Nobles Parents' E-Newsletter

February 2013

Nobles Parents' E-Newsletter February 2013

The Studies Show: The Writing Process

Learning Specialists Gia Batty and Sara Masucci talk about writing and executive function, brainstorming and organizing in this month's episode of the "The Studies Show" podcast. Click here to listen.

"The Studies Show" is a podcast series hosted by Batty and Masucci. Through this series, the two hope to share information about some of the research they have come across in their work. To listen to all episodes, visit

Order Your All-School and Class I Photos

The 2012-13 all-school and Class I photos are available to purchase through Panfoto's website. Photos make a great gift for students!

Click here to take a look at available options and to place your order today:

The Nobles Minute: KYP Dancing

The "Nobles Minute" is a video series featuring 60-second multimedia pieces that showcase campus life, classes, special events and more. You can find these fun videos on, as well as the school's Youtube channel, under the Nobles Minute Playlist.

From the Nobles Theatre Collective

February is a busy month for the Nobles Theatre Collective (NTC).  The winter student directed plays, directed by Class I students Shanti Gonzales and Greg Swartz, ran Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 in Towles Auditorium and were a huge success. Congratulations to all involved with the production. Feb. 5-6 (snow date of Feb. 7) brings the auditions for the spring musical, though rehearsals won't begin until after spring break.  The following week, Feb. 13-14, we are proud to present the Middle School production, The Yellow Boat, in Lawrence Auditorium.  And to conclude our winter season, Feb. 20-23, the winter mainstage production runs in the Vinik Theatre. 

Here is more information about the winter mainstage production:

Pink Floyd's THE WALL Reimagined
Book by Dan Halperin and the Nobles Theatre Collective
Musical arrangements by Michael Turner

Join us for the NTC's first ever combination drama and rock concert Feb. 20-23, in the Vinik Theatre.

To paraphrase Roger Water's lyrics in "Nobody Home," our main characters have got a strong urge to fly, but they've got nowhere to fly to.  They yearn to escape the constraints imposed by the adults in their lives, however, they are still young and dependent on adults.  To make sure that their struggles are worthy of the stage while matching the intense desperation inherent in Pink Floyd's original concept album, our teenage characters encounter theatrically heightened and complicated difficulties. In addition, our production is also a rock concert featuring a live student/graduate band and singing from some of Nobles' strongest student vocalists.   The power of seeing and hearing young musicians unleash new arrangements of THE WALL provides a strong, uplifting counter to the struggle inherent in many of the dramatic scenes.

We believe that the themes explored in our production are relevant to adolescents, that we are "holding, as t'were, the mirror up to nature." The issues the show portrays range from alcohol abuse to eating disorders to family dysfunction and mental health.  Our hope is that by investigating the circumstances of our fictional characters, we can increase audience members' awareness and help them develop greater empathy.  We also recognize that some individuals may be strongly impacted by the performance.  In order to support student audience members (as well as the cast and crew), the NTC is collaborating with the school's student life team in a variety of ways.  We will offer post-show discussions after each performance, school counselors will be available each evening, and students will be provided resources that they may easily access. 

Though we will not be formally "rating" the production as the M.P.A.A. does with films (G, PG, PG-13, etc.), we hope parents will take the above information into consideration when deciding whether they want younger students to attend this show.

Thank you for your time.

Dan Halperin
Nobles Theatre Collective

2013-14 Calendar

For those of you planning ahead, the school has started to populate the calendar with important dates and information for the 2013-14 academic year. Visit for more information. 

From Community Service: Service from the Other Side of Things

Nobles is engaged in a yearlong SWOT analysis of the entire service program, which has a committee asking what strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats confront us as we strive to carry out myriad projects of the program. We are learning a great deal, not only about how much it's believed we are doing (the numbers are quite astonishing!), but also about how we are perceived by those we serve. One quadrant of the analysis has been to parse out the kind of work we engage in and how successful that engagement has been, especially in local environments. We ask questions about how effective young people can be when providing direct service. These are students who may be volunteering at agencies for the first time or they are older students frantically trying to finish their service requirement hours before graduation. Our service efforts are of use to the world in several ways: they both educate the youngster performing the service and also genuinely help those who receive the service. So, how are we doing?

