with us. PLEASE take five minutes to read Wolf Watch, attend chapel services, sign up as guest readers, and stop in the office to say hello. I love meeting with parents, even when there is not an issue! Being connected to your child’s school world tells them how much you care about their happiness and well-being.

Last, GET CONNECTED with the school. Again, Wolf Watch has general school and church information that is pertinent to your child and family. When parents, faculty, and students form meaningful relationships, great things can happen. No matter what grade your child is entering, helping us create the best learning environment and working as a team is always the best approach!