Middle School Update

April 11, 2021

Dear Middle School Families, 

What a WONDERful time we had in the Week of Wonder! Students and teachers alike relished a week of joy, engagement, and respite from the regular routine of school. What was your child’s favorite session? How did teachers show another side of themselves this week as they shared an interest or curiosity?

Week of April 12-16

Tuesday, April 13: ERB Testing – grades 6-8

Thursday, April 15: ERB Testing – grades 6-8

ERB Testing Information:
Mount Vernon has continued to partner with Educational Records Bureau (ERB) for standardized testing for students in grades 4-8 using ERB’s Milestones, a condensed version of the CTP-Online. The milestones consist of two, 40-minute tests; one in literacy and one in math. All students in grades 6-8 will participate in Spring assessments on April 13 and 15, and the school will share a prerecorded Parent University video in early May to aid parents in understanding ERB’s score reports. Virtual families, please reach out to Jennifer Santi ([email protected]) to plan for your child’s ERB. Students approved for school accommodations will have access to extended time for their assessments. Please direct any questions to Executive Director of Learning and Innovation Nicole Martin ([email protected]) or your respective divisional leadership team.

April 19-23: Rally Spirit Week 2021
Schedule of Events
Get ready to show your Mustang spirit more than ever this week! From decorating cars to themed spirit days, and friendly grade level competitions and a school-wide social media scavenger hunt, to a Virtual all-community game night leading to a surprise reveal, Mount Vernon is ready to get our game on! Virtual Family Feud game night will take place on Thursday, April 22 at 7:00 pm and it is for all ages. Take on other MV family teams in this virtual competition. Plan to wear your Family Feud Game Night shirt or any Mustang Spirit Wear. Gather your family and friends and get ready to play! Be prompt at 7:00 pm to see the surprise reveal. Thank you to our more than 200 sponsors who have gone above and beyond to celebrate and elevate innovation at Mount Vernon.  

April 28: MS Student Share Conferences/No School for Middle School Students

On Wednesday, April 28, we will host student share conferences via Zoom. Both students and parents will attend the conference with the Community Leader. Parents are welcome to reach out to other teachers at any time for a content-specific conference.Teachers will work with students to design a portfolio highlighting their work thus far, including strengths and stretches. The sign-up for conferences is live; simply log in to the parent portal and click on the link for Student Share Conferences. There will be no school for students on this day. 

Athletic Information for 2021-2022: Cheer, Football, Softball, Volleyball, Cross Country

Please visit the MV Athletic website for required forms and additional information as it becomes available. 

Cheer

Varsity Cheer Tryouts: Rising Grade 9 

  • April 26-28, 4:00-5:30 pm
  • Lower Campus Turf Field
  • For more information contact Varsity Head Coach Kimberly Exford at [email protected]

7/8 Cheer Tryouts: Rising Grades 7/8 

  • May 3-4, 4:00-5:30 pm
  • Lower Campus Turf Field
  • For more information contact Varsity Head Coach Kimberly Exford at [email protected]

Football
Varsity Football Practice: Rising Grade 9

  • May 10-21, 3:30-6:30 pm
  • Upper Campus Stadium Field
  • For more information contact Head Coach Wayne Dabbs at [email protected]

7/8 Football Practice: Rising Grades 7/8 

  • May 12-13, 17-21, 3:30-5:00 pm
  • Upper Campus Stadium Field
  • Helmets only
  • For more information contact Head Coach Brad Dehem at [email protected]

Softball

Varsity Softball Tryouts: Rising Grade 9 

  • May 10-12, 3:30-5:30 pm
  • Upper Campus Softball Field
  • For more information, contact Head Coach Mike Edmonson at [email protected]

7/8 Middle School Softball: Rising Grades 7/8

  • Tryouts will be in August
  • For more information contact Coach Jeremy Beckham at [email protected]

Volleyball

Varsity Volleyball Tryouts: Rising Grade 9

  • May 10-12, 3:30 -5:30 pm
  • Upper Campus Gym
  • For more information contact Coach Sharon Burnette at [email protected]

7/8 Middle School Volleyball: Rising Grades 7/8 

  • Tryouts will be in August
  • For more information contact Coach Sharon Burnette at [email protected]

Cross Country

Varsity Cross Country: Rising Grade 9

  • Optional summer workouts, TBD
  • First practice will be in August
  • For more information contact Coach Sam Baroody at [email protected]

Middle School Cross Country: Rising Grades 7/8 

  • First practice will be in August
  • For more information contact Coach Katie Cain at [email protected]

We enter the last mod of Arts & Design on Monday as well as the last six weeks of the school year. I encourage you to sit with your child, pull up the Progress tab in Altitude Learning, and connect the assessments and feedback with the most recent Milepost grade in PowerSchool. What does your child see as the most important actions to take to finish the year strong? We look forward to partnering with you and your child to make it happen!

In Partnership,

Angél Kytle
Head of Middle School l x2902

Communication Archive

April 4

April 4, 2021

Dear Middle School Families, 

I hope that your Easter break was full of rejuvenation to celebrate spring and rebirth! This last week, MS teachers were completing the plans for our very special Week of Wonder with great anticipation! They are thrilled to be connecting with students in a different way, focusing on relationships as well as interests and passions outside of school. Without our MS trips this year, we hope to add a “non-school” form of learning and pursuing curiosities this year, and our teachers have not disappointed!

Week of April 5-9

Monday, April 5
No School

WOW: Week of Wonder
This week is Week of Wonder! Centering on the design driver, “HMW make school more reflective of real life,” this week is designed as a way to allow students to encounter topics that they might not otherwise encounter in school, to spark a new passion or hone an existing one, and to try something “new” in a less stressful environment. We seek to provide opportunities for students to:

  • Build community and spread joy
  • Experience learning outside the standard curriculum
  • Work together in a dynamic setting
  • Develop self confidence by experiencing challenges in unfamiliar settings
  • Learn new skills that will be useful throughout their lives

The entire week is spirit wear week! Rather than class and homework as normal, teachers have designed eight different classes per grade level based on the student selections from a course catalog of 48 sessions, focusing on health and well-being, recreation and leisure, grown-up life skills, and “what’s your cause or passion.” Students will need their charged iPads for a few sessions. Classes are designed to be interactive and engaging and include sessions such as anti-gravity design challenge, sign language, financial literacy, movie analysis, car garage, crafting, disc golf, and many more. We will begin each day in Community with a group challenge and activity and then have two longer sessions of special courses. The week will culminate in an all-MS non-baking bakeoff competition. For students who have chosen to be virtual, we will assign them to the sessions that don’t require specific supplies or to be in person.

April 19-23: Rally Spirit Week 2021
Schedule of Events
This week will embody school spirit and community in a physically distant and safe way. While some aspects of our traditional Mustang Rally will be included throughout the week, several surprises are being added. Historically, Mount Vernon’s annual spring event, Mustang Rally brings our entire community together – students, their families, faculty, staff, and community partners to celebrate the spirit of our school. From a parade of classes and field races to a family picnic and an over-the-top carnival on campus – it is an all-day, all-school, all-fun community event. This in-person tradition will eventually return to Mount Vernon once it is safe to do so.

April 28: MS Student Share Conferences/No School for Middle School Students

On Wednesday, April 28, we will host student share conferences via Zoom. Both students and parents will attend the conference with the Community Leader. Parents are welcome to reach out to other teachers at any time for a content-specific conference.Teachers will work with students to design a portfolio highlighting their work thus far, including strengths and stretches. The sign-up for conferences will go live this week; simply log in to the parent portal and click on the link for Student Share Conferences. There will be no school for students on this day.

I can’t wait to see our children in action this week, and I encourage you to ask them to share their favorite moments. What did they learn about a teacher that they might not have learned in a regular classroom setting? Is there an interest that is now sparked that they wish to pursue further? With the next Milepost grade in PowerSchool at the end of this week, what feedback have they received from their teachers that helps them better understand their progress, areas of strength, and areas for growth? These questions and conversations will lead nicely into Student Share Conferences at the end of the month.

In Partnership,

Angél Kytle
Head of Middle School l x2902

March 28

March 28, 2021

Dear Middle School Families,

Our faculty and staff were blessed to have Matthew Neylon, Director of Visual and Performing Arts, and Elisse Hayes, Interim Director of IDEA, lead Wednesday’s professional learning on building inclusivity through creative healing and a trauma-informed approach. We learned about three different types of trauma, leaned into ways to understand the wholeness of traumatic events or experiences, and explored ways in which the arts can be utilized as a healing process. Many resources were shared as we just skimmed the surface of work in this area, and I can’t wait to dig into them more deeply

COVID Update
The School continues to monitor the COVID landscape in real time within our community, to analyze data and trends during the past eight months, and to sustain or modify protocols based on latest information from public health and government officials. Please review Dr. Jacobsen’s weekly update regarding a modification to direct exposure protocol.

Middle School COVID landscape heading into the week of March 29:

Middle School All Employees
C19 Positive 0 of 279 0 of 248
Direct Exposure 2 of 279 1 of 248

Week of March 29-April 2

Tuesday, March 30 – Spirit Day for Upper Campus
Middle School students are encouraged to wear spirit wear (spirit shirt with uniform bottoms or jeans) on Tuesday for the filming of the Rally Spirit Week parade. The recording of this parade will be sent to the community on Friday, April 23. The parade will be physically distanced according to Community. Through the magic of editing, the finished video will bring our entire school together.

Friday, April 2
No School

Monday, April 5
No School

WOW: Week of Wonder, April 6-9

Our students have vast interests and curiosities, as evidenced by their interest surveys for our Week of Wonder! Teachers and staff are busy designing schedules of experiences for groups of students, adhering to our health and safety protocols. Centering on the design driver, “HMW make school more reflective of real life,” this week is designed as a way to allow students to encounter topics that they might not otherwise encounter in school, to spark a new passion or hone an existing one, and to try something “new” in a less stressful environment. We seek to provide opportunities for students to:

  • Build community and spread joy
  • Experience learning outside the standard curriculum
  • Work together in a dynamic setting
  • Develop self confidence by experiencing challenges in unfamiliar settings
  • Learn new skills that will be useful throughout their lives

MS Student Share Conferences

On Wednesday, April 28, we will host student share conferences via Zoom. Students will not be in attendance at school. Teachers will work with students to design a portfolio highlighting their work thus far, including strengths and stretches. You will receive an invitation to sign up shortly.

Mount Vernon Parent Network
The Mount Vernon Parent Network (MVPN), in partnership with the School’s Community Development team, hosted three separate open MPVN meetings for parents to learn more about MV’s parent engagement system and how it functions to impact our students and contribute to the School’s mission. The call was open to all MV parents, grandparents, and staff. If you were unable to attend, please read more about MVPN and/or express interest to get involved.

Our faculty and staff felt so loved this week as the Mount Vernon Parent Network spoiled us with love, coffee, Chick-fil-A breakfast, bundt cakes, and more. Thank you to all parents who were involved in this special endeavor. We are blessed! Have a lovely long weekend. Happy Easter!

In Partnership,

Angél Kytle
Head of Middle School l x2902

March 21

March 21, 2021

Dear Middle School Families,

The luck of the Irish was with us this week in Middle School as we returned from Spring Break rested and healthy. Thank you to all families who remain vigilant in prioritizing in-person school through a commitment to our health and well-being protocols. Our Nurse, Cathy Fiacco, is such a wonderful asset to our MS Community! With a tender heart and a penchant for educating while caring for students and families, she has quickly won the hearts of many! Please join me in celebrating her and all of our school nurses.

Next week, we continue with our Community lessons on unsung heroes through our Break the Mould book study. These lessons are proving so valuable to help our students gain empathy and appreciation for those who are different from us. As we unfortunately continue to hear of tragedies such as the recent shooting in our own city, may our children continue to grow in their capacity and responsibility to love and care for our neighbors, regardless of our differences.

Tuesday, March 23: All-Community Parent Network Evening Meeting, 7:00-8:00 pm
Join Mount Vernon’s Community Development team and Mount Vernon Parent Network (MVPN) on the evening of Tuesday, March 23 for an all-community, open MVPN meeting – our third in this series – for parents who are unavailable during the day. Learn more about MV’s parent engagement system and how it functions to impact our students and contribute to the School’s mission. The call is open to all MV parents, grandparents, and staff. Register in advance for this All-Parent meeting to receive the Zoom link.

Wednesday, March 24: Late Start/Spirit Day
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.

Additionally, on Wednesday, March 24 we will celebrate the life of Coach Ron Hill, and the impact he made on our community. Students and faculty are encouraged to wear their 03 Reunite spirit shirt in his honor, commemorating his jersey number and fraternity number. 

