The Heights | FAQs

FAQs

Heights Traditions

Can you tell me more about the four Clans?

The School is divided (students, faculty, and staff) into four clans. The clan names are taken from the four elements of the School crest, each with a motto connected to the ideals that complete a Heights man:

  • Gold Cross: Love of God
  • Red Cross: Service
  • White Lily: Pure Love and Fruitfulness
  • Red Rose: Friendship

At the beginning of every year, each new student and faculty or staff member is assigned to one of the four clans. The clans strengthen Heights enthusiasm and pride, give a strong sense of belonging to a tradition and family, and encourage leadership. They create rallying points through the year marked by festival days that include Holy Mass, competitions, a worthy meal, and spirited games. The clan with the most points at the end of the year on the Day of the Tower wins the Clan cup and hoists their flag on the flagpole for the coming year.

It seems like there are a lot of field trips throughout the year. Is there a reason for this?

We don’t just take field trips and adventures for the fun of it. There is something very special about the kind of interactions that students have when they travel together and experience the world. Below are a few goals we have when planning our trips:

  • To develop in every student a willing spirit of adventure towards new opportunities and challenges;
  • To promote a deeper sense of friendship amongst the students by creating shared experiences;
  • To provide unique opportunities for mentoring between students and teachers;
  • To develop willingness amongst the students to seek out experiences and move beyond the limits imposed by a personal desire for comfort;
  • To further a student’s appreciation of nature and the beauty of creation.

What is Coffee with the Headmaster?

The first Thursday of every month, beginning at 8:30 a.m., Headmaster Alvaro de Vicente sits down with parents to discuss what is happening at the School. The event takes place in the living room just outside the chapel; coffee and light refreshments are served. While the discussion is often mission specific, questions from parents are always welcome and make for wonderful conversation.

What is a CPR?

The CPRs (Class Parent Representatives) are parent volunteers who act as liaisons between the School and parents. CPRs help organize class parent events and communicate key messages regarding school-wide or class-specific issues.

General Information

What time does school begin and end?

Classes begin promptly at 8:20 a.m. Students are dismissed at 3:05 p.m.

How early can I drop off my son at school in the morning? How late can he stay in the afternoon?

While there is no direct supervision of the students during off-hours, The Heights has historically proven to be a safe environment for students to wait for a ride. The front door of the main building is typically open by 7:30 a.m. If students wish to enter the building, they may go into Chesterton Hall or into the Chapel. Students are not allowed on the upper floors before 8:00 a.m. The lower and middle school buildings are not opened until just before class begins at 8:20 a.m. Extracurricular activities, sports, and other events take place after school allowing the opportunity for students to remain on campus. In addition, the library remains open for quiet study until 4:00 p.m. each day.

How do I find out about other families who live near me so we can organize car pools?

Students are listed by ZIP Code in the CLASS LISTS section of the directory to assist parents in organizing car pools or get-togethers outside of school.

How can I get a message to my son during the school day?

If you call our main phone number, our receptionist can either deliver a message or arrange for your son to call you back, depending on the urgency of the situation.

My son just missed a day of school because he was sick. How does he get the assignments he missed?

A quick phone call or email to a fellow classmate will do the trick.

If there is a snowstorm how will I know if school is cancelled?

The Heights follows Montgomery County weather decisions. WTOP Radio 103.5 FM and the Montgomery County Public Schools website are also reliable sources of school closing information. We do our best to put notifications on the home page of our website. In the rare event that we do not follow Montgomery County, we will send an email explaining the decision.  

What is the Haberdashery?

The Haberdashery is the school store, located inside the front lobby. For store hours or to shop online, visit heightshabs.com.

Can the students wear other attire sold at the Haberdashery for PE?

No, school policy is that the students can only wear the issued clothing for PE.

Where is the Lost and Found?

The Lost and Found is located on the porch of the modular building next to the gym. All items and clothing should be labeled with your son’s name. Every effort will be made to return a labeled item to the owner. Unclaimed items that remain unclaimed for a period of not less than two weeks will be bagged and sent to a charitable organization. Items lost in the lower school may also be held by your son’s homeroom teacher.

Is there a Heights Parent Association?

Yes. The Heights Parent Association (HPA) provides a number of services to the School, including event hosting and overseeing the Fathers and Mothers Clubs. Please contact Fathers Club President Joe Crnkovich: fathersclub@heights.edu or Mothers Club President Lisa Sciortino: mothersclub@heights.edu to get involved.

