Every aspect of student life benefits from our school’s small size, which encourages direct communication and allows trust to be at the heart of the community.
One opportunity for this communication occurs daily after third period. Students, faculty, and staff all go to our front lawn or to the performance space—depending on the weather—to eat, socialize and make announcements ranging from upcoming performances to sports events to birthdays.
Students also may eat, socialize and meet with teachers or groups during a 20-minute break every day after fourth period.
Because of the school’s small size, many people are watching out for each student. The assistant headmaster oversees student affairs and lends a sympathetic ear. Each student has a personal advisor with whom to discuss academic or personal issues. Each grade also has a class advisor to help organize class plans and discuss class issues. And each seventh grader has a “big sibling,” one of many returning students who volunteer to help new students navigate their new environment. Of course, much advising happens on an informal basis when students chat with a teacher in the hall or turn to an older student for help. All faculty members encourage phone calls at home.
Many conversations happen in the locker area. Falmouth Academy lockers, built by students, parents, and faculty, have no doors because the community relies on and values openness and trust.
Another sign of this trust is the student-written Honor Code. This code stresses integrity and straightforward communication and reminds us of the obligation each member of the community has to uphold this trust.
Falmouth Academy’s Student Council is composed of four upper-class officers (president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer), the Honor Society president, and two representatives from grades 7 through 12. The group works to uphold the culture of the school by organizing and continuing various school traditions such as Gala, Senior-Teaching Day, Spirit Week, the Talent Show, the all-school trip and the all-school game of capture the flag. Student Council also encourages all FA students to serve the community through work crew, recycling and composting.
Class student council officers frequently will run class meetings. With the help of class advisors, the officers will discuss topics ranging from selling blocks and class trips to dances and Spirit Week activities. Any class member can bring up a topic for the group. Each class has at least one class trip. The eighth graders, for instance, start the school year reading Annie Dillard’s thoughts on the value of small things, and then move on to Thoreau and Emerson in preparation for a two-day trip to Mr. Monadnock in New Hampshire. There, students challenge their bodies with the climb to the summit and challenge their minds with nature writing and reflections. The theme is “living deliberately.”
The school’s small size and culture allow us to rely on one general rule—“Know where you are.” In terms of dress code, this rule simply means that students should dress appropriately. In case students are unclear, the school asks that they: do not wear blue denim or athletic wear; only wear sweatshirts that have a college or university name on them or Falmouth Academy’s name; refrain from wearing shirts with writing (other than small logos on breast pockets); take off hats and sunglasses when indoors; and keep underwear and midriffs hidden. Shorts are permitted in September, May and June. (The Student Handbook includes more dress code specifics.) Again, the dress code is designed to reflect and complement the school’s atmosphere of serious work and activity.