Cultivating minds and hearts through the pursuit of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty
Good afternoon Falcon families,

The last four months have been an absolute whirlwind for me. I have been working almost exclusively on hiring the 66 faculty and staff that will make up the new school. It has been exhausting, emotionally draining, but also extremely fulfilling work. It is also the most important work that a Headmaster will do. Take a look at the picture below. In some respects, these three items describe what I’ve been doing since November of last year.
Like anyone who has a job that has administrative duties associated, I get a ton of email. I’m not into competing on this, but 123, for me, is a large number. What is significant is that I don’t have to do all the work associated with these distinct requests. The first hire that I made was my Director of Operations, April Hufty. Many of you have met this tireless operator, full of energy and joy. What many of you don’t know is that she has a monstrous capacity for work, has a keen and sensitive knack for spotting trouble when it’s miles away, and is also one of the most organized people I have ever had opportunity to work with. The second hire I made was Lara Tysinger, who is our Registrar and Student Information Systems manager. Mrs. Tysinger has already registered the entire school and is now focused on many of the projects that a first-year school simply has to get done. Everything she does is with a smile and the calmest demeanor you could ever imagine. Nothing gets her flustered! I could not have gotten done what I’ve been able to do the last four months if it wasn’t for these two people. 

This leads me to the Calendly section of the photo above. Many of you may know about the online software company called Calendly. Simply put, this program has saved my life. You see, I have conducted interviews (yes, plural) with over 200 different people. Early on, when I was trying to coordinate times to call, maybe, the first dozen people I was interviewing, I quickly saw how much time it took to find times that worked for both me and the candidate! Since November I have relied on this program to allow candidates to schedule time on my calendar without me needing to do anything. 

It can be both exciting, and also overwhelming to see the numbers beside this section, as it means at least a half hour to 40 minutes of my time for each number. However, it is very exciting to listen to candidate after candidate tell their story, tell their reasons for why Great Hearts has captured their imagination and stirred their soul.

The final number up above is the one that brings me to tears and shouts of joy. This interview process includes, but is not limited to, at least one 30-minute interview, another 20-30 minute video conference, an entire day committed to campus observations, a demonstration lesson followed up with at least one more 20 minute interview before the offer of employment is made. For those candidates who have captivated my imagination and stirred my soul with the possibility of what they could mean for the hundreds of children who will be calling Great Hearts Forest Heights their school… it is a most awesome and humbling moment when they have said “Yes!”

So far, I have almost completely hired out my lead teaching positions, over 20. At the time of writing, I have just secured two of the main leadership positions of my campus: the Special Education Coordinator and the Director of Academy Giving. My goal is to be 90-95% done with all hiring by the end of April. I can’t wait for you to meet these people. They are simply amazing!  

This letter is complete, I have more interviews today and more demos to coordinate. I am so very excited for the opening of this school. I want to live up to the honor that you, parents, have bestowed on me, the responsibility of your child. It is a responsibility I hold in the highest regard, and I am confident that our school will be a blessing to you.

Sincerely,
Headmaster Doughty
We are happy to announce that the 2019-2020 School Calendar has been released. Below is the letter distributed to current Great Hearts Families.
Dear Families of Great Hearts San Antonio,
 
We are happy to present to you the 2019-2020 School Calendar contains a few conceptual changes from calendars of previous years, and I would like to highlight some of them.
  • Alignment of breaks and major holidays across all of our San Antonio schools. Since we have more than a few families with children enrolled in multiple Great Hearts schools, this was an obvious and necessary change for us to make. Families have understandably expressed concerns about lack of alignment to us in the past, and we are happy to make the adjustment.   
  •  Early-release Fridays. This is the most significant change to our school calendar for this upcoming year. We are always looking for ways to give our hard-working teachers more time to work together to plan instruction and to participate in meaningful, ongoing professional development to enrich their classroom teaching and better serve students. To this end, regular school weeks-i.e. weeks with no other days off-will feature a scheduled early release time after lunch for students on Fridays. We do not undertake this change lightly. Based upon two years of successful Great Hearts practice in North Texas, we are confident that this early release time(less than two hours per week) will add up in a good way and make a significant positive impact upon our teachers and students. (Be sure to check with your child's school for precise school start and dismissal times.)
  •  Additional full-days off for teacher professional development. Families will observe in the new calendar that there is a small handful of additional full days off from school that do not coincide with any civic or other holidays. These will be teacher work days devoted to extended professional development and teacher collaboration across all of our San Antonio schools.
  •  A school year that ends prior to June 1. We have diligently worked to ensure the integrity of instructional time and the fulfillment of all Texas school calendar requirements, and we have been able to create a calendar that enables families to start the summer a little earlier. Proceed with your summer 2020 plans accordingly.
We are in the home-stretch, and the end of our current school year is in sight. My best wishes to students, families, and teacher for a successful conclusion to 2018-2019.
 
If you have thoughts and questions, please share them with info@greatheartstx.org .

Faithfully yours,
 

Andrew Ellison | Executive Director, San Antonio

Great Hearts | 824 Broadway Street, Suite 101, San Antonio, TX 78215
C: 602.614.0315 | F: 210.888.9484 | E: AndrewEllison@GreatHeartsTX.org| W: www.GreatHeartsTX.org
New Family Orientation and Student Testing
May 18th and 25th
For Great Hearts Forest Heights Parents and Incoming Students

Our family orientation is designed to help your family prepare for a successful school year. We will provide information regarding the vision of Great Hearts and tasks to help you prepare for the first day of school. Information will include:

  • Volunteering with the Parent Service Organization (PSO)
  • Request for Financial Assistance
  • Edu-kit/School Supplies
  • Uniforms
  • Athenaeum/Homework Club (After-School Care)
  • Classics to Keep Reading List

Our incoming students will have the opportunity to visit a classroom in the grade level they will enter and take a brief assessment that will help prepare us to teach your child. Note: this assessment is not to determine if a student can enter our school or a specific grade level. It is simply a way to prepare us to best teach your child once the school year begins.

Please find childcare for children who will not be attending Forest Heights for the 2019-2020 school year. Specific instructions on how to sign up for Orientation will come in an email in early May.
TOURS

Tours are OPEN for enrolled families. If you are registered, you have the opportunity to attend a tour of our sister school Great Hearts Western Hills. Headmaster, Mr. Doughty will lead you through the school and give you exciting information about it. If you have already taken a tour, please save the spot for other families who have not had the chance. These tours will be reserved for our enrolled families only. Please keep the password to yourself so our enrolled families can participate.
GHFH Tour - Password: Falcons

Before you come, check out some of the information about the school via the links below. These pages will better inform you about who we are, allowing you enjoy the tour more significantly. 
 
Connect on Facebook
Parents are encouraged to join their student's grade level pages and the PSO page. These are unofficial group pages and are not run by Great Hearts Forest Heights School or Administration. The groups are monitored for appropriate content by a few Great Hearts parents. Any negative posts will be taken down. If you have a concern about your student's teacher or administration, please contact them directly. On these pages you will find important information and updates. Please no buy-sell-trade posts.You can search for questions you may have or ask questions. Please limit all posts to Forest Heights information only.