SIS News Archive

MS Beach Retreat Builds Strong Bonds
Posted 09/14/2017 09:15AM
The start of the school year not only means new middle schoolers and new teachers at SIS Bayside – it also means BEACH RETREAT. Like Week Without Walls and our pool party at the end of the year, Beach Retreat is a Bayside tradition where teachers and students spend the day out on the beach bonding with each other. As middle school counselor, it is one of my favorite Bayside events because it gives me a golden opportunity to spend time with students and colleagues outside of the classroom.

One of the key attributes I look for in schools is their sense of community. How do the students and teachers build positive relationships? How do we utilize those relationships to enhance learning? How do we take care of each other? How does the community celebrate? The beach retreat is just one of a few examples of the positive community vibe we have in the Bayside middle school. On any given day leading up to the beach retreat, I'd walk down the hallways and see students with their faculty advisors working on chants or designing their t-shirts/flags for the beach retreat. Moreover, some of our new students would tell their teachers and me that they were excited because they've never done trips like Beach Retreat at their previous schools. Beach Retreat makes the Bayside experience even more unique.

Our route to Xichong Beach was a little different this year. We opted to have 5 big buses so that each advisory element – Earth, Fire, Metal, Water, and Wind – had their own bus. Both advisors and students said they enjoyed the bus ride more because it gave the Grades 6-8 students the opportunity to bond within their element groups. We jumped off the buses and advisors quickly sorted out their advisory groups to perform their chants. In the middle school, the chants are not a contest, but a showcase of spirit and students/teachers cheered each group on. It was awesome to see the love students have for their element and the creativity put into their chants. This energy carried into lunch and finally – beach time!

The only concern I had about the beach were the factors we could not control – rip tides, strong waves, and students not paying close enough attention to what's happening around them. These concerns were quickly dispelled by the faculty working together as a team to oversee the beach line and water and the students respecting our instructions. I appreciated that besides the chants, taking pictures with their flags, and lunch - we did not have a lot of planned activities. This gave us more time to enjoy the beach together.

After a long day of laughter, swimming, running, and playing with friends and teachers, we all returned to Bayside feeling like our 2017-2018 school year is off to a great start.

Yvette Cuenco

Middle School Counselor

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Shekou International School

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