Essentials for New Day Students
Welcome to Stevenson School. As a new student, you probably have several questions about life on campus. This page contains essential information that will assist you in your preparation for the new school year. To download a PDF document of this information, please click here. For more detailed information about these and other topics, we encourage you to visit Stevenson School Policies.
Who are the members of my “support team”?
Stevenson has an excellent support system for its students, and you will be guided along the way by a team of committed, caring adults whose goal is your success and happiness. These people are resources for you and can help you answer questions or find solutions for challenges that may arise.
Advisors: At the beginning of your first year at Stevenson, you will be assigned to an advisor. Upon arrival during the opening days, you and your family will have an opportunity to meet your advisor. After your first year, you have the option to select your advisor, though most students choose to stay with their current advisor which creates consistency. Each advisor has a group of advisees, and most groups range from 5 to 10 students. The groups meet a few times each month, and many advisors arrange additional meetings or social events for their group. If you are facing an academic or personal problem, your first communication should be with your advisor. Your advisor will play an important role in helping you develop an effective strategy to move forward.
Faculty: Teachers are available for help outside the class meeting time. When you have questions or concerns, you are encouraged to reach out and schedule a meeting to receive support.
Head of the Upper Division
The head of the upper division, Dr. Dan Griffiths, supervises the work of the teaching faculty and, working in close concert with the department heads, oversees the quality and integrity of the program of study.
Associate Head of the Upper Division
The associate head of the upper division, Mrs. Aimee Bates, works in close collaboration with the head of the upper division and the dean of students.
Dean of Students
The dean of students, Mr. Erik Olson, oversees the life of the entire Stevenson student community. The dean of students works closely with students, parents, teachers, and administrators to create a safe, positive, and supportive environment to help every student reach his or her full potential. Students are always welcome to drop by his office during the academic day.
Associate Dean of Students
The associate dean of students, Mr. Pete Lips, works with the dean of students to support the many facets of student life. Additionally, he is the liaison between the dean of students office and the residential community. Please contact the associate dean of students if you have questions about housing, dorm life, or residential rules.
You have likely already heard from the registrar, Mrs. Liz O’Hara, who will help you navigate course selection, schedule changes, and book orders. Please reach out to her with any academic questions and concerns you may have.
Learning Center Coordinator
Office: Counseling Resource Center
The Learning Center Coordinator, Mrs. Leti Moses, is available to offer a range of services that transcends the generally content-based help offered by classroom teachers. The Learning Center offers individual and group sessions, conducts classes in learning skills and strategies, and assists qualified students with implementation of certain collaborative accommodations based on documented needs.
Office: Counseling Resource Center
The school counselor, Mrs. Kate Newhouse, is available for student’s emotional support. Please drop in or email Mrs. Newhouse to request an assessment or referral, or to set up regular meetings.
Class Sponsors: Each Stevenson class has two class sponsors who work with student government representatives, attend class meetings, and help plan class activities.
If you have questions about the residential program please contact the director of residence, Ms. Marisa Knowles (email@example.com).
What will orientation be like?
All new Stevenson students gather together for two days of orientation before classes start. During this time, you will meet your classmates, as well as student leaders who will be working with you all year. Our goals include getting you comfortable with the campus so you feel confident navigating your first days of school, introducing you to Stevenson culture, and getting you connected and tech-ready. Many students feel nervous about their arrival, and you will likely feel a sense of relief after spending these days on campus preparing for the year.
How will I know what books to order?
You will receive an email in late July from Mrs. Liz O’Hara, registrar, which will announce that the online bookstore is open and exactly how to navigate your purchases. If you have general questions about how the online bookstore works, there is an FAQ page on our school website devoted specifically to this topic which you can find here.
What do I need to know about extracurricular activities?
We strongly recommend that you join a school-sponsored activity right away—sports, drama, music, outdoor adventures, or whatever suits your interests. Stevenson athletic teams are open for tryouts to all students, regardless of ability. This is a wonderful way to get to know a mixed group of resident and day students immediately and build camaraderie. Plus, sports provide an ideal way to get to know faculty coaches who provide invaluable encouragement and support, not just during the sports season, but all year long.
