Middle School Newsletter - February 1, 2023

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    Message From Division Director

    A big part of educating, like parenting, is balancing the need to meet kids where they are while also preparing them for next steps in their journey. In advance of key transition points — to middle school, to upper school, to college — we need to incrementally raise expectations while giving them opportunities to practice necessary skills and build confidence that they are prepared to meet those expectations.

    For our eighth graders, the start of the second semester is an important juncture in this process. I met with the class yesterday to get them excited about their last four months of middle school and outline the adjustments they will see (and are ready for!) as we prepare them for ninth grade.

    • Academic — while the amount of work shouldn’t change, we are increasing the complexity and expectation of analysis and synthesis (e.g. a research paper in history). 
    • Independence/Responsibility — they will have more flexibility during their afternoon Advisory Study Hall to choose how they spend their time, similar to the way free periods work in the Upper School. We will also be doing less nagging and reminding about missing work, retake opportunities, etc.
    • Accountability — we will begin implementing some of the accountability structures they will see next year. Academically, we will now use late penalties to encourage timely submission of work. The specific deduction may vary by department. Behaviorally, we will use detention as a consequence for minor infractions of respect, dress guidelines, etc. At the middle school level, detention will involve a student spending their 15-minute morning break in my office rather than with friends.

    The transition to ninth grade is happening for parents as well. I hope you were able to attend the virtual Upper School Preview event last night, and please mark your calendars for the Upper School Academic Planning Coffee on Wednesday, March 1 at 8:30 a.m.

    Brian Lamont
    Director of the Middle School

    Announcements

    First Semester Grade Reports and Narrative Comments — Available Online

    Our grade reports were posted last Wednesday and are available online. As always, this is an opportunity to practice how to keep quarter grades in perspective — focusing on the journey, recognizing what this current performance feedback can provide and avoiding the type of disproportionate fixation on grades that can limit growth. In addition to the performance feedback for each course, our teachers have provided narrative comments about your child’s progress. Like our conferences, these comments should convey the depth of our understanding of your child while providing feedback to them about progress and providing suggestions for future growth that can be used in goal setting for the next semester. The comments will be written to the student, mirroring the type of “conferencing” conversations that we have with them at school. As always, please communicate with teachers directly if you have any questions or concerns.

    Kaleidoscope Parent Book Club Discussion, "Stella by Starlight" — Monday, February 6

    The Kaleidoscope Book Club provides an opportunity for parents to connect and discuss a variety of topics through books. The group will discuss the book "Stella by Starlight" by Sharon Draper on Monday, February 6, 8:30 - 9:30 a.m., in the Peterson Middle School Conference Room. You are welcome to attend even if you haven't read the book. We look forward to building and deepening relationships through this shared learning opportunity. Please contact Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator Miles Henderson if you have any questions.

    Major Minors Concert — Wednesday, February 15

    Love is in the air! The Major Minors, Flint Hill’s award winning a cappella group, invite you to their annual concert, featuring songs of love for Valentine’s Day. Bring a date. It’s sure to be a heartwarming experience. The concert is free and will be held in the Upper School Commons on Wednesday, February 15, at 7:00 p.m.

    Middle School Play, “Robin Hood” — Friday and Saturday, February 24 and 25

    In a tale from age-old British folklore and literature, Robin Hood, with the help of his merry group, infamously robs from the rich and gives to the poor during adventures through Sherwood Forest. The Middle School play version is a comic retelling of the story that includes thumb wars, missed cues and a slow-motion fight.

    The students will perform in an evening show and a matinee in the Olson Theater at the Lower School — Friday, February 24, at 7:00-9:00 p.m. and Saturday, February 25, at 2:00-4:00 p.m. Tickets are free and can be reserved through our online box office.

    Register Now for Summer on the Hill!

    Registration for the 2023 Summer on the Hill is now open! We are proud to offer programs in the following categories:

    • Headfirst Summer Camps: Ages 3-5
    • Athletic Camps: Grades 3-9
    • Enrichment Camps: Grades 5-9
    • For-Credit and Academic Prep Courses: Grades 9-12
    • D.C. United Soccer Camp and Washington Nationals Baseball and Softball Camps: Ages 5-13

    We look forward to campers and students joining us on campus for new and returning programs and to a safe, enriching and fun summer ahead! Contact Director of After School and Summer Programs Matt McCoart with any questions.

    Upcoming Events

    Enrollment Contracts Issued
    Wednesday, February 1

    Kaleidoscope Parent Book Club
    Monday, February 6
    Peterson Middle School Conference Room 204, 8:30-9:30 a.m.

    Flint Hill Day
    Wednesday, February 8
    Upper School Gym, 1:15p.m.

    Enrollment Contract Deadline
    Thursday, February 9

    Parent Meetup: Pickleball
    Friday, February 10
    Country Club of Fairfax, 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
    Join the waitlist


    Professional Development Day, No Classes
    Monday, February 13

    Major Minors Concert
    Wednesday, February 15
    Upper School Commons, 7:00-9:00 p.m.

    Presidents' Day, School Closed
    Monday, February 20

    Middle School Play
    Friday, February 24, 7:00-9:00 p.m. and Saturday, February 25, 2:00-4:00 p.m.
    Lower School, Olson Theater
    Reserve tickets

    Rising Grade 9 Division Coffee: Upper School Academic Planning
    Wednesday, March 1
    Upper School Multipurpose Room, 8:30-9:30 a.m.

    Parents’ Association

    Parent Meetup: Pickleball — Join the Waitlist

    Friday, February 10, 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
    Country Club of Fairfax 

    The Pickleball Social registration is now full, but you can join the waitlist, and we will let you know if space becomes available. Contact Advancement Officer Olivia Landrum ’11 with any questions.

    Volunteers Needed: Concessions

    Volunteers are needed to sell concessions during the day, after school and during basketball games. Check out the schedule and sign up for as many shifts as you'd like. Feel free to invite a friend to sign up with you too, or come ready to make a new connection!  

    February
    10—Parent Meetup: Pickleball

    March
    2—Parent Morning Mixer 
    10—Lower School Spring Uniform Exchange 

    April
    14—"A Night on the Hill" 

    May
    25—Flint Hill Golf Invitational 

    June
    1—Volunteer Appreciation Reception