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A

Parents’

Guide

Covenant’s Frequently Asked Questions


1 What is unique about

a Christian Liberal Arts & Sciences education?

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The Christian Liberal Arts and Sciences tradition has long prepared students for academic achievement and successful living, providing them with the tools they need to read closely, think critically, reason logically, and speak compellingly. Traditionally, it has called its students to a broad range of study, encompassing literature, history, mathematics, science, and the arts, and teaches them how to approach these disciplines purposefully. It also invites its students to a life of virtue founded upon the truths of the Christian faith. It challenges its students to know the good, the true, and the beautiful, and to live a life consistent with those principles. This educational approach is reflected throughout The Covenant School’s collegepreparatory program. Course work in the elementary grades firmly grounds our students in the foundational skills of reading, writing, and computation. The reading of classic children’s literature, the study of the great epochs of history and of Scripture, attendance at Chapel, service projects, and the viewing and imitating of great works of art and music develop a taste for beauty, while the exploration of the physical world engenders both wonder and curiosity as well as a desire to investigate God’s creation mathematically and scientifically. In the Upper School, a wide array of challenging courses in the humanities and sciences encourage our students to learn in increasingly sophisticated ways. Socratic Seminars train our students in careful reading, critical thinking and precise speech. Courses in Scripture and theology further acquaint them with the truths of Christianity, while Chapel and homeroom groups invite them to consider the call of virtue and faith on their lives. Service opportunities challenge students to consider how they might meet needs around the school and beyond its walls. Participation in sports fosters important qualities of perseverance, teamwork, and fair play.

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What

2

Leadership Opportunities

are available for my child?

Part of our mission is to lead by service to others. Covenant students have many opportunities for service and leadership. At the Lower School, the motto I’m Third is deeply rooted. Children look for ways to put God first, and others above themselves. A Service Squad made up of fifth and sixth graders helps to keep the school tidy. Classes volunteer at local non-profits, bake bread for neighbors surrounding the campus, and run an annual food drive.

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At the Upper School, service and leadership are primarily funneled through the House system, where the motto For Others, For Christ rings true. Students are nominated and elected into leadership positions in the four Houses. Each House adopts local nonprofits and serves their needs throughout the year. A Community Service Day in November sends all students, faculty, and staff into the community to give of their time and energy. Additionally, Upper School students can seek leadership positions in Judicial Council and Honor Council.

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3

How is

Technology

incorporated into the curriculum? The Covenant School remains equally committed to the sciences and the humanities. We currently offer one of the most extensive and challenging selections of math and science courses in the Charlottesville area. But we know that if we want students to be lifelong learners, we have to set the example of continuous intellectual curiosity and growth. We have dedicated the 2016 - 2017 year to a comprehensive evaluation of our math, science, art, and technology curricula. We are asking the following questions: • How do we best develop in our students intellectual curiosity, creativity, and vision? • How do we integrate the sciences, technology, the arts, and mathematics into a seamless foundation that encourages students to be independent learners? • How do we ensure that our students acquire key cross-disciplinary mental habits, rather than just accumulate subject-specific facts? • How do we help students think not just in science, math, art, and technology but about them and how they impact the quality of the human life for good and ill? • How do our STEAM courses help us honor Christ and acknowledge Him as the center of all things? Our commitment to the Liberal Arts and Sciences gives us a unique vantage from which to approach STEAM, and we are committed to taking full advantage of it. Please watch for announcements of further developments over the year as we work towards new course offerings in the 2017 2018 school year. The Covenant School | 7


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4

What does

Diversity

look like at Covenant?

The Covenant School is committed to welcoming students, faculty, and staff who represent the multicultural community and world in which we live. We believe education in our school is greatly enhanced when many traditions, backgrounds, and perspectives are offered. With 18% ethnic diversity, and a talented international student population, we find that different cultures create a well-rounded educational experience. Additionally, 47% of our student population receives some need-based financial aid, making our education accessible to families of varying income levels. Since we are a non-denominational Christian institution, all of our faculty and staff sign a faith statement, yet we welcome families in any stage of their faith journeys.

