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Lower School FAQs

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

MacKinnon - Jr. Kindergarten - Grade 2
703-212-2736 
703-548-2382 fax

McBride - Grades 3-5
703-212-2737 
703-548-2551 fax

Important Contact Information

Division Director: Jalene Spain Thomas 

Associate Director: Jeremy Hark

Counselor: Susan DeLaurentis

Administrative Assistant JK-2: Marilyn W. Bryant

Administrative Assistant 3-5: Lara Schwoebel

Administrative Assistant JK-5: Hope Rhoads

LS Association of Parents & Teachers (APT) VP: Jacqueline Bourgeois

Getting Ready For School [FAQs]

List of 19 items.

  • What are the school hours 2019-2020?

    Carpool will begin rolling at 8:20 a.m., and children will need to be in class by 8:30 a.m. There will be free supervised morning care beginning at 7:45 a.m. You may also enroll your child in the extended day morning session starting at 7:00 a.m., for a fee.
     
    All children across the LS will end school at 3:15 p.m. We will not have a staggered dismissal for MacKinnon and McBride children. Carpool will run from 3:15 to 3:30 p.m.
  • What day does school start?

    Opening Day of school is Tuesday, September 3, 2019. Students in grades 1-5 will have a full day.
    JK/K students start on time and depart at 12:00 p.m. that week Tuesday through Thursday. They will have lunch before they depart. 
    JK/K students will have a full day beginning Friday, September 6, 2019 with dismissal at 3:15 p.m. Extended day for JK/K students begins on Monday, September 9, 2019.
  • How do I sign up for Before Care, Extended Day or transportation?

    Our communications office will be sending a series of emails (also called push pages) this summer. These emails will guide you through the process of signing up for various activities including Extended Day and Transportation. We expect the first set of emails to go out in the middle of June.

    The Lower School provides extended day programs before school from 7:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and after school until 6:00 p.m. on all regular school days. This program is staffed by current and former Lower School faculty members and is located on the lower level of Daniel Gym. 
    • Drop-in care is also available on a limited basis with a 24 hours advance reservation. 
  • 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 Opening Day. Reminders of login information/instructions will be sent the week prior to that time.  
     
  • How does the carpool drop-off/pick-up line work?

    St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes' Lower School uses a new dismissal management system called SchoolPass. It enhances student safety and ensures a speedier and more efficient afternoon dismissal. With the SchoolPass system, homeroom teachers will be notified when you drive on campus, and log your position in the queue by detecting your license plate or EZ Pass RFID tag.

    Parents will also have access to the SchoolPass app and/or SchoolPass web interface to make arrival and dismissal changes including the following: reporting an absence, reporting an early pickup, and to allowing another family to pick your child up. This system will automatically notify the appropriate school office personnel, the homeroom teacher(s), and any other parents in your carpool (if applicable). Your student(s) will be called to the car.  You will proceed out the exit onto Windsor Avenue.
     
    For JK through 2nd grades, the carpool line forms in the lane close to the MacKinnon Building. 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 in and 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 children practice getting out of the seatbelt or car seat. This will help carpool to go more smoothly and is great for building independence.
     
    For 3rd through 5th grades, the carpool line forms in the circle in front of the Macan Building. Those who have children in both buildings will pick up in the MacKinnon carpool line. The older children come over to MacKinnon, and they will be supervised for their safety until their car arrives. 
  • If my child takes the bus, how will they get to class?

    In the morning, the van or bus driver will make sure your student finds the way to class.  In the afternoon, teachers refer to a SchoolPass bus roster.  Teachers 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 703-212-2810 or contacting Benard Veasley.
  • How does lunch work?

    Children in JK and K eat in their classrooms. Each child brings a snack, lunch and a drink from home. 
    First grade through fifth grade children eat in the cafeteria and may either bring lunch from home or enjoy the hot lunch and salad bar prepared daily.
  • What is the Lower School uniform?

    Lower School 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 available at the School Store.
    • Jumpers or skirts in the school’s plaid available at Robcyns, located in Bradlee Shopping Center or online through Educational Outfitters.
    • Shoes or sneakers that provide substantial foot support for walking, recess, and physical education classes. 
    Read More
  • What after school enrichment activities are offered after school?

    There are many after-school enrichment 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. 
    The Lower School provides extended day programs before school from 7:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and after school until 6:00 p.m. on all regular school days. This program is staffed by current and former Lower School faculty members and is located on the lower level of Daniel Gym. 
    • Drop-in care is also available on a limited basis with a 24 hours advance reservation. 
    For details about Extended Day contact Ms. Normyle, Program Director, or call 703-212-2758.
  • What should I do if my child is sick and must stay home from school?

    We ask that you call the school office by 9:00 a.m. each day your child is absent. JK-Grade 2 call Ms. Bryant at 703-212-2736; Grades 3-5 call Ms. Schwoebel at 703-212-2737.
  • Who should I call if I have questions about tuition payments?

    Check the Business Office FAQ page for your question. Or, contact Susan Hamon at 703-212-2727 or 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 Business Office telephone number is 703-212-2730.
     
  • 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.
  • How will the school keep in touch with information and updates?

