Nobles Parents' E-Newsletter

November 2011

Nobles Parents' E-Newsletter November 2011

Teaching, Change and Nobles by Bob Henderson, Head of School

The craft of teaching is still, at its core, very much the same as it was when I was a high school student. And yet, it has also been transformed, requiring skills and adaptations that were only on the fringe of the profession as I jumped into the field.

At the tender age of 22, I began a career as a full-time classroom teacher. I was very fortunate to land a job at a boarding school in California, a great place that was willing to take a risk on a total neophyte. I must say, however, that the school got a good bargain—I lived in a dormitory apartment where I supervised 40 boys, coached two seasons, taught five classes, and performed innumerable duties essential to residential school life. I worked very hard, but loved most of my role and responsibilities. One of the exceptions to that was attendance at faculty meetings—I dreaded those gatherings. At that juncture in the history of that school, the faculty was top-heavy with near-retirees (and I offer that description with great respect as I get older!) who were talented and dedicated but immensely opinionated. In fact, they seemed to me to be singularly focused on obstructing all administrative directives. I would sit in the back of the room and cringe as they ground away at any initiatives that reeked of change.

The following year the school welcomed a very bright and able new headmaster, who sought to impart some great ideas about teaching. I recall vividly his faculty meeting announcement that he was inviting a nationally respected neurologist to visit the campus to talk about learning and the brain—this was three decades ago, and this was brand new thinking. After the headmaster had concluded his remarks, one particularly intransigent and cranky individual barked out, “Well, stupidity is a learning difference—nothing much you can do about that one.”

I have never forgotten that. I could not understand how someone who purportedly cared deeply about young people and had committed a lifetime to an institution could be so suspicious, cynical and resistant to finding means of improvement. I resolved right then that I would never allow myself to turn into that teacher. It seemed to me that real dedication to the profession would require a continual search for how to reach more students more effectively.

To be fair, teaching has been subject to periodic faddism. Ideas come and go, and the “new math” becomes passé math. The truth has always been, and always will be, that the best teachers connect with students emotionally, developing relationships that inspire and motivate. My sense of great teaching was developed right here as a student at Nobles. Although I certainly did not connect with all my teachers, there were a few who literally altered everything for me, and some of that impact became clear only as I went through college and entered professional life. Relationships remain central to the mission of the school.

The pace of change in teaching, however, has accelerated dramatically over the last decade. That talk by a neurologist in 1982 has turned into a steady stream of new information and deeper understanding about how we learn, enhancing our awareness of the nearly infinite variety of learning styles and needs. Increasingly diverse student bodies have led good teachers to a much more sophisticated grasp of how different backgrounds, family situations and cultural influences affect the classroom. New technologies, arriving at a frenetic pace, have become indispensible in the function of teaching; yet the challenge is always to be sure the seduction of “cool tools” never obviates the importance of the human touch. More recently, awareness of the implications of concussions has dramatically altered how we approach recuperation and adapt classroom practices to accommodate individual needs. And the list goes on.

Teaching has changed. Teachers today must strive to remain professionally informed, and they have to engage actively over the course of a career in continual growth and development of their skills. While teachers have always worked hard at Nobles, it is my observation that they now must pedal faster to keep up. And that is why we hold teachers in such high esteem, and why teachers command such great respect in this community. Not only, in a timeless manner, do they reach and transform young people, but they do so in an ever more challenging and dynamic environment. And unlike those teachers I referenced from early in my career, they embrace the search for better ways to help kids. As I have heard history teacher Doug Jankey wisely advise, “good teachers are always looking for means to change and improve 10 percent of what they do every year.”

From the Nobles Theatre Collective

Please join us at one of the performances of Romeo and Juliet, Nobles fall mainstage play. The dates for the play are November 9, 10 and 11 at 6:30 p.m. and November 12 at 2 p.m. only. We are pleased to recommend this production to theater goers of all ages. The running time will be approximately two and a half hours. We look forward to seeing many of you at the show!

Tickets will be priced at $5 and may be purchased beginning November 1, by visiting and clicking on the "Romeo and Juliet" link in the calendar section OR at the box office in the Nobles Arts Center Lobby in the hour leading up to the performance start time.

You may also click here:

The NTC production will be led by a student/faculty team of directors, stage managers and designers. Costumes, lighting, scenery and sound will be built and run by a team of six student technicians while a cast of 21 students and faculty perform.

Below is a synopsis of the play courtesy of William Shakespeare’s prologue:

Two households, both alike in dignity,
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
From forth the fatal loins of these two foes,
A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life,
The fearful passage of their death-mark’d love,
And the continuance of their parent’s rage,
Which, but their children’s end, nought could remove,
Is now the two hours traffic of our stage.

