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Middle School Weekly Update

September 19, 2021

COMING UP THIS WEEK IN MIDDLE SCHOOL: September 20-24

Monday, September 20
Arts & Design Mod 2 Begins

View Milepost 2 Grades in Veracross

Tuesday, September 21
Student Portraits, Grades 6-11: Dress uniform (rescheduled to September 27 due to rain forecast)

Wednesday, September 22

All-School Late Start
9:10 am Carpool begins
9:30 am School begins

Thursday, September 23
8:15 – 8:45 am Coffee and Conversation with Leah Nestor
Relationships are foundational for learning and the success of our students comes in the partnership we build with each of our families. We will review Mount Vernon’s Continuum and discuss how the following Principles of Practice show up in the Middle School everyday: Relationships are Foundational for Learning, Curiosity and Passion Drive Learning, Learning Demands Interactive and Flexible Spaces, Empathy Influences Learning, and Learners Apply Knowledge to Make an Impact. Join me from 8:15 – 8:45 am in the Art Gallery. 

Friday, September 24
Spirit Day

Second Friday

*Community
In Community, students will be engaging in reflection and dialogue about the “spaces” we want to create as a community. After a year of being socially distanced from each other in all areas of our life, we are now in close proximity. The pandemic has redefined how we understand what it means to be together with others and offers an opportunity to reexamine what we want or need from the spaces we inhabit. Specifically, how do we create a “well being space” that supports our needs and where people feel welcome and included? How do we create “brave spaces” where we feel comfortable being ourselves and taking risks, or “engaged spaces” where we feel invited to share our unique perspectives and ask others about theirs? We are excited for this continued work with structured, reflective dialogue.

September 24: Thinking about my favorite space
October 1: My experience with welcoming spaces
October 6: Making welcoming spaces

ATHLETIC TRYOUTS
Winter sports tryouts for Middle School have been published. Please reach out to the respective coaches for additional information. 

SAVE THESE DATES

Monday, September 27: Student Portraits, Grades 6-11: Dress uniform (rescheduled from September 21)

Tuesday, October 5: Grade 7 Class Trip Parent Meeting
Class trip information meetings for Grade 7 families will be held in person from 8:00 until 9:00 am.

Thursday, October 7: Grade 8 Class Trip Parent Meeting
Class trip information meetings for Grade 8 families will be held in person from 8:00 until 9:00 am.

Friday, October 15: Homecoming
Fourteen years of Alumni, New Mustang Families, Grandparents, and our entire MV community are invited to celebrate the School’s 50th year by drawing the largest collection of Mustangs in one place, ever. We will recognize past performers and athletes, active service members, and former Homecoming Kings and Queens, while honoring this year’s court and crowning our new King and Queen. Varsity football kicks off at 4:00 pm against Providence. Be there to participate in the festivities, meet up with long-term Mustangs, and continue the celebration of our School’s 50th year.

Monday, October 18: Grade 6 Class Trip Parent Meeting
Class trip information meetings for Grade 6 families will be held in person from 8:00 until 9:00 am.

 

ENGAGEMENT OPPORTUNITIES

MV Serves: Year of Impact
Year of Impact is a year-long integration of service. Beginning on September 11, our MV Community committed to logging 50,000 hours of selfless service through May 11, 2022. This impactful opportunity will give us the chance to collectively give back while commemorating Mount Vernon’s 50th year. We ask our community to log every hour served, to reach our goal of 50,000 hours this year. Together we give back. #MVImpact

 

A WORD FROM YOUR HEAD OF MIDDLE SCHOOL

On Monday, students and parents will be able to view Milepost #2 grades on Veracross. Milepost grades serve as benchmarks at regular intervals. For the most robust and complete information about student work, progress, and feedback, see Altitude Learning through the Parent Portal. In addition, students have completed their first 6 week Arts and Design Mod and will begin their second Mod in Arts and Design courses on Monday.  As you review the last few weeks of your child’s progress, it is important to zoom out and look for trends. Is your child happy and thriving at school? How is your child managing their workload? Are they making progress in the way that they had hoped? If yes, yeah! If not, here are a couple of ways you can support their learning through this Trimester:

  • encourage your child to talk directly to their teachers to craft a plan of action
  • reach out and share concerns/ideas with your child’s community leader or teacher
  • remind your child that GTD (Get Things Done) is 30 minutes dedicated each day to managing their workload
  • check in with them about which clubs they are interested in to connect with peers
  • help them plan their time outside of school to be able to meet deadlines

We are here and thankful for the partnership with each and everyone of you as we support our students in the Middle School.

