Lower School Update

October 25, 2020

Dear Lower School Families,

Our teachers really enjoyed connecting with families for conferences. They worked hard to collaborate with your child to present some glows and grows from the school year so far, as well as set some goals for the second trimester. We hope you saw evidence of your child’s learning through the work samples and stories teachers shared. Your partnership is so important to us, especially in this year when you cannot be as present on campus as we are used to. Thank you for carving out time this week to connect with us.

Among many other exciting units launched across the Lower School last week, fifth grade students began learning the history of voting in the United States, both the rights and responsibilities as well as the discrimination and injustices. Introducing concepts of slavery, poll taxes, and mobs raises hard questions from our students; however, I am inspired by their empathetic concern and eagerness to learn more about the our country’s history. Other grade levels will continue to explore voting in America over the next couple of weeks through Lillian’s perspective in the book Lillian’s Right to Vote. Please note the Parent University opportunity offered this week. We hope you will make plans to attend. 

Extended Play
Extended Play is currently being offered to students until 5:00 from Monday through Thursday. Beginning the week of November 2, Fridays will be included.

Wednesday, October 28 — Parent University Special Topics Series

Resilience and the Power of Inclusion and Connection to End Bullying, 8:30 – 10:00 am 
Join the MV parent community to watch an online community screening of The Upstanders, followed by a virtual panel discussion. The Upstanders is a documentary film about resilience and the power of inclusion and connection to end bullying. This independent film explores various types of bullying and the brain science behind it all. The film explores the need for inclusive behaviors and calls for a change in how we act as humans to stand up and make a difference together to create systemic change. Led by a panel of experts including Mount Vernon’s Counseling Team, attendees will explore inclusive behaviors that can strengthen a community where all members feel valued and safe. RSVP: Register to receive the Zoom link to participate.

Thursday, October 29 — Halloween Spirit Day
Students in Lower School can wear Halloween themed or orange tops with uniform bottoms or jeans- no costume masks, weapons or accessories.

End of Trimester 1
The first trimester ends on October 29, and Trimester 1 Progress Reports will be available on Wednesday, November 5. The Lower School standards-based progress report is one component of our comprehensive and balanced assessment system. It is designed to give you a picture of your child’s academic skills, work habits, and the dispositions of the Mount Vernon Mind. 

Students’ progress on the Mount Vernon Mindsets is reported using the following indicators:

  • EE Exceeds Current Expectations
  • ME Meets Current Expectations
  • AE Approaching Current Expectations
  • LE Lack of Evidence

Friday, October 30 — No School for Students

Monday, November 2 — Full 5-Day Schedule Begins
Beginning Monday, November 2, the School will continue to remain open five days a week, with students attending school on Fridays through their full-day dismissal time.

Tuesday, November 3 — Early Release
The School will run a half-day schedule on November 3, Election Day, in order to provide faculty and staff ample opportunity to vote during COVID constraints. Students in Preschool – Grade 1 will be dismissed at 11:15 (their older siblings in Grades 2-5 will join them at carpool), Grades 2-5 will be dismissed at 11:30. 

Much like the local, national, and global communities to which your children will one day live, work, and serve, the classroom community is one of the first places where they share a set of similar experiences and can work together for the common good. We aim to help each child recognize and appreciate the diverse contributions of others and feel a sense of belonging as a citizen in the class. 

Kind regards,

Shelley Searcy
Head of Lower Campus l x2001

Molly Hudson
Director of Lower School l x4211

Communication Archive

October 18: Week 11 Logistics

October 18, 2020

Dear Lower School Families,

Has your family found an opportunity to participate in a democratic process like a debate, a vote, or a discussion?

Research tells us that children see more, hear more, and experience more fully than adults. Their brains are in the process of making connections among its many multisensory inputs. Children continually find ways to look at things from different viewpoints. While children often take on the political beliefs of their parents, our goal at school is to develop an engaged citizen leader who votes and can speak intelligently about his or her opinion while also showing respect for a different viewpoint.

Lower School students are ready to learn the history of voting in the United States, and we want to be intentional to tell this story from multiple perspectives, especially celebrating the Voting Rights Act of 1965. We are dedicated to setting the conditions, explicitly teaching, and creating experiences to help children consider multiple viewpoints, debate respectfully, and ask questions to learn more. This election season we want to give students the intellectual freedom to express ideas, ask hard questions, and engage with developmentally appropriate issues, respectfully. We learn lots from seeing the world through a child’s point of view, and we look forward to the learning that will ensue in the next few weeks.

Extended Play
Extended Play is currently being offered to students until 5:00 from Monday through Thursday. Beginning the week of November 2, Fridays will be included.

Wednesday, October 28 — Parent University Special Topics Series

Resilience and the Power of Inclusion and Connection to End Bullying, 8:30-10:00 am
Join the MV parent community to watch an online community screening of The Upstanders, followed by a virtual panel discussion. The Upstanders is a documentary film about resilience and the power of inclusion and connection to end bullying. This independent film explores various types of bullying and the brain science behind it all. The film explores the need for inclusive behaviors and calls for a change in how we act as humans to stand up and make a difference together to create systemic change. Led by a panel of experts including Mount Vernon’s Counseling Team, attendees will explore inclusive behaviors that can strengthen a community where all members feel valued and safe. RSVP: Register to receive the Zoom link to participate.

Thursday, October 29 — End of Trimester 1

The first trimester ends on October 29, and Trimester 1 Progress Reports will be available on Wednesday, November 5. The Lower School standards-based progress report is one component of our comprehensive and balanced assessment system. It is designed to give you a picture of your child’s academic skills, work habits, and the dispositions of the Mount Vernon Mind. Students’ progress on the Mount Vernon Mindsets is reported using the following indicators:

  • EE Exceeds Current Expectations
  • ME Meets Current Expectations
  • AE Approaching Current Expectations
  • LE Lack of Evidence

Friday, October 30 — No School for Students

Monday, November 2 — Full 5-Day Schedule Begins
Beginning Monday, November 2, the School will continue to remain open five days a week, with students attending school on Fridays through their full-day dismissal time.

Tuesday, November 3 — Early Release
The School will run a half-day schedule on November 3, Election Day, in order to provide faculty and staff ample opportunity to vote during COVID constraints. Students in Preschool – Grade 1 will be dismissed at 11:15 (their older siblings in Grades 2-5 will join them at carpool), Grades 2-5 will be dismissed at 11:30.

It was fun to return to school last week with tacky Tuesday, wild hair, and strong Mustang Spirit! We enjoyed hearing your children share stories of Fall Break adventures, and teachers continue to use their life experiences to design meaningful and engaging lessons in the classroom.

