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Terms and Traditions

123. E-newsletter produced by Advancement and sent monthly to all constituents who have given us their email addresses.

Abbreviations. LS (Lower School), MS (Middle School), US (Upper School), AS (All School).

Activity Bus (Grades 4-12). Streamlined PM bus route leaving at 5:30 p.m. sharp.

Administrative Conference Room. Meeting space adjacent to the Advancement Office. Advancement also approves requests to use the room.

Administrative Office. Located up the stairs from the Main/US entrance. Houses the Admissions and Head of School’s offices. Office hours are 7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Advancement Office. Maintains and strengthens relationships among all the school’s constituencies to ensure that the school is securely positioned for long-term success. Located across the hall from the Administrative Office.

Advisory (MS & US). Student groups and the faculty member assigned to them as a formal advocate.

Ambassadors. Parent volunteers trained to give tours to prospective parents.

Anderson Ice Arena. Home to hockey and skating programs. Located close to campus at Highway 55 and Dahlberg Drive. Named in honor of the family of Lee R. Anderson, Sr. ’57, lifetime trustee.

Anderson Gym. Home court for basketball and volleyball and the place for Homecoming coronation, the LS Halloween parade and other celebrations. Named in honor of the family of the late Reuben L. Anderson, lifetime trustee.

Annual Fund. Breck counts on voluntary gifts each year from parents, grandparents, alumni, faculty/staff and friends to contribute to the annual operating budget.

Ars Nova (US). Student art and literature magazine.

Assembly (US). Friday morning event when students and faculty share news and announcements.

Athletic Transportation Waiver. Form signed by parents and given to the athletics office (MS and US). Absolutely required for any athlete competing in a meet who is not riding the bus to and/or from the meet.

Awareness Day (MS). Day of field trips to promote awareness of the Twin Cities community.

Baccalaureate. Religious ceremony for seniors held in the Chapel on the Sunday night prior to Commencement. Interfaith service based on the Episcopal tradition of Evening Prayer. All are welcome.

Back-to-School Night. Opportunity for parents to meet their students’ teachers and learn about curriculum. See the calendar.

BATO BATO! (US). The Breck School marimba band, which plays concerts throughout the school and throughout the Twin Cities.

Be a Mustang (MS). Program that helps MS students internalize the rewards of being helpful, respectful and inclusive.

Biddying (LS). From an Old English term meaning serving, eating with and helping to clean up after a meal. Third and fourth graders take turns biddying for preschool and kindergarten students at lunch.

Bio-buddies. Pairs of MS biology students and kindergartners studying the human body through shared science activities.

Birthday Books (LS). Books donated to the LS library in honor of a student’s birthday.

Blessing of the Animals. Service of songs and blessings for pets and their owners on the Saturday morning of Homecoming weekend. All are welcome to bring caterpillars, dogs, cats, snakes, goats, horses, stuffed animals, etc.

Blue and Gold Bash. Breck’s annual fundraising event whose proceeds are used for important needs, such as enhancements to academic technology. Formerly known as Applause.

Board of Trustees. Group responsible for establishing Breck’s goals, hiring the head of school and assuring that the school continues to thrive. Members include parents, alumni and community leaders.

Board Rooms. Large meeting rooms used by the Board of Trustees, Parents Association, etc. Board Room West is on the upper level of the LS Library. Board Room East is on the third level of the Upper School. The Business Office schedules their use.

Bookstore. Place to purchase school supplies and books, located near the Lower School dining room. All purchases are billed on the monthly statement. MS and US students and parents sign for purchases; LS students may purchase supplies with a note from parents.

Breck, Rev. James Lloyd. Episcopal missionary after whom the school is named (but who died ten years before its founding).

Bugle (The) (US). Student newspaper.

Bulletin Boards. Weekly e-mail schedule and reminders coordinated by the Parents Association and sent to all parents by the Communications office.

Business Office. Responsible for the finances of the school, including monthly bills. Located across the hall from the Administrative Office. Also includes the school’s receptionist who can be reached at 763-381-8100.

C.A.R.E. (Character Always, Respect Every day) (LS). Program designed to teach and reinforce character traits. Monthly themes are introduced in Community Meeting and integrated into classroom lessons and activities.

Car Line. Pickup point for students not riding the bus. Teachers supervise LS students until 3:30 p.m. LS student bus riders must give their teacher a note to be dismissed in Car Line.

Chapel. Regular services in the Chapel include singing, prayers, talks about the spiritual and ethical sides of our lives and student performances. Parents are always welcome to these interfaith services and can usually find room at the back after children are seated. All-School Chapels (dress-up days for US) are the first Tuesday of each month at 8:35 a.m.; Senior Speeches are every Thursday at 11:00 a.m.; see divisional schedule for dates.