  • Spirit Day – wear Reunite spirit shirt
  • Write a letter to Coach’s family – put it in the box at the US front desk
  • Chapel – celebration of life 
  • 1:00pm – moment of silence

WOW: Week of Wonder, April 6-9
Knowing that our MS students are disappointed that they were unable to go on their class trips to Mountain Trail (Grade 6), Boston (Grade 7), and Washington D.C. (Grade 8), the Middle School faculty is designing a special week April 6 – 9. Centering on the design driver, “HMW make school more reflective of real life,” this week is designed as a way to allow students to encounter topics that they might not otherwise encounter in school, to spark a new passion or hone an existing one, and to try something “new” in a less stressful environment. We seek to provide opportunities for students to:

  • Build community and spread joy
  • Experience learning outside the standard curriculum
  • Work together in a dynamic setting
  • Develop self-confidence by experiencing challenges in unfamiliar settings
  • Learn new skills that will be useful throughout their lives

Stay tuned for more information in the next two weeks. Students will be introduced to the idea and submit their requests from the course menu next week.

In Partnership,

Angél Kytle
Head of Middle School l x2902

March 14

March 14, 2021

Dear Middle School Families, 

I hope that this week has offered the rest, relaxation, and family time you needed. The weeks following Spring Break tend to fly by so quickly that when we look up, we wonder how we got to May! In Community, we continue our Break the Mould book study. We have concentrated on the following themes: Be You (know and love what makes you who you are), Permission to Dream (believe in yourself and dream big), and Be Different (know that you are enough just as you are). Before the break we focused on the theme of Be Curious and Be Kind. We centered on the following questions:

 

  • How can we make sure that we are being BRAVE and CURIOUS and asking the RIGHT QUESTIONS, while being kind, too? 
  • How can we come up with the ANSWERS and the COURAGE to show other people what it’s like to BE US? Asking questions reveals what we don’t know, but it can be difficult to find the right words because we don’t want to say or do the wrong thing. Being curious about our differences makes us realize that being different isn’t a bad thing, it brings us together and connects us.

Monday, March 15 – Early Release
Prior to the break, the School was able to partner with a local healthcare organization to provide a vaccine to the Mount Vernon staff on March 13. Late on March 11, the School was notified that the local health provider would not be able to support the School due to recent reallocation of vaccines to mass vaccination sites. Immediately, the School secured an opportunity with another local health provider, beginning Monday, March 15. In order to coordinate distribution efforts, Mount Vernon will run an early release schedule on Monday, March 15.

Carpool/Dismissal:
11:15 Preschool – Grade 1 (joined by their older G2-5 siblings)
11:30 Lower School Grades 2-5
11:50 Middle School
12:05 Upper School 

Wednesday, March 17
St. Patrick’s Spirit Day – green top with uniform bottoms or jeans 

All-Community, Open MVPA Meeting, 9:00-10:00 am or 12:30-1:30 pm – Join Mount Vernon’s Community Development team and Mount Vernon Parents Association on Wednesday, March 17 for the first all-community, open MVPA meeting. Learn more about MV’s parent volunteer group and how it functions to impact our students and contribute to the School’s mission. The Zoom link will be shared on March 16 and the call is open to all MV parents, grandparents, and staff. 

Friday, March 19
MVMiddle Parent Virtual Book Club Session 2, 8:00 a.m.
I am looking forward to gathering via Zoom where we will focus on Chapters 4 – 6 (some great spring break reading!) of Warner’s And Then They Stopped Talking to Me. In this book, Warner focuses on the complex people that middle schoolers are as well as how adults can be moral role models for their children. Please RSVP here.

Wednesday, March 24 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.

The weeks after Spring Break bring a wonderful energy and excitement as the weather warms. Middle School teachers will shepherd your students carefully so that engagement remains intact amidst spring fever. I encourage you to have regular check-ins with your child, asking him to pull up his playlist in Altitude Learning, share the work that has been completed as well as the plan to complete anything that is overdue. Thank you for partnering with us!

In Partnership,

Angél Kytle
Head of Middle School l x2902

February 28

February 28, 2021

Dear Middle School Families,

It is amazing how quickly February has come and gone! We have had a wonderful month learning about unsung heroes in black history, thanks to Dr. Chaundra Suddith’s leadership in designing lessons, morning announcements, and Friday contests. In Friday morning Community, all of our students zoomed with one of those unsung heroes, Brandon Frame, who created a non-profit organization focused on celebrating, educating, and inspiring boys and men of color. Dr. Suddith opened with some questions and then turned it over to our Junior Prefects to ask him questions so that we could all learn about his life and successes. A resounding message from Mr. Frame connected beautifully with our Community lessons around Burke’s Break the Mould: be a good human!

March 1 – 5 Week of Impact
Join our Mount Vernon community as we participate in hands-on and/or hands-off service the week of March 1 and beyond. Mount Vernon’s MVCares Service committee has listed a variety of opportunities to get involved. Service details, dates, and sign-up links will be sent to our community this week. With so many ways to serve, every family can go out on their own to find a path to fit their schedule, availability, and level of comfort to make an immediate impact on children, families, and the elderly.

Friday, March 5 Early Dismissal
Preschool – Grade 1: 11:15 (joined by their older G2-5 siblings)
Lower School Grades 2-5: 11:30
Middle School: 11:50
Upper School: 12:05

Week of March 8 – 12
Spring Break – No School

Wednesday, March 17
St. Patrick’s Spirit Day – wear green top with uniform bottoms or jeans.

All-Community, Open MVPA Meeting, 9:00-10:00 am or 12:30-1:30 pm – Join Mount Vernon’s Community Development team and Mount Vernon Parents Association on Wednesday, March 17 for the first All-Community, Open MVPA meeting. Learn more about MV’s parent volunteer group and how it functions to impact our students and contribute to the School’s mission. The Zoom link will be shared on March 16 and the call is open to all MV parents, grandparents, and staff.

Friday, March 19
MVMiddle Parent Virtual Book Club Session 2, 8:00 a.m.
I am looking forward to gathering via Zoom where we will focus on Chapters 4 – 6 (some great spring break reading!) of Warner’s And Then They Stopped Talking to Me. In this book, Warner focuses on the complex people that middle schoolers are as well as how adults can be moral role models for their children. Please RSVP here.

2021-2022 Varsity Cheer Information
Are you interested in joining the Varsity Cheerleading Squad next fall? If you would like to learn more about joining this competitive team, please participate in a Virtual Cheer Panel on Thursday, March 18 from 7:00 -7:45 pm on Zoom. Several members of this year’s Varsity Cheerleading squad, along with their coaches, will share what it takes to make the team, practice/game-day expectations, yearly events and more. Parents and students are invited to attend. Please register to let us know to expect you.

Prior to getting in the Spring Break mood, please take a moment this weekend to review the progress tab in Altitude Learning with your child to make connections to the Milepost grade that will be posted on Friday, March 5. I remain grateful for your support of our teachers and children by following our health and safety protocols, sharing kind words, and taking the time to make a MV friend smile. Have a restful and joyful Spring Break!

In Partnership,

Angél Kytle
Head of Middle School l x2902

February 21

February 21, 2021

Dear Middle School Families,

I hope you had a restful Presidents’ Day Weekend and were able to ease back into a four-day week. Our students met their new Humanities, Arts & Design, and Survey of World Language teachers this week and learned about the next exciting lap in their learning journey. Grade 8 parents also had the opportunity to hear from the Upper School Leadership team about the Upper School Experience and course registration process. Grade 8 students will learn more about this next week in Community.

March 1 – 5 Week of Impact
Join our Mount Vernon community as we participate in hands-on and/or hands-off service the week of March 1 and beyond. Mount Vernon’s MVCares Service committee has listed a variety of opportunities to get involved. Service details, dates, and sign-up links will be sent to our community this week. With so many ways to serve, every family can go out on their own to find a path to fit their schedule, availability, and level of comfort to make an immediate impact on children, families, and the elderly.

In the meantime, please consider serving at Hope Atlanta with Action Ministries for a Mount Vernon-specific food packing day on Saturday, February 27. Sign up to serve, using ACCESS CODE- MVS. 40 volunteer slots are open, exclusively for Mount Vernon students and families. Physical distancing and safety protocols are strongly enforced.

2021-2022 Varsity Cheer Information
Are you interested in joining the Varsity Cheerleading Squad next fall? If you would like to learn more about joining this competitive team, please participate in a Virtual Cheer Panel on Thursday, March 18 from 7:00 -7:45 pm on Zoom. Several members of this year’s Varsity Cheerleading squad, along with their coaches, will share what it takes to make the team, practice/game-day expectations, yearly events and more. Parents and students are invited to attend. Please register to let us know to expect you.

Interest in Mount Vernon has been wonderfully strong, and Junior Prefects are joining our admission team for virtual student visit days. Their resilience and joy is evident as they stop by different classrooms on a virtual tour and then sit for a panel to answer applicants’ questions. I am proud of their sense of presence and confidence!

In Partnership,

Angél Kytle
Head of Middle School l x2902

February 14

February 14, 2021

Dear Middle School Families,

Happy Valentine’s Day! I hope that you were able to attend the Parent University session on Tuesday where Dr. Lisa Damour offered wonderful and timely information on dealing with anxiety and stress, especially in a Covid world. Her approach was so thoughtful and calm! I love how she normalized both stress and anxiety as a regular part of the human experience while, at the same time, pointing out where anxiety and stress become unhealthy. I will have to practice her breathing exercise myself!

Week of February 15-19

Monday, February 15
No School

Wednesday, February 17
Trimester 2 grades posted in PowerSchool

Rise Up to Grade 9 for Grade 8 parents
It is almost time for Grade 8 students to request Upper School academic courses for the 2021–2022 school year. The process allows students to see their schedule as it develops and have input at each turn. In late February, Grade 8 students will meet during Community in virtual, grade-level groups led by our College Counseling and Academic Advising Team of Dr. McCubbin, Mr. May, and Mrs. Dickerson. Students will be guided through an audit of graduation requirements and learn the details of the course request timeline. To learn more about the Upper School experience, join the Zoom link for Class of 2025 Parents (Meeting ID: 873 3159 0987 / Passcode: RtvKf8) on Wednesday, February 17, at 8:00 am.

Students will transition to their third Humanities teacher for Trimester 3 as well as a new Arts & Design class (and Survey of World Language for Grade 6). With Trimester 2 mileposts entered on Wednesday, I encourage you to ask your child to review Altitude Learning with you, focusing on the Progress tab. What was a particular highlight in Trimester 2? What goals might be important entering Trimester 3? Has your child established a routine of reassessment to continue to level up to proficient or advanced? Conversations such as these will flow nicely to the Student Share Conference at the end of April.

In Partnership,

Angél Kytle
Head of Middle School l x2902

February 7

February 7, 2021

Dear Middle School Families, 

Resilience continues to be demonstrated in abundance in the Middle School as our students remained inside for lunch and some recesses due to the frigid temperatures outside. The illustrious Punxsutawny Phil leads us to believe we have several more weeks of winter, so we encourage students and parents to ensure that coats, pants, and tights are worn to keep everyone warm.

In Learning Strategies this week, students began exploring the work, legacy, and impact of “Unsung Heroes,” African American figures not often highlighted during Black History Month, to develop and strengthen foundational research skills, including:

  • I can vet resources to find credible sources.
  • I can use databases for research purposes.
  • I can correctly cite sources within my work and in my Works Cited.
  • I can organize my research.
  • I can iterate research topics and select a viable topic for my research.
  • I can organize my research and present it to others in oral, visual, or written form.

Week of February 8-12

Monday, February 8
Deadline to complete enrollment

Tuesday, February 9
Parent University: Managing Stress and Anxiety While Parenting in 2021 with Dr. Lisa Damour
8:30-9:30 am via Zoom
We invite our Mount Vernon community of families to join us on Tuesday, February 9, via Zoom, to hear from renowned psychologist and best-selling author Dr. Lisa Damour, who will explain the keys to understanding stress and anxiety under normal circumstances and at times of heightened concern and disruption. Register to participate in the virtual, live Webinar to learn more about:

  • Recognizing the cumulative aspects of stress
  • Parenting through friction at home
  • Managing meltdowns (at any age, including adults)
  • Regulating ongoing stress and anxiety

Dr. Damour welcomes us to submit questions ahead of time using this form

Thursday, February 11
Valentine Spirit Day
End of Trimester 2

Friday, February 12
No School for students (Faculty/Staff work day)

Week of February 15-19

Monday, February 15
No School

Wednesday, February 17
Trimester 2 grades posted in PowerSchool

Rise Up to Grade 9 for Grade 8 parents
It is almost time for Grade 8 students to request Upper School academic courses for the 2021–2022 school year. The process allows students to see their schedule as it develops and have input at each turn. In late February, Grade 8 students will meet during Community in virtual, grade-level groups led by our College Counseling and Academic Advising Team of Dr. McCubbin, Mr. May, and Mrs. Dickerson. Students will be guided through an audit of graduation requirements and learn the details of the course request timeline. To learn more about the Upper School experience, please join the Rise Up to Grade 9 parent virtual meeting on February 17 at 8:00 am. An invitation and link will be sent by the Upper School.

