Fellowship fosters Rhetoric School connections New adopt-a-grade program helps students in grades 7-12

Paintball parties, pumpkin carving, prayer groups, movie nights, and zip lining – these are just a few of the ways the new "Adopt-a-Grade" program at Mars Hill Academy has fostered fellowship for Rhetoric School students in grades 7-12 this school year.

Parent Teacher Fellowship leadership members Mrs. Gwen Tipton and Mrs. Angela Anderson helped execute Rhetoric School Principal Mark Cotterman's idea of parents adopting grades 7-12, similar to room parents in elementary grades. MHA is divided into two "schools" – the Grammar School for grades K-6 and the Rhetoric School for grades 7-12.

"As my daughter entered seventh grade, I noticed a difference in class-specific fellowship opportuni­ties in the Rhetoric School compared to Grammar School," said Mrs. Tipton. "As room parents, we were in constant communication with the teacher and other parents, and the Rhetoric School works differently. We thought it would be beneficial to give Rhetoric parents a way to be involved in creating community and supporting the Rhetoric students, so we helped create the 'Adopt-a-Grade' program."

At the beginning of the school year, parents signed up in each grade to adopt the girls, boys, or entire class and work as a team to support the grade.

"We don't want this program to be intimidating for parents, so we let them decide what social activities they would like to organize or host," Mrs. Anderson explained. "We've had activities as extravagant as the eighth grade boys white water rafting trip and as simple as a get together for prayer and devotions. We appreciate how each parent has brought a unique perspective to the program, and I love to see their enthusiasm for the students as they get to know them outside of the classroom."

Mrs. Amy Kirk and Mrs. Abby Taylor, mothers with students in the Rhetoric School and teacher in the Grammar School, adopted the seniors and chose a more intimate approach. For example, they share lunch with the students two at a time.

"I have treasured getting to know these students as they open up their hearts to us and to each other," said Mrs. Taylor.

As the program grows, parents hope to find more ways to foster fellowship with the Rhetoric students.

"There aren't any slipper parties or reading groups in Rhetoric School, so parents are creative with activities older students enjoy," Mrs. Tipton concluded.

Mars Hill Academy is Cincinnati's only private, independent K-12 classical Christian school. One of only 42 schools nationwide accredited by the Association of Classical and Christian Schools (ACCS), Mars Hill Academy offers a proven educational method used for millennia to build sharp minds and a love for learning. For more information, please call 513-770-3223 or visit www.marshill.edu.