Maureen Shiels Norment,
Miguel Urena,
NTC reps

Introducing Two New Staff Members to Nobles

Please join us in welcoming two staff members to Nobles. This month, Heather Sullivan will join the Office of Communications as the Director of Communications, and Casey Hassenstein will join the Development Office as the Director of the Annual Nobles Fund. Learn more about the newest members of the Nobles community—check out their staff bios below:

Heather Sullivan—Director of Communications
Heather has worked in education for nearly 15 years. She comes to Nobles from Northfield Mount Hermon School, where she was Director of Communications and her team earned national recognition from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) for its website redesign and for robust social media presence. At Milton Academy, Heather served as Senior Associate Director of Communications and Associate Editor of the school’s magazine, which earned a Grand Gold designation from CASE. Prior to Milton, Heather worked in communications at Wheaton College in Massachusetts, and in New York City, where she was a media spokesperson for the American Red Cross and a publicist at Grove/Atlantic Press. She holds a Bachelor's degree in English from Kenyon College and is pursuing a Master’s in education at Lesley University.

Casey Hassenstein—Director of Nobles Annual Fund

Casey comes to Nobles from CB Richard Ellis in Washington, D.C., where she served as Director of Marketing for the Washington/Baltimore region. At CB Richard Ellis, Casey was instrumental in all new and existing business development efforts for the firm which led to increased revenues and operational efficiency. Prior to joining CB Richard Ellis, Casey was the International Marketing Director for Engel & Voelkers, a luxury real estate firm based in Hamburg, Germany, where she developed and executed an international marketing and sales strategy for the company’s 450 global real estate franchise network. In addition, Casey also served as Marketing Manager and a Marketing Consultant to Zyman Group, LLC where she developed a strategic marketing plan to support the firm’s new business efforts and managed interactive corporate marketing vehicles.

Casey holds an M.B.A. from Georgetown University and a Bachelor's degree in Politics from Princeton University. At Princeton, she was a member of the 1994 NCAA Women’s Lacrosse National Championship team and was also named to the All-Ivy and USWLA Academic All-American women’s lacrosse teams. She is an avid runner having competed in a number of marathons including the New York City Marathon, the Washington, D.C. Marathon and the Hamburg Marathon. Casey has a 20-month-old daughter, Emma, and lives with her family in Brookline.

Homework and the "Average" Nobles Student by Ben Snyder, Head of Upper School

Over the last few years there has been a wide-ranging national discussion about the value of homework. Does homework improve learning? Do schools give too much homework? How could the value of homework be measured? Education pundits around the nation debate this topic ad nauseam.

Homework has been the subject of wide discussion and deliberation among the Nobles faculty in recent years as well. As we have discussed the value of homework and our goals for it, there is fairly uniform agreement that homework has value. There are guidelines in place for homework in the Upper School, for which we aim for roughly 45 minutes per class per night—which will vary somewhat in the context of papers to be written and tests to be studied for.

Our greatest challenge in assigning work to high school students is that what might take one student 20 minutes to do, may take another (in the same class with the same teacher) 60 minutes to do. In a variety of internal assessments of the time students put in to homework, we discover dramatic differences in not only time spent, but also the level of effort expended and the level of detail attained. So, for example, when as a history teacher I assign 30 pages of Night to my "America and Genocide" class, I know that my faster readers will complete it with a high level of comprehension in less than half an hour (they are short pages) and my slower readers may take closer to an hour. The same basic logic is true across disciplines and courses.

As I speak with Nobles parents, I get similarly wide-ranging responses to my question of “tell me a little about your child and his/her homework.” Some parents say their children are in bed every night by 10 p.m., and others recount stories of children always up past midnight. In response to these disparities, let me offer a few observations:

1. Try to make sure your child is being efficient with his or her time. Kids readily admit to the distraction of phones, Instant Messaging, etc. Talk with your child about putting the phone in a different physical place during study time in the evening and consider putting programs on your child’s computer such as SelfControl ( which allow one to shut off access to certain sites for defined periods of time. Students readily admit that their homework often takes much longer because of the number of technological distractions they engage in; setting limits can be very helpful.

2. Help your child understand the value of homework. While some students think doing extra math problems or reviewing vocabulary is "busy work," it is critical to remind them that homework is simply practice in building skills that they will need in their academic futures. One can’t learn how to write thoughtfully and analytically without writing papers. One can’t speak a foreign language without reviewing basic grammar structures. One can’t get through the math sections on standardized tests without having plenty of practice doing math problems. Homework assignments at Nobles are designed to reinforce skill sets and build content foundations—all critical to future learning.

