2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Updated June 3, 2020

Our McGehee Crisis Management Team has been meeting regularly to monitor information and guidelines from the CDC, the LA Department of Health, as well as advice from other medical and infectious disease specialists.

On this page you will find recent communcations from the Head of School and FAQs. For more information about our Remote Learning program please use the navigation at the top of the page or click here.

Recent Communication

List of 29 items.

  • June 3, 2020 | A Letter to Alumnae re: Recent Events Around the Country

    June 3, 2020

    Dear McGehee Alumnae,

    My intention of writing to you early this week fell apart when I was knocked down by a virus that took me out of commission for the past four days. I am now back on my feet again and wanted to take a moment to address you. 

    Let me begin by saying how sorry I am for not being “present” yesterday, when many of you needed to hear from me and your alma mater. In so many ways, 2020 has been a disheartening and devastating year. The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked physical and financial havoc on so many, particularly people of color, and remains a threat to lives and livelihoods across the world. And, just as things seemed to be somewhat improving on the public health front, we learned about the brutal killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, along with the racist incident in Central Park. We have to do better, be united, and remain resolved to challenge and defeat prejudice and systemic racism in this country.

    Alumnae, from the love and loyalty you have for one another and your alma mater to the many wonderful McGehee experiences that you have had and have shared, thank you for caring so very much for your school. Several of you have spoken up, as McGehee girls do, and expressed concern about the school’s GiveNOLA Day campaign which took place yesterday alongside the social media blackout. While I know the timing could not have been worse, this annual fundraising date was set in stone months ago by the Greater New Orleans Foundation and it is the one day of giving that is crucial to McGehee’s operating budget as it raises the funds necessary to make up the school expenses not covered by tuition. A good portion of this supports financial assistance for students, faculty salaries, professional development for teachers, partnerships with community organizations and much more. This effort was more important than ever this year given the pandemic, which has created significant financial disruption to us all.

    For over 108 years now, McGehee alumnae have paved the way to progress and reform. You have spoken up, fought for your beliefs and addressed injustices that needed to be tackled. There are countless McGehee women who have attempted to right perceived wrongs and ventured into careers that may have been out of their comfort zone, yet were the right things to do. And, there are certainly current McGehee students who go out of their way to work to combat inequities in many ways: our 9th grade students work to take charge of their learning and thus their futures; our sophomores examine the way the American Dream has fallen short for so many citizens, especially for people of color, over the past two centuries; our 11th graders find ways to engage in real-world policy issues that mean something to them, fact-checking as they go; and our seniors have the opportunity to put all of those years of study to good use in their mentorship projects.
     
    At McGehee we encourage our ‘leading women’ to find their voices as they learn how to speak their minds. McGehee has a long, respected history of free, open, and vigorous debate, vitally important to our mission and to the education of our girls and yet, we still have a way to go. As an innovative school, it is essential to our mission that we continue to educate our students about the importance of cultivating an environment that is inclusive. While debate and discourse are naturally full of disagreements, we believe the process should also be respectful. The recent riots and violence across the nation have underscored the importance of perpetuating a school environment that is welcoming, safe, and diverse. I am very proud of McGehee. Our mission includes a call to inclusivity, and that is something we take to heart. My sincere hope is that we always stress the importance of expanding our perspectives, and hopefully, increase the acceptance of our differences. This is at the heart of our mission.
     
    Just last week, some of our students received affirmation about a positive change they sought by speaking their minds. Last December, students in the 4th Grade took a stand to right a perceived wrong and received international attention for their efforts. While immersed in a social studies review on the Southeast region of the U.S., the girls discovered a statement they strongly disagreed with in their textbook about how the plantation economy led to the institution of slavery. The statement they questioned was the following, “Tobacco farming took a lot of work.  As more farmers grew tobacco, they needed more enslaved Africans to do the work." One student questioned the word “needed,” saying the text should read “wanted.” Teacher Laura Whooley remarked at the time, “What followed was the most beautiful class discussion that made me the proudest I've probably ever felt as a teacher,” and she challenged them to do something about their concerns. “When you see or feel that something is wrong, it is your duty to stand up and do something about it in a respectful way.” The girls quickly dove into action, writing letters to the publisher, McGraw-Hill, requesting this change. With Ms. Whooley’s help on social media, the girls tweeted their discovery and asked for a change, and McGraw-Hill responded quickly that the girls’ letters were impactful and were being sent to their Academic Design team. Ms. Whooley shared the story on her Facebook page, with the thought that if her nine-year-old students could make a difference that quickly then so should she. It is estimated that close to one million people saw or engaged with their post online. Last Thursday, Ms. Whooley emailed her 4th grade students that she has just received word and confirmation from McGraw-Hill that they had changed the wording in the section “Slavery and Opposition.” The publisher,"read your words, learned from them, and changed that sentence to read 'wanted' in the chapter."
     
    On the first day of school, Carolyn Thompson’s Government class was told that unlike Chemistry or even U.S. History, the girls come to Government with a lot of assumptions and preconceptions about politics and government. Their first assignment was to write those down on a note card and throw it in the trash. This exercise encourages them to walk through the door of her classroom with open minds, ready to dive into our study of government and politics. Ms. Thompson explains to students that her job is not to change their minds or undermine what they've learned at home but instead to help them formulate their own ideas and arguments about the role of government and the responsibilities of citizenship based on the knowledge and understanding they gain from the course. The juniors also discussed the importance of taking a course in Government–to learn what they can do to change their world. Throughout the year, those same Juniors are tasked with identifying an area of policy interest and advocating for that issue in their annual Model Congress project. They use social media to engage with politicians and policy experts in real time, using what they learn to better articulate their positions and expand their opportunities for deeper understanding.

    These are powerful examples of what Margaret Mead once wrote, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Her words ring as true now as they did in 1978. It is imperative that we continue to challenge ourselves to find our unity and strength through diversity. We are all in this together.
     
    In the coming weeks we will reach out to our alumnae community for your help as we continue the vital work ahead, inside McGehee and within our own communities. Together we will work to build a just, equitable society for our present and our future. 
     
    Sincerely,
    Dr. Kim Field-Marvin
    Head of School
  • June 1, 2020 | Recent Events Around the Country

    June 1, 2020

    Dear McGehee Family,

    As our school year closes and we look forward to Phase 2 of our stay at home order and moving towards celebrating our seniors with May Day and Graduation, one thing is painfully clear: 2020 has been a disheartening and devastating year, thus far. The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked physical and financial havoc on so many and remains a threat to lives and livelihoods across the world. And, just as things seem to be somewhat improving on the public health front, we learn about the brutal killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, along with the racist incident in Central Park. We need to do better, be united, and remain resolved to challenge and defeat prejudice in this country.

    At McGehee we encourage our ‘leading women’ to find their voices as they learn how to speak their minds. McGehee has a long, respected history of free, open, and vigorous debate, vitally important to our mission and to the education of our girls. As an innovative school, it is essential to our mission that we continue to educate our students about the importance of cultivating an environment that is inclusive. While debate and discourse are naturally full of disagreements, we believe the process should also be respectful. The recent riots and violence across the nation have underscored the importance of perpetuating a school environment that is welcoming, safe, and diverse. I am very proud of McGehee – we are a caring and inclusive school and community – EVERY student is welcome on this campus. My sincere hope is that we always stress the importance of expanding our perspectives, and hopefully, increasing our acceptance of our differences. This is at the heart of our mission.

    Just last week, some of our students received affirmation about a positive change they sought by speaking their minds. Last December, students in the 4th Grade took a stand to right a perceived wrong and received international attention for their efforts. While immersed in a social studies review on the Southeast region of the U.S., the girls discovered a statement they strongly disagreed with in their textbook about how the plantation economy led to the institution of slavery. The statement they questioned was the following, “Tobacco farming took a lot of work. As more farmers grew tobacco, they needed more enslaved Africans to do the work." One student questioned the word “needed,” saying the text should read “wanted.” Teacher Laura Whooley remarked at the time, “What followed was the most beautiful class discussion that made me the proudest I've probably ever felt as a teacher,” and she challenged them to do something about their concerns. “When you see or feel that something is wrong, it is your duty to stand up and do something about it in a respectful way.” The girls quickly dove into action, writing letters to the publisher, McGraw-Hill, requesting this change. With Ms. Whooley’s help on social media, the girls tweeted their discovery and asked for a change, and McGraw-Hill responded quickly that the girls’ letters were impactful and were being sent to their Academic Design team. Ms. Whooley shared the story on her Facebook page, with the thought that if her nine-year-old students could make a difference that quickly then so should she. It is estimated that close to one million people saw or engaged with their post online. Last Thursday, Ms. Whooley emailed her 4th grade students that she has just received word and confirmation from McGraw-Hill that they had changed the wording in the section “Slavery and Opposition.” The publisher, "read your words, learned from them, and changed that sentence to read 'wanted' in the chapter."

    On the first day of school, Carolyn Thompson’s Government class was told that unlike Chemistry or even U.S. History, the girls come to Government with a lot of assumptions and preconceptions about politics and government. Their first assignment was to write those down on a note card and throw it in the trash. This exercise encourages them to walk through the door of her classroom with open minds, ready to dive into our study of government and politics. As always, Ms. Thompson reiterates that her job is not to change their minds or undermine what they've learned at home but instead to help them formulate their own ideas and arguments about the role of government and the responsibilities of citizenship based on the knowledge and understanding they gain from the course. The juniors also discussed the importance of taking a course in Government -- to learn what they can do to change their world. Throughout the year, those same Juniors are tasked with identifying an area of policy interest and advocating for that issue in their annual Model Congress project. They use social media to engage with politicians and policy experts in real time, using what they learn to better articulate their positions and expand their opportunities for deeper understanding.

