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Upper School Weekly Update

September 19, 2021

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

Monday, September 20
11:00 am – 12:45 pm Club Fair (Rescheduled from last Thursday)

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
6:15 – 7:30 pm US Theatre Student/Parent Informational Meeting for summer trip to Scotland. Learn about an opportunity to travel to Scotland to represent Georgia by performing at the world’s largest high school theatre festival, The Fringe, during the summer of 2022. The meeting is in-person in the US Café, via Zoom, and also being recorded. Decisions about this trip do not need to be made until mid-October, as families are currently weighing Interim Term opportunities. (Zoom meeting ID: 850 6600 2602 / Passcode: fp3m1N5U)

Friday, September 24: Spirit Day and Advisory*
Coach Ron Hill Day: In memory of beloved Coach Ron Hill, students are asked to wear their 03 Reunite spirit shirts. A moment of silence will be observed to start the day, his favorite meal (chicken fingers and french fries) will be served for lunch, and Coach Hill’s twin daughters will lead the football team out to the field for the home game against George Walton Academy at 4:15.

8:30 – 9:30 am Interim Term virtual information session and Q&A, via Zoom. Director of Interim Term and Global Impact DeShawn Jenkins will share a general overview of each of the interim programs along with registration process details. Time will be provided for questions. Parents were emailed details about Interim Term last Friday.

*ADVISORY
During the next three Advisory sessions, 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 Upper 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)

Thursday, October 7, from 6:00-7:00 pm: College Panel Night
Don’t miss out on the opportunity to have all your questions about the college admission process answered by admission representatives from SCAD, Georgia College, Purdue University, and the University of Kentucky. Keep an eye on your inbox for registration information in the coming weeks. 

Thursday, October 7 at 8:30: Coffee with Kristy
Every month, I will present a topic for 7 minutes and then we can discuss it for 7 minutes. Then, we can have a free discussion for 14 minutes about life in Upper School. I know everyone has very busy lives, so I promise to keep the session to 30 minutes. October’s theme: Globally Competitive – what does that mean to the Upper School at Mount Vernon?

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, 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.

Saturday, October 16: Homecoming Dance
Tropical Getaway 2021 7:00-9:00 pm at the MV US Patio
Dress is semi-formal (pants – no jeans/jackets, party dresses)

 

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 UPPER SCHOOL

On Monday, students and parents will be able to view Milepost #2 grades on Veracross. While each grade is important and tells the story of progress in an individual course, it is also 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 during the last three weeks of MOD 1:

  • 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 advisor or teacher
  • remind your child that G.T.D. (Get Things Done) is 70 minutes dedicated each day to managing their workload
  • check in with them about which clubs/activities they are interested in to connect with peers
  • help them plan their time outside of school to be able to meet deadlines

As always, we are here to partner with you in supporting our students and their continued success.

Sincerely, 

Kristy Lundstrӧm
Head of Upper School | X2901

Communication Archive

September 12, 2021

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September 12, 2021

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

Monday, September 13

Tuesday, September 14

Wednesday, September 15
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)

9:30 – 10:05 am US Chapel

Thursday, September 16
11:00 – 12:45 Club Fair

Friday, September 17: Spirit Day
Interim trips announced during Advisory

3:15 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 nine-week module. 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.

Upper School

COVID Positive
1 of 456

Lower Campus & Upper Campus Employees
0 of 257

SAVE THESE DATES

Tuesday, September 21: G9- G11 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)

Friday, September 24: Interim information ZOOM meeting for families, 8:30 am 
On Friday, September 17, Interim trips for 2022 will be announced during Advisory. Following that event, an information packet will be sent to all Upper School families with details including login information. On Friday, September 24, parents are encouraged to attend a virtual informational session to answer any questions. 

Friday, October 15: Homecoming 
Varsity football kicks off at 4:00 pm 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.

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 UPPER SCHOOL

In Chapel this week, Coach T talked to all of us about serving others. He lifted up the ideas of “We Over Me” and reminded us of Dr Jacobsen’s convocation message of “Being a Bridge Connector”. During the message, we were asked how many people remember 9-11? It was a striking reminder that none of our students remember this historic event personally. As a way of honoring those who lost their lives, we are kicking off our Learn, Serve, Give initiatives for this year. Our goal is to serve our community more than 50,000 hours. No one person can achieve that, but if we work together we can. Coach T highlighted Galatians 5:13 and Matthew 23:11-12 as reminders that we should humbly serve one another. Our weekly Chapel assemblies offer us an opportunity to pause from our busy lives and think about what is really important.

