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Letter to Families May 2018: Master Schedule, Individual Schedule, and Resources
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Upper School 2018-2019 Student Schedule Details

Dear Upper School Families,

Over the past year, Mount Vernon Faculty have worked tirelessly to redesign the Upper School academic schedule for the 2018-2019 school year. Beginning in February 2017, the MVx Transformation Team and Upper School Faculty have gathered input and research to determine how the flow of each school day can maximize learning and well-being for students. Informed by the School’s strategic plan MVx, along with feedback from parents and students, and in partnership with national consultants Independent School Management (ISM), the team prioritized:

The result of this work is a new schedule that will continue to provide our students with a vigorous, research-informed education that gives them time to pursue their passions and focus on their well-being.

Maximizing Learning and Reducing Stress

Upper School students will have four, rotating blocks in a typical day with each block lasting 70 minutes. Research suggests that deep learning and engagement require longer class periods with fewer transitions during the school day, as well as fewer, more meaningful homework assignments at night. Transitions between blocks are designed to create more time for peer interaction and reflection, and a less stressful flow to the school day. Students may even get to sleep earlier knowing that they have an hour at the start of the day to complete homework assignments.

Time to Collaborate with Teachers and Get Things Done

The schedule affords structured time before and after school throughout the week, when students can schedule enrichment by appointment with teachers to receive extra help. It also provides a 70 minute, rotating block of time for students to get things done (GTD) during the day. The schedule offers ample time for athletics, chapel, advisory, clubs, and assemblies without ‘borrowing’ from academic periods, preserving essential teaching and learning time.

Community Time, Curiosity, and Christian Values

Each week, time is set aside for students to gather in a variety of ways during community time. During this time, students can choose to tackle group work and projects, meet with clubs, work on a Maker, Design, and Engineering project, utilize the Mustang Athletic Center for fitness, or take advantage of Mount Vernon’s unique Virtual Reality Lab in the HIVE. In keeping with being grounded in Christian values, Wednesdays are reserved for Chapel and small group discussions connected to the Four R’s (Reflection, Rest, Recreation, and Relationships). Once or twice a month, community time may feature special events related to character education, service, and cultural enrichment.

On Wednesday, May 23, students and parents will receive the student’s individual schedule of courses for 2018-2019 via email from the Registrar’s Office. You will also receive a feedback form as a way to acknowledge receipt, make simple schedule requests, and set up a summer appointment if needed. Students will have the opportunity to review their schedule and request any changes up until the third day of school (August 16, 2018). In advance, please review the following information regarding the new master schedule.

As a destination school for research-informed teaching and learning, we are excited to take this next step in Mount Vernon’s evolution with you. We have no doubt that this new schedule will enhance our ability to know and inspire each child. If you have any questions, please


Chip Houston

Head of Upper School

Special thanks and acknowledgements to the MVx Transformation Team, the Mount Vernon Institute for Innovation, and members of the Mount Vernon Faculty & Staff. Also, special thanks and acknowledgements to St. Andrew’s Episcopal School and the Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning, as well as ISM Consultants, Inc. and the Madeira School who provided insight and expertise that greatly assisted the research, design, and communication of the new schedule.


Upper School Experience

Why Now? - January 11, 2018

Upper School Course Descriptions 2018-2019

Head of Upper School Letter - January 19, 2018

Head of Upper School Letter - January 29, 2018

Survey: Feedback from Parent Meeting - February 7, 2018

Course Request Letter to Seniors - February 12, 2018

Course Request Letter to Juniors - February 14, 2018

Course Request Letter to Sophomores - February 16, 2018

Course Request Letter to Freshmen - March 16, 2018