    These are two powerful examples of what Margaret Mead once wrote, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Her words ring as true now as they did in 1978. It is imperative that we continue to challenge ourselves to find our unity and strength through diversity. We are all in this together.

    Sincerely,
    Kim Field-Marvin
    Head of School
  • May 28, 2020 | Plans to Open McGehee in August

    May 28, 2020

    Dear McGehee Parents,

    In the midst of this continuing crisis, McGehee stands firm in our core belief that girls and women can do amazing things in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.

    After solidifying our health and safety protocols this spring with a daycare for the children of Ochsner employees and this summer with our modified summer program, we plan to open our school for in-person learning in August, unless officials from the State of Louisiana and the City of New Orleans make proclamations that forbid us from doing so. Our Crisis Management team will be meeting regularly throughout the summer to review all available health guidelines and official mandates to ensure that our planning is in compliance with those organizations. We are committed to keeping our community informed with any updates as soon as that information becomes available. Our primary goal is to have the safe return of our students to campus in August.

    Health and Safety
    Our current protocols take into account the most recent guidelines from health officials and may change if the recommendations change. They include:
    • ongoing training for faculty and staff about our health and safety protocols
    • keeping Lower School students in small home base groups and minimizing group mixing to limit viral transmission
    • hosting Lower School programming in the students' home base, with specialists coming to students, rather than the other way around
    • avoiding the use of large communal spaces and large groups for dining or Physical Education
    • maintaining recommended group sizes for Middle and Upper School students to allow for social distancing
    • staggering carpool to allow for temperature checks and hand sanitizing
    • teaching students proper handwashing techniques to stay healthy and make time for regular handwashing throughout the day
    • having teachers wear masks when closer than 6 feet to students
    • stepping up our sanitizing procedures, including more regular cleaning performed by additional staff
    • limiting visitors to campus to include only students, faculty, and staff
    • continuing to provide remote learning platforms in parallel to in person learning on campus at the request of families who may have immunocompromised members
    Emergency Assistance
    We know that the uncertainty of the pandemic has created upheaval in the lives of every member of our community. To help mitigate that we have created an emergency assistance fund to support families who have experienced significant financial disruption due to COVID-19. Please contact Julee LaPorte, Director of Admissions and Financial Aid, (juleel@mcgeheeschool.com or via phone at 504.523.5490) for more information.

    Refunds, Credits, Contracts & Tuition
    Checks have been mailed to all families who participated in our prepaid After Care program. Prorated credits will be applied to your 2020- 2021 lunch account for all families who participated in our prepaid lunch program. Please log in to your account to review and contact Kim Himel in the Business Office (kimh@mcgeheeschool.com) should you have any questions or concerns.

    In order to engage teachers in planning and preparing for August, we must collect tuition from our families. Tuition is the school’s primary source of revenue and allows us to plan and implement an optimal learning environment in accordance with our mission. In light of that, please keep in mind that enrollment contracts become binding on Monday, June 1, 2020, which means that after June 1, parents are obligated to pay tuition in full. Please let us know before Monday, June 1 if you cannot fulfill the terms of the contract.

    As always, we value your partnership in the education of your child. Your family is important to us and we are thankful to have you as members of the McGehee community.

    Sincerely,
    Kim Field-Marvin
    Head of School
  • May 28, 2020 | Plans to Open Little Gate in August

    May 28, 2020

    Dear Little Gate Parents,

    In the midst of this continuing crisis, McGehee stands firm in our core belief that children are amazingly resilient.

    After solidifying our health and safety protocols this spring with a daycare for the children of Ochsner employees and this summer with our modified summer program, we plan to open our school for in-person learning in August, unless officials from the State of Louisiana and the City of New Orleans make proclamations that forbid us from doing so. Our Crisis Management team will be meeting regularly throughout the summer to review all available health guidelines and official mandates to ensure that our planning is in compliance with those organizations. We are committed to keeping our community informed with any updates as soon as that information becomes available. Our primary goal is to have the safe return of our students to campus in August.

    Health and Safety
    Our current health and safety protocols take into account the most recent guidelines from health officials and may change if the recommendations change. They include:
    • ongoing training for faculty and staff about our health and safety protocols
    • keeping students in small home base groups and minimizing group mixing to limit viral transmission
    • hosting programming in the students' home base, with specialists coming to students, rather than the other way around
    • staggering carpool to allow for temperature checks and hand sanitizing
    • teaching students proper handwashing techniques to stay healthy and make time for regular handwashing throughout the day
    • having teachers wear masks when closer than 6 feet to students
    • stepping up our sanitizing procedures, including more regular cleaning performed by additional staff
    • limiting visitors to campus to include only students, faculty, and staff
    Emergency Assistance, Tuition Credits, and Refunds for Little Gate Families
    We know that the uncertainty of the pandemic has created upheaval in the lives of every member of our community. To help mitigate that we have created an emergency assistance fund to support families who have experienced significant financial disruption due to COVID-19. Please contact Julee LaPorte, Director of Admissions and Financial Aid, (juleel@mcgeheeschool.com or via phone at 504.523.5490) for more information. Should you be eligible for a partial tuition credit for 2019-2020, please note that credits were deposited directly into your 2020-2021 SMART account. Checks have been mailed to all families who participated in our prepaid After Care program. Prorated credits will be applied to your 2020- 2021 lunch account for all families who participated in our prepaid lunch program. Please log in to your account to review and contact Kim Himel in the Business Office (kimh@mcgeheeschool.com) should you have any questions or concerns.

    Tuition & Contracts
    In order to engage teachers in planning and preparing for August, we must collect tuition from our families. Tuition is the school’s primary source of revenue and allows us to plan for and implement an optimal learning environment in accordance with our mission. Our original intention, before the pandemic, was to begin to collect 2020-2021 tuition in May for Little Gate families, to align with our existing PreK-12 expectations. In early May, it became evident that we needed to move that timeline back to June to support our families.

    In light of that, please keep in mind that enrollment contracts become binding on Monday, June 1, 2020, which means that after June 1, parents are obligated to pay tuition in full. Please let us know before Monday, June 1 if you cannot fulfill the terms of the contract.

    As always, we value your partnership in the education of your child. Your family is important to us and we are thankful to have you as members of the Little Gate community.

    Sincerely,
    Kim Field-Marvin
    Head of School
  • May 22, 2020 | Letter from the Head of School

    Friday, May 22, 2020

    Dear Parents,

    This week, we have wrapped up what I hope will be the most unusual school year ever. The staff, faculty and administration have thoughtfully restructured most of our ceremonies that celebrate the end of a school year into drive by and stop by events, virtual parties, celebrations and assemblies, as well as a socially-distanced picnic for the seniors with me.

    I am in awe of the amazingly creative learning opportunities that our faculty have created this spring as well as the grit and perseverance that our students demonstrated. There have been virtual bedtime stories, fitness challenges for PE, a “Netflix series” project to demonstrate student understanding of the montheistic religions studied in seventh grade history, super short story writing in sixth grade, dramatized and presented on Flipgrid, passion projects in eighth grade environmental science, personal letters in the style of Jane Austen written by seniors, videos made by Upper School Chemistry students to teach chemistry principles to Lower School students, and so many more culminating activities to close out the school year.

    While this was a school year none of us could have envisioned, we have been busy searching for the silver linings since the onset of the pandemic. The deep learning that has taken place and the flexibility and support for others that every member of our community has revealed is likely our shiniest moment: it is what truly sets McGehee apart. Students themselves have stepped up and found ways to support their sisters in other grades. Just this week, the Class of 2021 decorated the main gate to demonstrate their love for our seniors. Parents reached out to faculty and staff with kind notes of gratitude and alumnae marked their love of and loyalty to the school by offering giving challenges, to mention a few. These moments of collaboration both large and small were often spontaneous, but validated what we knew all along–at McGehee’s heart lies its people. Students, faculty, staff, administrators, parents, alumnae have come together, while socially distancing, to make the best of a terrible situation. For that, I am immensely proud and deeply humbled.

    It is important to note at the academic year’s end that we will have a change in leadership for the Parents' League, as always. After an incredible year of leading our parents in fun and fund-raising, Leslie Tallant will be passing the baton of the Parents’ League leadership to Andrea Mahfouz, who will continue to serve as the Middle and Upper School Librarian as well as the 2020-2021 Parents’ League President. Andrea’s Vice President and President in 2021-2022 is Dorian Stone.

    We will be saying au revoir to a few faculty members this year who are either retiring after many years, or taking the opportunity to explore other opportunities. Among those retiring are math teachers Jean Curran (US) and Nancy Hansen (MS), Lower School learning specialist, Deborah Robinson ‘69, and Upper School choir director, Jennifer King. They have each given McGehee School many years of loyal and loving service.