February is a great month to focus on joy, friendship, and appreciating those around you. Whether it be an all-school call from Middle School Theatre Director/Instructor Spencer Stephens to share what song makes you want to dance through your day (it’s an amazing playlist!) or a best love story contest and chocolate treats for faculty in the Middle School building, I am grateful for the camaraderie and partnership that the MS faculty exudes. Thank you, too, for your words of encouragement and appreciation for them.

In Partnership,

Angél Kytle
Head of Middle School l x2902

January 31

January 31, 2021

Dear Middle School Families,

This week proved to be a roller coaster of cold, wet, and warm weather, and we celebrated going outside as much as we could! We are so appreciative and proud of our students and their resilience in maintaining our health and safety protocols with few reminders. Recognizing that school this year has less of the social connections and activities, we truly see our students emerging as responsible leaders in their community!

Last Wednesday, Middle School faculty joined the Upper School faculty and staff to participate in a professional learning session with our partner, iChange Collaborative, where we explored bias and its effects on both Black and White students. Identifying common patterns of racial identity experiences, our faculty engaged in rich, vulnerable, and collaborative conversations to increase our toolkit in combating racism.

In Community on Monday our MS IDEA Coordinator, Dr. Chaundra Suddith, will launch a celebration of Black History Month. Partnering with Max Hanson, she is also planning a series of lessons around Sinéad Burke’s Break the Mould: How to Take Your Place in the World. This book focuses on a child finding his or her own place in the world, helping others to do the same, celebrating the things to love about oneself, and embracing the power of being different and unique. We will celebrate a number of African American unsung heroes in February and others at different times throughout the rest of the school year.

Tuesday, February 9

Parent University: Managing Stress and Anxiety While Parenting in 2021 with Dr. Lisa Damour
8:30-9:30 am via Zoom
We invite our Mount Vernon community of families to join us on Tuesday, February 9, via Zoom, to hear from renowned psychologist and best-selling author Dr. Lisa Damour, who will explain the keys to understanding stress and anxiety under normal circumstances and at times of heightened concern and disruption. Register to participate in the virtual, live Webinar to learn more about:

  • Recognizing the cumulative aspects of stress
  • Parenting through friction at home
  • Managing meltdowns (at any age, including adults)
  • Regulating ongoing stress and anxiety

Dr. Damour welcomes us to submit questions ahead of time using this form

As we mentioned at the beginning of the year, we are unable to take part in trips the week before Spring Break. That week will be school as usual, and we are developing a special week of curiosity and discovery to take place in April.

I recently received a few emails from parents, thanking us for our efforts to have a rich, in-person school experience for their children. Thank you for the offers of gratitude! I add my own gratitude to each of you as parents who trust us with your children and partner with us each and every day!

In Partnership,

Angél Kytle
Head of Middle School l x2902

January 24

January 24, 2021

Dear Middle School Families, 

Middle School students “flew” through this week, as can be seen in the Art Gallery where Grade 8 visual art students are installing a paper airplane exhibit. Each small group of students was tasked with a different component of the installation, from the artistic and physical design of the airplanes to the aesthetics of the display. The sense of movement and whimsy achieved by students is a great symbol of a child’s journey through Middle School.

It is hard to believe that the second trimester will end in just three short weeks. If you have not done so already, please sit down with your child and review their Milepost grade that was posted on Friday in PowerSchool. Ask your child to pull up their Progress tab in Altitude Learning to show you assessed assignments and activities as well as the feedback teachers have provided.

Wednesday, January 27 – 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. 

What a delight it was to connect with you on Friday in our Virtual Book Club on And Then They Stopped Talking to Me: Making Sense of Middle School. Session two of our book club will focus on chapters 4 – 6 and take place on Friday, March 19, at 8:00 a.m. An invitation link will be sent in a future weekly letter.

In Partnership,

Angél Kytle
Head of Middle School l x2902

January 17

January 17, 2021

Dear Middle School Families, 

Students’ thinking was challenged and stretched this week in conjunction with the communicator, collaborator, creative thinker, and solution seeker mindsets – as they navigated Socratic seminars on gender equality, genetic traits inventory surveys, and placing digits in certain place values to create the largest product. Take a few moments and ask your child to share a lesson that was a highlight of his/her week.

The next Milepost grade will be posted in PowerSchool on Friday, January 22. Specific feedback on strengths and challenges in all classes can be found in Altitude Learning. I encourage you to review your child’s Progress tab with him/her and ask your child what the next best steps are in learning. Please feel free to contact your child’s teachers to discuss any questions. Jennifer Santi and I are also more than willing to review Altitude Learning with you as well. 

Many Middle School parents attended the virtual “Trends in College Counseling” session hosted by our amazing College Counseling Team (Dr. Erin McCubbin, Aerial Dickerson, and Ryan May) on Thursday. They reviewed the four-year college counseling process at Mount Vernon as well as addressed myths, facts, and suggestions for parents to better understand the overall experience as well as what to expect with their own child. Please take a moment to review the recorded session if you were unable to attend the live event.

Parent Virtual Book Club

Mark your calendars and make a note of the winter/spring book club title, And Then They Stopped Talking to Me: Making Sense of Middle School by Judith Warner. In this book, Warner focuses on the complex people that middle schoolers are as well as how adults can be moral role models for their children. The book club dates are all Fridays from 8 – 9 am, January 22, March 19, and April 23. Please RSVP here.

This week offers us a reminder to reflect on the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his impact on our lives today. I am grateful for the ways that even now today his words and legacy challenge us all to reflect on our role and responsibility to our community, our nation, and our world. 

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run, then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”

“We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is this: what are you doing for others?”

Have a wonderful long weekend!

In Partnership,

Angél Kytle
Head of Middle School l x2902

January 10

January 10, 2020

Dear Middle School Families,

Welcome back, Mustangs! This first week back was full of highs and lows, from excitement of seeing teachers and friends after two weeks, to shock/sadness/frustration in watching events unfold in Washington D.C. Although our young adolescents are at many different levels of awareness and readiness at this moment, I remain hopeful and steadfast in the mission of Mount Vernon as we prepare all students to be engaged citizen leaders. Monday was a day of preparation and setting conditions for our students to return; in addition to readying classroom spaces and lessons, teachers spent time together with our consulting team (iChange Collaborative) diving deeply in how racial identity impacts teaching and learning. A key takeaway for me is to remember that impact outweighs intention.

COVID Update
Upon returning from the break, the School has been monitoring the potential spread of the virus within Mount Vernon. As of Friday, January 8, the Upper Campus had 12 positive COVID cases — 1 Middle School and 11 Upper School — and 44 direct exposure cases — 10 Middle School and 34 Upper School. All respective students and employees are following quarantine protocols, and all facility spaces continue to be deeply cleaned and sanitized nightly and thoroughly cleaned throughout the day. Wearing face coverings, washing hands, and maintaining physical distancing remain important protocols within each division.

Parent University

Wednesday, January 13 – Raising Awareness, While Identifying and Understanding Anxiety
8:30-10:00 am

Join the MV parent community to watch an online community screening of Angst, followed by a virtual discussion. Angst is an original documentary and virtual reality experience that explores anxiety, its causes, effects, and what we can do about it. The film was designed to raise awareness around anxiety by identifying and understanding the symptoms while breaking the stigma. Angst features candid interviews with kids, teens, educators, experts, parents, and Michael Phelps who suffer, or have suffered, from anxiety and what they’ve learned about it. Immediately following the screening, attendees will explore the causes of anxiety and its sociological effects with Mount Vernon’s counseling team. Resources and tools for identifying and managing anxiety will be shared. RSVP: Register to receive the Zoom link to participate.

Thursday, January 14 – Trends in College Counseling (Grades 6-10)
8:00-9:00 am

The RSVP for the Zoom for this Parent University is now full; however, please do continue to fill out the form with your specific questions or topic requests here so they can be incorporated into the recorded session.The link to the recorded Zoom will be sent to all via Bloomz after the live session. A calendar invitation with the Zoom information for the meeting will be sent to registrants.

Since March 2020, schools have been dealing with an unprecedented shift in the educational landscape due to the impacts of the pandemic. We look forward to sharing with you what we’ve learned through this admissions cycle and highlighting the ways Mount Vernon students are uniquely prepared to be competitive even in the most uncertain of times.

Sample topics to be discussed:

  • The current structure and goals of the MV college counseling program
  • How MV’s grading and assessment philosophy (Altitude and CBE) align with today’s shifting college admission landscape
  • Statistics and outcomes from previous graduating classes
  • What the person who reviews your child’s college application is looking for

Parent Virtual Book Club
Mark your calendars and make a note of the winter/spring book club title, And Then They Stopped Talking to Me: Making Sense of Middle School by Judith Warner. In this book, Warner focuses on the complex people that middle schoolers are as well as how adults can be moral role models for their children. The book club dates are all Fridays from 8 – 9 am, January 22, March 19, and April 23. Please RSVP here.

Prayer and reflection have been important to me over the last several weeks, as have connecting with friends and colleagues I love. We have an amazing amount of joy, beauty, and kindness throughout our daily experiences. Let’s focus on how we might love and serve each other in ways that amplify kindness, civility, care, and courage.

In Partnership,

Angél Kytle
Head of Middle School l x2902

January 3

January 3, 2020

Dear Middle School Families,

Happy 2021! I hope that your break brought tidings of great comfort and joy! Our faculty and staff are excited for students to return to school on Tuesday and continue to grow and progress in their learning. The second trimester continues on as students begin their fourth Arts & Design mod of the year. Teachers will encourage and stretch students to set timely and specific goals that lead to increased confidence, competence, and caring.

Parent Virtual Book Club

Mark your calendars and make a note of the winter/spring book club title, And Then They Stopped Talking to Me: Making Sense of Middle School by Judith Warner. In this book, Warner focuses on the complex people that middle schoolers are as well as how adults can be moral role models for their children. The book club dates are all Fridays from 8 – 9 am, January 22, March 19, and April 23. An RSVP will be sent out in a future letter.

Remember to perform your health screening at home and have your green dot visible at morning carpool. Please join us in reminding your child(ren) of the health and safety protocols that we have in place at school. Help your child(ren) remember to come to school each day with a charged iPad, refillable water bottle, mask, and proper attire for colder weather. We’ll see you on Tuesday, running a regular schedule. 

In Partnership,

Angél Kytle
Head of Middle School l x2902

December 13: Week 19 Logistics

December 13, 2020

Dear Middle School Families,

Our students gave apt attention and focus to the ERB tests this past week, albeit loving the shorter version. Add to that some warmer days and the ability to have recess with a new recess bubble of students as well as one more week of school before the holiday break, and our students are living the high life!

This past Wednesday, teachers across both campuses met together with iChange Collaborative, experts in the area of inclusion work, to further our learning in IDEA. I loved that they followed the Mount Vernon norm of starting with questions, including “what do you need to feel safe; what is your challenge story of something you faced in childhood; what gets in the way for you in conversations about race?” Teachers shared their experiences vulnerably, and everyone left the meeting with an increased sense of appreciation for their colleagues as well as increased trust in and energy for the collaborative work we are undertaking.

Thursday, December 17
Holiday Spirit Day: Holiday top with uniform bottoms or jeans, Holiday hat, Holiday socks

Friday, December 18
No School for students; Staff Work Day

Learn Serve Give: MVCares – Holiday Hunger Relief
During these challenging times – especially during the holidays – communities in and around Atlanta have tangible needs for relief. Join our Mount Vernon community as we participate in hands-on and/or hands-off service. As a way to give back and share the well, Mount Vernon’s MVCares volunteer group has listed a variety of service opportunities throughout this season, centered around Hunger Relief. With so many ways to serve, every family can go out on their own to find a path to fit their schedule, availability, and level of comfort to make an immediate impact on children, families, and the elderly.

Spring Sports Sign-Ups
Middle School students received the sign-up information and forms for Mount Vernon spring sports on Friday. If you have any questions, please contact Assistant Director of Athletics Rita Williams at [email protected] or 404-252-3448 x2600.

