All Saints Academy: Adapting with Innovation and Leadership during COVID-19

All Saints Academy Private School Lakeland Winter Haven

All Saints Academy is a local, independent private school known for its focus on innovation, creative thinking, teamwork, and leadership. These pillars took on a new, real-life meaning as ASA returned to on-campus learning this August during COVID-19.

As an independent school, All Saints Academy has a unique flexibility in making decisions for its approximately 600 students and 100 staff to ensure a safe on-campus experience. All Saints Academy has been able to utilize its large 60-acre campus, creative teachers, engaged parents, and conscientious students to return to campus with new safety protocols.

After the first 9-weeks back at school this fall, I interviewed Mrs. Elizabeth Hardage, Head of School at All Saints Academy, to learn more about the changes that have been implemented and how students and staff have adapted during COVID-19. A summary of our conversation is below.

All Saints Academy is a Lakeland Mom partner but all opinions are our own.

All Saints Academy Private School Lakeland Winter Haven
ASA has spacious outdoor areas where students can spread out to work independently.

Making preparations to return to campus at All Saints Academy

Since the spring, ASA school leadership has been in constant communication with the medical professionals at Lakeland Regional Health including Dr. Daniel Haight, Vice President of Community Health and Infectious Disease specialist, and Dr. Tim Regan, President and Chief Medical Officer (as well as parent at ASA).

With guidance from these medical professionals on virus transmission and virus prevention, the school created a Reopening Plan that has been, and continues to be, the guiding principle in each decision that is made. It includes specific procedures and a methodical process with the main goal of preventing the spread of COVID on campus.

All Saints Academy Private School Lakeland Winter Haven (15)
Prior to the start of school, ASA staff trained with Dr. Daniel Haight, Vice President of Community Health at Lakeland Regional Health.

In June and July, Summer Camps were held on the ASA Campus, which allowed staff to implement the safety protocols on a limited basis and make necessary changes.

In late July / early August, staff members also trained with Dr. Haight and Dr. Regan before students returned to campus.

Teachers re-evaluated lesson plans, moved small group projects later in the year if possible, re-envisioned how to use their classroom space, and helped come up with innovative ideas to continue All Saints Academy traditions.

Current safety protocols at ASA during COVID

Since returning to school in August, students begin each day with a temperature check and a short health screening in the form of a face-to-face interaction with a staff member.

Out of curiosity, I asked if the universally used temperature check “works” in finding students who might be ill, and found the response enlightening: “This daily interaction has been a critical part of keeping our campus healthy, not specifically because of the temperature check, but because it causes students to pause and think about where they have been, who they have had close contact with, and whether they are taking precautions outside of school. Our policies and procedures can only control the environment at school, but this quick face-to-face interaction helps ensure students are doing their part outside of school as well to keep our campus healthy.” {Makes sense right??}

All Saints Academy Private School Lakeland Winter Haven
All students are temperature checked and health screening questions are asked BEFORE students are permitted to exit the vehicle.

Students in K-12 and all staff are required to wear masks on campus. Mask breaks are provided throughout the day, and large outdoor spaces on the ASA campus allow students to spread out outside without masks {more on this below}.

Hand sanitizing stations are located throughout the school and outside of every classroom, and signage is posted across the campus to reinforce hand-washing and mask protocols.

Small class sizes and large classrooms also allow for seating that is spaced out for maximized social distancing.

Campus changes beyond safety protocols 

Mrs. Hardage told me every decision made at All Saints Academy starts with the Reopening Plan.

If students have a special request, we give them the parameters of our reopening policies and ask them to come up with procedures that follow those guidelines. For example, our seniors are really missing the opportunity to socialize in the Senior Lounge. They’ve come up with a plan and we hope to be able to reopen this special senior privilege next week.”

“We strive to provide opportunities for students to give feedback. We are willing to make accommodations that give kids the flexibility, independence, and human interaction they are craving, while still keeping them safe.” 

All Saints Academy Private School Lakeland Winter Haven
Besides classrooms, ASA is fortunate to have other spacious areas where students can spread out to work independently.

Utilizing the outdoor space on a 60-acre campus

Although ASA provides ample outdoor opportunities in a “traditional” year, they are fully utilizing their outdoor space during COVID-19. Outdoor seating has been spaced out to allow social distancing so that students can remove their masks while reading, eating, or taking a short break outside.

Outdoor classrooms are available for teachers to use for group work, and other spacious areas are available where students can spread out and work independently.

Middle and high school students can also choose to eat lunch outdoors.

All Saints Academy Private School Lakeland Winter Haven
Students enjoy mask breaks during lunch! (And also throughout the day when supervised by teachers and social distancing is possible.)

Athletics and Extracurriculars 

All Saints Academy believes in a well-rounded, in-depth education and places an emphasis on Academics, Arts, AND Athletics. This has not changed during the COVID-19 pandemic! 