1. What do students see at these sites and what do they believe about themselves as they do work that helps others? Here is a recent journal entry from  Alex Yu, Class IV:

“The needs are great, and none of us, including me, ever do great things. But we can all do small things with great love, and together we can do something wonderful.” —Mother Teresa

"I agree with this quote because our cooperation as a community can make more of a difference than a single person’s efforts. The outreach of a single human being is very limited. Only a few people in the entire world have some power to make a difference, but, even their jurisdiction must depend on the agreement of others. For example, the President of the United States cannot do much without the House or Senate’s cooperation. This shows that even at the highest scale of society, even the most powerful figures must have the collaboration of a majority to do something great. The same principle applies to our community here at Nobles. For instance, a lot of people helped make blankets for the victims of Hurricane Sandy. Together, we made a great amount of blankets, and with the help of other people’s assets (transportation, communication, etc.), we are able to make a wonderful contribution to help society. The other part of the quote I want to discuss is the importance of doing,”...small things with great love.” Mother Teresa makes a superb point in stating that to do something wonderful, we must apply our love to it. She’s right because an act truly great can only come from a community’s utmost love and support. It’s our love that drives us to help others in need of aid. It’s our love that brings us together in times of despair. With the combination of a strong, collective community and true dedication, something truly wonderful happens; the expression of the caring human spirit."

2. What do sites we serve believe about our ability to do something worthwhile? (Is there "real work" done out there?) The following are from recent emails sent by our clients all over Boston:

"We have our big holiday delivery days scheduled for Nov. 17 and Dec. 22 and could use volunteers on those days.  We also have weekdays leading up to them when we will be making hundreds of bags of food.  Let me know if you have any particular dates this fall/winter or any dates in the school calendar that we could be reserving for Nobles. In His service and yours,  Rev. David B. Wooster, Sanger Center for Compassion/Quincy Crisis Center"

"The Resident Coordinator suggests planning for 40 people for lunch on Monday.  I hope that's not too large a number!  We have some basic serving utensils, cutting boards and a few other items (hot pads, gloves), but no pots, pans, etc.  So depending on your menu, you might need to bring some cooking supplies. We can't thank you enough for bringing your students here to Hearth!" —Jennifer Hartwell, Volunteer Coordinator, Hearth, Inc.

"You guys did an amazing job here yesterday, and we're so grateful for everything you and Nobles continue to do to support Epiphany. I am still operating my office from the room you did last year with the beautiful undersea scene. You are the best!" —Will Brown, Epiphany School

It just has to work both ways—young people need to learn about the joys and complex issues that surround the sites they work, and the agencies themselves have to be satisfied that their genuine needs are being met. That is the joy of going off-campus to learn—the real work of the world gets done, piece by piece, and we come home wiser and stronger ourselves.

Class IV Reps: Isabelle Loring (left) and Cindy Trull

Dear Class IV Families,

We have a busy month ahead, and there are several opportunities for getting on campus and being involved with the class and school. Thank you for the great enthusiasm and help we have received with planning the Class IV Surprise Luncheon, to be held on Feb. 28. The theme is the Red Sox, and parents have been working hard to make this a special event for our students. We will need many hands on deck on the day of the event. Any time you can give will be very appreciated. There will be a sign up link in the Friday email called Sign Up Genius, courtesy of Brooke Sanford, which will show ways that you can volunteer your time or contribute in a variety of ways. And just a reminder that this is supposed to be a surprise for the kids!

