Rooted! How Your Story Grounds Our Community

Blog Home  |  September 4, 2018 by Willowstone Academy  |  no comments  |  From the Office

“What are the stories from your summer?”, our Chief Learning Officer, Karine Veldhoen, asked the 29 Willowstone Academy staff members gathered at our team meeting last Tuesday.

We broke off into groups of three and shared the highs and lows of our time off. As we gathered back into our large group and shared, the big story began to take shape:

Our stories have all led us here – to serve the children and families of Willowstone Academy.

It is clear to me that each of our individual stories – educators, parents, and students – have become the root system that grounds our community and allows us to grow together.

The root system is a vital part of the health of a plant or tree. Maximum Yield, an online gardening resource, describes that, “The roots of plants usually go unseen…but they are down there doing the important work of bringing in water and nutrients so the plant can grow.” I have also heard that, in order for the root system to continue to bring in valuable nutrients, the plant must continue to forge fresh roots into new areas of the soil.

Evie Shaffer for

Our Middle Year students planting sunflower seedlings at the end of the 2017-18 school year.

On the first day of school, the sunflowers tower the fence line on Lakeshore Road!

Unseen. Important work. Forging. New growth. These words jump out at me and describe the hope-filled ways that I watch our staff and families work together to create a thriving community for the sake of every child at Willowstone Academy. And I know that, under the surface and unseen, are all of the stories that root and ground our community to allow for incredible thriving to occur.

This year, the theme at Willowstone Academy is, “Rooted!”

We are taking this year to examine and explore the health of our community’s root system. We believe that Willowstone Academy is positioned to lead the way in education in order to “champion the extraordinary potential” of children all around the globe. Our growth agenda is deep and wide – filled with the possibility of abundant opportunity for our community and beyond. We know that the health of our root system, that is the health of each individual family in our school, is vital to the health of our Willowstone Academy tree.

We also know that children who are raised in healthy communities become adults who can contribute to the good of the world. We will achieve this dream in relationship together, at our Table of Learning: educators, parents, and students.

The events and initiatives in our 2018-19 school year will work to educate, support, and cultivate a healthy culture in a thriving community for the sake of the child. From our “Designing a Thriving Community” initiative to partnering with clinical counselor and author of “Rest, Play, Grow”, Dr. Deborah MacNamara, our school year will be filled with ways to nourish the roots of your family as part of the tree at Willowstone Academy.

Please be sure to stay connected with us:

Welcome to our 2018/19 school year, “Rooted!” We are so happy you’re here!


Making Learning Visible,

Heather Sandager, Community Developer