Sincerely,

Leah Nestor
Head of Middle School l x2902

Communication Archive

September 12, 2021

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September 12, 2021

COMING UP THIS WEEK IN MIDDLE SCHOOL: SEPTEMBER 13-17

Monday, September 13

Tuesday, September 14
ERB Milestone AssessmentRead the Educational Review Bureau (ERB) Milestone Assessment information

Wednesday, September 15
8:00 – 8:20 am MS Chapel

8:30 – 9:30 am MV Cares Parent Meeting via Zoom: Join the Community Development team to learn how, with your help, we can better support our MV community and make a strong impact through appreciation, prayer, and service. (ID: 95415716123 Passcode: YDOD9UoK)

Thursday, September 16

Friday, September 17: Spirit Day
3:00 pm Milepost 2 Assessment and Grading Period Ends

Faculty will post Milepost letter grades in Veracross that will be viewable by parents and students on Monday, September 20. These Milepost grades are indicators of current progress, and final letter grades are not posted until the end of the 12-week trimester. For the most robust and complete information about student work, progress, and feedback, see Altitude Learning through the Parent Portal.

COVID LANDSCAPE

The following reflects the COVID landscape as of Friday, September 10.

Middle School

COVID Positive
0 of 295

Lower Campus & Upper Campus Employees
0 of 257

 

SAVE THESE DATES

Tuesday, September 21: G6 – G8 Student Portraits

Wednesday, September 22: Late Start
Mount Vernon will implement a late start across all divisions five times this year to allow faculty and staff to participate in cross-divisional professional learning prior to students arriving on campus. On these select days, carpool will begin at 9:10 am and the school day will start at 9:30 am. Childcare will not be available before carpool on either campus. (Remaining four late starts: December 8, January 6, March 23, April 27)

Thursday, September 23: Coffee and Conversation
We know that relationships are foundational for learning. The success of our students comes in the partnership we build with each of our families. Join me on the fourth Thursday of each month for Coffee and Conversation from 8:15 – 8:45 am in the Art Gallery.

Tuesday, October 5: Grade 7 Class Trip Parent Meeting
Class trip information meetings for Grade 7 families will be held in person from 8:00 until 9:00 am.

Thursday, October 7: Grade 8 Class Trip Parent Meeting
Class trip information meetings for Grade 8 families will be held in person from 8:00 until 9:00 am.

Friday, October 15: Homecoming 
Varsity football kicks off at 4:00pm against Providence for 2021-2022 Homecoming. Join the festivities as we welcome 14 years of alumni back to campus, crown a new Homecoming King and Queen, and continue the celebration of our School’s 50th year.

Monday, October 18: Grade 6 Class Trip Parent Meeting
Class trip information meetings for Grade 6 families will be held in person from 8:00 until 9:00 am. 

ENGAGEMENT OPPORTUNITIES

MV Serves: Year of Impact
Year of Impact is a year-long integration of service. Beginning on September 11, our MV Community committed to logging 50,000 hours of selfless service through May 11, 2022. This impactful opportunity will give us the chance to collectively give back while commemorating Mount Vernon’s 50th year. We ask our community to log every hour served, to reach our goal of 50,000 hours this year. Together we give back. #MVImpact

Mustang Athletic Club and MV Arts Alliance
Joining the Mustang Athletic Club and/or the MV Arts Alliance is a great way to support Mount Vernon students outside of the classroom – on the court, track, and field, or on the stage, in the recording and art studios. 

  • The Mustang Athletic Club is your guide to all things athletics. Whether you have a student-athlete participating or you’re just a Mustang fan, learn more about supporting MV athletes and joining the Mustang Athletic Club.
  • The MV Arts Alliance provides an opportunity for families to support artists – students, faculty, and staff – while building a community of parents and grandparents at the School. Your membership to the MV Arts Alliance helps celebrate all of the School’s artists from Preschool through Upper School. 

A WORD FROM YOUR HEAD OF MIDDLE SCHOOL

This week, Middle School continued with our norms of #sharethewell, #havefun, and #startwithquestions. Our new students were able to gather during GTD (Get Things Done) for a Q&A session, fun, games, donuts and a warm welcome from MS Learning Coach and IDEA Coordinator Dr. Chaundra Suddith and the Mount Vernon staff. In chapel, we were honored to have our Middle School voice teacher, Ms. Kathleen Kelly-George, lead our voice students in a song entitled, American Tears. These students set the stage for remembering 9/11. As we took our moment of silence, I was reminded of the power of community. What an honor it will be to serve our community with family, friends, and peers this year. Our chapel message led us into Galations 5:13 and Matthew 23:11-12 with a reminder to humbly serve one another. Students were reminded to be bridges and connectors by serving one another, giving to others, and leaning into We Over Me. 
Sincerely,

Leah Nestor
Head of Middle School l x2902

September 5, 2021

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September 5, 2021

Dear Middle School Mustangs,

September is an exciting time in the Middle School. Students will begin clubs and apply to be junior prefects. Grounded in I Corinthians 6:17, Jeremiah 1:5, and Romans 8:31, this week’s chapel asked the question: what does strength look like to me? Students learned that, “if God is for you, who can be against you?” We had a Middle School student lead worship and it was heartwarming to see the cheers and support from her classmates for a #sharethewell moment. Thank you for partnering with us to ensure students follow our health and safety protocols.

Family Share Conference Feedback
Click here to provide us with feedback on how we can continue to improve your conference experience. We value and appreciate your feedback.

WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 6-10

Monday, September 6: NO SCHOOL

Tuesday, September 7
We are excited to offer a MV Middle New Student Meet & Greet on Tuesday, September 7 during their Getting Things Done (GTD) block. We can’t wait to host our new students for a Q&A session, fun, games, and donuts!

Wednesday, September 8
8:00 – 8:20 am Chapel

11:00 am – 1:30 pm Vaccine Clinic
As part of our continuing commitment to the safety of our community, our next vaccine clinic will be offered on September 8 in the Middle School Light Box from 11:00 am – 1:30 pm. This opportunity is available for all students who are 12+ years of age, staff, and families.

Thursday, September 9
ERB Milestone AssessmentRead the Educational Review Bureau (ERB) Milestone Assessment information. This information was also shared in the Grade Level Week at a Glance email.

8:30 – 9:30 am Parent University: Essential Partners Virtual Zoom
Equipping Mount Vernon to Dialogue Across Difference: Why do conversations get stuck? Why do discussions sometimes leave participants feeling misunderstood and attacked for their perspective? Essential Partners will lead families through an experiential session designed to equip participants with an understanding of how to shift the dynamics of a stuck conversation to support effective communication. At Mount Vernon, dialogue across difference directly advances the work of IDEA by supporting an environment of listening and inquiry to further understanding—where students are partners in cultivating a community that acknowledges and communicates across differences. Thus, they are prepared to effectively engage with complex issues in their future beyond Mount Vernon, whether at a university campus, in the workplace or boardroom, or on the international stage.

Friday, September 10: Spirit Day
6:30 – 9:30 pm Rock the Block Adult Social (80’s Theme)
Our MV community is ready to socialize! Connect with parents, faculty, staff, grandparents, and alumni (21 and older) to celebrate the School’s 50th year. Join us on campus, dress up in full-on 80’s attire, and relive the neon decade with The Breakfast Club band playing on the Upper Campus lawn from 6:30 – 9:30 pm. Purchase tickets prior to September 7.

SAVE THESE DATES

Wednesday, September 22: Late Start
Mount Vernon will implement a late start across all divisions five times this year to allow faculty and staff to participate in cross-divisional professional learning prior to students arriving on campus. On these select days, carpool will begin at 9:10 am and the school day will start at 9:30 am. Childcare will not be available before carpool on either campus. (Remaining four late starts: December 8, January 6, March 23, April 27)

Thursday, September 23: Coffee and Conversation
We know that relationships are foundational for learning. The success of our students comes in the partnership we build with each of our families. Join me on the fourth Thursday of each month for Coffee and Conversation from 8:15 – 8:45 am in the Art Gallery.

Friday, October 15: Homecoming
Varsity football kicks off at 4:00pm against Providence for 2021-2022 Homecoming. Join the festivities as we welcome 14 years of alumni back to campus, crown a new homecoming King and Queen, and continue the celebration of our School’s 50th year.

Mustang Athletic Club and MV Arts Alliance
Joining the Mustang Athletic Club and/or the MV Arts Alliance is a great way to support Mount Vernon students outside of the classroom – on the court, track, and field, or on the stage, in the recording and art studios.

  • The Mustang Athletic Club is your guide to all things athletics. Whether you have a student-athlete participating or you’re just a Mustang fan, learn more about supporting MV athletes and joining the Mustang Athletic Club.
  • The MV Arts Alliance provides an opportunity for families to support artists – students, faculty, and staff – while building a community of parents and grandparents at the School. Your membership to the MV Arts Alliance helps celebrate all of the School’s artists from Preschool through Upper School.

MS Class Trips 2022
Below you will find the information for Middle School Class Trips. We will be partnering with Kanuga’s Mountain Trail Outdoor School in Henerdersonville, North Carolina for the Grade 6 trip. Worldstrides will be our travel partner for the Grade 7 trip to Boston and the Grade 8 trip to Washington, D.C. The trips will allow students to explore learning experiences beyond the regular-year MV curriculum.

  1. Middle School class trips will be held the week of March 1 – March 4 for Grade 7 and Grade 8. Grade 6 dates are TBD but will be held the week of February 28 – March 4.
  2. Class trip information meetings for families will be held in person on October 5 for Grade 7, October 7 for Grade 8, and October 18 for Grade 6, all from 8:00 until 9:00 am.
  3. Of course, we are working with our travel service provider to monitor Covid-protocols in the cities that we visit. We are thrilled to be finalizing “Plan A” details, as well as “Plan B” contingencies.

Parent Engagement Opportunities
As a member of the Mount Vernon community – parents and grandparents are automatically a part of the Mount Vernon Parent Network (MVPN), which works to promote a strong sense of community by encouraging MV families to Learn, Serve, and Give. We provide our families the opportunity to support each other, as well as faculty and staff in an informed, welcoming environment. Our success is grounded in a shared mission, supportive community and strong parent participation. If you haven’t already determined how you would like to share your time and talent with the School, please complete this engagement interest form and you will hear back from Hunter Pierce, Director of Community Impact.

