Discover our new approach to educating middle school boys.

Our campus is empty and our classes are all online, but the Seven Hills educational experience is virtually the same as it was before. Learning still happens through relationships. Experiential curriculum is still the core of our approach. And we are still the experts in educating middle school boys.

Learning still happens through relationships.

Our virtual school day is entirely made up of synchronous learning. Teachers give live instruction so students are able to ask questions, work in small groups, and retain the strong sense of community we hold at the center of the Seven Hills experience.

Experiential curriculum is still the core of our approach.

The challenge of designing hands-on lessons for distance learning has only proven just how innovative and creative our teachers really are. They have spent a day exploring the monuments and museums of DC, taken boys rafting down the James River, and conducted a mock Congress, all through Google Classroom.

We are still the experts in educating middle school boys.

We have spent the past 19 years teaching in a way that meets the unique developmental and social needs of middle school boys. Why stop now? We used our expertise to design a distance learning program that plays to the strengths of adolescent males. For example, we know that boys easily become restless and need to move around to be able to focus, so we built three substantial breaks into the virtual school day. 

 

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Classroom Hub

Explore some of the activities and lessons being conducted through distance learning. Want to learn more? Contact our Director of Admissions, Drew Lineberger, at dlineberger@7hillsschool.org or 804-329-6300 x224.

Cloud-in-a-Jar Experiment

Ms. Andres leads an experiment on cloud formation via Google Meet for her 8th grade science class.

DIY Soil Profiles

Earth science students created soil profiles in the medium of their choice to represent the different layers.

Keeping the Fun

Mr. Vinson utilizes some unconventional tools to help teach algebra.

DC Day

The entire school took a virtual field trip to Washington, DC. Boys explored numerous museums and monuments while applying knowledge learned in their classes this year. Pictured here are the Bridge class taking a tour of the National Air and Space Museum and an artistic recreation of a piece found in the National Portrait Gallery.

Commonly Confused Chinese

Ms. Plank demonstrates the importance of tones to 7th grade Chinese language students.

Great Gifs

Mr. O’Keefe’s Bridge art class learned the basics of animation by creating their own gifs.

 

Timeline

 
Early March 2020: We learn of the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Virginia. We increase our campus sanitation measures and start thinking of what a distance learning program could look like for us. We had already been using Google for Education and further explore the capabilities of Google Classroom.
 
Thursday, March 12, 2020: As schools and businesses around the country start to shut down, we know that it’s a matter of days before we will have to do the same. We set up every student with a Google Classroom account and train them to use the technology. Parents are notified of our plans in the morning. By the afternoon, we notify families that school will be closed the next day out of an abundance of caution. We provide Chromebooks to students who do not have a computer at home.
 
Friday, March 13, 2020: We spend the day training teachers on how to use Google Classroom and how to transition their lesson plans to a distance learning model. We notify parents and students that distance learning will begin on Monday, March 16 and will be in effect until at least March 27. We provide more details on the program and outline the synchronous learning schedule.
 
Sunday, March 15, 2020: We provide families with further instructions for using Google Classroom, set expectations, and give tips for remote learning.
 
Monday, March 16, 2020: It’s the first day of distance learning! The day starts at 8:30 AM and consists of four hour-long synchronous classes, three breaks, and a school-wide study block where students can touch base with teachers as needed. During the lunch break, our faculty meets to discuss how the morning has gone. This meeting happens every day for the remainder of the year to allow teachers the opportunity to share tips, ask questions, and discuss student performance.
 
Friday, March 20, 2020: We wrap up the first week of distance learning and announce that due to state orders we will be extending the program until April 14. We also conduct our first virtual House Competition and the Knights win!
 
Tuesday, March 24, 2020: We announce, as per Governor Northam’s orders, Seven Hills School will remain closed for the remainder of the academic year. Because of this extension, we ask parents and students to provide feedback on the distance learning program. Head of School, Dagan Rowe, sends a special video message to encourage the boys during this confusing time.
 
Sunday, April 19, 2020: Over spring break, we use the information gathered from the family survey to make some small changes to the virtual classroom experience over spring break. We communicate those changes to parents and students and announce the creation of several virtual community events.
 
Wednesday, April 29, 2020: We conduct our usual spring Family Conferences virtually.
 
Friday, May 8, 2020: Our annual field trip to Washington, DC goes digital! We spend the day “exploring” the National Mall and numerous museums and monuments. Not to be missed, we host a virtual bus ride home which is pure chaos in the best possible way.
 
Wednesday, May 13, 2020: We cannot miss our last River Day of the year, so we visit the James via the internet. We spend the day engaging in experiential learning, virtually rafting down the river, and competing for House points.
 
Looking Ahead: While we hope that we will be able to conduct classes on campus come September, we are planning and preparing for a variety of potential back-to-school scenarios.