Sincerely, 

Kristy Lundstrӧm
Head of Upper School | X2901

September 5, 2021

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September 5, 2021

Dear Upper School Mustangs,

As I walk the hallways at school, I am continually reminded of how we are all connected. Yesterday, I heard about a student who was so nervous to present his work that he literally couldn’t speak. Then, in the silence while everyone was waiting another student said “you got this” and another student followed suit with “you practiced and you are ready.” Happily, the student was able to overcome their nervousness and make the presentation successfully. In another setting, I observed two teachers team-teaching. One was presenting material to a group of 10 students while the other was working coaching a smaller group of two students. It is not always in positive settings that I recognize our connectedness. In an online social media setting this week, a group of students were chatting, the conversation took a sarcastic turn and students were hurt. Several students reached out asking for support in how to say “that’s not ok.” In each setting, I saw our MV Norm of #assumethebest at work. When we all assume the best, we find ourselves ready to solve problems, make any situation better and support one another.

It is not always easy to #assumethebest, sometimes feelings, anxiety or lack of awareness gets in the way. In Advisory, we have been practicing skills that help us stay focused on being present and aware in our relationships with one another. This week’s activity focused on active listening. As one student shared a story about their own life where they had been challenged but managed to meet that challenge, other students practiced listening – listening for emotions, values and actions. It is a powerful feeling when you feel really seen and heard. This norm of #assumethebest is one of the ways we achieve our goal of “… creating and sustaining a school culture where all members feel valued and safe, sharing their authentic selves to design a better world together.”

Lots of exciting events and developments coming up in September, read on for more information.

Celebrating student success
We are pleased to announce that Conlan Weeks, Channing Hall, Rediet Yonas and Angelina Tuggle have been designated as College Board National African American and National Indigenous Recognition Program Scholars, based on their remarkable academic achievements and outstanding performance on the PSAT and/or AP. This is a very prestigious honor that often offers scholarships at the college level. Congratulations to these hard working students.

WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 6 – 10

Monday, September 6: NO SCHOOL

Tuesday, September 7

Wednesday, September 8 
9:30 am Chapel

11:00 – 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
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)

Friday, September 24: Interim information ZOOM meeting for families, 8:30 am 

Friday, October 15: Homecoming 
Varsity football kicks off at 4:00 pm 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. 

Interim 2022
(Reminder from last week …)

We are excited to announce that we are moving forward with Interim Trips in March 2022. As we work to round out the details to be shared soon, we want to already now communicate:

    1. Interim destinations and the 2022 process will be announced mid-September.
    2. Interim information will be shared with families on September 19 via the weekly update.
    3. Interim information meeting for families will be held on September 24.
    4. Of course, we are working with our travel service provider to monitor Covid-protocols and advisories in the countries we intend to visit. We will have a Plan B if the pandemic does not allow international travel at that time, and any cancellations of international travel due to health or safety concerns will include reimbursement from our travel service provider. 
    5. Because of delays in passport processes, we highly recommend beginning immediately the processes for securing passports or renewals. Remember that US passports must have at least six months of remaining validity to travel internationally. 
    6. Making every effort to mitigate risks and heighten safety for our travelers, Mount Vernon students traveling internationally will be expected to be vaccinated at least a month prior to travel.

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 we near the halfway point of MOD 1, we have established relationships, diagnosed academic progress and identified next steps. By all accounts, we are in the FLOW. This is a point where the workload can feel heavy, learners may demonstrate signs of stress and lots of activities happen at the same time. In this week’s Coffee with Kristy, I had the opportunity to talk with engaged parents about how we might talk to our kids about time. And, what does a healthy balance of time look like? We framed the conversation using The Healthy Mind Platter by Dr. Dan Seigel. I look forward to continuing this conversation with students and parents.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to us. I am happy to partner with you on this Upper School journey.

Sincerely, 

Kristy Lundstrӧm
Head of Upper School | X2901

August 29, 2021

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August 29, 2021

Dear Upper School Mustangs,

When you have ambitious students, supportive parents and capable and dedicated teachers and staff, the capacity for greatness is huge. In this high-performing environment, it is important that we build in moments of recovery and rejuvenation to sustain enthusiasm and positive energy. This is why MV Upper School focuses on our school wide norm #havefun in many ways. We want our students to look forward to coming to school, be excited to work hard and play hard and to support each other in the moments of joy. You can see examples of this norm in the rocket launching, the fire and ice students’ section at last week’s football game, in the snacks served at Advisory and in the impromptu ping-pong and chess tournaments that start up each day during lunch. While we are very intentional about learning and have high expectations for our students, we know that when kids #havefun during the process, they will do better. 