Kind regards,

Shelley Searcy
Head of Lower Campus l x2001

Molly Hudson
Director of Lower School l x4211

October 11: Week 10 Logistics

October 11, 2020

Dear Lower School Families,

This past week was a special one. Our School community honored the life and impact of Coach Hill. Coach Hill taught us how to be a good person by putting others first, and we will hold his memory in our hearts forever. Additionally, our Lower Schoolers are finding creative and safe ways for cross grade-level collaborations and virtual mystery readers. We are grateful for another rich week of learning and discovery in the Lower School.

One important component of each student’s learning this fall will focus on how to participate completely in a democratic society as engaged citizen leaders. We are committed to providing children opportunities to investigate events that deepen their knowledge of others who take care of our community in a variety of ways. We will also learn to value differences within our community. Finally, we will practice the skills associated with a democratic society like considering multiple perspectives, debate, casting a vote, and asking in-depth questions to better understand an issue or topic.

Lower School Schedule — Through the end of October 

The Lower School is running a five-day schedule — four full days with half-day Fridays through October. All students in K-5 will attend school from 8:00-3:00 Monday through Thursday and 8:00-11:15 or 11:30 on Fridays.

Tuesday, October 13 — Extended Play Begins
Beginning Tuesday, October 13, Extended Play will be offered to students until 5:00. Extended Play will take place Monday through Thursday (no Extended Play on Fridays except children of staff, until 12:30).

October 13-16 — Homecoming Week
In celebration of Homecoming week, students have the opportunity to show their spirit in different ways each day. If a student does not want to participate with each theme, they may wear their everyday uniform.

  • Tuesday: Tacky Tuesday (wear mismatched clothing, fun patterns, turn things inside out or backwards)
  • Wednesday: Crazy Hair/Hat Day (everyday uniform)
  • Thursday: Jersey Day (wear your favorite team’s jersey or tshirt with uniform bottoms)
  • Friday: Spirit Day

Friday, October 16 — Parents Prayer Group
9:00 – 10:00 am via Zoom
All MV parents, grandparents, and caregivers are invited to join together once a month to cultivate Christian values defined as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. In addition to reflecting on a relevant and timely devotion at each meeting, this group will lift up our Mount Vernon community up in prayer, praying for different MV students, faculty, and staff members by name. All are welcome to listen, reflect, pray silently with us, or volunteer to lead a prayer. To join the Parents Prayer Bloomz Group, enter Bloomz code: 9W7UBU after clicking on “+class/group” at the bottom of your profile page within the Bloomz app.

Friday, October 23 — Parent Conference Day
Friday, October 23 is Fall Parent Conference Day. There will be no school for Lower School students on this day. Please sign up through your homeroom teacher’s Seesaw page on Thursday, October 8. We value the teacher-parent partnership to help each child grow and develop during these foundational years. Teachers are excited to share their observations of your child’s progress so far this year to further build our home-school partnership.

Wednesday, October 28 — Parent University: Live Screening of The Upstanders, followed by an online panel discussion. Join our MV Community for a live webinar screening of The Upstanders, a documentary about resilience and the power of inclusion and connection to end bullying. This independent film explores various types of bullying and the brain science behind it all. The film explores the need for inclusive behaviors and calls for a change in how we act as humans to stand up and make a difference together to create systemic change. Led by a panel of experts including Mount Vernon’s Counseling Team, attendees will explore inclusive behaviors that can strengthen a community where all members feel valued and safe. More details to come.

Thursday, October 29 — End of Trimester 1
The first trimester ends on October 29, and Trimester 1 Progress Reports will be available on Wednesday, November 5. The Lower School standards-based progress report is one component of our comprehensive and balanced assessment system. It is designed to give you a picture of your child’s academic skills, work habits, and the dispositions of the Mount Vernon Mind.

Students’ progress on the Mount Vernon Mindsets is reported using the following indicators:
EE Exceeds Current Expectations
ME Meets Current Expectations
AE Approaching Current Expectations
LE Lack of Evidence

Friday, October 30 — No School for Students

IDEA Update
As a part of the Next 100 Days Action Steps for IDEA, the School launched an internal search to identify four inclusion, diversity, equity, and action coordinators, representing each of the four divisions to increase representation for curricular and instructional advancement within the School as well as to provide greater support for families of color. After a thorough and thoughtful process, we are excited and honored to announce the selection of Taryn Rumph as the Lower School IDEA Coordinator.

I hope your family had a safe and relaxing Fall Break. We are excited to return to school with some Mustang Pride this week. We encourage you to participate in our Lower Campus Homecoming Spirit Dress-Up Days!

Kind regards,

Shelley Searcy
Head of Lower Campus l x2001

Molly Hudson
Director of Lower School l x4211

October 4: Week 9 Logistics

October 4, 2020

Dear Lower School Families,

Can you believe that October is already here? We spent August transitioning back to school and learning new routines. September was filled with review, observations, and assessments to identify the gaps and gains from quarantine. This month will offer some of the best learning experiences for your children. We are now focused on differentiated small group instruction for literacy and math. Science and Social Studies units have been launched, and teachers are even finding creative ways to help children engage across classrooms and grade levels without breaking bubbles. 

Lower School Schedule — Through the end of October
The Lower School is running a five-day schedule — four full days with half-day Fridays through October. All students in K-5 will attend school from 8:00-3:00 Monday through Thursday and 8:00-11:15 or 11:30 on Fridays (see below).

  • Friday dismissal for Kindergarten and Grade 1 is 11:15 (students will be joined by their older siblings who are in Grades 2-5)
  • Friday dismissal for Grades 2 – 5 is 11:30 (students with siblings in PS – Grade 1 will join their younger sibling at 11:15)

Tuesday, October 6 — Student Portraits
Lower Campus student portraits will be taken on Tuesday, October 6. Classes will travel together to the Lower Campus Gym at their scheduled time between 8:30 and 12:30. Students are asked to wear the Dress uniform.

Wednesday, October 7 — Everyday Uniform

Thursday, October 8 — Spirit Day

October 9-12 — Fall Break
The School will be closed on Friday, October 9 and Monday, October 12 for Fall Break.

Tuesday, October 13 — Extended Play Begins

Beginning Tuesday, October 13, Extended Play will be offered to students until 5:00. Extended Play will take place Monday through Thursday (no Extended Play on Fridays except children of staff, until 12:30). 

October 13-16 — Homecoming Week
In celebration of Homecoming week, students have the opportunity to show their spirit in different ways each day. If a student does not want to participate with each theme, they may wear their everyday uniform.

  • Tuesday: Tacky Tuesday (wear mismatched clothing, fun patterns, turn things inside out or backwards)
  • Wednesday: Crazy Hair/Hat Day (everyday uniform)
  • Thursday: Jersey Day (wear your favorite team’s jersey or tshirt with uniform bottoms)
  • Friday: Spirit Day

Friday, October 16 — Parents Prayer Group
9:00 – 10:00 am via Zoom
All MV parents, grandparents, and caregivers are invited to join together once a month to cultivate Christian values defined as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. In addition to reflecting on a relevant and timely devotion at each meeting, this group will lift up our Mount Vernon community up in prayer, praying for different MV students, faculty, and staff members by name. All are welcome to listen, reflect, pray silently with us, or volunteer to lead a prayer. To join the Parents Prayer Bloomz Group, enter Bloomz code: 9W7UBU after clicking on “+class/group” at the bottom of your profile page within the Bloomz app.

