Communicating in Our Students’ Best Interest

Dear Flint Hill School Families,

At Flint Hill, we often discuss two key themes that drive what we are trying to accomplish on a regular basis — the best interest of each child and communication.

The concept of “the best interest of each child” is a fundamental principle at Flint Hill.  Many schools are “faculty-directed” or “institutionally-defined.” But here, there isn’t a single meeting that takes place without the best interest of our students in mind. Our students are the “why” behind all that we do. How can we help students pull the very best out of themselves at every age? How do we achieve our vision for each individual child? “Take meaningful risks. Be yourself. Make a difference.” is a powerful vision that demands thoughtful, deliberate and strategic support. We can call it teaching, parenting, mentoring or guiding, but in the long run, it is a matter of celebrating and growing together. This is what makes being in education so exciting and so rewarding. And it really only works well if we maintain a focus on our students’ best interest. Sometimes, that means making sure they know how much they mean to us and congratulating them on their accomplishments. At other times, it means raising the bar and asking for more.  In a caring and engaged environment, we can successfully help students grow in their confidence and competence.

The concept of communication is an area of continuous improvement to ensure that our families truly understand what is happening here at school. We want to be accessible, informative and transparent. Flint Hill is a very busy place and your children have very busy lives here. In addition to taking academic classes, your children are engaged in the arts at every grade level, involved in physical education or athletics, and exploring opportunities to develop leadership skills. From the Division Directors’ letters and teachers’ videos and notes, to the Parent Rep’s emails, there is a constant stream of communication. The fall magazine, which should arrive at your doorsteps soon, helps illustrate all that is happening here. And the weekly newsletter provides timely information regarding important dates, events and resources in each division and throughout our community. The engine of our daily lives depends on open, honest communication.

This week marks the point in the year when Parent-Teacher Conferences come into focus. We will take the entire day on Friday, November 6, for a conference day because these one-on-one meetings are critically important. An excellent article that we like to share in advance of these meetings is “The Fear Equation” by Michael Thompson, which discusses the relationships between parents and teachers. While conference time presents an opportunity for us to come together and learn with and from each other, too often, there may be fear or trepidation on both sides of the conversation. Parents may worry about how to ask questions about homework, test grading, or a child’s performance. And teachers may worry about managing parent expectations and overwhelmed students. When you add to the mix the day to day challenges we all face, as parents and teachers, the results can be a great deal of stress and anxiety. But parents and teachers have two very different, yet equally valid perspectives on a child. And we have to be mindful of the powerful impact parents and educators can have on children when we work together.

So as we go into this week, please remember the themes of our children’s best interest and communication. Together, we can make certain that the conversations we engage in on Friday are positive, effective, supportive, and helpful in ways that will allow our children to continue on the path to achieve the greatest possible growth.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if we can be helpful in any way.

Best wishes to you!

Sincerely,

John M. Thomas
Headmaster