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5

In what ways does the school

Communicate with Parents?

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Communication supports the partnership shared by parents, teachers, and administration in the educational outcome of each student. Our desire is to communicate effectively with parents through various media:

School Website

An important resource for accessing the school calendar, news and events, faculty contacts, and more

Week at a Glance

A newsletter sent each Thursday for a quick glimpse of the week ahead

Eagle Mail

A weekly update from the Athletic Office

Notes from the Nest

A quarterly academic newsletter highlighting programs and events on both campuses

Annual Report

A report mailed each November that documents how dollars were raised and spent in the previous year

Connections

A semi-annual school magazine mailed to all constituents, and it is also available in digital form

Additionally, teachers and administrators communicate with parents during Back to School Nights, Preview Nights, Brown Bag Lunches, Lower School Weekly Progress folders, faculty blogs, Parent-Teacher Conferences, NetClassroom assignments, and report cards. Finally, the Student-Parent Handbook is a vital tool with information, policies, and procedures that help shape our life together and is found online through the parent portal, NetClassroom.

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6

What is

House

at the Upper School?

The House program is a quadrant of communities within our Upper School, each named in Latin for the four cardinal virtues: Prudentia, Iustitia, Fortitudo, and Temperantia. Each House is led by a House Leadership Team—ten elected student leaders and a faculty Head of House—who fulfill roles from president to community service coordinator to chaplain. Each individual at the Upper School is assigned to one of the four Houses upon coming to The Covenant School. House members seek to know, celebrate, serve, and love each other, and by so doing create a positive culture that is entirely unique. Through the House program, we hope to create a community that encourages one another to live out the House motto: For Others, For Christ.

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In a variety of ways—but ultimately through relationships—students are engaged in the positive fellowship of House. From summer House picnics, to group games during House Days, to “Win It Wednesday” intramurals, to serving together at nonprofit organizations, to House Devotions each Friday, students are invited to get to know one another. The goal of all of our House initiatives is that every member of our student community will feel a deep sense of belonging and value at The Covenant School.

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7

What does

Community Service look like at Covenant?

It is part of the mission of The Covenant School to nurture the importance of servanthood in the hearts and minds of our students. Lower School students are encouraged to recognize and practice I’m Third, a campaign to create awareness – even at an early age – of God first, others second, self third. Children dictate or write examples of how fellow students express servanthood through the I’m Third example. Each week, the Head of School chooses three of these stories to read at Chapel. Additionally, all grades participate in a variety of community service projects.

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At the Upper School, each House elects a Community Service Captain who coordinates efforts to serve nonprofit partners. With student involvement ranging from weekly tutoring and mentoring at the Boys & Girls Club, to hosting blood drives for the community, to organizing Angel Tree campaigns to assist lower-income families, Covenant students are joyfully practicing servant leadership.

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8

What day of the week is

Chapel,

and what happens during this time?

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Seeking to glorify God, The Covenant School sets aside a weekly time to gather for corporate worship as a community. Chapel is held on Tuesday mornings at 8:45 at the Upper School and on Wednesday mornings at 8:30 at the Lower School. During this time, students sing and pray together, and hear from a faculty or guest speaker. At the Upper School, messages are centralized around an annual Chapel theme. At the Lower School, students participate in Chapel by carrying in the cross, leading The Lord’s Prayer, and sharing stories or songs. Parents are always invited to attend Chapel services.

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9

Why do students wear

Uniforms? The Covenant School’s dress code serves several important functions: It fosters school unity and helps create an atmosphere of decorum that best allows the work of the school to be carried on. All Covenant students have the responsibility to dress in a manner appropriate for, and respectful of, the learning environment, observing the individual spirit as well as the specific guidelines of the dress code.

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Students occasionally have opportunities to wear non-uniform clothing or school spirit clothing, within guidelines, to school. Lower School allows relaxed dress clothing each Friday. Upper School students have two relaxed dress opportunities each month.

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10

What

Lunch Options

are available at Covenant?