Chapel Buddies. Seniors and first graders paired for All-School chapels and activities throughout the year.

Classroom Coordinator. Parent volunteer for each classroom in LS and each grade level in MS and US. Responsibilities include coordinating parent volunteers for field trips and enhancing communication. Listed in the Breck directory.

Closing Exercises (LS and MS). End-of-year program in the Chapel. Parents are encouraged to attend. LS ceremony has musical performances by each grade and presentation of the fourth-grade class. MS ceremony includes songs, awards, and eighth-grade speeches.

College Counseling Office. Directs college testing and events, the student application process and transcript requests.

College Testing (US). Multiple testing days at various sites. Includes ACT (American College Testing) for juniors and seniors, PSAT/NMSQT (Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test) for sophomores and juniors, SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) for juniors and seniors and SAT II, a battery of selected achievement tests for juniors and seniors. See calendar.

Communion and Breakfasts. The ancient sacrament of the Lord’s Supper celebrated twice during the year. A family-style breakfast follows a 7:30 a.m. service, done by 8:25 a.m. All are invited and welcome.

Community Building Events. Parents Association–sponsored gatherings intended to give Breck parents and families the opportunity to get to know one another better and build community.

Community Meeting. LS: Gathering for students and teachers in grades 1-4 featuring announcements and C.A.R.E. themes; MS: Student/faculty meeting of announcements, speakers and other business.

Conferences. Meetings between parents and teachers or advisors to discuss student progress and register for classes for the next year (US). MS conferences include students.

Convocation. The special and first All-School Chapel of the year.

Cum Laude Dinner (US). Event honoring students (and their parents) in grades 11 & 12 who have achieved a GPA of 3.666 or higher and have been selected by the faculty as possessing exceptional qualities such as leadership.

Deans (LS). Support the academic, social and behavioral needs of students and all aspects of Lower School academic and social programs.

Dean of Students (MS and US). MS: dean in charge of student schedules, academics and discipline (one each for grades 5/6 and 7/8). US: dean in charge of student social, extracurricular and disciplinary activities.

Dean of Studies (US). Handles all concerns related to academic life, scheduling, permanent student records and graduation requirements.

Directory. Listing of all trustees, faculty and staff, and student family information. Includes names, addresses, phone numbers and emails.

Division Directors. Administrators in charge of Lower, Middle and Upper Schools.

Drama/Musicals. LS: programs throughout the year, including the Fourth Grade Performance. MS musical each spring. US Fall drama(s) and spring musical. MS and US productions involve auditions, after-school rehearsals.

Encore. Parent organization providing support to performing arts programs.

ERB (Educational Records Bureau). Aptitude/achievement tests given annually in grades 3-9 to measure student academic ability and achievement in specific areas.

Ernest Campbell Award. Voted by faculty and staff for one of their own, this award recognizes “self-giving love for Breck.” Named for a beloved former Chaplain on Breck’s River Road campus.

Extended Day (Grades P-4). Fee-based after-school supervised care.

Faculty Chairs. Honorary recognition of excellence in teaching, endowed by generous donors and held by teachers for a three-year term.

Family Community Outreach Committee. Parents Association committee that plans and carries out service activities designed for whole-family participation

Field Day (Grades 1-4). A festive spring afternoon with a picnic, races and other games. Parents are invited.

Fieldhouse. Multi-purpose gym, running track, training room, and locker rooms.

Glass Balcony. Meeting space upstairs from the US Dining Room.

Graduation. LS: Fourth graders are honored at a celebration/dinner and given ribbons to sign and wear to Closing Exercises. A special performance is presented to parents. MS: Eighth graders are recognized at Closing Exercises and at a lunch and special graduation dance for grades 7 & 8. US: Commencement ceremony in the Chapel for all seniors who have completed graduation requirements. Parents may invite as many guests as they wish; no tickets are required and all are welcome.

Grandparents’ Day. A beloved annual tradition. On the day before Thanksgiving, grandparents and other special people are invited to attend school with students. School is dismissed at noon.

Guidance Committee. Academic and social/emotional support services team for each division that meets weekly.

Gym B. The small gym located just off Anderson Gym.

Gym C. Located on the hallway just inside the LS entrance.

Halloween (LS and MS). Celebrated by coming to school dressed in costume. Specific policies vary by division.

Handbook. Detailed document containing rules, disciplinary procedures and information for each division. Required reading for all MS and US students and LS parents.

Haupt Cup. Breck’s highest honor for a graduating senior. Named for the Rev. Charles Edgar Haupt, who was headmaster from 1912-1935.

Head of School. Leader who oversees all divisions and the overall operation of the school. Office located within the Administrative Office area.

Health Center. Where students go when sick, injured or scheduled to take medication (with written parental permission only). Where parents pick up students who are too sick to be at school. Located just inside the Middle School Entrance (Door D).

