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Middle School Newsletter - September 23, 2020

NEW/UPDATED INFORMATION

 

Our Core Values and the Middle School Social Contract

A key part of the start to each school year involves orienting students to Flint Hill’s Core Values and developing our Middle School Social Contract. As previously noted, the Core Values have been updated this year, from single-word virtues to a set of action-oriented statements.

  • Respect and value all equally
  • Lead and support with compassion
  • Act with integrity
  • Imagine what’s possible
  • Blaze the trail

During our orientation week, we reviewed these ideals in a video presentation and discussed ways in which they connect to our Health Pledge. We then had students create video clips demonstrating what our Core Values might look like in action on a daily basis.

As part of following the principles of Developmental Designs, we involve students in creating the essential agreements for our division — our Social Contract. Using their video clips and the Core Values as a basis, students drafted statements about community norms and ultimately selected the aspirational ground rules for every member of our Middle School community:

  • Be your best self … the one you want people to remember you by.
  • Listen to and support others’ ideas, even if they are different from your own.
  • Treat others the way you want to be treated, in person and online.
  • Avoid assumptions and stereotypes.
  • Be creative, be innovative, and keep an open mind.
  • Do what inspires you and try your best in everything you do.

 

Now Live! Parent Toolkit Resource Board Tile

Parents and guardians received the link to the Parent Toolkit on Monday afternoon. As of Tuesday, September 22, the Preparing for the 2020-21 School Year tile on the Resource Board has been retired. As noted in Monday’s email, the Parent Toolkit will serve as a year-long resource with valuable information to help Flint Hill parents through the remainder of the school year.

 

An Update Regarding Links in Old Pushpages (Emails sent through the School email system)

Due to an update that was recently made by the software vendor for our email system, links shared in emails sent before July 21 will no longer be available after October 20. If you attempt to access a link in an old pushpage sent before July 21, after October 20, you will receive an error. Fortunately, the most up-to-date information regarding School operations is available in the Weekly Newsletter and on the Resource Board in Husky Hub.

This update does not affect links sent through Gmail.

 

Learning Location Selection for the Second Quarter Launches September 28

The Learning Location Form for the second quarter will launch in Husky Hub on September 28. Parents and guardians will receive an email notification when the link becomes live. Parents who chose to select their student’s learning location on a quarterly basis are required to complete the form by Monday, October 5. Parents who chose their student’s learning location for the year will not need to resubmit the form.

 

School Store Update

With the relaxed dress code this year and more frequent opportunities to wear spiritwear, those items are in hot demand! Orders have been placed to restock the store. Future newsletters will highlight when new stock has arrived (including Flint Hill masks).

 

Student-Led Clubs

We piloted student-led clubs earlier this week. On Monday, students and teachers had the opportunity to brainstorm ideas and propose clubs — to include both on-campus and virtual learners. We did a test run of some of the options yesterday. It was a bit messy, but we thought it was better to start now rather than wait for a more polished product. At this point, there is no list of options to publish or sign up for, and we will continue to refine.

 

Yearbook Spring Supplements

The spring supplements to the 2019-20 yearbooks have arrived. We will distribute them to returning on-campus learners in Advisory. We will mail them home to returning virtual learners.

 

UPDATES AND REMINDERS FROM LAST WEEK

 

Early Pick-Up and Changes to Afternoon Pick-Up

As noted in our Middle School Morning Arrival And Afternoon Dismissal document on the Resource Board, please notify Middle School Attendance or Assistant to the Director of the Middle School Michelle Aspinwall if you have any changes to your afternoon routine (e.g. your child is getting picked up early or going home with a friend). If you are picking up early, you will use visitor parking and press the call button by the main entrance to announce your arrival.

 

Best Practices for Middle School Parents

The Middle School years provide an incredible opportunity for your children to take meaningful risks and gradually develop lifelong skills of resilience and independence. While the stakes are low, children can try on new strategies and figure out what works for them and what does not. They can practice ways to achieve balance while tackling increasingly complex academic work and a heavier workload. It is not about the grades and the points at this level; it is about learning skills, working through struggles and developing confidence. 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 “coaching” role is difficult for both educators and parents, and we have found these tips to be the most helpful for guiding daily homework for the majority of students.

 

Open Gradebook in Grades 7-12

In addition to quarterly grade reports, with narrative comments from teachers after the second and fourth quarters, we use an open gradebook in grades 7 and 8. Viewable via our Husky Hub under “Progress” and consistent with the model in the Upper School, students (and you) will be able to see all of the grades that have been entered into the gradebook, in a particular course, on an ongoing basis. This provides students (and you) with more timely information, greater transparency, and a move toward greater student ownership of learning. Please note that, like most aspects of our Middle School program, our focus is on growth and process rather than grades. Please help us keep grades in perspective during these critical formative years, using this resource for more complete information about what you will see, when you will see it, and how your use of this access will impact its success.

 

Birthday Treats/Snacks

To mitigate risk, this year students will not be able to bring treats into school to celebrate their birthday. Instead, students and advisors will come up with creative ways to celebrate a child’s special day that does not include edible birthday treats.

 

Homework and Home Learning Policy for Special Circumstances and Religious Observances

Flint Hill School’s core values guide the behaviors and decisions of all members of the Flint Hill community. The School's Homework and Home Learning Policy for Special Circumstances and Religious Observances was created with this in mind.

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 a family obligation, illness or unforeseen emergency, Upper School students may request extra help or extensions for work missed during the student’s absence.

In the Lower and Middle Schools, teachers and division directors will work with families, to develop a plan for completing work missed during a student absence, on a case-by-case basis.

In all three divisions, families 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. Upper School students who miss school due to a religious observance or celebration can work with their teachers or advisors to make up academic work.

In the Lower and Middle Schools, teachers and division directors will work with families, to develop a plan for completing work missed during a student absence, on a case-by-case basis.

Students are also excused from school, games and practices for religious commitments.