There are many campus clubs available to students. Any student can join these clubs, and, if there is an interest in starting a new club, students need only to find a like-minded faculty member to help start a new club. The Resident Activities Committee (RAC) and Student Council also organize many activities throughout the year.
A variety of community service opportunities, including projects with senior citizens, young children, the local homeless population, and the environment are available. The director of residence and director of student activities, Ms. Marisa Knowles (firstname.lastname@example.org), can help steer you toward a club that suits you.
What are preseason commitments for fall sports?
Stevenson offers nine interscholastic team sports in the fall. Students are encouraged to participate on a team sport as it offers a wonderful opportunity to get to know students and faculty, feel connected to the community, while also providing an outlet for physical activity after the academic day. The following sports are offered in the fall: cross country, field hockey, football, girls golf, sailing, girls tennis, girls volleyball, and boys and girls water polo.
Because many of our interscholastic sports teams will have contests in the first week of school, pre-season training in August provides our student-athletes with an important opportunity to prepare for these contests, build friendships, and settle into campus in advance of the opening days of school. If you are planning to attend pre-season training, please complete the Fall Pre-Season Planning Form as soon as possible, so that we can plan for the housing of resident students.
All returning students, freshmen, and new transfer students are encouraged to attend pre- season training. Upon arrival, all participating students will have an orientation session and receive the pre-season training schedule for their team. Participating resident students and football players will live in the dormitories. There is no additional cost for meals and lodging during this period. While there is a tremendous benefit to pre-season training, students should be assured that no one is penalized for not being able to attend.
In order to participate in sports at Stevenson, students must submit an annual physical by a medical doctor to the health center or athletic office before the student’s first workout. No incoming player may participate in any team workouts until current documentation (June 1, 2018, or later) is submitted. Sport-specific dates can be found on the pre-season page on the website here. For more information regarding a specific sport, please contact the athletic director, Mr. Justin Clymo, (email@example.com).
What activities are available for day students on the weekends?
Because Stevenson is a boarding school, we have an unusually robust number of on-campus activities all weekend long that day students are encouraged to join. There are numerous athletic events at school, and on-duty faculty members sponsor activities every weekend, from dorm movies to baking in their homes to hikes in Big Sur. A weekly list of weekend activities can be found here, and almost all are open to day students. Athletic facilities are open for pick-up games, and the pool is open with a lifeguard on duty almost every Saturday and Sunday in the fall and spring. You are also invited to take advantage of the Stevenson bus that has a regular weekend schedule leaving from Douglas Hall, taking students to Del Monte Center for movie outings and Carmel for dinner out or a trip to the beach.
What type of laptop do I need?
Technology will play an important role in your life at Stevenson. Our technology team has developed a page on our school website for FAQs related to laptop use and requirements: http://www.stevensonschool.org/laptopprogram.
What is the dress code?
The school is committed to a student dress code that permits relative comfort in a variety of learning environments, encourages an appropriate degree of personal expression without causing distraction or offense to others, maintains equity, and contributes to the decorum and general seriousness of purpose that is meant to characterize community life during the school day. The dress code is in effect for all school appointments from 7:00 a.m. until the end of the class day.
Clothes should always be in good repair (neither ripped nor torn, either by excessive wear or design), neat, and worn as intended. All shorts, including jean shorts, must be tailored. Tops and bottoms must meet at all points. Undergarments should not be visible. Disruptive or disrespectful words or images, including but not limited to references to sex, drugs, and alcohol, are not permitted. Athletic clothing may not be worn to either class or lunch. Hats should not be worn in classes, assemblies, or during meals.
Students are expected to respond cooperatively when informed that they are not in compliance with the dress code. Recurring lack of cooperation may merit disciplinary consequences. Students in violation of the dress code may not be admitted to academic commitments.
The length of one’s hair is a personal prerogative; however, it must be clean and neat. Facial hair must also be trimmed and neat.
When the community gathers for special occasions, students are often instructed to dress more formally than as stipulated by the daily dress code. At such times, students wear coats and ties, dresses, or other attire that is similarly respectful of the given event’s significance.
How do I pay for things?