3. If you can, limit "outside of Nobles" commitments during the school week. Many veteran teachers assert that they give less homework than they have in the past because many Nobles students have commitments on school nights that prevent them from starting their homework until later in the evening. These obligations can be important, but sadly we hear too many stories of students, who have long commutes and two or three nights of non-Nobles obligations, who are not able to get their homework done at the level they would like.

4. If your child is having problems, get in touch with his or her advisor and map out a plan. Young people do, at times, get overwhelmed by all they have on their plates. If they are struggling to get it all done, have them reach out to advisors to ask for support and advice. Often some direct communication with teachers will give clues about how to make homework time more effective and efficient, and advisors can often walk through a student’s use of time and make some specific recommendations. Try to include in that plan making sure enough sleep is built in. More and more research is affirming the necessity of healthy sleep patterns as a foundation for learning and performance.

5. We know it’s worth it. Nobles does extensive survey work with our recent graduates and the data is overwhelmingly positive in support of how Nobles teaches young people study skills, and time management techniques that serve them well as they move through college and into their adult lives. While there will surely be days and nights of real challenge, the outcomes show there is long-term value in what we are doing.

As I’ve visited classes this fall, it is apparent that most students are getting their homework done—and doing it well—and the net result is livelier classes and stronger students.

Why People Rebel by Bil Bussey, Provost

Recently, I was fortunate enough to have a front row seat for a Malcolm Gladwell lecture about "a forgotten hero and an unlikely…radical” of the suffragette movement, Alva (Vanderbilt) Belmont. Gladwell soon revealed his main thesis: “Why do people of apparent weakness choose to rebel?” In his examination, Gladwell cited NYU psychologist Tom Tyler’s Why People Obey the Law. Tyler observes, “If a country or person in a position of authority wants to get people to obey authority, it punishes them for disobedience and rewards them for obedience. Deterrence assumes that we are rational actors. Is the gain that one achieves by disobedience greater than the cost of obedience? If we think the cost is too great, then we do not disobey. Our criminal justice system is completely built around deterrence.” Gladwell was quick to agree with a recent study by a group of psychologists that “this theory really doesn’t work.”

Gladwell could just as easily been giving tips on how to be a more effective parent or an educational institution, for that matter. Hear this, from Gladwell:

“People comply with authority not because they make rational calculations between risks and benefits but they do so on the basis of their belief that justice is being rendered in a legitimate manner.”

In other words, threatening kids with a list of all the penalties that will fall on them may work early on, but ultimately that approach becomes ineffective. Tyler’s main point is that “people will go along with laws [in the case of our children, rules and restrictions] that are profoundly not in their self-interest if they perceive the laws to be legitimate.”

Simply put: “Legitimacy is the real engine of compliance.”

So here’s the million dollar question: What set of principles gives us parents (and school administrators) the best shot at having our children follow our guidelines, particularly when no one is watching?

Gladwell cites Tyler’s three basic principles for procedural justice.

“We consider authority legitimate…

1. …when it grants us standing, when it listens to us, and when we have a chance to be heard, to voice our opinions.”

2. …when the administration of law [rules, restrictions, and punishments] is neutral; when it doesn’t treat one group radically different from or better than another.”

3. …when the way ‘the law’ works today is the way that ‘the law’ works tomorrow.”

Keeping these three basic principles front and center can yield huge dividends when it comes to guiding children. Reading those principles and maintaining them are two different things. My checklist whirls. Are we listening to what our children have to say? Would our children agree with us on that one? Do we unintentionally favor one child (or one group) over another—or is there a perception, rarely stated, among our children that we do? Do we mean what we say? Do our children have confidence in our abilities to get things right, to see their world, to get the big picture? Do they trust our judgment? Are we consistent in our approach and do we actually follow through even when doing so is a hassle of unfathomable proportions?

Let’s face it: nobody bats a thousand. Yet, even the most skeptical of us can agree that when we feel that we are “being heard, and believe that the administration of that onerous ‘thing’ is being neutral, and that there is trustworthiness in the system,” a genuine level of trust and loyalty—that trumps even our self-interests—will follow.

From the Foster Gallery: Save the Date and Join Us for a Great Hands-On Workshop!


WORKSHOP: Pottery Basics with Doug Casebeer and John Gill
Foster Gallery and Ceramics Studio, Noble and Greenough School
Saturday, November 12, 2011 
9 a.m.-3 p.m.

We are thrilled to have two internationally-renowned potters, Doug Casebeer and John Gill, on campus as part of their current exhibition in Foster Gallery. Doug Casebeer is the Artistic Director for Ceramics and Sculpture at the Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Snowmass, Colo., and teaches, lectures, builds kilns and exhibits his artwork worldwide. Most recently, he was a featured artist at the Chinese Academy of Fine Art in Beijing. John Gill teaches at Alfred University, considered one of top ceramics programs in the country. As a member of the Council of the International Academy of Ceramics, Gill has travelled and lectured throughout the U.S., Canada, and China.

