Middle School Newsletter - September 15, 2021
Message From Division Director
As we begin establishing some momentum and practicing 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 from the two documents noted in the “Parent Resources” below.
- 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.
Director of the Middle School
Head of School Candidate #1 Visiting Next Week
Our three campus finalists will each be spending two busy days on campus. Candidate #1 is visiting September 19-21. During the visit, we are hosting a virtual community meeting on Tuesday, September 21, 5-5:45 p.m., so parents and alumni can hear from each finalist. This will be a webinar-style virtual presentation where the host, Liza Renner, chair of the Search Committee and member of the Board of Trustees, will present predetermined questions to the candidate. Participants will have an opportunity to share feedback with the Search Committee via a survey, available for 24 hours following each webinar. Thank you for your participation and support of this important process.
Click on the Head of School Candidate Visits tile on the Resource Board for links to the candidate’s bio, webinar and feedback survey.
Nutcracker Casting Call
Calling all dancers! There is a special opportunity for Middle School students of all skill levels to participate in our annual production of “The Nutcracker.” Rehearsals will be held in the Upper School dance studio on Tuesdays, 3:30-4:30 p.m., starting on September 21. There will also be two Saturday rehearsals on October 16 and November 6. “The Nutcracker” will be performed on November 12 and 13. If you are interested, please email Jenelle Mrykalo.
Our student technology program works very hard to provide quick help desk assistance while also maintaining strong internet security. To meet those goals, we ask that only Flint Hill issued devices be used by teachers and students on campus. This is a reminder for families: students may not use personal devices on campus; they should use their Flint Hill issued devices.
Middle and Upper School Athletic Games
As one school with two campuses and three divisions, we value the times we are able to come together as a community. Typically, families across divisions enjoy attending Middle and Upper School athletic games.
For the health of our Lower School students, our outdoor mask policy is different on our campuses. They are required on the Lower School campus and encouraged, but optional, on the Middle and Upper School campus. For games on the Peterson Family Field, Lower School families whose students are using the playground have been encouraged to sit in the stands near the playground so parents can actively supervise students. Other community members in this vicinity might consider wearing a mask to protect our Lower School students.
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 2022-23 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 2022-23 school year, please complete this interest form no later than October 1. Alternatively, you can simply begin by completing the admission application. The application deadline is November 1 for completed applications, to receive an admission notification at the end of January. For more information, please schedule a 15-minute admission consultation with Jennifer Webb, director of enrollment management and financial aid, here, or Dawn Hopke, associate director of admission, here.
Best Practices for Middle School Parents — Supporting Homework
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 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. 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.
To help protect the integrity and privacy of virtual events, we have placed all the links to Google Meet virtual events in Husky Hub via the All-School Calendar.
Grade 7 Parent Social Hosted by the Parent Association
Wednesday, September 22, 6-8 p.m.
Join Us for Miller House Monday Next Week!
An informal social for JK-12 parents hosted by the Advancement office and Parents' Association President.
You don’t have to be a parent of a Lower School student to visit this special campus. Join Parents’ Association President Sibel Unsal P ’22 at the next Miller House Monday, taking place on Monday, September 20, 8:30-10 a.m. After carpool dropoff, come by the Lower School and meet on the porch of the Miller House — the historic home located on the left upon entering the Lower School Campus. Please park in any of the visitor spaces next to Miller House or Hazel Lower School. If those are filled, use the empty spaces in the parking lot behind the Activity Center or by the basketball courts. Please don’t park in the Miller House circle. All JK-12 parents and guardians are invited to attend. We hope to see you there!
Looking to Volunteer?
The Den, our newest concession stand, located on the Peterson Middle School terrace, is opening soon. Come join us!
Order Pick Up
Beginning Monday, September 20, free shipping will end. To avoid shipping costs, there will be an option to pick up your order. This year, if you select the pick-up option, your order will be delivered to your student’s division office and will be sent home with them.
Restocking and New Inventory
Thank you for your patience and understanding while we continue working with our vendors to stock and restock the School Store. More inventory has been ordered and is on the way. Please continue to check the New Stock and Restock Alert tabs on the website.
Not sure what size to purchase? Purchase the size your student currently wears. If these items do not work for your student, please contact Adrienne Robinson to start the return/exchange process.
How Do I Make an Exchange or Return?
Please email Adrienne Robinson within 30 days of your original purchase. Include your order number, the item(s) that didn’t work, and if you would like to return your items or exchange them. Exchanges may be made for the same item in a different size or for an item of equal value. We are happy to issue a refund for items that did not work for you.