From The Head of School – August 23, 2023

August 23, 2023

Flint Hill Community, 

This week, I welcomed our faculty and staff back to campus for annual connections, planning meetings, and final prep for the school year. Together, we shared stories of summer vacations, professional development experiences, and hopes for the school year.  

We also centered a chunk of our conversation on a shared faculty read this summer: Thanks for the Feedback, by Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen. The text guides readers to better understanding feedback when it’s received, in particular when it is “off-base, unfair, poorly delivered and, frankly, when you’re not in the mood.”  

I chose this book for our team to consider this year for a few reasons:  

  • Flint Hill is going through its 10-year accreditation process this year with the Virginia Association of Independent Schools, which includes both a self-study and an external review by expert independent school educators from throughout the state. So, we need to both dive deeply into who we are and what we’re doing, as well as receive the feedback openly for where we are excelling or falling short of our and VAIS’s already high standards.
  • Over the course of this school year, we will embark on important work to expand a long-term professional growth system, which incorporates feedback of our professional and pedagogical practices and opportunities for individual or collective professional development.
  • Perhaps most importantly, we’re in the business of giving and receiving feedback – with students, families, and one another. A grade on a test, a parent conference, coaching on the field, and a host of other interactions within our Husky community incorporate formal and informal feedback. What we say, how we say it, and how it is received matters as the bedrock of our close-knit community and in fulfillment of our Mission, Vision, and Core Values.

Quite honestly, this shared read, as well as the conversations it has spurred, have been enlightening as a professional and educator, but also on innumerable personal levels, as well. If you’re up for a read (or audiobook!), I’d recommend it.

I hope that your family and our Huskies will benefit from the conversations it has elicited among our faculty and staff, and please know, we are always open to the conversation with you, as well. I look forward to having our students back on campus next week, and the opportunity to make this the best Flint Hill year yet for your family.

Go Huskies!

Patrick McHonett
Head of School