Each student’s ID card is also Stevenson School’s on-campus debit card. Simoneau’s snack bar in the Rosen Family Student Center is a place to purchase granola bars, donuts, lattes, etc. Simoneau’s accepts both cash and the debit card. In order to purchase treats at Simoneau’s using the debit card, you must have funds available in your account. Your family will need to add funds through the My Kids Spending account. For additional questions, please contact Ms. Mary McGuinness at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What are the dates, times, procedures for scheduling travel for school breaks?
It is important to look ahead and schedule your vacations around breaks carefully so there are no conflicts with missing school or exams. For more information about fall break in November, winter break in December, and spring break in February, please visit the Vacation Travel Planning web page at www.stevensonschool.org/vacationplanning.
Fall break (in November) and spring break (in February) immediately follow end- of-term exams, so we encourage students and parents to schedule flights that do not require an earlier departure. You will be sitting for exams on those days until 3:00 p.m. In an extreme circumstance, an early departure may be approved by the dean of students via an application for a planned absence, which is available in the dean’s offices and must be submitted well in advance.
What happens when I get sick or need medication?
Stevenson has a registered nurse on duty in the Health Center, Monday through Thursday, from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., and Fridays from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.; the nurse’s office is set up like a mini-infirmary so if you feel sick during the academic day, you can come and lie down under the nurse’s care. If you are too sick to attend classes, the nurse will be in touch with a parent or guardian to arrange plans to send you home. In the case of an emergency you would likely be transported to a hospital and your parents would be contacted immediately. If you are concerned about sports participation following an illness or injury, it is a good idea to talk to the coach directly, the dean of students, and the athletic director. Keeping the lines of communication open will help us address your illnesses or injuries as effectively and comfortably as possible.
Stevenson School has a policy regarding all psychotropic medications, including stimulants, antidepressants, sedatives, and medicines used to treat pain as well as attention deficit disorder. This includes such medicines as any Narcotic, Ritalin, Adderall, Zoloft, Paxil, Wellbutrin, Lexapro, Ambien, any controlled substance, and cough suppressants that contain Dextromethorphan (DM). If it is required that any of these medications be brought to campus they are kept in the Health Center and dispensed in accordance to the prescription. This is for the protection of all students. We require that students prescribed these medications inform the Health Center of their treatment. If the medication is to be dispensed during the time you are on campus you must bring the medication, along with the prescription directive from the doctor, to the Health Center at the beginning of each term or at initiation or change of treatment. We ask that medications be in their original prescription packaging, clearly labeled with dispensing instructions. We are sensitive to issues of confidentiality, and you can be assured that your privacy will be respected.
What about tutoring or counseling?
The Learning Center is staffed by learning specialists who provide support for students struggling with organizational skills.
If you are struggling in a class, the best place to start is your teacher or advisor. Teachers are readily available to provide extra help outside of class. For next steps, tutoring is certainly available. The Learning Center maintains a list of excellent tutors who come to the campus to work with students, and also have experience arranging help for students who have learning differences. In addition, Stevenson students run a terrific peer tutoring program, which is free to the community.
The Counseling Office is available to help students in need of counseling support and clinical evaluations. Email Mrs. Kate Newhouse at email@example.com or drop by the Counseling Office if you think you might need support. Mrs. Newhouse can work with you to identify any specific concerns and work in coordination with a select group of counseling and psychiatric professionals identified in collaboration with your family. Sometimes it is just a question of working with the day and residential faculty to get through a rough spot. Other times, we may need to employ clinical expertise. In either case, please do not hesitate to reach out and we will work with one another to discover the best possible outcomes.
Finally, the dean of students is a knowledgeable and welcoming resource for students who are struggling with personal challenges.
Is it normal to be nervous about starting a new school?
Absolutely. Anytime you are doing something new, it is normal to be anxious about what to expect. Even the faculty get nervous about a new year! Hopefully as you can see from above, there is a great deal of support available to you. Students who learn how to reach out when they have questions tend to make the smoothest transitions. Please do not hesitate to contact any of the resources mentioned above if you have questions before your arrival. We are very much looking forward to welcoming you to campus on August 27.