Dear Parents,

Although yesterday was a day off from school, I hope you took time with your children to reflect on the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Our Chapel service last week used the teachings and example of Dr. King to set the stage for our virtue of the month, Respect. This week, we have student programming that reflects the importance of respect for all and asks students to delve into the values in Porter-Gaud's Mission Statement.

This week's Life 101 assembly has been planned in conjunction with our Global Union Student Group. Several faculty and staff members with different life experiences and backgrounds will talk to our students, sharing their personal stories. In working with Middle School students for well over a decade, there are some patterns we see that are typical for this age. Sometimes what makes a student different is viewed with fear or met with teasing and jokes. This is an important time in the character formation of our students to help them see the danger and hurt in such "jokes". By hearing from the faculty and staff with whom they interact on a day-to-day basis, we hope our students overcome the fear of something different and see at the heart of everything, we all have far more in common with each other than we think. Through the widely varied stories of our diverse middle school faculty and staff, our "What's in a Story" assembly will attempt to create some understanding, kindness, and empathy towards others, through other people's successes and their struggles.

During lunch on Wednesday, students will participate in the Teaching Tolerance, Mix it Up Model School program. This program has students grouped randomly during lunchtime and engaging in conversations designed to bring students together. Our faculty and staff will be on hand to participate and facilitate the small group lunch table discussions.

To see us embody the true spirit of our Mission Statement, cultivating kindness and understanding must be an ongoing process. Rather than simply reacting to missteps, our school is working hard to educate our students and strengthen the support and care they offer one another. All of our 8th grade students are currently participating in a Leadership course taught by Middle School Dean Chris Tate. The curriculum, Building Community and Combating Hate, has been developed by the national organization Partners Against Hate. It is a series of lessons developed specifically for middle school aged-students and leads the students through a series of debates, case studies, and frank discussions.

Finally, just as our Digital Citizenship and Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention programs require a parent partnership, we need your help in supporting these conversations. As members of our community, we strive to live out our mission statement. I've copied our Mission Statement below. As always, we welcome your thoughts as we work together.

Thank you,

Maureen Daily

Porter-Gaud School is an Episcopal, coeducational, independent, college-preparatory day school with a diverse student body.

We acknowledge the sovereignty of God, recognize the worth of the individual, and seek to cultivate a School community that endows its citizens with a foundation of moral and ethical character and intellect.

Porter-Gaud fosters a challenging academic environment that honors excellence in teaching and learning, respects differences, expects honesty, and applauds achievement.

The School strives to create an environment
that nurtures and protects what we value most in our children: their faith, their curiosity, their talents, their integrity, their humanity, and their dreams.

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This time of year carries with it the promise of a fresh start, with many people setting resolutions. The word resolution suggests something fixed or a passage of a law of sorts. Unfortunately, sometimes my personal experiences with resolutions aren't quite so permanent! However, it's impossible to resist the urge to set at least one resolution!

My resolution for this year stems from Winterim. I spent the last week traveling with seventeen of our students to Eleuthera. We studied marine science and learned about sustainability in one of the most beautiful locations in the world. When your classroom space is white sand and crystal clear blue water, it's hard not to be inspired to learn!

Because of the water and the remote location, I was forced to put my phone down for most of the week. While I was able to catch a few pictures of the beauty of the surroundings, for the most part, I was untethered and focused on the experience itself. I was following the same advice our instructors gave our students – be in the moment.

It's easy to be in the moment when you're watching a sting ray glide across the sea floor or seeing Orion cross the night sky. It's easy to be in the moment when you're counting lionfish on a reef or eating a delicious local meal. It's a little bit tougher when you're trying to force sandy shoes on your majorly blistered feet or attempting to scale a wall during an hour long Run Swim (and maintain your dignity in front of students as you do so). But the essential lesson is the same – to be in the moment. In fact, in moments of stress or pain, being in the moment seems even more important.

Our students in Eleuthera were away from their phones for a week, and for most of them, like me, they found the break restful. Hearing their giggles throughout the day and the questions they asked and answered during their lessons, I had no doubt they were in the moment. I've chaperoned many different Winterim experiences – educational leadership at O'Quinn and Meeting Street Academy, a cooking-themed Winterim, photography lessons, and fishing in Islamorada. I've worked with different teachers and students on all of these Winterims, and the notion of being in the moment has been present in all of them.

Although my view today is quite different than my view on Saturday morning and the cold weather is a bit harsh, it is wonderful to be back with the students. As they review their exams from last semester and begin a new semester, I hope they too can be fully present in their day to day. Maybe they can help this resolution stick for me, too!

Happy New Year!


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Exam Dates: December 14th- 16th, 19th-20th

Wednesday, December 14th:

8:00 – 9:45

Exam 1: F block

Thursday, December 15th:


Exam 1: G Block

10:05 – 11:45

Exam 2: A Block

Friday, December 16th:


Exam 1: B Block

Monday, December 19th:


Exam 1: C Block


Exam 2: E Block

Tuesday, December 20th:

8:00 – 9:45

Exam 1: D block

Make up Exams:


Dear Parents,

We sent out the exam schedule via email and have it posted to the calendar as well. Here is some additional information regarding exams:

For seventh and eighth grade students, exams are 15% of their semester averages. The report card will include an "Exam" column, and grades will be posted after all of the exams are complete. Students take exams in Math, History, World Languages, English, and Science. Students do not need to report for exams for Music, Art, PE, Old Testament, or Computer Science. For 6th graders, exams count as 1 major test grade for the first semester and 2 major test grades for the second semester.

Organization and cumulative studying rather than cramming will help a student be successful. Mrs. Jimenez, our learning specialist, emails helpful study tips to students starting in early December to remind students to begin the process somewhat early. Teachers review in their classes in the days leading up to exams and teach the students the best ways to study. While we want to emphasize the importance of studying, we also want to make sure we don't create a situation of too much pressure for our kids.

We dismiss each day at the conclusion of exams. If your child only has one exam, he/she should be picked up following that exam. If your child does not have an exam on a particular day, he/she should not report to school. On days with two exams, we have a break in between exams. The Parents Guild typically has one "treat" day for us, providing the middle school students with a healthy snack between exams. We restrict access to the snack machine because there are Upper School exams going on during our break.

The block in which your student has a particular class determines the order of your student's exams. Advisors will help the students plot in their planners when they have exams to avoid any confusion. Students currently taking Upper School classes will be issued a schedule which details the specific times of their exams. All students must report to exams in their regular uniforms.

Please contact the office if your child is sick so we can arrange a time to make up the exam. Please note all exams must be taken during the scheduled blocks. All make up exams will be proctored either during the make up slot on December 20th or in January when we return to school.

Please feel free to contact me should you have any questions.

Thank you,

Maureen T. Daily

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