April 9, 2021

Dear Lower School Families,

It was wonderful to welcome students back to campus on Monday morning and to hear their excitement when they got out of their cars after seeing the new playground equipment installed over the break! In addition to the new spinners and the large spider web, there is also a gaga ball pit now on the lower school playground in addition to the middle school one located next to the dining hall. This was a student request and is a fun game enjoyed by many students (click here for a description). The warmer weather has also brought more classes outside to use the outdoor learning spaces and take walks as our campus “greens” more each day with spring’s arrival.

We are excited to announce that on Friday, April 16th, from 8:45-9:45 a.m., we will be hosting a livestream snapshot of what school looks like. Mrs. Farrenkopf, Mr. Kegelmayer and I will be reporting from various lower school locations (inside and outside) to show a glimpse into a Friday morning in the Lower School. As it nears 8:45 a.m. next Friday, click here to watch our livestream, and there is no need to pre-register.

Next week we begin our annual Rising Parent Evenings. These 45-minute meetings are an opportunity for you to see the academic program and highlights of the year your children will be going into next year. There is also an opportunity to ask questions. Homeroom teachers will be sending out Zoom links to you for the event, and we encourage you to join and learn more about next year’s program. All of the following meetings will begin at 7:00 p.m.

  • Thursday, April 15th: Rising Kindergarten Parent Evening
  • Monday, April 19th: Rising PreK Parent Evening
  • Wednesday, April 28th: Rising Grade 5 Parent Evening
  • Tuesday, May 4th: Rising Grade 4 Parent Evening
  • Thursday, May 6th: Rising Grade 3 Parent Evening
  • Tuesday, May 11th: Rising Grade 2 Parent Evening
  • Thursday, May 13th: Rising Grade 1 Parent Evening

Next Wednesday, April 14th, there is no school for lower school students. This is our monthly faculty collaboration day enabling time for our teachers to meet in grade levels and plan upcoming curriculum. Please note it is a regular school day for middle- and upper-schoolers.

Celebration of Accomplishments will be held on May 20-21. This is a time for you to meet with classroom teachers to hear from your children their perspective of their various accomplishments and growth throughout the school year. This is a time to celebrate and reflect all the wonderful achievements that they have made. There will be no school for students on Friday, May 21st. A signup schedule for parents will be sent out from homeroom teachers.

We will be conducting our annual ERB standardized tests the week of May 17th with makeup exams on the following Monday (24th) and Tuesday (25th). Please do not schedule any appointments, unless they are an emergency, for students in grades 3-5 during those mornings. Testing starts promptly at 8:20 a.m. and finishes at approximately 10:30 a.m. Fourth-graders will have a slightly modified schedule due to their musical performance. More details will be shared with fourth grade families in the weeks to come.

We have noticed that some of our lower-schoolers are wearing smartwatches to school. For us, a smartwatch is defined as a watch that is capable of connecting to wifi or cell service, able to receive and/or send messages, and/or take photos. In the Lower School, smartwatches are considered similar to how we approach cell phone use: they must be in your children’s backpacks, turned off and not used anywhere inside or outside the building during school hours. Students who need to reach their parents or guardians during the school day must come to the Lower School Office and use the phone in the office.

The Parent Book Club met on Tuesday evening to discuss the first five chapters of Best Friends, Worst Enemies by Dr. Michael Thompson. We will meet again on Tuesday, April 27th, from 7:00-8:00 p.m. to discuss chapters 6-12 (end of book). Please complete this form if interested in joining.

This week’s parenting article – “5 Tips for Cultivating Empathy” – is from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and can be found using this link.

Be well,

Head of Lower School