Welcome Letters


Welcome to the 2021-2022 School Year! Below are welcome letters from Head of School Julia Fanara and Assistant Head of School Sara McCarthy. 

Dear Alverno Parents and Students,

I hope you have had an enjoyable summer so far, away from Zoom meetings and the computer. I know it is hard to believe, but we are 5 weeks away from returning to campus for a new school year! We are very excited to welcome all of you back in person! Our theme for this year is inspired by the poet, Amanda Gorman, best known for the inaugural poem at President Biden’s inauguration. 

“For there is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it.”

Our 2021-22 theme will be “Be Brave Enough to Be the Light!” We believe that this will inspire all of us to see the light in the world and to seize the opportunity to be a part of it. It is also important to realize that it is not always easy to be the light, especially with so much changing in the world as we are dealing with the pandemic. So, in typical Alverno fashion, we are making a conscious choice to approach our challenges as opportunities and to be brave enough to be the light.

This year is bringing change to Alverno’s Upper campus. You will notice some changes on the campus, including gates separating the Lower School from the Upper School. We have also had some key people move offices, as we have reclaimed some much needed space. Ms. Witherington has moved into the main office and Ms. McCarthy has moved across from Ms. Gray. Ms. Bass is next door to the Faculty Lounge.

We are thrilled to welcome some new faculty and staff members to our campus while we have said good-bye to some others. Additionally, we are still in the process of hiring a few others and will introduce them to you as they join our team!  

Ms. Shannon Keller, M.F.A. (Art teacher) Ms. Keller is a graduate of Pratt Institute and the San Francisco Art Institute and has an extensive resume with emphasis on empowering young women. She is also a professional artist. 

Ms. Hourig Baghdasarian, M.A. (Social Studies teacher) Ms. Baghdasarian was educated at Oxford University and Harvard University. She has been a teacher for 10 years and is an alumna of Alverno. 

Ms. Genevieve Ostrander, (Director of Alumnae Relations and Development) Ms. Ostrander has a wealth of experience in development for non-profits and event planning. She will be a wonderful addition to our development team.

Please join me in welcoming all of our new employees to the Alverno family!

I hope you enjoy the remainder of your summer! Don’t forget to do your summer assignments, so that you come back ready to work! Please get some rest, stay healthy, and be the light! God bless all you!

Ms. Julia Fanara, P’01, P’03, P’05, M.A. and M.Ed

Head of School

Dear Alverno Heights Academy, 

Dear Alverno Heights Academy Families,

Welcome to the 2021-2022 school year! After the crazy year that we have had, you cannot believe how thrilled I am to say those words! I am grateful for another year to serve our Alverno students and families and continue to build relationships with all of our students.

As an alumna, I know many of the unique situations, circumstances, and challenges your daughter will be faced with throughout the school year and I want you to know that I am here to support both her and you through it all. I will continue to spend a lot of time with the students, getting to know their personalities, supporting their academic needs, cheering them on at athletic, STEM, and theatre events, and making sure they have the most positive high school experience possible. To me, each girl is not just a  student but truly an Alverno sister. I’m incredibly excited to be able to celebrate a full school year with them back on campus!

Not only am I excited to continue working with students more, but I look forward to the work we will do together. As the old African Proverb states, “It takes a village to raise a child.” I am excited to see your daughter through your eyes. I cannot wait to share with you the great things she will do throughout her days here at Alverno and plan for the ones to come after. And of course, I will be here to work with you should she need any help navigating any aspect of school life.

I’ve moved, again, in the Front Office and I hope you will find the time to drop by and say hello! Please know that I am always available to meet with students and parents and hope you will take the time to update me on your daughter’s growth and achievements over the last year. While my office and extension have changed, my e-mail remains the same at smccarthy@alvernoheights.org and I hope you will feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns you may have.

The addendum below this letter includes all of the important information which both you and your daughter should be aware of for the start of school. Please make sure you read everything thoroughly in order to insure the smoothest start to the school year as possible.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions! See you in August!

Stay Well, 

Sara A. McCarthy ‘05, M.Ed.

Assistant Head of School

Dear Parents and Students,

Welcome to the 2021-2022 school year. As an educator for the past 31 years, my favorite month of the year has always been August.  I genuinely get excited when the stores bring out the school supplies. New school supplies represent new beginnings and after the year we have all endured, we deserve the hope that a new school year brings. This year, I am returning as the Dean of Students with the addition of Director of Activities.  It is my goal to ensure that all of our students learn and grow in a safe and nurturing community.  

The Student-Parent Handbook has been revised for the school year and it is important for you to read as a family.  Also, this is a great time to update your school uniform at CKW Uniforms, especially if growth has occurred within the last 18 months.  Here are some important rules regarding skirt length and hairstyles from the Parent-Student handbook:


The uniform skirt: (gray or plaid from CKW Uniforms)

  • Must be no shorter than 1-inch below fingertips ALL THE WAY AROUND; with arm and fingers fully extended
  • Must be in good repair at all times and NOT ROLLED at the waist


Moderation is the guiding principle. Hair color must be a natural color. No extreme two tone coloring (chunking) of hair; some modest highlights are acceptable.

Enjoy your last days of summer vacation with your family and friends.  I look forward to a new school year and all the possibilities it will bring.   If you have any questions, please email me at  lsolano@alvernoheights.org.  


Lisa Primero-Solano, M.A. and M.Ed. 

Dean of Students

Director of Activities

Math Department Chair


Welcome to the 2021-2022 school year! All of the information required for returning to school are available on the Alverno website and will be delivered to your inbox. Back to School and Athletic Forms will be e-mailed directly to parent(s) and students the week of August 9. All forms are due on or before Friday, August 13. Please note that students will not be admitted to classes until all forms are completed in their entirety, including all necessary signatures.