    Math teacher, Carrie Wright ‘98, science teacher, Gabrielle Nata, Pre-K teacher Julie Kahle, first grade teacher Gina Khatib, and Little Gate teachers, Andrea Dupree and Amy Cain, and Little Gate’s administrative assistant, Renee Huete, will be pursuing new paths after this year’s close. We wish them each the best as they enter the next chapter of their lives and thank them for all that they have done for our students.

    May you have a wonderful summer!

    Gratefully,
    Kim Field-Marvin
    Head of School
  • May 15, 2020 | End of Year Wrap Up

    The Class of 2020 received pink and white bouquets last Saturday in honor of May Day. Along with the flowers came a booklet with notes written to the seniors by the Class of 2006, a class who also experienced displacement during their senior year.Tremendous thanks to George and Sarah Young and Bess Young Meeks '06 for this thoughtful and generous gift!

    May 15, 2020

    Dear Parents,

    In a typical school year, we would be in the midst of celebrating the last days with class parties, final assemblies, moving up celebrations, May Day, and ultimately commencement. But, as you are well aware, this is not your typical year. I hope you can enjoy these special moments in the lives of your children. As we wrap up 2019-2020, I want to thank our parents, students, and faculty for your patience, flexibility, and perseverance as we ventured into uncharted territory. I am very hopeful for the years ahead as our school remains committed to providing the best education possible for our Little Gate students and McGehee girls.

    This week alone, I have stood witness to awards ceremonies as well as sessions that allow our students to share some of their cumulative work with their classmates and teachers. On Wednesday, we honored our varsity athletes in a heartfelt virtual ceremony that pointed out the leadership and individual strength of each participant. Tenth graders completed their oral history projects that ranged from telling the story of how McGehee opened after Katrina, to getting first-hand accounts of JFK’s inauguration and 9-11. The fourth graders had a publishing party this morning where they performed dramatic readings of their original work, demonstrating their knowledge of poetic devices and a range of poetic styles. Juniors also presented their virtual oral arguments, in a mock Supreme Court session, clearly illustrating their ability to focus on key legal positions and make the case for why their argument should prevail.

    During this pandemic, it has become increasingly evident to me just how caring and thoughtful our community is, how deep and meaningful the learning our teachers facilitate, and how committed we all are to one another. Our alumnae, parents, faculty, trustees and our students have all come together to support our community during a particularly difficult time. Today I thought I would share a very thoughtful video from The Class of 2026. Spearheaded by 6th grader, Ainsley Ancira, who wanted to respond to the video the seniors sent to their teachers after learning of the stay at home measure. She wrote:

    "I wanted to make something from the whole class to show our love for the seniors but wasn't sure what that something would be. A day later, the seniors' video was posted and that became the inspiration for our video. Ms. Holl and I talked and came up with the idea: a video that replied to the seniors' video. After the plan was finalized, everyone in our class was given a segment to record. Everyone was quick to respond and did a fantastic job. We think the seniors deserve to be celebrated because they are a big part of McGehee and they are an amazing group of leading women that the rest of the grades look up to. We were happy for the opportunity to recognize and thank the seniors for showing the rest of the school what it means to be a McGehee girl."

    Sincerely,
    Kim Field-Marvin
    Head of School
  • May 14, 2020 | Summer Camp

    May 14, 2020

    Dear Parents,

    We are very excited to be able to have some children on campus very soon! We have been busy working on our health and safety protocols as we plan for a June 1 opening to Summer at McGehee / Summer at Little Gate. There will be some significant differences between what we have done in year’s past and this summer’s offerings due to the current public health crisis.

    We plan to begin camp under the city’s Phase 1 guidelines, which means that we are required to severely limit group size to no more than 10 (including adults). We have been advised to keep individuals in static cohort groups together throughout the day, including the counselors and staff.

    Please be advised that we are not able to run any before care or aftercare for camp, as we are not able to adhere to the guidelines regarding static cohort groups. However, we will be extending the camp day slightly to help accommodate parents’ schedules.

    The 2020 summer hours extend from 8:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.

    Because we are required to limit our group size and follow strict hygiene and sanitation protocols during Phase 1, we must hire additional camp staff and cleaning staff to keep up. This, coupled with the extended daily camp hours, necessitate an increase in camp tuition.

    Summer at McGehee: $300/ week
    Little Gate Summer: $320/ week

    7 Total Weeks of Summer Program

    Weeks Dates
    1: June 1–June 5
    2: June 8–June 12
    3: June 15-June 19
    4: June 22–June 26
    No camp June 29–July 3
    5: July 6–July 10
    6: July 13–July 17
    7: July 20–July 24

    As a result of these required modifications, we will need to modify Camp Brain, our registration and payment system. Please be advised that Camp Brain will be offline from now until Tuesday morning, May 19. If you are already enrolled in camp, your enrollment will continue unless you choose to cancel. You will be automatically refunded if you enrolled in week 8 (which will no longer be available) or for any fees you paid for before or after care or enrichments. Please allow our business office one week to process refunds. The camp cancellation deadline is Monday May 18th. If you wish to cancel your enrollment, please do so before Monday, May 18th for a full refund.

    Given the Phase 1 guidelines, parents cannot enter campus and must drop off children in carpool.
    Morning Carpool: 8:30 - 9:15 a.m.
    Afternoon Carpool: 3:30 - 4:00 p.m.
    Summer Gate curbside drop-off and pick-up at Prytania Street gate.
    Little Gate Camp curbside drop-off and pick-up on Philip Street gate.

    Please read the attached handbook carefully. If you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact our Summer at McGehee director Caroline Huber, or our Little Gate Summer director, Melissa Mulvihill.

    Sincerely,
    Kim Field-Marvin
    Head of School
  • May 8, 2020 | GiveNOLA, Senior Art Exhibit, Mélange, Summer Camp, etc.

    May 8, 2020

    Dear Parents,

    First, let me thank you for your tremendous generosity to our GiveNOLA campaign which kicked off on Tuesday. From our frontline heroes, to our unbreakable seniors, to our incredible faculty who are going above and beyond to provide continuity of learning to our students while they learn from home, the McGehee community has stepped up to make the best of a difficult situation. We are so grateful for those of you who were able to make a gift to support the school–it means more now than ever before! Giving for this campaign continues through June 2nd. To make a donation, click here. Click here to see a list of donors to date.

    Happy Faculty Appreciation Week to our Little Gate and McGehee faculty. The Parents’ League had a special celebration planned for our team on May 5th and even though we were unable to hold the luncheon, I would like to propose a ceremonial toast to this extraordinary group. They have been working overtime to make our remote learning both rigorous and meaningful, all the while juggling their own children’s schooling and maintaining their own households. They all have truly been incredible and quite inspirational throughout this stay at home order. Enjoy this video courtesy of the Parents’ League.

    There are so many fantastic things happening during these final days and weeks of school and I would like to share several highlights with you. The Senior Art Exhibition is amazing. If you haven’t already, take a moment to check out our talented artists here: Virtual Senior Art Exhibit . The latest edition of Mélange, our literary magazine is hot off of the presses. Enjoy reading through the work of some of our brilliant, young writers in Mélange. And, last but not least is our Senior Spotlight campaign. The Class of 2020 has worked hard during their time at McGehee and it shows! We are all so proud of them. If you have not yet followed us on social media, please do, and have a look at the webpage dedicated to their plans for the future in our Senior Spotlight.

    We are so pleased to pass along good news. At this stage, we are planning for Summer Camp at both Little Gate and McGehee. We are hopeful that we can begin as early as June 1, but we are working with guidelines regarding Phase I, Phase II, and Phase III openings. Hosting Ochsner daycare during the stay at home period, has given us the opportunity to prototype our health and safety protocols for the past several months. Our experience will help to guide us with camp in limiting group size, creating appropriate hygiene and disinfecting procedures and the like. Our camp will implement crucial measures, including temperature checks, regular handwashing, and consistent sanitizing procedures. Our campus allows us to divide into smaller groups and our many separate spaces to keep our group sizes small.
    For more information on Summer at McGehee, click here.
    For more information on Little Gate camp, click here.

    To start your weekend off right, I wanted to share an adorable video that some of the Pre-K girls made for our seniors. Teacher Allison Steinfeld asked students to send in their messages about the importance of pink at McGehee as well as what it means to be strong. Here is some great advice to the Class of 2020 from the Class of 2033, watch The Importance of Pink.

    Have a wonderful weekend.

    Sincerely,
    Kim Field-Marvin
    Head of School
  • May 1, 2020 | GiveNOLA Day

    May 1, 2020

    Dear McGehee Family,

    Since Louise Schaumburg McGehee opened her school in 1912, McGehee Leading Women have a history of stepping up in times of crisis. After Hurricane Katrina, the New Orleans physical and political landscape was transformed by groups led by women — McGehee alumnae like Becky Curry Zaheri ’85, founder of the Katrina Krewe, and Ruthie Jones Frierson ’58, who led Citizens for One Greater New Orleans.

    The COVID-19 pandemic has focused the spotlight on McGehee leaders, yet again. From our frontline heroes, to our unbreakable seniors, to our incredible faculty who are going above and beyond to provide continuity of learning to our students while they learn from home, the McGehee community has stepped up to make the best of a world turned upside down.

    Now we need your help.

    New Orleans’ community day of giving, GiveNOLA Day, will take place on June 2, but you can make a Scheduled Donation beginning on May 5. Thanks to the generosity of Joy and John Stockmeyer, parents of Molly ’20 and Lizzie ’17, gifts scheduled on May 5 will be matched up to $5,000.

