Upper School Update

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

Communication Archive

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