This workshop is an exploration of the fundamentals of pottery making, both hand built and wheel thrown. The workshop focuses on pots for the table, including objects made for serving and preparing food, with Doug and John sharing their many years of ceramic knowledge and experience.

For more information, go to or email

UP NEXT in Foster Gallery: Stay tuned for more information about the December show, a combination service and art community project conceived, planned, and executed by Team Foster (the gallery's fall afternoon program for students).

Class III Reps: Hillary von Schroeter (left) and Lyndsay Charron

Dear Class III Parents,

Hopefully, your students have settled in comfortably for the academic year and have been enjoying all of the fall activities at Nobles. As November arrives, we find it’s time for Advisor/Parent meetings, Thanksgiving holiday and a change in our students’ sports. We wish everyone a very happy Thanksgiving and please find several dates to remember below:


  • November 14: No School—Veterens Day
  • November 15: Advisor/Parent Meetings
  • November 16: Advisor/Parent Meetings
  • November 17: 8 a.m., PA meeting
  • November 23: Thanksgiving Break starts
  • November 28: School resumes
  • November 28: Winter athletics begin

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us anytime.

Thank you,

Hillary & Lyndsay

Class III Dean's Report

It’s hard to believe that it’s already November—it does not feel like two full months have passed since your children, my colleagues and I were volunteering at the Greater Boston Food Bank, Cradles to Crayons and the Franklin Park Zoo on the first day of school. The fall always passes by quickly and it amazes me how much we get accomplished in such a short amount of time.

Teachers just finished writing comments for the first quarter and, by the time you read this newsletter, your children will have reviewed their comments and grades with their advisors. In my opinion, the teachers’ comments are more important than the grades themselves and I hope that you will take the time to review the comments at home with your son or daughter. While the grade is only an indication as to how your child is doing, each comment is filled with genuine observations of strengths and areas of growth, and incredibly useful feedback for how to improve. Please do not be alarmed if your child’s grades have declined in certain subjects. As you may know, the curriculum of sophomore year is challenging in new and different ways as students transition from concrete to abstract thinking in several courses. Additionally, it takes time for the students to adjust to the curriculum and to the new expectations in each class. By the time the December comments are written, most students will have grown accustomed to the demanding curriculum and to the expectations of their teachers, and they will have discovered what they need to do in order to meet their goals.

At the beginning of the year and throughout the fall, I have emphasized to Class III the importance of community involvement. During sophomore year, it is important for students to pursue their interests and to participate in clubs and other extracurricular activities at Nobles. Now that students have more free time in their schedule, they should view X-Block as a time to get involved. There are a wide variety of clubs and if students join and are active this year, they may be able to take on leadership roles in upcoming years. As the person who oversees Nobles trips, I was very pleased to see many sophomores apply to travel this year. Although not all students were selected for their first choice, I am encouraged by how interested Class III students are in the travel opportunities offered. I hope to see many students traveling this year and in the future because I know what a lasting impact these journeys have on those who experience them.

Class III meetings this fall have been and will continue to be full of visits from representatives of study away programs. By December, students will have had the opportunity to speak with representatives from the Island School, School Year Abroad (SYA), the Mountain School of Vermont, the High Mountain Institute of Colorado, the Chewonki Semester School of Maine and the School for Ethics and Global Leadership of Washington, D.C. In addition, a representative from CITYTerm of NYC will be visiting early in the second semester. If your child is interested in studying away from Nobles during junior year, he/she should begin thinking about that now and planning for the future. It would be a good idea for your child to touch base with his/her advisor and with me if this may be a possibility.

As you may know, the Class III parent evening, which was originally scheduled for November 3, has been postponed until January. Our intent with this parent evening was to work with and inform the parent body about the cognitive and social challenges that sophomores often face. Although we feel that the content of this evening is relevant, we have seen a decline in attendance in the past few years. For that reason, we have decided to pursue another topic of interest for the evening of January 26. We hope that you will be able to join us on that night to discuss how to navigate the long path to college. We will provide more information on this night as we get closer to the date.

I hope to see you at a game or at a performance in the near future. Enjoy the month of November, and have a happy Thanksgiving with your family.

Tara Cocozza

Flu Vaccination Clinic

There will be a flu vaccination clinic held in Morrison Forum on Friday, November 11, 2011 from 9 a.m.-1 p.m., for students, parents, staff and faculty.  It is being provided by Maxim Health Systems. ONLY VACCINATIONS WILL BE OFFERED—NO FLU MIST.  

