College Preparatory School for Girls Grades 3-12

A Note from the Upper School Office

August 2021

Dear Upper School Parents, Guardians, and Students,

I hope this message finds you in good spirits, still looking forward to a few more weeks of rest and rejuvenation before school starts up. There is information about certain events, dates, and forms that we want to get into your hands so you can prepare for the school year ahead. Please read the following carefully!

UNIFORMS
Summer is the time to make sure you have clothing for school that fits properly. We expect clothing to be clean, in good repair, and appropriately sized. Your skirt must fall at or below your fingertips when standing straight and should be big enough so it can be buttoned and zipped closed. If you have questions regarding either the uniform or the dress code, please call or email Mrs. Craig, Dean of Students, via email at lisa.craig@holton-arms.edu.

BOOKSTORE NOW OPEN
The 2021-2022 course lists are now posted online. Please use this list when procuring books for the school year. If there is an error in this list (e.g. your child is enrolled in Chinese when they should be in French), simply delay purchasing materials for this course until August 23 when faculty will be available to make necessary adjustments. Holton uses BNC K-12 for online book ordering services. Please refer to the easy-to-follow directions, and contact the US office or BNC K-12 should you have any questions. The online bookstore will is open and offers free shipping until August 30. Students in Grades 7-12 must have their books when classes resume (September 8).

 
   

GRADING MOVES TO 4.0 SCALE
Starting in the fall of 2021, for students graduating in the class of 2023 and beyond, letter grades will be issued on report cards and transcripts. GPA will be calculated only on the 4.0 scale, as laid out in the image to the left (be sure to download image). We are moving exclusively to a letter scale to more closely align with the peer-reviewed research contending that this scale is more mathematically accurate in validly describing a student’s level of mastery. Additionally, it aligns with the scales that colleges and universities are using to review student transcripts. Some teachers will only give assignments letter grades. Some teachers will still give percentage grades on assignments, and will use the conversation scale below to assign end-of-trimester letter grades.

GPA will be calculated by averaging the 4.0 equivalencies of the letter grades. Only academic classes that meet three times per week will count into the GPA. (Exception: Asynchronous classes in the science department which assign the equivalent amount of work will also be included in the GPA.) Classes designated as Advanced and Honors will receive an additional .5 weight in the GPA calculation. Grades received in arts classes and other electives do not count into the GPA. Teachers will share more details in classes about their rubric for what it takes for a student to achieve each letter grade. This will not affect the Class of 2022 (seniors), who will continue to receive grades on the 100 point scale, as always. 

SCHOOLPASS REGISTRATION
We will once again be using SchoolPass this year. As families will remember, we use this for campus safety, wellness screenings, and drop-off/pick-up updates. ALL parents/guardians are required to register their license plate into the app. Wellness screening will be required for all grades and levels from August 23 until the third day of school September 10. Thereafter the wellness screening function will only be used by Lower School families and visitors when they are on-campus. New families will receive more details and login information shortly.

PARKING PERMITS – Juniors and Seniors Only
Because of space limitations, parking on campus is limited to juniors and seniors only. Students should see Mr. Nate Wilson at the School’s Front Desk to ensure their vehicle is registered. New drivers must fill out a registration form so vehicles may be entered into SchoolPass. If you already have a hangtag, but are driving a new vehicle, please bring it with you when you come to update your registration.

PRE-SEASON PRACTICE
Every girl who plans to try out for a fall sport must attend pre-season practice, which begins on Monday, August 23 for all teams (required). If you have questions, please call or email Mr. Graham Westerberg, Athletic Director, at 301-365-6044 or graham.westerberg@holton-arms.edu. Remember, no student may be on-campus or play until their health records - INCLUDING COVID-19 vaccination card (or approved medical exemption) - is updated on Magnus. In addition, no senior may attend pre-season until her community service paperwork is complete and on file with Ms. Wilde.

HOLTON LEADERSHIP SUMMIT
We are excited to announce the third annual Holton-Landon Leadership Summit, which will be held August 23-24
from noon-4 pm. This two-day summit for rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors strives to:

  • Give students the opportunity to foster individual leadership skills
  • Provide a platform for collaboration and discussion around leadership
  • Empower students to use their leadership skills on and off-campus
  • Create unity around one student-chosen, Upper School adaptive challenge
  • Provide a forum for cross-school leadership development
To register for the Summit click here to sign up

Convocation: Thursday, Sept. 2 at 11 a.m. - noon
Convocation is just two weeks away! However, we will need to make some adjustments for the safety of all our attendees.
  • All students, regardless of vaccination status, will be required to be masked the entire time. While an outdoor gathering of this size has not been restricted by the county or other health officials, the presence of unvaccinated Lower School students leads us to be particularly cautious.
  • Unvaccinated students, including those with a medical exemption, will be required to provide a negative PCR test result taken within four days of September 2 for a student to attend Convocation. If an unvaccinated student is unable to attend Convocation, they should submit a negative PCR test result taken within 4 days of when classes resume (September 8).
  • Parents and guardians 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.
GRADE 9 PARENT ORIENTATION: Thursday, Sept. 2,  6 - 7:30 p.m. (Lewis Theater)
This event, held in the Lewis Theater, is an introduction to the Upper School for Grade 9 parents.

