Upper School Notes – June 12, 2019
Greetings Upper School Families,
Congratulations … we made it!
Last week, we celebrated the 2018-2019 school year with culminating events that highlighted the accomplishments of the members of our community. The Class of 2019 is a special group for so many reasons. This group of Huskies is headed to a plethora of colleges and universities, across the nation, including Columbia, Cornell, Georgetown, Michigan, NYU, UCLA, Virginia Tech and UVA to name a few.
Commencement 2019 was truly special. The speeches from Salutatorian Shuhan Zhang and Valedictorian Kathleen Boyce were powerful, and the messages from our Headmaster John Thomas and alumna Mardieh Dennis ’05 were relevant and inclusive. The event was festive and emotional from start to finish.
This has really been an exciting year for me personally, and I know that I speak for others when I say thank you for your unwavering support.
Thanks for partnering with us this year. Enjoy your summer.
Quotes of the Week
“We don’t stop going to school when we graduate.” – Carol Burnett
“Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.” – Albert Einstein
“In school, you’re taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you’re given a test that teaches you a lesson.” – Tom Bodett
“Be bold, be courageous, be your best.” – Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords
What Should High School Students Do Over the Summer?
Professional photographs from last week’s Commencement ceremony are now available to view and purchase.
Welcoming New Faculty and Staff for 2019-2020
Please join us in welcoming the following new Upper School faculty for the 2019-2020 school year. We also want to congratulate current faculty who will be moving into new roles for the next school year.
Dr. Jean Marí Hernández López, Grades 7-12 Modern Language Department Chair
Dr. Jean Marí Hernández López has been a teacher since 2002. She has taught French, Spanish, SSL and ESL. Her passion for languages and cultures has driven her interest for travel, which has led her to explore Europe, the Caribbean and North and South America. Born and raised in Puerto Rico, she lived in France for six years and has also lived in Spain and England. She holds a B.A. in French language and civilization from the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus; an M.A. in French literature from Middlebury College in Paris; and a Doctorate of Modern Languages in French and Spanish from Middlebury College in Vermont.
In the U.S., she has worked at the Westtown School in West Chester, Pennsylvania; Saint Andrew’s Episcopal School in Potomac, Maryland; and the Ensworth School in Nashville, Tennessee. She also has worked in independent schools in Puerto Rico.
Woojin Kim, Grades 7-12 Classics Department Chair and Upper School Classics Teacher
Woojin taught Latin and sponsored a Junior Classical League chapter at a PK-12 independent school in Houston, after graduating from Johns Hopkins University with a B.A. in classics and history. He is currently completing his Ed.M., with a concentration in instructional leadership, at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Hailing from Northern Virginia, he is excited to return to familiar parts and to teach at the school he graduated from. In his free time, Woojin enjoys running; reading; indulging in delicious food and ice cream in good company; consuming and critiquing popular culture; and laughing at his own jokes. He is very excited to meet and work with everyone!
Marisa Kwaning, Upper School English Teacher
Marisa started her career in the field of public policy, working in various levels of government, supporting the development and implementation of policies and programs that strengthened public health, global health, and disaster management initiatives.
As an educator, Marisa has developed lesson plans to strengthen the language arts and critical thinking skills of students from all walks of life. She has also facilitated writing workshops for nonprofit organizations and senior military personnel within the U.S. Department of Defense’s National Defense University. Additionally, Marisa enjoys coaching students to become published authors with the nonprofit organization, Shout Mouse Press. When she isn’t working with students, she is revising her children’s fiction manuscripts based on her early childhood in Freetown, Sierra Leone, and on her current vantage point as a new mother. Previously, she taught at the Fusion Academy campus in Washington and spent eight years teaching and mentoring students with the Oxford Academy. Marisa holds a bachelor’s degree in English writing and rhetoric from Pepperdine University and a master’s degree from George Mason University.
Melissa Kormanec, Upper School Math Teacher
Melissa is going into her third year teaching upper school mathematics. She has a Bachelor of Science in mathematics and a master’s degree in education from James Madison University. During her free time, she enjoys reading murder mystery books, playing soccer in her adult soccer league and learning/trying new things! She loves trying to work real-life scenarios into topics she teaches, so students can see how they are used outside of math class.