We also intentionally build in #havefun touchpoints. One example is by providing an opportunity for students to dive into a project of their own choosing. This passion-driven project is referred to as iProject. Watch this film to learn more. Another way we intentionally build in #havefun is to help kids plan their time to allow for breaks and balance. On Thursday of this week, I will be sharing one tool we can use to help students map out their time in a healthy way. Please join me on Thursday at 8.30 for our first “Coffee with Kristy” focused on the Healthy Mind Platter.

COVID Announcements
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 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 for more details.

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

Upper School

COVID Positive
2 of 456

Lower Campus & Upper Campus Employees
0 of 257

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 most robust 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. 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. 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:

Interim 2022
We are excited to announce that we are moving forward with Interim Trips in March 2022. Started in 2010, Interim allows students a week to travel internationally and nationally, participate in career-exploring internships, and explore learning experiences beyond the regular-year MV curriculum. This program has been an integral part of our MV Upper School experience, with a COVID-related hiatus last year. We are thrilled to be finalizing “Plan A” details, as well as “Plan B” contingencies.

As we work to round out the details to be shared soon, we want to already now communicate:

  1. Interim destinations and the 2022 process will be announced mid-September.
  2. Interim information will be shared with families on September 19 via the weekly update.
  3. Interim information meeting for families will be held in early October.
  4. Of course, we are working with our travel service provider to monitor Covid-protocols and advisories in the countries we intend to visit. We will have a Plan B if the pandemic does not allow international travel at that time, and any cancellations of international travel due to health or safety concerns will include reimbursement from our travel service provider.
  5. Because of delays in passport processes, we highly recommend beginning immediately the processes for securing passports or renewals. Remember that US passports must have at least six months of remaining validity to travel internationally. 
  6. Making every effort to mitigate risks and heighten safety for our travelers, Mount Vernon students traveling internationally will be expected to be vaccinated at least a month prior to travel.

We are also excited to introduce DeShawn Jenkins as our new Global Impact Coordinator. DeShawn joined Mount Vernon this year after working in Senegal, France and around the country. DeShawn has worked at Georgia Tech with Women’s Entrepreneurship, taught at the Midtown International School, led Africa Atlanta, and served as the Executive Director of Alliance Francaise.Together with the entire admin team in Upper School, DeShawn will lead the work to plan, prepare, implement and follow-up next spring’s trips.

Week of August 30 – September 3

Monday, August 30
View Milepost 1 grades in Veracross

Wednesday, September 1, Dress Uniform
9:00am Chapel

Thursday, September 2
8:30 am Coffee with Kristy: I’d like to get to know you better. I welcome any parent who is interested to join me for a quick coffee in the Upper School building on the first Thursday of each month. Every month, I will present a topic for 7 minutes and then we can discuss it for 7 minutes. Then, we can have a free discussion for 14 minutes about life in Upper School. I know everyone has very busy lives, so I promise to keep the session to 30 minutes. September’s theme: Health & Wellness – How might we use the Healthy Mind Platter structure to support our students to find a healthy balance in their daily lives. We will meet in the Arts District on the first floor.

Friday, September 3: Spirit Day
12:15 pm Early Dismissal

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.

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!

Friday, October 15: Homecoming 
Varsity football kicks off at 4:00 pm 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.

We are a third of the way through the first mod for this school year. You will be able to view a snapshot of your child’s progress in Veracross (on Monday), but I encourage you to look in Altitude to get a better picture of what is happening in your child’s classes. In GTD next week, we will be checking in with each student to see how they view their own progress – are they #havingfun? And, are they making progress in the way they want to be? I look forward to hearing their responses.

As always, if in your conversations at home, you discover or wonder about something going on at school, contact us! We are always here to partner with you in supporting your child.

Sincerely, 

Kristy Lundstrӧm
Head of Upper School | X2901

August 22, 2021

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August 22, 2021

Dear Upper School Mustangs,

Mount Vernon is an exciting place! This week has offered many learning opportunities for our students. I have seen many examples of #sharethewell. This MV norm reminds us all to share our talents as we encourage and support others. This was the message in our first US Chapel. In a time of fellowship, fun and growth, Coach T challenged us all to think about our impact on others. He asked us to “Be devoted to one another in brotherly/sisterly love. Honor one another above yourselves.” -Romans 12:10. Our praise band shared their talents by providing inspiring music.

