Upper School Update

April 11, 2021

Dear Upper School Families,

Walking through the Upper School this past week brought all kinds of joy and intrigue. Celebrating the latest college acceptances to Harvard, Stanford, The University of British Columbia, and Emory, to name a few, listening to the play rehearsals, overhearing presentations for iProject work, getting the downloads on last night’s athletics matches, marveling over the physics class and their siege weapons, and discussing end-of-mod and start-of-mod plans with teachers and students reminded me yet again of the phenomenal community and learning experiences that we get to regularly be involved in at Mount Vernon. And the extraordinary weather of late adds an additional bonus to affording opportunities for students and faculty to enjoy the outdoors more and more together. I hope and trust that your days’ reflections about our extraordinary school bring you many smiles and appreciations. 

Week of April 12-16

Tuesday, April 13
Upper School parents and students are invited to attend an online discussion with Lauren Winborne of Steer Smart, a non-profit organization dedicated to teaching young drivers, passengers, and parents about the risks of the road and how the decisions they make can have devastating consequences for themselves and others. Winborne has worked with countless schools and universities across the country. While her emphasis is on safety and prevention, she encourages students to dissect the anatomy of real crashes that have resulted in near catastrophic injuries or fatalities. Students and parents will hear authentic stories from the victims of these crashes. Join us for a Zoom call on April 13 at 7:00 pm. The link will be shared on Monday.

Friday, April 16
Vaccinations for MV Upper School students are available for those who are at least 16 years old and opt-in. More details were emailed last week to students and parents from Dean of Student Life and Operations Trish Bogdanchik. The opt-in does require a registration for a particular time block and two permissions forms to sign.

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 29: Upper School Honors Celebration
On Thursday, April 29, from 8:00-9:00 am, the Upper School will host a celebration for seniors and their parents to award honors and distinctions earned by a number of students. A select number of freshmen, sophomores, and juniors will also be honored. More details to come.

May 3-17: Preview of Schedule Adjustments Created by AP Examination Details
As we approach the end of the year, please make note of the important information regarding AP Examinations (much more detail at this link, and will come in a separate email, as well). The College Board has made many changes to AP test administration this year as a result of COVID-19. Based on student and teacher feedback, the School has chosen to provide a pencil-and-paper option for AP exams during Administration One, which takes place, May 3-17. These exams will take place at Mount Vernon. Due to room demands for AP testing, according to College Board requirements and COVID regulations, the Upper School will run a staggered schedule different than at other times this year.

  • May 3-7: On the first week of testing, the Upper School will run the following staggered schedule
    • Grades 11/12: in-person classes Monday, Tuesday, and Friday
    • Grades 11/12: virtual on Wednesday and Thursday
    • Grades 9/10: in-person all week
  • May 10-14: For the second week of testing, the Upper School will run the following stagger:
    • Grades 11/12: in-person classes Tuesday and Thursday
    • Grades 11/12: virtual on Monday, Wednesday and Friday
    • Grades 9/10: in-person all week
  • May 17: Normal schedule

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 Grades 9-12

  • April 26-28, 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 Grades 9-12

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

Softball

Varsity Softball Tryouts: Rising Grades 9-12

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

Volleyball

Varsity Volleyball Tryouts: Rising Grades 9-12

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

Cross Country

Varsity Cross Country: Rising Grades 9-12

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

Last Friday, April 9, marked the conclusion of Mod 5. While letter grades were posted in PowerSchool on Friday, there is a small number of unique assessment cases that may result in a few grade postings by Monday morning. On Monday, April 12, we are extremely excited to begin Mod 6, and we are thrilled by the incredible learning experiences that will be enjoyed throughout these final six weeks of school. As always, thank you for your constant support and partnership in this blessed endeavor of working together to educate our learners.

Sincerely,

Bo Adams
Head of Upper School
Chief Learning and Innovation Officer
X2901

Communication Archive

April 4

April 4, 2021

Dear Upper School Families,

Happy Easter! I hope and trust you all enjoyed the long weekend in some way, shape or form. Before the break, the Upper School enjoyed a fun and spirited Tuesday, as we helped film the Mustang Rally Spirit Week parade video. We are continuing to grow in excitement for that special week on campus later in April. 

As we get deeper into April, students are continuing to engage in their course scheduling process. Faculty and administrators keep hearing great excitement from so many students about the course offerings and the ways that the new five-period schedule for 2021-22 allows for greater inclusion of classes that are on one’s dream list. And it’s amazing that we are nearing the final mod of this year!

Week of April 5-9

During the week, starting back to school on Tuesday, April 6, the Upper School will operate at full capacity, with all students on-campus who are attending in-person classes. Virtual students will, of course, connect to classes via Zoom.

Monday, April 5
No School

Friday, April 9
End of Mod 5. Final grades for Mod 5 courses will be posted by the end of day on this Friday. Please reach out to specific teachers with any questions about assessment and grading in a particular course. Remember that the most robust information about student learning and progress, with evidence of student work, can be found on the Parent Portal of Altitude Learning. 

Tuesday, April 13
Upper School parents and students are invited to attend an online discussion with Lauren Winborne of Steer Smart, a non-profit organization dedicated to teaching young drivers, passengers, and parents about the risks of the road and how the decisions they make can have devastating consequences for themselves and others. Winborne has worked with countless schools and universities across the country. While her emphasis is on safety and prevention, she encourages students to dissect the anatomy of real crashes that have resulted in near catastrophic injuries or fatalities. Students and parents will hear authentic stories from the victims of these crashes. Join us for a Zoom call on April 13 at 7:00 pm. The link will be shared next week.

Friday, April 16
Vaccinations for MV Upper School students who are at least 16 years old and opt-in. More details will be provided in the April 11 Weekly Update.

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.

We feel the wonder and amazement of nearing the end of Mod 5 and starting our final Mod 6 on Monday, April 12. How grateful we are for the blessings of being together at MV this year despite the challenges posed by the global pandemic. Thanks again for all you do as parents and families to help us this year.

Sincerely,

Bo Adams
Head of Upper School
Chief Learning and Innovation Officer
X2901

March 28

March 28, 2021

Dear Upper School Families,

Wow! Thank you! We have felt so valued and appreciated this week as faculty and staff during Teacher Appreciation Week! We are grateful for the special food, treats, and gifts this week from our parents and 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 RDI professional learning session 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.

Also, this past week, Director of iProject Lynn Luster and Associate Director of iProject Ricky Hyde provided a “state of the union” session about the iProject program which has evolved and iterated throughout the last seven years. I continue to be so amazed by the opportunities that our learners have to pursue project explorations of emerging and deep interests in their lives. Through the projects, students not only experiment with fascinating ideas and product developments, but they also build strong capacity and capability in project management, a skillset that will serve them well throughout their lives.

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. 

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

Upper School 

All Employees

C19 Positive

3 of 429

0 of 248

Direct Exposure

11 of 429

1 of 248

 

Week of March 29-April 2

The Upper School will run a regular schedule beginning next week.
US Master Schedule

Tuesday, March 30 – Spirit Day for Upper Campus
Upper 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. Seniors have been asked to wear a college themed top with uniform bottoms or jeans.The recording of this parade will be sent to the community on Friday, April 23. The parade will be physically distanced by grade. Through the magic of editing, the finished video will bring our entire school together.

Friday, April 2
No School

Monday, April 4
No School

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

For our families that celebrate the Easter season, I hope and pray for you a joyful Easter Sunday, as well as the hope, renewal and rebirth that the promises of Easter bring! 

Sincerely, 

Bo Adams
Head of Upper School
Chief Learning and Innovation Officer
X2901

March 21

March 21, 2021

Dear Upper School Families,

Returning from spring break, faculty and students have seemed to genuinely cherish jumping back into classes and conversations with one another. This week, unfortunately, has also brought great sorrow and heartbreak in Atlanta as we heard news of the mass shootings and violence against our Asian neighbors. I wish I were wise enough to know the ideal words to write, yet I would feel remiss not to acknowledge the feelings this week and the desire to express love and care for members of our Mount Vernon community who have been even more personally affected by this tragedy. As detailed in our Expressions, Language, and Acts of Racism statement:

“Honoring and respecting one another, regardless of identity and background, empowers members of our community to realize their full potential, to engage meaningfully in life, and to leave at the end of each day with their humanity fully intact. The School seeks to respect, affirm, and protect the dignity and worth of each member of our community to advance inclusion, diversity, and equity at Mount Vernon.”

I am hopeful for the hearts and actions of our students as they develop the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to help us all design a better world. 

Week of March 22 – 26

The Upper School will be running a staggered schedule for a second week following the break to account for gatherings and travel. This will allow the School to continue to reduce the density of students and faculty in the School at any one time while monitoring the health condition in the Upper School community and ascertaining any new cases. US Master Schedule

Grades 9 and 10

  • In-person, on-campus (8:30 – 2:30) Monday/Wednesday/Friday
  • Virtual/synchronous (8:30 – 2:30) Tuesday/Thursday
  • Late start (9:30) Wednesday – more details below

Grades 11 and 12

  • Virtual/synchronous (8:30 – 2:30) Monday/Wednesday/Friday
  • In-person, on-campus (8:30 – 2:30) Tuesday/Thursday
  • Late start (9:30) Wednesday – more details below

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: No Conference Day for US/Late-Start/Spirit Day
There is no US Conference Day on March 24, and parents may continue to reach out to faculty, as usual, to schedule any necessary virtual conferences. 

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 Wednesday, March 24, we have a late start, and carpool will begin at 9:10 on both campuses, with the school day starting at 9:30.

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

Schedule for Milepost Grades for Mod 5:
In Mod 5, we have seven academic weeks with a one week interruption for spring break. With this in mind, the schedule for posting upcoming Milepost Grades in PowerSchool will be as follows:

  1. Mod 5 Milepost 2 grade will be posted by the end of day Friday, March 26.
  2. Mod 5 Final grade will be posted by the end of day Friday, April 9.

During the past week, on Monday and Tuesday, we were fortunate to have Kristy Lundstom visit the Upper School for two days of orientation and onboarding with faculty and students. Her presence was inspiring and encouraging, and we are very blessed to welcome her very soon as the new Head of Upper School.

As we experience the season of Lent and the approach of Easter, may we all find ways to seek moments of renewal, rebirth and rejuvenation. Seeing the growing signs of spring continue to symbolize the wonderful sense of hope that I pray we might all embrace and share. 

Sincerely, 

Bo Adams
Head of Upper School
Chief Learning and Innovation Officer
X2901

March 14

March 14, 2021

Dear Upper School Families,

During the last weekend of February, nearly 30 Mount Vernon students gathered to participate in the statewide Georgia Thespian Conference. Though the conference was virtual this year, the students gathered on campus to watch showcase performances and participate in workshops together. Prior to the event, the theatre department had submitted our production of The Tempest as well as many individual and group performances to be adjudicated. Not only was The Tempest one of 10 featured showcase performances from across the state, but seven of our Upper School students received superior ratings, which qualifies them to move on to the International Thespian Conference this summer. Congratulations to our incredible performing arts students and faculty!

I hope and trust you enjoyed a fabulous week of rest, recreation and relaxation during spring break. We are all excited to welcome you back to Mount Vernon on Monday morning, either in person or virtually!

Week of March 15 – 19

The Upper School will be running a staggered schedule for the week following the break to account for gatherings and travel. This will allow the School to continue to reduce the density of students and faculty in the School at any one time while monitoring the health condition in the Upper School community and ascertaining any new cases after the break. US Master Schedule

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.

Grades 9 and 10

  • In-person, on-campus (8:30 – 12:05) Monday 
  • Virtual/synchronous (8:30 – 2:30) Tuesday/Thursday
  • In-person, on-campus (8:30 – 2:30) Wednesday/Friday

Grades 11 and 12

  • Virtual/synchronous (8:30 – 12:05) Monday 
  • In-person, on-campus (8:30 – 2:30) Tuesday/Thursday
  • Virtual/synchronous (8:30 – 2:30) Wednesday/Friday

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. 

Wednesday, March 24: No Conference Day for US/Late-Start
In the fall, we announced that we would not be holding traditional conference days in the US this year. Because of the accessibility to faculty during the year via email, phone, and Zoom, parents can always schedule a conference with any teacher with whom they want to speak. In a recent parent communication, there was some incorrect information communicated about March 24, and I am so sorry that it caused confusion. There is no US Conference Day on March 24, and parents may continue to reach out to faculty, as usual, to schedule any necessary virtual conferences. 

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 Wednesday, March 24, we have a late start, and carpool will begin at 9:10 on both campuses, with the school day starting at 9:30.

Schedule for Milepost Grades for Mod 5:
In Mod 5, we have seven academic weeks with a one week interruption for spring break. With this in mind, the schedule for posting upcoming Milepost Grades in PowerSchool will be as follows:

  1. Mod 5 Milepost 2 grade will be posted by the end of day Friday, March 26.
  2. Mod 5 Final grade will be posted by the end of day Friday, April 9.

Resources for Course Request and Registration Process
On Friday, February 19, the School emailed you a summary of the resources shared during our Upper School Rise Up Meetings. They have also now been organized on Look Up, and you can find those here: https://lookup.mountvernonschool.org/hc/en-us/articles/360043780014.

Welcome back to School, Mount Vernon! Here’s to a wonderful month of March!

Sincerely, 

Bo Adams
Head of Upper School
Chief Learning and Innovation Officer
X2901

February 28

February 28, 2021

Dear Upper School Families,

As most, if not all, of you know, Mount Vernon has been using the inquiry-based teaching method of project-based learning (PBL) for many years. Throughout our lives, we all tend to learn most frequently and most deeply by engaging in projects – playing the piano, planting a garden, taking on the pursuit of mountaineering, building a computer, etc. These interests and curiosities create “need-to-know” moments where we actively and purposefully dig deeper into additional information, and the content has great mental velcro on which to stick thanks to our motivation and engagement in the project.

This week, our Head of Learning and Innovation Jared Colley shared another great article amongst our faculty about PBL: https://www.edutopia.org/article/new-research-makes-powerful-case-pbl. With all of the sun and warmer weather this past week, I have loved seeing so many of our classes taking advantage of the start of spring to dig deeper into a number of projects that only get better by being outside. As I write this, I’m sitting in a scheduling meeting in the MAC, looking out the window as a number of students are walking the trails with their teacher and recording observations of flora and fauna while also writing creatively about nature. What a blessing to have this amazing campus as such a powerful part of our learning environment.