    Starting Tuesday, May 5, you can schedule your gift at https://www.givenola.org/mcgehee or, you can contact a member of our Development team (see below) at any time to help you with your donation and answer your questions.

    The great disruption of the pandemic has affected McGehee, as it has affected all institutions who rely on charitable giving as a crucial part of their annual budgets. The postponement of events like our Spring Gala and Alumnae Reunion leave significant gaps in our fundraising — especially the areas of faculty professional development and student support — which makes GiveNOLA Day more important to McGehee than ever before.

    We humbly ask our McGehee family to make a gift, of any size, to help support our students and faculty.
    Our goal this year is for McGehee, for the 7th year in a row, to be the top school on GiveNOLA Day. With your love, loyalty, and support, we can achieve that record together!

    Feel free to reach out to a member of our Development team:
    Thank you to everyone who has already made a commitment to McGehee for GiveNOLA Day. Everything you do keeps McGehee strong, so our Leading Women will be prepared to step up to any challenge they face.

    Thank you for your support,
    Dr. Kim Field-Marvin
    Head of School
  • April 30, 2020 | Summer Camp

    April 30, 2020

    Dear McGehee and Little Gate Parents,

    We are hopeful that we will be able to begin Summer at McGehee and Little Gate Summer programs on Monday, June 1, as originally planned.

    Over the course of the past weeks, our team has been creating new camp health and safety protocols in light of the pandemic. Our experience with hosting a daycare for the children of Ochsner since March 17 has afforded us the opportunity to test out our protocols and to systematize them. Some of the changes that we plan to institute for camp include (but are not limited to):

    • Taking campers’ temperatures regularly throughout the day
    • Teaching thorough handwashing procedures and building into the daily schedule
    • Limiting group size
    • Spreading out small groups of campers across campus
    • Scaling up cleaning and disinfecting procedures in camp spaces both during the day and after campers have left for the day
    Keep in mind that parents need to sign up for camp, including before care and aftercare, in advance, as spaces will be limited. Given the heightened attention to physical distancing, hygiene and facility cleaning, there will be no drop ins allowed.

    Click here to register for camp. If you have questions, please feel free to reach out to:
    Melissa Mulvihill for Little Gate Summer
    Caroline Huber for Summer at McGehee

    Thank you.

    Sincerely,
    Kim Field-Marvin
    Head of School
  • April 24, 2020 | Spring Gala, Summer Camp and More

    April 24, 2020
     
    Dear Parents,
     
    Welcome back to the last several weeks of school! I hope this letter finds you a bit more rested and refreshed, despite the fact that we did not experience the spring that we had imagined.
     
    Today, I wanted to provide you with a brief breakdown and summary of where we are in several aspects of the decision making process.
     
    Save the Date: Gala Update
    Thank you to our amazing Parents’ League volunteers for what would have been a phenomenal Rock the Yacht fundraiser. As I am sure you are aware, we cannot yet safely host gatherings of this nature so the spring gala will not take place on the rescheduled date of May 16. Instead, get ready to celebrate on Saturday, March 20, 2021! 
     
    Both our online and live auction, as well as our tuition raffle will take place at next year’s event. More details will follow to tuition raffle purchasers from Sally Richardson and to ticket holders from Leslie Tallant, this year’s Parents’ League President. Leslie has done an outstanding job as our volunteer leader. Her enthusiasm and attention to detail are second to none. Please join me in thanking her for her wonderful work throughout this year! Thanks also to the Spring Gala Chairs, Kristen Koppel, Erika Olinger, and Carter Jahncke Perrilliat ’98, Auction Chair Sally Richardson and Patron Party Chairs Taylor Schmidt Pospisil ’02 and Annie Thibodeaux, who put in many, many hours of work on our fundraiser. 
     
    Camp Information
    Many of you have been reaching out with questions about McGehee Summer and Little Gate Summer Camp. We will make every effort to open camps this summer. The best case scenario would allow us to open up on June 1. However, we need some additional time and better information to make final decisions about opening dates.
     
    What we do know is that our camps will be open to McGehee and Little Gate families (students and their siblings) only. We plan to follow appropriate health and safety protocols and will need to practice social distancing and have students in smaller groups. We will need to enforce these standards through hygiene and cleaning and will monitor the temperature of our students and staff every day.
    Camp payments scheduled for April 26 are suspended until May 20th. 
     
    Celebrating our seniors!
    We are continually inspired by each and every one of our seniors. Their leadership and courage during this unprecedented time has been amazing and we are very proud of them all. We can’t wait to celebrate these leading women and their many accomplishments and we will do that as soon as safety allows.
     
    The bond shared by McGehee girls is forever. Pink is unbreakable. We love you Class of 2020! Thanks to the generosity of parents Becky and Chuck Perret, we were able to install fence wrap around school and deliver yard signs to our seniors. Enjoy the video here!

    Financial Disruption to Families
    For families facing unexpected financial hardship as a result of the pandemic, please contact our Director of Finance, Brittanee Baer, to discuss possible adjustments to your tuition payment schedule. 
     
    Should your family require tuition support from our emergency assistance fund, please contact Julee LaPorte, our Director of Enrollment Management by Friday, May 1, 2020. Any inquiries will be held in strictest confidence.
     
    I also wanted to take a moment to express my gratitude for our wonderfully supportive McGehee community. In so many ways, our lives have been turned upside down. Both adults and children are home doing their work remotely and that has presented great challenges both in time management and the ability to focus and complete tasks. 
     
    Our faculty, who care so deeply for all of their students, are juggling their own families while collecting and developing endless resources and ideas to enrich your child’s experience and to continue to spark student curiosity and inspire imaginative thought. As a small, community based institution, McGehee is perfectly poised to continue to provide a unique education, unmatched by many. It only works through partnership–we are thankful for the strong partnership that we have between our faculty and staff and our families. We can feel your support despite our distance and I hope that you can perceive the reciprocal support that we are sending in return. 
     
    Our vibrant and historic campus is very quiet without our students and faculty present. There is nothing that we all want more than having everyone return so that the collective joy, discovery, and learning can continue face to face once more.

    Sincerely,
    Kim Field-Marvin
    Head of School
  • April 17, 2020 | Campus Closure Extended for Remainder of 2020-2021 School Year

    April 17, 2020

    Dear McGehee Family,

    It is with a very heavy heart that I reach out to all of you to say that we will not return to campus for classes this semester. The Governor’s order, coupled with our Mayor’s continuance of the stay at home order in Orleans Parish until May 16, means that we will not be able to return to campus prior to the end of the academic semester. Online learning will continue, starting again on April 20th, as our students complete their academic requirements and coursework for the school year. The semester will conclude sometime during the week of May 18, 2020. Please look for messages from your division heads to provide specific course or grade level end dates for your child.

    We remain hopeful that there is some way, perhaps in small groups, that our students can return to campus to gather their personal belongings and physically say good-bye to their classmates and teachers but it is not clear at this stage if that will be a safe possibility.

    It is important to our community that we find ways to honor and celebrate our Seniors, despite the severe disruption to the end of their McGehee experience. Since March 16, when we shifted to remote learning, we have been in continual discussions with Seniors about their beloved year-ending events. Those discussions allowed us to create some contingency plans to hold in-person May Day and Commencement ceremonies at alternate times. Our goal is to have May Day on Thursday, July 30 and Commencement on Saturday, August 1, 2020. I realize there are other celebratory gatherings such as the 4th Grade and 8th Grade Moving Up Assemblies, and we will make plans for these occasions as well, perhaps virtually. Yet, the culminating events for McGehee girls are May Day and Graduation, so we have these celebrations and our Seniors foremost in our minds. My commitment to The Class of 2020 is to make their celebrations very special ones, remembering these students always as bold, independent, and inclusive young women, who have embraced the school’s mission and have lived by our school’s Honor Code. They are well equipped with the tools they need for their next endeavors.

    As always, I appreciate your support and partnership as we work to provide the very best for our students. I am so grateful for all of the patience and flexibility that our community has shown through this most unusual time. This is not what any of us could have planned for and it is certainly not the end of the school year we had in mind. However, together, we will endure!

    Sincerely,

    Kim Field-Marvin
    Head of School
  • April 15, 2020 | PK-12 Tuition Payments for 2020-2021

    April 15, 2020

    Dear Parents,

    These past weeks have certainly been challenging for all of us and have required us to adapt to working from home, managing remote learning, and balancing the financial needs of our families. We are deeply committed to supporting our students and their families as they navigate these uncertain and confusing times.

    It has come to our attention that Smart Tuition, our third-party tuition collections vendor, has been sending electronic welcome letters with tuition reminders to McGehee families. These emails are being sent without our knowledge as part of an automated system, and we apologize for the insensitive tone and any concern these messages may have caused.

    While we engage in remote learning, we continue to depend on your tuition payments to pay our incredible faculty and staff. However, we also recognize that some families are facing their own financial challenges as a result of this pandemic. As we approach the May 1 tuition due date, we ask that you make your scheduled payment if you are able to do so.

    For families facing unexpected financial hardships as a result of the pandemic, please contact our Director of Finance, Brittanee Baer, to discuss possible adjustments to your tuition payment schedule.

    Should your family require tuition support from our emergency assistance fund, please contact Julee LaPorte, our Director of Enrollment Management by Friday, May 1, 2020. Any inquiries will be held in strictest confidence.