Other noteworthy February days for parents and students include:

  • Fri., Feb. 8—PA at Cradles to Crayons
  • Thurs., Feb. 14—PA Meeting, 8-9:30 a.m., Castle Library
  • Mon., Feb. 18—NO SCHOOL, President's Day
  • Tues., Feb. 19—NO CLASSES, Faculty Work Day
  • Wed., Feb. 20-Sat., Feb. 23—Winter Mainstage Play
  • Fri., Feb. 22-Sat., Feb. 23—Nobles/Milton Games
  • Thurs., Feb. 28—Class IV Surprise Lunch. Set up from 8-11 a.m.; lunch from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.; break down/clean up at 2 p.m. Please see Sign Up Genius link in the Friday Upper School email.

Looking Ahead:

Please save the date—Fri., April 19, is our Class IV Spring Parent Social in the Nobles Castle.

As always, please be in touch with us if you have any questions or concerns.
Isabelle Loring (
Cindy Trull (

A Banner Day by John Gifford, Head of Middle School

Over the winter break I finally got the banners made.  I’d been thinking about these banners for a couple years, but it took research help from Dean of the Middle School Colette Finley and the far better esthetic sensibility of Communications Director Heather Sullivan to help make them a reality.

If you haven’t seen them, they hang in Morrison Forum, tightly affixed to the brick wall.  Thus, they are forever looming large over the Middle Schoolers who call that space their home. Three will be permanent fixtures, while one will rotate depending on the time of year and the activities that take place at that time.

The three permanent banners reiterate the primary messages that I harp on repeatedly. (I’m sure that you have heard them before…) In limiting myself to just three ideas, my goal is to keep it very simple.  I believe that, if a Middle School student can live by all three, good things will happen. The three messages? Be good to each other; be honest; and work hard. On the banners, there are quotes that underscore the lessons.

The first quote accompanies our suggestion that students should “be good to each other” and comes from the Nobel Prize-winning Belgian playwright, Maurice Maeterlinck.  He wrote that, "An act of goodness is of itself an act of happiness. No reward coming after the event can compare with the sweet reward that went with it."

Mary Kay Ash, who founded the highly successful company, Mary Kay Cosmetics, provided the quote for the banner touting honesty.  "Honesty is the cornerstone of all success, without which confidence and ability to perform shall cease to exist."

Finally, the last quote is from former Secretary of State, Colin Powell.  "A dream doesn't become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.”

I have what I think are realistic feelings about these messages and these banners. On any given day, one student in the community might read one.  They might even read one at the right time when it has personal significance and makes an impression.  At the start of each school year I deliberately talk through the “big three” when students are fresh and energized, and yet I don’t expect that my words provide the panacea to the insensitivity or bad behavior of Middle Schoolers. I know that my words will wash over the majority who are assembled without hitting home.

While it is essential that there is great clarity about what we value at Nobles and in the Middle School, that message should not just be spoken and hung from the walls.  More importantly, the adults in the community are asked to consistently model this type of behavior. To have students witness these principles in action—playing out in myriad ways on a daily basis—means far more than the words I could ever write or say.  The other tool at our disposal which serves to teach the “big three” is to take advantage of the teachable moment as they come. 

The Nobles Middle School faculty have very high expectations for their students. On a daily basis they are showing each student what his or her definition of victory should be—and it is always aspirational. We ask kids to "work hard."

There are inevitably times when young people are mean. Usually they are being thoughtless rather than intentionally cruel, but that matters little to the student who is impacted. Much of these moments pass without an adult witnessing it, but when we do, we act. We preach that students need to “be good to each other.”

When we call students on inappropriate behavior, at times the first instinct is to be dishonest about what unfolded. The “flight” part of “fight or flight” kicks in (perhaps I should be grateful) and they attempt to run away from their error by lying. Most know that this reaction only makes matters worse.  We want students to take responsibility for their mistakes—this is the first step towards understanding what they have done and its impact. This, in turn, is vital before a student can create a game plan to not replicate the mistake. They need to be and learn to be “honest."

What else would help—besides banners and mentors and teachable moments? You, as parents and guardians, should just keep doing what you already do to enforce these messages from home.  We only have them for half the day. When messages from home and school clash—even in small ways—there can be great damage to a student’s progress.  The good news is that moments of discord are extraordinarily uncommon. The messages of the "big three" are pretty easy to agree on.  With a little intentional work from both home and school, all Middle School students will (eventually) take them to heart and make them a part of their very being.

