Updated: May 20, 2020

Will there be wrap-up events to celebrate the end of the school year?  

Traditions are of great importance to St. Stephen’s teachers and students.  Teachers will be formulating a wrap-up event specific to each classroom.  Teachers will be communicating these important events to students and parents.  The achievements of our 8th graders will be celebrated in a graduation ceremony to be held in accordance with best practices for health and safety.  We are committed to sharing our decision on the format and date of graduation as soon as possible. 

How and when can students obtain any belongings left on campus?  

The campus is not open and in person meetings are not yet an option.  If an essential item has been left on campus by a student, arrangements may be made for the item to be mailed to the student’s home.  Please contact the Principal, Nahla Nasser (nnasser@ssesh.org), regarding any necessary arrangements.  All other personal belongings will be returned to students after the campus is re-opened.  

Group class pictures will be mailed to parents. 

Will Summer Camp be provided this summer? 

The School intends to begin Summer Camp on-campus at the earliest possible date and subject to the approval of the Bishop.  Like other schools grappling with this issue, the School is looking at mid-June and early July as viable options for commencing Summer Camp.  The School will begin a new application process for Summer Camp, if on-campus Summer Camp cannot be offered safely.  Updates on Summer Camp will be provided in the Hallway and under the School Store tab on the school’s website. 

What scenarios are being considered for the 2020/21 academic year?  

The preferred option is that school starts on time with no restrictions and life is “normal” again.  With the current physical space parameters and enrollment numbers, the on-campus school day will operate without change to the school hours.  The normal school hours including Early Care and After Care, as outlined on the website and in admission materials, can be maintained.  Unlike larger schools, the small size of our school means that it is not necessary for St. Stephen’s School to operate on a split school day schedule.    

A second option is that school starts on time, but online learning occurs intermittently during the school year as cases of the virus rise and fall and we are in containment phases again.  We also must prepare for the third option, which is a worst-case scenario, where we are unable to return to campus in the fall and we must start the school year online.     

Who can I contact if my family cannot pay tuition? 

Families are encouraged to contact the Director of Finance and Operations, Max Meister, and the Head of School, Jerri King, via email at mmeister@ssesh.org and jerriking@ssesh.org.  Max and Jerri will guide parents regarding the support available, process for applying for discounting and options available for families.  Financial aid has been doubled for the 2020-21 academic year. 

When do I need to make a decision regarding the 2020-21 school year?  

The deadline for canceling the 2020/21 Enrollment Agreement has been extended to July 1, 2020.  Complete information regarding the dates and conditions related to the annual commitment is available for reference at the bottom third of page one on the Enrollment Agreement.    

Who can I contact if I have other questions related to billing?  

Early-Care and After-Care reservations for the last week of March and all of April and May will not be billed. If you have been billed in error, please email the Director of Finance and Operations, Max Meister, at mmeister@ssesh.org

Our Bulldog 360° instructors pivoted quickly during this unprecedented time to stay engaged with our amazing students and provide 16 weeks of instruction (week of Jan. 14 to week of May 11).  If you have any concerns regarding our Spring Bulldog 360° programming, please reach out to the Director of Fine Arts, Holli Richardson, at hrichardson@ssesh.org

Who can I contact if my child(ren) need additional support?   

There is no change to the process for gaining additional support for students.  This is initiated by first speaking with your child’s teacher.  If necessary, your teacher will update the Principal who will join the team.  After speaking with your child’s teacher, parents too are welcome to contact the Principal.   

How is the school uniquely positioned to serve students during these unprecedented times?  

As a small and innovative school community, St. Stephen’s is uniquely positioned to provide individualized learning and small group lessons, to promote independent learning and project experiences, to comply with health and safety guidelines and best practices, and to nurture the whole student through care provided by dedicated teachers and our school counselor. 

St. Stephen’s unique benefits, based on current assumptions, include: 

  • No split day schedule; 
  • Early and After Care provided to registered students; 
  • No combined classes;  
  • 5 school days/week;  
  • Increased number of small group lessons (3-5 students); 
  • Parents and students have direct access to teachers;  
  • Teachers provide timely feedback on assignments to students; 
  • Flexible schedules for completing online lessons / lectures and school work. 

What can my child work on this summer to make sure they are ready for the next grade? 

Teachers will be providing summer work and assignments to students and parents (Upper Elementary and Middle School only).  Resources may be also found on the School’s website (https://www.ssesh.org/resources/resources-forms). 

What is the Risk Management Team and what is their mandate? 

A campus-wide Risk Management Team, including public health experts and educators, is formulating a plan for how we safely re-open the campus.  The team is drafting a holistic plan for operations, communications and access to our facilities. The plan will be scalable in terms of scope and flexible in terms of any outbreaks affecting our community.  We will share more details of that plan as it takes shape.  Once we re-open, we will of course be asking all members of the community to adjust their behaviors while on campus to ensure the safety of all. The Bishop’s approval of the plan is a prerequisite for re-opening the campus.   

Will the Board of Trustees further engage parents?  

The Board of Trustees and Head of School will be hosting online Town Halls by level, followed by small group sessions facilitated by Trustees.  The purpose of the Town Halls will be to share information and to receive feedback.  Please share your questions in advance by emailing Brent Fogt (bfogt@ststephenshouston.org) by Thursday, May 21, 2020.  Please indicate your student’s class level in your submission.  The tentative dates for the Town Halls are May 25-28, from 4:00-5:00 pm.