Lower School FAQ's

St. Stephen's and St. Agnes Lower School
400 Fontaine Street
Alexandria, VA 22302

MacKinnon Hall - Grades JK-2
703-212-2736 
703-548-2382 fax

McBride Hall - Grades 3-5
703-212-2737 
703-548-2551 fax
 
Division Director: Jalene Spain Thomas 
Associate Director: Zoe Hillman
Counselor: Susan DeLaurentis
Administrative Assistant JK-2: Marilyn W. Bryant
Administrative Assistant 3-5: Lara Schwoebel
Administrative Assistant Jk-2: Hope Rhoads

What is the Lower School uniform?

Students are expected to wear the following:
-navy blue or khaki bottoms (shorts, long pants, capri pants, skirts, skorts)
-collared shirts or turtlenecks in solid red, navy blue, dark green, yellow, or white
-sweatshirts (with NO logo except Saints) or sweaters in solid red, navy blue, dark green, yellow, or white
-jumpers or skirts in the school’s plaid
-shoes or sneakers that provide substantial foot support for walking, recess, and Physical Education classes

Students should NOT wear:
-skirts or skorts shorter than 4” above the knee
-athletic skirts, shorts, shirts and pants
-tank tops
-flip flops or slides
-variations of the colors specified i.e. turquoise, pink, light or lime green
-sweatshirts with logos other than Saints
-a long-sleeved shirt beneath a short-sleeved shirt (If students are cold they should wear a sweater or sweatshirt.)
 
As you shop over the summer for fall clothes, please keep the dress code in mind. Please remember that students wearing blue or green must wear dark blue or dark green. Also, sweatshirts with any logo or name besides “Saints” should not even be worn to school. Thank you for your help in ensuring that your children follow the dress code.

During the school year, some Fridays are designated as “Dress Down” days and students can wear casual attire and not the daily dress attire. Short shorts, short skirts and tank tops are not permitted at any time. Leggings cannot be worn at any time without clothing covering them.

When ordering from Land’s End (www.landsend.com/school), be sure to include our Preferred School Number 900026733 to earn 3% back to the school for all qualified uniform purchases.  Learn more about uniform options. http://www.landsend.com/pdfs/school/900026733.pdf)

To order skirts or jumpers in the school plaid, visit or contact Robcyns, which is located near school in the Bradlee Shopping Center.  http://robcyns.com/  703-379-7800.

We also have our lightly used uniform closet! There is a great selection of items for girls and boys. Email Katherine Carbo for more details: kcarbo@sssas.org.
 
 
What are the school hours?
In the morning, students are required to be in their classrooms by 8:15 a.m. JK-5.  The school day ends at 2:45 p.m. for JK through 2nd grade and 3:00 p.m. for 3rd through 5th.  This staggered dismissal is recommended by the Fire Marshall in order to provide a safe situation for our students.
 
What day does school start?
Welcome Day is Tuesday, September 5. The first day of school is Wednesday, September 6. JK and K students have half days for the first three days of school (September 6, 7, and 8) and are dismissed at 12:00 noon.
 
When will I know who my child's teacher is?
Class lists will be shared online through the class pages on the school website the weekend before Welcome Day. Reminders of login information/instructions will be sent in the week prior to that time.  

What happens on Welcome Day?
Welcome Day (formerly known as Registration Day) is between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. on Tuesday, September 5. This is an informal morning event during which parents/guardians and children should visit their homeroom teachers and can also meet their specials teachers in their classrooms. Come to the Lower School any time between 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. Students do not have to wear uniforms that day. This is a casual morning event during which parents and children will be free to visit the school store, the playground and various buildings.  School begins the next day.  It is absolutely necessary that the health and emergency information be submitted online before Welcome Day. 
 
How does the carpool work?
Carpool lines form at 2:45 p.m. for JK, K, first grade, and second grade pick up.  Those parents who arrive before 2:45 p.m. must park in a legal parking space.  At 2:45 p.m. the carpool line will start to move.  As you approach the circle in front of MacKinnon, a teacher will ask you whom you are picking up.  Your child will be called to the car.  You will proceed out the exit onto Windsor Avenue.
 
A helpful tip is to put the car seat or booster seat for your Saint on the left side of the car, behind the driver, if possible. We are able to help them get out of the car swiftly and safely this way. For the parents of our youngest students, please spend some time over the summer having your child practice getting out of his or her seatbelt or car seat. This will help carpool to go more smoothly and is great for building independence.
 
The same procedure is used for 3rd through 5th grades beginning at 3:00 p.m. This carpool line forms in the circle in front of the Macan Building. Those who have children in both the first and second dismissal will pick up during the second shift in the MacKinnon carpool line. The older children come over to MacKinnon, and they will be supervised for their safety until their car arrives.  Again, the reason for this staggered dismissal is to accommodate the Fire Marshall's directions for ensuring safety for our students.
 
If my child wants to go home with a friend after school, what kind of special arrangements must be made?
If your child is going home with a friend, please send a note explaining the arrangements and any change in carpool or bus transportation. Ask your child to turn this note in to the classroom teacher first thing in the morning. Alternatively, you may email your child’s teacher as well as contact the Lower School Administrative Assistants. Call 703-212-2736 or email mbryant@sssas.org for children in JK-2. Call 703-212-2737 or email lschwoebel@sssas.org for those in grades 3-5.  Please call or email before 2:00 p.m. This will give the Administrative Assistants time to make sure your child receives the message.
 