Friday, October 23 — Parent Conference Day
Friday, October 23 is Fall Parent Conference Day. There will be no school for Lower School students on this day. Please sign up through your homeroom teacher’s Seesaw page on Thursday, October 8. We value the teacher-parent partnership to help each child grow and develop during these foundational years. Teachers are excited to share their observations of your child’s progress so far this year to further build our home-school partnership.

Thursday, October 29 — End of Trimester 1
The first trimester ends on October 29, and Trimester 1 Progress Reports will be available on Wednesday, November 5. The Lower School standards-based progress report is one component of our comprehensive and balanced assessment system. It is designed to give you a picture of your child’s academic skills, work habits, and the dispositions of the Mount Vernon Mind.

Students’ progress on the Mount Vernon Mindsets is reported using the following indicators:
EE Exceeds Current Expectations
ME Meets Current Expectations
AE Approaching Current Expectations
LE Lack of Evidence

Friday, October 30 — No School for Students
In August and September, we were transitioning back to school and closely observing each students’ individual strengths progress to inform the rich experiences that will unfold in October. We look forward to sharing those experiences with you through Seesaw and engaging in Parent Conferences. We thank you for your continued support and encouragement.

Kind regards,

Shelley Searcy
Head of Lower Campus l x2001

Molly Hudson
Director of Lower School l x4211

September 27: Week 8 Logistics

September 27, 2020

Dear Lower School Families,

Are you curious about what teachers do on a late start day? Every year our faculty is committed to Research, Design, and Iterate (RDI) as a dynamic learning organization to actively seek ways to grow and better our school. This year, the professional learning framework is specifically designed to advance Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Action (IDEA) at Mount Vernon. To launch the School’s RDI series for the year, the faculty and staff watched the documentary, American Promise and discussed questions such as:

  • Have you ever experienced a child expressing what you suspected might be internalized racism?
  • How can we affirm and encourage our marginalized students as they explore their racial identities?
  • What can teachers do to understand students from different backgrounds more thoroughly in order to best advocate for them?
  • What do you think makes children want to adjust their behavior to fit in with others?
  • How can adults, specifically parents and teachers, lessen children’s fears?

It was a rich morning of development for our Lower School team, and we look forward to applying our learning to make an impact on the Lower School experience.

Lower School Schedule — Through the end of October

The Lower School is running a five-day schedule — four full days with half-day Fridays through October. All students in K-5 will attend school from 8:00-3:00 Monday through Thursday and 8:00-11:15 or 11:30 on Fridays (see below).

  • Friday dismissal for Kindergarten and Grade 1 is 11:15 (students will be joined by their older siblings who are in Grades 2-5)
  • Friday dismissal for Grades 2 – 5 is 11:30 (students with siblings in PS – Grade 1 will join their younger sibling at 11:15)

Student Portraits
Lower Campus student portraits will be taken on Tuesday, October 6. Classes will travel together to the Lower Campus Gym at their scheduled time between 8:30 and 12:30. Students are asked to wear the Dress uniform.

Fall Break
The School will be closed on Friday, October 9 and Monday, October 12 for Fall Break.

Extended Play
Beginning Tuesday, October 13, Extended Play will be offered to students until 5:00. Extended Play will take place Monday-Thursday (no Extended Play on Fridays except children of staff, until 12:30). Information about Extended Play sign-up and fees will be shared with families on Monday, September 28.

Kind regards,

Shelley Searcy
Head of Lower Campus l x2001

Molly Hudson
Director of Lower School l x4211

September 20: Week 7 Logistics

September 20, 2020

Dear Lower School Families,

Though rainy, it was another great week in our Mount Vernon Lower School. Teachers stepped up and pitched in, bringing light to your children on Thursday morning when we briefly lost power. From Kindergarten hallway letter aerobics to fourth graders writing and filming scary movies on their iPads, our hallways were filled with adventures. The creative thinking and solution skills we have on our team are to be celebrated and commended.

Lower School Schedule — Through the end of October

The Lower School is running a five-day schedule — four full days with half-day Fridays through October. All students in K-5 will attend school from 8:00-3:00 Monday through Thursday and 8:00-11:15 or 11:30 on Fridays (see below).

  • Friday dismissal for Kindergarten and Grade 1 is 11:15 (students will be joined by their older siblings who are in Grades 2-5)
  • Friday dismissal for Grades 2 – 5 is 11:30 (students with siblings in PS – Grade 1 will join their younger sibling at 11:15)
  • Extended Play will not be offered through, with the exception of faculty/staff children until 4:30 (12:30 on Fridays).

September 23, Late Start
Periodically, Mount Vernon has a late start, carved out for faculty/staff to participate in cross-divisional professional learning workshops prior to students arriving on campus. On these select days, carpool will begin at 9:10 on both campuses and the school day will start at 9:30. Childcare will not be available before carpool on either campus. Save the date for the first late start of the year, September 23.

Fall Break
The School will be closed on Friday, October 9 and Monday, October 12 for Fall Break.

Parent University: Mentoring and Monitoring Children’s Online Presence (Recap)
For over four years, Mount Vernon has partnered with Bark Technologies to provide families with the tools they need to raise children in the digital age. Bark’s comprehensive service lets parents monitor content, manage screen time, and filter websites to get peace of mind while their children are online. Recently, the School hosted a Virtual Parent University Webinar: Mentoring and Monitoring Children’s Online Presence. View the recorded session.

We are looking forward to the rich learning experiences ahead in the next six weeks of school. Our slow start, rich review, and formative assessments from the start of school have positioned us to launch units of study that will help each child progress on his or her learning journey, reach personal goals, and most importantly, love learning.

Kind regards,

Shelley Searcy
Head of Lower Campus l x2001

Molly Hudson
Director of Lower School l x4211

September 13: Week 6 Logistics

September 13, 2020

Dear Lower School Families,

We did it! Lower School students were on campus every day last week. We navigated hallways, restrooms, and lunch procedures with success. We want to celebrate this and credit our intentional slow start, your incredible kids, and our dedicated teachers.

Lower School Schedule — Through the end of October

The Lower School is running a five-day schedule — four full days with half-day Fridays through October. All students in K-5 will attend school from 8:00-3:00 Monday through Thursday and 8:00-11:15 or 11:30 on Fridays (see below).

  • Friday dismissal for Kindergarten and Grade 1 is 11:15 (students will be joined by their older siblings who are in Grades 2-5)
  • Friday dismissal for Grades 2 – 5 is 11:30 (students with siblings in PS – Grade 1 will join their younger sibling at 11:15)
  • Extended Play will not be offered through, with the exception of faculty/staff children until 4:30 (12:30 on Fridays).