Schedule for Milepost Grades for Mod 5:

In Mod 5, we have seven academic weeks with a one week interruption for spring break. With this in mind, the schedule for posting Milepost Grades in PowerSchool will be as follows:

  1. Mod 5 Milepost 1 grade will be posted Wednesday, March 3 by 4pm.
  2. Mod 5 Milepost 2 grade will be posted by the end of day Friday, March 26.
  3. Mod 5 Final grade will be posted by the end of day Friday, April 9.

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

Week of March 15 – 19

The Upper School will be running a staggered schedule for the week following the break to account for gatherings and travel. This will allow the School to continue to reduce the density of students and faculty in the School at any one time while monitoring the health condition in the Upper School community and ascertaining any new cases after the break. US Master Schedule

Grades 9 and 10

  • In-person, on-campus (8:30 – 2:30) Monday/Wednesday/Friday
  • Virtual/synchronous (8:30 – 2:30) Tuesday/Thursday

Grades 11 and 12

  • Virtual/synchronous (8:30 – 2:30) Monday/Wednesday/Friday
  • In-person, on-campus (8:30 – 2:30) Tuesday/Thursday

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.

Resources for Course Request and Registration Process
On Friday, February 19, the School emailed you a summary of the resources shared during our Upper School Rise Up Meetings. They have also now been organized on Look Up, and you can find those here: https://lookup.mountvernonschool.org/hc/en-us/articles/360043780014.

As you read this letter, we will be moving into the month of March and the week before spring break. Whether you are traveling or staying close to home for the week, I hope and pray for you a fun, restful, relaxing and rejuvenating time. We owe so much gratitude to our faculty and staff for all that they are managing during this global pandemic, and we are also deeply thankful for all of the sacrifices and commitments you continue to make so that MV can maximize our in-person learning and activities this year. So, I also hope and pray for safety for you and your family during our break.

Of course, we plan to make the most of this upcoming week. A camp director I worked for more than three decades ago used to say, “Don’t count the days, make the days count!”

Sincerely,

Bo Adams
Head of Upper School
Chief Learning and Innovation Officer
X2901

February 21

February 21, 2021

Dear Upper School Families,

Thank you so much to all of our families with students in the Classes of 2025, 2024, 2023, and 2022 for participating in our Upper School Rise-Up Meetings last week to showcase a variety of high-level highlights in our program and to preview the details of official course registration for 2021-22. Hopefully, whether you were able to attend or not, you have already received the communication on Friday, February 19, sharing the recordings of the Rise-Up Meetings, the 2021-22 US Course Catalog, and a number of other pertinent resources for course registration. Obviously, we want the students to be in the driver’s seat as much as possible with course selection and registration, and we are also hopeful and encouraging that parents work with their students on those decisions. Please reach out to any member of the Upper School Leadership team with questions that we can help you resolve throughout the process. 

Schedule for Milepost Grades for Mod 5:

Mod 5 is peculiar because we really have seven academic weeks with a one week interruption for spring break. With this in mind, the schedule for posting Milepost Grades in PowerSchool will be as follows:

  1. Mod 5 Milepost 1 grade will be posted Wednesday, March 3 by 4pm.
  2. Mod 5 Milepost 2 grade will be posted by the end of day Friday, March 26.
  3. Mod 5 Final grade will be posted by the end of day Friday, April 9.

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.

As we near the end of February, the beginning of March, and the various excitements around spring break, I hope all of our families will find opportunities to name gratitudes for the rebirth and renewal that spring symbolizes and brings literally to life. While I mention it often in the closings of these weekly updates, I am deeply grateful for your continued support, encouragement, feedback, and thoughtfulness as partners in this journey together as an MV community. 

Sincerely, 

Bo Adams
Head of Upper School
Chief Learning and Innovation Officer
X2901

February 14

February 14, 2021

Dear Upper School Families,

Happy Valentine’s Day! I hope you and your loved ones are experiencing an extra-special day today with one another. And I hope and trust you are enjoying this long weekend break. The faculty, staff, and Upper School administration are grateful for this chance to catch our breath, and yet we look forward to the start of Mod 5 on Tuesday with much excitement and positive anticipation.

With the end of Mod 4 on Thursday, February 11, faculty are working to finalize assessment and grading for the concluding mod. All final Mod 4 grades will be posted in PowerSchool by the end of day on Tuesday, February 16. If you have any questions about Mod 4 grades, please encourage your child to get in touch with the teacher, and parents may always reach out to our faculty, as well. As I often remind you, please remember that the most robust and complete record of student work, progress monitoring, and feedback can be found in Altitude Learning.

As we enter this upcoming week, we are thrilled to dive more deeply into the Rise-Up Meetings and course request process.

Week of February 15-19

Monday, February 15
No School

Wednesday, February 17
Mod 4 grades posted in PowerSchool

Rise up to Grade 9 for current Grade 8 parents, at 8:00 am via Zoom. Zoom link: Class of 2025

  • Meeting ID: 873 3159 0987
  • Passcode: RtvKf8

Thursday, February 18
Rise up to Grade 10 for current Grade 9 parents, at 8:00 am via Zoom. Zoom link: Class of 2024

  • Meeting ID: 848 1978 3806
  • Passcode: 2vZvjp

Friday, February 19
Rise up to Grades 11/12 for current Grades 10/11 parents, at 8:00 am via Zoom. Zoom link: Classes of 2022 & 2023

  • Meeting ID: 843 6912 4064
  • Passcode: 71MvM1

Official Course Request Process for 2021-22: Key Dates and Brief Details
We are now in the season during which students will request their academic courses for the 2021–2022 school year. This process includes students and families being able to see one’s schedule as it develops and have input at each turn. A more detailed letter about the Official Course Request Process can be read here, and the following is a very high-level overview of the timeframe.

  • TIMEFRAME
    • February: Grade Level Advisement Meetings (during school time) and Rise Up Meetings (mid-February for parents via Zoom)
    • Late March to Late April: 1:1 Schedule Advisement Meetings for Students
    • August: Final Schedules Released

This past week, I watched the video of our MV Arts production of Shwingin’ Shingin’ Shakespeare. What an incredible showcase of creativity, imagination and innovation in musical theatre. Many thanks to Clark Taylor, Vann Thornton, Winn Scott, and the entire cast and crew for their work and fun show.

Huge congratulations to our Varsity Swim Teams for their Third Place Team Finish at the 1A-3A State Championships, and to the individuals who placed in the gold, silver and bronze positions in their events:

  • MV State Champion Relay Team: Evan Bell, Hayes Beamon, Sam Whiting, Rylan Kruep won state for Mount Vernon in the 200 Medley. Seeded #2, they outpaced Westminster to win All American consideration with a time of 1:33.53
  • Hayes Beamon – 1st place, 19.93 All-American in the 50 Free; 2nd place 100 yd Butterfly in 49:28
  • Boys 200 yd Freestyle Relay, 1:25:18, 2nd place: Sam Whiting, Rylan Kruep, Evan Bell, Hayes Beamon

And another enormous congratulations to Erik Dodder for his last-seconds, come-from-behind pin in the 182 pound weight class to secure the Individual Wrestling State Championship!

Recently, I have received a number of emails of thanks and gratitude about the efforts that Mount Vernon and the faculty and staff have made to make school such a positive and profound experience in this challenging year. Additionally, as we concluded the perennial enrollment period on February 8, we were able to see that we have an Upper School retention rate of 98.5% (the rate is 96% whole school). We are proud of such a statistic, as it showcases the strength of our partnership, School and home, as we continue to express our leadership as a School of inquiry, innovation and impact. Thank you for all you do as parents and families to strengthen our School!

Sincerely,

Bo Adams
Head of Upper School
Chief Learning and Innovation Officer
X2901

February 7

February 7, 2021

Dear Upper School Families,

This past week we launched our Black History Month focus, and the student prefects have done a fabulous job collaborating with our Upper School IDEA Coordinator Pamela Villafañe to honor the rich diversity of thought, traditions, and culture of our Black community and pay tribute to those who have come before us. On Thursday, we learned of the appointment of Stacey Lee to the inaugural post of Chief of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Action, and we are thrilled beyond measure to begin working with Mrs. Lee very soon. I am grateful to be a part of our School as we continue investing so intentionally in the support of our faculty and staff and designing developmentally appropriate experiences to increase awareness, develop empathy, and produce an inclusive community. 

And on Friday, we learned of the appointment of Kristy Lundström as our new Head of Upper School, starting this summer. Honestly, I consider my opportunity to serve as Head of Upper School a great blessing and honor this year, and I also am excited to return to my all-school role of Chief Learning and Innovation Officer. Mrs. Lundström is an amazing leader with a unique combination of significant professional experience depth and a personal disposition of extraordinary thoughtfulness and concern for others. 

We are grateful to still be on campus learning and having fun together with your children, and we appreciate your continued commitment to our health and well-being protocols to make this happen. 

As we near mid-February (amazing!), we are also incredibly excited to host the Zoom sessions for each Rise-Up meeting to detail the big-picture plans for 2021-22, as well as to launch the formal course request process. 

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 Mod 4

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

Week of February 15-19

Monday, February 15
No School

Wednesday, February 17
Rise up to Grade 9 for current Grade 8 parents, at 8:00 am via Zoom. Links will be sent to families next week.
Mod 4 grades posted in PowerSchool

Thursday, February 18
Rise up to Grade 10 for current Grade 9 parents, at 8:00 am via Zoom. Links will be sent to families next week.

Friday, February 19
Rise up to Grades 11/12 for current Grades 10/11 parents, at 8:00 am via Zoom. Links will be sent to families next week.

Official Course Request Process for 2021-22: Key Dates and Brief Details
We are nearing the season during which students will request their academic courses for the 2021–2022 school year. This process will include students and families being able to see one’s schedule as it develops and have input at each turn. A more detailed letter about the Official Course Request Process can be read here, and the following is a very high-level overview of the timeframe.

  • TIMEFRAME
    • February: Grade Level Advisement Meetings (during school time) and Rise Up Meetings (mid-February for parents via Zoom)
    • Late March to Late April: 1:1 Schedule Advisement Meetings for Students
    • August: Final Schedules Released

Preview and Highlights of the Schedule Enhancements for 2021-22

In the upcoming Rise-Up meetings, beginning in mid-February, we will share more details about the Upper School schedule enhancements for next year. In the meantime, here are the essential, big-picture iterations to our mod and weekly schedule, set to start in August 2021.

  • Mods will lengthen from six weeks to nine weeks (therefore, the year will consist of four mods versus six). The primary reasons for extending the mods to nine weeks are 1) to strengthen the classroom-community relationships that develop among students and with the teachers during the run of a course, and 2) to enhance the assessment opportunities for students to develop deeper competency and have additional time for reassessment relative to the standards and objectives being learned in a course. As a result of moving to nine-week mods, each mod will carry a 0.5 credit, and two of the nine-week mods will result in a full course credit of 1.0.
  • In order to optimize student choice for course selection, we will move from a four-period day to a five-period day. We will continue to schedule a Getting Things Done (GTD) as one of the five periods each day, so that students can complete work at school and free up time for family and other interests after school. Classes will remain 70 minutes in length most days, and they will run 65 minutes on the days we have Advisory and Chapel. 

As we reach the end of Mod 4 on Thursday, February 11, teachers will be working to grade and provide feedback on final assessments. With the President’s Day Holiday, grades in PowerSchool will be posted by Wednesday, February 17. 

While it is hard to believe that we are reaching the close of Mod 4 and the start of Mod 5 on Tuesday, February 16, I commend all of the faculty and staff for their thoughtful and purposeful design of meaningful learning experiences for our students. And I commend our students for their positive, growth mindsets and the perseverance that they demonstrate to learn strongly even amidst a school year that has demanded sacrifice and inconvenience. And, as always, huge thanks to you parents and guardians for your incredible support and partnership at Mount Vernon. 

Sincerely, 

Bo Adams
Head of Upper School
Chief Learning and Innovation Officer
X2901

January 31

January 31, 2020

Dear Upper School Families,

On Wednesday, January 27, our Upper Campus faculty and staff participated in our third professional learning session with our partner iChange Collaborative. In Module 3, we explored the impact of bias and examined its effects on both Black and White students. We discussed the influence of dominant culture norms in standards of professionalism and educational practices. We identified common patterns of racial identity experience, and through a series of conversations, built strategies to address and counteract racism. As a part of our IDEA work, these modules with iChange Collaborative are proving to be introspective and reflective moments for our teams, and the community is developing ever stronger bonds with one another. Through our exploration of identity, race, community and inclusion, we are building greater capacity and competency in supporting our students’ growth as leaders who understand more deeply how to empathize with one another and how to draw on each other’s experiences and strengths. For me, personally, the learning has been profoundly enriching and expanding. I continue to appreciate your support of our late-start Wednesdays so that we can engage in this professional learning work as a faculty and staff. 

On-Campus Schedule: Week of February 1-5, 2021

The Upper School will be running a full 5-day schedule for grades 9-12 beginning Monday, February 1. The School will continue to monitor the health condition in the Upper School community, and adjust the schedule if and when necessary. 

Week of February 1-5, 2021

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. 

Official Course Request Process for 2021-22: Key Dates and Brief Details
We are nearing the season during which students will request their academic courses for the 2021–2022 school year. This process will include students and families being able to see one’s schedule as it develops and have input at each turn. A more detailed letter about the Official Course Request Process can be read here, and the following is a very high-level overview of the timeframe.

  • TIMEFRAME
    • February: Grade Level Advisement Meetings (during school time) and Rise Up Meetings (mid-February for parents via Zoom)
    • Late March to Late April: 1:1 Schedule Advisement Meetings for Students
    • August: Final Schedules Released

Preview and Highlights of the Schedule Enhancements for 2021-22

In the upcoming Rise-Up meetings, beginning in mid-February, we will share more details about the Upper School schedule enhancements for next year. In the meantime, here are the essential, big-picture iterations to our mod and weekly schedule, set to start in August 2021.

  • Mods will lengthen from six weeks to nine weeks (therefore, the year will consist of four mods versus six). The primary reasons for extending the mods to nine weeks are 1) to strengthen the classroom-community relationships that develop among students and with the teachers during the run of a course, and 2) to enhance the assessment opportunities for students to develop deeper competency and have additional time for reassessment relative to the standards and objectives being learned in a course. As a result of moving to nine-week mods, each mod will carry a 0.5 credit, and two of the nine-week mods will result in a full course credit of 1.0.
  • In order to optimize student choice for course selection, we will move from a four-period day to a five-period day. We will continue to schedule a Getting Things Done (GTD) as one of the five periods each day, so that students can complete work at school and free up time for family and other interests after school. Classes will remain 70 minutes in length most days, and they will run 65 minutes on the days we have Advisory and Chapel. 