    We value the partnership that we have with our families and are hopeful that we can resume our on-campus activities soon.

    Sincerely,
    Kim Field-Marvin
    Head of School

    Laura Shaw Shields ’72
    Board Chair
  • April 15, 2020 | Letter to New Little Gate Parents re: 2020-2021 Tuition Payments

    April 15, 2020

    Dear New Little Gate Parents,

    These past weeks have certainly been challenging for all of us and have required us to adapt to working from home while at the same time balance the needs of our families. At Little Gate, we are deeply committed to supporting our new students and their families as they navigate these uncertain and confusing times.

    It has come to our attention that Smart Tuition, our third-party tuition collections vendor, has been sending electronic welcome letters with tuition reminders to some of our families. If you have not received this email you will most likely receive it within the coming days and/or weeks. These emails are being sent without our knowledge as part of an automated system, and we apologize for the insensitive tone and any concern these messages may have caused.

    We recognize that some families are facing their own financial challenges as a result of this pandemic. As we approach the May 1 tuition due date, the Finance and Executive Committees of the Board of Trustees decided to move the first Little Gate tuition draft payment for the 2020-2021 year to June 1 instead, to allow extra time for families. It will likely take some time for your Smart Tuition account to reflect this change.

    For families facing unexpected financial hardships as a result of the pandemic, please contact our Director of Finance, Brittanee Baer, to discuss possible adjustments to your tuition payment schedule. Any inquiries will be held in strictest confidence.

    We look forward to partnering with you as the newest members of our community.

    Sincerely,
    Kim Field-Marvin
    Head of School

    Laura Shaw Shields ’72
    Board Chair
  • April 15, 2020 | Little Gate Tuition Credit and Tuition Draft Start Date for 2020-2021

    April 15, 2020

    Dear Parents of Little Gate Students,

    These past weeks have been difficult for all of us, but we are keenly aware of the particular challenges that face those of you with very young children at home during this pandemic.

    We understand that the school’s move to a remote learning platform beginning on Monday, March 16, was a significant disruption to your family’s need for childcare. Our amazing Little Gate teachers, many with their own young children at home, have put forth great creative energy and passion to provide your children with a continued connection to their program, their teachers, and their peers. Because remote learning relies on a student’s ability to be independent, it is particularly challenging for very young children.

    As I have mentioned in previous messages to the whole McGehee community, the pandemic has interrupted all of our lives in both immediate and also in longer-term ways that are not yet entirely clear. Our administrative team is working diligently with our governing board to determine the financial severity of the disruption to the long-range financial viability of our school. As we make decisions, we want to be equitable and considerate of our families, while also ensuring the future sustainability of our school.

    The Finance and Executive Committees of the Board of Trustees have made the decision to issue a credit to families currently enrolled at Little Gate who will be returning for the 2020-2021 school year. The credit of up to 50% of the tuition families paid while children were engaged in remote learning will be applied to the 2020-2021 academic year. As you know, tuition is the school’s largest revenue source and helps us to support our gifted teachers as well as administrators and staff. Should your family decide to forgo this credit, you may choose to donate it to McGehee’s emergency assistance fund in support of our families hit hardest by the economic disruption of the pandemic. Once we are able to ascertain the actual credit amounts, we will provide more details to each family.

    To further support Little Gate families, the committees also decided to move the first Little Gate tuition draft payment for the 2020-2021 year to June 1 (rather than May 1 as originally planned). Please allow some time for your Smart Tuition account to reflect this change. It has also come to our attention that Smart Tuition, our third-party tuition collections vendor, sent a welcome letter with tuition reminders to some of our enrolled families. If you have not received this email you will most likely receive it within the coming days and/or weeks. This email was sent without our knowledge as part of an automated system, and we apologize for the insensitive tone and for any concern this letter causes.

    If you have a need to further modify your tuition payment plan for 2020-2021, please contact the school’s Director of Finance, Brittanee Baer.

    In a typical year, the school does not offer financial assistance for our Little Gate program, however, if you feel that you may need support from our emergency assistance program for 2020-2021, please contact Julee LaPorte, our Director of Enrollment Management by Friday, May 1, 2020.

    Sincerely,
    Kim Field-Marvin
    Head of School

    Laura Shaw Shields ’72
    Board Chair
  • April 9, 2020 | State of School Financials

    April 9, 2020

    Dear Parents,

    This pandemic has greatly affected all of us in ways both large and small, seen and unseen. Besides the deep loss we are experiencing due to a lack of physical connection with others, the economic toll across nearly all sectors is and will continue to be significant.

    Louise S. McGehee School will not be spared by some degree of economic disruption. However, we are fortunate to have the benefit of strong governance protocol and collaboration between the Head of School, the Director of Finance, the senior administrative team, and the Finance Committee of the Board of Trustees. While we practice fiscal discipline through an annual balanced budget, our primary goal moving forward is to ensure the academic excellence of the school. In order to do so, we must support and protect our faculty and staff, who are the key to the school’s short- and long-term survival and success.

    A few of the measures that we have recently taken to serve our families while also fulfilling our commitment to long-term financial stability include:
    • Issuing credits to parents for the meal/snack plans and enrichment or aftercare, once the timeframe of remote learning is more clearly defined
    • Freezing all discretionary spending within division and departmental budgets across the school
    • Consolidating budget oversight to ensure accuracy and efficiency
    • Developing an emergency assistance fund to support McGehee families who might be experiencing financial hardship due to the impact of the pandemic
    • Exploring financial support opportunities for the school through the Federal SBA
    As is common in independent schools and other non-profit entities, Louise S. McGehee School relies primarily on tuition revenue, fundraising, and endowment funds to deliver on its mission:

    “to provide a rigorous college-preparatory education to girls in an inclusive environment which fosters self-esteem, encourages high personal standards, addresses individual student needs, and emphasizes active student participation in the learning process. The program uses traditional and innovative teaching strategies to challenge students and to foster enthusiasm and a commitment to lifelong learning.”

    Roughly 80% of our budget supports salaries and benefits, the rest is directed towards instructional materials, financial assistance, scholarships, overhead expenses, as well as the ongoing maintenance and upkeep of our historic campus. Several of our planned sources of revenue for the 2019-2020 school year have been interrupted due to the pandemic and we are working tirelessly to determine the impact that this will have on our budgets, both for the current year and 2020-2021. Know that we have been seeking professional advice from financial and legal experts and have been in regular communication with regional and national independent school associations as well as local and national heads of school.

    The McGehee community is compassionate and takes strength from its interdependence. The emergency assistance fund that we have established is one way of ensuring that our community can remain solid and unified. If the current situation has substantially impacted your ability to fulfill your financial obligations to the school and requires a restructuring of payments, please contact Brittanee Baer, Director of Finance. If you are in need of financial assistance for the 2020-2021 school year, please reach out to the Director of Enrollment Management, Julee LaPorte. All conversations will be held in strictest confidence.

    It is almost time for spring break and we imagine that it looks quite different from your original plans. Hopefully you and your families are able to make the best of the situation by spending quality time together without the added pressure of school and homework. Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “Enjoy every minute you have with those you love...for no one can take joy that is past away from you. It will be there in your heart to live on when the dark days come.” Certainly it is being with those we love and making memories that helps us endure the unknown.

    Minutes ago we received this video, courtesy of our seniors, the amazing Class of 2020. Their love for their school is evident and we hope you will enjoy their heartfelt message. Even in difficult times and unforgiving circumstances, McGehee girls are resilient. I am so grateful to our seniors who epitomize their roles as Leading Women.

    Warmly,
    Kim Field-Marvin
    Head of School

    Laura Shaw Shields ’72
    Board Chair
  • April 9, 2020 | Letter from the Head of School to Grandparents

    April 9, 2020

    Dear Grandparents,

    As valued members of the school community, your interest in your granddaughters and McGehee is deeply appreciated and I wanted to provide you with a brief state of the school communication about how we are doing amidst the COVID-19 crisis.

    Once COVID-19 was identified in New Orleans, we quickly cancelled and postponed all large scale school events, ultimately closing campus to all students and faculty after school on Friday, March 13.

    In an effort to plan ahead, faculty, staff, and administrators had been outlining a response to such a scenario for a few weeks, building robust course pages, bolstering online learning resources, and testing technology that allows students to engage in real-time remote learning. McGehee teachers took the lead ahead of the other schools in the area in getting their courses up and running promptly at 7:55 a.m. on March 16. Our students did not miss out on a single day of learning.

    From the start of the stay at home order, students and teachers have been employing various types of distance learning modules. From assemblies and class Google meets, singalongs and readings, to real time class discussions and bedtime stories for our youngest students, our faculty and students have jumped on their laptops and made lemonade out of lemons. Our close community is anchored by its relational aspects and it is hard to get used to the absence of that. I am sure your grandchildren are very much missing “regular school” right now. The campus itself is an extension of home for each of them and they must feel some sense of loss. I am very much looking forward to the day we all are able to return to the school grounds and gather together once more.

    I recently read a fascinating article in The Advocate about how local doctors and researchers came together in under a week, to form a testing lab at LSU that can give results to COVID-19 testing in under 24 hours. The newly minted, “River Road Testing Lab” at LSU’s School of Veterinary Medicine, has at its helm a Baton Rouge based pathologist, Dr. Beverly Ogden. You may not be surprised to find out that Dr. Ogden is a McGehee girl, Class of ‘75. She and so many others, McGehee alumnae and otherwise, are putting their lives on the line to overcome this pandemic.

