Dear Flint Hill School Families,

It is hard to believe that we are entering the month of October!  We have been in school long enough to feel the security and comfort that comes with knowing that we are beyond the initialphase of our calendar. We have already completed our Back-to-School nights, various coffees, volunteer gatherings, Tennis Social, Headmaster’s Freshman Families Fiesta Dinner, and the State of the School.  Each of those milestones is a reminder that time is flying by whether we want it to or not. We are rapidly moving into a new stage of our academic year.

The race of the school year is clearly on. The challenge is how do we run that race.  Is it a sprint or a long distance race? This simple question is something that needs thoughtful consideration. The truth is that it’s a little bit of each, and as the race moves forward, we need to think about stride, pace and rhythm. No doubt, those three aspects will be different at each grade level and at every division, and that they will take very thoughtful and careful consideration as the year goes on. We are now moving into the heart of the school year and, as parents, there are some things we can do to encourage our children and to help them succeed. They are:

  1. Do your homework.  Keeping up with homework helps everyone feel confident and secure in what they are doing. Although, for some youngsters, this could be a real challenge. While we don’t want to nag them all the time and cause them to push back against us, it isn’t bad to ask them if there is anything we can do to help them keep up with that process. Coming to school prepared really helps youngsters to feel confident, ready and in control of their learning.
  2. Keep active.  Young people need to be active. If it is not physically active, then active in the mind.  Regularly practicing their musical instrument, playing their sport, reading their books, working on their art projects, or even engaging in their after school activities — whatever their preferred activity is, it will help them to think more clearly and function more productively.
  3. Read.  I know everyone reads in different ways and in different paces, but reading still is and will always be one of the most critical things we do to stimulate our brains. Whether it is reading for pleasure or for research, or reading a novel or a manual, this activity will get our brain circuits to work better,   produce sound thinking, stimulate creativity, and enhance our ability to communicate.
  4. Seek help when needed.  This can always be a challenge, but there is no weakness in seeking help. The adults on both campuses are here to be supportive, and you, as parents, are there to be helpful as well. Students in the Lower and Middle Schools are always encouraged to reach out to their teachers/advisors whenever they are struggling academically or socially. They need to have that growing confidence that they will respond to their needs and help them succeed. And on the Upper School Campus, students clearly need to be reminded that school hours are critically important for them to l, and work with their faculty and mentors to better understand the material.
  5. Take pride.  We are at a phenomenal school that takes very seriously our vision, mission, core values and guiding principles. Each and every one of those concepts helps us set the foundation for our students and their education.  Students need to take pride in being Flint Hill Huskies and being in an environment where they are surrounded by parents and school personnel who absolutely are committed to providing them the very best learning experiences possible.

I always look at this part of the school year as heading uphill, and for those of us who exercise regularly, you know what that incline can feel like. It is a steady, demanding climb where we have to keep telling ourselves to keep going. I have always felt that we were on that incline until the start of the new calendar year. Even though there is much more time remaining from January to Commencement, in June, that period of time seems to go by in a flash, as if on a slide or hurtling down a mountain.

So as we continue our race uphill, let’s do it together by supporting our great children and making sure they all have the best experience possible. And to help us to even better understand our role in all of this, I hope you join us tonight at a presentation by Julie Lythcott-Haims, author of “How to Raise and Adult,” at 7:00 pm in the Olson Theater. It will be a provocative, informative and thought-provoking discussion. Please join us!!


Best wishes to you!


John M. Thomas