ASA Leadership passionately believes in the benefits provided by extracurriculars and athletics including leadership, discipline, camaraderie, and more. They developed a Reopening Plan that would ensure these activities could continue with necessary safety modifications. For example, parents, students, and staff can attend athletic events, but now they are ticketed with limited admission.

Everyone’s hard work abiding by COVID safety protocols has allowed extracurriculars to remain on track, from art to theater to athletics to music.

All Saints Academy Private School Lakeland Winter Haven

Flex Learning Program 

All Saints Academy has “real-time” virtual learning, meaning students are connected to a live stream from their assigned classrooms. This flex learning set up allows students to make a seamless transition from the classroom to distance learning if needed for a short time. It also ensures that students who have opted into eLearning for the first semester can easily return to campus right on track with their classmates. Approximately 17% of students are currently utilizing the flex learning option.

All Saints Academy Private School Lakeland Winter Haven
Some students choose to attend classes virtually through the Flex Learning Program.

Transition to distance learning in Spring 2020

I have multiple friends with children at ASA and noticed they were all up and running with online learning within a week of schools being closed back in March. I asked Mrs. Hardage how ASA was able to transition to distance learning so quickly.

Staff gets all of the credit here! Our team took on the challenge to pivot to distance learning and did a tremendous job. We made decisions, we moved forward, and we adapted when we needed to.”

ASA surveyed students, parents, and staff to determine what was working well and what needed adjustments, and then adapted and made changes along the way from March through the end of the school year. This feedback was also utilized in creating the flex learning plan for fall.

All Saints Academy Private School Lakeland Winter Haven
Small class sizes and desks spread across the room allow for maximized social distancing.

All Saints Academy is leading the way

As an independent private school, All Saints Academy has been able to make decisions with the health and well-being of its staff and students as the top priority. The limited enrollment numbers and large campus have allowed All Saints Academy to get creative in their response to COVID-19. 

Between talking with friends whose children attend All Saints and spending an hour chatting with Elizabeth Hardage, Head of School, I am so impressed with the policies and procedures put in place at All Saints, AND with their flexibility in adapting to feedback from staff, students, and parents.

The end result is that students and staff get to continue with an on-campus experience in the safest and healthiest way possible.

All Saints Academy Private School Lakeland Winter Haven

Learn more about All Saints Academy

Whether you want smaller class sizes and personalized instruction for your child, are looking for a private school experience, or believe in the All Saints Mission of “Inspiring independent thinkers, principled leaders, and humble learners,” we strongly recommend you take a tour or talk with an admissions representative to explore all that All Saints Academy has to offer your family.

Have you ruled out private school because of the cost? All Saints offers tuition assistance to many families who have been accepted to the school. Almost 40% of students receive some form of scholarships. ASA also accepts the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship (Step Up for Students) and the McKay Scholarship. The admissions team at ASA can provide more information on available scholarships and the application process.

Visit allsaintsacademy.com/admissions to learn more, submit an inquiry, or schedule a tour.

More about All Saints Academy:

  • Mission: “Inspiring independent thinkers, principled leaders, and humble learners.”
  • Approximately 600 students are enrolled at All Saints from age 2 through 12th Grade
  • Distinct experiences and programs are part of each age group – Early Childhood (ages 2 – 5), Lower School (grades K-5), Middle School (grades 6-8) and Upper School (grades 9-12)
  • The Arts are included in the academic focus areas creating STEAM – (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics)
  • Athletics are a highlight for many students with 24 athletic teams in 14 sports
  • Home to Innovation Studios in partnership with NuVu Studio
  • All Saints Academy is committed to diversity and non-discrimination
  • Located at 5001 State Road 540 West, Winter Haven, FL 33880 (located halfway between Lakeland and Winter Haven)

Our other articles about All Saints Academy:

Lakeland Mom looks at All Saints Academy

Learn about All Saints Academy, an independent Christian school for ages 2 – 12th grade. ASA has a college prep focus and is conveniently located between Lakeland and Winter Haven. From the small classes and personalized attention to the innovation and unique activities available to students, you’ll be impressed!

Innovation Studios at All Saints Academy

Innovation Studios is creating students who are problem solvers, critical thinkers, and self-starters.
Through this 4 year program, students learn to collaborate, delegate, and think outside the box as they design solutions for real-world problems. Learn more about this unique program at All Saints Academy.

About the Author: April Mucci

April is the owner of LakelandMom.com. She has lived in Lakeland since age 2 and is passionate about our community and connecting families with local resources. She is a mom to 2 boys and a mini goldendoodle, wife to Matt. You can often find April at the baseball field where she cheers on her baseball loving 12 year old, or home building Legos with her 9 year old. She loves reading, saltwater fishing, concerts and live performances, and working on Lakeland Mom!