Students have the option of purchasing lunches or they may bring a lunch from home. Purchased lunches, provided by Panera Bread and Mellow Mushroom, must be ordered 24 hours in advance. Examples of catered school lunches include salads, wraps, soup, sandwiches, and pizza on Fridays. Many students bring lunches from home as well.

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Lower School students may gather for lunch in the courtyard on a warm day or enjoy the bright colors and friendly chatter in the cafeteria during their lunchtime. Upper School students have an average of 40 minutes for lunch. Students sit with friends in the cafeteria while they eat, then they enjoy free time on the Colonnade and athletic fields. Some students prefer to use this time to meet with a teacher, or study in the library. Seniors who are in good academic standing, and with parental permission, have the privilege of leaving campus for lunch.

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What

11

After-School Options

are available for my child?

Covenant Club is a structured, enriching after-school program for Lower School students in Pre-K through Grade 6. After dismissal from school, students enrolled in the program are given a nutritious snack, and may enjoy free time or have the opportunity to work on homework assignments. Students have the option to participate in arts and crafts, games, or various other activities, both indoors and outdoors. Covenant Club is open until 5:30 p.m. daily for your convenience and accounts will be charged only for the days your child attends.

Many Upper School students stay after school for athletic practices and competitions. Other students remain after dismissal to study and wait for parent pick-up. All Upper School hallways, including student lounges, close at 4:00 p.m. Those waiting to be picked up after 4:00 p.m. will go to a supervised study hall area that is open until 5:30 p.m. Parents’ accounts will be charged daily for this service.

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12 Is there a

Parent-Teacher Organization at The Covenant School?

All Covenant parents are members of the Parent-Teacher Community (PTC) and are encouraged to participate as much as possible. PTC events and fundraisers offer excellent opportunities for parents to get to know one another, our school, and our faculty and staff. From putting on school-wide activities like Fall Fest, to hosting New Parent Coffees, to providing meals for Parent-Teacher Conferences, the PTC brings parents together to strengthen and advance the school.

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Parents in each grade become part of a volunteer structure where projects are assigned by grade, so all parents know at the beginning of the year where their time and talents will be needed. Project leaders will keep parents informed about dates and duties. Parents may sign up for the task that fits their time and energy.

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13

Tell me more about

Performing Arts opportunities at Covenant.

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Covenant emphasizes the fine arts as part of a college-preparatory Christian Liberal Arts and Sciences education. Lower School students participate in weekly music classes culminating in a band for Grades 5 and 6. Fifth and sixth graders put on an annual musical. Art classes are offered weekly at the Lower School, and students have an option to take exploratory art in the older grades. At the Upper School, over a dozen art and music courses are offered annually in studio art, stagecraft and production, 3-D art and design, drama, chorus, jazz band, guitar, and more. Each year, the fine arts department produces a full-scale stage production, several instrumental and vocal concerts, and an annual student art show. These activities contribute to the total educational experience of the students.

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14

Tell me about the

Athletic Program at Covenant.

The Covenant School believes that participation in athletics is important for students’ mental, physical, and spiritual development. Covenant Athletics features 19 competitive athletic programs and boasts 80% student participation in at least one sport. The Covenant School has won 27 state championships and many division titles. Students at the Upper School have an opportunity to participate in varsity and junior varsity interscholastic sports. For girls, cross-country, field hockey, volleyball, basketball, soccer, swimming, lacrosse, softball, tennis, and golf are offered. Boys may participate in cross-country, soccer, football, basketball, wrestling, swimming, baseball, golf, lacrosse, and tennis. Physical education is a highly valued part of the curriculum in Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 6. Students learn the fundamental body mechanics of fine motor, gross motor, manipulative, and locomotor skills along with the many benefits that physical activity provides. Students in Pre-K through Grade 1 have physical education five times a week, while students in Grades 2 – 6 have physical education four times a week. The goal of the physical education program is to foster the love for movement that children already have by showing them how and why our bodies were made to move. In addition, Eagle Club sports are offered for Lower School students. The purpose of the program is to educate students on fundamentals of the sport and provide an opportunity to apply those skills in a game experience.

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15 What is

Senior Thesis?