    Finally, in McGehee's long tradition of service to community and leadership, we announced our partnership with Ochsner Health to allow the use of part of our facility to take care of the children of first responders. We will also begin fabricating components in our Creation Station lab to be assembled into shields for first responders to use as protection from contracting the virus. I have never been more proud of the McGehee community and more sure than ever that we are in a strong position to weather the storm. We have invited the community to create cards, letters, and art work to share with elderly members of our community who are not able to receive visitors in person and are delivering them to local nursing homes.

    We sincerely hope you and your families are faring well during this health crisis. Please stay safe!

    Warmly,
    Kim Field-Marvin
    Head of School
  • April 8, 2020 | May Day and Graduation Plans

    April 8, 2020

    Dear Seniors and Parents of Seniors,

    I so appreciate that many of you are considering the silver linings of the unprecedented experience that this pandemic has presented. While the situation is difficult for all of our school community, the impact on senior year has been particularly heartbreaking to you, your families, and me. I wish I could predict the future regarding May and the end of the school year, but it is probably best to plan for a variety of outcomes and scenarios.

    McGehee’s first commencement ceremony took place in 1913 with seven girls wearing short, white dresses, with the “newer” tradition of graduating in long, pink dresses dating back to 1926. In 1921 the celebration of May Day began with a court and maypole, perhaps similar to our May Day today. No matter their history, we all know these are beloved and meaningful traditions at McGehee. They are beautiful and important milestones for our seniors and the McGehee experience would seem incomplete without them.

    To that end, we are going to do whatever we can to ensure that the class of 2020 is able to enjoy these treasured events. As you know, some of the plans already in place may need to change as we abide by various government and CDC recommendations for safe gatherings, etc.

    At this time, if we can indeed return to campus on Monday, May 4, we would hold May Day on Friday, May 15 at 5 p.m. (The original date of May 9 would not give the 3rd Grade and the 10th Grade time to rehearse a production). Under this scenario, we are holding the date of May 21, 2020 at 7 p.m. for graduation. This is our Best Case Scenario, Plan A.

    While we hope it will not come to this, we do feel it is important to formulate alternate plans. To that end, I would like to ask all of us to hold July 30 and August 1 as a possible rescheduled time for May Day on Thursday, July 30 and graduation on Saturday, August 1 as Plan B.

    A final save the date for us would be during college winter break, the weekend of December 18-20. This would be our Plan C with May Day on Friday, December 18 and graduation on Sunday, December 20.

    While I understand these dates may not be ideal for all at this moment, I think it is best to plan for and reserve dates so that we can order graduation invitations and move forward with any planning that needs to take place. I know we are all pulling for our best case scenario in May!

    As we continue to learn more in the days ahead, we will communicate with you. My heart is with you as we live with the uncertainty that currently faces us. It is my greatest hope that we can recoup the ending to your senior year, allowing you to make memories like so many McGehee girls have before you. We will do whatever we can to make these time honored traditions special for you.

    Fondly,
    Kim Field-Marvin
    Head of School
  • April 3, 2020 | Week 3 of Remote Learning

    April 3, 2020

    Dear Parents,

    As we wrap up week three of our “new normal” with remote learning, it has become abundantly clear that not only do we build grit, resilience, and determination in our students, we are strengthening our own resiliency through this worldwide situation. We certainly do not welcome what is happening but we are learning to accept and adapt. Please know how grateful I am for the many positive and encouraging messages I have received. We are certainly blessed as a community to have such supportive parent partners who believe in the power of a McGehee and Little Gate education.

    Through advisory meetings, video calls, google meets, photos, and emails, I am reminded about the resiliency of our student community. McGehee girls are strong and capable and they take on challenges with enthusiasm and passion. They overcome obstacles by working hard and they hold themselves to very high standards. While our Little Gate students are too young to fully realize the gravity of the current situation, they too are overcoming adversity and what has been their routine. While especially challenging for those of you with young ones, your children are learning every day in their own homes, no matter if it’s a teacher-driven activity or by engaging in imaginative play.

    I am especially grateful for the silver linings many have shared with me. I hope your families are finding joy in being together.

    Here is a sneak peek at some of the learning that is taking place while we are off campus as well as a few photos of some precious new McGehee girls.

    Stay safe.

    Sincerely,
    Kim Field-Marvin
    Head of School
  • March 31, 2020 | Campus Closure Extended to May 1, 2020

    March 31, 2020

    Dear Parents,

    We are eager to get our students back on campus as soon as it is deemed safe to do so. As you know, Governor John Bel Edwards officially extended the stay at home order for the state of Louisiana yesterday for an additional two weeks through the end of April. In compliance with that order, we will extend and continue our remote learning program until that time. Remote classes will not be held during McGehee’s spring break beginning Friday, April 10. Online classes will resume on Monday, April 20.

    Given this current scenario, our plan, as it stands today, is to welcome students back to campus at the earliest on Monday, May 4th. If we indeed receive the Governor and Mayor’s “go ahead” to reopen school at that time, we will do everything we can to make this a reality.

    I realize we have a number of significant events scheduled to take place during the month of May and ask for your patience as we assess and determine which of these can safely take place. We will certainly be limited in crowd gathering and will have many factors to take into consideration. As always we are continually monitoring the situation, which changes rapidly. The school is in contact with the Louisiana Department of Health as well as other healthcare professionals and the other ISAS school heads in New Orleans. We are all diligently working together on the very best outcome for our students.

    As I mentioned in my letter last Friday, we have made several additions to our website, including FAQs which will help answer some of your very important questions. One question in particular that has been raised is regarding tuition, and I thought it appropriate to address the answer here. Both Little Gate and McGehee faculty quickly engaged their students with distance learning programs, so teachers are still working (in a much different and more challenging environment) and students are still advancing their learning (also in a much different and often more challenging environment). Remote learning requires an all-hands-on-deck approach with our faculty, nursing staff, technology team, maintenance technicians, and administrative staff putting in countless hours to ensure our students have the optimal learning environment at home. Teaching and learning will continue, our teachers continue to be paid, and therefore Little Gate and McGehee will continue to collect the annual tuition. We are here to help our families and encourage those who are experiencing an extreme hardship due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to contact our Director of Enrollment Management, Julee LaPorte to apply for additional financial assistance for the 2020-21 school year. For information about restructuring your current payment plan please contact our Director of Finance, Brittanee Baer.

    As urged by the city, state and federal government, please stay home if you are able. I hope our community will unite (virtually) and do their part to stop the spread of coronavirus. I want to see all of you, on campus, in May!

    Thank you.

    Sincerely,
    Kim Field-Marvin
    Head of School
  • March 27, 2020 | Week 2 of Remote Learning and FAQs

    March 27, 2020

    Dear Parents,

    We are certainly grateful for your support as we navigate this uncertain time in our lives. The current global health crisis has us all feeling unsettled and the deluge of information that buffets us daily does not provide us with a sense of ballast. As you may know, we have a COVID-19 Resources page on our website and we have added a FAQs section to answer some of the questions you may have. We will also be rolling out a new page on our website with parent resources for dealing with COVID-19. This page will include information on staying healthy during this time, as well as activities and lesson ideas shared by our faculty. Stay tuned for a notification that the site is live.

    As we complete week two of our remote learning experience, I think we all can agree, we miss seeing our students (and all of you) in person! Our community is anchored by its relational aspects and it is hard to get used to the absence of that right now. I am sure your children are very much experiencing the reduced intimacy of remote classes. The campus itself is an extension of home for each of them and they must feel some sense of loss for that learning home just now. I am very much looking forward to the day we all are able to return to campus and gather together once more.

    Until then, I wanted to share a video we recently sent out to our newly accepted Pre-K and Kindergarten applicants. Featuring 5th grade student Parrish Kearney, the video focuses on what she loves about McGehee. It is her thank you note to the school. Particularly poignant to me is Parrish’s belief that she can do anything because she is a McGehee girl. I hope watching this video makes your day–it sure made mine!

    Stay safe and healthy and know all of you are never far from my mind.
    
    Sincerely,
    Kim Field-Marvin
    Head of School
  • March 27, 2020 | A Letter from the Head of School to Alumnae re: Leading Women on the Frontlines

    March 27, 2020

    Dear Alumnae,

    I read a fascinating article in this morning’s Advocate about how local doctors and researchers came together in under a week, to form a testing lab at LSU that can give results to COVID-19 testing in under 24 hours. The newly minted “River Road Testing Lab” at LSU’s School of Veterinary Medicine, has at its helm a McGehee alumna, Baton Rouge based pathologist, Dr. Beverly Ogden ’75 as the lab’s new director. I don’t personally know Dr. Ogden but hope to meet her someday soon. I know so many of you are on the front lines of the COVID-19 battle, and this article prompted me to reach out personally to thank you for all you are doing to fight this pandemic.

    Are you a frontline helper? If you are a doctor, nurse, researcher, pharmacist, care worker, cleaner, social worker–if you are part of the battle to contain COVID-19 or help sufferers of the virus, please let us know what you are doing and where you are. We want our current students to know that when a crisis arises McGehee women say, “How can I help?”