If my child takes the bus, how will he/she get to class?
In the morning, the van or bus driver will make sure your child finds his/her way to class.  In the afternoon, teachers refer to a bus roster.  They escort the children to the buses and make sure they get on the right bus.  If you have a concern about the bus system, please bring it to the attention of the Transportation Office by calling Johnathan Torres at 703-212-2810. 
 
How can I volunteer?
Volunteering is a great way to meet other parents and feel part of the school community. Our school relies a great deal on volunteer efforts, and parent volunteers are very much appreciated.  In our directory, you will find a resource page with information about volunteering at the school.  Volunteers work in the library, assist with field trips and class parties, help the Development Office with the Parent Phonathons for the Saints Fund, and coordinate or organize some of the big family events like the auction, Grandparents’ Day, Field Day and Earth Week activities.  Parents are also welcome to help with our sustainability, service learning, and multicultural efforts. The APT (the Association of Parents and Teachers), is the parent association organization which runs many volunteer activities.  Sign up lists will be outside the Sinclair building on Welcome Day for parent volunteers, and there will be a volunteer form in the summer mailing.  If you have questions about volunteering, you can call the APT office at 703-212-2927. 
 
How do I sign up for Before Care, Extended Day or transportation?
Our communications office will be sending a series of push pages (emails) this summer. These emails will guide you through the process of signing up for various activities. We expect the first set to go out in the middle of June.
 
How will I find out more about the school?
A mailing with additional information will be sent in August. You will receive one from the Head of School, Kirsten Adams, with the school calendar, and you will also get a letter from the Division Director, Jalene Spain Thomas. There will be a Back to School night in September.  Throughout the year there are morning coffees and APT meetings.  The main resource for information about the working of the school is the Student/Parent Handbook that you will receive in August. At any time during the year, you are encouraged to contact your child’s teacher with questions, no matter how big or small. SSSAS uses electronic communication in the form of regular electronic newsletters. We encourage you to visit our website at  www.sssas.org for current news and information as well as archives of previous posts. Report cards are issued electronically.
 
What after school enrichment activities are offered after school?
There are many after school activities offered for an additional fee. There are sessions offered each fall, winter, and spring. An email with an online registration form will be sent out at the beginning of the year with detailed information about the fall clubs. Details about Extended Day can be obtained from Ms. Normyle, Program Director, at 703-212-2758 or by email at knormyle@sssas.org.

When are the playgrounds open for general use?
We know that many families enjoy spending time on the Lower School campus after dismissal, so we wanted to explain which areas are available for family use at that time. Both the MacKinnon Hall (JK-2) and Macan Hall (3-5) playgrounds are available until 3:20 p.m. each day. After 3:20 p.m. families can use the MacKinnon Hall playground on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and the Macan Hall playground on Monday and Friday. Please be aware that there may some times when the schedule will switch or no playgrounds will be available after school for families due to After-School Enrichment activities, use by Extended Day students, or other circumstances. If this is the case, we will post an announcement on the internal website to this effect, which you can see when you log in and click on News > Recent Activity. We believe that this plan ensures proper supervision and provides for the safety and well-being of all our students. Please share this information with any caregivers who may be picking up your children from school.
 
What are some of the traditional activities for the entire school family?
Be sure to come to the JK-12 Family Picnic held at the Upper School on Homecoming weekend. The Lower School children participate in a parade during halftime of the football game. Other terrific school wide activities are the Sleepy Thompson Basketball Tournament, the Spring Fling Girls’ Lacrosse Tournament, and the Spring Festival in April. Lower School has some additional family events including the Halloween parade, the Lessons and Carols Christmas program, Grandparents’ Day, Field Day and many more specific grade level activities. 
 
How does lunch work?
Children in JK and K eat in their classrooms. Each child brings a lunch and a drink from home. First grade through 5th grade children eat in the cafeteria and may either bring lunch from home or enjoy the hot lunch and salad bar prepared daily. 
 
What do I do if I have questions about tuition payments?
Call Donna O’Connell in the business office located in Macan Hall on the Lower School campus for questions about student accounts or payment plans. The telephone number is 703-212-2723.
 
How do I know which supplies and textbooks to purchase?
Textbooks will be purchased by the school and available to students in each classroom on the first day of school.  Parents are billed for textbooks.
           
For more information, call or email:

Marilyn Bryant, Administrative Assistant in MacKinnon
703-212-2736, mbryant@sssas.org
 
Lara Schwoebel, Administrative Assistant in McBride
703-212-2737, lschwoebel@sssas.org
 
Jalene Spain Thomas, Lower School Director 
703-212-2734, jthomas@sssas.org
 
Zoe Hillman, Lower School Associate Director
703-212-2735, zhillman@sssas.org
 
Susan DeLaurentis, Director of Counseling
Johnathan Torres, Transportation Director
703-212-2810, jtorres@sssas.org
 
Donna O’Connell, Business Office
703-212-2723, doconnell@sssas.org
 
Kathy Normyle, Extended Day
703-212-2758, knormyle@sssas.org
St. Stephen's and St. Agnes School is an independent, college-preparatory, coed, day, Episcopal Church School that educates students in junior kindergarten through grade 12. The school consists of three, age-appropriate campuses (Lower, Middle, and Upper School) in Alexandria, Virginia. SSSAS welcomes families of all faiths. We offer challenging academics, a state-of-the-art performing arts center, and championship athletics. SSSAS is regarded as one of the top private schools in the Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C. area.

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