Notes from the Lower School Office

Dear Lower School Parents,

Summer offers your daughter(s) an opportunity for new adventures, time with family and friends, and relaxation. For a child, summer feels refreshingly long. It offers your daughter time to try different activities, develop new friendships, and enjoy a little down time! As she enjoys her summer, we encourage your daughter to make time for at least 20 minutes of reading a day! In addition, our Lower School summer read, Wishtree, offers many wonderful opportunities for family discussions. If possible, I encourage you to read it alongside your daughter and explore the wonderful themes it provides.

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.

Class Placement: All students will learn of their homeroom placement on the morning of the first day of school, Tuesday, September 3, during a special Gathering following Convocation.

LS Planner: Students will receive a Lower School planner to record homework and to help stay organized. No need to purchase a separate planner.

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 8:00 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.

Attendance Expectations: The school day begins at 8:00 a.m. Please have your daughter at school on time – we recommend you drop her off in front of the Lower School entrance by 7:50 a.m. each day. This enables her 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 Helen Poon in the Lower School Office as soon as possible. The school day ends at 3:25. Between 3:15 and 3:25 students meet with their homeroom teachers to 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 3:25.

Carpool and Sixth Grade Safety Patrols: In a separate mailing in August from the Lower School Office, you will receive two cardboard placards with your family’s carpool number. 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:

Lower School Orientation for new students: We will meet in the Lower School Gathering Area to welcome new students and parents and orient them to the Lower School on Thursday, August 29 from 3:00 - 4:30 p.m. Students are welcome to come out of uniform to the orientation. Sixth grade students and parents will remain at school from 4:30 - 5:30 p.m. for a technology training.

National Day of Service: In remembrance of the events of September 11th, we are participating in the National Day of Service on September 11 with collections for three worthy causes:

  • Towel Collection: Animal shelters across the D.C. region appreciate donations of used (and washed) towels to care for their lovable residents. Please inventory your towel collection at home or ask your local pool for lost & found towels as potential donations!
  • Ugly Mug Collection: Help us save the Earth’s valuable resources by donating the “gently used” or forgotten coffee mugs in the back of your pantry. We will make them available to the Dining Room for community use, in hopes of eliminating waste associated with paper products.
  • DIY Dog Toys: Please save your worn-out t-shirts from summer! We will use them to create and donate braided dog toys for local animal shelters.

Picture Day: Picture day is Wednesday, September 11. 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: Save the date Thursday, September 19, 6-8:30 p.m. We will begin in the Dining Room.

Parent-Teacher Conferences: We will have parent-teacher conferences on Thursday & Friday, November 7 & 8, 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 & Friday, March 5 & 6, 2019.

Professional Days and 9 a.m. Late Opening Dates: Beginning Wednesday, September 11 we will use this time for faculty professional work and collaboration time. On Professional days, students have the day off. Every Wednesday we have a late opening at 9 a.m. If possible, we encourage students to use this time to get an extra hour of sleep! Bus transportation will remain on a normal schedule these days; therefore, girls can arrive on campus at a normal school day time and the building will be open for their use.  Please see the Year-at-a-Glance Calendar for more information.

We encourage you to use the calendar on the Holton website as your resource for keeping current on upcoming events; the Thursday ePouch (our weekly parent email sent Thursday afternoon) will highlight events happening in Lower School and will include teacher newsletters. 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 2019-2020 school year and look forward to seeing you soon,

Christy Diefenderfer
Director of Lower School
Holton-Arms School