September 23, Late Start
Periodically, Mount Vernon has a late start, carved out for faculty/staff to participate in cross-divisional professional learning workshops prior to students arriving on campus. On these select days, carpool will begin at 9:10 on both campuses and the school day will start at 9:30. Childcare will not be available before carpool on either campus. Save the date for the first late start of the year, September 23.

We hope you all had the opportunity to view your homeroom teacher’s Curriculum Morning Presentation (through Seesaw) to understand more about the big ideas of the year. Continue to check Seesaw weekly to see your child’s work and teacher announcements.

Kind regards,

Shelley Searcy
Head of Lower Campus l x2001

Molly Hudson
Director of Lower School l x4211

September 6: Prescreening Protocol

September 6, 2020

Dear Lower School Families,

We appreciate your participation in Parent-Share Conferences this past week. Knowing that relationships are foundational to learning, our teachers really enjoyed the opportunity to to connect with you, learn more about your family and your goals for your child this year.

Our second week of virtual learning days were a success as numbers continued to be low on campus while the virtual learning attendance and engagement was high. Your children explored their own identity and learned more about the identity of their classmates. We read stories to build empathy and understanding, unpacked our own names, and discussed ways to live out the IDEA statement at school. We discovered the importance of learning to pronounce everyone’s names correctly, not to tease each other’s differences, and to stand up for ourselves and others if needed. We had rich discussions and impactful learning. I encourage you to continue these discussions at home.

New COVID Pre-Screening Process — Beginning September 8

Modifying our process to increase the speed of carpool, utilize the Pre-Screening Protocol Link before arriving at the School each day. As you arrive, visibly display your smartphone to School officials indicating approval to enter the School for the day. Temperatures will continue to be taken at the School during carpool.

Note: If you have more than one student, you will be able to enter multiple names, regardless of division/campus. If you carpool with another family, non-family members will go through the current pre-screening process. Upper School student drivers and students riding bikes to the School will adhere to the current pre-screening process at the School. Check out a brief Pre-Screening video to assist you.

Lower School Schedule — Beginning September 8
The Lower School will return to a five-day schedule — four full days with half-day Fridays through September and possibly October. Beginning Tuesday, September 8, all students in K-5 will attend school from 8:00 – 3:00 (carpool begins at 7:30) with Friday dismissal Kindergarten and Grade 1 at 11:15 and Grades 2 – 5 at 11:30. Extended Play will not be offered in September, with the exception of faculty/staff children until 4:30 (12:30 on Fridays).

Friday Half-Days
Dismissal on Friday half-days through September:
Preschool – Grade 1 at 11:15 (students will be joined by their older siblings who are in Grades 2-5)
Grades 2 – 5 at 11:30 (students with siblings in PS – Grade 1 will join their younger sibling at 11:15)

Commemorating September 11
Traditionally, each year the School honors family members and the thousands of lives lost during the tragic day of September 11, 2001. Unfortunately, COVID has had an impact on Mount Vernon’s traditional plans, and as a result will dedicate Chapel on September 11 to commemorate in a different way. May we remember the remarkable heroes and countless people who responded to the terrible tragedy with hope, selflessness, compassion, and inspiration.

September 23, Late Start
Periodically, Mount Vernon has a late start, carved out for faculty/staff to participate in cross-divisional professional learning workshops prior to students arriving on campus. On these select days, carpool will begin at 9:10 on both campuses and the school day will start at 9:30. Childcare will not be available before carpool on either campus. Save the date for the first late start of the year, September 23.

Communication & Information Platforms
Mount Vernon uses different platforms to share a variety of information to specific audiences. In addition to the Parent Reunite Website and Lower School Learning Platforms, learn more about the other communication & information platforms.

We are looking forward to having all Lower School students on campus Monday through Friday next week, and we are depending on your continued commitment to partnering with us to sustain our health and wellness protocols.

Stay well,

Shelley Searcy
Head of Lower Campus l x2001

Molly Hudson
Director of Lower School l x4211

August 30: Post Labor Day Plan

August 30, 2020

Dear Lower School Families,

We have received such positive feedback on Lower School’s virtual learning days from last week. Thank you to so many of our families who reached out to share what an engaging day of learning it was for our early readers in kindergarten friends all the way to our tech-savvy fifth graders.

As we continue to pilot our hybrid model and de-densify our campus for one more week, we want to remind everyone that homeroom teachers will be engaged in Parent Share Conferences during Virtual Learning this week. Learning Coaches, Connections Teachers, and Lower School Admin will be teaching on your child’s virtual learning day. We will be exploring identity as we continue to cultivate each child’s confidence in self and and sense of belonging in our community. Students will be exploring the following essential questions. How Might We learn more about each other’s identity through the study of our names? We hope you will enjoy exploring this concept with your child.

WEEK 4 — August 31-September 4

4-Day Model: 4 Days On-Campus, 1-Day Synchronous Virtual, Half-Day on Friday

Scaling our reopening plan, Lower School will attend classes 4 days, all-day (8:00-3:00) in-person and 1-day virtually. In advance of the virtual day, teachers are practicing the online tools at school to help your child be prepared. The details of your child’s day are posted on your Seesaw page in the Family Announcement section. Please check the Class Announcements that are posted each Friday afternoon.

Each grade level will have 4 days of on-campus learning and 1 day of scheduled, synchronous virtual learning. We have high expectations for our virtual learning day, and we have been explaining to our students that this is a real school day, just from home. In order to accommodate families who will be dropping siblings off on campus, the virtual day will begin at 9:00. Students should be appropriately dressed, but uniforms are not required. Kindergarten through Grade 2 virtual learning days will adhere to a 9:00-2:00 schedule. Grade 3-Grade 5 will adhere to a 9:00-2:45 schedule.

  • Monday: Grade 5 is virtual
  • Tuesday: Grade 4 is virtual
  • Wednesday: Grade 3 and Kindergarten are virtual
  • Thursday: Grades 1 and 2 are virtual
  • Friday/Half-Day (11:45 dismissal): All grades attend in person

Every child will have a charged, school-issued iPad for virtual learning. Please note the iPad should only be used for school and return to campus the following day. Other workbooks, notebooks, and manipulatives may be sent home as needed, and all resources should also be returned to school the following day.

Reminders:

  • Full-day carpool — Morning drop off begins at 7:30 and afternoon pick up begins at 3:00. Remember significantly more students will be participating in carpool and pre-screenings, so we thank you in advance for your patience.
  • Lunch will be provided. When the weather is favorable, students will be eating lunch outside while maintaining physical distancing. We encourage you to pack a beach towel for a physically-distanced picnic-style lunch.
  • Full-day schedules require our full uniform. Students should wear the dress uniform every Wednesday, beginning August 26.
  • Extended Play will not be available for Lower School students in August and September (except for MV staff).