Parent University: Wellness Jumpstart Recap
Recently, our parent community joined together on Zoom to learn more about Wellness at Mount Vernon – how students and families are holistically supported throughout the School. The work and the progress being made in every department is focused on the betterment of our community, developing character, empathy, confidence, and safety, in addition to expanding on the foundation of academic growth.Hear from representatives of Community Development, IDEA, Athletics, Arts, Counseling, and Technology Safety.

As the exciting and familiar feeling of fall comes, I am reminded of the importance of our mission. We are 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. Thank you for being a part of this journey to be better together.

Sincerely,

Leah Nestor
Head of Middle School l x2902

August 29, 2021

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August 29, 2021

Dear Middle School Mustangs, 

This week brought wonder and connection as students chose their independent reading, made real life connections in humanities, started on new instruments, auditioned for the fall play, reviewed mathematical concepts, and more. Week two demonstrated the continued positive impact of empathy and collaboration between our students, families, and teachers. Thank you for the words of gratitude as well as patience and willingness to adhere to our health and safety protocols.

COVID Announcement
Beginning Monday, August 23, the School transitioned the face covering mitigation strategy from “strongly recommend” to “required” for all students and faculty/staff members regardless of vaccination status. Students in grades 7-12 are currently required to wear face coverings while indoors only, entering buildings, walking through hallways, and during classroom settings. Read the announcement sent on August 20 from the School for more details.

COVID Landscape
The following reflects the COVID landscape as of Friday, August 27.

Middle School

COVID Positive
2 of 295

Lower Campus & Upper Campus Employees
0 of 257

Milepost 1- Altitude Learning and Veracross

The first Milepost grading period ended on Friday, August 27. For students in grades 6-12, their ongoing work, learning progress, and feedback are viewable anytime in Altitude Learning. Additionally, every three weeks, teachers post Milepost letter grades in Veracross. These Milepost grades serve as benchmarks at regular intervals. The official, final grades are posted at the end of a nine-week module (Upper School) or at the end of a twelve-week trimester (Middle School). In Upper School, the honors distinction is only designated at the end of a mod. Because teachers may be completing the assessment of submitted student work at the end of a Milepost, grades typically will be viewable on the following Monday. For this Milepost 1, grades will be available in Veracross by Monday, August 30.

For the first week in the Middle School, teachers facilitated activities to create and build invaluable relationships with students that are essential to the giving and receiving of constructive feedback. Consequently, and because of the nature of the alternating-day block schedule, a number of classes have met around five to seven times thus far. For this first milepost, you will see a Pass, Fail, or Incomplete in Veracross in each discipline. As students experience more class meetings in the coming weeks, the number of assessments will increase. At our next Milepost on September 17, teachers will post letters grades based on more complete formative and summative assessments in six weeks of classes.

Please feel welcomed and encouraged to reach out to a particular teacher should you want to discuss any questions you may have related to assessment and grading in a course.

Additional Resources:

Family Share Conferences
Thank you for signing up for Family Share Conferences. We have two days left for Family Share Conferences. We appreciate your time and commitment to building relationships with your child’s Community Leader as you shared your thoughts and concerns. If you still need to sign up for your virtual conference, the instructions are below. Once you have completed your Family Share Conference, please click here to provide us with feedback on how we can continue to improve your conference experience.

How to sign up and attend Family Share Conferences:

  1. Use Veracross to sign up for a Family Share Conference with your child’s Community Leader.
  2. Review your child’s Stream share through your email and Altitude Learning.
  3. Come to the conference ready to expand on the following questions:
    • How does the information from your answers connect with what you already know?
    • What did you learn that brought up new ideas or extended your thinking?
    • What would you like to challenge or what challenges would you like to share?
  4. Join via Zoom:

WEEK OF AUGUST 30 – SEPTEMBER 3

Monday, August 30
View Milepost 1 grades in Veracross

Wednesday, September 1
8:00-8:20 am Chapel

Friday, September 3
First Friday

12:00 pm Early Dismissal (No Extended Play)

Save These Dates

Wednesday, September 8: Vaccine Clinic
As part of our continuing commitment to the safety of our community, our next vaccine clinic will be offered on September 8 in the Middle School Light Box from 11:00 am – 1:30 pm. This opportunity is available for all students who are 12+ years of age, staff, and families. More information will be coming, but please keep that date in mind as you plan your coming weeks.

Thursday, September 9 and 14: ERB
Mount Vernon has continued to partner with Educational Records Bureau (ERB) for standardized testing for students in grades 6-8 using ERB’s Milestones, a condensed version of the CTP-Online. The milestones consist of two, 40-minute tests; one in literacy and one in math. All students in grades 6-8 will participate in Fall assessments on September 9 and 14. Students approved for school accommodations will have access to extended time for their assessments. Please direct any questions to Executive Director of Learning and Innovation Nicole Martin ([email protected]) or your respective divisional leadership team.