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The Senior Thesis provides an opportunity for each of our seniors to think deeply, write clearly, and speak persuasively about a current issue of interest to the student. The program consists of a research paper and oral presentation completed over the course of the senior year. It calls for the student to develop a thesis and defend it both in writing and orally, sharing the fruit of his or her research, addressing counter-arguments, and arguing convincingly for the position chosen before a faculty panel.

Each student is assigned a faculty advisor at the beginning of senior year who helps mentor the student through the process, giving feedback and helping guide their research and construction of their argument. In addition, regular sessions, overseen by our Bible Department Chair and our Director of College and Academic Advising, are built into the senior schedule to allow time for instruction, research, writing, and mentoring.

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16

Tell me more about the

College Advising process.

The Covenant School is a college-preparatory school with 15 Advanced Placement and 14 Honors courses at the Upper School to prepare students for college-level coursework. The Academic Advising Office works with faculty to help students plan their course loads each year, and college advising begins in earnest during a student’s junior year. Our Director of Academic and College Advising travels and maintains relationships with college officers nationwide, and also hosts over fifty admission representatives at our school each fall. Evening programs and college workshops through the year highlight the college admission process, financial aid options, and scholarship information.

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17 What do we need to do before the

First Day

of school?

All new students will receive summer packets detailing necessary information, forms to be completed, a school supply list, and persons to contact with questions. Uniforms should be ordered over the summer from Land’s End; our campus store, The Perch, also contains dress code approved outerwear and spirit gear and will be open on a limited basis over the summer. At the Upper School, an academic advisor will be in touch with each student to discuss course assignments for the following year. Students may then order textbooks for each course and complete summer assignments. Class schedules will be given at Upper School orientation the week before school begins. At the Lower School, summer work is assigned by grade and all information is available in summer packets and on the website. Students will receive their teacher’s name a few weeks before school begins.

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What are some of Covenant’s

Favorite Traditions? With a history over three decades in the making, The Covenant School has established many wonderful school traditions. Held each September, Opening Convocation is an all-school assembly intended to create a sense of academic community and common purpose as the school year begins. According to tradition, kindergartners enter the room hand-in-hand with two seniors, signifying the beginning and the culmination of a Covenant education. An event sponsored by the Parent-Teacher Community, Fall Fest is a longtime Covenant tradition typically aligning with the Homecoming football game. Covenant families and alumni gather at the Upper School campus for this free event, enjoying festival games, an Eagles’ Spirit Contest, and cheering on the Covenant Eagles! Senior Dessert is a heartfelt evening held during the week leading up to graduation. Each senior receives a tribute from a faculty member who has taught him or her over the years. Senior awards are given and House pins are presented to graduates. Students who attend The Covenant School from Kindergarten through Grade 12 are installed into the Swingset Club during Senior Dessert. For more Covenant traditions visit www.covenantschool.org/traditions.

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What is

The Covenant Fund? Covenant is a non-profit organization that relies upon both tuition and fundraising to meet operating costs and strengthen programs and facilities. Fundraising not only enables Covenant to keep tuition down, it allows others to support your child’s education. Our most important fundraiser is The Covenant Fund, a pool of dollars raised annually to cover necessities for the current school year. When parents and other donors give loyally year after year, it enables the school to budget well. When you increase your giving, the budget expands so that tuition can be kept as low as possible.

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20

How can our family

Get Connected to other parents?

Parent partnership is a hallmark of the Covenant community. If you are a new Lower School parent, a same-grade family will be connecting with you over the summer. If you are an Upper School parent, you and your family are invited to a House picnic before school begins in August.

Soon after the school year begins, you will be invited to a New Parent Coffee, a wonderful opportunity to get to know other Covenant families. Additionally, school events such as Convocation, Fall Fest, sporting events, and orientations naturally allow for community building.

We are so excited to welcome your family into our Covenant community! The Covenant School | 41


Academic excellence under the sovereignty of God www.covenantschool.org | 434.220.7330 | admissions@covenantschool.org

A Parents' Guide  

Answers to The Covenant School's top 20 frequently asked questions

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