Beginning Tuesday, September 8

The Lower School will attempt to return to a five-day schedule– four full days with half-day Fridays (through September and possibly October). All students in K-5 will attend school from 8:00-3:00 (carpool begins at 7:30), with an 11:45 dismissal on Fridays. Extended Play will not be offered in September, with the exception of faculty/staff children until 4:30 (12:30 on Fridays). However, the School will continue to assess the health conditions and will modify the models moving forward as more information comes available to the School. In addition, the School will continue to monitor compliance with health & well-being protocols (face coverings, physical distancing, hygiene). If there is a lack of compliance to the protocols, the School will modify the schedule.

With Lower Campus operating at 100% capacity, we are asking for help with carpool procedures. If everyone follows a few simple tips, we will be able to expedite carpool and keep everyone safe.

  • Masks on
  • Screens off
  • Have carpool number clearly displayed in the upper passenger side windshield
  • Pull all the way down to the last cone

Parent Communication: Seesaw

We miss having parents in our hallways and joining our classes, so teachers are working hard to bring the classroom experience to you. Collectively teachers, students, and teachers have posted over 10,000 times so far. Please note the opportunity to sign up for Parent-Share Conferences. You must look at the family announcement section to sign up. The homeroom teachers are eager to connect with you to learn more about your child, family, and goals for the year. Check your email for the invitation and be sure you sign up.

We are so grateful for our community’s commitment to our protocols. We hope you have a wonderful week and restful Labor Day weekend.

Grateful,

Shelley Searcy
Head of Lower Campus l x2001

Molly Hudson
Director of Lower School l x4211

August 23: Week 3 Logistics

August 23, 2020

Dear Lower School Families,

This past week has solidified students’ implementation of our Health and Well-Being Protocols that allow us to remain on campus to learn and play together. We are so proud of your children’s commitment to wear masks, stay “airplane wings” apart, and carefully count before entering a space. Students are also learning the flow of learning routines and eager to jump into rich lessons with the other half of the class next week. It is wonderful to walk the hallways and see self-portraits, unity quits, and wonder walls that reflect our students’ faces, values, and curiosities.

WEEKS 3 & 4 — August 24 – September 4

4-Day Model: 4 Days On-Campus, 1-Day Synchronous Virtual, Half-Day on Friday

Scaling our reopening plan, Lower School will attend classes 4 days, all-day (8:00-3:00) in-person and 1-day virtually. In advance of the virtual day, teachers are practicing the online tools at school to help your child be prepared. The details of your child’s day are posted on your Seesaw page in the Family Announcement section. Please check the Class Announcements that are posted each Friday afternoon.

Each grade level will have 4 days of on-campus learning and 1 day of scheduled, synchronous virtual learning. We have high expectations for our virtual learning day, and we have been explaining to our students that this is a real school day, just from home. In order to accommodate families who will be dropping siblings off on campus, the virtual day will begin at 9:00. Students should be appropriately dressed, but uniforms are not required. Kindergarten through Grade 2 virtual learning days will adhere to a 9:00-2:00 schedule. Grade 3-Grade 5 will adhere to a 9:00-2:45 schedule.

  • Monday: Grade 5 is virtual
  • Tuesday: Grade 4 is virtual
  • Wednesday: Grade 3 and Kindergarten are virtual
  • Thursday: Grades 1 and 2 are virtual
  • Friday/Half-Day (11:45 dismissal): All grades attend in person

Every child will have a charged, school-issued iPad for virtual learning. Please note the iPad should only be used for school and return to campus the following day. Other workbooks, notebooks, and manipulatives may be sent home as needed, and all resources should also be returned to school the following day.

Note:

  • Full-day carpool — Morning drop off begins at 7:30 and afternoon pick up begins at 3:00. Remember significantly more students will be participating in carpool and pre-screenings, so we thank you in advance for your patience.
  • Lunch will be provided. When the weather is favorable, students will be eating lunch outside while maintaining physical distancing. We encourage you to pack a beach towel for a physically-distanced picnic-style lunch.
  • Full-day schedules require our full uniform. Students should wear the dress uniform every Wednesday, beginning August 26.
  • Extended Play will not be available for Lower School students in August and September (except for MV staff).

Post Labor Day Schedule

Post Labor Day, the Lower School will attempt to return to a full-day, five-day schedule. Beginning Tuesday, September 8, all students in K-5 will attend school from 8:00 – 3:00 (carpool begins at 7:30). Extended Play will not be offered in September, with the exception of faculty/staff children until 4:30. However, the School will continue to assess the health conditions and will modify the models moving forward as more information comes available to the School. In addition, the School will continue to monitor compliance with health & well-being protocols (face coverings, physical distancing, hygiene). If there is a lack of compliance to the protocols, the School will modify the schedule.

Parent Communication: Seesaw

We miss having parents in our hallways and joining our classes, so teachers are working hard to bring the classroom experience to you. The teachers posted over 1,000 times so far, and we recorded over 800 parent visits to Seesaw. Please note the opportunity to sign up for Parent-Share Conference was posted on Friday. You must look at the family announcement section to sign up. The homeroom teachers are eager to connect with you to learn more about your child, family, and goals for the year. Check your email for the invitation and be sure you sign up.

We are looking forward to full days for all learners next week. The relationships that have already been established have helped us design a rich week of learning for Lower School students. We cannot overemphasize the importance of compliance to our protocols to keep the campus open.

Grateful,

Shelley Searcy
Head of Lower Campus l x2001

Molly Hudson
Director of Lower School l x5113 

August 16: Week 2 Logistics

August 16, 2020

Dear Lower School Families,

It is good to be reunited. We missed having our parents join us for our welcome assembly, but we still want you to feel included. Please enjoy our dean of student and spiritual life and operations, Ms. Hayes’s, Welcome Back Greeting and director of lower school, Mrs. Hudson’s Chapel Message as she unpacks what it means to Reunite as a Mustang.

Week 2: August 17-21

  • During Week 2, Lower School Homerooms will continue to be split in half and attend half-day classes in-person Monday through Friday, either from 8:00-11:15 or 12:30-3:45.
    • AM Session: Morning drop off begins at 7:30/Morning pick up begins at 11:15
    • PM Session: Afternoon drop off begins at 12:00/Afternoon pick up begins at 3:45
  • Lunch will not be served.
  • Students in Kindergarten through grade 5 will wear the everyday uniform except for Spirit Day on Fridays.
  • Extended Play will not be available for K-8 students in August (except for MV staff).

Commitment to IDEA

The Mount Vernon Lower Campus seeks to instill a positive sense of identity and belonging in each child by cultivating inclusive classrooms. To launch this important work, each student will engage in experiences to affirm their own identities and learn to live, work, and play in an inclusive classroom that embraces diversity. We are excited to share the big ideas for each grade level, so you can continue these conversations at home.

