Flintridge Prep Return to Campus Plan

What makes a school? For decades we have said that, though we love our campus, the beautiful oaks and sycamores, the quiet nooks and the bustling lunch line, classroom spaces new and old, our school and our community are about people first. As we enter a new school year, one centered around the idea of belonging, our connections with each other will hold strong under circumstances that continue to challenge us.

With the non-linear nature of COVID-19, what seems certain one week can change the next. The Flintridge Prep leadership team continues to track health and safety guidelines in close collaboration with the Board of Trustees and a number of agencies, experts, and our consortium of local independent schools.

We are committed to keeping our community informed, and this web page is the main hub for important communications. We will update this page with answers to your frequently asked questions, and whenever we have a major update, we will also send it via email. An archive of previous communications will be posted here.

Our Commitment to Health and Safety

On July 17, Governor Gavin Newsom laid out five components necessary to reopen schools:

  • Los Angeles County will have to be off the state monitoring list for 14 consecutive days
  • Local health data must support safe in-person school 
  • Masks will be required at all times
  • Physical distancing and other adaptations will be required
  • Regular testing and dedicated contact tracing will need to be in place
  • Rigorous distance learning technology will need to be in place.
On Monday, July 20, the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) announced a delay in the fall sports season in all 10 sections, including the Southern Section. Sports will be played in two seasons, fall and spring, instead of three, with section playoffs for most fall sports ending on March 13, 2021 (girls volleyball and boys water polo) or March 20, 2021 (girls and boys cross country). Football section playoffs are scheduled to end on April 10, 2021. For more information on the CIF announcement, visit this link.

The campus remains restricted to all but essential faculty and staff, and in-person instruction and activities are prohibited. Those who come to campus are expected to follow rigorous guidelines.

Student Life Frequently Asked Questions

Extracurricular Activities

How will the school be handling extracurricular activities such as clubs and after school activities?

With the start of the school year, our student clubs and organizations are poised to bring Prep’s dynamic and engaging after-school culture to life online. During lunch periods and after 2:30, students can expect regular club meetings to occur, as they would in an on-campus model.

How will student leadership organizations operate?

Faculty and student leadership of organizations such as SCAC, ACL, FLINT, and Student Senate are working to create online versions of existing programs, while also developing new goals specifically targeted to the needs of students learning and engaging from home. For example, Senate and SCAC will be collecting school supplies at Book Day to donate to our community through Kids in Need. This is just one examples of the ways our student clubs will bring opportunities to connect with one another and with our wider community to life this fall.

How will the speech and debate and robotics teams work?

Our speech and debate team will be competing in a robust schedule of online tournaments. Our robotics team is developing projects that can be completed from student homes. More to come!

Athletics

Will my student be able to participate in sports this year?

CIF has determined that the fall athletic season will begin in November/December 2020, depending on the sport. To bridge the time between the end of summer and the beginning of the season, Prep has developed programs to engage and support our athletes’ continued conditioning and team experience.

How will the school handle Physical Education for athletes?

Students in grades 9 and 10 will be enrolled in Physical Education. Athletes will have the choice of participating in a strength and conditioning program during their P.E. period if they wish, which will be targeted to developing sport-specific conditioning.

How will strength and conditioning work?

All high school athletes will have access to an online after-school team building and conditioning program coached by Russell White, head football and track coach and Assistant Athletic Director, and Andrew Phillips, head boys and girls water polo coach and assistant swim coach. Coach White and Coach Phillips look forward to working with our athletes, developing individual training programs and hosting team gatherings to support students’ continued athletic development while at home. In the future, when we are safely and responsibly able to offer in-person conditioning, we will transition athletes back onto campus for training.

Performing Arts

Will the school hold performances this fall?

Our fall play and spring musical, which will be announced during the first quarter, will take place regardless of whether we are learning in person, online, or in a hybrid model. Please stay tuned!

Student Support

How will the school support my student this school year?

Our student life team stands ready to meet our students where they are, on campus or at home, providing connection, social and emotional support, advising, and most of all, a caring, listening ear trained to serve student needs. Understanding the challenges students and families are facing this fall, we have dedicated additional resources to fostering the connection and relationships that are the cornerstone of the Prep experience. Any student or parent with questions about student life or student support is invited to contact our Assistant Head for Student Life, Ms. Vanessa Walker-Oakes.

How will the schedule provide opportunities for social and emotional learning?