Beyond Chapel, I have seen many other examples of #sharethewell. Community experts have come to campus to participate in Design Brief meetings. MV teachers and administrative team members have worked with our Student Prefects as mentors. And, in turn, our Student Prefects are committed to passing along their ideas and talents to make the Upper School a place where all students feel seen, heard and appreciated. In Advisory, we practiced asking good questions and really listening to one another to build a more trustful learning environment. I have observed students giving each other helpful feedback on formative assessments. In one after-school workshop this week, teachers from Middle School and Upper School joined together to share experiences and coach one another. In another after school workshop, new faculty shared their “super powers” and how they could be of service to our team this year. In addition, I have appreciated how parents have reached out to me directly to share their expertise and their knowledge about life in the Upper School from their perspective. When we partner, we all benefit from each other’s strengths. These are some of the ways we #sharethewell.

Learning not only happens in the classrooms, I have also been inspired by the tenacity of the football team who continues to practice and practice, the leadership of our senior cross-country runners who coach and encourage the younger runners, the creativity of our playwrights in our 3-day play, dancers dancing, volleyball teams who work together on passes and smashes, and our outstanding softball teams who rally to win as they cheer on each other despite the incredible heat. In these team moments, students put their values like kindness, love, empathy, patience, and hard work into action.

Convocation
The biggest highlight of the week was Dr. Jacobsen’s Convocation on Friday in the Upper Campus gym. It was exciting to sit with our Upper Campus friends, listen to our student praise band and cheer on our Head Prefect, Jaden. 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 Upper School and with other grades across Lower School and Middle 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 wicked problems?

We appreciate those of you who were able to join us to hear the message, feel the energy, and be inspired to be a part of a community who is making an impact. 

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 
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, Dress Uniform

9:30-10:05 am US Chapel

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

Thursday, August 26

6:00 pm Senior Parent Kick-off Meeting 
Parents of the Class of 2022 are invited to the Lower Campus Fellowship Hall to learn more about what is in store for their senior for the year. Senior parents are also encouraged to follow the College Connection, a great resource created and maintained by our College Counseling team. You definitely want to follow this.

Friday, August 27: Spirit Day

9:05 – 10:30 Fall Sports Pep Rally

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

Thursday, September 2: Coffee with Kristy
I’d like to get to know you better. I welcome any parent who is interested to join me for a quick coffee in the Upper School building on the first Thursday of each month. Every month, I will present a topic for 7 minutes and then we can discuss it for 7 minutes. Then, we can have a free discussion for 14 minutes about life in Upper School. I know everyone has very busy lives, so I promise to keep the session to 30 minutes. September’s theme: Health & Wellness – How might we use the Healthy Mind Platter structure to support our students to find a healthy balance in their daily lives.

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.

Coming Up

If you get the chance, ask your child how they will share their well this week in service to others. You can remind them of the hope Coach T shared with the verse

“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Thank you for partnering with us on this Upper School journey.

Sincerely,

Kristy Lundstrӧm
Head of Upper School | X2901

August 15, 2021

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Dear Upper School Mustangs,

We did it! Our first week has been a huge success – much thanks to your continued support. Our focus this week has been: Start With Questions, showcased through get-to-know-you activities, design briefs, investigations in science class, literature walk and talks and much more. I also wanted to brag about our students intentionally including one another in informal, unstructured discussions. This has taken the shape and form of adding extra chairs around a lunch table for the student who might otherwise have been alone, cheering on classmates during our first assembly, and helping the “new crew” find their way. Read on to find out more about what is in store for week two.

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.

Upper School

COVID Positive
0 of 456

Direct Exposure
0 of 456

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

Advisory
Advisory began this week. In Advisory, 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. Advisory activities include, but are not limited to, games, snacks, mindfulness, individual check-ins, walk and talks, and more. It is truly a timeout from the academic day for personal connections. 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 20 & September 1, in preparation for two dialogue activities on September 24 & October 6, advisors will introduce some 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 both 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. Competencies built in this work are directly transferable to their current and future lives in industry, business, civic leadership and a whole host of other situations. This is one of the ways we work towards global competitiveness.

