Middle School Newsletter - September 21, 2022

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    Message From Division Director

    As we begin establishing some momentum and ramping up the academic expectations, your child will begin having more homework assignments and assessments. Particularly for those in seventh grade, this can feel like a big step as they learn to keep track of what they need to be working on in each class, manage time and due dates, and figure out which strategies work for them and which don’t. These are all very important aspects of growth during the middle school years and, like much of the journey, can be messy and challenge our ability to maintain perspective. To ensure that these years can be the training ground our students need them to be, all of the adults around them play an important role — providing the right amount of structure and guidance while leaving room for stumbles. This can be VERY difficult for both educators and parents. Here are some recommendations for supporting homework and a healthy perspective.

    • Create space and time in the evening schedule for homework — consider distractions and start/end times — generally one hour and no more than two hours.
    • Check assignments in Husky Hub and ask about your child’s plan/priority.
    • Clear out so they can work independently, and redirect them to class resources and the teacher if they are stuck.
    • Stick to a time limit and bedtime — guide your child to communicate with the teacher if they weren’t able to finish and/or have follow-up questions.
    • While students need to practice taking ownership and taking the lead on communication (often imperfectly), parents should use backchannel communication with us to ask questions and express concerns (e.g. homework is taking too long).
    • Embrace the ups and downs — stumbles are great learning opportunities if we handle them right!
    • Our mutual goal should be to foster gentle, periodic, “coaching” conversations about students' progress, recognizing the importance of helping them make adjustments while focusing on growth and process rather than individual grades. 

    Brian Lamont
    Director of the Middle School


    LAST CALL for Homecoming T-Shirt Orders

    Grab your 2022 Homecoming shirt TODAY! Click here to place your order, and be sure to select your student’s homeroom teacher or advisor — t-shirts will be delivered to those classrooms during Homecoming week. The shirts are designed by the Upper School Athletic Advisory Council and are available in youth and adult sizes. The store closes tomorrow morning, September 22, at 10:00 a.m. so grab yours NOW!

    Emergency Notification System Testing

    Flint Hill uses the BrightArrow emergency notification system to relay important, time-sensitive messages by text and email. Delayed openings and closures will be communicated via this system by 5:45 a.m. on the day of a severe weather event.

    We will send a test message by text and email tomorrow, Thursday, September 22, at 6:00 p.m. IMPORTANT: New members of the community must reply “yes” when prompted by the test message to continue receiving text messages. Please contact communications@flinthill.org with any questions.

    Student Absence: Classwork Policy

    Informed by the experiences of the previous years working within the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the learning outcomes and impact on our students, faculty, and staff of hybrid and asynchronous learning during that time, the following represent guidelines for continued learning when a student is absent from school.  

    The goals of this policy are two-fold:

    1. to support individual and community health and wellbeing, and
    2. to maintain the integrity of a one-of-a-kind Flint Hill educational experience.

    To that end, students and families should treat absences for illness as a necessary time to recuperate, and academic work is NOT an expectation during this time.  

    Read More

    Seventh Grade Advisory Day — Friday, September 30

    With the goals of connecting with each other and exploring key areas of our nation’s capital, advisory groups will engage in teambuilding activities and a scavenger hunt competition around the National Mall. Safety is our top priority, and the level of responsibility for both students and advisors is increased off campus, particularly in navigating busy city streets. As a likely consequence of the pandemic and having fewer opportunities to practice these skills, we’ve noticed that many students struggle with safety instincts, responsiveness to correction, and the ability to follow directions in a group setting. We will be reviewing safety protocols with students — particularly in terms of staying together as a group, paying close attention to instructions about crossing streets, and respecting the thousands of others trying to move about the city. We appreciate your efforts to support these messages at home.

    Advisory Day Reminders:

    • Regular 7:50 a.m. arrival and 3:30 p.m. dismissal times.
    • There are no academic classes or athletics.
    • Students should be in regular school dress with comfortable walking shoes.
    • Students should leave MacBooks at home.
    • Students will need a daypack, water bottle, bag lunch, an additional snack, a mask (in case we enter buildings with a requirement), and a hat/sunscreen as needed.
    • Please contact your child’s advisor or Seventh Grade Team Leader Travis Keatley if you have questions.

    Eighth Grade Holocaust Museum Trip — Friday, September 30

    As part of our unit on human rights, students will visit the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum to better appreciate and understand the events leading to, during, and after the Holocaust. We will prepare students for the trip using various in-class activities and readings. While the subject matter and images contained within the exhibition are sometimes disturbing, the most graphic footage is protected behind walls that must be looked over in order to see them. Therefore, unless a student so chooses, he/she will not be exposed to extremely graphic images. While we will talk with the students about this, please feel free to also discuss this option with your child. We encourage you to review information on the Permanent Exhibition we will be visiting.