On Friday, January 29, we reached the Milepost Week 4 grading period of this fourth mod of the year. Students and parents can review mid-mod, letter-grade mileposts in the courses via PowerSchool. As we’ve shared throughout the year, however, the most robust and complete view of student learning relative to the standards and objectives of each course can be found in the parent portal of Altitude Learning. From the “Progress” tab, one can view not only the progression of a student’s learning, but one can also dig deeper into examples and artifacts of student work and see teacher feedback. Our conclusion of Mod 4 will be on Friday, February 12. 

Thanks again, as always, for your incredible support and partnership at Mount Vernon. 

Sincerely, 

Bo Adams
Head of Upper School
Chief Learning and Innovation Officer
X2901

January 24

January 24, 2021

Dear Upper School Families,

Well, I find it hard to believe that we are already in the final week of January and nearly a full month into 2021. Our students continue to demonstrate commendable respect and responsibility with our Health and Well-Being protocols and procedures on campus, and they continue to lean into the myriad opportunities they have in their courses to demonstrate inquiry, innovation, and impact. As we near the end of January, Friday, January 29, will mark the Week 4 Milepost grading period for Mod 4. Students and parents can find details of the learning experiences in Altitude Learning, and time spent reviewing feedback via the “Progress” tab in Altitude is time well spent.

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. 

On-Campus Schedule: Week of January 25-29, 2021

The Upper School will be running a staggered schedule for another week. This will allow the School to continue to reduce the density of students and faculty in the School at any one time while monitoring the health condition in the Upper School community. We do anticipate that beginning the week of February 1, we will return to a regular, on-campus schedule for all four grade levels, provided conditions continue to improve. But for the week of January 25, we will stagger as follows.

Week of January 25 – 29, 2021

Grades 9 and 10

  • In-person, on-campus (8:30-2:30 Monday/Wednesday/Friday
  • Virtual/synchronous (8:30 – 2:30) Tuesday/Thursday
  • Late start on Wednesday, 9:30 am

Grades 11 and 12

  • In-person, on-campus (8:30 – 2:30) Tuesday/Thursday
  • Virtual/synchronous (8:30 – 2:30) Monday/Wednesday/Friday
  • Late start on Wednesday, 9:30 am

Official Course Request Process for 2021-22: Key Dates and Brief Details
We are nearing the season during which students will request their academic courses for the 2021–2022 school year. This process will include students and families being able to see one’s schedule as it develops and have input at each turn. A more detailed letter about the Official Course Request Process can be read here, and the following is a very high-level overview of the timeframe.

TIMEFRAME

    • February: Grade Level Advisement Meetings (during school time) and Rise Up Meetings (mid-February for parents via Zoom)
    • Late March to Late April: 1:1 Schedule Advisement Meetings for Students
    • Early June: Final Schedules Released

In the past month, faculty and students have provided fantastic feedback and input on potential tweaks and iterations to the Upper School schedule for next year. As we approach the Rise-Up meetings in mid-February, more information will be shared in those sessions, as well as in these Weekly Updates. In the meantime, please know that the adjustments to the schedule prioritize the following: 1) assessment practices being even more enhanced for students to build strong competency in the standards of learning, 2) relationship-building among students in a course and between a student and a course teacher, and 3) optimizing student course choice and continuing to tap into our design principle of “curiosity and passion drive learning.”

Thanks again, as always, for your incredible support and partnership at Mount Vernon.

Sincerely,

Bo Adams
Head of Upper School
Chief Learning and Innovation Officer
X2901

January 17

January 17, 2021

Dear Upper School Families,

As I write this on Thursday, January 14, a number of topics are on my mind. First and foremost, I am significantly reflective, particularly this year, of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the legacy that he and so many of his collaborators and allies left. I hope and pray that all of us might commemorate his life and teachings on Monday, January 18, and find active ways to forward his work and sacrifice through our own lives and opportunities. May we strive for the “beloved community.”

Second, I am also hopeful and prayerful for our country’s Presidential Inauguration on Wednesday, January 20. With the recent events surrounding our nation’s Capitol, I feel a deep sense of patriotism that extends infinitely beyond party lines, anticipating another peaceful transition of power and a moment to be grateful for our republic and the blessings of democracy. Our Humanities faculty, particularly those focused on the social sciences, will continue to be inspiring facilitators of learning around these events and historical times. 

Third, I am not long removed from the “Trends in College Counseling” session that Dr. Erin McCubbin, Ms. Aerial Dickerson, and Mr. Ryan May led this Thursday morning. They provided an intriguing and informative look at the college application and admissions process with their incredible experience, expertise, and outstanding care for our Upper School students and families. Please take a moment to review the recorded session if you were unable to attend the live event. 

Finally, as we enter the third week of Mod 4, I trust you were all able to check on the milepost grades that were submitted on Friday, January 15. At the same time, I trust you have been referencing the parent portal of Altitude Learning for more detailed information about your child’s learning journey in the current classes. As always, after reviewing with your child first, please feel free to contact your child’s teachers to discuss any questions, and feel welcomed and encouraged to reach out to Dr. Erin McCubbin, Mr. Jared Colley, or me with questions or concerns, too.

On-Campus Schedule: Week of 18-22, 2021

The Upper School will be running a staggered schedule for at least another week. This will allow the School to continue to reduce the density of students and faculty in the School at any one time while monitoring the health condition in the Upper School community and ascertaining any new cases after the break.

Week of January 18 – 22, 2021

Grades 9 and 10

  • No School on Monday
  • Virtual/synchronous (8:30 – 2:30) Tuesday/Thursday
  • In-person, on-campus (8:30 – 2:30) Wednesday/Friday 

Grades 11 and 12

  • No School on Monday
  • In-person, on-campus (8:30 – 2:30) Tuesday/Thursday
  • Virtual/synchronous (8:30 – 2:30) Wednesday/Friday 

As we come closer to the official course request process for 2021-22, we will provide you with the information and details that will help you navigate that season of choices. Rise-Up Meetings are approaching in mid-February, and we will keep you posted on what decisions are happening when. Until then, enjoy a longer weekend and the opportunity to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Thanks again, as always, for your incredible support and partnership at Mount Vernon. 

Sincerely, 

Bo Adams
Head of Upper School
Chief Learning and Innovation Officer
X2901

January 10

January 10, 2020

Dear Upper School Families,

What a week we have experienced. On Wednesday, January 6, as I watched and listened to the media showing an insurrectionist mob overtake the U.S. Capitol, I felt countless emotions including sorrow, fear and anger as our country and democracy endured the actions of extremists determined to engage in violence and disruption. Yet, I also felt pride, hope and patriotism as our U.S. Congress demonstrated courage and leadership in immediately and unwaveringly returning to their servant leadership to protect and preserve our democracy on the very day the tragedy occured. I was reminded of 9-11 and the ways in which good people and committed leaders come together in united fronts to make things better in times of deep trouble. Additionally, I felt great compassion and gratitude for our faculty and staff as they navigated their own emotions while serving as leaders for our Upper School learners striving to meaningfully process and understand this historical and personal moment in our lives and nation. I am so appreciative to work at Mount Vernon where we explicitly name our commitment to engaged citizen leadership and prepare our learners to be current and future leaders who design a better world. And I hope that all of you are progressing positively in your own meaning making and guidance during the challenges of the week.

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.

On-Campus Schedule: Week of 11-15, 2021

The Upper School will be running a staggered schedule for at least another week to account for holiday gatherings, travel, and an abundance of caution as we return to school from break. This will allow the School to continue to reduce the density of students and faculty in the School at any one time while monitoring the health condition in the Upper School community and ascertaining any new cases after the break.

Week of January 11 – 15, 2021

Grades 9 and 10

  • In-person, on-campus (8:30 – 2:30) Monday/Wednesday/Friday
  • Virtual/synchronous (8:30 – 2:30) Tuesday/Thursday

Grades 11 and 12

  • Virtual/synchronous (8:30 – 2:30) Monday/Wednesday/Friday
  • In-person, on-campus (8:30 – 2:30) Tuesday/Thursday

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

REMINDER: March 1-5, 2021: Additional Week in Mod 5 as Interim Week Delayed to Spring 2022
For many years, Mount Vernon Upper School students have enjoyed and benefited greatly from Interim Week, which serves as an incredible opportunity and differentiator at our School. From world and national travel, to job-embedded internships, Interim Week provides many once-in-a-lifetime experiences. While we have known that travel would not be possible during the global pandemic with COVID-19, in order to best protect our students and staff, we have been diligently researching, brainstorming and considering alternatives to Interim Week. However, after much deliberation, we have decided that a virtual Interim Week would not meet our expectations for the programmatic richness of Mount Vernon’s Interim Week traditions. Consequently, we plan to run an additional week in Mod 5, as we know those learning experiences will be robust and well-designed. Thank you so much for your understanding.

All the best to each and every one of our families this week and every week. Thank you for your continued partnership and support as we work to nurture learners and leaders who give more than take, serve more than they expect service, and build up more than tear down. Our own examples, models and demonstrations – at school and at home – of civil discourse, empathetic disagreement, mutual respect, and united advocacy for justice seem even more important now than ever.

Sincerely,

Bo Adams
Head of Upper School
Chief Learning and Innovation Officer
X2901

January 3

January 3, 2020

Dear Upper School Families,

Happy New Year! On behalf of the entire Upper School faculty and staff, I hope you enjoyed a wonderful Christmas and experienced very Happy Holidays! We are all extremely excited to welcome back our students for the start of our Mod 4 classes, as well as a fabulous 2021.

We have so much to be grateful for as we reflect on the many successes and accomplishments of the first three mods and semester of the year. As we launch the next learning experiences in the upcoming three mods and the second semester, we look forward to our faculty and students setting meaningful goals and striving to reach them. May we all exercise growth mindsets and a continued commitment to collaborating and learning with one another.

On-Campus Schedule: Weeks of January 4-8 and 11-15, 2021

The Upper School will be running a staggered schedule for two weeks following the break to account for holiday gatherings, travel, and an abundance of caution as we return to school. This will allow the School to continue to reduce the density of students and faculty in the School at any one time while monitoring the health condition in the Upper School community and ascertaining any new cases after the break.

Week of January 4 – 8, 2021
US Master Schedule

  • Monday, January 4: No School for students; Staff Work Day

Grades 9 and 10

  • In-person, on-campus (8:30 – 2:30) Wednesday/Friday
  • Virtual/synchronous (8:30 – 2:30) Tuesday/Thursday

Grades 11 and 12

  • Virtual/synchronous (8:30 – 2:30) Wednesday/Friday
  • In-person, on-campus (8:30 – 2:30) Tuesday/Thursday

Week of January 11 – 15, 2021

Grades 9 and 10

  • In-person, on-campus (8:30 – 2:30) Monday/Wednesday/Friday
  • Virtual/synchronous (8:30 – 2:30) Tuesday/Thursday

Grades 11 and 12

  • Virtual/synchronous (8:30 – 2:30) Monday/Wednesday/Friday
  • In-person, on-campus (8:30 – 2:30) Tuesday/Thursday

March 1-5, 2021: Additional Week in Mod 5 as Interim Week Delayed to Spring 2022
For many years, Mount Vernon Upper School students have enjoyed and benefited greatly from Interim Week, which serves as an incredible opportunity and differentiator at our School. From world and national travel, to job-embedded internships, Interim Week provides many once-in-a-lifetime experiences. While we have known that travel would not be possible during the global pandemic with COVID-19, in order to best protect our students and staff, we have been diligently researching, brainstorming and considering alternatives to Interim Week. However, after much deliberation, we have decided that a virtual Interim Week would not meet our expectations for the programmatic richness of Mount Vernon’s Interim Week traditions. Consequently, we plan to run an additional week in Mod 5, as we know those learning experiences will be robust and well-designed. Thank you so much for your understanding.

Standards-Based Grading and Competency-Based Learning Refresher
As you know, Mount Vernon has been researching, designing, and iterating best practices in learning and assessment for many years. We use a hybrid approach that combines standards-based grading, competency-based learning and regularly posted letter grades. The following points are fundamental to our professional practices in assessment and grading:

  • Our curriculum is robust and vigorous, and it sets conditions for students to engage in meaningful, purposeful projects while developing strong foundations in key knowledge and skills. Engagement and motivation are essential, as curiosity and passion drive learning.
  • The best way to track learning in our curriculum is by explicitly and clearly listing the standards and competency areas that learners are expected to develop. Our Altitude Learning platform provides detailed views at student work, teacher feedback, and evidence of student learning relative to the standards and competencies. More than thirty years of educational research and experience has shown that competency-based learning is the best system for supporting and advancing the deepest learning.
  • We are part of a larger system that utilizes letter grades to distinguish summary information about a student’s learning, and we believe these letter grades are a key part of our reporting. Nevertheless, the more valuable information about the details of student learning can be found in the tracking of standards, learning progress, and conversations about feedback and growth. (In Altitude Learning, this information is readily available in the “Progress” tab.)
  • Mount Vernon also spent years collaborating with colleges and universities to design, develop, and iterate our assessment and grading system, so that student learning and reporting would be best represented.

If you want to review or dig deeper into the competency-based learning and Altitude Learning resources we’ve shared during the first semester of “Weekly Updates,” please look to the document: MV Assessment and Altitude Learning for Publication.

Again, we look forward to seeing our students return to school this week, and we wish you a Happy New Year as we dive enthusiastically into January 2021!

Sincerely,

Bo Adams
Head of Upper School
Chief Learning and Innovation Officer
X2901

December 13: Week 19 Logistics

December 13, 2020

Dear Upper School Families,

Thank you so much for your flexibility and support with our late-start Wednesdays for professional learning amongst the faculty and staff. On Wednesday, December 9, we enjoyed a very powerful session with one of our IDEA partner organizations iChange Collaborative. We discussed topics related to personal identity and responded to questions such as “What can get in the way of discussing identity and race?, What do we need to feel safety and belonging in a community?, What is a challenge story for you during your childhood?” Teachers shared various life experiences with vulnerability and thoughtfulness. So many remarked that the session was profoundly helpful in terms of gaining insights and empathy for colleagues as well as for building trust and capacity in establishing classroom learning environments for enhanced inclusion and belonging. We are excited to continue our work with iChange Collaborative throughout the 2020-21 school year.

On-Campus Schedule: Week of December 14-17, 2020
The Upper School will operate with the following on-campus schedule for grades 9-12. Monitoring protocols and procedures, we will notify you of any modifications determined by the School.