Below are two (2) immunization consent forms that must be signed by a parent or guardian and returned in order for a student to receive a flu vaccination.  Please send the forms to the health office prior to the day of the vaccination or fax it back to our dedicated flu fax line at (781) 459-0204. Click here to access these forms.

The cost of the flu vaccine is $25 (checks payable to Maxim Health Systems).  

Maxim does accept Tufts Health Plans, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of MA (including HMO Blue New England), Aetna, Harvard Pilgrim, and Fallon Community Health Plans.  A copy of the health insurance card will need to be provided at the time of the vaccination if insurance is to be used.

Contact Trish Koningisor or Lisa O'Connor for more information. You can reach them at 781-320-7070.

From the PIN Reps

The Parents' Independent School Network (PIN) has an exciting year ahead, featuring a new program of “webinars” on issues that face upper school parents, as well as the traditional educational meetings.

Read below to find out how everyone in the Nobles community can watch the PIN webinars, and to pick up pointers from the first meeting of the year: teaching teens about personal money management.

1. Webinars: PIN is pleased to announce that this year it will be hosting a series of webinars, designed to bring timely expert information to the faculty/staff and parents of the area's independent schools.

The upcoming webinar will be on Tuesday, November 8, 2011, at 8 p.m.. The topic will be "Sugar and Spice vs. Puppy Dog Tails: How Boys and Girls Learn Differently."

Are boys and girls genetically predestined to excel in distinct fields? How does biology factor into the gendered-learning equation? Science indicates neurological dichotomies exist between male and female brains. Our panel interprets the data to reveal how these biological variations affect learning. Gain proven strategies for assisting children in overcoming brain barriers and learning differences through tactics designed to work with the natural physiology of the gendered brain. Unlock hidden potentials once thought to be unattainable.

You can watch the webinars live and ask questions, or log on later to watch them after they've been archived (about a day later). Here's how to log on:


Complete the form with the following information and select “Register”:

  • Registration type = Parent
  • Enter your information (name, your personal username, personal password, etc.)
  • Select Parents’ Independent School Network from the Institution list
  • Enter the Service Validation Code (SVC): 3LTLK5BH

The first webinar is already available in archives. It is titled, "Teens and Alcohol Use: Implications for Mind and Body":

What are the long-term psychological and physiological ramifications of adolescent alcohol use? How can one accurately assess the current teen drinking climate? In this session, top scientific and medical experts delve deep into the adolescent brain, illustrating motivations and circumstances that put them most at risk. Our panel expounds the consequences of alcohol consumption for students through the latest images of damaged brains and cells, providing a clear picture of the negative effects. Leave armed with the tools needed to intervene on personal and communal levels.

PIN webinars are privileged information for staff and parents at PIN schools only. We appreciate your not sharing the password information with others.

If you encounter any difficulties, you may e-mail or call 888-773-7072 to access technical support staff.

We hope you will take advantage of this wonderful educational resource and we welcome any feedback you have on the webinars.

2. PIN Report: Teens and Financial Literacy

How ready are your teens to manage their own finances?

What messages have they learned from you about establishing a budget, saving, spending, and getting into debt?

If you asked your teen how much the family spends on food each week, what do you think s/he would say? (The most common answer among teens is "about $100.")

At the Parents' Independent School Network (PIN) meeting on September 30, 2011, Susan Sharkey of the National Endowment for Financial Education ( spoke about the importance of teaching teens the basics of personal money management. She noted that even if kids never bring up the topic, they are keenly interested—and sometimes worried—about money.

Our children learn about personal finances in three ways: from their parents, at school, and through trial and error. In fact, one of the important reasons to explicitly teach teens about personal finance is that a significant percentage of teens and young adults engage in risky financial behavior, such as opening a new credit card to pay off existing credit card debt.

Whether the education takes place at home or in a class at school (there are educational standards for "financial literacy"), Sharkey recommends addressing at least the following topics with teens:

- Value of planning and living within means
- Difference between needs and wants
- Rewards of saving money, growing money
- Consequences of not managing money
- Reasons to handle credit responsibly
- Tips to be a savvy consumer
- Strategies to manage risk of loss (e.g., insurance)

Fortunately, there are many resources for educational financial materials, much of it free or very low cost. Sharkey's nonprofit, NEFE, has free school curricula, as well as information that parents can use. Particularly useful resources include:, and its Facebook page for high school students, (where people confess their stupid spending decisions) (for college students)

If you would like further information on this topic, please feel free to contact us.

Lee Rubin Collins ( and
Allison Matlack (
Nobles PIN Representatives, 2011-'12

Class II Reps: Pat Burns (left) and Kristi Geary

Hello, Class II Parents!