Friday, September 10: Rock the Block Adult Social (80’s Theme)
The School’s 5th Rock the Block evening social will be hosted on campus for the first time as we celebrate our parents, grandparents, special guests, faculty, staff, and alumni (21 and older) for our 50th year. The Breakfast Club – an 80’s tribute band – will be playing on the Upper Campus lawn from 6:30 – 9:30 pm. Wear your totally tubular 80’s attire. Purchase tickets today!

Thursday, September 23: Coffee and Conversation
We know that relationships are foundational for learning. The success of our students comes in the partnership we build with each of our families. Join me on the fourth Thursday of each month for Coffee and Conversation from 8:15 – 8:45 am in the Art Gallery.

Friday, October 15: Homecoming 
Varsity football kicks off at 4:00pm against Providence for 2021-2022 Homecoming. Join the festivities as we welcome 14 years of alumni back to campus, crown a new homecoming King and Queen and King, and continue the celebration of our School’s 50th year.

MS Class Trips 2022
We are excited to share that we are moving forward with planning for Middle School Class Trips the week of February 28 – March 4, 2022. We will again be partnering with Kanuga’s Mountain Trail Outdoor Outdoor School in Henerdersonville, North Carolina for the Grade 6 trip. Worldstrides will be our travel partner for the Grade 7 trip to Boston and the Grade 8 trip to Washington, D.C. The trips will allow students to explore learning experiences beyond the regular-year MV curriculum. These trips have been an integral part of our MV Middle student experience, with a COVID-related hiatus last year. We are thrilled to be finalizing “Plan A” details, as well as “Plan B” contingencies. Information will be forthcoming regarding informational meetings for Mount Vernon families.

The theme for chapel over the next few weeks is around “Making Your Mess Your Message.” In Deuteronomy 34:10, Moses overcame his mess to share a powerful message that was needed by the people of Israel. Students were told to be brave, be resilient, and be proud through the mess. A timely message as they navigate changing protocols, new teachers, new friendships, new interests, wins and losses, and personal challenges. Thank you for continuing to partner with us to shepherd each and every student through a fun and healthy school year.

Sincerely,

Leah Nestor
Head of Middle School l x2902

August 22, 2021

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August 22, 2021

Dear Middle School Mustangs, 

What a great first full week of school. This week we began our units of learning, started Arts and Design Mod 1, and placed students in their connection choices. Our chapel lesson this week was out of Romans 12:10. We were encouraged to reflect on what it means to lead an impactful life and lift up our community and peers. This week held the familiar buzz of school as students moved through their day engaged in Mount Vernon norms: Start with Questions, Fail Up, Share the Well, Assume the Best, and Have Fun. 

The biggest highlight of the week was Dr. Jacobsen’s Convocation on Friday in the Upper Campus gym. What an honor it was to be with students, parents, and faculty and gather as a Mount Vernon community. We will continue to explore Dr. Jacobsen’s charge to be Connectors and Bridges. Grounded in II Corinthians 12:10 and Proverbs 4:23, being a connector requires strength and maintaining guardrails along the journey. We will continue to explore Dr. Jacobsen’s charge for us all year. Considering questions and ideas such as:

  • How might we build bridges between different classes within the Middle School and with other grades from Preschool to Upper School?
  • How might we connect to our local community in moments of service, to share our talents and to learn in real and relevant ways?
  • How might we build connections to students around the world that lead to real collaboration around designing solutions to problems?

COVID Announcement
Beginning Monday, August 23, the School will transition the face covering mitigation strategy from “strongly recommend” to “required” for all students and faculty/staff members regardless of vaccination status. Students in grades 7-12 will be required to wear face coverings while indoors only, entering buildings, walking through hallways, and during classroom settings. Read the announcement sent on August 20 from the School.

WEEK OF AUGUST 23-27

Monday, August 23

8:30 – 9:30 am Parent University: Wellness Jumpstart (via Zoom)
Parents are invited to join a Zoom meetup to learn how Mount Vernon is developing relationships and furthering the School’s mission by getting to know each child and family through work related to Academics [Bo Adams], IDEA [Stacey Lee], Athletics [Brad Dehem], Arts [Matt Neylon], Counseling [Kelli Bynum], Technology Safety and Integration [Katie Cain], and Community Engagement [Anne Katz]. 

Join Zoom Meeting
ID: 84259200873 / Passcode: 6n82D9QF

Wednesday, August 25

8:00-8:25 am MS Chapel
Please note that we are unable to accommodate parents for chapel at this time. Students are required to wear their Dress Uniform.

9:00-10:00 am Parent University (via Zoom)
Join us for an informative session focused on competency based learning and the Altitude Learning platform. The session will be recorded for families unable to participate via Zoom.

Join Zoom Meeting
ID: 864 6065 8882 / Passcode: 127683

Friday, August 27: Spirit Day

First Friday
Week at a Glance

3:15 pm Mod 1, Milepost 1 Assessment and Grading Period
At the conclusion of the first three weeks of school, faculty will post Milepost letter grades in Veracross that will be viewable on Monday, August 30. These Milepost grades are indicators of current progress, and final letter grades are not posted until the end of the 12-week Trimester. For the most robust and complete information about student work, progress, and feedback, see Altitude Learning through the Parent Portal.

