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Upper School FAQ

St. Stephen's and St. Agnes Upper School
1000 St. Stephen's Road
Alexandria, Virginia 22304
703-212-2746


We hope these questions and answers provide additional support for Upper School students and their families as all prepare for the start of classes in September. Most of this information can be found in the Upper School section of the Student/Parent Handbook. We encourage all families to review the handbook together as it provides the most useful, practical information about Upper School life.

Important Contact Information

Mrs. Marybeth Dyson, Front Office Manager: 703-212-2700

Mrs. Lisa Hassell, Administrative Asst. to the Head of School and Upper School Division Director: 703-212-2746

Ms. Stacy Williams, Administrative Asst. to the Dean of Students and Associate Director: 703-212-2747

Ms. Linda McGuire, Dean of Students: 703-212-2748

Dr. Jamie Seagraves, Associate Director: 703-212-2744

Mr. Michael Mallett, Upper School Director: 703-212-2922

Getting Ready For School

List of 13 items.

  • What are school hours?

    The academic day is from 8:20 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. Attendance is taken in the first period class. After-school activities start after 3:15 p.m.
     
  • When is the first day of school?

    The Opening Day of school is the day after Labor Day, Tuesday, September 3, 2019.  

  • How do we order books?

    In the summer, you will be sent information about buying books through MBS Direct along with a list of the classes in which you are enrolled.  If you have questions about your schedule, please call Mr. Marvin at 703-212-2749.  

    If you have questions about ordering books please call Ms. Larson at 703-212-2755.  You should have your books by the first day of classes and can bring them to put in your locker.
     
  • What is the Upper School dress code?

    In the Upper School, we try to develop a sense of what is reasonable and appropriate dress, allowing for important expressions of individuality without encouraging excessive display of fads.

    Please refer to the dress code section of the Handbook for a detailed description of the dress code. The code is different for classroom dress, chapel dress, and dress down days.  

    Parents/guardians are strongly encouraged to review the dress code with their students. Repeated violations of the dress code will result in detention.  
     
  • How will we receive information from the Upper School?

    The main resource for information about the Upper School program is the Student/Parent Handbook which can be found on the school’s website in the Resources section under Forms and Information for Parents.  

    On Thursdays, our weekly E-newsletters are posted to the 
    Dispatch web page (www.sssas.org/dispatch) to keep you informed about current events at school. You should look in the Upper School Courier section to see the week’s activities and announcements. As always, if you have questions about the programs and events in the Upper School, feel free to call or email your student’s faculty advisor or a member of the Upper School administrative team.
     
  • Who should I call with transportation questions?

    Mr. Benard Veasley, the Director of Transportation, can be reached at 703-212-2810.
  • How can I volunteer to get involved?

    Our school relies a great deal on volunteer efforts, and parent volunteers are very much appreciated. Parents also benefit from finding their own community of friends as well as supporting their child’s school. In the fall, families receive the current Student/Parent Directory, with a resource page with information about volunteering at the school. 

    Any questions about volunteering can be answered by the Association of Parents and Teachers (APT), Saints Athletic Club and the Performing Arts Boosters. You may call the APT office at 703-212-2927.
  • How will I receive feedback about my child’s academic performance?

    The Upper School is on a semester system. Each semester is approximately eighteen weeks long. Communication about student progress will be shared with students and families four times during each semester.

    These communications will be shared at approximately 4-week intervals. You will receive emails to let you know when these reports and grades are posted on the website. If you have questions about our grade reporting schedule, please contact the Director of Upper School, Mr. Mike Mallett at 703-212-2922.
     
  • Who should I contact if I have a question my child's academic or social adjustment to the Upper School?

    Parents/guardians are encouraged to contact the student’s advisor.  Ninth grade students will meet their faculty advisor on registration day.  New students in the tenth, eleventh and twelfth grade will meet their advisor on the first day of classes during the advisory time.  The faculty advisor meets regularly with his/her advisees and is available to discuss academic, extra-curricular and/or social issues.  
    You may call the upper school counselor, Mrs. Susannah Harrison, (703-212-2750) who is available to meet with your student as well. Parents/guardians are also welcome to contact the Director of the Upper School, Mr. Michael Mallett (703-212-2922), or the Associate Director of the Upper School, Ms. Jamie Segraves (703-212-2744), about these, as well as other concerns.
     
  • How can I arrange a parent/teacher conference?

    There are no set calendar days for parent/teacher conferences in the Upper School. If parents/guardians have questions and would like to speak with or meet with one teacher in particular, they are asked to email or call that teacher directly by calling his/her campus phone mail listed in the Handbook. If a meeting with all the teachers is preferred, parents/guardians are asked to call the student’s advisor, or the Associate Director of Upper School, Ms. Jamie Segraves at (703-212-2744), to set up a convenient date and time. The student’s advisor, class dean or teacher may also call parents/guardians to discuss a particular issue if he/she feels that it is appropriate.   
     
  • What should I do if I need to get a message to my child?

    As stated in the Handbook, use of cell phones during class is prohibited. Students can check their phones for messages between classes, during lunch and after school.  If you would like to leave a message for your student by other means, you can call the main school number 703-751-2700. All messages for students will be placed in the individual student’s mailbox.  We encourage all students to check their box at least twice a day -- once in the morning and once before leaving school-- for messages from teachers, parents, etc.  In the event of an emergency a message will be taken directly to the student’s classroom.  
  • Who do I contact if my child will be absent or tardy?