Highway 100 Lot (US). Permit parking in the lot located by the American Legion near Highway 100. Also known as the “Junior Lot.”

Homecoming. All-school community and alumni event with sports, food and activities sponsored by the Breck Alumni Association. Students from all grades and parents are welcome. See also Blessing of the Animals.

Homecoming Dance (US). Dressy dance for students in grades 9-12 held on the Saturday of Homecoming weekend. Dates aren’t necessary.

Honors Papers (US). Collection of exemplary student work.

House System (US). The Upper School is divided into four houses with equal representation from each grade: Haupt, Salas, Whipple and Wilder. Each student is a member of a house for four years. Houses regularly compete for community spirit.

IMAC. Independent Metro Athletic Conference, the conference for most Breck sports.

Intramural Athletics (grades 4-6). After-school sports program, two days a week for six weeks. Offerings vary. (See also MIP.)

James Lloyd Breck Society. Recognition for those who plan to leave a legacy to Breck by including the school in their estate plans.

Jump Rope for Heart (grades 3-4). American Heart Association-sponsored jump rope event to emphasize the heart and healthy bodies. Children may find sponsors, but fitness is the goal. Also known as Jump-a-thon.

Kindergarten 3/2 Entry Option. Program allowing kindergartners currently in the half-day program to attend full days Tuesday-Thursday. Enrollment in September and January.

Kindergarten Water Day. Traditional event in which hoses and sprinklers turn the courtyard playground into a beach area for water activities. Sorry, parents, kindergartners only!

Lifer. Student who has been at Breck since kindergarten or preschool.

Loft. Meeting space on the third level of the Upper School.

Lower School. Grades preschool-four.

Lower School Office. Office hours are 7:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., and the phone number is 763-381-8221.

Main Dining Room. Dining facility for US students, faculty and staff. Located inside the US entrance.

Master Teacher. Breck’s highest honor for a faculty member who has shown exceptional leadership and professionalism.

Masterpiece Art (LS). Presentation and discussion of artwork by trained parent volunteers in K-2 classrooms.

May Program (US). Concentrated time of specialized learning after final exams for the last two weeks of school. Grade 9 & 10 students take mini-courses on campus, some required and some elective. Grade 11 & 12 students choose an off-campus service project, business internship or major project.

Melrose Family Center for Servant Leadership. The physical and programmatic embodiment of Breck’s dedication to cultivating future leaders. Located on the first level of the Upper School.

Mentor. Current parent who has volunteered to mentor incoming parents to provide information and guidance on school matters.

Mentor Dinner. Annual spring event where parents of newly admitted families are invited to meet, greet and dine with their parent mentors and Breck administrators.

Middle School. Grades five-eight.

Middle School Office. Office hours are 7:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., and the phone number is 763-381-8213.

Mission. Breck’s mission is to prepare each student for a college whose culture is compatible with the individual’s needs, interests and abilities; help develop each student’s unique talents and potential to excel by nurturing independence and self-worth; and instill in each student a deep sense of social responsibility.

Moodle. Widely used course-management software. A student or faculty user name and password are required for access.

Multicultural Parent Education Committee. Parents Association group that works to heighten awareness of multicultural perspectives.

Mustang. Our mascot and yearbook.

Mustang Club (LS). Organized after-school activities for LS students.

Mustang Intramural Program (MIP) (Grades 4-6). After-school sports and activities program.

Mustang Lot. Parking lot south of the school on Ottawa Avenue. Some spaces are reserved for faculty, staff and students; many are available for parents and visitors.

Mustanger. Varsity athletic award for the athlete who exhibits the best work ethic and embodies what Breck sports should stand for. Selected by team vote.

New Student/New Parent Orientation. An afternoon to help new students and parents get acquainted with the school. Includes an assembly in the Chapel, meeting teachers, locating classrooms, lockers, etc.

Parent Education Committee. Parents Association committee that plans speakers and events and helps promote safe and healthy families.

Parent Grade-Level Meetings. Informal gatherings for parents at each grade level to provide curricular or developmental topics of interest.

Parent/Student Athletic Meetings (US, some MS). Meetings held before each sports season (fall, winter, spring) for parents, athletes and coaches. Coaches and teams are introduced and parents get the scoop on practices, plans, etc.

Parents Association. All Breck parents are automatically members of this group that promotes communication, volunteerism, and parent education. All parents are welcome at twice yearly general meetings and division-specific meetings. See the calendar.

Parking. Numbered parking slots are assigned to faculty, staff and students. Parents are urged not to park in those spaces during the school day. Visitor spaces are marked.

Peter Clark Center. Center dedicated to student success and providing world-class support for faculty, students, and parents — bridging research and practice to transform teaching and learning. Named for a beloved former teacher, administrator, parent of alumni and friend who died in 2012.