Parent Virtual Book Club
Mark your calendars and make a note of the winter/spring book club title, And Then They Stopped Talking to Me: Making Sense of Middle School by Judith Warner. In this book, Warner focuses on the complex people that middle schoolers are as well as how adults can be moral role models for their children. The book club dates are all Fridays from 8 – 9 a.m., January 22, March 19, and April 23. An RSVP will be sent out in a future letter.

Assessment and Grading
On Friday, December 18, faculty will update Milepost grades to PowerSchool. Altitude Learning continues to be the platform with the most robust and thorough information about student learning, teacher feedback, and examples of work. Our continued work in competency-based learning (CBE) is showcasing that standards and archived, available feedback allow us to see much more specifically where learners are excelling and what they can do to target improvement.

In this special season, I feel so blessed to be a part of such a welcoming and helpful Middle School community. Thank you for your smiles every morning and afternoon. Thank you for your trust in our work with your children. May your holidays be filled with joy and peace!

In Partnership,

Angél Kytle
Head of Middle School l x2902

December 6: Week 18 Logistics

December 6, 2020

Dear Middle School Families,

What a delight, although frozen, to see our students return after a week of joy and gratitude with families! Students were excited to begin holiday decorations to spruce up their Communities right before the break, and lights are twinkling in many places! Teachers will work with students over the next three weeks to strike the right balance of holiday cheer and getting down to business before our next Milepost on December 18.

Outside continues to be the safest place for us to play, so please make sure your child has the appropriate clothing to be outdoors in the colder temperatures. In addition, please remember to send your child with a refillable water bottle for daily hydration.

Learn Serve Give: MVCares – Holiday Hunger Relief
During these challenging times – especially during the holidays – communities in and around Atlanta have tangible needs for relief. Join our Mount Vernon community as we participate in hands-on and/or hands-off service. As a way to give back and share the well, Mount Vernon’s MVCares volunteer group has listed a variety of service opportunities throughout this season, centered around Hunger Relief. With so many ways to serve, every family can go out on their own to find a path to fit their schedule, availability, and level of comfort to make an immediate impact on children, families, and the elderly.

December 8 & 10, ERB Standardized Testing
Mount Vernon will continue to partner with the Educational Records Bureau (ERB) for standardized testing using ERB’s Milestones, a condensed version of the CTP-Online. Students in grades 6-8 will take the Math assessment on Tuesday, December 8, and the Reading Comprehension assessment on Thursday, December 10. Both assessments will take place first thing in the morning in Community. Students approved for school accommodations will have access to extended time for their assessments.

Students participating in virtual learning during the December testing window will test during the first three weeks of January. More information will be provided by divisional teams after students return on January 5.

December 9, 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. Students may dress in regular uniform on this day.

Spring Sports Sign-Ups
Middle School students received the sign-up information and forms for Mount Vernon spring sports on Friday. If you have any questions, please contact Assistant Director of Athletics Rita Williams at [email protected] or 404-252-3448 x2600.

Parent Virtual Book Club
Mark your calendars and make a note of the winter/spring book club title, And Then They Stopped Talking to Me: Making Sense of Middle School by Judith Warner. In this book, Warner focuses on the complex people that middle schoolers are as well as how adults can be moral role models for their children. The book club dates are all Fridays from 8 – 9 a.m., January 22, March 19, and April 23. An RSVP will be sent out in a future letter.

On Wednesday, Coach T started a 3-week Chapel series on self-care and reflection, focusing on loving yourself as you were created in God’s image. This reminded me of something that Julia Lythcott-Haims shared in her conversation with faculty before Thanksgiving. She said, “I am here with you and for you. I want to nourish you. What you feel in response to what I say is valid.” May we all be here and with each other, responsive to how what we say makes others feel.\

In Partnership,

Angél Kytle
Head of Middle School l x2902

November 29: Week 17 Logistics

November 29, 2020

Dear Middle School Families,

Our last Friday together before Thanksgiving focused on gratitude, building community, and taking another lap in design thinking. Grade 6 engaged in a healthy, competitive Community day full of team and individual challenges to benefit each Community. Grade 7 worked on designing an ideal MVMiddle day prototype for students, faculty, and staff that prioritizes joy, community-building and academics while abiding by our current health and safety protocols. Grade 8 began their design thinking challenge with gratitude, focusing on how they might show appreciation for a changemaker in their lives. In each grade level, empathy and collaboration was evident throughout prototypes and experiences. We hope these ideals were carried over to the Thanksgiving week in your families.

Friday, December 4 — MS Parent Virtual Book Club, Session 3
On Friday, December 4, from 8:00–9:00 am, please join Dr. Angél Kytle for the third book club session focused on Raising a Self-Disciplined Child. We’ll focus on Chapters 7-10 of the book. You can RSVP here. We will share the Zoom link with you via calendar invitel the week of the session.

Mark your calendars and make a note of the winter/spring book club title, And Then They Stopped Talking to Me: Making Sense of Middle School by Judith Warner. In this book, Warner focuses on the complex people that middle schoolers are as well as how adults can be moral role models for their children. The book club dates are all Fridays from 8 – 9 a.m., January 22, March 19, and April 23.

MV Fund
Mount Vernon’s Annual Fund — the MV Fund — is the School’s primary fundraiser closing the gap between tuition and the extra resources that are essential to the Mount Vernon education and experience. The School is grateful to those who have already given or pledged. We ask all families to please consider making a tax-deductible gift to the MV Fund. MV Fund FAQ

One of my favorite times of the year, these next three weeks between Thanksgiving and the Christmas holidays remind me to take a moment for peace and joy. A moment to breathe. A moment to admire beautiful decorations and lights. A moment to think about the just-right surprise for someone I love. A moment to pray. A moment to prepare. May you find a moment in the hustle and bustle to do the same. Happy Holidays!

In Partnership,

Angél Kytle
Head of Middle School l x2902

November 15: Week 15 Logistics

November 15, 2020

Dear Middle School Families,

Thanksgiving is almost here, which always uplifts my sense of joy and anticipation for the holiday season! Please join us in celebrating and naming gratitude with your children. Amidst the uncertainty of our current situation, gratitude re-centers us on humanity and a sense of belonging. The blessings we have as a community together are all around us. Going into the Thanksgiving break, thank you again for continuing our collective conviction as you consider away-from-school plans so that we maintain as full of an on-campus experience as we can after the break.

To date, the Middle School has one known student COVID case. We are aggressively monitoring the health condition for potential exposure and spread. Referenced in Dr. Jacobsen’s weekly letter, with the upcoming Thanksgiving break, we implore your family to take the necessary precautions to maintain a healthy environment beyond the School.

November 16-22 — Online Scholastic Book Fair
Shop Mount Vernon’s online Scholastic Book Fair to find books for any age level at a discounted price. A portion of every sale supports the Mount Vernon School.

Tuesday, November 17 — Parent University: Talking to Your Kids About Race and Racism
The next Parent University in the 2020-21 Special Topics Series – Talking to Your Kids about Race and Racism – will be held on Tuesday, November 17 from 7:00-8:30 pm, hosted by Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School, The Galloway School, and The Mount Vernon School. These three school communities will come together on one special night for a virtual learning experience with Julie Lythcott-Haims. Discussing “Talking to Your Kids about Race and Racism,” Julie draws upon her own experiences as a biracial woman to inform and illustrate raising her own children in different ways. Believing in humans and deeply interested in what gets in our way, Julie will spend the evening with parents, engaging in courageous conversations about race and racism while removing the stigma of saying the wrong thing or not having the right answers. Julie Lythcott-Haims is a New York Times best-selling author, former Stanford University Dean, and former corporate lawyer with a JD from Harvard Law. Register Here

Modification to Pre-Screening Protocol
Based on the colder temperatures during carpool, achieving accurate temperature readings have been challenging and the process has taken longer than necessary. Since August, the School has screened student temperatures, and we have not identified any cases of rising temperatures (>100.4 degrees) during the past three months. Beginning Monday, November 9 during carpool only, the pre-screening protocol will include the following question, “Has your child(ren) experienced a 100.4 degree temperature or greater in the previous 24 hours?”

Friday, November 20 — Early Release 
Thanksgiving break will begin on Friday, November 20, with an early release. Students in Middle School will be dismissed at 11:50. The School will be closed through Friday, November 27. 

Friday, December 4 — MS Parent Virtual Book Club, Session 3
On Friday, December 4, from 8:00–9:00 am, please join Dr. Angél Kytle for the third book club session focused on Raising a Self-Disciplined Child. We’ll focus on Chapters 7-10 of the book. You can RSVP here. We will share the Zoom link with you via calendar invitel the week of the session.

MV Fund
Mount Vernon’s Annual Fund — the MV Fund — is the School’s primary fundraiser closing the gap between tuition and the extra resources that are essential to the Mount Vernon education and experience. During this season of Thanksgiving, the School is grateful to those who have already given or pledged. We ask all families to please consider making a tax-deductible gift to the MV Fund. MV Fund FAQ

What am I grateful for this week? I am grateful for our teachers who have been so flexible when they need to cover a colleague or deal with a rainy day lunch and recess. I am grateful for administrators and support staff who pitch in for carpool, front desk coverage, and even class coverage from time to time. I am grateful for our students who continue to model resilience for us daily. Lastly, I am grateful for the men and women who have served and sacrificed for this beloved country so that we may enjoy the freedoms we have.

In Partnership,

Angél Kytle
Head of Middle School l x2902

November 8: Week 14 Logistics

November 8, 2020

Dear Middle School Families,

Trimester 2 and Mod 3 have launched successfully this past week! Both students and teachers enjoyed the change in scenery in different classrooms as well as experiencing some “new school year” excitement again. On Friday, November 6, faculty recorded Trimester 1 and Mod 2 grades in PowerSchool. We encourage students to bring any questions they may have about their progress directly to their teacher. Also remember that the most robust and thorough information about learning lives in Altitude Learning. If you continue to have questions about assessment and grading, please reach out to me. I am happy to set up some 1:1 time with you to share more details.

Modification to Pre-Screening Protocol
Based on the colder temperatures during carpool, achieving accurate temperature readings have been challenging and the process has taken longer than necessary. Since August, the School has screened student temperatures, and we have not identified any cases of rising temperatures (>100.4 degrees) during the past three months. Beginning Monday, November 9 during carpool only, the pre-screening protocol will include the following question, “Has your child(ren) experienced a 100.4 degree temperature or greater in the previous 24 hours?”

Monday, November 9 — Full 5-Day Schedule Begins
Beginning Monday, November 9, the School will continue to remain open five days a week, with students attending school Monday – Friday through their full-day dismissal time, unless otherwise noted.

November 9-22 — Online Scholastic Book Fair
Shop Mount Vernon’s online Scholastic Book Fair to find books for any age level at a discounted price. A portion of every sale supports the Mount Vernon School.

Friday, November 13 — Teacher Share Conferences
Middle School will host its Teacher Share Conference Day via Zoom on Friday, November 13. Students will not have classes on this day so that Community Leaders can meet with each family. This day is reserved for meeting with Community leaders only. You are welcome to schedule an individual conference with any of your child’s teachers at any point throughout the year. To sign up for your Teacher Sharing Conference with your Community Leader in PowerSchool:

  • Sign in to the PowerSchool web portal using your parent login (not your student’s login)
  • Click on the “Schedule a Conference” button at the top right side to log in to the Conference Manager
  • Select your child’s Community Leader’s name and select a time slot

Please complete this quick form to let us know if your child will participate in part or all of the Teacher Share Conference

Tuesday, November 17 — Parent University: Talking to Your Kids About Race and Racism
The next Parent University in the 2020-21 Special Topics Series – Talking to Your Kids about Race and Racism – will be held on Tuesday, November 17 from 7:15-8:30 pm, hosted by Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School, The Galloway School, and The Mount Vernon School. These three school communities will come together on one special night for a virtual learning experience with Julie Lythcott-Haims. Discussing “Talking to Your Kids about Race and Racism,” Julie draws upon her own experiences as a biracial woman to inform and illustrate raising her own children in different ways. Believing in humans and deeply interested in what gets in our way, Julie will spend the evening with parents, engaging in courageous conversations about race and racism while removing the stigma of saying the wrong thing or not having the right answers. Julie Lythcott-Haims is a New York Times best-selling author, former Stanford University Dean, and former corporate lawyer with a JD from Harvard Law. Register Here

Friday, November 20 — Early Release
Thanksgiving break will begin on Friday, November 20, with an early release. Students in Middle School will be dismissed at 11:50. The School will be closed through Friday, November 27.

Monday, November 30 — Students and Faculty Return

Booster Club and Friends of the Arts
Show your support for Arts and Athletics by displaying a respective sticker once you make a tax-deductible donation to either group. Like most things these days, the Booster Club and Friends of the Arts look a little different this year. To make it easier on our Mount Vernon families, the Booster Club and Friends of the Arts are waving all membership fees for the 20-21 school year, and asking our community to make a tax-deductible donation of any amount to support Athletics through the Booster Club and Arts through the Friends of the Arts.