Monday, December 14 – Thursday, December 17
Grades 9-12 in-person, on-campus (8:30-2:30)

  • Thursday, December 17 will be 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.

Assessment and Grading

On Friday, December 18, faculty will update Milepost grades to PowerSchool. Letter grades should be posted by 3:00 p.m., and this Milepost also marks the end of Mod 3 and the first semester. 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. At the same time, we value the important role of letter grades, and we plan to continue to use this well-researched hybrid method of standards and letter grades far into the future.

On-Campus Schedule: Week of January 4-8, 2021

The Upper School will be running a staggered schedule the week following Christmas break to account for holiday gatherings, travel, and an abundance of caution as we return to school. This will allow the School to continue to reduce the density of students and faculty in the School at any one time while monitoring the health condition in the Upper School community and ascertaining any new cases before and after the break.

With the upcoming Christmas break, we implore your family to take the necessary precautions to maintain a healthy environment beyond the School. If new cases continue to emerge, resulting in more students being sent home, the School will be required to take additional measures beyond a one-week staggered schedule following the break. We all have critical roles to play especially beyond the steps taken during the day at the School.

Week of January 4 – 8, 2021

Grades 9 and 10

  • In-person, on-campus (8:30 – 2:30) Wednesday/Friday
  • Virtual/synchronous (8:30 – 2:30) Tuesday/Thursday

Grades 11 and 12

  • Virtual/synchronous (8:30 – 2:30) Wednesday/Friday
  • In-person, on-campus (8:30 – 2:30) Tuesday/Thursday

March 1-5, 2021: Additional Week in Mod 5 as Interim Week Delayed to Spring 2022
For many years, Mount Vernon Upper School students have enjoyed and benefited greatly from Interim Week, which serves as an incredible opportunity and differentiator at our School. From world and national travel, to job-embedded internships, Interim Week provides many once-in-a-lifetime experiences. While we have known that travel would not be possible during the global pandemic with COVID-19, in order to best protect our students and staff, we have been diligently researching, brainstorming and considering alternatives to Interim Week. However, after much deliberation, we have decided that a virtual Interim Week would not meet our expectations for the programmatic richness of Mount Vernon’s Interim Week traditions. Consequently, we plan to run an additional week in Mod 5, as we know those learning experiences will be robust and well-designed. Thank you so much for your understanding.

May you have a fabulous week as we thoughtfully conclude Mod 3 and the incredibly successful first semester of this Reunite year at Mount Vernon. We are continuously grateful for the collective conviction and willingness to sacrifice in these last five months so that we can be together at our incredible School. Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

Sincerely,

Bo Adams
Head of Upper School
Chief Learning and Innovation Officer
X2901

December 6: Week 18 Logistics

December 6, 2020

Dear Upper School Families,

As December started, we celebrated another joyful moment among the Upper School faculty, as we welcomed the birth of Aaron Hawkins’ daughter. Additionally, the Upper School Prefects spent the Saturday before our return beautifully and festively decorating the Upper School Building for the Christmas season. As I mentioned in my last letter, we had six students participate in the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC), and they enjoyed some powerful learning that will help us all advance our efforts in the IDEA work.

The Class of 2021 has submitted just over 450 applications to 152 schools in the US, UK, and Canada! While it is still very early in the process of hearing back, 74% of MV seniors have already received at least one acceptance and 14% have enrolled in their first choice school! And the Class of 2021 has already brought in $1,000,000 in scholarship money, not including HOPE or athletic awards!

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 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.

The Upper School will be running a full five-day, on-campus schedule this coming week (see below). 

On-Campus Schedule: Weeks of Dec. 7-11 and Dec. 14-17
At the beginning of week 17, Monday, December 7, the Upper School will transition to 5 days on-campus for grades 9-12. Monitoring protocols and procedures, we will notify you of any modifications determined by the School.

December 7-11

  • Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday: in-person, on-campus (8:30-2:30)
  • Wednesday Late Start: in-person, on-campus (9:30-2:30)
  • US Master Schedule

December 14-17

  • Monday – Thursday: in-person, on-campus (8:30-2:30)
  • Friday 12/18: NO SCHOOL for students; Staff Work Day

Spring Sports Sign-Ups
Upper School students received the sign-up information and forms for Mount Vernon spring sports recently. If parents have any questions they may contact Assistant Director of Athletics Rita Williams at [email protected] or 404-252-3448 x2600.

PSAT Update
This week the College Board began releasing PSAT scores to schools. Your student can view their score in their SCOIR account. Beginning next week, if your Grade 10 or 11 student provided an email address, he or she received an email with a unique access code to view detailed score reports online. If he or she did not provide an email address, paper scores will be mailed later this month from College Board.

We strongly encourage you to look beyond the raw number and utilize the extensive information on the score report to understand the strengths and weaknesses and to plan for the future.

  • To see a brief overview of how to interpret and utilize PSAT scores, check out this 2 minute video from the College Board.
  • For a more detailed explanation, watch this 8-minute video.
  • In particular, we want to draw your attention to the ability to link PSAT scores to free online test prep and videos from official College Board partner Khan Academy.

Remember, this practice test has no bearing on college admission! If you have any questions related to the PSAT, do not hesitate to contact a member of the college counseling team.

Assessment and Grading
At the end of last week, on Friday, December 4, we reached the Week 4 Milepost for Mod 3, and the faculty posted updated grades to PowerSchool. Please remember that 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. As updates continue to be posted in Altitude Learning, the next Milepost grade in PowerSchool will occur by end of day on Friday, December 18, which also marks the end of the semester.

This December brings much hope with the announcements and news about the incredible scientific and business efforts to deliver a vaccine for COVID-19, and we joyfully anticipate Christmas and the New Year of 2021. Chag Urim Sameach! to our families celebrating Hanukkah. And Happy Kwanzaa to our families preparing to celebrate the seven principles starting on December 26. May each and every one of our families find time to experience joy, celebration, reflection, and spiritual well-being in our faith traditions.

Sincerely,

Bo Adams
Head of Upper School
Chief Learning and Innovation Officer
X2901

November 29: Week 17 Logistics

November 29, 2020

Dear Upper School Families,

First and foremost, I hope you and your family enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving. Without a doubt, this Thanksgiving was different for many, yet I know I continue to have so much to be grateful for, even amidst so many challenges and disappointments. The faculty and staff at Mount Vernon continue to serve in truly heroic ways during this global pandemic, and I am glad that they could set aside “school work” for a bit. Yet, from talking with so many of them, I know they are excited to reconnect with students and exchange stories from the break and reunite after the various disruptions that came the weeks between Halloween and Thanksgiving.

Since my last letter, we also experienced the faculty and parent learning sessions for IDEA with Julie Lythcott-Haims. For me personally, her stories showed such vulnerability, courage, and thoughtfulness as she described her journey as a terrifying sink and a re-emerging rise through self-loathing and self-love. I know that our faculty and students of color have shared similar stories, and I am deeply grateful to be engaging in the IDEA work as a school community who is better together and striving to design, foster, nurture and protect inclusion, diversity, equity and action. Thank you to so many of you who tuned in to the parent session on November 17 and are continuing the efforts to understand how best to talk to our children about race and racism.

As we return from Thanksgiving break, the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) will be running its annual People of Color Conference (PoCC). As part of this conference, we are excited to have Mount Vernon prefects and other students attending and participating in the Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC) to advance their own learning and efforts in IDEA.

The information that follows hopefully provides reminders about a number of logistics and details.

The Upper School will be running a staggered schedule this coming week (see below) in order to account for holiday gatherings, travel, and college students returning home last week. This will allow the School to continue to reduce the density of students and faculty in the School at any one time while monitoring the health condition in the Upper School community and ascertaining any new cases after the break.

As we return from Thanksgiving break, we implore your family to continue taking the necessary precautions to maintain a healthy environment beyond the School. If new cases continue to emerge, resulting in more students being sent home, the School will be required to take additional measures beyond a one-week staggered schedule following the break. We all have critical roles to play especially beyond the steps taken during the day at the School.

Week of November 30 – December 4

Grades 9 and 10

  • In-person, on-campus (8:30 – 2:30) Monday/Wednesday/Friday
  • Virtual/synchronous (8:30 – 2:30) Tuesday/Thursday

Grades 11 and 12

  • Virtual/synchronous (8:30 – 2:30) Monday/Wednesday/Friday
  • In-person, on-campus (8:30 – 2:30) Tuesday/Thursday

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

At the end of this week, on Friday, December 4, we will be at the Week 4 Milepost for Mod 3. Faculty will post updated grades to PowerSchool by the end of day on December 4. Please remember that 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. We appreciate your ongoing partnership in this transformation and innovation.

Sincerely,

Bo Adams
Head of Upper School
Chief Learning and Innovation Officer
X2901

November 15: Week 15 Logistics

November 15, 2020

Dear Upper School Families,

Entering the week before Thanksgiving, I am even more cognizant than usual of our many blessings. We are so fortunate to be a part of The Mount Vernon School community. Especially in times of challenge and hardship due to this global pandemic, I am reminded of the calming and unifying strength of our School family. As you experience the holidays in this different, but no less important moment, may you find joy and peace and comfort with those you are sharing your days.

The Upper School will be running a staggered schedule this week (see below) and the week following Thanksgiving break due to an increase in recent cases as well as to account for holiday gatherings, travel, and college students returning home. This will allow the School to continue to reduce the density of students and faculty in the School at any one time while monitoring the health condition in the Upper School community and ascertaining any new cases before and after the break.

With the upcoming Thanksgiving break, we implore your family to take the necessary precautions to maintain a healthy environment beyond the School. If new cases continue to emerge, resulting in more students being sent home, the School will be required to take additional measures beyond a one-week staggered schedule following the break. We all have critical roles to play especially beyond the steps taken during the day at the School.

Week of November 16 – 20

Grades 9 and 10

  • In-person, on-campus (8:30 – 2:30) Monday/Wednesday
  • Virtual/synchronous (8:30 – 2:30) Tuesday/Thursday
  • In-person, on-campus (8:30 – 12:05) Friday

Grades 11 and 12

  • Virtual/synchronous (8:30 – 2:30) Monday/Wednesday
  • In-person, on-campus (8:30 – 2:30) Tuesday/Thursday
  • Virtual/synchronous (8:30 – 12:05) Friday

Week of November 30 – December 4

Grades 9 and 10

  • In-person, on-campus (8:30 – 2:30) Monday/Wednesday/Friday
  • Virtual/synchronous (8:30 – 2:30) Tuesday/Thursday

Grades 11 and 12

  • Virtual/synchronous (8:30 – 2:30) Monday/Wednesday/Friday
  • In-person, on-campus (8:30 – 2:30) Tuesday/Thursday

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 7:10-8:30 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?”

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

All the best to you and yours in this Thanksgiving season. We remain deeply and humbly grateful for your partnership with all that we do at Mount Vernon. Enjoy a blessed holiday.

Sincerely,

Bo Adams
Head of Upper School
Chief Learning and Innovation Officer
X2901

November 8: Week 14 Logistics

November 8, 2020

Dear Upper School Families,

As I write this week’s letter, we are continuing to adjust to the recent news of a number of people being affected by direct contact with someone with COVID-19, through contact tracing. We are particularly empathetic with the football team and members of the state-bound cross country team. And we are feeling disappointment alongside the seniors for not being able to spectate and cheer at the home football game last Friday. In moments like these, we are reminded of the importance of resilience and how we choose to show up for others in our community. A number of staff have stepped up and stepped in to support those faculty who are now teaching virtually from home. The students continue to be remarkably diligent with the Health and Well-Being Protocols at the School, and we are grateful for our families’ continued commitment to following mitigation strategies away from school in order to set conditions for our learners being able to be physically present on campus as much as possible.

Amidst challenges, though, we have enjoyed the beginning of Mod 3 classes, and our faculty have prepared incredible learning experiences for the next five weeks leading up to Christmas break. As we near Thanksgiving, we have so much to be grateful for, and I am reminded of one of my favorite quotes:

“It is not happiness that brings us gratitude, it is gratitude that brings us happiness.” – Stephanie Simpson

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.

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 Upper School will be dismissed at 12:05. 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

On Friday, November 6, faculty recorded Mod 2 final grades (and Week 12 Milepost grades for three-mod classes) in PowerSchool. If students and parents have questions about those grades, we encourage getting in touch directly with the teacher of the course. 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 let one of the Upper School administrative team members know. I am always happy to speak with you and respond to questions.

Sincerely,

Bo Adams
Head of Upper School
Chief Learning and Innovation Officer
X2901

November 1: Week 13 Logistics

November 1, 2020

Dear Upper School Families,

Congratulations to the Varsity Boys and Girls Cross Country Teams! On Tuesday, October 27, they rocked it at the Regional Cross Country Meet and qualified for the GHSA Class-A Private State Meet for the first time in school history! We are so proud of our athletics teams for their hard work and dedication this fall, and we particularly celebrate a historical moment such as this one for the cross country team. And another congratulations to the MV Theatre Team – their outstanding production of The Tempest was selected for the Georgia Thespian Virtual Conference in 2021, as well as the world’s largest theatre festival, The International Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland in 2022!

Kudos to our students and everyone who supports them and cheers them on for the completion of the first trimester of the year. Especially amidst the myriad challenges this fall, reaching the end of trimester one is such a great success and accomplishment. I particularly loved sitting in on the iProject Shark Tank this week as they presented their pitches to panels of MVXperts for feedback and celebration. As we enter Mod 3, may everyone enjoy and experience “productive struggle” to learn and grow even further.

End of Mod 2, Final Mod 2 Grades, Altitude Learning and PowerSchool
The conclusion of Mod 2 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. 

  • Mod 3 classes will begin, as planned, on Monday, November 2, and students should follow their Mod 3 class schedule on Monday.
  • Mod 2 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.
  • Final letter grades for single-mod classes will be posted by Friday, November 6, in the PowerSchool platform. (Note: AP classes are three-mod courses, and final grades for AP classes post at the end of the third mod of the course.)
  • 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 only have “5 minutes a week” to dig into Altitude Learning as a parent, focus on the “Progress” tab for your student(s) and click on the standards to explore what they are learning.

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 Upper School will be dismissed at 12:05.

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. Upper School students in grades 9-11 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. 12:05 release for Upper School. We are super excited to announce that SENIORS will be able to attend this game for Senior Day of the football season!

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.

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 Upper School will be dismissed at 12:05. 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

Whew! That was a lot of information! Bless you for reading this far. And in this season of Thanksgiving, may we all continue to seek and speak those things for which we are grateful. As always, thank you for being such wonderful partners in this Mount Vernon community!

