Headmaster Letter

Dear Northern Oaks Upper School community,


Welcome back! We hope all of you enjoyed a wonderful four-day weekend and were able to spend time together with your loved ones in the beautiful San Antonio weather.

As we move into the final weeks of the 2023-2024 academic year, we have a great deal of learning and celebration ahead. Our seniors will be taking a retreat together for one last time this Friday, April 5. Then next week on April 8 the upper school will celebrate the total eclipse with a symposium filled with workshops, poetry readings and seminars, a viewing party, and a keynote speaker. Also, on Friday, April 12 our high school scholars will become Griffin athletes, joining together in fun and play for our annual high school field day event! In May, we will celebrate our spring concerts, and art show, and enjoy Julius Ceasar performed by our junior drama scholars. And, at the end of May, we will honor our seniors with several wonderful traditions, all culminating with a beautiful graduation ceremony. Currently, our seniors are busy defending their senior thesis projects in front of the public at the senior thesis panels.


I would like to personally thank each family who completed this year’s Great Hearts TX Family Survey—we had 157 total respondents. I have begun meeting with every family who shared their contact information to listen further, to share ideas for next year, and to receive feedback on plans for the 2024-2025 school year. Your thoughts, comments, and feedback are invaluable to our work. The surveys revealed areas for growth, change, and shared encouragement for teachers and administrators. We value our families, and these surveys allow us to partner with you even more fully in our efforts to develop the best learning environment possible for our children.


In the spirit of partnership in this shared mission of educating students and nurturing young hearts and minds towards virtue and wisdom, it’s important to share what we heard from you, our upper school parents, and highlight the trends that will inform our plans going into the next school year.


Areas of Strength

We have worked diligently to cultivate a strong community of learners. The communal pursuit of truth, goodness, and beauty is a shared endeavor between administrators, parents, and scholars, and this reality was evident in our greatest areas of strength.

The relentless efforts of our faculty, staff, volunteers, and administrators compelled our families to give high praise for:


  • Student relationships with teachers and quality of instruction
  • Our beautiful classical liberal arts curriculum
  • Meaningful and challenging classwork
  • The formation of virtuous habits in our students
  • The belief that learning is generally supported
  • Excellent front office staff and Academy communications
  • Excellent Special Student Services programs and English learner support
  • Excellent extracurricular offerings
  • Overall satisfaction with school leadership


We are humbled by your kind comments and recognition of the careful work that has made these strengths a source of flourishing for our Academy.

 

Opportunities for Growth

While we are grateful for the encouragement that was shared by families, we also received some constructive feedback.


Our greatest growth opportunities are:


  • Current school disciplinary procedures and communications, more specifically, ensuring through training that discipline is consistent and just and that educators maintain a posture of hope, patience, and love for the students under their charge.


  • Working toward a more fair and accurate sense of wonder and depth of inquiry grade in all classes


  • Better communication pertaining to Athletics programs


  • Stability in upper-level high school sciences


This survey was very helpful feedback and will inform our plans for next school year. We have already begun planning our summer training of teachers and professional development for 2024-2025 around these themes.


If you filled out the survey but did not share your contact information, and would like to request a meeting with me, please do not hesitate to reach out! I would like to meet with you. Please let me know by contacting Robert.funes@greatheartstxschools.org


Finally, thank you to all who shared praise for individual faculty and administrators. We cannot thank you enough for sharing your words of gratitude for the people who serve your children daily.


I speak for every faculty member, staff member, and administrator when I say that we are overwhelmed with gratitude for being allowed the great privilege to serve your children and your family. 


Thank you to our scholars, families, teachers, and administrators for the sacrifices made to make this community beautiful.


Roar and Soar!


With devotion,

Robert Funes | Headmaster Upper School

Great Hearts Northern Oaks | Website |
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