As I write this message, I realize that this week marks the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. I’m taken back to the initial shock, confusion, and fear of those early days. I think of the many lives lost, the impact felt around the world, the peace and security disturbed for everyone in our country. I also recall the hope and positivity that sprang from that dark day.
Today we face a different crisis, and once again I feel a similar hope in my heart. As we have in the past, we have adapted to the challenges we could not predict, overcome them, and become stronger and more resilient as a result. Since school began, I have seen all the hallmarks of a strong and healthy community on display. Our new schedule fosters connection and down time, our faculty pour love and care into everything they do, while our students display resilience, vision, and leadership at every opportunity. Combine this with the infinite support of our parents and staff, and it’s hard not to feel hopeful and proud.
Take, for example, last week’s Back to School Night. Our teachers are fostering meaningful relationships between students and with the subject matter. Just as they do in the physical classroom, faculty are focusing on student-to-student engagement, and great care is being taken to encourage a break from screens as often as possible.
Our faculty are not the only torchbearers of change. Student support comes from the peer counselors and grade level deans, with students taking the lead in these efforts to connect. At its heart, this effort is about fostering joy and belonging, nurturing a community of care. It comes from a true sense of the bigger goal—to continue to thrive when we return to campus.
I remain cautiously optimistic about a return to school. The State of California has shifted reopening guidelines to a four-tier system. Currently, Los Angeles County is in the purple tier. Once the county moves to the red tier or higher and stays there for 14 days or more, schools like ours might be able to return in a hybrid format. However, Los Angeles County may impose stricter guidelines. We expect that as COVID-19 positivity rates stabilize we can make preparations for a return to campus, and we will give ample notice to families so that they can prepare for the shift. We will add updates to our Return to Campus Plan page on the website as more details become available. We will be implementing risk reduction protocols including mask wearing, six-foot minimum physical distancing, regular hand washing, deep cleaning of rooms, and daily symptom checking.
This week also marks the beginning of our evening coffees for parents. Grade level coffees for our newest families in 7th and 9th grade have already kicked off, and these coffees have provided new opportunities for connection and belonging within our parent community. My thanks to the volunteer parents who have supported these coffees alongside our faculty and deans. We look forward to coffees for 8th, 10th, 11th, and 12th grades over the next two weeks.
Announcements and updates for September can be found below.
My very best to all of you,
Head of School
Parent Yearbook Dedication Pages for Seniors
The Parent Dedication pages for the yearbook are due Friday, November 13. A 20% discount will be given to parents who submit orders by Friday, October 30. Please review this PDF with information on size and cost options and email all materials to email@example.com. For more information, contact David Weldzius.
We loved seeing so many parents virtually at the first two fall parent coffees this week with 7th and 9th grade, and we are looking forward to meeting the rest of you throughout the month at your respective grade level coffees. Thank you to all parents that co-hosted breakout sessions at the coffees as well! Please find the remaining coffee schedule below. A Zoom link to your grade level coffee will be emailed in advance.
8th Grade Coffee
Tuesday, September 15
6:00 - 7:30 p.m.
10th Grade Coffee
Thursday, September 17
6:00 - 7:30 p.m.
11th Grade Coffee
Tuesday, September 22
6:00 - 7:30 p.m.
12th Grade Coffee
Thursday, September 24
6:00 - 7:30 p.m.
Traditional fall activities, such as campus tours and school visits, are being transitioned to virtual experiences this year. We will be offering information sessions over Zoom for prospective families as well as a virtual version of the annual Open House on Sunday, November 15, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.
Please encourage anyone you know who might be applying to visit the new Discover Prep page on our website to view enhanced digital and video content and for more details about the above activities and this year’s application process, which will be slightly different from previous years. The page will be updated continuously as more information becomes available.
Kaitlyn Chen ’20 was named one of the 2020 Wooden Award Girls’ High School Players of the Year! The John R. Wooden award is presented to the most valuable player in each division of the CIF Southern Section and Los Angeles Section. While at Prep, Kaitlyn was a highly decorated basketball player and is currently playing for Princeton University.
College Counseling Corner
Senior year is off to a great start! We launched our virtual college visit program this week and we already have colleges confirmed. We encourage students to please check Naviance regularly for an up to date schedule of visits and to sign up. Please note that students must ask their teacher for permission to miss class at least 24 hours in advance.
Juniors and Seniors
We are hosting a college financial aid information night with Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy on September 29 at 7:00 p.m. Tiffany Mendez, Director of Financial Aid at Occidental College, will speak about the different types of aid and how to apply for it. Keep an eye out for an email with more information.
Welcome back, Prep parents—we miss you! We are excited to offer print circulation again: families can now pick up and return library books outside of the front office using a Google Form that has been sent to all students. Out of caution, all materials will be quarantined upon return. We look forward to meeting new students and working alongside teachers to make the online learning experience a success. Check the Library Resource Board for our new Study Stream, a virtual place to work on homework together, and other new programs this year!
The Fathers Club would like to warmly welcome all new and returning Prep Dads to the 2020-2021 school year. As we know, this year is unlike any other we have experienced, and we are asking for volunteers to help us meet the commitment of service that the Fathers Club has stood for over the last 84 years. Though our approach this year will be different, our commitment to engagement of all Prep fathers and service to the school has not changed. Please look out for an email from Fathers Club President Mike Comer to sign up to volunteer as part of the Fathers Club Board. In addition, we look forward to seeing you at our first virtual Fathers Club event. Details coming soon!
Thank you to our amazing PA Board and all parent volunteers for the 2020-2021 school year! We are excited to work with you and greatly appreciate the time and creativity you are bringing to Prep.
We were thrilled to launch our new Parents Association Welcome (PAW) Program this summer, where current parents personally called and welcomed new parents to Prep. We are excited to welcome all new parents to our Prep family and hope you will consider volunteering with the Parents Association at some point this year!
We wanted to especially recognize our Grade Level Coordinators (GLCs), who are spearheading the parent experience for each grade level:
All parents can look forward to GLC email updates on a monthly basis with important information about your child’s grade. Please also look out for opportunities to volunteer as well as an invitation to your virtual grade level parent party for grades 7-11 in September and October. The 12th grade parent party will take place in the spring.
The Visual Arts Department is delighted to announce that Ms. Emma Goo will be teaching a section of 8th Grade Drawing and Painting this school year. Ms. Goo received her BFA in film/animation/video from Rhode Island School of Design and enjoys drawing and painting in all kinds of media. Her current passion for whimsical animal comics is already inspiring the creativity of her 8th grade students. Ms. Goo has taught middle school art at Prep during summer school over the past six years and she currently works as the office coordinator.
Classes might be virtual...but we still create theater! Please join us for this year’s Fall Play “Most Likely To: The Senior Superlative Monologues” on November 5, 6, and 7. This comedic play, written by Michael Tester, explores the absurd side of high school awards through a series of character monologues. A Zoom link will be sent out a few days before opening night. Once in the Zoom, the audience will engage in live interaction as well as pre-recorded theater. The play features the talents of grades 10-12. Don’t miss it!
Middle School Math Club
Many middle school students participated in the five Math Olympiad exams over the course of this past school year. Kaitlyn Sulivan-Pascual ’24 placed in the top 30% in the nation. Steinunn Liorsdóttir ’25 placed in the top 25% in the nation. Daniel Zhao ’24 placed in the top 20% in the nation. Michelle Geller ’25 and Lucy Liu ’24 placed in the top 10% in the nation. Maylin Chen ’24 placed in the top 2% in the nation and was the team’s high scorer.