Prep’s new schedule includes several adaptations made with student wellbeing in mind. Recognizing the need for dedicated time for social-emotional learning and class connection, the schedule provides for a weekly advisory period, during which grades 7 and 9 will participate in advisory, grades 8, 10, 11, and 12 will have the opportunity to host class meetings and activities. For students in grade 10, opportunities will be provided for them to meet on a recurring basis with their advisors from the previous year. Similarly, students in grade 11 will have quarterly opportunities to check in with their sophomore advisors. Community times such as weekly community blocks (Wednesdays) and morning meetings (Thursdays) provide additional communal touchpoints. A late start on Friday provides the opportunity for students to sleep in, recognizing the need for down time and rest, while faculty engage in ongoing collaboration and professional growth.

How will mentoring programs support students?

Our peer counseling and 8th Grade Buddies programs are committed to serving students in grades 7, 8, and 9, matching each student with a senior mentor. Senior Leaders provides peer-to-peer tutoring for class-specific academic support. Our mentoring also extends to our new 7th and 8th grade families, who will be welcomed by our brand new PAW (Parents Association Welcome) program, pairing each family with an experienced Prep mentor family.

How will teachers support students’ learning outside a typical class period?

For students who would benefit from additional time with their teachers to practice and master course skills and content, prepare for assessments, or make up missed work, all faculty will be hosting regular tutoring after school, just as they would on campus. In addition, our Associate Dean of Student Support, Mrs. Midge Kimble, will be dedicating her time to serving students who require additional learning and/or health support.

What other resources are available for students who need academic, social, and emotional support?

Our most important priority is to serve our students and make them feel safe, cared for, and understood. Recognizing the diversity of students, we encourage students who are struggling with any concern to approach the adult within our student life team with whom they feel most comfortable.

  • Dean of Students Mr. Barrett Jamison is available to all students as a resource for guidance and counsel.
  • The grade level deans have specific experience overseeing student progress through each developmental year of middle and high school. Their doors, both literal and virtual, are open to meet with students.
  • For students who wish to speak with a psychologist, our school counselor, Dr. Mary Rotzien, is also available to meet with students. Students should contact Mr. Barrett Jamison to schedule an appointment.

Academic Life Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of professional growth have teachers done around online learning in recent months?

Prep’s faculty have been predictably eager to learn strategies and skills to supplement the online teaching experiences they had in the spring. Individuals and cohorts have attended recent workshops on a range of topics, including active learning in the age of COVID-19, redefining student life for online learning, becoming a diversity responsive school, global program leadership in a changing world, and bringing humanity to virtual spaces.

In addition, administrators have distilled six takeaways about online learning from extensive student and faculty feedback in the spring, as well as a Prep parent survey this summer: build community, be interactive, plan for variety in classroom activities, encourage student-to-student contact through breakout groups and projects, be aware of screen time, and remember that students still have extracurricular and family commitments during online learning. At a faculty meeting in early August, based on these guidelines, teachers brainstormed together how to build community with new students and lesson plan strategically.

During opening faculty meetings in mid-August, Prep faculty will also discuss online learning strategies with Lori Getz, founder of Cyber Education Consultants and a frequent guest speaker to our students about digital literacy.

As Prep has done for decades, we also continue to support robust individual professional growth funding for all faculty through an application process.

How will faculty assess and adapt the learning experience for students throughout the fall? 

Whether online, hybrid or fully on campus, faculty this year will have ample time to reflect on student learning through our new Faculty Fridays, weekly 45-minute meetings made possible by a weekly late start for students in this year’s schedule. At these gatherings, faculty will collaborate in small groups, come together by departments and grade levels to discuss academic and student life, and work with outside speakers on topics such as inclusion and leadership.

We will also be continuing our strong faculty evaluation and growth program through online class observations and student surveys, which apply to new teachers as well as those in a comprehensive evaluation year (multiples of five).

In addition, we welcome feedback from parents and students on ways to further strengthen academic and student life at Prep. For academic life feedback, please contact Assistant Head for Academic Life Ms. Sarah Cooper; for student life feedback, please contact Assistant Head for Student Life Ms. Vanessa Walker-Oakes.

How is the promise of the new Bachmann Collaboration Building being realized in an online learning environment?

As some faculty begin to teach online from the Bachmann Collaboration Building (BCB), students will literally see the potential of the new spaces, whether the biology lab, art studio, makerspace, global research lab, or new language, math and history classrooms. Through Book Day on August 24 and at additional materials distribution times in the fall, students will receive the hands-on supplies they need to fully participate in all classes from home, whether these classes are scheduled for the BCB or in an array of other labs, studios and spaces around campus.

