College Preparatory School for Girls Grades 3-12

A Note from the Lower School Office

August 2021

Dear Lower School Parents and Guardians, 

Summer offers your child an opportunity for new adventures, time with family and friends, and relaxation. It offers children time to try different activities, develop new friendships, and enjoy a little downtime! As they enjoy summer, we hope each student is enjoying their “summer dessert,” which is 20 minutes of daily reading and math practice (workbook, Dreambox, Reflex, math games, etc.). Please make sure that your child is keeping track of her math and reading on her daily log sheets! In addition, our Lower School summer read, Twins, offers many wonderful opportunities for family discussions. Lastly, our Book Bingo found inside the summer journal, gives your child many opportunities for fun choices in her reading and opportunities for reflective writing.

In addition to the information found on the Lower School Summer Page, please see below for more details to prepare for the start of school.

COVID Precautions 2021-22 School Year 

  • Lower School students will be required to wear cloth face masks (3-ply) or disposable medical masks. Masks should be school colors (blue, black, white or grey). Students will be allowed mask breaks while outside. We will mask during morning and afternoon carpool and ask all drivers and passengers to wear a mask while on campus.
  • We will maintain social distancing in classrooms and outside.
  • Lower School students will have access to the options served in the Dining Room. There will be a limit of four students to a Dining Room table. To accommodate the spacing of students, Lower Schoolers will eat on a rotation inside and outside. We will offer breakfast to students in the Dining Room before school.
  • Students will have access to hand sanitizer throughout the school building. They will participate in regular hand washing throughout the day.
  • Starting August 23, parents will fill out a student wellness screening on the SchoolPass app any day a student is on campus. New families should be on the lookout for a welcome email from SchoolPass which will include login information. Students who fail the wellness screening may not attend school and need either a negative COVID test or a doctor’s note to return to Holton.

COVID Testing for Lower School:

  • We will conduct COVID testing every other Monday for Lower School students beginning Monday, September 13. Testing will be conducted by Personalized Medicine Care Diagnostics at the Lower School. If you are new to Holton, you will need to complete this form prior to the first testing date. Returning students do not need to complete the form.

Parent Letter:
Last year, we asked each family to write a letter about their child. The letters allowed teachers to gain many important insights that helped them more fully know each student and assisted them in the beginning days of school to make connections and build relationships with each child and their family. We strongly encourage our new families and invite our returning families to share a letter with us about your child. Please submit your letter in this form by Wednesday, September 1. Here are some ideas to guide your thinking as you write:

  • Share a story that demonstrates your child’s personality.
  • Share a favorite memory of your child.
  • Share a story about a time your child struggled.
  • What is something that we should know about your child or your family that we might miss?
  • What are your family’s core values, beliefs, and/or guiding principles?
  • What is important to know about your child’s home life?
  • What worries your child?
  • How does your child learn best?
  • What is your child passionate about?
  • What is your child looking forward to this year?
  • Is there anything your child is really struggling with as the school year starts?
  • What are your hopes and dreams for your child this year?

Class Placement:
All students will learn their homeroom placement on the morning of the first day of school, Wednesday, September 8.

LS Planner:
Students will receive a Lower School planner to record homework and to help them stay organized. Lower School students are required to use the Lower School planner; we ask that you do not purchase a separate planner.

LS Supplies:
Please click here to see the supplies needed for the upcoming school year. Please note that we purchase the majority of supplies for students and ask that students use the school purchased supplies at school.

Communication Policy and Cell Phones:
We want our Lower School students to develop independence and strive to create an environment in which students can manage their busy school lives with minimal disruption. Therefore, we ask that communications between students and parents be reserved for emergencies only and coordinated through the Lower School Office. Our policy requires students to power off mobile devices that are not being used for school work. Moreover, students are not permitted to send or receive phone calls, texts, or emails during the school day from 7:45 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.

Attendance Expectations:
The school day begins at 8:15 a.m. Please have your child at school on time – we recommend you drop your child off in front of the Lower School entrance by 8:05 a.m. each day. This enables students to have time for morning interactions with classmates and teachers, settling in without the anxiety raised by rushing or entering when classes or Gathering is underway. If you are running late, or if your daughter will be absent, please notify Cynthia Weinberg (301-365-6063) in the Lower School Office as soon as possible. The school day ends at 3:30. Between 3:05 and 3:30 students meet with their teachers, reflect on the day, review homework assignments, and pack up. This is a very important part of our school day! Please make sure that the timing of after-school activities allows your daughter to stay at school through 3:30 p.m.