Melissa Raeder, Upper School English Teacher
Melissa is an 18-year veteran teacher who has taught in both public and private schools. She has a B.A. in English from George Mason University, an M.A. in language and literature from Marymount University, and an M.S. in education from Old Dominion University. For the last eight years, she has been working at George Mason High School in Falls Church, teaching 11th and 12th Grade English while also coaching field hockey and swimming. Melissa has enjoyed working with students in the International Baccalaureate program and teaching a dual enrollment English course that allows students to earn college credit through Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC). In addition to teaching high school, Melissa has been an adjunct professor at NVCC and Marymount University, teaching both education and English courses. She recently received her National Board Certification in secondary English education. Her teaching philosophy is centered around building strong relationships with students and teaching a diverse list of authors to expose students to new places, cultures and people. She is very much looking forward to continuing her career, at Flint Hill, in the fall of 2019.
Richard Hill, Upper School History Teacher
The 2019-2020 academic school year will be Richard Hill’s ninth year of teaching. Although he is originally from New York, Richard has worked with schools around the world. After finishing his B.A. in history and education, he taught for two years in Istanbul. He then pursued his master’s degree in international education where he did hands-on research in mainland China, comparing the pedagogies of Chinese and Western teachers. Richard was fortunate to spend three years teaching social studies, in Tokyo, at a growing international school. He then moved to Taiwan, to start a summer robotics program for middle school students. While in Taiwan, he also worked at a bilingual school, where he taught AP history and economics. Most recently, he covered a sabbatical leave in the history department at Peddie School in New Jersey. Outside of traveling and learning about new cultures, Richard also enjoys cycling, hiking and watching sports (he is a big Buffalo Bills, NY Knicks and NY Rangers fan). Richard is grateful to start working in a friendly and innovative community at Flint Hill.
Elizabeth Jones, Upper School Math Teacher
Elizabeth was born in New Jersey and lived in the tri-state area until the age of 18. She moved west for college, attending Stanford University, where she earned a B.A. in economics. After college, Elizabeth worked as an advertising account executive in Manhattan, until she moved to Los Angeles and met her husband. In Los Angeles, she transitioned to working in finance and had her daughter, Maddy. Elizabeth moved with her family to Washington state, where she then earned her master’s in education and began her career teaching math. In her free time, Elizabeth participates in triathlons — she has contested Ironman 20 times. After 20 years on the West Coast, Elizabeth is excited to return east, to be closer to her extended family.
Millicent Sheets, Upper School Math Teacher
Millicent is a graduate of the University of Colorado and has been teaching math and coaching lacrosse for over 20 years. She comes to us from The Gunston School and The Country School on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, where she lives with her husband, Ben, and their two children.
Teresa Sievers, Upper School Math Teacher
Teresa studied aerospace engineering and participated in Air Force ROTC at the University of Notre Dame. After graduation, her first Air Force assignment was at Cape Canaveral as an astronautical engineer. Her duties focused on providing quality assurance for Department of Defense satellites. Following her work in the space program, she moved to California and pursued her passion for teaching. She has taught a variety of high school math and engineering courses over the past five years. Recently, she enjoyed developing an advanced physics class for seniors who were considering to pursue engineering. In her free time, she enjoys drinking Earl Grey tea and learning to golf with her husband. They are new to Virginia and excited to explore the Washington area.
Elizabeth “Liz” Hammond, Upper School Nurse
Liz is a Texas girl hailing from a town called El Paso, but Virginia has been her home for the last 14 years. She is honored to say that she is a veteran of the United States Air Force. The loves and joys of her life are her family, especially her husband and three boys. During her free time, she enjoys singing, dancing, being an unpaid Uber driver for her kiddos and a good mystery book (when she has the time). She loves working with young people and has done so for the greater part of her adult life. She is truly excited to start her adventure as a productive member of the Flint Hill team.
Dress Code Updates for 2019-2020
All three divisions have been reviewing dress codes for consistency (from year to year and between genders), simplicity, and alignment with our Vision Statement. The revised Upper School Dress Code is available on the Resource Board in Husky Hub.
Below is a summary of changes for Grades 9-12:
The shirt options are now consistent throughout the year rather than changing in the winter months; students may wear either polo-style shirts or oxford-style shirts buttoned to the neckline year-round. Neckties are now optional. There will be special dress days when neckties will be encouraged periodically during the school year. Overall, the dress code has been rewritten as a single set of gender-neutral options.