    While I know it takes valuable time, when you have a moment, please share your story by replying to alumnae@mcgeheeschool.com

    Thank you for your service – all of our alumnae are treasured #leadingwomen but today, I wanted to take this opportunity to pay tribute to those of you currently immersed in fighting COVID-19. Your work is invaluable and we are deeply appreciative of your commitment.

    Sincerely,
    Kim Field-Marvin
    Head of School
  • March 20, 2020 | Happy Founder's Day and Week 1 of Remote Learning


    March 20, 2020

    Dear Parents,

    This first week of remote learning has impacted so many and I want to thank you all for your support and patience during this unpredictable time. I have been proud to hear how our community is supporting one another throughout it all.

    Let me take a moment to commend our incredible faculty for working overtime to get remote learning operational on Monday morning. McGehee led the way with continuing our academic program remotely beginning at 7:55 a.m. on March 16th. Despite some minor technological glitches and hiccups, this accomplishment is truly remarkable!

    This week has, in some ways, felt more like a month. I am very grateful to our students, teachers, and parents as we try our best to keep as close as we can to normalcy in a very difficult situation. Parents, you truly have been wonderful partners in this endeavor. I know it is time consuming and a little frustrating to juggle your full and busy lives and help and guide your children through their schoolwork. Please know how grateful we all are for this commitment. Our teachers have received a lot of positive feedback from many of you-thank you for those shout outs. These comments are inspirational, especially in times as challenging as this.

    Online learning helps us achieve the ultimate goal of maintaining a rigorous education and completing coursework during the school year. The faculty, staff and administration have demonstrated their dedication to Little Gate and McGehee through their tireless efforts, working around the clock to jump into a digital platform, fine tuning it constantly.

    My heart goes out to the Class of 2020 as they are perhaps most disrupted by the current situation. It's heartbreaking for them and for me to have a big part of their senior year virtually disappear. The last months as a senior have always been a poignant time for McGehee girls, filled with opportunities to reminisce, share, and make new memories together. This year they have to put physical distance between each other, just when they long to be together. We are committed and determined to see our seniors graduate in pink on the front lawn of our campus, although it is not yet clear precisely when that will occur. Rest assured, we all plan to roll out the red carpet and make Graduation 2020 something very special indeed.

    Today would have marked our Founder's Day celebration at McGehee, an annual celebration that commemorates and celebrates our remarkable history, our incredible alumnae, and our faculty who have dedicated themselves to this school and its students. I look forward to carrying on this tradition of honoring Louise Schaumburg McGehee's birthday in the future. In the meantime, Hail Miss McGehee, we are forever grateful for your vision.

    Sincerely,
    Kim Field-Marvin
    Head of School
  • March 16, 2020 | A Letter from the Head of School to Alumnae re: Campus Closure

    March 16, 2020

    Dear McGehee Alumnae,

    I wanted to take a few moments today to reach out to all of you, to check in, and to see how you are doing in this most unusual time, whether you are in and around New Orleans or further afield. You may be curious to see how your alma mater is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    As you may be aware, our Governor made a proclamation to close K-12 schools throughout the State of Louisiana beginning today. His administration hoped that a coordinated statewide effort might help to slow the spread of the virus and allow our healthcare system some time to respond to the virus as well as to continue to maintain the on-going healthcare needs of the community.

    In an effort to plan ahead, faculty, staff, and administrators had been outlining a response to such a scenario for a few weeks, building robust course pages, bolstering online learning resources, and testing technology that allows students to engage in real-time remote learning. I am amazed at how responsive, enthusiastic, and swift to embrace the challenge our faculty, staff and administration has been. What an incredible team!

    You would not be surprised to know that McGehee teachers have taken the lead ahead of the other schools in the area in getting their courses up and running promptly at 7:55 a.m. this morning so that our students would not miss out on even a single day of learning. I received feedback from a Lower School mom on Friday afternoon whose daughter could not wait for Monday morning so that she could participate in online school!

    Starting this morning, students and teachers have been employing various types of distance learning modules. For example, Middle Schoolers met virtually in their advisory groups to discuss their concerns about the current health crisis and how each individual was actively taking charge of her own learning. Kindergartners were involved in a Google Meet to discuss a book that they were reading, and to narrate it with their own illustrations. Upper School teachers have created virtual class schedules complete with links to real-time class discussions at the time that their regular in-person classes would be meeting.

    Please know that we are concerned, but hopeful that you will all stay healthy in this current crisis. For those of us who are older, isolation issues can be difficult as well as inconvenient. What I do know is that McGehee alumnae are stalwart supporters of one another and lifelong friends. Surely you will look out for one another, if not in person, then through phone calls, FaceTime, email, and social media. Please contact each other and reach out to us to let us know how you are doing.

    Feel free to contact Kathleen Banta (504-908-1328) and Elenore Falshaw (504-232-8131) with any concerns you may have. If you are local to New Orleans and need assistance in any way, we would love to help, to the extent that we are able.

    I have attached several links to the school's ongoing communication to our parents to keep you up to speed. If you would like to stay up to date on the latest developments, you can click on our COVID-19 Resource page .

    Finally, in McGehee's long tradition of service to community and leadership, yesterday we announced our partnership with Ochsner Health to allow the use of part of our facility to take care of the children of first responders. I have never been more proud of the McGehee community and more sure than ever that we are in a strong position to weather the storm.

    Stay safe and in touch.

    Sincerely,
    Kim Field-Marvin
    Head of School
  • March 15, 2020 | Partnership With Ochsner Health During School Closure

    March 15, 2020

    Dear McGehee Community,

    As we lean into what feels like an ambiguous and unsettling time, we remain hopeful that our remote learning modules will provide the structure and academic rigor needed for some normalcy in an abnormal situation.

    While the Governor's recent proclamation made it clear that all schools in Louisiana be temporarily closed, McGehee has the opportunity to play a supportive role in this current public health crisis for the city of New Orleans. Certainly the statewide closure of schools presents a significant issue for all working parents in the area, yet it most acutely impacts healthcare providers and the healthcare system as a whole during a pandemic. This particular crisis is one in which those medical professionals cannot rely on their parents for child care, since grandparents are part of the population most at risk of serious consequences from the virus.

    On Friday, March 13, Warner Thomas, the CEO and President of Ochsner Health, approached the Head of School and the Board of Trustees to ask if Ochsner might use some space at McGehee, while McGehee students are not on campus, to provide childcare for children of Ochsner medical professionals.

    The Board of Trustees unanimously decided in a meeting yesterday, Saturday, March 14, that the school will play a part in supporting the area's healthcare system by partnering with Ochsner to provide a childcare service for children 4-years-old and older to some of their employees. Ochsner is also working with other community organizations in the area in similar partnerships so that there will be enough caregiving spaces around the area to ensure that medical professionals who are parents will be able to support our city during this time of crisis.

    A pandemic is the time when we need healthcare providers the most, not only to care for people infected by the COVID-19, but almost more importantly, to care for those in our community who are dealing with sickness of all kinds.

    Please be assured that we will be following Ochsner's cleaning protocols for the campus using daytime and evening cleaning services to disinfect surfaces. We will endeavor to keep groups relatively small to reduce the chance of transmission. We will also follow Ochsner's screening protocols when children come to campus each day.

    It is important to note that during the time the school hosts the Ochsner group we are able to continue our contractual agreements with some of our hourly employees as well as our food service, our security guard, and cleaning service, who would otherwise not continue to be paid if our own students are not on campus.

    The Board of Trustees and I understand the challenges that our migration to remote learning may have on your family and we wish that we could provide childcare to all families that need support during this time. However, this crisis is asking us to re-imagine how we interact and it reminds us that it is nearly impossible to completely plan for the unexpected. Louise S. McGehee wants to play a part in helping our city move forward through this decidedly unexpected health crisis and be part of the solution to the city's return to full vibrancy as quickly as possible.

    Sincerely,
    Kim Field-Marvin
    Head of School

    Laura Shaw Shields '72
    Chair, Board of Trustees
  • March 13, 2020 | Moving to Remote Learning on Monday March 16, 2020

    March 13, 2020

    Dear Parents,

    After facing challenges, we often emerge stronger and I am sure that the current test before us, will present opportunities to us to learn and grow if we can face them with courage and solidarity. The people of New Orleans know this more intimately than most other folks I know.

    Today the Governor has declared a statewide school closure with the goal of mitigating the transmission of COVID-19 in our community. Beginning on Monday, March 16, schools in Louisiana will move to online or remote learning modules for the next several weeks.

    Over the course of the last few weeks our staff has been preparing for this very real possibility. Our teachers have been bolstering their course pages and gathering resources to allow students to continue their learning from home. What this means for students may be different depending upon their stage of development. You will be receiving information soon from your child's division as to how to tap into resources and support your child at home.

    Before leaving campus today, students should take all of the materials that they need including laptops, chargers, textbooks, pleasure reading books, and any other academic work that they might support their learning. While students are off campus, we will practice deep cleaning protocols in all of our spaces on campus.

    As always, the best way to prevent the spread of the virus is to practice good hygiene including thorough and frequent hand washing and coughing into one's elbow.

    In addition, please follow the CDC guidelines around maintaining social or, more aptly, physical distance between your family and others. Think carefully about limiting your family's participation in large group activities/areas while students are not on campus. If you have a fever or other symptoms of illness, do not interact with others.