Class II Dean's Report

Second semester is off to a good start as students have settled in nicely after a well-deserved winter break. And with this semester comes the formal initiation of the college process, an integral part of each student's Nobles experience. Each student has been assigned a college advisor with whom he or she will work over the course of the next year and with whom he or she will build an amazing relationship. 

At the previous school at which I worked, one of the many responsibilities was serving as a college counselor.  From this perspective, I'd like to share some experiences that I've had over the years. 

First of all, my hope is that all parents understand that your children will each have the opportunity to attend an incredible university or college after graduating from Nobles. By incredible, I mean a school that is right for your son or daughter.  As our students navigate through the college process, my hope is that everyone will listen closely to our experts in the College Counseling Office.  No one knows more about this process and we’re very lucky to have such talented people working on behalf of our students. 

Over the years, I've seen too many students tie so much of their self worth into where they will apply and subsequently be admitted to college. Students who do this and those who are told that they are probably not going to be accepted at College X, have a difficult time moving on to secondary choices primarily because they feel that they've let their parents down.  I hope that this will not be the case for any of our students and that you have conveyed to your children that you will be happy and proud wherever they may continue their education.

Junior year is arguably the most stressful of all the high school years, as the college process becomes very real in each student’s life.  As a result, students tend to be more diligent in the classroom as they feel that this has to be their most accomplished year both in the classroom and in the areas in which they have demonstrated their passions and extracurricular pursuits.  My point is that with this realization, students have already placed a lot of pressure on themselves, and that at this specific time, your reassurance can only help to ensure that they will keep things in perspective so that they are able to maximize the Class II experience.

I hope that the winter is going well for you.  As always, if there is anything that I can do for you or your son or daughter, please do not hesitate to contact me.

All the best,

Brian Day
Class II Dean

From the PA Co-Chairs

January was a busy month at Nobles, with the Cotting School basketball game, winter concerts, the Foster Gallery opening of faculty work and the MLK Jr. Day of Service.  February will be just as busy, with exciting sports contests; a parent outing to Cradles to Crayons, Feb. 8; the Middle School play, Feb. 13-14; Upper School play, Feb 20-23;  the long Presidents' weekend, Feb 16-19; and the winter chamber music concert, Feb 28. 

During February, we begin to look for volunteers who might like to help out with the Parents’ Association next year.  Click here——and indicate what you would like to do. There is a description of each position to peruse.  We welcome everyone to think about how he or she might like to participate in our very active, fun and engaging parent organization.

Please join us for the PA meeting on Feb. 14, from 8-9:30 a.m., in the Castle Library to hear Bill Bussey speak.  Bussey is the provost and ombudsman at Nobles.  He is a wildly entertaining speaker and provides a unique perspective on our teenage children.  You don’t want to miss this!

Have a great month and we hope to see you at Nobles!

Kris Ganong and Lisa Soule
PA Co-chairs

Class III Reps: Ruth Gilleran (left) and Jennifer Potter

Thank you to everyone who helped make the Icy/Hot Class III Surprise Lunch such a great event for the kids.  We appreciate all of your efforts in the planning and contributions.

February is a busy month!  History papers are on our students’ minds, and we hope they are off to a good start.

The next event for our Class III students is the Head of School Dinner and Dance, which is hosted by Bob Henderson and will take place on Sat., April 6, at 6 p.m.  Your child will receive an invitation shortly, and we ask you to encourage your child to RSVP as soon as possible.  This dinner/dance is a tradition for sophomores only, and it is a fun social evening that will hopefully be a memorable one for them.  We need many volunteers to plan and prepare for this, and we would love your help! Please come to our first planning meeting on  Tues., Feb. 12, right after drop off at 8 a.m. in the Castle Library. (Bring your own coffee!)

