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Character and Community

By: Fourth Grade Teacher Jessica Arnold

November 10, 2021

Someone recently asked me, “What’s Rossman like?” Since I am a relatively new faculty member at Rossman, this is a question that I’ve gotten more than once from friends and family members. While there are many aspects of the school that I enjoy and tell others about, one highlight that always comes to mind is the overall character of the students. The core values of Rossman are Kindness, Honesty, Respect and Responsibility, and I can truly say that I see these values demonstrated by Rossman students daily. 

This year in fourth grade, we have welcomed several new students, and the kindness and welcoming attitude with which the class has embraced their new classmates has been heartwarming. Not only are students willing to help lead a new student to the music room or show them where we keep the rulers, but they are eager to do so. We often have many more volunteers than we need when we ask for someone to help out a new student. And of course, there’s no better litmus test for the cohesiveness and character of a class community than a glance around the playground. From the very first day of school, I witnessed new students happily joining games of kickball, drawing with others at the picnic table and chatting happily with classmates on the swings. This, I believe, is a testament to the genuine kindness of Rossman students. 

The character of Rossman students is also frequently demonstrated through their acceptance of differences and respect for the unique personalities of classmates. Whereas many of us probably remember this period of adolescence as one filled with self-consciousness and a desire to “fit in,” this does not seem to be the prevailing feeling of fourth graders at Rossman. Each day, it is a joy to watch students express their opinions, experiment with creative ideas, speak up for what they believe and show others their silly sides. Seldom in my teaching career have I seen students so comfortable being who they are. 

In fourth grade, and at Rossman overall, we do our best to teach students that learning to be kind, responsible, honest, and respectful people is just as important as the academic skills that we practice. The picture isn’t always a perfect one. Kids are human, and humans make mistakes. But as we learn from those mistakes, we carry these values with us and strive to be better. I have witnessed students’ genuine effort to be their best selves each day. And that, in itself, is a success. 

Rossman School, nestled on a 20-acre campus in St. Louis, is a private preparatory school for students in Junior Kindergarten (four years old) through Grade 6. The school’s mission is to provide a strong, well-balanced education in a nurturing school community committed to excellence. Dedicated to developing personal, nurturing relationships with each child, Rossman’s experienced educators provide a solid foundation in academics, athletics and arts while emphasizing strong character development and leadership skills.​ Request a free Rossman School brochure here.

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