Crescite Fund

What is the Crescite fund?

The Crescite Fund is our annual giving program. The School’s fiscal year runs from July 1st to June 30th. All gifts received during that period will count toward that year’s fund.

Why does The Heights School need to raise money beyond tuition?

Simply put, tuition alone does not cover the full cost of a Heights education. Normally, only about 84% of the School’s operating budget is funded with tuition dollars. In addition, expenses such as construction and improvement of capital assets are not funded by tuition. Independent schools and other non-profit organizations rely on the generosity of their communities to help fund their programs with these tax-exempt gifts.

Who is asked for a yearly gift to the Crescite Fund?

Everyone in The Heights School community – parents, alumni, parents of alumni, school employees, and friends of the School – is asked to make a gift to the Crescite Fund. The average parent gift is about $1,000, however gifts of any amount support the School’s mission and contribute to a high level of parent participation. The Heights is truly grateful for every gift.

How are gifts to the Crescite Fund used?

All gifts to the Crescite Fund directly impact students by helping to finance crucial programs, including: academics, athletics, performing arts, faculty development and need-based scholarships. Additionally, our donors may give to a specific program and thereby direct the gift’s use.

Can I give online?

Yes! Electronic ACH debit and credit card contributions can be made over a secure server using the link: www.heights.edu/give or by clicking on GIVING in the red bar at the top of the school’s homepage.

What about my company’s Matching Gift Program?

Many companies match gifts to independent schools. To find out if your employer will match your gift to The Heights School, check with your company’s personnel office. Our Development Office will secure the matching gift. In recognizing your donation to the School, your company’s matching gift will be included as a part of your total donation. Contact James Kolakowski, Director of Annual Giving, for questions.   

What is considered Leadership Giving?

Contributions of $3,000 or more to the Crescite Fund are considered Leadership Gifts. Leadership donors are invited each year to a Headmaster’s Dinner in recognition of their generous support of the School. In addition, their names are listed in one of the Leadership Circles in the Annual Report published each fall.

Upper School Information

Head of School – Michael Moynihan
301.365.0227 ext. 125 – mmoynihan@heights.edu

How will my son find his classes on the first day of school?

Faculty will be on hand to help students find their way. The faculty will first direct students to their lockers (lower hall for freshmen, lower hall or second floor for sophomores, second floor for juniors and third floor for seniors – all in the main building). Inside his locker, each student will find a copy of his class schedule. Students can discard any old drafts of their schedules as this schedule in the locker has the correct order of classes and indicates where each class will meet. It is not difficult to find classrooms – rooms 11 through 16 are on the first floor, rooms 21 through 25 are on the second floor and rooms 31 through 34 are on the third floor.

How are my son’s classes for next year scheduled?

Near the end of the third quarter, look over course options available on the website at heights.edu/curriculum. Discuss the options with your son. Look for an email from Upper School Head Michael Moynihan which summarizes course offerings and highlights any changes or additions to our class offerings. Mr. Moynihan then meets with each student individually to plan his schedule for the next year. He welcomes parent input in the scheduling process and is always happy to answer questions.

What is the School cell phone policy for upper school students?

Please refer to the School’s Personal Electronic Devices Policy in the Student & Parent Handbook.

Middle School Information

Head of School – Andrew Reed
301.365.0227 ext. 104 – areed@heights.edu

How will my son find his classes on the first day of school?

The middle school building is in the back of campus; students can come through the main doors or go up the hill to the right of the front entrance through the courtyard.  From there, sixth graders should gather in the courtyard, seventh graders should meet at the fish pond, and eighth graders should meet in the library to receive their class schedules.

Does my son need to carry his gym clothes back and forth to school every day?

Many students choose to keep their gym uniforms and shoes at school, bringing them home on the weekend for washing. Others choose to carry a separate gym bag with their clothing in it back and forth each day.

Where do I buy the PE uniform?

The athletic department issues a uniform to each student in grades three through eight at the beginning of the school year. Extra PE clothing can be purchased at the Haberdashery, The Heights School store.

What is the School cell phone policy for middle school students?

Our observation of the unrestricted and misuse of internet access on smart phones and iPods, instant messaging, and texting has resulted in the following policy: Middle School students should not bring cell phones on campus. Electronic devices, handheld devices, and other types of personal belongings not appropriate in a school atmosphere are not permitted on campus before, during, or after the school day, or on any school-sponsored trip.

Lower School Information

Head of School – Colin Gleason
                             301.365.0227 ext. 115 – cgleason@heights.edu

How will my son find his classes on the first day of school?