Other Dates to Remember:

  • Fri., Feb. 8, 10 a.m.–12 p.m.—PA at Cradles 2 Crayons in Brighton, Mass. Contact Jill Dalby Ellison at
  • Tues., Feb. 12, 7–8:30 p.m.—College process orientation for Class III parents/guardians in Towles Auditorium
  • Thurs., Feb. 14, 8–9:30 a.m.—PA Meeting with guest speaker Bill Bussey in the Castle Library
  • Mon., Feb. 18—Presidents' Day, school closed
  • Tues., Feb. 19—Faculty work day, no classes
  • Wed., Feb. 20–Sat., Feb. 23—Winter mainstage play, “Pink Floyd’s THE WALL Reimagined" 
  • Thurs., Feb. 28, 7–9 p.m.—Winter chamber music concert
  • Thurs., March 28, 8–9:30 a.m.—Class III spring parent coffee in Castle upper dining room

Stay Warm!

Ruth Gilleran
Jennifer Potter


Save the Date: Parent Outing

The next Parents' Association outing will be to Cradle to Crayons on Fri., Feb. 8, from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. Help Massachusetts children in need get the everyday essentials for learning and life.  Reserve a spot by emailing Jill Dalby Ellison at

Class I Deans' Report

Happy (belated) New Year! Vacation seems like a distant memory as second semester classes and Afternoon Programs are well underway on campus. From our perspective, the senior class seems to be in good spirits. With first semester grades closed and most college applications submitted, the stress level in Gleason Hall has waned. We thought it would be a good idea to use this newsletter as an opportunity to highlight a few upcoming events for Class I students and parents during the final semester at Nobles.

As you know, seniors have a wonderful opportunity in the fourth quarter to dive into an area of interest that falls outside the realm of the traditional Nobles curriculum. This year, 74 students have applied for Senior Projects. During the month of February, the Class I Projects Committee (made up of 10 faculty members) will evaluate the students’ preliminary proposals; students will hear (on a rolling basis) by the end of February if their proposals have passed. If their preliminary proposals have been accepted by the committee, seniors need to do the following: 1) submit the final proposal form (found online) with the necessary adjustments and signatures;  this will be their official proposal; 2) submit a supervisor form (found online) if they are doing an internship off campus; 3) inform teachers of the classes they’ll drop before March break (we also suggest thanking those teachers at that time); 4) enjoy their senior project. Senior projects can be a wonderful part of the Nobles experience.  However, not all students choose to take part in it, and by no means do we wish to underrate those decisions. We are pleased that there are so many students who wish to take full advantage of their classroom experience and the Nobles faculty. Whether your student has decided to do a project or not, we hope that you will all take part in Class I Projects Night on Tues., May 28.

Other important items to consider:

  • Health during the winter months
  • Take advantage of big events on campus—it’s your last time to do so

Upcoming Events:

  • Nobles/Milton weekend, Feb. 22-23
  • Winter mainstage play, Feb. 20-23
  • Nobles junior-senior prom, April 27
  • Class I dinners, April 9

Detailed information regarding major end-of-the-year events will be forthcoming from Bob Henderson and in the May newsletter.


Meg Hamilton and Michael Herring
Class I Deans


Class II Reps: Suzie Montgomery (left) and Eileen Orscheln

There will be no school on Mon., Feb. 18, in honor of Presidents' Day, as well as no school on Tues., Feb. 19, due to a faculty working day. These may be good days for college visits!

Shhh, it’s a surprise…The Class II Surprise Lunch is on Thurs., Feb. 7.  Thank you for volunteering to help plan, set up, serve and clean up on the 7th.  It should be a fun event for the students.

Lastly, come support your athletes on Fri., Feb. 22, and Sat., Feb. 23, for the Nobles/Milton games.

Your Class II Parent Representatives,

Suzie Montgomery,
Eilleen Eileen Orscheln,

Continuing To Try to Do Good Work (And An Opportunity for You) by Ben Snyder, Head of Upper School

Nobles teachers care about developing both the intellect and the character of our students. Our mission refers to our goal of "developing leaders for the public good" and our hope that Nobles students will "achieve their highest potential and lead lives characterized by service to others." These are daunting tasks—to say the least.