Support Friends of the Arts
Support Booster Club

A former colleague of mine always takes each day in November to share something for which she is grateful. Today, I am grateful for our parent leaders, Callie Fuller and Dana McKenzie, who initiated and implemented our first Middle School social at the drive-in last week. With balloons on our new family cars and a sold out event, families and friends enjoyed a delightful evening of safe play and gathering. Thank you for seeking opportunities for us to be #BetterTogether!

In Partnership,

Angél Kytle
Head of Middle School l x2902

November 1: Week 13 Logistics

November 1, 2020

Dear Middle School Families,

I’m not sure any of us would have expected last week to end as it did with Tropical Storm Zeta making her mark throughout Atlanta. I hope that your family is safe and that you did not sustain damage to your home. How gratifying it was to see neighbors helping each other clear away debris and assess damage. We are truly Better Together!

End of Trimester 1/Mod 2 Arts & Design classes
The conclusion of Trimester 1 and Mod 2 Arts & Design classes was supposed to occur on Thursday, October 29. Because of Tropical Storm Zeta and the disruption it caused, we are making the following adjustments:

  • Trimester 2 and Mod 3 Arts & Design classes will begin, as planned, on Monday, November 2. Students will change teachers for Humanities and Learning Strategies as well as Arts & Design and Grade 6/8 Survey of World Language. Students will remain with their math, science, and Grades 7 & 8 World Language teachers the entire year. Community Leaders will review in Community Monday morning; schedules for Trimester 2 can be found in PowerSchool.
  • Trimester 1 and Mod 2 Arts & Design classes will allow any final assessments or reassessments to occur through the end of day on Wednesday, November 4, so that any assessment opportunities from Thursday can still occur.
  • The end-of-marking period grade will be posted on Friday, November 6, in PowerSchool.
  • The PowerSchool Parent Portal will be unavailable from Friday, October 30, at noon, until Friday, November 6, at 8:00 am to facilitate faculty completing review of assessments and inputting grades in PowerSchool.
  • Please remember that the most complete and robust details about student learning can be found through the parent portal of Altitude Learning. If you have not done so already, please sign up to explore your child’s work in Altitude Learning. Prioritize the Progress screen and click onto the power standards of each course to see the specific learning objectives that show more explicitly what is being assessed. Community Leaders will use Altitude Learning in the Teacher Share Conference to spotlight strengths and examine areas of growth. More detailed information is provided below.

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. Students in Middle School will be dismissed at 11:50. If you are able, I encourage you to take your child with you to vote so that they have a glimpse into the process.

Thursday, November 5 — Student Portrait Retakes
A student portrait retake/makeup day is scheduled for Thursday, November 5. Please complete this form prior to November 3 if your student would like to retake their photo. Middle School students who were absent on the original portrait day do not need to complete the form. A list of absent students has been provided to the photographer. The dress uniform should be worn for portraits.

Friday, November 6 — Early Release
Due to the time change, the MV Varsity Football team is scheduled to play Holy Innocents’ at 2:00 pm. As a result of this early game, the Upper Campus (grades 6-12) will be released early. 11:50 release for Middle School.

Monday, November 9 — Full 5-Day Schedule Begins
Beginning Monday, November 9, the School will continue to remain open five days a week, with students attending school Monday – Friday through their full-day dismissal time, unless otherwise noted.

November 9-22 — Online Scholastic Book Fair
Shop Mount Vernon’s online Scholastic Book Fair to find books for any age level at a discounted price. A portion of every sale supports the Mount Vernon School.

Friday, November 13 — Teacher Share Conferences
Middle School will host its Teacher Share Conference Day via Zoom on Friday, November 13. Students will not have classes on this day so that Community Leaders can meet with each family. This day is reserved for meeting with Community leaders only. You are welcome to schedule an individual conference with any of your child’s teachers at any point throughout the year. To sign up for your Teacher Sharing Conference with your Community Leader in PowerSchool:

  • Sign in to the PowerSchool web portal using your parent login (not your student’s login)
  • Click on the “Schedule a Conference” button at the top right side to log in to the Conference Manager
  • Select your child’s Community Leader’s name and select a time slot
  • Please complete this quick form to let us know if your child will participate in part or all of the Teacher Share Conference

Tuesday, November 17 — Parent University: Talking to Your Kids About Race and Racism
The next Parent University in the 2020-21 Special Topics Series – Talking to Your Kids about Race and Racism – will be held on Tuesday, November 17 from 7:15-8:30 pm, hosted by Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School, The Galloway School, and The Mount Vernon School. These three school communities will come together on one special night for a virtual learning experience with Julie Lythcott-Haims. Discussing “Talking to Your Kids about Race and Racism,” Julie draws upon her own experiences as a biracial woman to inform and illustrate raising her own children in different ways. Believing in humans and deeply interested in what gets in our way, Julie will spend the evening with parents, engaging in courageous conversations about race and racism while removing the stigma of saying the wrong thing or not having the right answers. Julie Lythcott-Haims is a New York Times best-selling author, former Stanford University Dean, and former corporate lawyer with a JD from Harvard Law. Register Here

Friday, November 20 — Early Release
Thanksgiving break will begin on Friday, November 20, with an early release. Students in Middle School will be dismissed at 11:50. The School will be closed through Friday, November 27.

Monday, November 30 — Students and Faculty Return

Booster Club and Friends of the Arts
Show your support for Arts and Athletics by displaying a respective sticker once you make a tax-deductible donation to either group. Like most things these days, the Booster Club and Friends of the Arts look a little different this year. To make it easier on our Mount Vernon families, the Booster Club and Friends of the Arts are waving all membership fees for the 20-21 school year, and asking our community to make a tax-deductible donation of any amount to support Athletics through the Booster Club and Arts through the Friends of the Arts.
Support Friends of the Arts
Support Booster Club

A new marking period provides the opportunity for a fresh start and new goals, both personal and academic. I encourage you to spend some time with your child reflecting on how the year has gone thus far. What were the highlights? Where are some areas that require a bit more energy? This will connect beautifully with the upcoming Teacher Share Conference. Here’s to a calm and dry week with beautiful autumn weather!

In Partnership,

Angél Kytle
Head of Middle School l x2902

October 25: Week 12 Logistics

October 25, 2020

Dear Middle School Families,

This week has been full of experiences and projects in the classroom where students are challenged to demonstrate their mastery of concepts in a multitude of ways. Talking with a new student today, she expressed her excitement to work collaboratively and focus on projects rather than rote learning, which was different from her previous school experience and one of the pulls to Mount Vernon.

The first trimester (and module 2 for Arts & Design courses) ends on Thursday, October 29; we made it! We are so proud of our learners’ growth, persistence, and positive attitudes for these last twelve weeks, most of which was full day and in person! Teachers will be finalizing assessment and feedback, and the Trimester One milepost will be posted in PowerSchool by Wednesday, November 4. Students will start a new Arts & Design class and rotate to a new Humanities/Learning Strategies teacher (as well as a new Survey of World Language for grade 6) on Monday, November 2.

Middle School Schedule
Through the first week of November, students in Grades 6-8 will attend school from 8:00-3:00 Monday through Thursday and 8:00-11:50 on Fridays. Extended Play will not be offered through November, with the exception of faculty/staff children. Beginning Monday, November 9, the School will continue to remain open five days a week, with students attending school on Fridays through their full-day dismissal time.

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 Middle School can wear Halloween themed or orange tops with uniform bottoms or jeans- no costume masks, weapons or accessories.

Friday, October 30 — No School for Students

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 Middle School will be dismissed at 11:50. If you are able, I encourage you to take your child with you to vote so that they have a glimpse into the process. 

Friday, November 6 — Early Release
Due to the time change, the MV Varsity Football team is scheduled to play Holy Innocents’ at 2:00 pm. As a result of this early game, the Upper Campus (grades 6-12) will be released early. 11:50 release for Middle School.

Monday, November 9 — Full 5-Day Schedule Begins

Friday, November 13 — Parent-Teacher Conferences
Middle School will host its Teacher Share Conference Day via Zoom on Friday, November 13. Students will not have classes on this day so that Community Leaders can meet with each family. The Conference Scheduler in PowerSchool is open for registration.

We continue to explore potential opportunities for joy and play amidst the current constraints. Thank you for your collaboration and understanding, and we encourage you to join us in expressing our pride and gratitude to the children. In the spirit of joy and play, I hope your family has a spirited Halloween!

In Partnership,

Angél Kytle
Head of Middle School l x2902

October 18: Week 11 Logistics

October 18, 2020

Dear Middle School Families,

We had so much fun this week celebrating our Mustang spirit for Homecoming week with favorite sports team jerseys, superhero shirts and socks, Western day, and Friday’s spirit day. Interested in streaming Varsity football games? Our Dean of Student Life and Operations, Max Hanson, joins Chandler Lee in the booth for the remaining home games. They are an outstanding pair!

We are coming up to the end of the first trimester on October 29 and our next milepost grade. If you have not done so already, please sign up to explore your child’s work in Altitude Learning. Prioritize the Progress screen and click onto the power standards of each course to see the specific learning objectives that show more explicitly what is being assessed. When clicking on a standard, the student work attached to those standards becomes visible for you. We understand the familiarity that many people have with letter grades, and we remain committed to providing those milepost letter grades in PowerSchool every three weeks. These letter grades are derived from the progress on standards that is clearly delineated in Altitude Learning.

Middle School Schedule
All students in Grades 6-8 will attend school from 8:00-3:00 Monday through Thursday and 8:00-11:50 on Fridays. Extended Play will not be offered in October and November, with the exception of faculty/staff children. 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.

Friday, October 23 — MS Virtual Book Club
On Friday, October 23, from 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m., please join Dr. Angél Kytle for the second book club session focused on Raising a Self-Disciplined Child. We’ll focus on Chapters 3 – 6 of the book. You can RSVP here. We will share the Zoom link with you via calendar invitel the week of the session.

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.

Friday, October 30 — No School for Students

Monday, November 2 — Full 5-Day Schedule Begins

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 Middle School will be dismissed at 11:50. If you are able, I encourage you to take your child with you to vote so that they have a glimpse into the process.

Friday, November 13 — Parent-Teacher Conferences
Middle School will host its Teacher Share Conference Day via Zoom on Friday, November 13. Students will not have classes on this day so that Community Leaders can meet with each family. The Conference Scheduler in PowerSchool is open for registration.

We continue to have great success with teachers and students honoring health and well-being protocols in a positive, sacrificial way. Thank you for your partnership in this endeavor. We are blessed to be in school at full capacity!

In Partnership,

Angél Kytle
Head of Middle School l x2902

October 11: Week 10 Logistics

October 11, 2020

Dear Middle School Families,

What an honor it was to celebrate Coach Ron Hill this week as a school. Middle Schoolers joined Upper Schoolers in writing notes to Coach Hill’s family or offering a favorite memory with him. He touched so many Mustangs with his joyful, playful demeanor, his determination for young people to understand what it means to be a good person, and his dedication to the idea of “others first.” He would be so proud of our MS Cross Country and Softball teams who competed in championships this week. Thank you, Coach Hill, for remaining an inspiration for us all.

If you have not done so already, please sign up to explore your child’s work in Altitude Learning. A multi-year, intentional, and strategic process, the transition to competency-based learning provides learners with more detailed, less ambiguous information about what they are currently understanding as well as areas of focus to improve. Prioritize the Progress screen and click onto the power standards of each course to see the specific learning objectives that show more explicitly what is being assessed. When clicking on a standard, the student work attached to those standards becomes visible for you. We understand the familiarity that many people have with letter grades, and we remain committed to providing those milepost letter grades in PowerSchool every three weeks. These letter grades are derived from the progress on standards that is clearly delineated in Altitude Learning.

Middle School Schedule — Through the end of October
All students in Grades 6-8 will attend school from 8:00-3:00 Monday through Thursday and 8:00-11:50 on Fridays. Extended Play will not be offered in October, with the exception of faculty/staff children until 4:30 (12:30 on Fridays).

  • Friday dismissal through October is 11:50.
  • Full-day schedules require our full uniform. Students should wear the dress uniform every Wednesday. Fridays are spirit days.

October 13-16 — Homecoming Week

In celebration of Homecoming week, students will have the opportunity to show their spirit in different ways each day. If a student does not want to participate, they may wear their everyday uniform.

  • Tuesday: Favorite Sports Jersey with uniform bottoms
  • Wednesday: Favorite SuperHero shirt and socks with uniform bottoms
  • Thursday: Western Day
  • 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.

