The primary goal of the Spring Street International School Residential Life Program is to take care of the emotional, physical, psychological, and intellectual health of the students in our dorm, in that order.
Dorm parents focus on spending time with the students individually while our chef focuses on providing healthy meals. During the week, dorm parents are present from 3 pm until 9 am the next morning to connect with students and help them with the inevitable struggles of being far away from home and navigating adolescence without their parents at their side. During the weekend, dorm parents cook meals with students and work with faculty to plan activities both on and off-island, creating an opportunity to relax, to study, to unwind, and to enjoy.
We encourage students to get exercise, be healthy, and take care of their academic obligations. Most importantly, we create a safe atmosphere where students learn how to navigate the inherent struggles of adolescence. Students have chores. They have lights out. Limited Internet hours. They lose their off-campus privileges when they mess up; sometimes we confiscate their computers and cell phones when they violate School policies. But in the grand scheme of things, these are ultimately less important than our focus on their emotional health and well-being.
Campus residences are odd places, occupying a space somewhere between one’s home with mom and dad and the expectations and obligations of a classroom. Campus residences are not home. Rules must apply to everyone and the ratio of parent to child is out of proportion to what most families have at home. But our student residence should not and cannot function as after-school classrooms. Adolescents need a place where they can be messy, mess up, and push back against authority as they transition towards adulthood – in other words, what happens at home. But, they need to learn to do this in a way that ultimately is respectful and honors the relationship they have with the dorm parents. The inherent struggle in this is that there is a paradigm for the classroom that most students understand, and there is a paradigm of the home, which they certainly know. And the student residence exists somewhere in between. Our goal, ultimately, is to help students successfully navigate this nether space between these two paradigms in their transition from adolescence to adulthood.