Sincerely,

Bo Adams
Head of Upper School
Chief Learning and Innovation Officer
X2901

October 25: Week 12 Logistics

October 25, 2020

Dear Upper School Families,

This past week we hosted our first Mount Vernon Virtual Open House for admissions and prospective families. The reputation of Mount Vernon all across the city and the country (I had attendees from CT and TX in my small breakout group) is superb, and families are hungry for the relational, intentional, choice-based, innovative approaches that make us a sought after school of inquiry, innovation and impact. As current families, you are highly responsible for this reputation. You are raving fans publicly, and you contribute so much to the attraction of other incredible students and families for our community. Thank you.

As we near the end of October, we are reaching the conclusion of our first trimester of school. That’s really incredible given the circumstances that education and schools are facing at this time. Thank you for your incredible diligence and support with health and well-being protocols. On October 29, the Upper School will also reach the closing of Mod 2. Teachers will be finalizing assessment and feedback, and grades in PowerSchool will be posted by Wednesday, November 4. We are excited by the approaching opening of Mod 3, and we look forward to continued wonder in the learning experiences coming our way.

Week 12 — Through the end of October
At the beginning of week 9, the Upper School transitioned to 5 days on-campus for grades 9-12, with half-day Fridays.

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 Upper 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 Upper School will be dismissed at 12:05.

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. 12:05 release for Upper 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 on Fridays through their full-day dismissal time.

Talking to an educational colleague in California recently, she remarked that what she is missing most during this period of global pandemic is the sense of joyful anticipation that comes seasonally with planned vacations and holidays such as Halloween and Thanksgiving. As we near these special moments in the year, may you and your family find ways to continue the wonderful feelings of joyful anticipation while staying safe and healthy. At MV, we are continuing to explore ways that we can design special moments that generate joyful anticipation while prioritizing our capabilities for maximizing on-campus learning. Again, thank you for your tireless collaboration and understanding as partners in these times. And may you have a fun Halloween!

Sincerely,

Bo Adams
Head of Upper School
Chief Learning and Innovation Officer
X2901

October 18: Week 11 Logistics

October 18, 2020

Dear Upper School Families,

What a fun and playful week we enjoyed with Homecoming last week. While we all continue to cope and adjust to the “new normals” we are experiencing, the dress-up days, Homecoming court parade through the hallways, and the enormous school spirit were so refreshing and joyful. Our community is amazing in the ways we are sharing optimism and positivity with one another. As you know, we only just completed our second full week with all four grades present in the Upper School building together, and this stage of our Reunite plan continues to go exceedingly well overall. As we keep moving forward in the weeks ahead, we will continue to explore and consider ways that we can layer in more “student life” opportunities for our students.

Weeks 11-12 — Through the end of October
At the beginning of week 9, the Upper School transitioned to 5 days on-campus for grades 9-12, with half-day Fridays.

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

Tuesday, November 3 — Early Release
The School will run a half-day schedule on November 3, Election Day, in order to provide faculty and staff ample opportunity to vote during COVID constraints. Students in Upper School will be dismissed at 12:05.

On October 16, we reached the Week 4 Milepost of Mod 2. The vast majority of students and families appear to be navigating the Altitude Learning platform (our Learning Management System – LMS) increasingly well. There is so much robust information in Altitude Learning about student learning experiences, samples of work, and assessment progress and feedback. As questions arise, however, please continue to ask for clarity and understanding. We appreciate and value your collaboration as we continue to strive in our efforts to be a leading school of inquiry, innovation, and impact.

Sincerely,

Bo Adams
Head of Upper School
Chief Learning and Innovation Officer
X2901

October 11: Week 10 Logistics

October 11, 2020

Dear Upper School Families,

As you prepare to return to school after the long weekend, I hope and pray that you enjoyed a fabulous, relaxing, and safe Fall Break. During this Homecoming Week, we are excited for dress-up days, deciding on a Homecoming Court, and wishing our Mustangs good luck on Friday!

Before we broke for the fall holiday, we celebrated Coach Ron Hill Day on Tuesday, October 6. Upper Schoolers wrote notes to Coach Hill’s family and shared a video of tributes that Head Prefect Audrey O’Toole compiled. Coach Hill touched so many lives with his contagious joy, thoughtful playfulness, and his commitment to serving others. We remain grateful to Coach Hill for the inspiration that he continues to provide to so many.

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 two weeks. These letter grades are derived from the progress on standards that is clearly delineated in Altitude Learning. If you want to read a great piece on competency-based learning, check out “Eight Essential Principles for Improving Grading” by Susan Brookhart, Thomas R. Guskey, Jay McTighe and Dylan Wiliam.

Weeks 10-12 — Through the end of October
At the beginning of week 9, the Upper School transitioned to 5 days on-campus for grades 9-12, with half-day Fridays. Monitoring protocols and procedures, we will notify you of any modifications determined by the School.

  • Monday – Thursday in-person (8:30-2:30); Wednesday, October 14 is different, however.
  • Friday in-person (8:30-12:05)

October 13-16 — Homecoming Week

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

  • Monday: No school (Fall Break)
  • Tuesday: Twins Day (best outfit wins points for advisory)
  • Wednesday: Spirit Wear for On-Campus Testing (no “Tacky Prom” as previously communicated)
  • Thursday: Western Day (“West Dressed” wins points for advisory)
  • Friday: Through the Decades
    • Grade 9: 80’s
    • Grade 10: 70’s
    • Grade 11: 60’s
    • Grade 12: 50’s

Students will vote for Homecoming Court during the week. On Friday, the Homecoming Court will be celebrated during school, and the winning Advisory will receive a catered breakfast.

Grades 10-12: Wednesday, October 14 — Standardized Testing

  • Grades 10-11 / PSAT — See copy of letter that was emailed to families
  • Grade 12 / SAT or virtual, college work day for applications
  • Dismissal is 11:45 for regular testing and 1:00 pm for extended-time testing

Grade 9: Wednesday, October 14 — Virtual Half-Day

  • Grade 9 students will learning virtually, as the US Building will be used for testing
  • Teachers will share Zoom calendar invites with Grade 9 students on the following schedule


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

Friday, October 30 — No School for Students

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

Here’s to a fabulous Homecoming Week at Mount Vernon! Go Mustangs! And remember that Friday, October 16 will mark the Week 4 Milepost for Mod 2. Have a super week.

Sincerely,

Bo Adams
Head of Upper School
Chief Learning and Innovation Officer
X2901

October 4: Week 9 Logistics

October 4, 2020

Dear Upper School Families,

What an incredible week it has been! This glorious and beautiful weather certainly helps with spirits and dispositions. We also kicked off the new Upper School Advisory System on Friday, September 25. Students reported loving the food and the activity of sharing a picture that showed “a time and place where you are incredibly happy.” Most importantly, students let us know how meaningful the connection with an advisory group is for them, especially in these strange and challenging times. Many thanks go to Trish Bogdanchik, Audrey Schewe, Julie Crawford, Michael Griffin, James McKeel and Kelli Bynum for their incredible work at re-envisioning and re-launching Advisory.

Clark Taylor and the cast and crew of The Tempest produced an amazing moment of Shakespearean theatre with superb creativity at how to solve for masks and not being indoors. The scene on the green was captivating, and the students performed brilliantly. I loved hearing Mr. Taylor share the number of innovations that emerged in this show, and I cherished getting my nightly photos and videos of the progress.

On October 2, we reached our Mod 2, Week 2 Milepost. Students and parents are navigating Altitude Learning more and more comfortably, and we are hearing students talk more precisely about the standards they are learning and ways in which they can level up. We know that all transitions come with challenges and apprehensions about change. We so appreciate your continued efforts to ask good questions and seek clarity.

This week, we celebrate Coach Ron Hill Day. We miss Coach Hill immeasurably, and we are forever grateful for the positive impact he continues to make on our School culture, spirit, and community. Many thanks to his dear friend and our beloved Wayne Dabbs for spearheading the creation of this day to honor Coach Hill.

Weeks 9-12 — Through the end of October

At the beginning of week 9, Monday, October 5, the Upper School will transition to 5 days on-campus for grades 9-12, with half-day Fridays. Monitoring protocols and procedures, we will notify you of any modifications determined by the School.

  • Monday – Thursday in-person (8:30-2:30)
  • Friday in-person (8:30-12:05)

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 (G9-11)
Upper Campus student portraits will be taken on Wednesday, October 7. GTD classes will travel together to the Middle School Lightbox at their scheduled time between 8:30 and 3:00. 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 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.

  • Monday: No school (Fall Break)
  • Tuesday: Twins Day (best outfit wins points for advisory)
  • Wednesday: Tacky Prom Day (most extravagant outfit wins points for advisory)
  • Thursday: Western Day (“West Dressed” wins points for advisory)
  • Friday: Through the Decades
    • Grade 9: 80’s
    • Grade 10: 70’s
    • Grade 11: 60’s
    • Grade 12: 50’s 

Students will vote for Homecoming Court during the week. On Friday, the Homecoming Court will be celebrated during school, and the winning Advisory will receive a catered breakfast.

Wednesday, October 14 — Standardized Testing, Grades 10-12 / Virtual Half-Day, Grade 9

  • Grade 9 / virtual, half-day of classes from 8:30 – 12:05
  • Grades 10-11 / PSAT — See copy of letter that was emailed to families
  • Grade 12 / SAT or virtual, college work day for applications
  • Dismissal is 11:45 for regular testing and 1:00 pm for extended-time testing

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

Friday, October 30 — No School for Students

Service Hours
In the Upper School Weekly Update from September 13, initial information was provided about the service hours requirements for this year. That information has been updated on this Google doc with suggestions on ways to fulfill those requirements, as curated by Prefects and Deans of Student Life and Operations. There are also more detailed instructions about how to use the x2vol platform to record and approve service hours.

Grading/Scoring in Altitude Learning
Do you or your students still have questions about how to explain the grading process in Altitude Learning (as well as how it translates to PowerSchool)? Check out this Loom video Head of Upper School Learning and Innovation Jared Colley shared with students in early September.

Have a fabulous week in whatever opportunities and challenges you are facing. And please enjoy Fall Break fully, while also continuing to be ever mindful of staying committed to the safety precautions that will help us to remain successfully in school together.

Sincerely,

Bo Adams
Head of Upper School
Chief Learning and Innovation Officer
X2901

September 27: Week 8 Logistics

September 27, 2020

Dear Upper School Families,

All of us on the administration, faculty and staff of the Upper School are deeply grateful for your support of our late-start Wednesdays. 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. We explored significant questions such as:

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

Week 8 — September 28 – October 2

The Upper School will remain on a staggered schedule through Week 8 (October 2)

Grades 9 and 10

  • Virtual/synchronous (8:30 – 2:30) Monday/Wednesday
  • In-person/on-campus (8:30 – 2:30) Tuesday/Thursday
  • Virtual/synchronous (8:30 – 12:05) Friday

Grades 11 and 12

  • In-person, on-campus (8:30 – 2:30) Monday/Wednesday
  • Virtual/synchronous (8:30 – 2:30) Tuesday/Thursday
  • In-person, on-campus (8:30 – 12:05) Friday

Weeks 9-12 — Through the end of October
At the beginning of week 9, Monday, October 5, the Upper School will transition to 5 days on-campus for grades 9-12, with half-day Fridays. Monitoring protocols and procedures, we will notify you of any modifications determined by the School.

  • Monday – Thursday in-person (8:30-2:30)
  • Friday in-person (8:30-12:05)

Student Portraits (G9-11)
Upper Campus student portraits will be taken on Wednesday, October 7. GTD classes will travel together to the Middle School 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.

Standardized Testing Day, Grades 10-12 — Wednesday, October 14
On Wednesday, October 14, students in different grade levels will be engaged in various activities:

  • Grades 10-11 will be taking the PSAT
  • Seniors will either be taking the SAT or engaged in a virtual, college work day for applications and supporting materials
  • Because of the requirements for standardized testing and physical distancing, we will be using the entire Upper School building to conduct our testing in grades 10-12
  • Dismissal will be at 11:45 for regular-time testing. Extended-time testing will dismiss at 1:00 pm
  • Grade 9 will have a virtual, half-day of classes that run from 8:30 – 12:05

Parent-Teacher Conference Information
In the original calendar published for this year, an Upper School parent-teacher conference day was scheduled for October 23. We have removed this from the calendar, and the Upper School will have a regular, half-day of school for students on that Friday. Parents are encouraged to reach out at any time to schedule a conference call with teachers, should they want to discuss student progress.

Assessment and Altitude Learning
As you make time to explore and dig into your student’s work in Altitude Learning, I offer this short list of reminders from previous communications:

  • If you have five minutes, prioritize the Progress screen in Altitude Learning, 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 deeper dives that you may want to take.
  • The transition to competency-based learning that we have been engaged in for multiple years has been strategic and intentional. Ultimately it provides learners with much more detailed, less ambiguous information about what they are currently understanding and what they need to focus on to improve. Altitude Learning provides a platform that streamlines and enhances the work of designing units, issuing assignments, collecting student work, providing feedback, showing progress, reassessing and sharing samples of student learning.
  • We understand the familiarity that many people have with letter grades, and we remain committed to providing those milepost letter grades in PowerSchool every two weeks.

In these beginning days of autumn, enjoy the cooler temperatures and the amazing opportunities to get outdoors. I remain so appreciative of those who are asking great questions and seeking greater understanding, and I thoroughly enjoyed the recent parent sessions to respond to a number of thoughtful inquiries.

Sincerely,

Bo Adams
Head of Upper School
Chief Learning and Innovation Officer
x2901

September 20: Week 7 Logistics

September 20, 2020

Dear Upper School Families,

This past week, a few highlights stand out for me personally. The Grade 9 students in the Innovation Diploma pitched their projects that they designed to make the school experience even better during these challenging times. The iProject students jumped into the “Shark Tank” to share their proposed solutions to a number of COVID-related issues in our world. And student learners in the “Censorship and Literature: Banned Books” class that I have been blessed to co-teach conducted amazing Socratic seminars about their deep learning and analysis around books such as China Dream, Bluest Eye, and Catcher In the Rye. As we reflect on Mod 1, even amidst the unprecedented situation we all find ourselves in, so much growth and learning has happened as we have embraced this opportunity to Reunite and be back together in so many ways.