Carpool and Sixth Grade Safety Patrols:
In a separate mailing in August from the Lower School Office, you will receive two cardboard carpool placards. Please place a placard in your car(s) for use during carpool pick-up. Cell phones may not be used during carpool. Please obey posted traffic signs and all directions given by our security team and our Sixth Grade Patrols. All sixth-grade students are automatically enrolled in our very important traffic Patrol Program. This is a wonderful opportunity for real leadership and service, and we can work around your sixth-grade student’s schedule. Please contact us if you have any questions.

Some Important Lower School Dates/Events:

Thursday, Sept. 2

  • All Lower School students must submit a negative COVID test to Magnus prior to coming to school on September 2.
  • All Lower School students need to fill out their Wellness Check on SchoolPass before coming to school on September 2. New families should be on the lookout for a welcome email from SchoolPass which will include login information.
  • Tech Orientation (8:30-9:15 a.m.): The tech orientation is only for students new to Holton entering sixth grade. Students should be dropped off at the Lower School entrance.
  • Lower School New Student Orientation (9:15-10:30 a.m.): The Lower School Orientation is for all students and parents new to Holton. Lower School students should be dropped off at the Lower School entrance at 9:15.
  • Lower School New Parent Orientation (9:30-10:15 a.m.): After dropping your child off at the Lower School entrance, Parents/Guardians should proceed to the main parking lot and head to the Lewis Theater for the new parent orientation.
  • Lower School Arrival for Convocation (10:30-10:45 a.m.): All Lower School students should be dropped off at the Lower School entrance for Convocation. Students new to Holton will remain with their teachers after orientation. Convocation begins at 11a.m.
  • Parents/Guardians wishing to stay for Convocation must RSVP by Friday, August 27 in order to receive instructions on how to participate in Convocation. We will have space limitations, so attendance will be on a first-come, first-served basis. By August 30, we will reach out to all individuals to confirm attendance and instructions. One RSVP per person.
  • We expect Convocation to end at noon Parents should pick their child up at the Lower School entrance between noon-12:20 p.m.
  • Students do not need to wear their uniforms to Orientation or Convocation.

Wednesday, Sept. 8

  • This Wednesday, as all Wednesdays, is a late start. Students should plan to arrive at school between 9-9:20 a.m.
  • Information about signing your child up for Before Care on Late Start Wednesdays will be provided in the first Sunday Skim.
  • Dismissal will begin at 3:30 p.m. We will run Homework Zone starting on the first day of school (no sign-up necessary). Homework Zone dismissal is at 4:30 p.m.
  • Information about signing your child up for Extended Day will be provided in the first Sunday Skim.

Lower School Open Houses (by grade level)

  • We hope you can join us for your child’s grade level Open House. During the Open House you will meet your child’s teacher(s) and see their classroom(s). Following the Open House, join fellow grade level parents for coffee/tea in front of Lower School (weather dependent). The Open House will take place from 8:15-9 a.m. (8:15-8:40 Open House, 8:40-9:00 Coffee/Tea in front of Lower School).
  • Open House Dates:
  • 6th grade - September 10
  • 4th/5th grades - September 13
  • 3rd grade - September 17

Picture Day:
Picture day is Wednesday, September 15. Lower School girls should be in uniform on Picture Day. You will receive an email from which you can see the proofs of your student’s portraits and can choose which one(s) you would like to order.

Back-to-School Night:
Lower School Back-to-school night is Thursday, September 30, 6-8:30 p.m. Back-to-School night will be virtual.

Lower School Field Day:
We invite parents to join us for the Lower School Field Day on Wednesday, October 20 from 9:30-11:30 a.m.

Parent-Teacher Conferences:
We will have virtual parent-teacher conferences on Thursday and Friday, November 11 and 12, with online sign-ups for appointments later this fall. No classes for Lower School students—a wonderful opportunity for play dates, or girls may register for Fun Days through Special Programs (more later)! The next set of Lower School Parent-Teacher Conferences will be Thursday and Friday, March 3 and 4, 2022.

