The Office of Student Life promotes the importance of co-curricular education at Gill St. Bernard's.
While our award-winning athletic and performing arts programs provide students with indelible and often life-changing experiences, community service, clubs and activities, and a wide array of leadership opportunities are also hallmarks of a GSB education. Class activities, social events, visiting speakers, spirit competitions, and student deportment are just a few ways in which the Office of Student Life contributes to the daily life of the school.
We offer a wide array of community service opportunities on and off campus throughout the academic year. The Office of Student Life coordinates student-driven activities, which help to serve local institutions and community organizations. Specific activities involve Habitat for Humanity, New Jersey Blood Services, New Jersey Food Bank, Interfaith Food Pantry, Samaritan Homeless Interim Program, and many others. These opportunities help students develop their generosity of spirit while having a positive impact on those in need. Although community service is not required at GSB, student participation is extremely high and the program fosters the school's mission and core values: courage, integrity, respect, compassion, and excellence.
Grade Level Deans
One grade-level dean is assigned to each grade and has formal responsibility for student supervision. They are essential “point persons” for contact with parents and students in their grade. Responsibilities include, but are not limited, to:
- Monitor and address issues of student behavior
- Organize and implement grade-specific activities and events
- Assist with the design and implementation of leadership programs, service programs, and co-curricular activities
- Help coordinate student orientation programs
- Maintain regular communication with students and parents
- Organize and lead meetings of faculty and staff to discuss student issues and performance
This program provides each student with the opportunity to connect with a Gill St. Bernard’s faculty member or administrator who will monitor, guide, and support the student’s academic, social, and emotional progress. Every student has an advisor who oversees academic progress, maintains regular contact with the student’s teachers and coaches, and assists the student in all areas of school life. The advisor is a primary point of contact and keeps lines of communication open between students, families, faculty, and administration.
Ninth-grade students are grouped together to effectively address the needs and concerns that are unique to the first-year experience. Following the ninth-grade year, students are placed in a new advisory with a mix of tenth- through twelfth-grade students, and remain in this group throughout their time at Gill. Advisory meetings are built into the school day, with scheduled group advisories twice a week. Advisors will often also find time to meet individually with students throughout the school year.
Peer Leadership Program
In the Peer Leadership Program, seniors help underclassmen navigate the academic, social, and co-curricular commitments at Gill St. Bernard’s. Peer Leaders pay specific attention to ninth-grade students, helping them to manage the transition into the GSB Upper School. Peer Leaders will regularly mentor ninth-grade advisory groups and are selected by the Office of Student Life. The application process involves a formal application, an essay, an interview, and a review of the applicant’s experience to date at GSB. On and off campus, Peer Leaders are expected to model the school’s core values: courage, integrity, respect, compassion, and excellence.
Student Government is important to the success of each school year. Working with the Office of Student Life, an active, responsible student government offers its members opportunities for leadership and provides the rest of the student community a forum in which to address issues of concern. Members of student government include a president from the senior class and a vice president from the junior class, to be decided by a student vote, as well as three members from each grade level, elected by the respective grades. Meetings are held weekly and student representatives provide regular updates to their respective grade-level deans. On and off campus, elected students are expected to model the school’s core values: courage, integrity, respect, compassion, and excellence.
To support the honor system and the values inherent to it, Gill St. Bernard’s has established a student/faculty Honor Board in the Upper School. This Board hears individual cases concerning specific disciplinary allegations and, in a larger context, serves to educate the community about the importance of our core values. The Honor Board is comprised of the following people: the Dean of Student Life; one additional representative from the Office of Student Life; a grade-level dean; five senior students chosen by the Office of Student Life. Student members of the Honor Board are selected after a process that involves a formal application, an essay, an interview, and a review of the applicant’s experience to date at GSB. On and off campus, members are expected to model the school’s core values: courage, integrity, respect, compassion, and excellence.
In addition to impeccable academic resumes, all student members of the Honor Board have been actively engaged in and make critical contributions to all aspects of life at Gill St. Bernard’s School.