End of Mod 1, Final Mod 1 Grades, and Altitude Learning
The conclusion of Mod 1 classes occured on Friday, September 18. Final letter grades for single-mod classes will be posted on Wednesday, September 23, in the PowerSchool platform. (Note: AP classes are three-mod courses, and final grades for AP classes post at the end of the third mod of the course.) Please remember that the most complete and robust details about student learning can be found through the parent portal of Altitude Learning. An email about Altitude Learning was sent on Thursday, September 10, and previous Weekly Updates contain a great deal of information about assessment and grading with Altitude Learning and PowerSchool. If you only have “5 minutes a week” to dig into Altitude Learning as a parent, focus on the “Progress” tab for your student(s) and click on the standards to explore what they are learning.

Weeks 7 & 8 — Through October 2

This week, the School was notified of two positive COVID cases in the Upper School. As a result, we are going to extend the current staggered schedule through October 2. As a precaution, rather than transitioning to full capacity for week 7 as originally planned, we are going to monitor the situation closely to maintain the current, lower volume of students in the Upper School building at one time and to mitigate any potential risk.

Week 7: September 21-25

Grades 9 and 10

  • In-person, on-campus (8:30 – 2:30) Monday
  • Virtual/synchronous (8:30 – 2:30) Tuesday
  • In-person, on-campus (9:30 – 2:30) Wednesday
  • Virtual/synchronous (8:30 – 2:30) Thursday
  • In-person, on-campus (8:30 – 12:05) Friday

Grades 11 and 12

  • Virtual/synchronous (8:30 – 2:30) Monday
  • In-person, on-campus (8:30 – 2:30) Tuesday
  • Virtual/synchronous (9:30 – 2:30) Wednesday
  • In-person, on-campus (8:30 – 2:30) Thursday
  • Virtual/synchronous (8:30 – 12:05) Friday

Week 8: September 28-October 2

Grades 9 and 10

  • Virtual/synchronous (8:30 – 2:30) Monday/Wednesday
  • In-person/on-campus (8:30 – 2:30) Tuesday/Thursday
  • Virtual/synchronous (8:30 – 12:05) Friday

Grades 11 and 12

  • In-person, on-campus (8:30 – 2:30) Monday/Wednesday
  • Virtual/synchronous (8:30 – 2:30) Tuesday/Thursday
  • In-person, on-campus (8:30 – 12:05) Friday

Weeks 9-12 — Through the end of October
At the beginning of week 9, Monday, October 5, the Upper School will transition to 5 days on-campus for grades 9-12, with half-day Fridays. Monitoring protocols and procedures, we will notify you of any modifications determined by the School.

  • Monday – Thursday in-person (8:30-2:30)
  • Friday in-person (8:30-12:05)

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-Teacher Conference Information
In the original calendar published for this year, an Upper School parent-teacher conference day was scheduled for October 23. We have removed this from the calendar, and the Upper School will have a regular, half-day of school for students on that Friday. Parents are encouraged to reach out at any time to schedule a conference call with teachers, should they want to discuss student progress.

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.

I look forward to the incredible learning experiences that I know we will encounter in Mod 2. With great sincerity, I have appreciated all of the questions, feedback, praise, and collaborative conversations during Mod 1. What an amazing journey we have shared together to start school seven weeks ago and to have arrived at this moment so successfully overall.

Sincerely,

Bo Adams
Head of Upper School
Chief Learning and Innovation Officer
X2901 

September 13: Week 6 Logistics

September 13, 2020

Dear Upper School Families,

While Week 5 was relatively short, we enjoyed another very successful set of days. On Wednesday, we benefited from a powerful and heartfelt chapel message from Director of Spiritual Life Coach T tying together the theme of “Overcoming Giants” and our IDEA work as a school. On Friday, we paused to commemorate September 11, and we reflected in our first period class groups to hold up the values of resiliency, resolve and reimagination. Similarly to what we are experiencing now during this global pandemic, we focused on how we can respond with courage and commitment to design a better world in the face of adversity, tragedy and setbacks.

We also look forward to Week 6 and the culminating learning experiences in Mod 1. We should applaud the fabulous efforts of our faculty and staff, and certainly our student learners, as we consider the invaluable opportunities we have traversed in this opening period of school.

Week 6 — September 14-18

US Master Schedule

Grades 9 and 10

  • Virtual/synchronous (8:30 – 2:30) Monday/Wednesday
  • In-person/on-campus (8:30 – 2:30) Tuesday/Thursday
  • Virtual/synchronous (8:30 – 12:05) Friday

Grades 11 and 12

  • In-person, on-campus (8:30 – 2:30) Monday/Wednesday
  • Virtual/synchronous (8:30 – 2:30) Tuesday/Thursday
  • In-person, on-campus (8:30 – 12:05) Friday

Note

  • Full-day schedules require our full uniform. Students should wear the dress uniform every Wednesday. Fridays are spirit days.
  • Upper School Arrival and Dismissal
    • Morning carpool runs from 7:40 – 8:25
    • Afternoon dismissal will be staged from 2:30-2:45.
    • Friday dismissal through October 2 will be at 12:05

End of Mod 1, Final Mod 1 Grades, and Altitude Learning
The conclusion of Mod 1 classes occurs on Friday, September 18. Final letter grades for single-mod classes will be posted on Wednesday, September 23, in the PowerSchool platform. (Note: AP classes are three-mod courses, and final grades for AP classes post at the end of the third mod of the course.) Please remember that the most complete and robust details about student learning can be found through the parent portal of Altitude Learning. An email about Altitude Learning was sent on Thursday, September 10, and previous Weekly Updates contain a great deal of information about assessment and grading with Altitude Learning and PowerSchool.

Week 7 — Beginning September 21
At the beginning of the second mod (beginning September 21) the Upper School will transition to 5 days on-campus for grades 9-12. Monitoring protocols and procedures, we will notify you of any modifications if determined by the School.

  • Monday – Thursday in-person (8:30-2:30)
  • Friday in-person (8:30-12:05)

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.

Service Hours
Students at The Mount Vernon School understand that social responsibility is more than a graduation expectation. It is at the heart of our goal to design a better world. Serving and supporting our community while teaching our students the value of selflessness, compassion, and responsibility have never been more important than now. We believe that times of crisis can bring out the best of humanity. As a result, we will continue our expectation of eight (8) hours of service during the 2020-2021 school year, while also maintaining a collective commitment to safety for all. Understandably, typical service projects may not work for this year. Innovation is valued and honored, and we will pursue alternative e-service projects, family-centered service, and other safe, independent service oriented projects. We will continue to track service hours in x2Vol. All students will be provided onboarding for x2Vol through their GTDs in the coming Mod.

I continue to be grateful for this tremendous community and the opportunity to serve the School this year as the Head of Upper School. Through the bright spots and the challenges, I am thankful for your continued partnership and support with the incredible journey our student learners are undertaking.

Sincerely,

Bo Adams
Head of Upper School
Chief Learning and Innovation Officer
X2901

September 6: Prescreening Protocol

September 6, 2020

Dear Upper School Families,

Many thanks to our students, faculty, staff and families for staying collectively committed to adhering to the measures and protocols that allow us to be on-campus together, enjoying the community of our incredible School.

As you know, we’ve also reached our first “Milepost Grade” in PowerSchool. On Friday, September 4, faculty posted the Milepost letter grades to PowerSchool, and students and families can see this mid-course grade for each class. 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.

End of Mod 1, Final Mod 1 Grades, and Altitude Learning
The conclusion of Mod 1 classes occurs on Friday, September 18. Final letter grades for single-mod classes will be posted on Wednesday, September 23, in the PowerSchool platform. (Note: AP classes are three-mod courses, and final grades for AP classes post at the end of the third mod of the course.) Please remember that the most complete and robust details about student learning can be found through the parent portal of Altitude Learning. An email about Altitude Learning was sent on Thursday, September 10, and previous Weekly Updates contain a great deal of information about assessment and grading with Altitude Learning and PowerSchool.

Week 7 — Beginning September 21
At the beginning of the second mod (beginning September 21) the Upper School will transition to 5 days on-campus for grades 9-12. Monitoring protocols and procedures, we will notify you of any modifications if determined by the School.

  • Monday – Thursday in-person (8:30-2:30)
  • Friday in-person (8:30-12:05)

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.

Service Hours
Students at The Mount Vernon School understand that social responsibility is more than a graduation expectation. It is at the heart of our goal to design a better world. Serving and supporting our community while teaching our students the value of selflessness, compassion, and responsibility have never been more important than now. We believe that times of crisis can bring out the best of humanity. As a result, we will continue our expectation of eight (8) hours of service during the 2020-2021 school year, while also maintaining a collective commitment to safety for all. Understandably, typical service projects may not work for this year. Innovation is valued and honored, and we will pursue alternative e-service projects, family-centered service, and other safe, independent service oriented projects. We will continue to track service hours in x2Vol. All students will be provided onboarding for x2Vol through their GTDs in the coming Mod.

I continue to be grateful for this tremendous community and the opportunity to serve the School this year as the Head of Upper School. Through the bright spots and the challenges, I am thankful for your continued partnership and support with the incredible journey our student learners are undertaking.

Sincerely,

Bo Adams
Head of Upper School
Chief Learning and Innovation Officer
X2901

August 30: Post Labor Day Plan

August 30, 2020

Dear Upper School Families,

Week 3 allowed us to introduce full days and lunches into the Upper School staged opening to our Reunite year. The students have again been fabulous in terms of following guidelines and getting used to a slightly different way of enjoying lunch. When the weather is working in our favor, we love to eat outside in physically-distanced class groups on the patios, outdoor learning stairs and under the tents. And most of the students have remarked how much they like the virtual class days that follow the daily schedule and allow them to see classmates’ full faces without our masks. I’ve been so proud of the flexibility, adaptability, and responsibility of our students.

We are also deeper into the school year, and strong learning experiences are integrating various assessments for learning. After the information below about the upcoming weeks’ schedules, there is new, important information about how to dig deeper into the Altitude Learning Parent Portal to see the ongoing details about class assignments, student work, teacher feedback, and progress tracking. Please make time to explore the platform using the Student Experience feature for at least 15-30 minutes. There are videos in the Altitude Learning section below to help guide your explorations.

Week 4 — August 31-September 4

Staggered Model, Half-Day on Fridays

Grades 9 and 10

  • Virtual/synchronous (8:30 – 2:30) Monday/Wednesday
  • In-person/on-campus (8:30 – 2:30) Tuesday/Thursday
  • Virtual/synchronous (8:30 – 12:00) Friday

Grades 11 and 12

  • In-person, on-campus (8:30 – 2:30) Monday/Wednesday
  • Virtual/synchronous (8:30 – 2:30) Tuesday/Thursday
  • In-person, on-campus (8:30 – 12:00) Friday

As explained in previous communications, we will continue our staggered model in Week 4.

  • All students will attend classes all day, four days a week, with a half-day on Friday. Some of those days will be on-campus and some days will be virtual from home (See US Master Schedule, p. 2, as well as more specific details below)
  • All virtual days will be synchronous and students will adhere to the 8:30-2:30 schedule (See US Master Schedule, p. 2)
  • Friday, September 4 is a half-day. This abbreviated schedule is shown on the US Master Schedule, p. 3.
  • GTD (Getting Things Done) is a very important period of the day. We use GTD for ongoing orientation items with students, brief advisory moments, etc. The majority of time is for completing assignments so that students can use outside-of-school time for other personal interests, family time, etc. On virtual days, students are expected to tune into GTD to connect with their GTD faculty leader.
  • Lunch will be provided Monday through Thursday, and students will eat with their classmates from their class that falls in the third class block of the day. Lunches will be staggered and outside as much as possible. There will be no large-group gatherings; grouping will be similar to the group size and composition that we use in class.
  • Morning screenings will take place between 7:45-8:25 a.m., with classes starting at 8:30 a.m. Students should continue to proceed straight to their first class of the day.
  • In the afternoon, on campus, dismissal will be staged from 2:30-2:45 to enable dismissing in small groups, maintaining social distancing. If your student is being picked up in the afternoon carpool, please wait to text your student that you are in carpool until you are in the double lines adjacent to the Upper School Building.
  • When students attend class virtually, they should connect to class with Zoom links provided by their teachers. Students should be appropriately dressed, at an appropriate work station, with video on so that they can be seen by the faculty facilitating class.
  • Full-day schedules require our full uniform. Students should wear the dress uniform every Wednesday.

Beginning September 8

Staggered Model, Half-Day on Fridays (Just Like Weeks 3 & 4)

For continuity, the Upper School will complete the last two weeks (September 8-18) of Mod 1 with the staggered schedule utilized in weeks 3 & 4. Week 5 will function like week 3, and week 6 will function like week 4.

Week 5: September 8-11

Grades 9 and 10

  • Virtual/synchronous (8:30 – 2:30) Tuesday/Thursday
  • In-person, on-campus (8:30 – 2:30) Wednesday [no school on Monday, Sept. 7]
  • In-person, on-campus (8:30 – 12:00) Friday

Grades 11 and 12

  • In-person, on-campus (8:30 – 2:30) Tuesday/Thursday
  • Virtual/synchronous (8:30 – 2:30) Wednesday [no school on Monday, Sept. 7]
  • Virtual/synchronous (8:30 – 12:00) Friday

Week 6 — September 14-18

Grades 9 and 10

  • Virtual/synchronous (8:30 – 2:30) Monday/Wednesday
  • In-person/on-campus (8:30 – 2:30) Tuesday/Thursday
  • Virtual/synchronous (8:30 – 12:00) Friday

Grades 11 and 12

  • In-person, on-campus (8:30 – 2:30) Monday/Wednesday
  • Virtual/synchronous (8:30 – 2:30) Tuesday/Thursday
  • In-person, on-campus (8:30 – 12:00) Friday

Beginning September 21

Five-Days, Full-Days, All Students Grades 9-12

Beginning in Mod 2, September 21, the Upper School will attempt to return to a full-day, five-day, on-campus schedule, with carpool beginning at 7:45 am each day. 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: Next Steps for Navigating the Parent Portal and Viewing Progress

In previous Weekly Updates, we have provided you with general information about Altitude Learning, our new learning management system (LMS) that integrates curriculum information, assignment engagement, feedback from teachers, communication via the Stream feature, and details about the learning journey via the Progress feature.

We highly recommend that you login to https://mountvernonschool.altitudelearning.com/parents and explore the functions and features available to you for viewing the learning experiences that your students are having. The following Loom videos may prove helpful if you want a more guided tour of what’s available in the Altitude Learning Parent Portal.

  • 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]

Note: PowerSchool will only be used to report attendance and a summary of letter grades, approximately every two weeks. The most robust details about student progress will be found through Altitude Learning, and teachers will report regularly to PowerSchool with a Milepost letter grade. However, due to the modified schedule in the first two weeks, the first Milepost grade will appear in PowerSchool near September 4. 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 two weeks, the milepost will be revised to match the student’s current progress.

