May 30, 2018

Dear Flint Hill School Families,

At the end of the school year, many of us reflect on what we have learned throughout the year. In the past, the experience focused on grades and assessments. Today, more and more, we refer to it as “feedback,” giving us a sense of how we have done, what we have learned, and helping us reflect on whether we reached our goals. While every student, faculty and staff member goes through this process in some way, it is also important for us to consider what we have learned as an institution. To some extent, many of our collective successes are shared throughout the year in our newsletters, coffees, through social media and our activities. But, there are some things you may have missed or forgotten that I’d like to reflect upon as we get ready to close out the year.

In the Lower School, for example, we opened the Innovation Lab, and coding has now been introduced as part of the curriculum. And through the weekly newsletter and the use of the Seesaw app, the Lower School faculty do a wonderful job of making the learning visible. The Middle School continues to work on its House system, and through the Advisory system, they have an exciting bonding process. Programs like Makers and Robotics became incredibly popular to take during this school year. Leadership skills have been demonstrated throughout the division, and there has been a sense of purpose — as outlined in the Code of Conduct — that our students developed. A great deal of emphasis has been put on how the students interact with each other during this sensitive time of life.

You would be surprised to know that between the Middle and Upper Schools, seven students made District Choir, one made Senior Regional Orchestra, and students performed with the All-District Band and the All-Virginia Orchestra. All of the Middle School performing groups took first place at their recent Music Festival. Others had the courage and the tenacity to stand up during TEDx Youth Day and lead the way in sharing their thoughts and ideas alongside Upper School students. And in the Upper School, students have won countless academic awards, 168 students performed at the annual Arts Jam Concert, and seven students were selected to the Virginia Governor’s Schools for this summer.

We had a banner year in athletics with seven championships; two State Championships; three Coaches of the Year and Players of the Year in their respective sports; an All-Met Player of the Year; 50 All-Conference athletes; 35 All-State; 14 All-Met; All-American Honors for a swimmer and a diver; and a student who earned top honors for cross-ountry. We had a student named the Washington Metropolitan Prep School Swim Dive League Diver of the Year. And 48 student-athletes were awarded the Tri-star Athletic Award for playing three sports this year. Other students excelled away from campus in gymnastics, ice skating and horseback riding.

Students also hosted open mic events where they showcased their talents, while many engaged in community service in ways to reach beyond just their division. There is a visible amount of energy in our community that is hard to measure. “Momentum” is a great word to describe this time of the year.

Schoolwide, we have experienced some of our largest turnouts for events such as the Flint Hill Golf Invitational; Grandparents and Special Friends Day; the International Festival; numerous coffees and events hosted by leaders here at School; Homecoming; Winterfest; and the Arts Jam Concert at George Mason University. Our Parents’ Association led the way with their mission of “Making a Joyful Impact” and developing working groups to focus on critical aspects of the School’s vision and mission. The faculty was also in on the successes, with a large number asked to speak at conferences and two having novels published this spring. We have seen the creation of the Kaleidoscope Book Club, which has seen enormous participation from parents interested in discussing topics related to equity and inclusion.

Of course there are times when data tells the story. As we approach June 1, our attrition rate stands at 3.9 percent — the lowest it has ever been. Our application numbers have increased, and our JK Class just reached 100 percent participation in giving to The Flint Hill Annual Fund. Flint Hill’s reputation and brand have grown stronger and stronger in the broader community. And our efforts to ensure that every Flint Hill student feels at home here have been sincere and determined. The sense of safety and inclusion are real and work to support everyone.

It has been another full and fast-paced school year and one that has left its mark on everyone who has been a part of this great journey. It is an exciting exercise to stop and think about what we have accomplished this year and what is next. And at Flint Hill, we are always looking ahead. Whether it is the hiring of new faculty and staff, the examination of the curriculum, the ideas that bubble up about new programs, new ways to move forward, and how to stay on the cutting edge for our students. Ultimately, it is how we continue to provide the best educational experience we can.

As we bring closure to the year in the next two weeks, I hope we all stand with pride with all that we have done. Are we perfect? Of course not! We are, and always will be a work in progress. But, we engage in the work in the most thoughtful way possible, with our four core values of honesty, respect, responsibility and compassion leading the way.

If we can be helpful in any way, please don’t hesitate to call on us.

Best wishes to you!

Sincerely,

John M. Thomas
Headmaster