In addition, the Bachmann Collaboration Building is simply a manifestation of the collaborative, inquiry-based vision that Prep has for education. This philosophy will continue to percolate through the curriculum with student projects and faculty collaboration, as well as beyond the school day through extracurricular clubs and programs.

How can students stay in contact with their teachers in a period of online learning?

Every teacher will be offering regular tutoring/office hours, listed on teachers’ syllabi and on campus page. Email is also an excellent way to get in touch. As always, students are more than welcome to schedule a one-on-one conversation with any faculty member via Zoom or Google Meet.

If I have a question about the academic program, whom should I contact?

Prep’s website offers information about each department’s curriculum and the school’s academic vision.

We always encourage students to take the first step in communicating with Prep faculty or administrators with questions, followed by a parental inquiry if needed. For questions about faculty or curricular topics, please contact the appropriate department chair, initiative coordinator, or Ms. Sarah Cooper. For questions about student life or student support, please contact Ms. Vanessa Walker-Oakes.

Our Commitment to Our Community

The goals of our educational environment remain consistent regardless of where and how learning occurs. We are committed to:

  • Ensuring the physical and emotional well-being of our community; 
  • Providing an excellent learning environment consistent with our mission; 
  • Enabling deep and significant connections within our community.

In order to maintain health and safety, reinforce continuity of teaching and learning, and protect community well-being, Flintridge Prep will be starting the 2020–2021 school year online. It is our goal to return to campus as soon as deemed safe following local health guidelines. As the COVID-19 situation in our area changes, we are prepared to move through three different models for the school year to maintain maximum student-teacher and Prep student-cohort engagement. We are likely to shift between these models as the nature of the pandemic shifts. These models are:

  • A completely online learning environment;
  • A hybrid model, which would have students on campus roughly half the time;
  • A return to campus for all community members.

On July 17, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that most schools, and certainly all schools in Los Angeles County, will opening online in the fall. The governor has mandated that schools (public and private) in a county that is on the state monitoring list may not open for any in-person learning. In order to consider moving to a hybrid model, the county must have been off the monitoring list for 14 days. Clearly, LA County has been and continues to be on the monitoring list. At Flintridge Prep, we have been preparing since the spring for multiple options for Prep teaching and learning, including fully online, a hybrid of online and in-person, and a full return to school. Since March, we have continued to fine-tune our teaching and learning methods, and we have equipped all classrooms with additional technology to optimize any potential hybrid learning, taking into account diverse teaching approaches. We are thankful to our parents, faculty, staff, and students for their insightful feedback on our processes. Our faculty are continuing to refine their teaching methods, and we are actively reinforcing our technical infrastructure in order to meet the needs of our community as conditions change.

In addition, we have developed a schedule for the 2020-2021 school year that will remain in place regardless of conditions. This schedule has already been met with support from faculty members for its attention to both academic and human development. The two-week rotating schedule will include:

  • Five 60-minute classes on Mondays and Tuesdays
  • Three 75-minute classes and a 75-minute Community Block on Wednesdays
  • Four 75-minute periods on Thursdays
  • Morning Meetings on Thursdays
  • Four 60-minute classes with a 30-minute Advisory period for 7th and 9th graders on Fridays (this time will be used for class meetings and other activities for grades 8, 10, 11, and 12)
  • Days will be identified as A-J

We expect families to receive their schedules by the end of the first week of August, when the details will be explained to your children. The schedule is both familiar and forward looking, with exciting features, including:

  • A late start on Friday (Classes will begin at 8:50 so that faculty can use this time for professional growth and collaboration)
  • Longer class periods
  • 10-minute "passing" periods
  • Fewer class meetings per week
  • A dedicated advisory/class meeting period

Recent Communications from Prep

Click here to read our recent communications to our community.

COVID-19 Information and Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 

World Health Organization (WHO)

California Department of Public Health 

Los Angeles County Department of Public Health

National Institutes of Health

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

Coping with Stress (CDC)

Resources for Helping Kids and Parents Cope Amidst COVID-19

Parent Venture

How to Help Teens Shelter in Place

Flintridge Preparatory School
4543 Crown Avenue La Cañada Flintridge CA 91011
Tel: 818-790-1178
Fax: 818-952-6247
Located near Pasadena and Los Angeles in La Cañada, CA, Flintridge Prep is a private independent, coed day school for grades 7-12.
  • NAIS
  • FAST
  • CSEE
  • Independent Curriculum Group
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