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Welcoming You to the New School Year
Flintridge Prep Faculty

Dear Community Member,

In only two short weeks, a new school year will be upon us! We at Prep cannot convey fully our excitement to welcome our students and families back from what has hopefully been a summer of rest, growth, time with family and friends, and much, much laughter. Thank you to all who were able to attend our impromptu Meet and Greet events last week. We look forward to many additional opportunities to meet and mingle in the coming weeks.

As our students return to campus this month, we know we must prioritize connection. Imagining our classes and clubs, performances and teams, communications and events, let’s consider how we can foreground connection, how health and wellbeing, built on meaningful relationships, supports all we do. Boundaries have shifted for many of us over the past year, between personal and professional, between comfort and concern. We will need to be sensitive to differing perspectives and be patient with one another. Many of us also saw lines between home and school, digital and analog, blurred and altered. We will work together to reestablish healthy boundaries, affirm respect for a balance of study time, rest time, and play, and appreciate the joy in being together. We are still in a place of crisis recovery.

Please know that our faculty and staff understand our students and families continue to face challenges. We are working to ensure a smooth transition back to school for all our students through intentional programs designed to address trauma, foster connection, and build academic and social-emotional skills.

We are committed to the health and safety of our community, recognizing that health is not only physical, but also social, emotional, and mental. It is in the best interest of students to learn in person, and we will do all we can to pursue in-person instruction safely, observing all Los Angeles County Department of Public Health guidelines. We also recognize the fluid nature of the current situation and increasing concerns regarding the Delta variant’s impact. If at any point you have questions about our COVID-19 protocols, please visit our Responding to COVID-19 webpage. We will continue to keep our community apprised as our policies necessarily evolve.

As we lean into the value of connection this fall, we also will harness the past year’s adaptive momentum and experimental spirit to move forward creatively, courageously, and compassionately, building on what we learned over the past year and a half. We have so many wonderful projects on the horizon. New student support faculty and facilities, a reimagined wellness and training center in the Crawford Family Gym, and the resources of the Bachmann Collaboration Building will provide new ways to serve our students’ needs. New programs such as 8th grade advisory and all-school outdoor education, to name only a few, will offer rich opportunities for student relationship-building and growth.

We have exciting school priorities before us, including commitments to:

  • advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion, values that must inform school policy and program if we are to effect impactful change;
  • promoting student wellbeing through expanded and inclusive support systems;
  • fostering responsive, relevant, and meaningfully challenging teaching and learning.

In July, I had the opportunity to attend a week-long conference for new school heads, sponsored by the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS). As you can imagine, many at the conference mused on the past year, its difficulties and its opportunities. Although I am sure none of us would want to return to the early days of 2021, we must remember that challenging times are exactly what we are educating our students to navigate. As one speaker remarked, “A ship in harbor is safe, but that’s not what a ship was built for.”

Prep is a ship that was built to sail. Prep’s initiatives, founded on the imperative to nurture principled, creative, skilled, and globally informed leaders, have never been more important than they are today.

I believe in this community and especially in the creative power and resilience of our students. I feel so fortunate to be sailing forward with our students, families, faculty, and staff as we enter a new school year filled with possibilities.

Parents and families, please refer to your email on August 10 for several resources to prepare you for the start of school.

We can’t wait to see you at Book Day!


Vanessa Walker-Oakes
Head of School