Lower School Newsletter - August 26, 2020
THINGS TO KNOW THIS WEEK IN THE LOWER SCHOOL
Below are some events and information to help you prepare for a successful start to the school year.
Role Changes, New Faculty and Staff and Departures
As noted in the Campus Reopening Plan, to mitigate risk, the students at each grade level will be grouped in cohorts, and we will make every effort to ensure that students do not mix between cohorts. Although we have always maintained small class sizes, our health and safety protocols require classes to be even smaller. This also means that we will have more classes or sections at each grade level than we have had previously. These circumstances have resulted in some of our faculty moving to different roles for this year.
Veronica Leonard has moved from Lower School Learning Specialist to First Grade Teacher.
Megan Dhar has moved from Lower School Enrichment Coordinator, Innovation Teacher and Service Coordinator to Second Grade Teacher.
Kim Dewar has moved from Lower School Learning Specialist to Third Grade Teacher.
In addition to her role as Grades JK-6 Language Arts Department Chair,
Christine Dwyer will be a Sixth Grade Advisor.
In addition to her role as Grades JK-6 Social Studies and Science Department Chair,
Aixa Snell will be a Sixth Grade Advisor.
While we previously shared this information in the final newsletter of the school year, we want to re-share information about the new faculty and staff joining us this year with many new families who became part of our community during the summer.
Jennifer (Jenny) Beck, RN, BSN – Lower School Nurse – was born and raised in Virginia and received her undergraduate degree in biology from Virginia Tech. Before starting her nursing career, she worked as a lab tech. Jenny obtained a nursing diploma from Southside Regional School of Nursing and a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Jacksonville University. Jenny has been a registered nurse for eight years, having worked in the U.S. hospital setting and in a medical unit of an overseas embassy. Jenny has spent the last five years working in urgent care and with Reston Town Center Pediatrics. When not working, Jenny negotiates meals and clothing choices with a threenager.
Laura Cirone – Fifth Grade Teacher – is originally from Fairfax, Virginia, and went to W.T. Woodson High School. She received a bachelor’s in psychology from Catholic University, while playing on the Varsity Women's Lacrosse Team. After graduation, she was hired as the graduate assistant women's lacrosse coach at Catholic, where she coached for two years while completing a master's degree in business management with a concentration in leadership. She graduated in 2019 and began substitute teaching at Flint Hill in the fall. Laura lives in Fairfax with her husband and son and enjoys exercising, jewelry making, and cooking.
Miles Henderson – All-School Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator – was born and raised here in Northern Virginia. At George Mason University, he studied foreign languages and education. He has previously worked as a substitute teacher and a tutor, as well as a volunteer for The Trevor Project’s advocacy team. Working with the Trevor Project encouraged him to find work related to equity and inclusion in education. He is very excited and eager to join the Flint Hill Community, and he hopes to see everybody in person this fall.
Kunnica Kou - First Grade Assistant Teacher - is a recent graduate from GWU with her master's in public health, prior to that she completed her bachelor's in community health from George Mason University. She has been an aftercare specialist since 2016 and is super excited to continue being a part of the Husky team!
Veronica Leonard – First Grade Teacher – graduated from Dartmouth College, in 2014, with a degree in psychology and a minor in education. After completing the Dartmouth Teacher Education Program, she moved to New York and became a kindergarten teacher at a public charter school in the South Bronx. After three years of teaching in general education and integrated co-teaching classroom settings, she decided to go back to school to specialize in reading education for struggling students. This spring, Veronica completed the Reading Specialist program at Teachers College, Columbia University and earned her M.A. Veronica is very excited to return to the D.C. area, where she grew up, after spending the past 10 years in New Hampshire and New York. She is passionate about the learning process and making academic instruction appropriate, accessible, beneficial, and joyful for all learners. With sports seasons suspended indefinitely, Veronica now enjoys playing with her newly-adopted dog, Betty, in her free time. Veronica can’t wait to be a Flint Hill Husky and is looking forward to getting to know her colleagues, students, and the Flint Hill families!