For your convenience, all forms can be submitted and signed electronically through DocuSign beginning Monday, August 9. All fees will be added to your FACTS tuition account, so that you can easily and simply pay them along with your tuition. You will be receiving an invoice from FACTS this month and if you have any questions regarding the fees, please contact Ms. Lee Ann Bechthold, Business Manager, businessoffice@alvernoheights.org or 626-355-3463 x. 225.

We will be hosting a “Welcome Day” on Monday, August 23 to help students ease back into campus life, give them the opportunity to socialize, and take care of other business. The schedule for the day is posted below.

The first day of school, August 24, be an A-Day with the remainder of the week an B-A-B. There will be no school on Monday, August 30 for a Faculty/Staff In-Service and so the remainder of the week will be ABAB. There will be no school on Monday, September 6 for Labor Day and so the remainder of the week will be ABAB.

Mandatory for All Students; All Students must arrive by 7:55 am; FREE DRESS. Dismissal times are approximate as it may take more or less time than anticipated.


Welcome Assembly at 8:00 a.m.

Academic Advising at 8:30 a.m.        

College Knowledge (LTC) at 9:00 a.m.

Pictures (Cafeteria) at 10:30 a.m.

State Meeting (104) at 11:00 a.m.

Schedule Changes (FRONT OFFICE) at 12:00 p.m.

Big Sister-Little Sister Picnic at 12:15 p.m.

Dismissal at 1:15 p.m.

Sports physicals available from 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.


Welcome Assembly at 8:00 a.m.

Academic Advising at 8:30 a.m.

Schedule Changes (FRONT OFFICE) at 9:00 a.m.

State Meeting (112) at 9:30 a.m.

Pictures & Snacks (Cafeteria) at 10:00 a.m.

College Knowledge (LTC) at 10:30 p.m.

Sophomore-Junior Picnic at 11:30 a.m.

Dismissal at 12:30 p.m.

Sports physicals available from 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.


Welcome Assembly at 8:00 a.m.

Academic Advising at 8:30 a.m.

Pictures & Breakfast (Cafeteria) at 9:00 am

Schedule Changes (FRONT OFFICE) at 9:30 a.m.

State Meeting (109) 10:00 a.m.

College Knowledge (LTC) 11:30 a.m.

Sophomore-Junior Picnic at 11:30 a.m.

Dismissal at 12:30 p.m.

Sports physicals available from 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.


Welcome Assembly at 8:00 a.m.

Academic Advising at 8:30 a.m.

State Meeting (110) at 9:00 a.m.

Schedule Changes (FRONT OFFICE) at 10:00 a.m.

College Knowledge (LTC) at 11:00 a.m.

Pictures & Snacks (Cafeteria) at 11:30 a.m.

Big Sister-Little Sister Picnic at 12:15 p.m.

Dismissal at 1:15 p.m.

Sports physicals available from 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

Students may e-mail Ms. McCarthy at smccarthy@alvernoheights.org to request a change to their schedule during the week of Monday, August 9.

On Welcome Day, if students would like to consider schedule changes for periods 1-8 and haven’t already done so, the Leadership Team will be available to meet and review options during state’s allotted times. Please be aware that all schedule changes must be approved by a parent/guardian before the change is final. Please note: classes may fill up; priority goes to seniors, juniors, sophomores and frosh (in that order).

Free Dress* (Uniform not required)

All students must have their picture taken and purchase an ID card for $10 (Seniors included). School Portraits will be done by Adams School Photography. Please visit their website at schoolportraitsonline.com and click on “Parents & Families” and “Order Online” to pre-order your daughter’s package. Students must bring $10 cash or send $10 through Venmo (@AlvernoHeights) for their ID card.

*Students must follow the free dress guidelines as outlined in the Student-Parent Handbook.

For your convenience, Health Advantage staff will be on campus from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. conducting sports physicals. To reserve your spot, please e-mail Coach Berry at kberry@alvernoheights.org. Checks should be made out to “Health Advantage” in the amount of $25. Each physical will take approximately 5-10 minutes and students must have the “Alverno Heights Academy Athletics-Physical Form 2021-2022” with the parent section filled out prior to getting a physical. Please note: Parent/guardian MUST be present during the physical exam (no exceptions).

Parking permits will be on sale in the main office beginning Friday, August 13. Please see the directions and permit application on the Alverno website for detailed instructions. Please note that both the student and parent must sign the permit application. We must have a copy of the student’s driver’s license, car registration, and car insurance on file. The cost of the parking permit is $25.

Please note that there will not be an on-campus CKW Uniform sale this year. If you need to purchase uniforms for your daughter, please visit the CKW Uniform store at 9400 Las Tunas Drive in Temple City or their website at www.ckwuniforms.com. Before purchasing any new items, please reference the Student-Parent Handbook or contact Ms. Lisa Primero-Solano, Dean of Students & Director of Activities, to insure that any new items are in line with the Alverno Uniform Policy. You may also find this policy outlined in the Student-Parent Handbook available on the Alverno website.

The first day of classes will be Tuesday, August 24, 2021. Please remember, summer assignments are due on the first day of class. Regular uniform is required beginning Tuesday, August 24.

Week of August 23: Monday-Welcome Day; Tuesday (A-Day); Wednesday (B-Day); Thursday (A-Day); and Friday (B-Day)

Week of August 30: Monday (School Closed/Faculty In-Service); Tuesday (A-Day); Wednesday (B-Day); Thursday (A-Day); and Friday (B-Day)

Week of September 6: Monday (School Closed/Labor Day); Tuesday (A-Day); Wednesday (B-Day); Thursday (A-Day); and Friday (B-Day)

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