Information for Students and Parents

First Days of School We like to start the year with team building field trips such as canoeing at Barton Cove and spending the day at Morse Hill Outdoor Education Center. For actives such as these, students should be prepared to bring sturdy shoes and outdoor clothes, lunch and snacks, sunscreen, bug spray (optional), and if applicable, swimming clothes and a towel. (A note on swimsuits: some students and faculty feel more comfortable swimming in shorts, t-shirts, or other clothing not sold as gender-specific swimwear, and are welcome to wear whatever they are most comfortable in!) We will send out more specific details regarding these field trips, including dates and times, as the school year approaches.

Classes and academic work commence after our beginning-of-the-year field trips. We ask that students come to school with an open mind and willingness to try new things, as well as the following supplies:

School Supplies

  • Snacks, lunch, and drinks every day. (We have a microwave, toaster, and mini-fridge at school for student use.)
  • A reusable water bottle 
  • A folder or binder for science class
  • A folder or binder for humanities class.
  • A notebook or binder with graph paper for math
  • A notebook or binder with lined paper for vocabulary, spelling, and other writing
  • An adequate supply of pens and pencils
  • Optional:
    • a cozy blanket and/or stuffed animals
    • books, art supplies, instruments, or other items for project time
    • headphones (students may listen to music while working with teacher permission)

Technology  We have a class set of ChromeBooks for student use at school. As of Fall 2022, students will not be able to use personal computers from home. If a student needs to bring their phone to school, it should remain in their backpacks during the school day unless they get permission from a teacher to contact a parent, listening to school-appropriate music while working, etc. If we find a student using their phone without permission, we will ask that they hand it in to us for the remainder of the day. If this happens more than three times we will ask that they do not bring their phone to school anymore.

Illness  We do not have a school nurse, and therefore cannot provide a place for sick students to rest for extended periods of time, nor can we assess whether they are well enough to stay. If a student is unable to fully participate due to illness, we will send them home. We do have first aid and some over-the-counter medications at school, which we may administer when necessary. (Medication permission can be given in the Opening Packet.)

Rules  Besides the major ones outlined in the Student Handbook (which are to ensure everyone’s physical and emotional safety), Four Winds has relatively few rules. There are some small ones that students will learn about at the beginning of the year, such as not eating on the couches to avoid attracting mice, but in general, we give our students as much freedom as they demonstrate the ability to handle. Changes to the school rules generally happen in the context of a school meeting and with input from the students. Our goal is that students feel ownership of the code of conduct and that they want to be responsible for their own actions.

Support Your Four Winds Student

We hope to work together to ensure that your student has a successful school year. Please read the following guidelines:

Biweekly   Students at Four Winds work at their own level and pace. Every two weeks students will set goals for the biweekly and later complete an assessment of whether they have met those goals. We will send out a progress report at the end of each biweekly. 

Homework   At Four Winds we do not assign daily homework. We believe that students should have time after school to spend with their families or to pursue their other interests. However, if students get behind on their biweeklies due to mismanaging their time, they may have to bring work home to catch up. By ensuring they complete this work at home, you will be helping them not only to get back on track, but to learn from their mistakes. If your student does have any work left at the end of the biweekly, you will be notified in their biweekly progress report. The Biweekly System completely relies on parents enforcing homework at the end of the biweekly. Thank you for playing your part in teaching your student time management! 

Curriculum   We have had success with a wide range of students, using books and materials that are effective in a self-directed learning environment. The Four Winds program has the flexibility to accommodate our students’ specific needs. Therefore in most cases we do not substitute alternative curriculum materials.

Communication   We strive for frequent and open communication with our students’ families. If we email home with a question or concern, we are trying to support your student and will appreciate a quick response. If you have questions or concerns, please email us or schedule a meeting after school. We send home an Update Email every other week, which has important information about what’s going on at school. You can also stay informed and involved by coming to open houses, joining the parent’s organization, and/or following us on Facebook and Instagram

Drop-Off and Pick-Up   The school day starts 8:30am, and pick up time is between 3:15 and 3:30pm. Tardiness affects your student academically and socially, so please bring your student on time. Additionally, the teachers frequently have after-school commitments and cannot stay to watch your child if you are running late. Please be timely.

Early Pick-Up  It may happen that we have to send your student home early due to illness or a behavioral issue, in which case we will call home to coordinate timing and transportation. We do not have a space to separate individual students from the larger group for any reason. 

Weather Policy You can check WWLP for a list of school closings and delays, and even sign up for text alerts, to see what we’re doing at Four Winds. Additionally, we will send out an email and post on our Facebook and Instagram pages in the event of a closing or delay. If we have a two hour delay, we start at 10:30 instead of 8:30. We never do early dismissals due to the complications of coordinating that in our geographically wide-spread community (and without buses). We know that we have families coming from all over, so it is totally acceptable to bring your student in late or pick them up early due to road conditions, etc.

Payment   Please contact our bookkeeper with questions about billing and payment. They will invoice you according to your payment schedule. Please be timely with your payments: Four Winds is a small school without an endowment. The running of our program relies almost entirely on tuition, and it is the students who will directly suffer if payments are late. Please note that students may not start the school year until past debts are paid, and that continued failure to pay an overdue balance will result in legal action.

Thank you for your support in these matters. We are excited for this coming school year!