As junior year rolls along, Class II parents have gathered for Parent Coffees and the Class II Fall Parent Social. These events have been great opportunities to get to know each other and share insights, wit and wisdom about our kids and adventures in parenting. Let’s continue to take time to breathe during this busy year, share a thought or smile, and plan a surprise or two to de-stress our juniors. We will reconvene for coffee and conversation on Thursday, December 1, at 8:15 a.m., in the MAC with Nobles Learning Specialist, Gia Batty. On Wednesday, December 7, we will provide a surprise “alternative lunch” for Class II in the MAC lower lobby. This will not replace the Class II Surprise Lunch next semester, but will be a much needed fun treat before assessments. If you would like to help on December 7, please contact Pat Burns (

Special thanks to Michael Denning for stopping by our September Parent Coffee and to Erika Guy for stopping by in October. A huge thank you to Bill and Kristi Geary for graciously hosting our Fall Social at their lovely home. And thanks to all of you who attended!

Hope to see you soon.
Pat Burns (
Kristi Geary (

Class II Parent Reps

From Community Service: Giving Thanks, Globally and Locally

It is especially hard to know where to start, isn't it? I thought that yesterday as I sorted through the mail, one pile for immediate bill paying, the other for looking at "later." The second pile was huge: AMFAR, OXFAM, The Heifer Project, Seva Gifts of Service, Kiva Microfinace Loans, March of Dimes, WUMB, Casa Nueva Vida, Home for Little Wanderers—oh, there was more! These were mixed in with requests from the Homeless Veterans for donations of unwanted goods and Kars for Kids. So much paper and so much assistance needed, all from useful, hardworking organizations requesting my help. You get them too, and often respond with a "yes."

Linda Hurley and I get calls every day from organizations that wish to partner with Nobles in an effort to make a critical difference. Some are far away, others strive to ease suffering very close to our surrounding walls in Dedham. All deserve our attention, resources, time and energy. But we cannot respond with a "yes" to every call. Like looking for a college, families and students have to find the right "fit"; the one that uses our real skills and time options or whose mission calls to our passions. Our department does, too.

In the last few years, the Service Department has attempted to mine those kinds of passions in the student body to inform our choices about which partnerships to pursue. In tandem with student clubs and organizations, we have reached out to many worthy agencies nearby to support their work and to further their hopes of making a difference. Thanksgiving time is unique here, since we have been supporting two wonderful agencies for more than a decade. We have been helping the Multicultural Student Association (MSA) and the Middle School, both of which have sustained a caring relationship with the Single Parent Family Outreach Center ( We help coordinate the delivery of their autumn's work. MSA will be buying close to 100 turkeys for these families, and the Middle School will provide both money and holiday pies to the Center. The collection of materials, festive preparations of the food itself, and the collective feeling of working together toward a collaborative local offering makes all of us feel both effective and satisfied.

Back to the mail. This year I have decided to give both globally and locally. I am choosing one type of each charity for Thanksgiving, maybe because I feel blessed indeed to have the resources to do so. I use the Nobles philosophy of service to make my choice: What do I really care about? What need can I help (in my small way) although I cannot respond to everything? I pull the envelope from Romanian Children's Relief out, and write a check to support a special needs child in his or her placement center in Nasaud. And I grab the Home for Little Wanderers brochure for my local contribution. A child there, a child here.

Nobles has taught me a great deal about what is going on right here in my community that deserves attention. Your sons and daughters are giving of their energy and resources daily to spend time and focus on the needs of their fellow citizens both here and abroad. We all have a lot to be thankful for in these aspirations and in the children who seek to fulfill them.

Happy Thanksgiving,
Sandi MacQuinn and Linda Hurley

Grandparents Day Portrait Information

Portraits from Grandparents Day will be available from October 12, 2011, through January 31, 2012, to view and purchase at

Username: noblesgp11 Password: 22507-93011

Please contact Allie Trainor in the Development Office with any questions at 781-320-7005 or

Middle School Reps: (from left) Leslie Del Col, Sarah Paglione, Brooke Sandford, Carol Taiclet

November 2011: Middle School Notes

It is hard to believe the first quarter is over and Thanksgiving will soon be here. We hope everyone has enjoyed the various fall activities at Nobles; it was great to see so many of you at the Middle School Parents Coffee and Middle School Social in October. Thank you to all the parents who brought the delicious desserts and to Samuel Adams, Boston Beer Company for their generous donation to the social.

November is a month of transitioning from the first to second quarter and finishing the fall sports season. The finale of fall sports at Nobles is the Nobles/Milton Weekend on November 11-12. This is a long-standing tradition (rivalry) between the two schools and is highly anticipated by both students and parents alike. Consider joining the fun and supporting Nobles sports teams by attending this full weekend of festivities and sporting events.