    Please call Ms. Stacey Williams at 703-212-2747 prior to 8:30 a.m. to report an absence or late arrival to school.  Feel free to leave a detailed message on the voice mail including the name of the parent/guardian calling, the student’s name and the reason for tardy/absence. The Dean of Students will review this information to determine whether the absence/tardy is excused or unexcused. See the Student/Parent Handbook for information about excused and unexcused absences and tardies.  Generally, students are excused only for illness, doctor’s appointments, pressing family emergencies, religious observances, and family events such as weddings and graduations. It is very important to review the Student/Parent Handbook regarding late arrivals and extra-curricular participation. A student is not permitted to participate in any after school extra-curricular activities including rehearsals and athletic practices/games, if he or she misses more than 45 minutes of the official school day due to illness, fatigue, or the completion of academic assignments at home.
  • How do students get their homework assignments if they are absent for one or two days?

    Students should check the website where their teachers are posting assignments.  A student may also reach out to his/her teachers via e-mail, but it is always a good idea to check the assignments page first. If a student is absent for a longer period of time, families should call Mrs. Stacey Williams at 703-212-2747 to discuss arrangements for picking up handouts and materials not on the website.  It is also helpful to let your student’s faculty advisor know about an extended absence so that he/ she can help your student make a timely, but realistic, schedule to make up work missed in the classroom.
     

Upper School Daily Schedule Example

Schedule At-A-Glance

  • 8-Day Rotating Schedule
  • 8:20 a.m. School Day Begins
  • 3:15 p.m. School Day Ends
  • 75-minute Class Periods
  • Classes meet every other day
  • STAT and Lunch Combined in 65-minute Period
  • Dedicated Community Time
  • Chapel every Wednesday 
       

Upper School Schedule FAQs

List of 11 frequently asked questions.

  • How will students and families know which day of the cycle it is?

    Each day of the 2019-2020 academic year will be associated with one of the eight days in the 8-day rotation. The cycle days will be communicated on both the print and online calendars.
  • How does an 8-day rotating schedule work?

    In our new daily schedule, classes will meet every other day. Students will have a maximum of four classes per day, and each period will be 75 minutes. The periods A, B, C, and D will meet one day, and the periods E, F, G, and H will meet the next day. The classes will rotate through the schedule so that classes will not meet at the same time each day. This reduces the effect of early dismissals; in our current schedule, for example, periods F and G are disproportionately affected by early athletic dismissals. 
  • How will the new schedule change Chapel and Advisory?

    In the new schedule, Chapel will still be held on Wednesdays at the same time as in our current schedule. Advisory will also meet on Wednesday. We feel that grouping these two elements of our program will enhance the sense of community at the Upper School.
  • What will lunch be like in the new schedule?

    In the new schedule, STAT and Lunch are combined in a 65-minute period. Students may choose to consult with their teachers during STAT and then spend the rest of the 65-minute period eating lunch and visiting with friends.
  • What will the impact be on a student's workload?

    Since classes meet every other day, students will have two nights to complete their work before the next class meeting. We feel that this will reduce student stress as they will have more time to complete their work.
  • Since classes meet every other day, won’t teachers just double the amount of homework?

    No. We have been working closely with the Department Chairs and we have agreed on the following understanding with respect to homework. Teachers may assign 30 minutes of homework in preparation for the next class. For AP and Honors level classes, the homework expectation can be elevated to 45-60 minutes in preparation for the next class. We would expect students to be working on 1.5 to 2 hours of homework each night.
  • How will you make sure students don’t have too many tests, papers, or major projects due at the same time?

    In alignment with our current program, students are not expected to complete three major assignments on any given day.  The ‘Major Assignment’ rule states that students are exempt from completing three major summative assessments such as exams, tests, and papers on a single day.  Teachers work collaboratively with their students and with their colleagues in an effort to balance a student's workload.
  • How will exams be affected in the new schedule?

    There are no plans to change exams from the model we are currently using. There will be fall semester exams in December and spring semester exams in May.
  • What will the impact be on extra-curricular activities?

    In both the current schedule and the new daily schedule, the school day will conclude at 3:15 p.m. We do not anticipate any impact on extra-curricular activities.
  • How will the new schedule affect the course selection process?

    Similar to our current process, students will select courses with the guidance of their parents, advisor, and college counselor. In the new schedule, however, students will have the opportunity to select an additional class. We hope that providing another ‘carrier’ in our new daily schedule will provide greater access to our exceptional academic program for our students. With this additional period in the schedule, students can have a maximum of seven classes. All students will have one unscheduled free period. Currently, nearly all of our students are taking six classes in our seven period schedule. The additional period in the new schedule is intended to provide greater access to our program.
  • Will seniors still be afforded Senior privileges in the new schedule?

    Yes. The new schedule does not impact or modify Senior privileges.
JK-12 coed Episcopal day school in Alexandria, Virginia

Campuses

List of 3 items.

  • Lower School

    Grades: JK-5
    400 Fontaine Street
    Alexandria, Virginia 22302
  • Middle School

    Grades: 6-8
    4401 West Braddock Road
    Alexandria, Virginia 22304
  • Upper School

    Grades: 9-12
    1000 St. Stephen's Road
    Alexandria, Virginia 22304