MS Parent University Virtual Book Club
On Friday, October 23, from 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m., please join Dr. Angél Kytle for the second book club session focused on Raising a Self-Disciplined Child. We’ll focus on Chapters 3 – 6 of the book. You can RSVP here. We will share the Zoom link with you via calendar invitel the week of the session.

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.

Friday, October 30 — No School for Students

Parent-Teacher Conference Information
Middle School will host its Teacher Share Conference Day via Zoom on Friday, November 13. Students will not have classes on this day so that Community Leaders can meet with each family. The Conference Scheduler in PowerSchool will open on Tuesday, October 13.

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 Chaundra Suddith as the Middle School IDEA Coordinator.

Enjoy the long weekend, and let’s come back ready to show our school spirit for Homecoming Week!

In Partnership,

Angél Kytle
Head of Middle School l x2902

October 4: Week 9 Logistics

October 4, 2020

Dear Middle School Families,

Fall is upon us! These last few days have been joyous as our Mustangs spent some glorious time outside! We are looking forward to the cool, crisp days ahead of us, hopefully without constant rain. This week, we sadly said goodbye to our Executive Assistant, Mrs.Gianne Demeritte, who leaves us to support her husband and family with his new college head track coach post. We will miss her verve and can-do attitude! In the interim, Ms. Joelann Toppin, one of our permanent substitutes, will fill in as Executive Assistant. She can be reached at [email protected]

If you have not done so already, please sign up to explore your child’s work in Altitude Learning. A multi-year, intentional, and strategic process, the transition to competency-based learning provides learners with more detailed, less ambiguous information about what they are currently understanding as well as areas of focus to improve. Prioritize the Progress screen and click onto the power standards of each course to see the specific learning objectives that show more explicitly what is being assessed. When clicking on a standard, the student work attached to those standards becomes visible for you. We understand the familiarity that many people have with letter grades, and we remain committed to providing those milepost letter grades in PowerSchool every three weeks. These letter grades are derived from the progress on standards that is clearly delineated in Altitude Learning.

Middle School Schedule — Through the end of October

All students in Grades 6-8 will attend school from 8:00-3:00 Monday through Thursday and 8:00-11:50 on Fridays. Extended Play will not be offered in October, with the exception of faculty/staff children until 4:30 (12:30 on Fridays).

  • Friday dismissal through October is 11:50.
  • Full-day schedules require our full uniform. Students should wear the dress uniform every Wednesday. Fridays are spirit days.

Tuesday, October 6 — Coach Ron Hill Day
The Mount Vernon community will celebrate Coach Ron Hill Day on his birthday, October 6. Throughout the day students and faculty will honor his life and legacy and the impact he made on our School. Students are asked to wear their Reunite spirit shirt in honor of Coach Hill.

Wednesday, October 7 — Student Portraits
Upper Campus student portraits will be taken on Wednesday, October 7. Communities will travel together to the MS Lightbox at their scheduled time between 8:30 and 12:30. Like every Wednesday, students are asked to wear the Dress uniform.

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

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

  • Tuesday: Favorite Sports Jersey with uniform bottoms
  • Wednesday: Favorite SuperHero shirt and socks with uniform bottoms
  • Thursday: Western Day 
  • 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.

MS Parent University Virtual Book Club
On Friday, October 23, from 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m., please join Dr. Angél Kytle for the second book club session focused on Raising a Self-Disciplined Child. We’ll focus on Chapters 3 – 6 of the book. You can RSVP here. We will share the Zoom link with you via calendar invitel the week of the session.

Friday, October 30 — No School for Students

Parent-Teacher Conference Information
Middle School will host its Teacher Share Conference Day via Zoom on Friday, November 13. Students will not have classes on this day so that Community Leaders can meet with each family. The Conference Scheduler in PowerSchool will open on Tuesday, October 13.

With the Fall Holiday ahead of us at the end of next week, I wish you all a long weekend of rest and play together as a family.

In Partnership,

Angél Kytle
Head of Middle School l x2902

September 27: Week 8 Logistics

September 27, 2020

Dear Middle School Families,

Week 7 proved to be one of the most beautiful yet! Cooler weather and sunny skies drew us all outside for lunch, recess, and some classes. We hope and pray for more opportunities to be outside amidst beautiful weather.

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. Our late start allowed us to launch the School’s RDI series for the year, watching the documentary, American Promise. Valuable conversations ensued around questions like how can we affirm and encourage marginalized students as they explore racial identity; what can teachers do to understand students from different backgrounds more thoroughly in order to best advocate for them; what makes children want to adjust their behavior to fit in with others; and how can adults, specifically parents and teachers, lessen children’s anxiety and fears?

Middle School Schedule — Through the end of October

All students in Grades 6-8 will attend school from 8:00-3:00 Monday through Thursday and 8:00-11:50 on Fridays. Extended Play will not be offered in October, with the exception of faculty/staff children until 4:30 (12:30 on Fridays).

  • Friday dismissal through October is 11:50.
  • Full-day schedules require our full uniform. Students should wear the dress uniform every Wednesday. Fridays are spirit days.

Student Portraits
Upper Campus student portraits will be taken on Wednesday, October 7. Communities will travel together to the MS Lightbox at their scheduled time between 8:30 and 3:00. 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.

It was a delight to connect with some of you on Thursday’s Parent University: Still Have Questions? In the next week or so, a reservation form will be included for our second MS Parent Book Club session (Brooks and Goldstein’s Raising a Self-Disciplined Child) on October 23. I am grateful for the questions, feedback, and collaborative conversations we’ve had together. Always reach out to the MS Leadership Team to connect.

In Partnership,

Angél Kytle
Head of Middle School l x2902

September 20: Week 7 Logistics

September 20, 2020

Dear Middle School Families,

I believe we survived the enduring rain and wet weather throughout the week like troopers! I so appreciate teachers’, parents’, and students’ positive attitudes and smiles behind the mask despite being soaked in carpool and missing outdoor activities. What a delight to see so many parents attend our virtual book club discussion on Brooks and Goldstein’s Raising a Self-Disciplined Child! Our next session will focus on Chapters 3 – 6 and take place on Friday, October 23, from 8 – 9 a.m. (RSVP to come).

The next Milepost grade posted in PowerSchool on Friday, replacing the first Milepost grade. For more details about the assessment practices that allow us to give very specific feedback to students and regularly post to PowerSchool, please read more about Mount Vernon’s grading and assessment in Middle School. The next Milepost grade will be posted in PowerSchool on Friday, October 9.

Middle School Schedule — Through the end of October

All students in Grades 6-8 will attend school from 8:00-3:00 Monday through Thursday and 8:00-11:50 on Fridays. Extended Play will not be offered in September, with the exception of faculty/staff children until 4:30 (12:30 on Fridays).

  • Friday dismissal through October is 11:50.
  • Full-day schedules require our full uniform. Students should wear the dress uniform every Wednesday. Fridays are spirit days.

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.

Please know that your Community leaders, teachers, and leadership team are here to help you when you have questions or concerns. It is our pleasure to partner alongside you as your children navigate the joys and difficulties of the Middle School years.

In Partnership,

Angél Kytle
Head of Middle School l x2902

September 13: Week 6 Logistics

September 13, 2020

Dear Middle School Families,

We continued our success in week 5 with all grade levels on campus! I am so proud of our students for their perseverance amidst additional health and well-being constraints.

On Thursday, we shared information about Junior Prefects in Community. Our Upper School prefects offered their excitement and encouragement for Middle School students to give it a try. We are excited to learn more about our students who put themselves out there to interview with adults and high school prefects. We ended the week with a touching tribute and commemoration of September 11 through Coach T’s thoughtful chapel message.

The next Milepost grade will post in PowerSchool on September 18, replacing the first Milepost grade. For more details about the assessment practices that allow us to give very specific feedback to students and regularly post to PowerSchool, please read more about Mount Vernon’s grading and assessment in Middle School.

Middle School Schedule — Through October 2

All students in Grades 6-8 will attend school from 8:00-3:00 Monday through Thursday and 8:00-11:50 on Fridays. Extended Play will not be offered in September, with the exception of faculty/staff children until 4:30 (12:30 on Fridays).

  • Friday dismissal through October 2 is 11:50
  • Full-day schedules require our full uniform. Students should wear the dress uniform every Wednesday. Fridays are spirit days.

MS Parent University Virtual Book Club
On Friday, September 18, from 8:00-9:00, please join Dr. Angél Kytle for the first book club session focused on Raising a Self-Disciplined Child. We’ll focus on the Chapters 1 and 2 of the book. You can RSVP here. We will share the Zoom link with you via email on Wednesday, September 16.

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.

I remain grateful for your collaboration, your feedback of glows and grows, and your support of your children, their classmates, and the Middle School. #BetterTogether!

In Partnership,

Angél Kytle
Head of Middle School l x2902

September 6: Prescreening Protocol

September 6, 2020

Dear Middle School Families,

It is amazing that the first month of school has come and gone. Thank you for your partnership in a culture of collective conviction as we navigate school differently than in previous years. Students have really stepped up to the challenge of school life with physical distancing, traveling with the same children throughout the day, and lunch/recess from a different perspective.

On Friday, August 28, faculty posted the Milepost letter grades to PowerSchool. The next Milepost grade will post at the end of Mod 1, on September 18. For more details about the assessment practices that allow us to give very specific feedback to students and regularly post to PowerSchool, please see the NEWS for 9-7-2020 Weekly Update: Assessment and Grading, Using Altitude Learning and PowerSchool.

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.

Middle School Schedule — Beginning September 8
We are so excited that the Middle School will return to a five-day schedule with half-day Fridays through September and possibly October. All students in Grades 6-8 will attend school from 8:00-3:00 Monday through Thursday and 8:00-11:50 on Fridays. Extended Play will not be offered in September, with the exception of faculty/staff children until 4:30 (12:30 on Fridays).

  • Carpool — Morning drop off begins at 7:30 and afternoon pick up begins at 3:00 (11:50 on Fridays).
  • Full-day schedules require our full uniform. Students should wear the dress uniform every Wednesday. Fridays are spirit days.

Friday Half-Days
Middle School dismissal will be at 11:50 on Friday half-days through September.

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 Middle School Learning Platforms, learn more about the other communication & information platforms.

MS Parent University Virtual Book Club
On Friday, September 18, from 8:00 – 9:00, please join Dr. Angél Kytle for the first book club session focused on Raising a Self-Disciplined Child. We’ll focus on the Chapters 1 and 2 of the book. You can RSVP here. We will share the Zoom link with you via email the week of the session.

I wish you a long weekend filled with closeness to family, joyful experiences, and rest. We’ll see you on Tuesday morning when we all REUNITE together in the Middle School.

In Partnership,

Angél Kytle
Head of Middle School l x2902

August 30: Post Labor Day Plan

August 30, 2020

Dear Middle School Families,

The third week was the charm! We were so excited to see more faces, building up to all grade levels on campus together on Thursday and Friday. Teachers added a layer of building relationships at the Community level after a concentrated two weeks of more individual connections. Units were launched, and students shared their desire to get to the business of learning. Lunch, PE, and Arts & Design were added to the day to round out the focus on developing learners’ foundational skills, body wellness, and higher-order and divergent thinking. Week 4 promises more of the same.

WEEK 4 — August 31-September 4

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

The Middle School will attend classes 4 days, all-day (8:00-3:00) in-person, and 1-day virtually, following the Master Schedule. Each grade level will have 4 days of on-campus learning (8:00-3:00) and 1 day of staggered, synchronous virtual learning (8:00-3:00). All virtual learning days will be synchronous and follow the full-day schedule.

  • Monday – Grade 8: virtual; Grades 6/7: in-person on-campus instruction
  • Tuesday – Grade 7: virtual; Grades 6/8: in-person, on-campus instruction
  • Wednesday – Grade 6: virtual; Grades 7/8: in-person, on-campus instruction
  • Thursday – Grades 6-8 in-person, on-campus instruction
  • Friday/Half-Day (12:00 dismissal) – Grades 6-8 in-person, on-campus instruction

Reminders:
PE classes will not take place on virtual days via Zoom. Instead, we encourage students to engage in screen-free, physical activity for 30 minutes. In addition, there will be no mid-day lunch, recess, or Community (GTD) on virtual days.

  • Carpool — Morning drop off begins at 7:30 and afternoon pick up begins at 3:00.
  • Lunch will be provided. When the weather is favorable, students will be eating lunch outside while maintaining physical distancing.
  • Full-day schedules require our full uniform. Students should wear the dress uniform every Wednesday.
  • On virtual learning days, students should connect to class with Zoom links provided by their teachers. They should be appropriately dressed (uniform is not required) at a workstation so that they are ready to learn and keep their video on so that they can be seen by their teacher.
  • Extended Play will not be available for Middle School students in August and September (except for MV staff).
  • Friday, September 4, is a half-day with a noon dismissal.