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 two weeks and finalize at the Mod end dates.

Thank you to all of our faculty, staff, students and families for another successful week at The Mount Vernon School Upper School. We continue to be grateful for the strong and positive partnership that allows us to be together this year as a community. We pray that everyone is acclimating to this new normal for the time being, and we hope you are finding time to relax and renew as often as possible. The stress associated with the conditions of the pandemic are real, and we all should make sure that we are being intentional about refilling our own well and supporting others who are striving to do so, too.

We also hope you enjoy digging into the powerful features of our Altitude Learning platform and the visibility it provides for more detailed and specific information about a learner’s journey and experiences and progress.

Sincerely,

Bo Adams
Head of Upper School
Chief Learning and Innovation Officer
x2901

August 23: Week 3 Logistics

August 23, 2020

Dear Upper School Families,

Throughout the second week of school, we have continued to be incredibly proud of our students. They are embracing the new normal, and they remain so respectful and responsible for the Health and Well-Being Protocols that are enabling us to be in a face-to-face model for school. What’s more, they are finding their rhythm and groove with their classes and leaning into the strong learning experiences that they have with their teachers and classmates. When I talk with students throughout the day, they all tell me that they are ready for full days of school. We are grateful for the successes and learnings from our first two weeks, and we are thrilled to move into full-day classes in the weeks ahead.

Weeks 3 & 4 — August 24-September 4

Staggered Model, Half-Day on Fridays

As explained in previous communications, we will scale our reopening plan by moving to a staggered model in weeks 3 and 4.

  • All students will attend classes all day, five days a week, but some of those days will be on-campus and some days will be virtual from home (See US Master Schedule, p. 2, as well as more specific details below)
  • All virtual days will be synchronous and students will adhere to the 8:30-2:30 schedule (See US Master Schedule, p. 2)
  • Lunch will be provided and students will eat with their classmates from their class that falls in the third class block of the day. Lunches will be staggered and outside as much as possible. There will be no large-group gatherings; grouping will be similar to the group size and composition that we use in class.
  • Morning screenings will take place between 7:50-8:25 a.m., with classes starting at 8:30 a.m. Students should continue to proceed straight to their first class of the day.
  • In the afternoon, on campus, dismissal will be staged from 2:30-2:45 to enable dismissing in small groups, maintaining social distancing. If your student is being picked up in afternoon carpool, please wait to text your student that you are in carpool until you are in the double lines adjacent to the Upper School Building.
  • When students attend class virtually, they should connect to class with Zoom links provided by their teachers. Students should be appropriately dressed, at an appropriate work station, with video on so that they can be seen by the faculty facilitating class.

DISMISSAL NOTE: In previous Weekly Updates, we indicated that the Upper School day would end at 3:00 p.m. starting in Week 3. However, we have changed the end-time of the day to a staged dismissal from 2:30-2:45. This is the result of shortening lunch and community due to COVID-19 constraints, as well as in effort to assist with carpool traffic. At the end of the school day, for families with MS and US students returning home from on-campus day in the same carpool, the US student will wait on the lawn for the MS student to be dismissed.

Week 3: August 24-28

Grades 9 and 10

  • In-person, on-campus (8:30 – 2:30) Monday/Wednesday
  • Virtual/synchronous (8:30 – 2:30) Tuesday/Thursday
  • In-person, on-campus (8:30 – 12:00) Friday

Grades 11 and 12

  • Virtual/synchronous (8:30 – 2:30) Monday/Wednesday
  • In-person, on-campus (8:30 – 2:30) Tuesday/Thursday
  • Virtual/synchronous (8:30 – 12:00) Friday

Week 4: August 31-September 4

Grades 9 and 10

  • Virtual/synchronous (8:30 – 2:30) Monday/Wednesday
  • In-person/on-campus (8:30 – 2:30) Tuesday/Thursday
  • Virtual/synchronous (8:30 – 12:00) Friday

Grades 11 and 12

  • In-person, on-campus (8:30 – 2:30) Monday/Wednesday
  • Virtual/synchronous (8:30 – 2:30) Tuesday/Thursday
  • In-person, on-campus (8:30 – 12:00) Friday

Note:

  • Full-day schedules require our full uniform. Students should wear the dress uniform every Wednesday, beginning August 26.
  • Friday, August 28 and Friday, September 4 are scheduled to be a half-day. This abbreviated schedule is shown on the US Master Schedule, p. 3.

Post Labor Day Schedule

For continuity, the Upper School will complete the last two weeks (September 8-18) of Mod 1 with the staggered schedule utilized in weeks 3 & 4. Week 5 will function like week 3, and week 6 will function like week 4.

Beginning of Mod 2, September 21, the Upper School will attempt to return to a full-day, five-day, on-campus schedule, with carpool beginning at 7:30 am each day. 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

The launch of Altitude Learning with the entire Upper School is rolling out very successfully.

Altitude Learning replaces PowerSchool Learning (formerly Haiku) as the Upper School’s “learning management system.” Teachers design units, assign cards as learning activities, share information, and provide feedback via Altitude Learning. Students manage their coursework through Altitude Learning. Parents access information about student learning and growth through the “Stream” feature of Altitude Learning. As students gain more experience through use of Altitude Learning, more information will be provided to parents so that you can better understand the progress your student is making in their classes.

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 two 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. However, due to the modified schedule in the first two weeks, the first “Milepost” grade will appear in PowerSchool near September 4.

While the first two weeks have been strongly successful, we need your continued support and diligence to ensure that the next four weeks of Mod 1 continue to be positive and productive. Thank you for your ongoing partnership with the School to make these learning experiences so rich and fruitful.

Sincerely,

Bo Adams
Head of Upper School
Chief Learning and Innovation Officer
x2901

 

    August 16: Week 2 Logistics

    August 16, 2020

    Dear Upper School Families,

    Well, this school year is undoubtedly different than previous years. We are all getting used to half-day sessions, myriad carpools in the day, health screenings, face coverings, and physical distancing throughout the day. Please know that your children are performing amazingly well with all of these new routines and expectations. The students are showing the utmost respect and understanding for our new normal, and they are to be commended for the care and thoughtfulness they are showing for each other, their teachers and the community. We are very proud of them. While there are adjustments to make, everyone seems happy to be at school, and we are so excited by the numerous wins this first week.

    Thank you for your continued support and partnership, and thank you for communicating the countless messages of positive feedback as well as the examples of things we can iterate and improve. We are thrilled to move into week two of the morning-and-afternoon, half-day sessions. Below please find a number of items we want to highlight.  

    Week 2: August 17-21

    Upper School will continue to adhere to an adjusted schedule for Week 2.

    • Upper School students will attend half-day classes, in-person, on-campus, Monday through Friday, either from 8:00-11:15 or 12:30-3:45.
    • The Upper School will wear the everyday uniform except for Spirit Day on Fridays. No dress uniforms are required during these two weeks.
    • Students choosing the Virtual Option will continue to attend class remotely and synchronously.
    • No student lunches will be served.
    • The schedule for the first two weeks follows and can be found with the US Master Schedule, on pages 3-4.

    Commitment to IDEA

    The Mount Vernon Upper 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. Saddened and angered by the stories shared on the Instagram account @BlackatMV, we are also proud of the voices who shared their experiences and showed the courage to call us all to our best selves. Please remember that 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

    The launch of Altitude Learning with the entire Upper School is rolling out very successfully.

    Altitude Learning replaces PowerSchool Learning (formerly Haiku) as the Upper School’s “learning management system.” Teachers design units, assign cards as learning activities, share information, and provide feedback via Altitude Learning. Students manage their coursework through Altitude Learning. Parents access information about student learning and growth through the “Stream” feature of Altitude Learning. As students gain more experience through use of Altitude Learning, more information will be provided to parents so that you can better understand the progress your student is making in their classes.

    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 two 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. However, due to the modified schedule in the first two weeks, the first “Milepost” grade will appear in PowerSchool near September 4.

    Late Entry

    For students who arrive after carpool has completed, screenings will occur just before entering the west side of the building (facing the MAC parking lot). Students should proceed to the door and use the call button to alert Sharveace Cameron at the front desk, so that she can conduct the screening. 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:

    • Make sure your mask is covering your nose and mouth.
    • Sanitize your hands.
    • Remember that the stairs and hallways are one-directional. The South stairs are UP only (stairs closest to the baseball field; Remember “Batter UP”). The North stairs are down only (stairs closest to the football field; Remember “TouchDOWN”).
    • Head straight to your in-session class and report to that learning studio.
    • Seating will be according to a seating chart.

    Looking Ahead – Weeks 3 and 4: 

    As explained in previous communications, we will move to a different schedule in weeks 3 and 4 from the schedule we ran in the first two weeks. Here are a few key points to keep in mind:

    1. The Upper School will run the daily and weekly schedule that we used prior to the emergence of COVID. That schedule can be found with this US Master Schedule link, on page 1.
    2. All students will attend classes all day, five days a week, but some of those days will be on-campus and some days will be virtual from home, based on the specifics below.
    3. Lunch will be provided and students will eat with their classmates from their class that precedes lunch or the class that follows lunch. There will be no large-group gatherings; grouping will be similar to the group size and composition that we use in class.

    Week 3: August 24-28

    • Grades 9 and 10
      • Monday/Wednesday/Friday: in-person on-campus (8:30-3:00)
      • Tuesday/Thursday: virtual/synchronous (8:30-3:00)
    • Grades 11 and 12
      • Monday/Wednesday/Friday: virtual/synchronous (8:30-3:00)
      • Tuesday/Thursday: in-person on-campus (8:30-3:00)

    Week 4: August 31-September 4

    • Grades 9 and 10
      • Monday/Wednesday/Friday: virtual/synchronous (8:30-3:00)
      • Tuesday/Thursday: in-person on-campus (8:30-3:00)
    • Grades 11 and 12
      • Monday/Wednesday/Friday in-person on-campus (8:30-3:00)
      • Tuesday/Thursday: virtual/synchronous (8:30-3:00)
      • Friday, September 4 is currently scheduled to be a half-day, and the half-day schedule is shown at the US Master Schedule link, on page 2.

    The students seem so genuinely grateful to be back in school, connecting with teachers and classmates. From the looks on parent faces during carpool, it’s clear that parents are also excited for the successes of MV Reunite. Our faculty and staff have worked so hard to prepare for these conditions and to design robust, meaningful learning experiences as we’ve returned. As a school of inquiry, innovation and impact, we have demonstrated outstanding collaboration and solution seeking. We look forward to ramping up wisely and thoughtfully in the weeks ahead.

    Sincerely,

    Bo Adams
    Head of Upper School
    Chief Learning and Innovation Officer
    x2901

    August 11: Week 1 Logistics and Orientation

    August 11, 2020

    Dear Upper School Families,

    Welcome to the 2020-2021 academic year at Mount Vernon! While we wish we could enjoy a face-to-face orientation event with parents and students prior to the first day of school, we appreciate your understanding about us adapting our Upper School Orientation for the unique start of this school year.

    We all know that this year will be different. For many, it will feel strange and awkward at first. Despite this new normal, we need to be together. As we practice our new protocols and procedures, we will certainly grow more accustomed to our conditions that require us all to make sacrifices and endure inconveniences. We will adapt and each day will feel less and less strange. Thank you for leaning in and supporting one another so that we can be in school learning with one another.

    For both students and parents, this letter and the linked resources and videos are meant to help you orient to some of the most important and relevant details to start your year. As explained in previous Weekly Updates from Dr. Jacobsen and myself, a robust set of orientation activities for students will be integrated into the first two weeks of school, no matter whether one is attending classes on-campus or virtually. And as the school year continues to unfold, we will strive to make sure that you have the right information at the right time. For now, please read and watch the following Upper School Orientation news.

    IDEA Statement

    The Mount Vernon Upper 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. Saddened and angered by the stories shared on the Instagram account @BlackatMV, we are also proud of the voices who shared their experiences and showed the courage to call us all to our best selves. Please remember that 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.

    Videos to Start Your Virtual Orientation

    • Academic Program Notes with the Upper School Learning Architects Amy Choi, Jenn Lloyd, Brande Jones and Kiki Rowsey
    • College Counseling with Upper School Head of Academic and College Counseling Dr. Erin McCubbin and Associate Directors of Academic and College Counseling Aerial Dickerson and Ryan May
    • What to Wear – Uniforms video from the amazing Upper School Prefects team
    • Zoom Norms – Advice on video calling from the Upper School Prefects team

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

    • Please follow all of the MV COVID Health & Well-Being Protocols found on the MV Reunite website. In order to protect our faculty and staff and our students, we must all be willing to sacrifice and serve for the benefit of each other. All parents, students, and staff members have a role and responsibility to mitigate risk and slow the spread of the virus. Successfully reuniting on campus requires a collective conviction to comply with the expectations the School is sharing with the community.
    • 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.
    • AT A GLANCE: 
      • Students will be required to wear masks in the building. 
      • Students must maintain at least six feet of physical distancing between one another.
      • Students should use hand sanitizer upon entry and exit from the building and throughout the day. 
      • Students will follow a one-direction traffic flow in the building.

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

    • Please follow all of the MV COVID Health & Well-Being Protocols found on the MV Reunite website. In order to protect our faculty and staff and our students, we must all be willing to sacrifice and serve for the benefit of each other. All parents, students, and staff members have a role and responsibility to mitigate risk and slow the spread of the virus. Successfully reuniting on campus requires a collective conviction to comply with the expectations the School is sharing with the community.
    • 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.
    • AT A GLANCE: 
      • Students will be required to wear masks in the building. 
      • Students must maintain at least six feet of physical distancing between one another.
      • Students should use hand sanitizer upon entry and exit from the building and throughout the day. 
      • Students will follow a one-direction traffic flow in the building.

    First Day of School and Daily Schedule for First Two Weeks

    • The first day of Upper School classes is Wednesday, August 12.
    • Upper School students will attend half-day classes, in-person, on-campus, Monday through Friday, either from 8:00-11:15 or 12:30-3:45. A visual of the schedule for the first two weeks can be found here, on pages 3-4.
    • Students in Grades 11 and 12 will attend classes in the morning, 8:00-11:15*
    • Students in grades 9 and 10 will attend classes in the afternoon, 12:30-3:45*

    * Dr. Erin McCubbin has contacted the very small number of students who will have a modified plan for morning and afternoon sessions because of any unique aspects to their schedule.

