The School Family program is a central part of Doane's culture and represents its emphasis on character education across all grades.
Doane’s unique School Family program sets it apart from other schools. While many schools try to minimize interactions between the oldest and youngest members of the community, Doane consciously creates weekly opportunities for students to interact across all grade levels in a safe and caring environment. Doane students are placed into one of thirteen school families, each of which is comprised of students from our Primary program through grade 12 and led by faculty members who serve as “parents.” Students and teachers remain in the same family throughout their time at Doane, thereby creating friendships that grow, evolve, and deepen over years. Families meet for thirty minutes once per week on Fridays, and activities include completing community service projects, playing board games, reading stories together, making crafts and pieces of art, celebrating holidays and birthdays, playing on the playground, and competing against a fellow family in kickball.
One of the highlights of Doane’s year is when the entire school community gathers in the dining hall for a Thanksgiving Feast. Seated by school family, students and teachers take turns sharing what they are thankful for while senior family members carve a turkey and serve those around them.
The School Family program reminds older students of their potential to serve as role models. During a phase of life when it easy and natural to focus one’s attention inward, it reminds them of the responsibility and power of looking beyond one’s self and caring for others, of living a life worthy of admiration. Reciprocally, it provides younger students with positive examples and gives them the powerful and validating feeling of being listened to and valued by older students.