Beginning September 8

The Middle School will attempt to return to a five-day schedule with half-day Fridays through September and possibly October. Beginning Tuesday, September 8, all students in Grades 6-8 will attend school from 8:00-3:00 (carpool begins at 7:30), with Friday dismissal at 12:00. 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.

Altitude Learning and PowerSchool

Have you signed up as a parent in Altitude Learning yet? If not, please do so. Altitude Learning is a robust system for organizing learning experiences, assigning work, submitting assignments, receiving feedback, and tracking learning relative to the goals and objectives of a course. Heads of Grade will stream a Week at a Glance each Friday afternoon that provides an overview of the following week.

Our first milepost letter grade was posted on Friday, August 28 in PowerSchool. Note that PowerSchool will only be used to report attendance and a summary of letter grades, approximately every three weeks. How is this letter grade determined? These resources will help you gain a better understanding:

  • A milepost grade is a letter grade based on the indicated assessment trend of progress in Altitude Learning. It’s like a highway milepost that indicates “where am I at this moment in time.” Every three weeks, the milepost will be revised to match the student’s current progress.
  • The Family Experience | Altitude Learning Brittany Griffin of Altitude Learning provides an overview of the Parent Portal. [6 minutes]
  • View-Only Student Experience | Altitude Learning Brittany Griffin of Altitude Learning shares how to make the most of viewing the platform as if you were your child. In this video, you can see how to view Progress and discover the robust details of assignments, student work, teacher feedback, and the scoring of performances in the Power Standards that students are learning. [6 minutes]
  • Milepost letter grades are determined by a translation table and supporting information that can be found here. Please note that the most robust and vigorous data about student learning will accumulate and be located and visible on Altitude Learning. PowerSchool will simply house the Milepost grades that are updated every three weeks and finalized at the end of each trimester.

MS Parent University Virtual Book Club

On Friday, September 18, from 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m., please join Dr. Angél Kytle for the first book club session focused on Raising a Self-Disciplined Child. We’ll focus on the Chapters 1 and 2 of the book. You can RSVP here. We will share the Zoom link with you via email the week of the session.

What a treat it is to return to full days, digging more deeply into exploration, productive struggle, joy, social connections, and eureka learning moments. Thank you for your partnership; although it is said frequently, please know that the feeling of gratitude continues to grow and grow. I feel truly blessed to be a part of this Middle School community.

In Partnership,

Angél Kytle
Head of Middle School l x2902

New Families: Remember the MS Welcome page on the website has important links to MS and all-school resources for you.

August 23: Week 3 Logistics

August 23, 2020

Dear Middle School Families,

Week two demonstrated yet again the resilience and positivity of our students, families, and teachers. Thank you for such warm words of encouragement and gratitude as well as patience and willingness to engage in a collective conviction to comply with the health and safety protocols we have in place. We now move to a different design for the next two weeks.

WEEKS 3 & 4 — August 24-September 4

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

Scaling up our reopening plan, the Middle School will attend classes 4 days, all-day (8:00-3:00) in-person, and 1-day virtually, following the Master Schedule.

Each grade level will have 4 days of on-campus learning (8:00-3:00) and 1 day of staggered, synchronous virtual learning (8:00-3:00). All virtual learning days will be synchronous and follow the full-day schedule.

  • Monday – Grade 8: virtual; Grades 6/7: in-person on-campus instruction
  • Tuesday – Grade 7: virtual; Grades 6/8: in-person, on-campus instruction
  • Wednesday – Grade 6: virtual; Grades 7/8: in-person, on-campus instruction
  • Thursday – Grades 6-8 in-person, on-campus instruction
  • Friday/Half-Day (12:00 dismissal) – Grades 6-8 in-person, on-campus instruction

Note:
PE classes will not take place on virtual days via Zoom. Instead, we encourage students to engage in screen-free, physical activity for 30 minutes. In addition, there will be no mid-day lunch, recess, or Community (GTD) on virtual days.

  • Carpool — Morning drop off begins at 7:30 and afternoon pick up begins at 3:00.
  • Lunch will be provided. When the weather is favorable, students will be eating lunch outside while maintaining physical distancing.
  • Full-day schedules require our full uniform. Students should wear the dress uniform every Wednesday, beginning August 26.
  • On virtual learning days, students should connect to class with Zoom links provided by their teachers. They should be appropriately dressed (uniform is not required) at a workstation so that they are ready to learn and keep their video on so that they can be seen by their teacher.
  • Extended Play will not be available for Middle School students in August and September (except for MV staff).
  • Friday, August 28 and Friday, September 4, are half-days with a noon dismissal.

Post Labor Schedule

Post Labor Day, the Middle School will attempt to return to a full-day, five-day schedule. Beginning Tuesday, September 8, all students in Grades 6-8 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.

Altitude Learning and PowerSchool

Have you signed up as a parent in Altitude Learning yet? If not, please do so. Altitude Learning is a robust system for organizing learning experiences, assigning work, submitting assignments, receiving feedback, and tracking learning relative to the goals and objectives of a course. As students and teachers engage with Altitude Learning, they can share reflections and samples of work through the Stream feature, which allows parents a great window into student learning and progress.

On Monday, August 17, a new feature was added to Altitude Learning so that parents and guardians can use a view-only option to see the platform as their student sees it. This feature is available on the parent portal, in the dashboard.

Note: PowerSchool will only be used to report attendance and a summary of letter grades, approximately every three weeks. Our first milepost letter grade will be posted on Friday, August 28.

On Friday, grade-level teams sent out a high-level overview of what is coming up the next week in core academic classes to both students and parents/guardians via Stream in Altitude Learning, including some words of wisdom and humor from Mr. Hanson, Dean of Student Life and Operations. The details and links for all assignments will live on the cards in Altitude Learning that are pushed directly to students throughout the week. The goal of this weekly stream is to help students design a big-picture plan for their week.

Thank you in advance for reading the weekly updates where our goal is to keep you as well-informed as possible. Please reach out with any questions you may have. Now, let’s get Weeks 3 and 4 started!

In Partnership,

Angél Kytle
Head of Middle School l x2902

 

August 16: Week 2 Logistics

August 16, 2020

Dear Middle School Families,

We made it through week 1! What a treat it has been meeting families at the car with a smile (albeit unseen), having a little conversation, and then embarking on our day. After the first two days of orientation and acclimation, students started their academic classes on Thursday. Students also discussed responsible technology use and signed the Middle School iPad Agreement. Excited to get down to the business of learning, teachers were thrilled at the engagement that was clearly visible. When asked to take a moment to record what you see, hear, smell, feel, and taste, I overheard a student share, “I taste the fabric of a mask binding us together yet apart, keeping us the same yet changing us so much.”

Weeks 2: August 17-21

Middle School will continue to adhere to an adjusted schedule.

  • Middle School students will 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 begins at 12:00/Afternoon pick up begins at 3:45
  • Lunch will not be served.
  • Students will wear the everyday uniform except for Spirit Day on Fridays.
  • Extended Play will not be available for Middle School students in August (except for MV staff).

Commitment to IDEA

The Mount Vernon Middle School believes deeply in the importance of treating all of our students, faculty and families with the utmost respect and creating an inclusive, welcoming, and safe environment for our learners. We will live by Mount Vernon’s IDEA statement.

Anchored in Christian values — love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control — relationships at Mount Vernon are foundational to learning. Preparing students to be college ready, globally competitive, and engaged citizen leaders call us to lean in to inclusion, diversity, equity, and action.

Creating and cultivating connections between all people, ideas, and sectors, the School welcomes all learners to wrestle with voices and perspectives that challenge our assumptions, biases, stereotypes, and privileges. Not allowing our differences to divide us requires each of us to engage in honest, vulnerable, and courageous conversations through empathy, reflection, examination, and action. Being real agents of change is a continuous journey.

Committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion, our trust in each other strengthens our sense of identity, autonomy, and interdependence. As a school of inquiry, innovation, and impact, we are committed to creating and sustaining a school culture where all members feel valued and safe, sharing their authentic selves to design a better world…together.

Altitude Learning and PowerSchool

After much research and an incredibly successful pilot year, we are very excited to launch Altitude Learning in partnership with Upper School. Altitude Learning replaces PowerSchool Learning (formerly Haiku) as the Middle School’s “learning management system.” It is a robust system for organizing learning experiences, assigning work, submitting assignments, receiving feedback, and tracking learning relative to the goals and objectives of a course. As students and teachers engage with Altitude Learning, they can share reflections and samples of work through the Stream feature, which allows parents a great window into student learning and progress.

Altitude Learning Resources:

  1. Altitude Parent Stream Letter | Mount Vernon
  2. Parent Stream Guide | Mount Vernon – Google Slide Deck
  3. Stream Introduction Video

Note that PowerSchool will only be used to report attendance and a summary of letter grades, approximately every three weeks. The most robust details about student progress will be found through Altitude Learning, and teachers will report regularly to PowerSchool with a “Milepost” grade.

Late Entry

For students who arrive after carpool has completed, screenings will occur just before entering the front desk of the Middle School 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 Community (or class that is in session).

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

  • Middle School will attend classes 4 days, all-day (8:00-3:00) in-person and 1-day virtually, following the Master Schedule. Continuing to reduce the size by building/division at any given time, the virtual days will be staggered by grade-level. During Weeks 3 & 4, each grade level will have 4 days of on-campus learning (8:00-3:00) and 1 day of scheduled, synchronous virtual learning (8:00-3:00).
    • Monday – Grade 8 is virtual; Grades 6/7 in-person, on-campus instruction
    • Tuesday – Grade 7 is virtual; Grades 6/8 in-person, on-campus instruction
    • Wednesday – Grade 6 is virtual; Grades 7/8 in-person, on-campus instruction
    • Thursday – Grades 6-8 in-person, on-campus instruction
    • Friday – Grades 6-8 in-person, on-campus instruction
  • 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 Middle School students in August (except for MV staff).

Despite our special schedules and Covid restrictions, students and teachers are making the most of their time together, establishing deep connections and launching their learning journey. In coming weeks, this letter may include notes from Max Hanson, Dean of Student Life and Operations and Heads of Grade. Thank you for all of the warm words of gratitude and excitement to be back in school. We are blessed to have your children and you in the Middle School family.

In Partnership,

Angél Kytle
Head of Middle School l x2902

August 11: Week 1 Logistics and Orientation

August 11, 2020

Dear Middle School Families,

We were so excited to see so many student faces for the morning session and loved being back in the building together. Students connected with their Community Leaders, grade-level team, and classmates; were introduced to Altitude Learning (our new teaching and learning platform); and gained confidence in navigating their school day- from health screening in carpool, to hallway transitions, to dismissal- amidst health and safety protocols.

Health and Safety Protocol Reminders

  • The Acknowledgment Form for the Addendum to the Family & Student Handbook must be completed in order for students to attend school.
  • Success and something upon which to build:
    • Drop-off carpool screenings went smoothly.
    • Students did a great job wearing their masks today and sanitizing hands upon entry and exit from classrooms.
    • Visual cues and gentle reminders helped students practice physical distancing and follow one-way directional flows in hallways.
    • Communities stayed in their bubbles.
    • Teachers helped students learn our new protocols by being present in hallways, classrooms, and outside.

Orientation Video

In case you missed them last week, here are the orientation and welcome videos that introduce our fabulous teaching teams as well as offer an overview of our days at school.

A Day in the Life of a Student Mustang, from Max Hanson, Dean of Student Life and Operations

Grade 6 Team Welcome: Mr. Emmett, Ms. Bijit, Mr. Welch, Ms. Davis, Dr. Jackson, Mrs. Edwards, Mrs. Suddith

Grade 7 Team Welcome: Mrs. Pisacreta, Mrs. Campbell, Mr. Song, Dr. Robbins, Dr. Powell, Mr. Chiapetta, Mr. Day, Mr. Hansen

Grade 8 Team Welcome: Tr. Leflar, Mr. Freeman, Mrs. Fillyaw, Mr. Economos, Mrs. Pastore, Mr. Edmonson, and Ms. Hobson

MS PE and Arts & Design Welcome: Coach T, Coach Hogan, Coach Beckham, Mr. Andres, Mrs. Edwards, Mr. Profitt, and Mr. Stephens

Progress Monitoring and Reporting: Altitude Learning and PowerSchool

After much research and an incredibly successful pilot year, we are very excited to launch Altitude Learning in partnership with Upper School. Altitude Learning is a learner-centered organization, an outstanding industry leader and partner that shares Mount Vernon’s educational philosophy and values, and a platform that helps students and parents stay much more informed with essential information about one’s learning journey.