Interim Trips
Every year, Mount Vernon Upper School offers Interim Trip experiences as an important step in reaching our goal of graduating students who are globally competitive. These trips offer students the opportunity to experience new cultures, languages and learning in authentic settings. Although we do not know what the situation will be in March 2022 regarding the pandemic, we have begun the planning process. Currently, we are planning international and domestic alternatives. As always, the safety and well-being of our students is the priority. We hope to make a final decision in late September and communicate in October where and what themes we will be focused on in 2022. For now, we recommend that all families who may have a student who would be interested in traveling on an international trip go ahead and initiate the process to submit a new passport application or renew their current documents if needed. The passport process is expected to take longer than normal due to the pandemic. And, we all need to travel on passports that have, at least, 6 months left before expiration.

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

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

Wednesday, August 18, Dress Uniform
9:30-10:05 am US Chapel

3:30-6:00 pm Little Women: The Musical (Amanda Lower, Director) and The One Act Play That Goes Wrong (Clark Taylor, Director) Auditions

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

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

Wednesday, August 25: 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 attend the live session. 

Thursday, August 26: Senior Parent Kick-off Dinner
Senior parents are encouraged to follow the College Connection, a great resource created and maintained by our College Counseling team. You definitely want to follow this.

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.

Coming Up
In the weeks to come, we will begin with our off-campus expeditions. We will, of course, be extremely cautious and vigilant with our Covid protocols in every situation. We are excited to be able to take our learning out into authentic settings. In addition, seniors will now have the privilege of going off campus for lunch if they choose. Please note for any of these excursions to take place, we need written permission from you in the form of a Senior Privilege Agreement, waiver form (given in advance of the expedition) or email to Sharveace Cameron (if students are leaving campus for personal reasons).

Important Upper School Contacts:

Trish Bogdanchik, Associate Head of Upper School | x2202
Jared Colley, Head of Learning & Innovation
Erin McCubbin, Executive Director of Student Success | x2213 
Wayne Dabbs, Dean of Student Life, Operations & Athletics
Sharveace Cameron, Executive Assistant | x2200
Lindsay Huie, Upper School Nurse | x7126
Samantha Flowers, Director of Academic Resources l x2007
Kelli Bynum, Director of Counseling Services | x2020

Upper School students may be more tired than usual this weekend. We have demanded their full attention in every experience – lots of excitement and energy! As we enter our first weekend, I wanted to take the chance to remind us all that rest and recuperation is important to be able to bring our best selves back next week. 

Looking forward to week two!

Sincerely, 

Kristy Lundstrӧm
Head of Upper School | X2901

August 8, 2021

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August 8, 2021

Dear Upper School Mustangs,

On behalf of the entire US Team, welcome to the 2021-22 school year!

At Mount Vernon, we believe that relationships are foundational. We believe that relationships leverage transformation. And, those relationships ground us. This is why we will spend the first moments of our time together with students building trust. Trust in themselves, trust in each other and trust in our community. This work is intentional. Working and learning in a trustful environment allows students to bring their best selves. It allows us all to be brave in situations where the outcome is unknown. It allows us to test ideas. It allows us to Fail Up.

As we embark on this journey together, know that your student will be nurtured and loved. We will work actively, systematically and continuously to support every student in the way they need to be supported.

As we discussed in our orientation session, our expectations are centered around our norms:

  • Start with questions
  • Fail up
  • Share the well
  • Assume the best
  • Have fun

Each week, I will write to you about one of these norms and when and where it shows up in the School.

WEEK OF AUGUST 9-13

Tuesday, August 10
First Day of School

Wednesday, August 11
Upper School Student Assembly

Friday, August 13
Spirit Day

COVID Protocol – Indoors
Face Coverings, regardless of vaccination, are required for large group gatherings. Face coverings are strongly recommended for classrooms and hallways. 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
Upper School morning carpool begins at 7:30 am. Parents are asked to drop their students off by 8:15, for everyone to be settled in class prior to the start of school at 8:20 am. Students will be released at 3:15 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 9-12.

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.

Important Upper School Contacts:
Trish Bogdanchik, Associate Head of Upper School | x2202
Jared Colley, Head of Learning & Innovation
Erin McCubbin, Executive Director of Student Success | x2213
Wayne Dabbs, Dean of Student Life, Operations & Athletics
Sharveace Cameron, Executive Assistant | x2200

Meet our newest Upper School faculty.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact me or any of the team members listed above. As I shared in our orientation today, we are honored to be on this journey with you.

Sincerely,

Kristy Lundstrӧm
Head of Upper School | X2901

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