New & Returning Students - Your Guide to 2019-20


We are excited to have our new students joining us next fall and we will look forward to welcoming back our returning students. To ensure you get your registration completed on time and accomplish any summer assignments you have, read this section of the website thoroughly and download our e-book, "Your Guide to Success in 2019-20: Registration, Summer Assignments & Orientation," to the right. Also, review the information in the maroon box. Just click through each link and complete the new student survey to about matching you with a compatible roommate.

Additional important information—like essential forms you must complete and your student medical health record—will be found through our password-protected web portal (simply LOGIN at the top right of this website).

Finally, please find all the summer assignments below that are relevant to you—the all-school reading, any grade-level information and specific class assignments. Review all the details and due dates!

Please let us know if you need anything! We want to make your registration and preparation for the VES school year as easy as possible.

All the best!

Required Summer Reading for All

All VES students will read The Hound of the Baskervilles, which we will discuss as a school during the first week of school.

In addition, each student/faculty/staff member must choose to read one of nine books recommended by select VES faculty and students. See the list of books.

Required Assignments for Rising Seniors


All seniors must have a completed rough draft of an essay addressing one of the Common App essay prompts. You must share your essay with your senior English teacher and college counselor on the first day of classes. To prepare your rough draft, please read this assignment sheet.


Students need to purchase and read Go: A Kidd's Guide to Graphic Design by Chip Kidd.

World Language Placement - New Students

Placement in Spanish, French and Chinese classes is based on transcripts and teacher recommendations. When you see your class placement, if you believe you have been placed in the wrong course or would like to discuss or advocate for a different placement, please reach out to World Language Department Chair Amanda Rhem at


Please forward this link
to your current French or Spanish teacher. Ask him/her to fill out the brief survey as soon as possible.

AP Classes: Summer Requirements

Courses with summer assignments are listed below. Please review this information carefully and plan ahead to meet deadlines.



Students are required to read these two books and complete the assignment below: 

  • How to Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas C. Foster
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Your writing assignment on Frankenstein is due by August 27 via OnCampus (no extensions, no exceptions). Write a 720-1200 word paper showing a careful reading of Frankenstein. Consider incorporating concepts from How to Read Literature. Remember to cite quotations, paraphrases, and summaries in MLA format. Don’t forget the works cited page. The paper will address the following prompt:

  • In literary works, cruelty often functions as a crucial motivation or a major social or political factor. Consider how acts of cruelty are important to a theme in Frankenstein. Then write a well-developed essay analyzing how cruelty functions in the work as a whole and what the cruelty reveals about the perpetrator and/or a victim.


Students planning to enroll or stay enrolled in Mr. Knebel's AP Composition class must read the unabridged (or grown-up) versions of one of the following books: 

  • Peter Pan (sometimes published as Peter and Wendy) by James Barrie OR
  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll PLUS
  • the all-school summer read The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle
Students will be required to handwrite (not type) 10 passages from the chosen text (Alice or Peter) and 10 passages from The Hound. The passages should be at least 100 words long apiece and continuous. Students will select their own passages based on a particular fondness or based on some other personal resonance or just to recognize brilliant writing. So for clarity, 10 Peter passages OR 10 Alice passages AND 10 Hound passages for a total of 2,000+ words.   



Please complete the tutorials and practice exercises in the “Reading Music” unit on website prior to the first day of class. 

 2D - Ms. Thompson

Please read the detailed description of your assignments hereSketchbook work is due July 3. Concentration work is due on or before August 16. If you have questions, please contact



Your summer assignment begins by reading Hardball: How Politics Is Played Told by One Who Knows the Game by Chris Matthews (1999 revised edition). You will then complete a two-part assignment detailed here. All work is due on the first day of class, Monday, August 26.

AP US HISTORY - Mr. Rivenburgh 

Please read the details about your summer work assignments here. You will need the following books to complete work specifically tied to each.
  • AP United States History by Newman and Schmalbach - You will read the introduction and Chapters 1 - 3, which you may access here(You do not need to purchase the book.)
  • 10 Days that Unexpectedly Changed America by Steven Gillon


Given the rigor of this college-level curriculum that spans 800 years of history, we have designed this required summer assignment to provide you with the foundational themes and regions that will help you start the school year in this class strong.


AP FRENCH - Mrs. Rupe

Welcome to AP French! Your summer work consists of two parts. You will 1) complete a journal entry on either a video or an article once a week for four weeks and 2) complete a grammar packet that is divided into four weeks. Please follow this link to find all the details of the assignments and to access each document to be completed. Bonne chance! 

AP SPANISH - Mrs. Rhem

I am thrilled to have all of you in class next year. You should ready the introductory letter below, as it has a lot of extra instructions. Email Mrs. Rhem at with any questions concerning the packet. You must turn this in by Monday, August 12. This is worth a test grade. You should copy it on Google Drive and fill it out OR print it and fill it out and then scan it to me. Please upload the two audio files in Google Drive and share with me. Please name the files according to the directions in the introductory letter. It would be ideal if you can put all of your work for the summer into one Google Folder and share that with me. All work must be your own. Do not use online translators!


AB CALCULUS - Mr. Greene

Students must complete these worksheets—print the sheets and put your answers on the paper, which you will return to Mr. Greene by Monday, August 12. Students may drop their work off at school, mail it, or scan and email it to


Be sure to arrive at school with a TI-84+ calculator.


AP BIOLOGY - Dr. Knebel

Dr. Knebel will directly email your work assignments, due dates and expectations on June 10. In the meantime, please read this introductory letter.  

AP CHEMISTRY - Mr. Hanning

Mr. Hanning’s assignment may be accessed here. During June and July, relax and have fun! Do not begin this assignment before August 1; it is intended as a warm-up for the year. The assignment should not take long to complete and is due Monday, August 12.


Mr. Bright's assignment may be accessed here. Your work is due the first day of classes, Monday, August 26.

AP PHYSICS - Dr. Pollock

Greetings, AP Physics Class of 2019-2020!

Since this is an official AP course, there is a set standard of material that we need to cover. Unfortunately, there is a lot of material and we don’t have much time. To make the most of our class time together I am in the process of revamping the summer work packet. I will email you directly, using your VES email, as soon as the assignment is available, or you can find the assignment here after June 1, 2019. The packet will be due on Friday, August 16, 2019. Instruction on how to submit the assignment will be given in the summer work assignment.

Please contact me at any time with any questions or concerns that you might have at

Have a great summer!

Download Your Guide to Success: 2019-20

All-School Book
The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Sherlock Holmes is, of course, an iconic figure, in his deerstalker cap and pipe. (though purists know he never used these items!). He’s been played on the screen by Basil Rathbone, Sir John Gielgud, Jeremy Brett (my personal favorite), Robert Downey Jr, and Benedict Cumberbatch. In this classic story, Holmes finds his world view of logic, reason, and deduction put to the test when he faces off against a massive, monstrous, ghostly dog.
A College Preparatory, Independent Boarding and Day School for Students in Grades 9-12
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