    A mailing with additional information will be sent in August. You will receive one from the Head of School, Kirsten Prettyman Adams, with the school calendar, and you will also get a letter from the Division Director, Jalene Spain Thomas.

    SSSAS uses electronic communication in the form of regular electronic newsletters. Lower School specific Dispatch Newsletters are emailed to parents each Thursday. 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.  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.
  • 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. Volunteers work in the library, assist with field trips and class parties, help the Advancement Office with the Parent Phonathons for the Saints Fund, and coordinate or organize some of the big family events like the auction, Grandparents and Special Friends' Day, Field Day and Earth Week activities.  
    Any questions about volunteering can be answered by the Association of Parents and Teachers (APT)Saints Athletic Club and the Performing Arts Boosters.

    Parents are also welcome to help with our sustainability, service learning, and multicultural efforts.
  • What is the APT?

    The APT is the Association of Parents and TeachersThe APT sponsors a wide variety of campus-wide events throughout the school year that are traditions at SSSAS. If you have questions about volunteering, you can call the APT office at 703-212-2927.
  • What are some of the traditional activities for the entire school family?

    Be sure to come to the JK-12 Fall 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 and Special Friends' Day, Field Day and many more specific grade level activities.
     
  • 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 make the change in SchoolPass which will then email your child’s teacher, copy the Lower School Administrative Assistants and copy the parents involved confirming the arrangements and any change in carpool or bus transportation.  

    In the event you cannot access SchoolPass:
    Please call or email before 2:00 p.m. This will give the Administrative Assistants time to make sure your child receives the message.
  • 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.
  • Who do I contact for more information?

    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
    703-212-2907, jthomas@sssas.org
     
    Zoe Hillman, Lower School Associate Director
    703-212-2735, zhillman@sssas.org
     
    Susan DeLaurentis, Director of Counseling
    703-212-2780, sdelaurentis@sssas.org

    Benard Veasley, Transportation Director
    703-212-2810, bveasley@sssas.org
     
    Donna O’Connell, Business Office
    703-212-2723, doconnell@sssas.org
     
    Kathy Normyle, Extended Day
    703-212-2758, knormyle@sssas.org

Sample Schedule - Junior Kindergarten

Schedule At-a-Glance

  • 7-Day Rotating Schedule
  • 7th Day: Expedition Day (XDay)
  • 8:20 a.m. Carpool Begins
  • 8:30 a.m. School Day Begins
  • 3:15 p.m. Dismissal Begins
  • Morning Meeting and Closing Circle Each Day
  • Chapel every Thursday

LS Schedule FAQs

List of 8 frequently asked questions.

  • How will my child know what day it is in the multi-day schedule?

    The day in the schedule will be posted on classroom webpages and on the school website/calendar. Additionally the day will be prominently displayed on the screens in the foyer of each building and in the classrooms.
  • What time does school start for my child?

    Carpool will begin rolling at 8:20 a.m., and children will need to be in class by 8:30 a.m. There will be free supervised morning care beginning at 7:45 a.m. You may also enroll your child in the extended day morning session starting at 7:00 a.m., for a fee.
     
  • What time will the school day end for my child?

    All children across the LS will end school at 3:15 p.m. We will not have a staggered dismissal for MacKinnon and McBride children. Carpool will run from 3:15 to 3:30 p.m.
  • What is an Expedition Day?

    An Expedition day or ‘XDay’ occurs once in a seven-day cycle. There are no specials classes on XDays, instead specials teachers work closely with homeroom teachers on activities, integrated learning, and field work during field trips. Students will have the ability to spend extended periods of time delving deep into curriculum and learning, work on projects, or participate in grade level/ whole school events. Since all students and teachers in the LS will have the same schedule on an Xday, the day also provides time for within and across grade collaboration without interruption.

    We envision there will be seven or so XDays per trimester. These will be fixed in advance and may incorporate current whole school events (for example Thanksgiving, Saints Mission Day) that traditionally have taken us off schedule.
     
  • Why are the blocks 45 minutes long?

    All specials classes will have 45-minute periods (including transition time) with the new schedule. This extended period will enable specialist teachers to deeply connect with curriculum, and support active learning and engagement in the classroom.
  • How will the Responsive Classroom manifest in the new schedule?

    Our Responsive Classroom approach will remain an important part of the Lower School experience. Our new schedule will include dedicated times in homerooms for morning and closing meetings each day. These meetings will support the building of classroom community and the forwarding of our social-emotional curricula.
  • What will Chapel look like in the new schedule?

    Although we will have a rotating schedule, Chapel will be held weekly on Thursday mornings, 8:40 a.m.-9:15 a.m.
  • Why are there two times a day dedicated to play?

    Recess/play time has been shown to improve students’ classroom performance and creative thinking skills, and students benefit cognitively, physically, and socially from free play. As we designed the new schedule, we were conscious of the need to provide regular ‘brain breaks’ and activity to support academic work in the classroom. Students will have a morning and afternoon recess but they will no longer have a recess at lunchtime. With our ongoing focus on wellness, students will have a quiet downtime or ‘quiet quest’ either at the end or beginning of their lunch period.
     
JK-12 coed Episcopal day school in Alexandria, Virginia

Campuses

List of 3 items.

  • 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