Middle School Update

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

Communication Archive

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 sstaples@mountvernonschool.org.

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 sstaples@mountvernonschool.org.

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