Predictability and Support: Two Keys to Community Success

Research from Independent School Management (ISM) shows that the two factors that correlate most closely to long-term academic
success for students are a predictable environment coupled with support.

Predictability means that the rule/reward structure is strong, but also intelligible and fair from the student perspective. It also means
that faculty and administrative responses are consistent, fair, and accurate from the student and parent perspective, particularly regarding what is positively or negatively reinforced. Support means that the faculty and administrative staffs appear to the students
genuinely to desire the student’s success, and work to elicit that success, while not overlooking the importance of accurate—not inflated—feedback and reinforcement.

Over the years New Covenant has taken these two principles to heart and applied them in nearly everything we do. Administration seeks predictability and support with the faculty, intentionally responding to their needs quickly and maintaining clear routines and expectations. We try to maintain transparency in leadership, to avoid uncertainty, and to encourage unity around a shared vision of education. A healthy faculty culture is key to a healthy student culture; in fact, the child’s experience at New Covenant is a participation in the faculty culture.

Predictability and support are vital in the parent relationship as well. It shows most clearly in the overall management of classrooms and communication. A parent whose child enters New Covenant in the first grade should have a consistent experience regardless of who is teaching which section. When a student moves to the second grade, the experience should feel the same. Allowing for differences in giftedness from teacher to teacher, the transition from grade to grade should be largely monolithic, not wholly other.

We try to offer parents predictability in scheduling. Today, for example, our staff will meet for its first discussion of next year’s academic calendar, which we will publish to you after the first of the year. This gives you the ability to plan for things that are important to your family. Once published, we change the calendar or move dates only in the most extreme circumstances.

Finally, we offer parents predictability in our tuition structure, tuition assistance, and the entire reenrollment process. We seek to publish our tuition schedules on or around December 1 each year. This gives parents nearly a year to make any implied budgetary adjustments when tuition rises. Our process of continuous enrollment means that to hold your child’s seat for the following year, you do nothing —we re-enroll automatically. There is no new contract to sign, no hassle, no filling out form after form. All we ask parents
to do is update any personal information that has changed.

New Covenant offers you the benefits of a classical education, with one of the strongest programs in our community. At the same time, we hold ourselves to high standards of predictability and support so that our students and parents may thrive with the benefits that flow from a healthy school culture.