Adolescence is a time of growing independence, but this is not easily attained. The powerful influences of both family and school impact significantly on the student's striving for autonomy. The roles of each must be understood in the context of the changing developmental needs of adolescence. What may have been appropriate in the past for a younger child is no longer suitable and is unlikely to produce the desired results.
Schools have traditionally expected parents to insure that their children come to school motivated and well behaved. Parents frequently become enmeshed in the close monitoring of schoolwork and the result can be more stress on the relationship between student and parent. At Stevenson, however, the school undertakes to work directly with the student on issues of attendance, promptness, effort, homework, and behavior. Parents are not held accountable; they are not drawn into frustrating, unrewarding, acrimonious struggles. Stevenson works with students on the management of all school-related issues in order to help them become students. Our goal is to produce independent learners and to instill in each adolescent the belief that he or she is a responsible student - a person willing and able to learn.
Parents, entrusting their children to Stevenson, need to oversee our work and thus are invited to maintain frequent contact with the school to receive information about the student's progress. Contact with administrators, psychologists, and specialists may occur as often as necessary, even several times in a day. On a more basic level, any time a student is absent from classes, parents are notified. Parents can feel confident as to the student's whereabouts every single day. Stevenson informs parents when special progress has been made and if unusual difficulties arise. These contacts aim to share information and maintain a partnership between the student, parents, and the school.
Many students are receiving help from private mental health or educational professionals when they come to Stevenson. Although we usually feel that there is no need for outside tutoring, we thoroughly endorse the continuation of psychotherapy and actively collaborate with therapists. We promote regular attendance at sessions and maintain close communication with therapists. We invite the use of our school as a "laboratory" for students to work on issues they explore in therapy. At Stevenson, the events of daily school life offer rich opportunities for us to help students grow.