Parent Communication: Seesaw

We had a successful launch of Seesaw last week. Students participated in lessons, teachers uploaded pictures, and the weekly grade level overview was posted on Friday. We are excited about this platform to increase communication between classroom teachers and parents. Please note the opportunity to sign up for Parent-Share Conference was posted on Friday. The homeroom teachers are looking forward to connecting with you to learn more about your child, family, and goals for the year. Check your email for the invitation and be sure you sign up.

Late Entry

For students who arrive after carpool has completed, screenings will occur just before entering the front desk of the Activities Building. Please park and walk your child to the door, but do not enter the building. If a student does not pass the health screening, they will need to return home. After a successful screening, students should follow these instructions for entering the building:

  • Make sure your mask is covering your nose and mouth.
  • Sanitize your hands.
  • Head straight to your homeroom.

Looking Ahead: Weeks 3&4 (August 24 – September 4)

  • Lower School will attend classes 4 days, all-day (8:00-3:00) in-person and 1-day virtually. Continuing to reduce the size by building/division at any given time, the virtual days will be staggered by grade-level for both divisions. Each grade level will have 4 days of on-campus learning and 1 day of scheduled, synchronous virtual learning.
    • Monday: Grade 5 is virtual
    • Tuesday: Grade 4 is virtual
    • Wednesday: Grade 3 and Kindergarten are virtual
    • Thursday: Grades 1 and 2 are virtual
  • Full-day carpool
    • Morning drop off begins at 7:30
    • Afternoon pick up begins at 3:00
  • Lunch will be provided.
  • Extended Play will not be available for PS-8 students in August (except for MV staff).

Your children’s smiling eyes tell us all we need to know about their desire to be at school. We also appreciate the gratitude and encouragement you all have shared with your child’s teachers and the School. It takes all of us working together, and we are having fun doing it.

Go Mustangs!

Shelley Searcy
Head of Lower Campus l x2001

Molly Hudson
Director of Lower School l x4211

August 11: Week 1 Logistics and Orientation

August 11, 2020

Dear Lower School Families,

Last week your teachers were on campus for professional learning, team building, and reimagining our collaborative and interactive classrooms. They engaged in rich professional learning workshops on Mindfulness, Technology Integration & Inspiration, Recess Reimagined, Blended Learning, and Supporting Anxiety in Unpredictable Times. In addition to their hard work last week, our new teachers and returning faculty were dedicated to rigorous professional development all summer focused on all of the components of our Lower School Program.

Today made it all worth it. Seeing all of your faces in carpool today brought joy and hope. We are grateful for our slow start to practice wellness protocols and procedures. Thank you for the sacrifices you are making with these increased logistical challenges.

Are you curious about what happened after you dropped your child off for the morning session today? We started the day, like we do every school day, with prayer, pledge of allegiance, and the School’s mission statement. Our Kindergarten friends talked about their feelings and expectations by reading First Day Jitters. Second Graders played “Get to Know Your Teacher” games and learned some funny, unknown facts. Fourth Graders explored one of our new interactive technology platforms, Pear Deck, to reflect on their summers and create a recipe for a great first day. Everyone exchanged air hugs, high fives, and fist bumps.

Commitment to IDEA 

The Mount Vernon Lower Campus seeks to instill a positive sense of identity and belonging in each child by cultivating inclusive classrooms. To launch this important work, each student will engage in experiences to affirm their own identities and learn to live, work, and play in an inclusive classroom that embraces diversity. We are excited to share the big ideas for each grade level, so you can continue these conversations at home.

COVID Health & Well-Being Protocols, Acknowledgement and Daily Hygiene & Screening

  • The Acknowledgment Form for the Addendum to the Family & Student Handbook must be completed in order for students to attend school.
  • AT A GLANCE:
    • Drop-off carpool screenings were a success! Please have masks on and music and screens off to expedite this process.
    • Students did a great job wearing their masks today. Please continue to practice at home.
    • The sounds of Lower Schoolers singing, “Happy Birthday!” while they washed their hands, was certainly a joyful noise.
    • Visual cues and gentle reminders helped our Lower Schoolers practice physical distancing.
    • Homerooms stayed in their tight bubbles.
    • Our Connections Teachers helped students learn our new protocols by being present in hallways, classrooms, recess, and at carpool.

Carpool and Entering the Building

Watch how Renegade arrives at school, gets screened in carpool, and enters each building!

Please wear masks during carpool. We want to be able to safely communicate with you as needed. As a reminder, the School will implement daily screenings during morning carpool to determine the health and exposure of students entering the Lower Campus.

  • AM Session: Morning drop off begins at 7:30 /Morning pick up begins at 11:15
  • Lower school students with a preschool sibling will join the preschooler at 11:45 pick up
  • PM Session: Afternoon drop begins at 12:00 /Afternoon pick up begins at 3:45

For students being dropped off, screenings will be conducted by administrators through the window of each vehicle. For students who arrive after carpool has completed, screenings will occur just before entering the front desk of the Activities Building. Please park and walk your child to the door, but do not enter the building. If a student does not pass the health screening, they will need to return home.

After a successful screening, students should follow these instructions for entering the building:

  • Make sure your mask is covering your nose and mouth.
  • Sanitize your hands.
  • Head straight to your homeroom.

Parent Communication and Progress Monitoring: Seesaw

Mount Vernon’s ePortfolio system catalogs students’ goals, growth, and reflections, providing teachers a place to give feedback and parents the opportunity to comment as well. We have always seen the benefits of student ePortoflio curation, and last spring further elevated the need for more robust online platforms. We are excited to start the year with new resources to promote personalized learning, host virtual learning, and increase communication between home and school.

Seesaw will replace PowerSchool Learning as the Lower School’s primary link between your teacher and family. Teachers will regularly post an overview of the learning goals for the upcoming week, home learning assignments, and announcements to help parents stay connected. Furthermore, students will participate in lessons through Seesaw, be able to post their own work, respond to teacher feedback, and receive comments and encouragement from their family. Seesaw has student-friendly tools built in for photos, videos, drawing, uploading, taking notes, and linking to other resources. We are excited to practice using Seesaw together and build independence for our learners. If you want to learn more about Seesaw, please check out this short video: An Overview of Seesaw for Families and be on the lookout in your inbox for an invitation to join your class’s Seesaw account.

Additionally, student progress will be communicated through a combination of graded papers and proficiency scales, conferences, as well as feedback recorded digitally. Back-to-School Parent-Share Conferences will be held virtually the week of August 31. Homeroom teachers will share a sign-up through Seesaw this week. Virtual Teacher-Led Conferences are scheduled for November.