9:30 a.m. Late Opening Dates:
Every Wednesday we have a late opening at 9:30 a.m. We use this time for faculty professional work and collaboration time. If possible, we encourage students to use this time to get an extra hour of sleep! Bus transportation will be shifted an hour later on these days. A Wednesday Before Care program will be offered for students who need to arrive at our regular opening time (7:45 a.m.). The first Sunday Skim will provide additional information on signing up for Wednesday Before Care. Please see the Year-at-a-Glance Calendar for more information.

Professional Days:
On Professional days, students have the day off. This year, we will have Professional days on Monday, October 11, Friday, January 14, 2022, and Friday, February 18, 2022.

Asynchronous Days:
On Asynchronous days, students are expected to complete their assigned school work at home. All work is expected to be completed by the following day. Asynchronous days will be on Tuesday, October 12 and Friday, April 15, 2022.

We encourage you to use the calendar on the Holton website as your resource for keeping current on upcoming events. The Sunday Skim is your go-to weekly parent email sent out Sunday afternoon that highlights whole school and Lower School events. Teachers and Parent Association Grade Representatives will also be in communication with you about the exciting events in the classroom and in the grade level, respectively.

We are so excited about all we can achieve in the 2021-2022 school year and look forward to seeing you soon!


Christy Diefenderfer
Director of Lower School
Holton-Arms School
(301) 365-6119


June 2021

Dear Lower School Families,

I want to share a big welcome to all of our new Holton families! We are so excited that you are joining the Holton community and look forward to getting to know you over the coming months. Our current Lower School students are eagerly waiting to meet their new classmates and look forward to helping our new students feel at home in our community.

This year, our Lower School students lived up to our motto “Find a way or make one,” and demonstrated resilience, determination, empathy, and problem solving time and time again. Students embraced the phrase “be like seaweed,” and showed flexibility in countless ways throughout this school year. This was a challenging year and students deserve a well-earned extended break to rest, replenish, and rejuvenate. As we look to next year, the Lower School faculty and I are committed to providing students a strong, intentional academic experience while also continuing to nurture and develop their social and emotional capacities, and doing it all as an engaging and joyful experience. We are so grateful that in these challenging times you have remained committed to the Holton experience and place your trust in us to continue with your child on her learning journey.

Over the summer, I recommend developing with your child some routines she can rely on. Set in place times for her to get exercise, read, connect with friends, complete her summer work, and help around the house (setting the table, folding laundry, emptying the dishwasher and cleaning her room are all valuable skills for children to learn). I also suggest asking your child what she hopes to achieve over the summer. Is there a particular project she would like to work on? Is there a hobby or skill she would like to develop? Is there a particular topic she would like to explore? 

In Lower School, we recommend that all students read for at least twenty minutes daily and that they complete five Dreambox lessons a week. Over the summer, students should dive into our summer reading book Twins and take part in Book Bingo (please note this resource includes Book BIngo, writing prompts, and book recommendations). We have also given students a journal so they can write about all the amazing books they read! For other ideas for things to do over the summer, I invite you to explore our summer resources for students and parents located under the academic enrichment tab of Holton’s Summer and Back to School page of the website.

Please note a few important upcoming dates:

  • Thursday, September 2, is Orientation for all new Lower School students (morning)
  • Thursday, September 2, is Convocation (11:00 a.m.)
  • Wednesday, September 8, is the first day of school. Stay tuned for details about Convocation.
  • Monday, September 21, is Lower School Back to School Night.

If you or your child gets the itch for Back-to-School shopping, you can find our school supplies list on this website page. Please remember that unless noted, we provide most supplies for students. The items we request you to purchase are for your daughter to have available at home to complete her work when she is there. Although we have the information for purchasing uniforms posted, please remember that your daughter will grow quite a bit over the summer and you may want to wait to make this purchase.

I encourage you to bookmark this website and visit it often as we will update it throughout the summer with important information to prepare your daughter for her return to school. We will also be in close communication with you throughout the summer to share important updates. Throughout the summer, Cynthia Weinberg and I will be available to assist you with any requests or questions. 

I wish you all a safe and healthy summer. I look forward to hearing about the many adventures our students and families have this summer.


Christy Diefenderfer