ORIENTATION: Friday, Sept. 3, from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (Front Lobby)
This is for all Grade 9 students and students new to Holton who are entering Grade 10. Please arrive in uniform by 8 a.m. We will meet in the Front Lobby. The purpose of Orientation is to help make the transition to Upper School a smooth one. Students will receive schedules and locker assignments with combinations, as well as have time to get acquainted with the facilities, classrooms, and other important spaces. Mr. Sowers, Grade 9 Class Dean, and Ms. Smith, Grade 10 Class Dean, will send additional information as we get closer to the date.

GRADE 12 PARENTS: Sept. 13, 6:30- 8 p.m. (Lewis Theater)
Please join Senior Class Dean Yolanda Keener, Dean of Students Lisa Craig, Upper School Director Chris Lynch, and College Counselors Suzanne Carter and Zoe Mayfield for this overview of the exciting (and often very emotional) year ahead. We’ll discuss what to expect from your increasingly independent and busy life, how best to support seniors, and how we try to keep them focused and positive here at school.

BACK TO SCHOOL NIGHT: Thursday, Sept. 9, 6 - 9 p.m.(Virtual)
We look forward to welcoming all parents on the evening of Thursday, September 9! The schedule begins at 6 p.m. You’ll touch base with your student’s advisor before classes begin from 6-6:15 p.m. A more detailed schedule of the evening will be sent to you in the Sunday Skim later in the month.

You can find additional details on many of the above programs and much more, including notes from the Class Deans, on our Summer & Back-to-School Page under the “Upper School” tab.

As the school year gets underway, you may have reason to seek out a member of the Upper School Office staff. We are all here to support your daughter and you in the weeks and months ahead. Below is a list of the Upper School team:

Tucker Sowers, Gr. 9 Class Dean
Martha Macon Smith, Gr. 10 Class Dean
Shay Squeglia, Gr. 11 Class Dean
Yolanda Keener, Gr. 12 Class Dean
Lisa Craig, Dean of Students
Dr. Holly Hinderlie, Upper School Counselor and School Psychologist
Jennifer Anderson, Upper School Learning Specialist
Viktoria Schofield, Upper School Grade 9 Learning Specialist
Suzanne Carter, Director of College Counseling
Zoe Mayfield, Assoc. Director of College Counseling
Pamela Wachutka, Academic Support and College Counseling Coordinator
Liz Poppi, Registrar
Eranga Panagodage, Upper School Administrative Assistant
Emily Wilde, Coordinator of Special Projects and Upper School Student Activities (Community Engagement and Clubs)
Chris Lynch, Upper School Director

Finally, please remember that all students must have a physical prior to the start of the school year. We have already sent links to medical forms to parents; they are also available on the Health & Wellness page. These must be returned ASAP to the School Nurse and must be on file before a student can be on-campus for any activity -- pre-season, leadership summit, Convocation, or first day of classes.

Please enjoy your final weeks of summer! If you have questions, please call.

Sincerely,
Chris Lynch
Upper School Director

June 2021

Dear Upper School Families,

I hope this letter finds you well! As the Upper School community heads into the summer, I wish to praise the entire Holton community for their resiliency, flexibility, and strength during this extraordinary time. Faced with a global pandemic, economic troubles, and personal tragedies, the Holton community demonstrated over and over again their tenacity and empathy toward others. Additionally, I can't praise the Herculean efforts and tremendous job our entire faculty and staff did and continues to do this summer. They overcame numerous obstacles, learned new approaches to teaching, adapted to multiple challenges, and educated themselves to master all sorts of technology.

All of this guarantees that the next school year will be a great success, and every student will get a proper Holton education based on our school's mission. Our students and the community will stay connected and learn in a constructive and positive educational environment. The faculty have adapted how they assess and give homework to students, create new virtual classroom norms, and continue to connect individually with each student and advisee while making sure that every girl's social and emotional needs are met. In this harsh environment, where it is easy to look at what is lost, this summer, the faculty are gaining first-hand professional development and the ability to work collectively with their colleagues and students. They now know that they can handle just about anything thrown at them and have the confidence to overcome any obstacle.

As for the events this Fall, I am sorry that I cannot give you a definite answer as to exactly how and when things will happen. We will still have significant events such as the pre-seasons, student orientations, Convocation, Back-to-School night, spirit-themed days, etc. However, some may have to be re-imagined, and possibly some moved to alternate dates as we continue to negotiate our way through the pandemic and social distancing. As we move through the summer and finalize plans, times, and dates for our 2021-2022 school events, we will update the website and send out correspondence with the relevant details.

Additionally, Class Deans (Tucker Sowers 9th, Martha Macon Smith 10th, Shay Squeglia 11th, and Yolanda Keener 12th) return to school (on-campus) on August 23 and will be available to meet with students at that time should you have questions about the course list. The Student Course Registration process began in February and concluded in May to give students adequate time to make well-considered decisions. Wherever possible, students have been placed into the electives requested. Course changes will be permitted if a student's placement has changed (i.e., because of summer work completed in a specific discipline and a subsequent placement test). To preserve the carefully balanced section sizes at all grade levels and in all disciplines, any other request for changes will be considered only if section sizes and balance allow. Student schedules will be available during the latter half of the first week of September.

I look forward to seeing you all when school gets underway. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me or, in my absence, the Upper School Administrative Assistant (301.365.6045). We are here to help.

Sincerely and with gratitude for being a member of this community,

Chris Lynch
Upper School Director
301.365.6089