Residence Life Curriculum
Why Have a Residence Life Curriculum?
A boarding school education does not end in the classroom. At Randolph-Macon Academy, Cadet Life Supervisors (CLSs) work with the students, helping them develop the communication skills and maturity needed to become successful, self-governed young men and women.
The CLSs use a Residence Life Curriculum that includes:
• Promoting ownership of the residence life environment among the cadets, staff and community
• Improving communications that will, in turn, improve social skills, academic performance and self-governance
• Promoting the residence life environment as an extension of the classroom and home
In addition to fostering good-natured competitions and a caring, involved atmosphere, the residential life faculty work with the academic faculty to ensure that homework is being completed. CLSs are the conduit between the cadet and the school, ensuring the concerns of parents are being met and proper and effective communication is taking place. They also work to cultivate a wholesome living environment with faith-based morals.
How Is the Residence Life Curriculum Taught?
One evening per week, cadets participate in a time set aside specifically for the residential life curriculum. CLSs and cadets discuss various topics of interest, including:
• How choices affect those around you and not just you
• Over-the-counter medication concerns
• Dealing with parents and siblings
• Appropriate relationship building
• Leading by example
• Religious and cultural diversity and tolerance
• Dealing pro-actively with roommate challenges
• Knowing R-MA standards
• Respect for self and others
• Time management and attention to detail
• Positive character development
• Personal integrity
• Adherence to the honor code
• Developing healthy lifestyle habits
• Demonstrating positive leadership (opportunities for all)
• Harnessing technology as opposed to technology harnessing you
Appropriate materials are distributed and open discussion, sometimes led by cadets in small group format, takes place between the cadets and/or the CLSs afterwards. Cadets are encouraged to come with their own ideas for discussion.
We use the following published materials in our Residential Life Curriculum:
• Success for Teens (Success Foundation): Small group curriculum attended by entire boarding community
• Quests and Quandaries: A Human Development Workbook by Carol Hotchkiss
• Personal Quests and Quandaries: Coming of Age in the 21st Century by Carol Hotchkiss
• Building the Residential Life Curriculum by Carol Hotchkiss and Ed Kowalchick
• Magazines, internet, appropriate videos and other newsworthy articles
• Charting Your Course For Excellence workbook (Character Ed Tools)
• AFJROTC Leadership--text and workbook
• Randolph-Macon Academy Cadet Manual
How Do Students Provide Feedback?
Students provide feedback on the residential life program through the following channels:
• Student representatives, a faculty member, and the director of residential life form the Residential Life Committee. This group meets once a week to discuss dorm, academic, and community issues. The final week of the month is dedicated to food services concerns; this particular meeting is attended by our Food Service Director.
• Town Hall meetings are held once each quarter, and offer both boarding and day students the opportunity to voice questions or concerns.
What Recognition Can Cadets Earn?
Cadets of the Quarter are selected by the Residential Life Team to encourage and reward deserving cadets for extraordinary effort. Cadets of the Quarter are honored in the following ways:
- They are recognized before the entire cadet corps.
- Their picture, along with their certificate annotating their accomplishment as a Cadet of the Quarter, is posted outside the Residential Life Office for a time.
What About Fun?
What is a dorm community without some fun? Once a month we have a themed movie night, upon which the cadets decide. When the weather is nice we have a large outdoor screen we use to show movies on the track. The Parents' Association sells snacks and drinks at most movie night events.
Just before the Christmas Break we have an annual Christmas banquet with a slide show of the year thus far in pictures. Door prizes are given out (compliments of our Parents' Association), and the food services team prepares a special incredible meal chosen by the cadets. This is repeated at the end of the year with a banquet celebrating the rise of our eighth grade class to the Upper School.
At Easter, we hold an annual Easter Egg Hunt, complete with prizes inside the eggs. This has always been a lot of fun for our cadets. In 2009, we held an inaugural bonnet contest at the request of our female cadets, judged by the R-MA president's wife, Mrs. Carolyn Hobgood.
For more information about the Residential Life Program, contact Mr. Michael S. Williams, director of residential life, at 540-636-5496, or e-mail him at email@example.com.