Brian McDonald – First Grade Assistant Teacher – is a Flint Hill graduate (’12) and has a deep fondness for all of the members of this community. “In fact,” he says, “I have always aspired to return to Flint Hill so that I can give back to this environment which has afforded me so many positive opportunities.” While attending James Madison University (earning a B.S in media arts and design, with a concentration in journalism, in 2017), he worked in the Flint Hill basketball camps and basketball leagues during the summers. He also coached Flint Hill’s basketball teams in several summer leagues throughout Northern Virginia, Maryland, and D.C. Brian expresses, “I am very excited about my new role here with Flint Hill School. I am very grateful for the livelong lessons and values that were taught to me by the teachers and administrators during my time here as a high school student; I am eager to instill those same values to your children.”
Marie Pescatore – First Grade Teacher – earned her bachelor’s and master’s degree in elementary education at Quinnipiac University. She graduated, in 2014, from her master’s program with the Leadership in Education Award. Following graduation, she worked for six years at Fair Haven School in New Haven, Connecticut. Marie worked as a first and fifth grade teacher of English Language Learning classrooms where she taught all subjects. While working for Fair Haven, Marie served many additional leadership roles, including new teacher mentor, fifth grade lead teacher, school-side data team committee member, behavior intervention committee member, and school planning and management team member. After graduating, Marie worked closely with her alma mater, Quinnipiac University, hosting many student teachers and interns in her classroom. Alongside student teaching and mentoring, Marie was a part-time graduate professor of Teaching Mathematics in Elementary Grades (K-6). Outside of teaching and coaching, Marie loves to hike, read, and spend time with friends and family.
Emily Sorbi – Lower School Counselor – is a licensed professional school counselor, responsible for providing individual and educational counseling to her students, faculty, and staff. Emily started her career as a therapist and educational liaison for Center for Discovery, where she counseled children ages 8-18 who struggle with eating disorders. She returned to the school system and has worked as a professional school counselor in independent schools for the last 10 years. She earned her B.A. from Millersville University of Pennsylvania and her M.S. from The George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
Rachel Varma – Lower School Kindergarten Assistant — received a Bachelor of Science in elementary education from Boston University and completed fieldwork in the Massachusetts school districts in Boston, Brookline and Chelsea. She lived and went to school in Bethesda, Maryland, for grades K-8 and is eager to return to the area. “Some fun facts about me are that I was adopted and I was raised half Jewish and half Hindu. I look forward to meeting you all as we begin planning the next school year!”
Sarah Yeon — Lower School Kindergarten Assistant — has a master’s degree in early childhood education, PK-3, from George Mason University. “Even though I have not been at Flint Hill for a long time, I have felt very happy and welcomed here. In my free time, I love to exercise at the gym, hike outdoors, and hang out with my friends.”
Finally, we’d like to extend our best wishes to faculty and staff who departed over the summer — Director of Facilities Dennis Giuliani, Manager of Student Transportation and the Online School Store Sharon Giuliani, Director of AfterCare Amy McMurrer and Second Grade Teacher. Malcolm Scott. Each of these individuals made an incredible impact on Flint Hill, and I hope you will join us in wishing them well in their future endeavors.
Articles and Guidelines
Elise Nebolsine, a licensed clinical social worker, prepared the guidelines below. I encourage families to follow them in preparation for our return to School.
Questions about school supplies? Lunch? Transportation? Check out the Preparing for the 2020-2021 School Year tile on the Resource Board!
Are you ready for the new school year? We’ve been making continuous updates to our Preparing for the 2020-21 School Year tile on the Resource Board to help you get ready and stay abreast of changes and preparations we are making due to COVID.
You may access checklists by division by clicking on the Preparing for the 2020-2021 School Year tile on the Resource Board of Husky Hub.
To access the Resource Board, visit www.flinthill.org/app (be sure to bookmark this link!), and log in with your username and password. Once you’ve logged in, click on the Preparing for the 2020-2021 School Year tile. The tile will remain accessible through the start of the new school year.
Class Placements for the 2020-21 School Year Available Thursday, August 27
Specific class assignments will be available Thursday, August 27, at 8:00 a.m. We have a very thorough and thoughtful process for class placements for our students. Many factors are considered, including the child’s academic, emotional and social needs, the student’s learning style and the different teachers’ teaching styles. Every effort is made to ensure that each student is in a learning environment in which he or she can flourish. To mitigate risk, this year, we have placed students in cohorts, and they will remain together as a cohort throughout the day including break and recess, which will take place in assigned areas outside.
