Our Gryphons celebrated a field hockey win today at River City Sportsplex! With the 8th grade players showing strong leadership skills, the team beat Panthers United 1-0.
Orchard House Middle School
Education for Girls | Grades 5-8
Operating as usual
Students in Ms. Brown's fifth grade music class today started with some singing and dancing, then moved onto learning notes on the recorder. They'll practice many facets of music-making and performance throughout the quarter. On Fridays, class ends with "OHMS Idol," a chance for one student to share a talent with the rest of the class, either on video or in person!
The 6th graders walked to our neighbors at Visual Arts Center of Richmond to see the latest exhibit, Scavenger Deities. For this solo show, artist Rachel Schmidt considered the environmental impact of museums by using exclusively materials that were byproducts of VisArts programs. This approach dovetails perfectly with the upcoming launch of the 6th grade recycling R.U.L.E. and their focus on upcycled materials in art class. At the end of the gallery tour, students were invited to scavenge their own materials to bring back to school for their studio projects.
The next month is filled with so many ways to check out what OHMS would look like for your daughter! First up, come see us at the Richmond Family Magazine Education Expo at the Science Museum of Virginia on Sunday, October 8, from 1-4pm. After that, register for our fall admissions events—Coffee & Cider chats in October and our interactive parent open house in November.
Register and find out more at orchardhouse.org/events
In Science class, groups of 8th graders are developing 3D models to represent their PPPP - Part of the Planet we want to Protect Project. The teams started doing research last spring and now are using recycled materials to build environments that achieve goals such as protecting the Arctic, reducing energy emissions and implementing best practices for the consumer. An all-school presentation is coming up later this month and we can't wait to see their finished projects!
Ms. Reyes, our new PE teacher, already has the girls boarding the bus to explore the city as a classroom in spots such as the Byrd Park VITA course, a one-mile walking loop with challenging pull-up bars, a rope climb and more.
Too hot for outdoor recess? No problem! Plenty of fun can be had inside with some hula hoops, a couple of four square courts and a few jump ropes on our third floor.
OHMS parents, the first meeting of the Parent Book Club will be held tonight from 6-7pm. This fall, parents will be reading and discussing How the Word is Passed by Clint Smith. Reach out to Ms. Coates for more information!
Locker organizing and decorating is a highlight of starting the new school year.
The eighth graders met with Head of School Laura Haskins in her office this week to discuss qualities of a leader. Their insights? A good leader is a role model who is kind, knowledgable, inclusive and organized. The Class of 2024 will be practicing those skills all year as they lead various groups and projects. They finished the leadership workshop by posting their intentions for the year on a decorated bulletin board outside of Ms. Haskin's office.
Creativity was running wild today as students each created their own "brand" after hearing from Lauren Stewart, co-founder of Campfire & Co., which recently helped Orchard House refresh its logo and brand. During her presentation, Stewart talked about major brands such as Nike, recognized by a simple swoosh mark, and how music can be part of brand recognition. Students then put their creative minds to work to come up with brands of their own, complete with artwork and slogans. Some even identified music that represented their brands!
Orientation Day is a wrap! Our 5s and 6s traveled throughout the building today, making new friends and trying new challenges. We can't wait to see all of the students tomorrow for the first full day!
Speaking of tomorrow, don't forget to tag us in your photos!
In case you missed it, we've celebrated our upcoming big birthday at OHMS with a new home on Instagram. Find us there at and share our fresh new look with all the extraordinary girls in your life!
Underrated sensation: opening up your book to find grains of sand reminding you of the warm hours spent taking in a new story by the waves. Keep sending us your summer reading submissions!
Absolutely loving this backyard graphic novel moment!
We love a family that reads together (or at least poses together for selfies with books)! We're craving more of your summer reading submissions—make sure to send them in before school starts to keep earning points for your class!
Can't wait for a review for this one the author describes as You've Got Mail meets comic-con! Find your one true pairing with a book this summer and let us know how it goes.
We strongly recommend finding solitude in a quiet corner to get lost in a good book. Remember, you can submit your summer reading entries right up until Sunday, August 27!
Reading can really brighten up your day with a much needed pop of color—loving this summer reading challenge submission today!
One of the simplest joys of summer—hanging out with a good book.
Three entries for the rising 8th graders in one vacation mode photo—we do love a strategic submission!
No hike is complete without a book for the water breaks—we love seeing what paths OHMS students follow while reading this summer!
OHMS students know that the perfect pillow is essential gear for supporting your ideal summer bookworm life!
Orchard House has a brand new look for its 25th birthday! We partnered with EVERGIB and Campfire & Co in a marketing and branding study and project, and with a team of volunteers, we began a year-long process to thoughtfully consider how we are sharing the compelling story and vision of Orchard House with those who are just getting to know us. A hearty thank you goes out to the extended brand team, composed of alumnae, faculty members, Board members, current parents, and parents of alumnae—having community from all points on the timeline of OHMS history on board was essential to making sure our direction was fresh but still aligned with the spirit of Orchard House as its always been.
Nothing like a book to give you a little perspective—our students are really leaning into the summer reading challenge!
Another summer reading shot from one of our students—don't forget to submit your summer reading vacation photos by clicking on the form on the OHS website!