Altitude Learning replaces PowerSchool Learning (formerly Haiku) as the Middle School’s “learning management system.” It is a robust system for organizing learning experiences, assigning work, submitting assignments, receiving feedback, and tracking learning relative to the goals and objectives of a course. As students and teachers engage with Altitude Learning, they can share reflections and samples of work through the Stream feature, which allows parents a great window into student learning and progress. Students will be oriented to Altitude Learning in the first few days of school. As they gain experience using Altitude Learning, more information will be provided to parents so that you can better understand your child’s progress.

For now, parents, please orient to Altitude Learning using the following resources:

  1. Altitude Parent Stream Letter | Mount Vernon
  2. Parent Stream Guide | Mount Vernon – Google Slide Deck
  3. Stream Introduction Video

Note that PowerSchool will only be used to report attendance and a summary of letter grades, approximately every three weeks. The most robust details about student progress will be found through Altitude Learning, and teachers will report regularly to PowerSchool with a “Milepost” grade. 

Athletics: Parent and Fan Participation

During the month of August, under the current health conditions, we have 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 MS and US 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.

IDEA Statement

The Mount Vernon Middle School believes deeply in the importance of treating all of our students, faculty and families with the utmost respect and creating an inclusive, welcoming, and safe environment for our learners. We will live by Mount Vernon’s IDEA statement.

Anchored in Christian values — love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control — relationships at Mount Vernon are foundational to learning. Preparing students to be college ready, globally competitive, and engaged citizen leaders call us to lean in to inclusion, diversity, equity, and action.

Creating and cultivating connections between all people, ideas, and sectors, the School welcomes all learners to wrestle with voices and perspectives that challenge our assumptions, biases, stereotypes, and privileges. Not allowing our differences to divide us requires each of us to engage in honest, vulnerable, and courageous conversations through empathy, reflection, examination, and action. Being real agents of change is a continuous journey.

Committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion, our trust in each other strengthens our sense of identity, autonomy, and interdependence. As a school of inquiry, innovation, and impact, we are committed to creating and sustaining a school culture where all members feel valued and safe, sharing their authentic selves to design a better world…together.

Important Contacts

Gianne Demeritte, Middle School Executive Assistant | x2100

Max Hanson, Middle School Dean of Student Life & Operations | x2103

Jennifer Santi, Middle School Head of Learning and Innovation l x2129

Samantha Flowers, Director of Academic Resources l x2007

Lindsay Huie, Upper Campus Nurse | x7126

Kelli Bynum, Director of Counseling | x2020

Keri Walton, Upper Campus Counselor | x2252

Please reach out to me or any of the contacts above with any questions you may have. The entire Middle School faculty and I are so excited to be reunited with you! Thank you for your partnership in our collective conviction to have a successful and safe school year. #BetterTogether

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.

In Partnership,

Angél Kytle
Head of Middle School l x2902

 

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

August 4, 2020

Dear Middle School Families,

The days are clicking away, and we can’t wait to REUNITE with students and families to cultivate growth, resilience, and advancement. This week, our amazing teachers are excitedly preparing classrooms and courses so that they are ready to connect with their students and families. Outlined below are the details of what you and your students can look forward to prior to Tuesday, August 11.

At 3:00 pm today, Community assignments, morning/afternoon designations for the first two weeks of school, and instructions for families/guardians to sign up for a Family Share Conference will be emailed to parents of students in grades 6 – 8 from the Middle School Administrative Team. Students’ individual schedules can be found in PowerSchool. Newest families were sent their PowerSchool login credentials from Director of Instructional Technology Katie Cain on Monday, August 3. Mount Vernon email accounts for students in grades 6 through 8 will become active on Tuesday, August 4 as well.

Health and well-being protocols are provided to protect MV students, faculty/staff, and families — washing hands, wearing masks, and maintaining physical distancing.

  • Students should only come to school if they are symptom-free.
  • Students will go through a brief health screening in carpool before entering the Middle School building.
  • After a successful screening, students will enter the building at the clock tower and go directly to their Community. Directions on traffic flow are posted on paths and hallways, and students will follow the designated traffic flows in the building at all times.
  • Students are expected to wear a face covering. If they are not wearing one upon entry to the building, one will be provided for them.
  • Classrooms will be configured for physical distancing, and we will utilize seating charts to help with any contact tracing that may become necessary.
  • Dismissal will occur in a carefully managed, methodical procedure to avoid congregating. Students will dismiss from their Community classrooms.

Orientation for Parents and Students

  • Pre-recorded Orientation videos will introduce students and families to classroom teachers, offer highlights of the school year, provide an overview of the school day, and walk through carpool procedures and protocols.
  • On Friday, August 7, at 12:30 pm, Community Leaders will host a live Zoom student session to welcome students to their community, begin to build relationships, and have some fun! Zoom links will be emailed to students prior to that session.
  • On Monday, August 10, Community Leaders will host virtual Family Share Conferences for parents/guardians to further connect with their Community Leader. We have created Guiding Questions to frame these conversations. Instructions to register will be included in the email from the Middle School Administrative Team.
  • Student Orientation will be incorporated into the first week of the school year, especially in support of new students to the Upper Campus and/or the School. While building relationships and making personal connections with teachers and classmates will be important, we will review schedules and the flow of the school day; transition routines in the hallways; health and safety norms within classrooms and more public spaces; technology hardware, platforms, and acceptable use; and Middle School norms and expectations. Grade 6 and new students will receive their iPads and the appropriate training as well.

First Day of Middle School Checklist

  • Review the summer ePacket to ensure that all forms have been submitted.
  • 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.
  • Before the first day of school, each family will receive their personal carpool number and a review of carpool procedures in the mail from Dean of Student Life and Operations Max Hanson. Carpool number cards should always be displayed on the dash of the car during carpool. More information on carpool patterns can be found on Middle School Carpool.
  • Students are asked to bring a backpack, water bottle, and a snack each day. Lockers will not be used.
  • 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.
  • All required daily items will be supplied by the School. There are, however, a few optional items for personal purchase.

Weeks 1 & 2: August 11 – 21

For the first two weeks, Middle School will adhere to an adjusted schedule, reducing the total number of students on-campus at any given time. The School does not intend to shift the teaching and learning responsibility to parents under this schedule.

  • Middle School students will 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 begins at 12:00/Afternoon pick up begins at 3:45
  • Traveling together as a Community, the curricular and instructional focus will prioritize humanities, math, science, world language, and learning strategies. In addition to orienting students to routines and protocols. diagnostic assessments and foundational skills practice will be emphasized.
  • Lunch will not be served during these first two weeks.
  • Students 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 Middle School students in August (except for MV staff).
  • In the near future, you will receive more information regarding athletic tryouts and practices, if you have expressed interest in joining one of the Middle School teams.

Weeks 3 & 4: August 24 – September 4

  • Middle School will follow the regular full-day schedule, attending 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. During Weeks 3 & 4, each grade level will have 4 days of on-campus learning (8:00-3:00) and 1 day of scheduled, synchronous virtual learning (8:00-3:00).
    • Monday – Grade 8 virtual; Grades 6/7 in-person, on-campus instruction
    • Tuesday – Grade 7 virtual; Grades 6/8 in-person, on-campus instruction
    • Wednesday: Grade 6 virtual; Grades 7/8 in-person, on-campus instruction
    • Thursday – Grades 6-8 in-person, on-campus instruction
    • Friday – Grades 6-8 in-person, on-campus instruction
  • Students will travel as a Community to all classes (core academics, PE, Arts & Design) with the exception of Grades 7 & 8 World Language to minimize direct contact throughout the grade level and to assist in contact tracing if needed. A student’s math level in grades 7 & 8 was taken into consideration in determining Community placement.
  • Full-day carpool
    • Morning drop off begins at 7:30 and afternoon pick up begins at 3:00.
  • Lunch will be provided.
  • Extended Play will not be available for Middle School students in August (except for MV staff).

Virtual Option. Middle School students who elect to go virtual every day will experience a combination of scheduled synchronous lessons, time to connect with peers who are 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].

Important Contacts

Gianne Demeritte, Middle School Executive Assistant | x2100
Max Hanson, Middle School Dean of Student Life & Operations | x2103
Jennifer Santi, Middle School Head of Learning and Innovation l x2129
Samantha Flowers, Director of Academic Resources l x2007
Lindsay Huie, Upper Campus Nurse | x7126
Kelli Bynum, Director of Counseling | x2020
Keri Walton, Upper Campus Counselor | x2252
Brandi Hoyos, Lower Campus and Upper Campus Director of IDEA | x2254

Please reach out to me or any of the contacts above with any questions you may have. Looking forward to connecting with each and every one of you in the coming days!

In Partnership,

Angél Kytle
Head of Middle School l x2902

July 30 MS Back-to-School Plan

Dear Middle School Families,

We are so excited to REUNITE with students and families for the 2020-21 year. We have missed all of you after being away for five months, and can’t wait to welcome our newest Mustangs. Our instructional methodology is grounded not only in mastery of foundational skills but also in student exploration and investigation through real world, project-based learning.

Outlined below is a more detailed overview of the learning scenario for the first four weeks of the year. As a reminder, the first day of school for Middle School is Tuesday, August 11.

Health and Well-Being Protocols
Health and well-being protocols are provided to protect MV students, faculty/staff, and families. Physical distancing and room-density guidelines are in place, as are requirements and expectations for face coverings. Transitions between classes are regulated by carefully monitored, single-direction traffic-flow in hallways and stairwells.

Carpool
Before the start of school, Dean of Student Life and Operations Max Hanson will mail each Middle School family their personal carpool number and a review of carpool procedures.

Schedule
On August 4, your child’s Community Leader and schedule will be released via PowerSchool. Families will receive instructions on how to sign up for a Family Share Conference with your child’s Community Leader which will be hosted on Monday, August 10.

Parent 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, Parent Orientation has been reimagined and will not take place on-campus in-person.

  • Pre-recorded Orientation videos will introduce classroom teachers, offer highlights of the school year, provide an overview of the school day, and walk through carpool procedures and protocols.
  • On Friday, August 7, at 12:30 pm, students will have a live Zoom meet-and-greet with their Community Leader and classmates to begin building relationships as well as address questions students may have from the pre-recorded videos. Student Orientation will be incorporated into the first week of the school year, especially in support of new students to the Upper Campus and/or the School.
  • On Monday, August 10, Community Leaders will host virtual Family Share Conferences with parents to further connect each family and their child’s Community Leader.

First Day of Middle School: August 11

Weeks 1 & 2: August 11 – August 21 (5-Day Model)

For the first two weeks, Middle School will adhere to an adjusted schedule, reducing the total number of students on-campus at any given time. We understand that one session or another may be more convenient for each family based on individual circumstances, and we apologize that we are unable to accommodate every family’s preference. The School does not intend to shift the teaching and learning responsibility to parents under this schedule.

  • Middle School students will 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 begins at 12:00/Afternoon pick up begins at 3:45
  • On August 4, your child’s Community Leader and schedule will be released as well as assigned morning or afternoon designation.
  • While building relationships and making personal connections with teachers and classmates will be important, we will review schedules and the flow of the school day; transition routines in the hallways; health and safety norms within classrooms and more public spaces; technology hardware, platforms, and acceptable use; and Middle School norms and expectations. Grade 6 will receive their iPads and the appropriate training as well.
  • Traveling together as a Community, the curricular and instructional focus will prioritize humanities, math, science, world language, and learning strategies.
  • Lunch will not be served during these first two weeks.
  • For these first two weeks, the Middle 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 Middle School students in August (except for MV staff).
  • In the near future, you will receive more information regarding athletic tryouts and practices.

Weeks 3 & 4: August 24 – September 4 (4-Day Model)

  • Middle 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. During Weeks 3 & 4, each grade level will have 4 days of on-campus learning (8:00-3:00) and 1 day of scheduled, synchronous virtual learning (8:00-3:00).
    • Monday – Grade 8 is virtual; Grades 6/7 in-person, on-campus instruction
    • Tuesday – Grade 7 is virtual; Grades 6/8 in-person, on-campus instruction
    • Wednesday – Grade 6 is virtual; Grades 7/8 in-person, on-campus instruction
    • Thursday – Grades 6-8 in-person, on-campus instruction
    • Friday – Grades 6-8 in-person, on-campus instruction
  • 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 Middle School students in August (except for MV staff).

Virtual Option. Middle School students who elect to go virtual every day will experience 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.

Thank you for your flexibility and grace in this most complex time. We appreciate your partnership. Please reach out to me with any questions you may have. I look forward to our school year beginning.

Angél W. Kytle
Head of Middle School