To access your child’s class placement, log in to the Husky Hub, click “Children” and select your child’s name. From the “Progress” page, scroll down to view your child’s classes and teachers.
If you have any questions, please contact Assistant to the Director and the Assistant Director of the Lower School Donna Holaday at 703.584.2360.
Thursday, September 3
For students who will need to keep medication on campus during the school year, we will have a medication drop-off day on Thursday, September 3, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on the Upper School Campus.
Families will pull into the circle, and a nurse will come to your car to collect the medication and the appropriate forms. As a reminder, all prescription medication must be accompanied by the physician's order on the Medication Authorization Form, which must be completed and signed by the prescribing physician. All medication must have the pharmacy label on it.
All over-the-counter medication must be accompanied by the Medication Authorization Form and must be completed and signed by a parent or guardian. The medication must be in the original packaging and must be administered according to the package instructions, including the time and route to be administered.
If you are unable to come to the School on the medication drop-off day, please call to schedule an appointment with one of the nurses prior to the start of school.
For medication refills throughout the school year, you will need to call and schedule appointments on Wednesdays at the Upper School Campus.
Q&A Virtual Parent Meetings
Lower School Virtual New Parent Orientation, Thursday, September 3, 10 a.m.
To help new parents prepare for the school year, Assistant Director of the Lower School Robyn Nichols and I will be hosting a virtual new parent orientation. I will be emailing the link to the Google Meet early next week.
Q&A for Returning Parents
To answer any questions returning parents may have as we prepare for the start of the school year on Tuesday, September 3, Assistant Director of the Lower School Robyn Nichols and I will be hosting a virtual meeting. I will be emailing the link to the Google Meet early next week.
First Week of School
Information regarding the first week of school is available on the Preparing for the 2020-2021 School Year Resource Board tile here. Please note that during the week of August 31, students will have the opportunity of meeting virtually with their teacher/s and a small group of students from their class to start building community. Teachers will be sending out more information with links to the Google Meet. Please also remember to pack a lunch for on-campus students when full-day classes begin during the week of September 14.
Morning Arrival and Afternoon Dismissal
Detailed information about arrival and dismissal is available on the Preparing for the 2020-2021 School Year Resource Board tile here. If you have any questions, please contact Assistant to the Director of the Lower School Donna Holaday at 703.584.2360. In addition, every family was mailed carpool signs today. Families with multiple households were mailed signs to each address. Please display them in the morning and afternoon carpool. Signs should be displayed on the passenger side of the car for the duration of pick-up.
Health Forms — New and Returning Students in Grades JK-4
Completed health forms must be uploaded to the Magnus Health system and approved by the first day of classes (September 8), or your child may not attend school, virtually or on campus. If you have any questions regarding the health forms, please contact our Director of Health Services and Lower and Middle School Nurse Mary Hart at 703.584.2399.
Lower School Dress Code
Please be sure to consult the Dress Code, on the Resource Board, for information about uniforms. Please note that the dress code applies to both on-campus and virtual learners. Students may bring a hat/cap of any style or color to school, which may be worn outside for sun protection. Please note that there is no need for fifth and sixth grade on-campus students to purchase P.E. uniforms for the first semester.
Textbooks and Supplies
Please refer to the Grades JK-4 Textbook and Supply Information, on the Resource Board, for information about textbooks, workbooks, and the supplies Lower School students will need for school.
Enjoy the last couple of weeks of summer! In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns, please contact me, Assistant Lower School Director Robyn Nichols or Assistant to the Director and the Assistant Director of the Lower School Donna Holaday at 703.584.2360.
New Faculty Orientation
Monday, August 24-Friday, August 28
Husky Hub Opens
Thursday, August 27
Friday, August 31-Friday, September 4
Labor Day — No Classes
Monday, September 7
Grades JK-12 Student Orientation — Half Days, 8:10 a.m.-12 p.m.
Tuesday, September 8 - Friday, September 11
Parent-Teacher Hopes and Dreams Conferences
Tuesday, September 8-Friday September 11, 2-4 p.m.
Grades JK-12 First Day of Classes (Full Day)
Monday, September 14
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Virtual Back To School Night
Tuesday, September 21
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