Student Agency and Digital Citizenship

We know Lower School students learn best through hands-on, multisensory, and experiential learning. During this time, however, we are constantly researching the best ways for children to learn independently within a virtual community. While nothing compares to in-person interactions between a student and teacher, the new online tools and platforms are impressive. During the first couple of weeks of school, each Lower School student will receive a school-issued, personal iPad that is pre-loaded with our favorite learning resources. Children will be learning about digital citizenship including lessons about how to be safe online, be a kind and responsible digital citizen, and how to navigate platforms to learn and share work. We are mindful of the research around screen time, and also realistic about the importance of each child being able to continue learning between school and home in these uncertain times.

Fifth Grade, Middle School and Upper School Athletics: Parent & Fan Participation

During the month of August, under the current health conditions, the School has made the difficult decision not to allow any parents or fans to attend competitions on the Mount Vernon campus. However, we are attempting to provide live feeds at all three MV athletic venues for competitions. In conjunction, the School will be competing against other schools that prohibit parents or fans from attending their athletic facilities. After Labor Day, the School will continue to evaluate the ability for parents and fans to attend games in-person.

Important Contacts

Please reach out to us for any reason.

Eric Cheek, Lower School Executive Assistant | x2000

Elisse Hayes, Lower Campus Dean of Student and Spiritual Life and Operations | x2002

Angie Bush, Lower Campus Head of Learning and Innovation | x2012

Anna Stoller, Lower Campus Nurse | x2010

Stephanie Corbett, Lower Campus Counselor | x2021

Samantha Flowers, Director of Academic Resources | x2007

The opportunity to reunite with our students and families today was such a blessing. We value your partnership and are depending on collective compliance to keep our students, teachers, and families safe.

Students — this Friday, in honor of Coach Ron Hill, wear your new MV spirit shirt that sports an 03 — his football jersey and military fraternity number. 
 

Go Mustangs!

Shelley Searcy
Head of Lower Campus l x2001

Molly Hudson
Director of Lower School l x4211

August 4: Reunite: Handbook Addendum, Acknowledgement Form, and Class Schedule

August 4, 2020

Dear Lower School Families,

It’s time to get excited! Your teachers are already at the School, learning our new protocols, redesigning your classrooms, and brainstorming fun ideas to welcome you all back.

At 3:00 pm today, class lists for students in Kindergarten – Grade 5 will be emailed directly to families within each grade level from their respective Lower School Heads of Grade listed below. Morning and afternoon designations that apply to the first two weeks of school will also be shared at this time, along with a Room Parent interest form link. 

  • Kindergarten: Addy DeVore
  • FIrst Grade: Anna Johnson
  • Second Grade: Melanie Thompson
  • Third Grade: Sarah Wright
  • Fourth Grade: David Ayers
  • Fifth Grade: Emily Edwards

Orientation

Adhering to the health and well-being protocols, the School is limiting access to campus in order to mitigate risk of the virus. Therefore, Orientations have been reimagined and will not take place on-campus in-person. Rather, families will receive a video introduction of your teachers and a peek inside the classroom. We encourage you to watch this video together as a family and build excitement for the new year. Do you have any connections with your new teacher? What looks the same? What looks different?

To further engage each family, please make plans to attend your Classroom Virtual Meet and Greet on Thursday, August 6. Though virtual, this will be a live event to interact with your teacher, reconnect with old friends, and welcome our new Mustangs. Look for the Zoom Link information in today’s email from your Head of Grade. 

Back to School Checklist

Please discuss and practice wearing a mask, which is required, washing hands, and maintaining 6-foot physical distance with your child at home. The School will provide a Mount Vernon face covering for each student, or you are welcome to wear your own.

The Acknowledgment Form for the Addendum to the Family & Student Handbook must be completed in order for students to attend the first day of school.

Students are asked to bring a backpack, water bottle, and a nut-free snack (Lower Campus is entirely nut-free). Please label everything!

The everyday uniform should be worn on the first day, and each student will receive this year’s MV Spirit Shirt and their MV branded face covering the first day they come to school.

As a reminder all required daily items will be supplied by the School. There are, however, a few optional items for personal purchase.

First Day of Lower School: Tuesday, August 11

Lower School Carpool:

  • Morning Carpool: All Lower School students have the same morning drop-off location. Please enter campus from Johnson Ferry Road and turn right. Pull around and all the way down to the edge of the courtyard. A member of our team will conduct a screening on students before they leave the car. Please be masked and ready to have temperature checks before the teacher arrives at your car window. We recommend that music and videos are turned off to expedite this process. As a reminder, parents are not allowed to walk students into the building this year. If you arrive after carpool is over, you may walk your child to the front desk of the Activities Building. Mr. Cheek will buzz you in and conduct the student’s screening there. Please make sure you and your child are wearing personal face coverings.
  • Afternoon Carpool
    • K- Grade 1: Kindergarten and First Grade Parents, please enter the campus from Johnson Ferry and turn right, just like morning carpool. Then, stay in the left-hand lane and continue past the courtyard and past the Preschool awning. You will pick your child up near the Education Building at the Mount Vernon Hwy exit.
    • Grades 2-5: Second through Fifth Grade Parents, please enter the campus from Johnson Ferry and turn right, just like morning carpool. Then, get in the right-hand land and continue towards Mt. Vernon Hwy along the Lower Campus Field. You will pick up your child near the Activities Building at the Mt. Vernon Hwy exit.
    • All families: Fill up your gas tank and have a cold bottled water for carpool. Things may take a little longer and will definitely require more hands on deck. So, please be patient with us.

Weeks 1 & 2: August 11 – 21

  • During Weeks 1 & 2, Lower School Homerooms will be split in half and attend half-day classes in-person Monday through Friday, either from 8:00-11:15 or 12:30-3:45. The School does not intend to shift the teaching and learning responsibility to parents under this schedule, only an extension of learning.
    • AM Session: Morning drop off begins at 7:30/Morning pick up begins at 11:15
    • PM Session: Afternoon drop off begins at 12:00/Afternoon pick up begins at 3:45
  • Lunch will not be served.
  • Students in Kindergarten through grade 5 will wear the everyday uniform except for Spirit Day on Fridays. No dress uniforms during these two weeks.
  • Extended Play will not be available for K-8 students in August (except for MV staff).

Weeks 3 & 4: August 24 – September 4

  • Lower School will attend classes 4 days, all-day (8:00-3:00) in-person and 1-day virtually. Continuing to reduce the size by building/division at any given time, the virtual days will be staggered by grade-level for both divisions. Each grade level will have 4 days of on-campus learning and 1 day of scheduled, synchronous virtual learning.
    • Monday: Grade 5 is virtual
    • Tuesday: Grade 4 is virtual
    • Wednesday: Grade 3 and Kindergarten are virtual
    • Thursday: Grades 1 and 2 are virtual
  • Full-day carpool
    • Morning drop off begins at 7:30
    • Afternoon pick up begins at 3:00
  • Lunch will be provided.
  • Students in Kindergarten through grade 5 will wear the everyday uniform except for Spirit Day on Fridays. No dress uniforms during these two weeks.
  • Extended Play will not be available for PS-8 students in August (except for MV staff).