One of the highlights of the Middle School experience at Nobles is the annual Pie Drive on November 17 and 18. It is an important community builder that every Middle School child participates in and is also a great way for parents to volunteer and get involved at their child’s school. The Pie Drive is a communtiy service event which involves students and parents assembling hundreds of apple pies for Thanksgiving. Approximately 100 pies will be donated to the Single Parent Family Outreach Center in Boston and 200 or more will be sold to the Nobles community, the proceeds of which will go to Rosie’s Place. Please consider getting involved in this important event at Nobles by volunteering your time on either November 17 or 18, from 2:30-5 p.m., donating supplies or ordering some of these delicious pies! Parents, if you are interested in volunteering for the Pie Drive, please contact Parent Coordinators Elizabeth Clarke via email at or Sherri Athanasia at To order a pie please go to:

Mark Your Calendars—Important November Dates

Tuesday, November 8 MS Field Trip to Museum of Science-Pompeii exhibit
Saturday & Sunday, November 11-12 Nobles vs. Milton Weekend
Monday, November 14 Nobles Veterans’ Day, School Closed
Tuesday & Wednesday, November 15-16 Advisor/Parent Meetings
Thursday & Friday, November 17-18

Middle School Pie Drive.

Wednesday-Sunday, November 23-27 Happy Thanksgiving Break!
Monday, November 28 School Resumes, Winter Afternoon Program Begins

Personal Development/Character Education in the Middle School

Dear Parents,

The Middle School students attend a weekly Personal Development class that runs the duration of the school year. PD classes are single-sex and are co-taught by two teachers who work to foster an atmosphere of trust and confidentiality, allowing all students to feel safe and comfortable enough to discuss the issues that are important to them. Nobles is committed to providing a strong character education program, therefore this curriculum continues all the way through the student’s sophomore year.

The Middle School curriculum, which is designed as a sequenced two-year course, addresses many topics specific to the experience and development of the seventh- and eighth-grade students.

Our Class VI program begins with exercises that foster awareness of self and community. Media (television & video clips) are used as a vehicle for prompting discussions around identity, personal characteristics and gender roles. From there, our weekly topics may include, but are not limited to:

• Social justice and human rights
• Diversity, stereotypes and prejudice
• Forms of harassment, including cyber bullying
• The role of the bystander/ “upstander”
• Leadership
• Peer relationships/conflict resolution
• Staying physically and emotionally healthy
• Puberty

Our Class V program begins with community-building activities and encourages students to brainstorm together as we focus on age-appropriate information including:

• Mental health, self-esteem and stress reduction
• Emotions and emotional problems
• Learning differences and different types of intelligence
• Perfectionism and pressures to succeed
• Study skills and organization
• Healthy body image and the role of media on self-image
• Addiction
• Assertiveness and decision making around sexual activity
• Gender differences and sexual orientation
• The transition to the Upper School

Through open discussions and role-playing we empower students to consider the ramifications of the choices they make.

Please feel free to contact either of us with any questions, concerns, or suggestions regarding the Middle School PD curriculum.

Alycia Scott-Hiser, PD VI Coordinator/Teacher
Jen Hamilton, School Psychologist and PD V Coordinator/Teacher

Class IV Reps: Anna Abate (left) and Marca Katz

November 2011: Class IV Notes

Hello, Class IV Parents,

As I wait outside in the pick-up line, it is truly wonderful seeing our kids happily engaged in school life, chatting with friends as they say goodbye for the day. It is no longer obvious who the “new kids” are; everyone seems to have meshed so beautifully. We hope that you have all had an opportunity to connect with our Nobles community at one of the many events over the last couple months—either at a PA meeting, our coffee, the class forum or the yard sale. We saw many of you at our first Class IV social, which was a big success thanks to our fantastic committee (Linda Calleva, Dana DeAngelis and Kristen Roberts) and all the volunteers who made the night so memorable! We are looking forward to many more opportunities to connect as a group during the next month.

Below are some important upcoming dates and events you’ll want to mark on your calendar.

  • Thursday, November 3: Nobles PA at Cradles to Crayons, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.
  • Monday, November 7: Athletic Recruiting Seminar, 6:30-8 p.m., Morrison Forum
  • Tuesday, November 8: Shangri-La Chinese Acrobat Assembly (tickets required), 7-8:15 p.m. Visit for more information.
  • Thursday, November 10: Parent Book Club , 8-11 a.m.
  • Saturday, November 12: Nobles/Milton Day at Milton and Parent Pottery Workshop, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., Ceramics Studio. Register for ceramics studio at
  • Monday, November 14: Nobles Veterans’ Day—No School
  • Tuesday, November 15, and Wednesday, November 16: Advisor/Parent Meeting Day. Please arrange with your child’s advisor.
  • Thursday, November 17: Parents' Association Meeting
  • Wednesday, November 23—Sunday, November 27: Thanksgiving Break!
  • Monday, November 28:  School resumes; Winter afternoon program begins.