4:30 pm All-School BBQ at the 1st Varsity Football Home Game
Join our entire community to kick off the football season with a complimentary BBQ tailgate and special gathering spots for new families, grandparents, and alumni. Admission is free for all Mustangs for this first game. Future home game admission is $7.

Save These Dates

Friday, September 10: Rock the Block Adult Social (80’s Theme)
The School’s 5th Rock the Block evening social will be hosted on campus for the first time as we celebrate our parents, grandparents, special guests, faculty, staff, and alumni (21 and older) for our 50th year. The Breakfast Club – an 80’s tribute band – will be playing on the Upper Campus lawn from 6:30 – 9:30 pm. Wear your totally tubular 80’s attire – more details to come.

Thursday, September 23: Coffee and Conversation
We know that relationships are foundational for learning. The success of our students comes in the partnership we build with each of our families. Join me on the fourth Thursday of each month for Coffee and Conversation from 8:15 – 8:45 am in the Art Gallery.

Family Share Conferences
Please sign up for your Middle School Family Share Conference, through the sign up link in the Veracross Parent Portal, which can be scheduled between August 23 and August 31. The purpose of this conference is to strengthen your home-school partnership during this critical stage of child development. It is a time for you to share your thoughts and concerns with your child’s Community Leader, who will then cascade the information to their respective grade-level team of teachers. 

Please look at this as an opportunity to share and the teacher’s opportunity to listen. Your child will answer questions about themselves, then Stream this information home to you via Altitude Learning. You will receive a notification to your email inbox from [email protected] when the Stream is sent, and you can also view it in your Altitude Learning Parent Portal. You will be able to review their thoughts before the conference, where we ask that you come ready to expand on the questions below:

  • How does the information from your child’s answers connect with what you already know?
  • What did you learn that brought up new ideas or extended your thinking?
  • What would you like to challenge or what challenges would you like to share?

While you will see each of your child’s teachers in the signup portal, you will only sign up to meet with their Community Leader. If you have any issues signing up for Family Share Conferences in Veracross, please reach out to Middle School Executive Assistant, Joelann Toppin.

To summarize, you have four action steps:

  1. Use Veracross to sign up for a Family Share Conference with your child’s Community Leader.
  2. Review your child’s Stream share through your email and Altitude Learning.
  3. Come to the conference ready to expand on the bulleted questions above. 
  4. Join via Zoom:
    1. Grade 8 Family Share Conference Links
    2. Grade 7 Family Share Conference Links
    3. Grade 6 Family Share Conference Links

I am deeply grateful for your partnership as we join together in our mission of inquiry, innovation, and impact – grounded in Christian values.

Sincerely,

Leah Nestor

Head of Middle School l x2902

August 15, 2021

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Dear Middle School Mustangs, 

It has been a great first week of school. Our focus this week has been on community, expectations, and fun. Students connected with their Community Leaders, entire grade, and classmates. They were introduced and reintroduced to Altitude Learning and had multiple opportunities to become familiar with their schedule. Students were able to meet the 10 teachers who are teaching the choice connections classes and learn about each class before ranking their choices. There is exuberant excitement around being in the building and being together again. 

COVID Landscape
As communicated in the July 30 COVID announcement, the School has designed a set of thorough and thoughtful COVID protocols and mitigation strategies influenced by, among other things, the interdependence of the following factors: recommendations from public health officials; consulting with experts within the Mount Vernon community; proven effectiveness of multiple layers of mitigation strategies; analysis of COVID positive cases and transmission data at the School; real-time COVID data in counties surrounding the School; strong vaccination rates for age-eligible adults and students (12+); maintaining as many students on campus as possible and preventing extended periods of being sent home; affect on social-emotional health of students and faculty/staff members; and impact on the quality of teaching and learning between teachers and students.

After the first week of school, the following reflects the COVID landscape as of Friday, August 13.

Middle School

COVID Positive
3 of 295

Direct Exposure
4 of 295

Upper Campus Lower Campus Faculty/Staff
0 of 257
0 of 257

Week at a Glance
Each Friday, Middle School Heads of Grade will share a Week at a Glance through the Stream feature in Altitude Learning. This will provide an overview of what students should expect in the coming week. The goal is to help students organize their week ahead. 

Community
In Community, we focus on connections. Research shows that when kids connect to one another, to their teachers, and to their school community, they are happier and more successful. Community activities include, but are not limited to, games, snacks, mindfulness, individual check-ins, and more. Community sets the conditions for the academic day and for personal connections. Anchored in Christian values–love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control, relationships at Mount Vernon are foundational to learning. We welcome opportunities to wrestle with voices and perspectives that challenge our assumptions. To further strengthen the stamina and abilities of our students to make these connections, we are partnering with Essential Partners this year to build dialogue competencies. On August 19 & September 1, in preparation for two dialogue activities on September 24 & October 6, Community Leaders will introduce skill building frameworks in listening and inquiry to equip students to better engage with the dialogue and each other. Deep, multifaceted listening and inquiry allows students to connect better with their peers and navigate moments of challenge and controversy in more holistic and complex ways. Starting from how we listen and ask questions of each other, we can invite this complexity into a conversation and shift the dynamics of communication patterns. 