Program Details

Lower School teachers will share regular updates about your child’s curriculum, programming, and progress through the ePortfolio platform, SeeSaw. These updates will include an overview of learning experiences, students’ work samples, and ideas for ways to extend the learning at home. Each parent will receive an email with instructions on how to create your personal account. You will enjoy seeing your child’s work and engaging through comments.

Connections 

Unfortunately, classes will not be traveling to the Art Studios, Science Lab, Spanish Room or Studio (i). However, Connection Teachers go to the homerooms to build community and engage the whole child. PE will be limited to homeroom only, and may be held in the classroom, outside, or in the gym based on availability. Though Connections classes and PE will be limited in our half-day schedule, we are committed to best practices around brain breaks, movement, and play inside our classrooms and outdoors.

Important Contacts

Eric Cheek, Lower School Executive Assistant | x2000
Elisse Hayes, Lower Campus Dean of Student and Spiritual Life and Operations | x2002
Anna Stoller, Lower Campus Nurse | x2010
Stephanie Corbett, Lower Campus Counselor | x2021
Samantha Flowers, Director of Academic Resources | x2007
Brandi Hoyos, Lower Campus and Upper Campus Director of IDEA | x2254

Kind regards,

Shelley Searcy
Head of Lower Campus l x2001

Molly Hudson
Director of Lower School l x4211

July 30 LS Back-to-School Plan

Dear Lower School Families,

You may remember all of our hopes in late spring last year of returning to celebrations for homerooms that separated too quickly. However, the summer months have proven more difficult than ever imagined, and Mount Vernon is faced with our most challenging decisions yet, regarding our return to school.

Protecting our teachers and our Lower School students, we are committed to a slow and methodical start of the school year. We recognize the need for your children to be in school five full days a week, and we are eager for them to return. However, we are cautiously realistic about the transition this will be for all, and having a successful start to the year is of paramount importance.

Returning to school on August 11 brings excitement for the familiar things we love about Mount Vernon Lower School – friends, laughter, math challenges, and student-led chapel worship. We will, however, miss some of our favorite things like morning courtyard play. Mixed-age family-style lunch will be replaced with picnic-style homeroom lunches. Rather than visiting our amazing art studio, the arts will travel to the classrooms. Mystery readers will join via Zoom, but the most important thing is that we will be reunited.

Class Lists
On August 4, Heads of Grade will share class lists via email.

Orientation

  • Tuesday, August 4 Orientation pre-recorded videos will introduce classroom teachers, offer a virtual tour of the classroom, and walk through carpool procedures and protocols.
  • Thursday, August 6 Homeroom virtual meet and greets will allow children to connect with their classmates and teachers.
  • August 31- September 3 Virtual family-share conferences will be held to further connect each family and their child’s teacher – this time is suggested to be for adults rather than children. Homeroom teachers will share a sign-up.
    • Monday, August 31: Grade 5
    • Tuesday, September 1: Grade 4
    • Wednesday, September 2: Kindergarten and Grade 3
    • Thursday, September 3: Grades 1 and 2

First Day of Lower School: August 11

Weeks 1 & 2: August 11 – August 21

Being away for five months, implementing quality control health and well-being protocols, and recognizing the current health environment we are in, Lower School will adhere to an adjusted schedule for the first two weeks of school. We recognize this is logistically challenging for our families. Reducing the number of students on campus, however, has many benefits. We are able to ease into new routines. More outdoor space is available for play, eating, and outdoor learning. Carpools will be quicker, and the classrooms will have more “wiggle room” for brain breaks and movement.

  • During Weeks 1 & 2 Lower School Homerooms will be split in half and attend half-day classes in-person Monday through Friday, either from 8:00-11:15 or 12:30-3:45.
    • AM Session: Morning drop off begins at 7:30/Morning pick up begins at 11:15
    • PM Session: Afternoon drop off begins at 12:00/Afternoon pick up begins at 3:45
  • On August 4, assigned morning or afternoon designations will be released with class lists.
  • Especially for younger students, the School does not intend to shift the teaching and learning responsibility to parents under this schedule, only an extension of learning.
  • Lunch will not be served during these first two weeks.
  • For these first two weeks, the Lower School will wear the everyday uniform except for Spirit Day on Fridays. No dress uniforms during these two weeks.
  • Extended Play will not be available for K-8 students in August (except for MV staff).

Weeks 3 & 4: August 24 – September 4

  • Lower School will attend classes 4 days, all-day (8:00-3:00) in-person and 1-day virtually. Continuing to reduce the size by building/division at any given time, the virtual days will be staggered by grade-level for both divisions. Each grade level will have 4 days of on-campus learning and 1 day of scheduled, synchronous virtual learning.
    • Monday: Grade 5 is virtual
    • Tuesday: Grade 4 is virtual
    • Wednesday: Grade 3 and Kindergarten are virtual
    • Thursday: Grades 1 and 2 are virtual
  • Full-day carpool
    • Morning drop off begins at 7:30
    • Afternoon pick up begins at 3:00
  • Lunch will be provided.
  • Extended Play will not be available for PS-8 students in August (except for MV staff).

Teaching & Learning
The first four weeks for Lower School will focus on the following:

  • A positive and inclusive classroom environment fostering a strong bond between students and teachers as well as friendships with peers, just with a little more personal space between us and inside of our homeroom bubbles.
  • Health and wellness protocols and classroom routines.
  • Observation and assessment of student’s growth and development to guide lesson planning and small, differentiated groups.
  • Foundational skills including phonics, literary, math, and science. We will build each student’s capacity to independently navigate our more robust ePortfolio platform on a personal, school-issued iPad. Additionally, there will be a strong emphasis on digital citizenship with an increased dependence on technology to strengthen student agency and navigate the unknowns of learning through a pandemic.
  • Less time dedicated to Connections classes and PE.

Virtual Option. Lower School students who elect to go virtual every day will join a virtual cohort with a virtual teacher. The virtual teacher will collaborate with each child’s homeroom teacher and design personalized, developmentally appropriate learning experiences. This will include a combination of scheduled synchronous lessons, time to connect with peers on campus, and independent practice and project work while away from campus. If your family would like to elect the virtual option, please contact Sheldon Staples at [email protected]

After Labor Day, the School will continue to assess the health pandemic conditions and provide the right model for all divisions, seeking to return to full capacity. As more information is available to the School, we will be communicating weekly through this dedicated parent website.

Additional details regarding the first day of school and general back-to-school specifics will be shared next week, once families have had an opportunity to absorb the scheduling information.

Knowing the health of our teachers, students, and families are dependent on a successful start back to school, let’s commit to a positive, slow start to the year carefully following the School’s health and wellness protocols with collective compliance.

We are grateful for your partnership.

Shelley Searcy
Head of Lower Campus

Molly Hudson

Director of Lower School