Most parents drop their lower school sons off in the upper bay near the gazebo. The walkway to the Valley is near the athletics building. Lower School teachers will be at the top of the hill to meet and gather students.

What kind of shoes should my son wear?

Shoes with a tread on the soles are helpful, either something that will hold up through water, snow, mud, etc., or inexpensive shoes you won’t mind replacing frequently. Moccasin-type slip-on shoes are also a popular option in the Valley.

Does my son need to carry his gym clothes back and forth to school every day?

Many students wear their PE uniform under their dress clothes. Others choose to keep their gym uniforms and shoes in a gym bag at school, bringing them home on the weekend for washing. Others choose to carry a separate gym bag with their clothing in it back and forth each day. In other words, whichever way your son prefers.

Where do I buy the PE uniform?

The athletic department issues two sets of the uniform to each student in grades three through eight at the beginning of the school year. Extra PE clothing can be purchased at the Haberdashery, The Heights School store.

Do parents receive online academic progress reports?

No, rather than send online progress reports, lower school homeroom teachers schedule regular mid-quarter phone conference calls with parents as a more personal means of communicating the students’ progress. This is possible in the lower school because of the small class sizes.

What is the school cell phone policy for lower school students?

Our observation of the unrestricted and misuse of internet access on smart phones and iPods, instant messaging, and texting has resulted in the following policy: Lower School students should not bring cell phones on campus. Electronic devices, handheld devices, and other types of personal belongings not appropriate in a school atmosphere are not permitted on campus before, during, or after the school day or on any school-sponsored trip.

Communication

Where do I find contact information for various departments and individuals?

Faculty phone extensions are listed under the FACULTY tab of the directory. You can also find faculty biographical and contact info online: heights.edu/faculty.

How often can I meet with my son’s teacher or mentor?

We hold Parent-Teacher Conferences at the end of each quarter, except the last one. However, you never have to wait for a conference to meet or talk with your son’s teacher or mentor. We see you as the primary educator of your son. We welcome any and every opportunity to discuss his progress, including intellectual, physical, moral and spiritual development.

How can I update my contact info?

You can make changes by emailing Stefan Syski at ssyski@heights.edu or calling him at 301.365.0227 ext. 109.

How can I stay well informed about what is going on at the School on a day-to-day basis?

  • The Heights Website, www.heights.edu – In addition to the parent page, we will post news updates on a regular basis. Visit often!
  • Heights Highlights – Sent every other Friday during the academic year, this weekly email to current parents provides details of upcoming events and important announcements. The first issue of the academic year is sent in late August. If you do not receive one in your inbox, please contact Stefan Syski at ssyski@heights.edu.
  • The Heights Forum – The Heights Forum is an online resource featuring articles, podcasts, book reviews and other inspirational tools for parents and teachers alike. You can find it at heights.edu/forum.
  • Letters from the Headmaster and Heads of School – Periodic letters about curriculum and events are sent from the School.

 

If I have a question about…

The Lower School – Call your son’s homeroom teacher or Lower School Head Colin Gleason, 301.365.0227 ext. 115.

The Middle School – Call your son’s teacher or Middle School Head Andrew Reed, 301.365.0227 ext. 104.

The Upper School – Call your son’s teacher or Upper School Head Michael Moynihan, 301.365.0227 ext. 125.

The Mentoring Program – Call your son’s mentor or the Head of Mentoring Joe Cardenas, 301.365.0227 ext. 111.

My son’s grades – Call your son’s teacher, or, for an overall sense of his grades – his mentor.

The Chapel Schedule – Call the front desk or consult the calendar on the School website, www.heights.edu. Mass usually starts at 9:50 a.m. Parents and visitors are always welcome to attend.

Athletic Schedules – Our Athletic Director, Dan Lively, and coaches will use team emails and the website as a way to communicate practice times or make changes to the schedule. Athletics Hotline – 301.365.0227 ext. 7124.

Lunch Program – Business Manager, Jerry Hadley, 301.365.0227 ext. 124

Bus Program – Transportation Manager, Andrew Acevedo, transportation@heights.edu.

Tuition – Business Manager, Jerry Hadley, 301.365.0227 ext. 124

School Policies – Consult the Handbook in this directory, or online at heights.edu/handbook.  Many questions not answered here are addressed there.

Asbestos Policy – As required, The Heights School’s Asbestos Management Plan is available upon request to the Facilities Manager.