    • Those students who choose the Virtual Option will attend class remotely and synchronously. Teachers will provide links for Virtual Option students to connect to class at the designated times.
    • Students enrolled in Global Online Academy or Georgia Virtual School courses should work on those classes at home; there is no need to report to school.
    • No student lunches will be served in these first two weeks.
    • In order to control building density, it is imperative that students adhere to these half-day blocks, as assigned

    Student Schedules and Classes

    • 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. For best results, use the laptop/desktop access to PowerSchool. The mobile/phone app sometimes does not show an accurate picture of the student schedule.
    • Based on the unique nature of Mod 1, no schedule changes will be made after classes begin.
    • GTD (Get Things Done, similar to a study hall) will be used in the first two weeks to practice protocols, launch Altitude Learning, and conduct various aspects of orientation for students.
      • If you don’t have GTD information will be provided to you by the Deans of Student Life and Operations.

    What to Wear, What to Bring

    • For these first two weeks, the Upper School will wear the everyday uniform except for Spirit Day on Fridays. No dress uniforms are required during these two weeks.
    • Lockers will not be used. Students should bring a backpack or bookbag with them. Please have your name on your backpack or bookbag.
    • Water bottles are essential. Only water-bottle filling stations are operable on the water fountains. Please put your name on your water bottle.
    • Supplies for classes will not be shared. Please bring your charged computer, as well as a notebook and paper, along with pens and pencils, for taking any notes that you will need in the first days of classes.

    Carpool, Screening and Entering the Building

    The School will implement daily screenings during morning carpool to determine the health and exposure of students entering the Upper Campus. Upper School Carpool guidelines and maps provide further details.

    • 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

    For students being dropped off, screenings will be conducted by administrators at the cars. For students who drive and park on campus, screenings will occur just before entering the building on the east (quad side) or west (parking lot side) doors. Screenings consist of a temperature check and a few questions. 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.
    • Remember that the stairs and hallways are one-directional. The South stairs are UP only (stairs closest to the baseball field; Remember “Batter UP”). The North stairs are down only (stairs closest to the football field; Remember “TouchDOWN”).
    • Head straight to your first class of the day and report to that learning studio.
    • Seating will be according to a seating chart.

    Progress Monitoring and Reporting: Altitude Learning and PowerSchool

    After much research and an incredibly successful pilot year with the Innovation Diploma program, we are very excited to launch Altitude Learning with the entire Upper School (Middle School will also use Altitude Learning). 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 Upper School’s “learning management system.” Teachers design units, assign cards as learning activities, share information, and provide feedback via Altitude Learning. Students manage their coursework through Altitude Learning. Parents access information about student learning and growth through the “Stream” feature of Altitude Learning. As students gain more experience through use of Altitude Learning, more information will be provided to parents so that you can better understand the progress your student is making in their classes.

    Note that PowerSchool will only be used to report attendance and a summary of letter grades, approximately every two 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. However, due to the modified schedule in the first two weeks, the first “Milepost” grade will appear in PowerSchool near September 4.

    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

    Student Onboarding for Altitude Learning

    On Monday, August 10, students should have received an email notification from [email protected] sent by Jared Colley, Upper School Head of Learning and Innovation. Students may start the onboarding process with the directions in the email notification. We will also dedicate time in the first days of GTD to help onboard students to our learning management system.

    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.

    All of the faculty and staff in the Mount Vernon Upper School are so excited to Reunite with our students and families. Thank you for your incredible partnership and support of the School, especially during these challenging times. We are grateful for your efforts in collective commitment to “Keep You Safe…Keep Me Safe” by following the Health and Well-Being Protocols, so that we can mitigate risks thoughtfully and Reunite on August 12. Here’s to a wonderful, albeit different start to school!

    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.

    Sincerely,

    Bo Adams
    Head of Upper School
    Chief Learning and Innovation Officer
    x2901

    Important Contacts

    Sharveace Cameron, Upper School Executive Assistant | x2200

    Trish Bogdanchik, Upper School Dean of Student Life & Operations | x2202

    Wayne Dabbs, Upper School Dean of Student Life & Operations | 770-881-1828

    Erin McCubbin, Upper School Head of Academic and College Counseling | x2213

    Jared Colley, Upper School Head of Learning and Innovation | 817-863-2481

    Lindsay Huie, Upper Campus Nurse | x7126

    Keri Walton, Upper Campus Counselor | x2252

    Kelli Bynum, Director of Counseling | x2020

    Samantha Flowers, Director of Academic Resources | x2007

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

    August 4, 2020

    Dear Upper School Students and Families,

    While this school year is unlike any other, we are genuinely excited to Reunite as Mount Vernon and begin anew as a community that cares deeply for one another. Because of our strong foundations as a school of inquiry, innovation, and impact, we continue to rise to the challenges that we face, and we will seek solutions that enable students to be engaged in deep, meaningful learning and reconnect with their classmates and friends. The faculty and staff have been working tirelessly to prepare for positive and healthy learning experiences, and we should all feel grateful for their service to this amazing school. The following information provides more details about our upcoming weeks and start of the school year. We wish for you a strong start and a productive year. Many thanks again for partnering with us to Reunite for 2020-21.

    Student Schedules

    At 3:00 pm today, individual schedules for students in grades 9 – 12 can be found in PowerSchool (with link to sign in). Newest families were sent their PowerSchool login credentials from Director of Instructional Technology Katie Cain on Monday, August 3.

    Carpool

    The School will implement daily screenings during morning carpool to determine the health and exposure of students entering the Upper Campus. Upper School Carpool guidelines and maps provide further details.

    For the first two weeks of school, Upper 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

    For the full day schedule beginning on August 24, morning carpool begins at 7:30 a.m. for Upper School and afternoon carpool begins at 3:05 pm for Upper School.

    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 offer highlights of the school year, introduce key pieces of the program, provide an overview of the school day, and walk through carpool procedures and protocols. These videos will be shared via email by Monday, August 10.

    Acknowledgement and Daily Hygiene and Screening

    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.

    We will all need to be fully committed to the health and well-being protocols established and practiced at Mount Vernon so that we may optimize our opportunities to be reunited in the most productive ways possible — washing hands, wearing masks, practicing physical distancing.

    Students must stay committed to coming to school only if they are symptom-free. Additionally, students will be expected to wear a face covering to help mitigate risk for self and others. As students arrive to campus, they should expect the following routines:

    • Students will go through a brief health screening before they enter the Upper School building. For those who arrive in a parent-driven vehicle in the carpool flow, the screening will take place at the vehicle. For those students who drive and park at school, they will line up in a socially distanced manner at the main lobby entry doors (East and West doors) of the Upper School building.
    • After a successful screening, students will go directly to their first scheduled class. Paths and hallways will be one directional, and students will follow the designated traffic flows in the building. These flows happen at class transition, too.
    • Learning studios will be configured for physical distancing, and we will utilize seating charts to help with any contact tracing that may become necessary.
    • In these first two weeks of school, we will emphasize relationship building, training with the health and well-being protocols to ensure quality control, and conducting various aspects of Orientation that have typically been placed before the start of school in years past. A set of orientation videos will also be shared as we start back to school.
    • Instruction in course objectives will begin, yet the pace will be more regulated, with increasing vigor in week three. Progress monitoring and reporting will take place in Altitude Learning throughout the beginning weeks, with letter grades input into PowerSchool by week four.
    • Dismissal will occur in a carefully managed, methodical procedure to avoid congregating.

    Weeks 1 & 2: August 12-August 21

    Upper School will adhere to an adjusted schedule for the first two weeks of school, reducing the total number of students on-campus at any given time.

    • Upper School students will attend half-day classes, in-person, on-campus, Monday through Friday, either from 8:00-11:15 or 12:30-3:45.
    • Students in Grades 11 and 12 will attend classes in the morning, as most of them can drive themselves, while students in grades 9 and 10, many of whom cannot yet drive, will attend classes in the afternoon, so that they can transition to athletics without additional parental driving during the day. In limited cases, when a course has a mix of underclassmen and upperclassmen, a student may receive an email or call by August 6 detailing an adjustment to their schedule. These could be based on overall course enrollment or a modification to limit their time on campus.
    • For these first two weeks, the Upper School will wear the everyday uniform except for Spirit Day on Fridays. No dress uniforms are required during these two weeks.
    • Those students who choose the Virtual Option will attend class remotely and synchronously. Teachers will provide links for Virtual Option students to connect to class at the designated time.
    • No student lunches will be served in these first two weeks.
    • In order to control building density, it is imperative that students adhere to these half-day blocks, as assigned.
    • The schedule for the first two weeks follows and can be found with the US Master Schedule, on pages 3-4.

    Weeks 3 & 4: August 24-September 4

    As we near completion of the first two weeks of school, more details will be shared about these third and fourth weeks of school. In brief, the Upper School will run a staggered 3-Day in-person (8:30-3:00), 2-Day synchronous virtual program. (See US Master Schedule.) Lunch will be served to the learning studios where small groups of students will eat with their classmates and teacher. Students may also bring lunch from home.

    Week 3: August 24-28

    • Grades 9 and 10
      • Monday/Wednesday/Friday: in-person on-campus (8:30-3:00)
      • Tuesday/Thursday: virtual/synchronous (8:30-3:00)
    • Grades 11 and 12
      • Monday/Wednesday/Friday: virtual/synchronous (8:30-3:00)
      • Tuesday/Thursday: in-person on-campus (8:30-3:00)

    Week 4: August 31-September 4

    • Grades 9 and 10
      • Monday/Wednesday/Friday: virtual/synchronous (8:30-3:00)
      • Tuesday/Thursday: in-person on-campus (8:30-3:00)
    • Grades 11 and 12
      • Monday/Wednesday/Friday in-person on-campus (8:30-3:00)
      • Tuesday/Thursday: virtual/synchronous (8:30-3:00)
    • Friday, September 4 is currently scheduled to be a half-day, and the half-day schedule is shown at the US Master Schedule link, on page 2.

    Virtual Option. Upper 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

    Sharveace Cameron, Upper School Executive Assistant | x2200
    Trish Bogdanchik, Upper School Dean of Student Life & Operations | x2202
    Wayne Dabbs, Upper School Dean of Student Life & Operations | 770-881-1828
    Lindsay Huie, Upper Campus Nurse | x7126
    Keri Walton, Upper Campus Counselor | x2252
    Kelli Bynum, Director of Counseling | x2020
    Samantha Flowers, Director of Academic Resources | x2007
    Brandi Hoyos, Lower Campus and Upper Campus Director of IDEA | x2254

    Thank you again for your partnership and support during an extremely complex time.

    Bo Adams
    Head of Upper School | x2901
    Chief Learning and Innovation Officer

    July 30 US Back-to-School Plan

    Dear Upper School Families,

    For nearly 30 years as an educator, I have anticipated each start to a new school year with the greatest excitement and anticipation. I love learning, and I have loved my eight years at Mount Vernon, working with an incredible team of problem solvers and radically optimistic professionals. While this year is by far the most complex and challenging one I have ever faced amidst this global pandemic, I remain positive and optimistic about our MV community reuniting for the 2020-21 school year.

    Undoubtedly, this start to school will look significantly different than what we have been used to in the past. Yet our new beginnings in the near future, no matter what our configurations will be, allow us to reconnect as a community who cares deeply about one another, as well as about our mission and vision as a school. Thank you for your partnership, patience and perseverance in what has transpired in the preceding months, and thank you for your sacrifice and continued endurance with inconvenience in the weeks and months ahead. We will all need to be fully committed to the health and wellness protocols established and practiced at Mount Vernon so that we may optimize our opportunities to be reunited in the most productive ways possible.

    As a reminder, the first day of school for Upper School is Wednesday, August 12.

    Student Schedules
    On August 4, class schedules will be released through PowerSchool.

    • Note: In limited cases, a student may receive an email by August 6 detailing an adjustment to their schedule. These could be based on overall course enrollment or a modification to limit their time on campus.

    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 offer highlights of the school year, introduce key pieces of the program, provide an overview of the school day, and walk through carpool procedures and protocols.

    First Day of Upper School: August 12

    Weeks 1 & 2: August 12 – August 21

    Being away for five months, implementing quality control health and well-being protocols, and recognizing the current health environment, the Upper School will adhere to an adjusted schedule for the first two weeks of school, reducing the total number of students on-campus at any given time.

    • Grades 9-12 students will attend half-day classes in-person on-campus Monday through Friday, either from 8:00-11:15 or 12:30-3:45.
    • Students in Grades 11 and 12 will attend classes in the morning, as most of them can drive themselves.
    • Students in Grades 9 and 10, many of whom cannot yet drive, will attend classes in the afternoon, so that they can transition to athletics without additional parental driving during the day. More information will be forthcoming regarding athletic practices.
    • For these first two weeks, the Upper School will wear the everyday uniform except for Spirit Day on Fridays. No dress uniforms are required during these two weeks.
    • In these first two weeks of school, we will emphasize relationship building, training with the health and well-being protocols to ensure quality control, and conducting various aspects of Orientation that have typically been placed before the start of school in years past.
    • Instruction in course objectives will begin, yet the pace will be more regulated, with increasing vigor in week three. Progress monitoring and reporting will take place in Altitude Learning throughout the beginning weeks, with letter grades input into PowerSchool by week four.

    Weeks 3 & 4: August 24 – September 4

    As we near completion of the first two weeks of school, more details will be shared about these third and fourth weeks of school. In brief, the Upper School will run a staggered 3-Day in-person (8:30-3:00), 2-Day synchronous virtual program. (See US Master Schedule here.)

    Week 3: August 24-28

    • Grades 9 and 10
      • Monday/Wednesday/Friday: in-person on-campus (8:30-3:00)
      • Tuesday/Thursday: virtual/synchronous (8:30-3:00)
    • Grades 11 and 12
      • Monday/Wednesday/Friday: virtual/synchronous (8:30-3:00)
      • Tuesday/Thursday: in-person on-campus (8:30-3:00)

    Week 4: August 31-September 4

    • Grades 9 and 10
      • Monday/Wednesday/Friday: virtual/synchronous (8:30-3:00)
      • Tuesday/Thursday: in-person on-campus (8:30-3:00)
    • Grades 11 and 12
      • Monday/Wednesday/Friday in-person on-campus (8:30-3:00)
      • Tuesday/Thursday: virtual/synchronous (8:30-3:00)
      • Friday, September 4 is currently scheduled to be a half-day, and the half-day schedule is shown at the US Master Schedule link, on page 2.

    Virtual Option. Upper 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]

    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 again for your partnership and support during an extremely complex time.

    Bo Adams
    Head of Upper School
    Chief Learning and Innovation Officer