November 13, 2019

Dear Flint Hill School Families,

This has been a week for feeling gratitude and wanting to express it! First and foremost, thank you to everyone who has ever served our country or has had a family member serve. The sacrifices, commitment and patriotism of our veteran families make all of us proud and appreciative, and keep us safe. Thank you!

And this past weekend, I know many of you came to the Holiday Shoppes. I want to express my deepest gratitude to Co-chairs, Claudia Augenstein, Amanda Norton, Karen Sparks and Debbie Wesley, Parents’ Association Volunteer Liaison Sibel Unsal, and the hundreds of volunteers that supported the beautiful and successful event last weekend. It was an incredible opportunity to showcase our School and bring our community closer together. I love the fact that even some of our neighbors from the Oak Marr neighborhood came to join us on that day. One neighbor proudly showed me the Flint Hill jacket she had purchased to wear when she walks her dogs in the neighborhood. A special sense of gratitude also goes to all members of our Facilities and Security teams for helping with logistics for this incredible event. And let’s not forget the Advancement Team, led by Advancement Events Coordinator Alice Yates, who helped make this event a reality. They all deserve and should hear our most profound gratitude.

Our gratitude also extends to everyone who has been coming to the exciting athletic games this fall, people who helped us with Homecoming, the large crowd that showed up at the first Kaleidoscope Book Club recently, and the list goes on and on. Thank you for your active participation in our School experiences. Your support makes a world of difference in building our school culture.

At the same time, when we express gratitude, sometimes we also need help. I need your help on a number of critical things to think about as we go forward. They are:

Please watch your speed on Elmendorf Rd. Some of our great neighbors whom I met recently for a neighborhood event, deeply respect Flint Hill and truly feel pride in the fact that we are such a part of their community now. But they also noted that at times, they see cars with Flint Hill stickers zipping through the neighborhood on Elmendorf at high speeds. Our neighbors are walking their dogs, sending their children to catch the bus or are simply attempting to leave their driveways when they encounter these incidents. The posted speed limit is 25 MPH. If you must use Elmendorf Rd. to access the Lower and Middle School Campus, I hope you will join me in always making certain that we drive well below that limit.

Continuing to engage in School events.

  1. Tomorrow night, we will host an event for all junior families and their children, the “Junior Family College Night.” It is a dinner and discussion that truly gets the college process underway in a much more formalized way. There is a lot of great information that will be shared that will help all our families navigate through this exciting process.
  2. All members of the Flint Hill community are invited to attend “The Nutcracker” this weekend. Saturday’s shows are already sold out, but you can still reserve your seats for Friday’s performance.
  3. In the weeks ahead, we will host our Grades 5-12 Winter Concerts. You will get the opportunity to see what the students are working on in the arts, and how the “pyramid effect” of what begins in fifth grade comes together in the Upper School.
  4. And please note that on Sunday, November 24, just before the Thanksgiving Break, we will host a major robotics event, the FIRST Tech Challenge Oakton Qualifier at the Upper School building. There will be 36 robotics teams from throughout the Washington area and over 80 volunteers helping make that day come together. It is truly an opportunity to see some of the best in robotics!

Cheer on our Husky athletic teams. Basketball often gets much of the attention in the winter, and in the weeks ahead, we will host the Tip-Off Classic, in addition to Middle and Upper School games. But we also have teams for Rock Climbing, Hockey, Indoor Track, and Boys’ and Girls’ Swimming and Diving. Whenever you can attend a game, even if only for a short time, please do so. Cheer on our teams and let our student-athletes know that they are deeply appreciated and valued.

Help our kids learn to stand on their own feet. It is so easy with the rush of life and the desire to protect our children to step in and attempt to solve their problems for them. But part of the growth experience at every age, whether it is asking a teacher a question in JK, or a senior deciding which college to attend, let’s always encourage our children to work through the challenges they experience in life. Here at School, all they need to do is come and ask for help. Encourage them to approach teachers with their questions and their concerns, because we are here to listen, to reflect with them, and to help solve whatever the issue may be. Learning to trust the adults around them is a critical skill that we always hope helps build their confidence, resilience and competence.

Continue to share your ideas, support and commitment. Whether you are encouraging other families to attend an admission event, or sharing an idea of how we can improve as a school, we want and appreciate your help. That is what we are all about; getting better and stronger because all we do is focused on our children and trying to make sure that they have the very best experience possible. It is a team effort at all times. We are in this together!!

Nominate a favorite teacher or staff member for a Driving Spirit Award! Each year we ask for nominations from parents, students, teachers and staff for the Driving Spirit Award. Who has had a profound impact on your child’s experience at Flint Hill? Who do you believe represents our core values in an open, direct way? Share those names and a few words of support. Your input in helping recognize these incredible Huskies is deeply appreciated. Please send your nominations to ayarbrough@flinthill.org by no later than Friday, December 14.

So, here is our tremendous gratitude, on the part of everyone at School for all you are doing to help us in this journey. At the same time, I need your help so that we can continue to get better and stronger with each step.

Have a great week. I look forward to seeing you on campus.

Best wishes to you!

Sincerely,


John M. Thomas
Headmaster