Dear Flint Hill School Families,

It was pointed out to me recently that we have our own “language” here at Flint Hill. There are certain terms and references we constantly use with ease. We just seem to assume everyone knows what we are talking about when in reality they may not.

Sometimes, we need to take that micro second to fully define what we mean when we share something, whether in a newsletter, at a coffee or just in our personal conversations. I am going to share a link to a document we are reviving.  It was initiated years ago, then went into disuse. It is time to offer it again.

We know vocabulary is at the core of real understanding of any language. It provides meaning and context. It is why we cherish the name our children call their grandparents or words they use to name their first blanket or favorite stuffed animal. Those words become part of the family … and the family’s story. The point is, we experience that here at at Flint Hill. We will try to keep it short and succinct, but the main purpose is to give everyone a bit of our own vocabulary and define some programs that just may seem unusual to our normal lives.

In our house, Oma and Opa are the names everyone recognizes for my wife Emily and me. It is Dutch for grandmother and grandfather. Years ago, when we lived in Houston, we found a great seafood restaurant in the small town of Kehma, Texas. It was half way between Houston and Galveston. And while it took an hour from our home to get there, we thought it was worth the trip. Our boys, however, did not feel the same, so it became a “Kehma moment.” Whenever we have to travel a ways for dinner, it will be a “Kehma moment.” And any story about “stewed tomatoes” leads to a laugh from our boys due to a talk I gave our boys every weekend, warning them not to drink when they were with their friends.

Universities have their language as well. At Harvard, the campus is known as the Yard. At the University of Virginia, you quickly learn to use expressions like the Grounds, first year, second year, etc. And you dress up for football games. It should come as no surprise that at Flint Hill, we talk with our own, unique brand of vocabulary.

As we go forward, if there are other terms that you don’t know, or you hear people using certain expression without giving it a thought, please do not hesitate to reach out to us for a definition or to remind us to explain ourselves. But before long, you and your children will find those expressions come easily and naturally.

Best wishes to you for a very exciting 2017-2018 school year!  Please know that we want to be understood, and we want you to know exactly what is happening here. The idea of transparency, clarity and open communication is as at the core of our partnership.



John M. Thomas