PowerSchool. Software used by teachers to record grades. In MS and US, parent portals are opened at various times during the school year.

Project Adventure (MS and US). Indoor and outdoor activities that help students define their comfort zone and challenge themselves to test their own boundaries.

Prom (Grades 11-12). Semi-formal dance for junior and senior students and their dates. Limousines and extravagant dinners are strongly discouraged.

Publishing (LS). Program to “publish” students’ written work in book form. Parent volunteers provide word processing, binding and laminating services.

RMC. Repair and maintenance center for student and faculty laptops, located in the main hallway near the MS media center.

Samuel A. Salas Commons. Front entrance to the school with a fireplace, tables, chairs, chess tables and displays of items from Breck’s history. Named for Sam Salas, who served as Breck headmaster from 1987-2007.

Senior Lot. Permit parking for seniors across from the tennis courts.

Senior Party. Parent-sponsored all-night, alcohol/drug-free celebration for Breck seniors only, held immediately following graduation. Parents do all the work, keeping details secret. The party is not a Breck-sponsored event.

Senior Pinning. Traditional ceremony held in the spring for seniors and their parents.

Senior Privileges. Allow seniors with parental permission to leave campus during free hours and lunch.

Senior Speeches. Required speeches by each senior on a topic of his/her choice during an US chapel. Parents are encouraged to attend. Visit for a calendar.

Senior Weekend. Overnight camp held just before the start of school.

Service Learning. LS and MS: grade-level projects involving community service both inside and outside the school. US: known as the Wednesday program, a program for all US students and faculty that matches students with a service site weekly during the school year.

Service Requirement (US). Each US student must complete 20 hours of in-school service. Examples include working at the Special Olympics Tournament or serving as a tour guide during admissions events.

Snow Days (US). Dressy winter dance. Dates aren’t necessary.

Staff Appreciation Day. Celebration of faculty and staff that includes the May All-School Chapel. Expressions of thanks are coordinated by the Parents Association.

Student Absence Agreement Form.  Form required prior to any non-vacation or non-illness absence. Must be completed by students, faculty and parents in order for students to be able to make up work.

Student Advocacy Council (US). Upper School student government, which advocates for students on academic matters and plans, organizes and leads student life and activities.

Student Athletic Council (US). Group that promotes athletics and advises the Athletics department.

Student Integrity Council (US). Student-led group addressing issues and/or infractions related to student behavior.

Student Service Council (US). Students who advise and support the Upper School service program.

Summer Programs. Offerings such as Summer Academy for academic support, adventure, sports, culture/ language and arts camps, classes to fulfill the US Physical Education requirement and Red Cross swim lessons.

Today at Breck. Magazine for alumni, parents, grandparents and friends produced three times a year by the Communications office.

Tour de Breck (US). Annual runt bike race to raise student awareness of and participation in the Annual Fund.

Transportation Department. Manages Breck buses and drivers and assigns parking spots and permits. Located directly inside MS entrance.

Trustee Day. Opportunity for the school community to thank the trustees for their service and for the trustees to experience the school through the eyes of the students. Held each spring.

Tutorial Period. MS: Scheduled time for students to study or meet with faculty. US: Non-class time for students when teachers are all available and the media and computer centers are open. Teachers may require review sessions during this time. Students are expected to use this time to ask for help.

Upper School. Grades nine-twelve.

Upper School Library Conference Rooms. The Como, Wilder and River Road conference rooms are adjacent to the Upper School library. Use must be scheduled by the Business Office.

Upper School Office. Office hours are 7:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., and the phone number is 763-381-8210.

Used Book Sale (MS and US). Program to buy back re-usable textbooks in good condition each spring and re-sell them at a discount in the fall, made possible by parent volunteers.

Used Uniform Sale (LS and MS). Parents Association-sponsored sales of gently used uniforms before the start of school and on conference days. Proceeds support environmental initiatives.

Washington, DC Trip (Grade 6). Teacher-chaperoned trip to Washington, DC, at the end of the school year. Includes reports done especially in preparation, and celebrates a yearlong study of United States history.

Wigley Award. Annual recognition of excellence in teaching presented to a faculty member during an All-School Chapel in the spring. Named after the late Jean Wigley, grandmother of three Breck alumnae.

World Savvy (MS). Program for which eighth-grade students design projects related to the year’s theme, designed to educate and engage youth in community and world affairs.

Yearbook. Called the Mustang, it’s produced by US students and covers the entire school. Each year, the students honor a faculty member by dedicating the yearbook to him/her.

Zero Tolerance. Breck School position on weapons possession. The school will not tolerate the possession of any weapon by any person and will make no exceptions enforcing this policy. See handbook.