    The situation around COVID-19 is fluid and we will continue to communicate with you about any changes in directives from federal, state, and local officials. We are sorry for the certain inconvenience that this situation presents to all of our families. Please know that the health and welfare of our students, teachers, administrators, and staff is always at the forefront of my mind.

    Thank you for entrusting us with your children. They bring me joy and wonder each day. I look forward to getting our school schedules back to normal as soon as it is deemed safe to do so.

    Sincerely,
    Kim Field-Marvin
    Head of School
  • March 12, 2020 | Canceling and Postponing Large Scale School Events

    March 12, 2020

    Dear McGehee Community,

    Now that COVID-19 has been identified in New Orleans, we are moving forward with plans to limit exposure of the disease to our students as well as our faculty, staff, and administration. To that end, as of today, we will not hold events on campus assembling large groups other than our students, faculty, and staff until further notice. We are also suspending field trips until further notice. This decision was made at the recommendation of health care providers and the LA Department of Health, who have encouraged schools to help in isolating the disease.

    We are truly sorry for any inconvenience that this may cause. We will be working with our alumnae body for plans to reschedule Founder's Day and the Alumnae Reunion. Many of you have registered to attend our Parents' League Spring Gala, Rock the Yacht. This event has been rescheduled for Saturday, May 16, 2020, so please mark your calendars now for what will now be a fun and festive end of the year party. If you have any questions about the gala, please contact Leslie Tallant.

    Over the course of the past weeks, McGehee's faculty has been developing an academic continuity plan in the event that we need to vacate our buildings for a period of time. Teachers have collected and posted resources for students of all ages and have tested technology to allow for both synchronous and asynchronous learning. Should the need arise, your children's teachers and division heads will be sharing more information with you regarding how to access those resources and to enable students to continue their learning. Once again, the best way to reduce transmission is to carefully wash one's hands with soap and water, to cover your cough with an elbow or a tissue, and to stay home if you feel sick.

    We will soon be posting information about COVID-19 on our website along with resources about how to discuss the issue with children, in addition to other helpful links.

    As always we will be in touch with additional information throughout this evolving situation. Thank you for your understanding.

    Sincerely,
    Kim Field-Marvin
    Head of School
  • March 4, 2020 | Update from CDC

    March 4, 2020
     
    Dear Parents,
     
    As mentioned in Sunday's correspondence regarding the COVID-19 coronavirus, I promised to follow up as needed with additional information. 
     
    The CDC announced today that they have updated their traveler isolation criteria and have moved Italy to a Level 3 widespread community transmission status. Anyone who traveled to Italy (or China, Iran, S. Korea) during the last two weeks, especially during the Mardi Gras break, will need to contact our School Nurse, Maria Meyer at 504-274-4941.  The CDC is recommending that  anyone traveling back from a Level 3 travel risk country should refrain from work, school, and other congregate settings for 14-days (self-isolation). 
     
    In the event of self-isolation or a local outbreak which could require us to close school, teachers will provide online access to curricular materials so that students can maintain their course of study.
     
    You may wish to consult the attached document which provides details about how to discuss this with your children as well as pertinent health information.
     
    We continue to monitor the recommendations set forth by the Louisiana Department of Health and the CDC.
     
    Sincerely,
    Kim Field-Marvin
    Head of School
  • March 1, 2020 | Health and Safety Message

    March 1, 2020

    Dear McGehee families,

    The novel Coronavirus (COVID19) has become a worldwide health concern as it continues to spread, and we are working diligently to find ways to keep our community safe.  There have been NO reported cases so far in Louisiana , but out of an abundance of caution, we have been consulting state and local agencies and medical care providers to come up with a plan for keeping the Louise S. McGehee School community safe.
     
    McGehee has consistently been in compliance with recommendations from the Louisiana Department of Health. The most recent virus presents an emerging situation, and we will continue to be in close contact with state and local agencies and health care providers. We will share any new information on this as it is relevant to our community.
     
    Here are the current recommendations from the LA Department of Health and the CDC that we will follow here at McGehee (if these guidelines are updated, we will keep you informed):
    • Students will be sent home immediately if they have a fever (100.4 or higher).
    • As always, they MUST stay home until they have been fever-free for a MINIMUM of 24 hours WITHOUT the aid of medicine/fever reducers.
    • When your child has been sent home, and if you believe they are showing symptoms of COVID19 (cough, fever, shortness of breath), contact your medical provider. Follow your medical provider's instructions. (Click HERE for more on the symptoms of COVID19). And, please let the school know so we can properly prepare.
    McGehee will increase its cleaning protocols and hand-washing protocols within classrooms and common spaces. Teachers have received instructions from the LA Department of Health and local medical providers regarding how to perform proper hand-washing techniques.

    The CDC and LA Department of Health both recommend basic good hygiene as your best line of defense:
    • Frequent hand washing (at least 20 seconds with soap and water) 
    • Avoid touching your nose, mouth and face.
    • Cover your cough or sneeze, then throw tissue away and immediately wash your hands.
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
    • STAY HOME if you are sick.
    For children at McGehee, the risks of COVID19 are currently negligible. And encouraging news seems to be that children are less at risk than the elderly. For more information on age-related risk, click  HERE .
     
    For up-to-date information on how COVID19 is being followed and watched in Louisiana, go to the  LA Department of Health's webpage  on this, as it is being updated frequently.

    Families who have traveled internationally are encouraged to check with the  CDC's website on country restrictions .
     
    Medical experts and disease professionals urge citizens throughout the country to avoid panic. Maintaining good hygiene and staying away from school or work when you are sick are key to keeping our community healthy. If you have additional questions or concerns, please reach out to our school nurse, Maria Meyer ( mariam@mcgeheeschool.com ). Thank you for your continued partnership. 
     
    Sincerely, 
    Kim Field-Marvin
    Head of School

Campus Events and Visitors

Under the current quarantine and isolation requirements campus access to Little Gate and McGehee is limited to essential personnel. 

Several large scale events have already been postponed (including the Spring Gala, Founder’s Day, Alumnae Reunion, class trips, etc). Based on direction from local government and health officials we will evaluate our upcoming events and will keep you informed as the situation evolves.

Remote Learning

Thanks to our faculty's hard work on an acadmic continuity plan we were able to activate remote learning at Little Gate and McGehee first thing on  Monday, March 16, 2020. All classes are in full swing. Please follow us on social media for daily updates. 
Facebook
Instagram
Twitter

If you have questions about your child's remote learning plan please contact your division head. Their contact information can be found on this page. 

If you have questions regarding technology please contact our tech department techgroup@mcgeheeschool.com for additional support.

Social Distancing Recommendations

  • Maintain a safe social distance of 6 feet or more in all settings to include meetings.
  • Meeting sizes in terms of number of participants should be kept to a minimum in order to maintain safe social distance of 6 ft. The current recommendation is groups less than 10. 
  • Meeting venue should be large enough to accommodate the 6 feet minimum social distancing
  • Recognize that COVID-19 is spread mainly through respiratory droplets that can suspend in air for a period of time, and to contain all respiratory secretions with tissue and then immediately discard and sanitize hands.
  • HANDWASHING with warm water and soap is the most effective way to prevent spread of disease, infection, and viruses.
  • If handwashing is not readily available utilize hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol based.

Guidance for Those Who Believe They Have Been Exposed

The possibility of exposure to COVID-19 increases as more cases are confirmed around the country. If you believe you have been exposed to a person with COVID-19 or if you are exhibiting symptoms of respiratory illness (fever, cough, shortness of breath), please seek treatment from a healthcare professional and follow CDC guidance.

If you or a family member have been diagnosed with COVID-19, or are being monitored for COVID-19 please contact the school nurse, Maria Meyer at 504-274-4941 or by email.

FAQs

List of 7 items.

Contact Us

List of 12 members.

  • Photo of Kimberly Field-Marvin

    Kimberly Field-Marvin 

    Head of School
  • Photo of Maria Meyer

    Maria Meyer 

    Nurse
    504-274-4941
  • Photo of Betsy Dobson

    Betsy Dobson 

    Head of Little Gate
    504-274-4946
  • Photo of Meredith Duke

    Meredith Duke 97

    Assistant Head of Little Gate
    504-274-4930
  • Photo of Whitney Drennan

    Whitney Drennan 

    Head of Lower School
    504-274-4934
  • Photo of Jessica Holl

    Jessica Holl 

    Head of Middle School
    504-274-4922
  • Photo of Jeanné Appelget

    Jeanné Appelget 

    Head of Upper School
    504-274-4921
  • Photo of Kristen Dry

    Kristen Dry 79

    Director of Marketing & Communications
    504-274-4916
  • Photo of Carlotta Pelikan

    Carlotta Pelikan 

    Guidance Counselor
    504-274-3989
  • Photo of Eugenia Stern

    Eugenia "Genie" Stern 

    Guidance Counselor
    504-274-4938
  • Photo of Brittanee Baer

    Brittanee Baer 

    Director of Finance
    504-274-4923
  • Photo of Julee LaPorte

    Julee LaPorte 

    Director of Enrollment Management
    504-323-5490
2343 Prytania Street
New Orleans, LA 70130
504-561-1224
publications@mcgeheeschool.com
Louise S. McGehee School is a private independent all-girls school for Pre-K through grade 12 and open to all qualified girls regardless of race, religion, national or ethnic origin.