Alumnae, we know y'all have been BUSY. Are you in a band? Are you studying abroad? Did you start a business? Are you fostering a litter of puppies or helping rehabilitate horses? Did you graduate? Did you just get your first byline in a publication? Did you just relocate with your family? Did you make a guest appearance on a podcast? Are you teaching a new age group? Are you playing on a team? Did you just help design a set or run production lighting? Did you make a career move you're excited about? Have you been presenting your creations in local markets? Did you build a tiny house? Did you just get a new certification? Is your garden a thing of wonder this summer? Did you volunteer somewhere recently? Did you build something? Do you have an upcoming DJ set? Did you have an experience that made you change your major? Did you start a residency or fellowship? Is your family growing?
We're compiling updates for the 25th Anniversary edition of the OHS Spotlight, and we want to know it all. Find our alumnae update form on orchardhouse.org and tell us what's new!
Who in the world would show up to a castle without a lengthy tome in hand? Not an Orchard House girl, that's for sure! Our summer reading challenge continues with more shots of students with their summer reads while in vacation mode.
An alum and a student representing the classics by the shore for our summer reading challenge! Judy Blume and middle school are a combo as tried and true as summer and sand. Keep reading!
We love a beach read! This summer reading challenge entry features Soman Chainani's compilation of retold fairy tales. Chainani talked to students about the power of reimagining perspective when he visited to talk about Beasts and Beauty.
Dispatches from vacation mode—our students wouldn't be caught anywhere without a book!
With a heavy heart, we are sharing that longtime faculty member Suzi Horner passed away peacefully this week after her battle with cancer. Suzi worked at Orchard House for 20 years as our P.E. and Health teacher, high school coordinator, registrar, 8th Grade homeroom teacher, and bus driver for many years. She'll be remembered as a loving mother and grandmother, a doting dog mom, a cheerleader for joyful movement, a supportive and attentive teacher, colleague, and friend, the life of the party, and a straight shooter with a wildly generous heart.
A celebration of Suzi's life will be held at Orchard House School at 500 N. Allen Ave. on Saturday, July 15 at 4:00pm. All of those whose lives Suzi touched are invited to attend and celebrate our dear friend.
In addition to street parking, we have permission for guests to park in the front corner of Lowe's (1640 W. Broad St.), nearest the intersection of Broad St. and Allen Ave. For handicapped parking needs, please call us at 804.228.2436 or email Elizabeth Lafoon at [email protected].
Our students are off to the races with their summer reading! Students can earn points for their class by reading books they choose on their own and from lists recommended by teachers and friends. There's even a bonus for sending a photo of yourself reading in vacation mode! More relaxed reading photos to come.
Alumnae, you are invited to join us this Friday as we celebrate the graduation of the Class of 2023! We know you still know the words to the school song, so drop by 500 N. Allen on June 2 at 7:00pm to say hello to your teachers, join us as the whole school sings “Simple Gifts,” and show your support for our graduating 8th graders.
The 8th Grade vs. Faculty volleyball game wasn’t exactly a runaway, but we wouldn’t say it was especially close either—for the first time since 2012, the win went to the Class of 2023, whose well-placed serves, communication, and spirit took them to the top! On top of that, all players were spurred on by the world’s best cheering section. We LOVE this tradition!
Our 6th Grade citizen scientists made a splash canoeing in the James and its creeks to learn about what makes a body of water healthy and give their corner of the river a wellness check. Surrounded by the chirps of the migrant prothonotary warblers and enshrouded by lush arrowhead plants, the 6s performed a series of tests to see if the temperature, turbidity, and pH fell into healthy ranges. Our guiding metaphor for the area we were in? Wetlands are the kidneys of the water system—they help by filtering out a lot of the evidence of human life that comes in the form of agricultural and development runoff. Thanks to for a not-so-buggy, definitely muddy, and all-hands-on-deck day of fun and learning!
Our 6th Grade citizen scientists made a splash canoeing in the James and its creeks to learn about what makes a body of water healthy and give their corner of the river a wellness check. Surrounded by the chirps of the migrant prothonotary warblers and enshrouded by lush arrowhead plants, the 6s performed a series of tests to see if the temperature, turbidity, and pH fell into healthy ranges. Our guiding metaphor for the area we were in? Wetlands are the kidneys of the water system—they help by filtering out a lot of the evidence of human life that comes in the form of agricultural and development runoff. Thanks to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation for a not-so-buggy, definitely muddy, and all-hands-on-deck day of fun and learning!
The 8th Graders hopped on the train to DC for a full day—their experiences included a scavenger hunt in the National Gallery of Art, heading to the top of the Washington Monument, a picnic on the National Mall, a workshop at the International Spy Museum, a stroll through the U.S. Botanic Garden, and (of course!) the traditional hacky sack circle with Mr. Hollander.
Hand tools are great for art, but the 7s are ready for something more powerful! They've started building sanctuary boxes, which they'll stage as symbolic representations in miniature of their inner lives.
This week we hosted OHS parent Erin Simon, whose position of Vice President and Head, Plastic Waste and Business at the WWF gives her tons of insight to share with students about how to get involved with conservation efforts all the way from the individual level—reduce, reuse, recycle!—to the global level, including her work on policymaking for an intergovernmental resolution to end plastic pollution. Students heard about how important it is to remember that just because they're not necessarily in positions of authority, their voices and actions can still create change. They also learned that no individual, not even an individual government, can succeed in such large change with strong collaboration. Students wrapped up the presentation nailing a pop quiz about plastic and the environment.
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500 N Allen Avenue
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