Preparing students to be college ready, globally competitive, and engaged citizen leaders is about leaning in to creating and cultivating connections between all people, ideas, and sectors. Rather than allowing our differences to divide us, we empower students to appreciate and respect those who have differing perspectives. Our trust for each other strengthens our sense of individual freedom, autonomy, and interdependence.

WEEK OF AUGUST 16-20

Monday, August 16
10:00 am – 1:00 pm Vaccine Clinic in the Black Box Theatre in the Upper School Building
Mount Vernon is offering a COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine clinic, free of charge, administered by Briarcliff Health Mart Pharmacy on Monday August 16, 2021 from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm in the Upper School Building for all age-eligible students (12 or older), employees, and parents that would like to participate. In order to receive a COVID-19 vaccine please complete both forms below and bring them to the vaccine clinic. 1) Briarcliff Health Mart Vaccine Immunization Form, and 2) Mount Vernon School Consent, Waiver & Release Form

Tuesday, August 17
3:30 – 5:30 pm Little Women: The Musical Auditions 

Wednesday, August 18
8:00-8:25 am MS Chapel

We are excited to get back to weekly worship. Please note that we are unable to accommodate parents for chapel at this time. Students are required to wear their Dress Uniform.

Friday, August 20
Spirit Day: MV spirit shirt with uniform bottom or jeans

Week at a Glance: Look for a message from your Head of Grade through the Stream feature in Altitude Learning

Second Friday: Each week we will have a first or second Friday to balance out the schedule

10:15 am Convocation for Grades 6-12: Students, parents and faculty/staff are invited to the Upper Campus gym to hear Dr. Jacobsen and Head Prefect Jaden Ward set the tone for the 2021-2022 school year, the School’s 50th.

Save These Dates

Friday, August 27: All-School BBQ at the 1st Varsity Football Home Game
Join our entire community to kick off the football season with a BBQ tailgate and special gathering spots for new families, grandparents, and alumni.

Friday, September 10: Rock the Block Parent Social 
The School’s 5th Rock the Block evening social will be hosted on campus for the first time as we celebrate our parents, grandparents, special guests, and alumni during our 50th year. More details coming soon.

Altitude Learning
In the August 8 Weekly Update, we shared a big picture overview of Altitude Learning, and we encouraged families to login to the Altitude Learning Parent Portal. Some families have contacted the School regarding some difficulties or issues with login. Thank you! Here’s a quick update and some additional resources:

Meeting ID: 864 6065 8882

Passcode: 127683

Family Share Conferences
We invite each parent to speak with your child’s Community Leader for Family Share Conferences. Family Share Conferences will run from August 23 – August 31. The purpose of the family share conference is to strengthen the home-school partnership during this critical stage of child development. It is a time for you to share your thoughts and concerns with your child’s Community Leader, who will then cascade the information to the grade-level team of teachers. This conference is your opportunity to share and the teacher’s opportunity to listen. Your child will answer questions about themselves and then Stream this information home to you via Altitude Learning! You will have the opportunity to review their thoughts before the conference, where we ask that you come ready to expand on the questions below:

  • How does the information from your child’s answers connect with what you already know?
  • What did you learn that brought up new ideas or extended your thinking?
  • What would you like to challenge or what challenges would you like to share?

You may sign up for Family Share Conferences beginning on August 20. If you have any issues signing up for Family Share Conferences in Veracross, please reach out to Middle School Executive Assistant, Joelann Toppin on or after August 20.

Important Middle School Contacts

Joelann Toppin, Middle School Executive Assistant | x2100
Max Hanson, Associate Head of Middle School | x2103
Dr. Jennifer Santi, Middle School Head of Learning and Innovation l x2129
Samantha Flowers, Director of Academic Resources l x2007
Cathy Fiacco, Middle School Nurse | x6126
Kelli Bynum, Director of Counseling Services | x2020

Please reach out to me or any of the contacts above with any questions you may have. Thank you for your partnership in ensuring we have a successful, healthy, and fun school year.

Sincerely,

Leah Nestor
Head of Middle School l x2902

August 8, 2021

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August 8, 2021

Dear Middle School Mustangs,

It is my pleasure to welcome everyone back to Mount Vernon for the 2021-2022 school year. I eagerly await the moment I can meet every single student and family in the Middle School. The entire staff is excited to feel the energy and enthusiasm of students as they fill the hallways and classrooms, compete on a Middle School athletic team, perform on the stage, start a new club, or become a junior prefect. We are all looking forward to everyone returning to Mount Vernon for what will surely be an amazing year for the Middle School full of learning, reuniting with old friends and forging new friendships, failing up, exploring interests and more.