As always, please feel free to contact us with any questions.

Marca Katz and Anna Abate

2011-2012 PA Co-Chairs: Pam Notman (left) and Carolyn Harthun

We would like to extend our thanks to all members of the Nobles community who donated their attic treasures, spent countless hours sorting, pricing and selling items, baked delicious treats, and made numerous deliveries of leftover items to local charities on behalf of the Nobles’ Yard Sale. You are all extraordinary for giving so much of yourselves and making a difference for so many.

We deeply thank the Yard Sale Co-Chairs Rikki Conley and Heather Woodworth for their dedication and service to Nobles and the greater Dedham Community. They deserve a standing ovation for the outstanding work they did to make this year’s sale successful, raising money for Nobles scholarships and uniting the community.

November Events

Please join the Parents’ Association during the morning of Thursday, November 3, from 10 a.m.-12 p.m., at the new Cradles to Crayons’ Giving Factory in Brighton. C2C provides basic necessities for children in need. To sign up, contact Jill Dalby Ellison at Join the fun; you’ll be glad you did.

Stop by for a burger at the final Fall Cookout of the year on Friday, November 4, during afternoon athletic contests. If you are able to grill, bake or work the register, contact or Students can chit anything over $5.00. Proceeds benefit the Nobles Scholarship Fund.

It’s a busy time of year in the Arts Center. The Fall Mainstage Play, Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, opens November 9, and runs through November 12. A reception is scheduled in the Foster Gallery for renowned potters Doug Casebeer and John Gill on November 10. Come see our devoted actors and meet the artists.

Plan to attend the Nobles/Milton Weekend and celebrate the tradition with graduates, family and friends on Saturday, November 12, at Milton.

Come learn what’s happening in Admissions at our next PA meeting on Thursday, November 17, in the MAC Upper Lobby from 8-9:30 a.m. We are fortunate to have Jennifer Hines, Dean of Enrollment Management and Cassie Velázquez, Associate Director of Admissions, speaking with us during this busy time in the admissions cycle.

Don’t miss the Fall Dance Concert performed by our talented students who participate in the afternoon dance program on Thursday evening, November 17. This event has been a standing-room-only favorite. Finally, join in the spirit of giving and participate in the Middle School Pie Drive November 17 and 18.

We wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Carolyn Harthun ( and Pam Notman (
Parents’ Association Co-Chairs

Class I Reps: (from left) Amy Reiner, Jane Rigoli and Lynda Macdonald

Dear Class I Families,

Class I Surprise Lunch, PA, Parents Association

Above: Class I enjoys
"Halloween in the Jungle"

We wrapped up the month of October with the end of the first term (phew!) and the first surprise lunch of the year. After serenading the school to the Nobles rendition of “Circle of Life," the seniors were treated to “Halloween in the Jungle” for lunch. Proving that you are never to old or too cool to enjoy being spoiled, the students were very appreciative of the lunch. Many thanks to the volunteers who helped with the surprise—from cupcake baking, decorating the Castle and helping to clean up. We could not have pulled it off without you.

Moving on to November, there is once again a lot going on for Class I. Yearbook Ads are due shortly; please refer to the dates listed below. We also hope to see all of you at the Class I Parent Dinner, on November 12! Big thanks to Kristen and Jim Atwood for opening up their home and to the Brosseau and Ordonez families for donating the beer and wine for the evening. It promises to be a really fun evening, so we hope to see you all there!

  • Wednesday, November 9: PARENT AD FOR YEARBOOK DUE
    Please refer to recent mailing
  • Saturday, November 12: NOBLES VS. MILTON GAMES
    (At Milton Academy) followed by the CLASS I PARENT DINNER!
  • Monday, November 13: NO SCHOOL—VETERANS DAY
  • Tuesday-Wednesday, November 15-16: PARENT/ADVISOR MEETINGS

Please check the weekly Upper School Parent Email for more information and updates on upcoming events. We would love to have your help in any capacity. Feel free to contact us at any point with questions or suggestions. Our emails and phone numbers are below.

Amy Reiner (; 781-431-8993)
Jane Rigoli (; 508-269-2433)
Lynda Macdonald (; 617-921-9889)

10 Campus Drive,
Dedham, Massachusetts
tel: 781.326.3700
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If you have questions, comments or suggestions for this newsletter, email Kim Neal at