September 5, 2018

Dear Flint Hill School Families,

I hope the opening of the school year has gone well for your families. For those of you who are new, I hope you are beginning to feel a part of our “school family” and that you are continuing to see the true benefits of having made the decision to join us. And for those of you who are returning, I hope this is a great opportunity to get back with good friends, great families, and our incredible faculty while following our mission to help our children learn and grow at a level that far exceeds any expectations we may ever have had for them.

Starting this week, we will be hosting Back-To-School nights. Each one is important. There are always plenty of events that we have the opportunity to take advantage of, but Back-To-School Night is actually one of the most important events, for a number of reasons. I hope you will make every effort to try and attend:

Middle School — Thursday, September 6, 7:00 p.m.
Lower School — Thursday, September 13, 7:00 p.m.
Upper School — Thursday, September 20, 7:00 p.m.

Why are these evenings so important? For many reasons, but the main one has to do with the building of new relationships with your child’s teachers and administrators. Flint Hill has a dynamic, challenging and highly relevant educational approach to learning. You want and need to know the people who are working so closely with your children. We all have gone to school and have experienced the joys and challenges of growing up. Now, when there are tests or projects, there is no “we” involved. The experience is theirs. Part of our approach is, in the healthiest of terms, to have your children “own” their education. They need to be the active participants. We want to be there to cheer them on, answer questions, and support them all the way, but they will be the ones doing the work, learning and growing as individuals from those experiences. To truly be there for them, we need to have some understanding of what they will be exposed to and expected to do over the months ahead.

Why attend? Consider these points:

  1. To meet homeroom teachers, teachers and advisors. This event will really give you the opportunity to put faces to names. Throughout the year, you will probably communicate with your child’s teachers, and you want to have a sense of who they are and what kind of people they are. We are blessed to have incredible faculty and staff. These are people who are truly talented, passionate and engaged in this noble enterprise of education. In these sessions, you will learn what the teachers’ expectations are and the various milestones during the year, so that you have a better idea of the pace of each week and how all of it comes together. This information will provide you with that framework. It is a “30,000-ft. view,” but it is more personal and meaningful once you have started to build a relationship with the teachers.
  2. To meet division leaders. While you may not have extended time to meet each of the division directors, assistant directors or other School leaders, they will be available in the hallways to give you a chance to shake their hands and briefly connect with them. They are true advocates for your children. They are there to help support the teachers and the students, to make certain that everything is being done in the students’ best interest, at each grade level. I am sure that after meeting each of those leaders, you will begin to realize how much of a “school family” we are at Flint Hill. You may see many of them at carpool as they wave to you and greet your children, but Back-to-School Night is a chance to really begin to build a personal, professional relationship. I think one of the things that make Flint Hill unique is the fact that all of our School leaders are visible, approachable and available. They will be there each of those nights to help you with the transition into this exciting new school year.
  3. To meet other parents. This is part of the quiet curriculum for any of our coffees and events. You need to get to know your peer group. This is particularly true in the Lower and Middle Schools. From birthday parties to smaller-scale social events and co-curricular activities, these are parents who you will be engaged with for years to come. And during the adolescent years, this bond will need to be even stronger, as your children will be driving cars and spending time away from adult supervision. So please feel free to use the free periods, the time between periods, or before a class presentation to begin to introduce yourself to other parents and to start to build those relationships, in a very positive and proactive way.

I also want to mention that to aid in more schoolwide introductions, we will use the next few weeks in my blog to help you get to know three key new leaders who have just joined our school family: Director of Signature and Special Programs Michelle Odell, Director of Athletics Diana Parente and Director of Development Leslie Hutchens. They will each have a week to share more about themselves in a series of Q&As.

The bottom line is that we are in the people business, and it only works well when we all work to make it personal, honest, direct and engaging. I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at the Back-to-School nights. I find those evenings very informative myself. At the same time, please feel free to join us for as many events as you can on the school calendar. Athletic games are now beginning to move to league competition. Please come to watch, even if your children are not participating on a particular team or are part of another division. You are always welcome to come and cheer on our Huskies as they represent all of us on those fields. Concerts, plays and other events are about to get underway and next week’s Parents’ Association Tennis Social is another prime event to enjoy!

The 2018-2019 school year is going to be one of our very best, so please join us by engaging in whatever way will work best for your children and for you as a family. I look forward to seeing you soon. Go Huskies!

Sincerely,

John M. Thomas
Headmaster