The School Day

What does a student’s school day look like, besides going from class to class? An excellent question, which many prospective students and their families are wondering!

First, everyone is expected to arrive on campus ready for classes and fully in dress code. Basically, all students wear button-down Oxford shirts (boys wear ties) and khaki-style pants or skirts. Since we are a college-preparatory school, this sets the academic day aside as “time for work” and establishes a uniformity that removes a sense of fashion competition. In the warm weather months at the start and end of the school year, students may wear Gunston polo shirts. A complete explanation of the student dress code is available in the Student/Parent Handbook.

The school day begins with advisory or morning meeting. On advisory days, each student meets with his/her advisor and about a dozen other “advisees” for reminders about upcoming events and to go over anything that needs discussion—special schedules, social issues, academic struggles and triumphs, college planning, etc.—depending on the needs of the individuals in the advisory group. On morning meeting days, student government officers lead a whole-school meeting in the Field House to share announcements about athletic competitions, performances, student organizations, and upcoming birthdays, along with a quote for the day, before everyone heads to ACT period.

Depending on the day, ACT period can include study time in advisory groups, club meetings, or a chance to seek a teacher for extra help with what’s going on in class. After two class periods, students and teachers have a brief mid-morning break, and breakfast items are available in the cafeteria. Students may use this time to visit their lockers and trade out the books they need for the next few classes, visit the restroom, or simply catch up with teachers and friends. Don’t linger for too long; the next class starts in just a few minutes!

Lunch is split into two shifts: usually 9th and 10th grade students eat in the first shift, while 11th and 12th grade students attend one more class before their lunch break. Students and their teachers eat together in the dining room, and lunch is included in the tuition for every student. Every day, a hot entree is available, as well as a salad bar, soup of the day, fruits/desserts, and healthy drinks. Our kitchen staff work very hard to provide a tasty meal served with a smile.

Most students have one or more scheduled homework periods each week. While freshmen are expected to remain in their assigned classroom for supervised study, sophomores and juniors with exceptional grades have an opportunity to earn the privilege of studying elsewhere on campus after checking in at the start of the period. Except in rare circumstances, seniors are granted open study privileges.

Just a class or two after lunch, then it’s time for athletics. All students fulfill their physical education requirement by participating in two or more seasons of our athletics offerings, which include competitive team sports and non-competitive programs like fitness or recreational tennis. To allow for full student participation, buses to the surrounding counties don’t leave immediately at the end of classes—they leave following the afternoon athletics period.


Mark Wiening
Dean of Students