    Museum Trip Reminders:

    • Regular 7:50 a.m. arrival and 3:30 p.m. dismissal times.
    • There are no academic classes or athletics.
    • Students should be in regular school dress with comfortable walking shoes.
    • Students should leave MacBooks at home.
    • Students will need a daypack, water bottle, bag lunch, an additional snack, a mask (in case we enter buildings with a requirement), and a hat/sunscreen as needed.

    Please contact your child’s advisor or Eighth Grade Team Leader Courtney Anderson if you have questions.

    Homework Policy for Special Circumstances

    Over the course of each year, there are a variety of circumstances and events outside of our published calendar that can prevent students from completing evening assignments. When these circumstances or events arise, the School will make every effort to be flexible and support students in completing their work in a timely manner.

    Special Circumstances

    In the event of an illness or unforeseen emergency, you are encouraged to communicate with your child’s teacher, advisor or division director to inform them of what to expect from your child, so we can work with your family accordingly.

    Religious Observances

    Flint Hill deeply respects and celebrates the customary rituals, observances and family gatherings associated with religious holidays and those of differing faiths at School. Please communicate with your child's teacher, advisor or division director to inform them of your observance, and we will work with your family accordingly. Students are excused from school, games and practices for religious commitments.

    Photo Day Portraits Now Available Online

    Flint Hill Student portraits, grades 9-11, are now online for viewing and ordering. Parents should have received an email from Freed Photography with your student's private gallery information. If you have not received that email (check your spam too), please contact Freed at support@freedphoto.com or call 301.652.5452. Photo Retake/Makeup Day is currently scheduled for Thursday, October 6

    Important Campus Driving/Parking Reminders

    In order to keep safety as our highest priority, please follow all traffic directions and signage including the following:

    • Flint Hill community members are never permitted to park in the local neighborhoods. If you arrive for an event and the campus lots are full, please check in with a traffic officer on duty for alternative parking options.
    • When driving to the Middle School, remember that the Oakton Road entrance may only be accessed from the right-hand turn lane on Oakton Road. Left-hand turns are not permitted from Oakton Road into the Peterson Middle School parking lot. 

    Early Admission Process for Siblings

    As members of our Husky family, we are offering an early start to the admission process for siblings who do not currently attend Flint Hill and are interested in applying for the 2023-24 school year. 

    If you have a child who is not currently enrolled at Flint Hill and you are interested in the application process for the 2023-24 school year, please complete this interest form by Saturday, October 1. Alternatively, you can simply complete the admission application. You must complete the full application package by November 1 to receive an admission notification in mid-December. For more information, please schedule an appointment with the admission team member for your division of interest.

    School Store — Temporary Closure for Improvements

    The School Store will be closed from Wednesday, September 14, through Wednesday, September 28, to move to a new platform. During this time, the store will not be taking any orders online or in person. We are excited to provide an improved shopping experience for everyone when we relaunch on Thursday, September 29. To contact School Store Manager Kaleena Buckwalter, please call 703.584.2413 or email schoolstore@flinthill.org

    Upcoming Events

    Parents' Association Pickleball Social
    Thursday, September 29
    Country Club of Fairfax, 9:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

    Washington D.C. Field Trip
    Friday, September 30
    8:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
    After two years of limited opportunities, we are bringing back our curricular and community-building field trips. On September 30, we will bus all students to Washington, D.C. for the day. Seventh graders will have their Advisory Day, participating in a scavenger hunt around the National Mall. Eighth graders will visit the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum as part of their history curriculum. Regular school dropoff and pickup times apply and students will need to bring a bag lunch.

    Parent Morning Mixer
    Monday, October 3
    deCamp Garden, Upper School, 8:15 - 9:15 a.m.

    Grades JK-8 Picture Make-Up Day
    Thursday, October 6

    Indigenous Peoples' Day
    No School
    Monday October 10

    Homecoming Festivities
    Friday, October 14
    Saturday, October 15
    *more details in next week's newsletter

    Parents’ Association

    Calling All Concessions Volunteers!

    Parent volunteers are needed to help sell concessions in both The Igloo and The Den during the day and after school. More opportunities will be added throughout the year for each athletic season. Please sign up for as many shifts as you'd like, and feel free to invite a friend to sign up with you too. 

    23—Senior Breakfast 
    29—Parent Pickleball Social

    3—Parent Morning Mixer 
    14-15—Homecoming Weekend 

    10—Parent Morning Mixer 

    2—Morning Mixer 
    10—Lower School Spring Uniform Exchange 

    15—Parents’ Association Spring Tennis Social 

    25—Flint Hill Golf Invitational 

    1—Volunteer Appreciation Reception