During the first week of school, students will meet their teachers, become familiar with and review Altitude Learning, learn about Middle School expectations, and participate in Grade Level team building activities.

WEEK OF AUGUST 9-13

Monday, August 9
Orientation

Tuesday, August 10
First Day of School

Friday, August 13
Spirit Day

Orientation
We look forward to welcoming you back to Mount Vernon on Monday for Middle School Orientation. This event is an opportunity for both parents and students to connect with faculty and staff members to learn more about the academic program for the upcoming school year. As a reminder, consistent with the COVID announcement last week regarding larger gatherings, parents, students, and faculty/staff will be required to wear a face covering while attending the opening assembly in the Gym, and we strongly recommend wearing a face covering while traveling throughout the building. While this is not an ideal way to start the year, we anticipate hosting a large group of students and parents in each grade level orientation. Thank you for your support and cooperation in launching the 2021-2022 school year. As a reminder, any student who needs medicine administered during the school day should bring their labeled medication to Nurse Cathy Fiacco during Orientation.

  • Grade 6: 8:30 – 9:30 am
  • Grade 7: 10:30 – 11:30 am
  • Grade 8: 1:00 – 2:00 pm

COVID Protocol – Indoors
Face Coverings are required for Grade 6 students regardless of vaccination status in classrooms, hallways, and large group gatherings. Students will be given face covering breaks throughout the day. Face coverings are strongly recommended for Grades 7 and 8 in classrooms and hallways. Face coverings are required for all students regardless of vaccination status in large group gatherings. Large group gatherings include but are not limited to: all-school gatherings, chapel, grade level assemblies, and drills. For unvaccinated students, wearing a face covering inside on a daily basis will allow students to remain at the School if a COVID positive case is identified and ultimately, will prevent them from having to quarantine at home for an extended period of time.

Carpool
Middle School morning carpool begins at 7:30 am. Parents are asked to drop their students off by 7:55 am, for everyone to be settled in class prior to the start of school at 8:00 am. Students will be released at 3:00 pm for afternoon carpool. While there will be assistance during both morning and afternoon carpools, please take a moment to review and become familiar with carpool details for grades 6-8. Carpool number cards for all Middle School families will be distributed in each student’s welcome packet on Monday during Orientation.

Save the Date
Monday, August 16: Vaccine Clinic for 12+
Providing an additional layer of protection within the MV community, the School will offer a vaccine clinic free of charge for students who are 12-years-old, faculty, parents, and grandparents. More details will be shared later this week regarding times, process, and required forms.

Altitude Learning
Altitude Learning is Mount Vernon’s primary learning management system that encourages and supports students having agency in their learning journey, and it gives parents a window into how students are progressing. Altitude Learning allows for organizing learning experiences, assigning work, submitting assignments, receiving feedback, and tracking learning relative to the goals and objectives of a course. As students and teachers engage with Altitude Learning, they can share reflections and highlight learning through the Stream feature, which allows parents a great view into student learning. Students will be oriented to Altitude Learning in the first week of school. Parents can find a brief handout linked here to read more and review how to login to the Parent Portal of Altitude Learning. More information will be provided soon about a Parent University focused on competency-based learning and Altitude Learning.

Veracross
Veracross will be used to report attendance, view schedules and provide resources to families. Veracross will also be where parents can find a summary “Milepost” letter grade for each course approximately every three weeks. You can expect the first “milepost” grade after Friday, August 27. The most robust details about student progress will continue to be found through Altitude Learning.

Family Share Conference
Beginning August 23, we invite families to set up a time with their student’s Community Leader for a Family Share Conference. The purpose of the family sharing conference is to strengthen the home-school partnership during this critical stage of student development. It is a time for you to share your thoughts and concerns with your student’s Community Leader, who will then cascade the information to the grade-level team of teachers. This conference is your opportunity to share and the teacher’s opportunity to listen. We will send more information in the coming weeks.

Important Middle School Contacts
Joelann Toppin, Middle School Executive Assistant | x2100
Max Hanson, Associate Head of Middle School | x2103
Dr. Jennifer Santi, Middle School Head of Learning and Innovation l x2129
Samantha Flowers, Director of Academic Resources l x2007
Cathy Fiacco, Middle School Nurse | x6126
Kelli Bynum, Director of Counseling Services | x2020

Please reach out to me or any of the contacts above with any questions you may have. The entire Middle School faculty and I are so excited to connect and reconnect with you. Meet our newest Middle School faculty.

Thank you for your partnership in ensuring we have a successful, healthy, and fun school year.

Sincerely,

Leah Nestor
Head of Middle School l x2902

Divisional Updates

Preschool Updates
Lower School Updates
Middle School Updates
Upper School Updates

 

COVID Contact Information

COVID Information Line: 678.515.4891
COVID Information Email:
[email protected]
COVID eFax Line: 404.591.1441

 

Quick Links

COVID Protocols
School Calendar
Parent Portal
Faculty/Staff Directory
Upper Campus Carpool
Uniform Guidelines
Summer ePacket