REMINDERS FROM LAST WEEK
Summer Learning and Summer Reading
Summer Learning and Summer Reading information for all three divisions are now available on the Preparing for the 2019-2020 School Year tile in Husky Hub. These are excellent resources to help students retain what they have learned to prepare for their next grade level. To access the Resource Board, visit www.flinthill.org/app and then enter your username and password. After you log in, click “Resources” on the top navigation bar and then click on the Preparing for the 2019-2020 School Year tile.
Approaching Deadline for Required Back to School Forms
The deadline for required back to school forms is next Friday, June 14. The forms include AfterCare registration, student information updates and registration for bus service. Please note that updates have been made to the bus routes for next year, so it is important to review that information closely. These online forms are required for student attendance at orientation, registration, classes, and for participation in all school-sponsored activities such as athletics and field studies.
The forms can be found in Husky Hub. After you log in, a yellow block will appear on the top part of the page with a message detailing the number of forms you have to review. After clicking the link, you will be guided to the list of forms for your child/ren. If you receive an error message, while completing your forms, or have questions, please contact Admission Data Manager Stephanie Flores.
A detailed video describing the process for accessing and completing the forms is available here.
We will continue to provide periodic updates as new information is added to Husky Hub and future deadlines approach.
Technology Updates for 2019-2020
Beginning in the 2019-2020 School year, administrative rights on school-issued MacBook Airs will be changing for all students enrolled in Grades 10, 11 and 12. Students in these grades will be promoted to an “administrator,” which will allow them to install software and make changes to the settings on their laptop without parental permission. However, all control over account permissions, filtration, auditing, and monitoring will remain in effect, in case of an inquiry or abuse.
No changes will be made to school-issued MacBook Airs for students in Grades 7, 8 and 9. These students will continue to be standard users with parental administrator accounts installed on their computers. We request that parents do not share their padmin account information with students in these grades.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding this change, please contact email@example.com.
Community Service Requirement
This is a reminder that students had until Friday, June 7, to serve and log their required 15 hours of community service for the 2018-2019 school year. Students who have not completed this service requirement will need to fulfill a community service contract over the summer. Details will be emailed to impacted students and their guardians/parents. The new school year for logging service hours began on Saturday, June 8.
Students often find the less structured summer months an ideal time to plan or even complete required 15 hours of annual community service. We have helpful guides on the US Community Service tile of the Resource Board, which lists organizations by interest and age, as well as contact information for arranging your work hours.
Please remember that community service is not just volunteerism; it is work that is done in the community on a voluntary basis to alleviate need, such as food or housing insecurity. If you have further questions, please look to our online resources and/or contact US Community Service Coordinator Linda Okoth.
Upper School Health Notice
As you begin planning your children’s medical appointments for this summer, please remember Flint Hill’s policy requiring all students in Grades 7 through 12 to submit a new physical examination each school year. The physical exam for the 2019-2020 school year should be completed between May 1 and prior to August 1. The Physical Exam Form for academics, athletics and activities is available to download and print from your student’s Magnus home page. The form has been revised. Please upload the completed form into your child’s Magnus Health Record once it is completed.
August 1, 2019 is the deadline for all required school health forms to be entered into the Magnus Health System. Your child will not be able to start pre-season athletics, orientation, field studies, classes or co-curricular activities until all required forms are completed in the Magnus Health System by a parent and approved by the Director of Health Services or the Upper School Nurse.
Spanish Student Exchange: Host an Exchange Student from Spain!
We are trying to finalize our host families for the fall so our students can communicate over the summer! We are excited to welcome back our friends from our exchange school, the Instituto Josep Vallverdú in Cataluña, Spain. The group will be visiting New York, September 6-10, and will be at Flint Hill from September 10 to 21. We are looking for host families to provide lodging, meals, and transportation to school during this time. The students will visit the major Washington landmarks with their teachers, so families don’t have to worry about planning special excursions. The students are interested in experiencing life in the United States and practicing their English.
They know that our students have sports practices, games and homework after school, and they are fine waiting at school until the Flint Hill students are finished. This is a wonderful opportunity for Flint Hill students to practice their Spanish and learn more about another culture, but families do not have to speak any Spanish, as they are here to practice English. Please fill out the Exchange Interest Form, and contact Kristin Piazza with any questions.
Director of the Upper School