In the daily hustle and bustle of school life those lofty goals can seem a long way away. Homework, tests, practices, rehearsals, service projects, friends and family often overwhelm our grand goals—and it is important at times to step back and reflect on the larger purpose and values we hope to nurture in young people.

Periodically over the last seven years Nobles has collaborated with the GoodWork Project at Project Zero ( at the Harvard Graduate School of Education to examine the efficacy of our work in building character as well as intellect and to learn about current practices and research that we may embed in the Nobles program. It also helps us to examine our own school culture carefully and intentionally.

On Fri., March 8, Nobles is collaborating with Project Zero to host a conference for educators from around the country called “Developing Responsible, Caring & Balanced Youth.” The conference will feature internationally notable educators and social entrepreneurs including Howard GardnerWilliam Damon, and Kiran Sethi of Design for Change.

Our goals for the conference will be to address important questions such as these:  “How do we raise balanced, responsible, and caring youth in this opportunity-rich, yet challenging context? How are young people responding to the changing world in school, at home, and in social environments? Are youth more socially aware and less prejudiced than ever before, or are they more narcissistic, egocentric and self-serving? How do we equip young people to recognize and confront ethical dilemmas and to respond with integrity? How do we help them develop a sense of purpose for themselves, yet also care about the wider world?”

The world our young people encounter is dramatically different than ours was at their age. Social media, access to infinite information via the internet, a hyper-competitive race towards college, and many other pressures have put adolescents in decision-making situations in which, frankly, they may not be developmentally ready to make good choices. We hope this collaborative effort helps adults understand those pressures more sensitively and develop ways—both in and out of the classroom—to help kids negotiate the minefield of adolescence to emerge as young adults who hope to lead lives characterized by integrity and character so that they will make a positive difference in their communities.

Interested parents are welcome to register for the conference——(for either a day or for the full conference) and to share this opportunity with friends, colleagues and family.  

Alcohol and Other Drugs, 2013 Style by Erika Guy, Dean of Students

As a child of the '60s, I have certainly witnessed and endured more than my fair share of alcohol and other drug education and prevention programs.  Here at Nobles, over the last decades, we have tried myriad approaches to this daunting task, never quite finding the appropriate formula or that magic bullet. We have used the first person narrative (the recovering user who has turned his/her life around), the “scared straight” approach (testimony from an incarcerated teen who killed his friend while driving drunk), the poignant and sad story of a grieving mom who lost her daughter to an alcohol overdose, the blunt and clinical account of an emergency room physician, and countless others.  Each methodology has had its own impact and has evoked some response in the moment, but it seems that none is truly able to alter adolescent behavior very much.  Now I know you may be thinking: “Didn’t Joann Deak explain all this via her description of the adolescent brain with its swollen amygdala and the underdeveloped frontal lobe?”  Yes, I get all that, but I still feel that we need to continue to provide some education/information and some opportunity for reflection. 

This year, we have added some of this into the Personal Development curriculum in the Upper School and as the PD faculty discussed how to approach this topic in 2013, we made some interesting observations about current adolescent use/abuse patterns.  While certain similarities exist from days gone by (following national trends, alcohol use is still predominant, followed closely by marijuana use) what is quite different is the increasing use of what I call “performance enhancement” drugs.  Lance Armstrong's performance enhancing drugs not withstanding,  our students still dabble in substances. Take for instance, the cultural prevalence of the marketing of energy drinks: 

“Energy drinks are the fastest-growing part of the beverage industry, with sales in the United States reaching more than $10 billion in 2012—more than Americans spent on iced tea or sports beverages like Gatorade.  Their rising popularity represents a generational shift in what people drink, and reflects a successful campaign to convince consumers, particularly teenagers, that the drinks provide a mental and physical edge…”
(excerpted from article, "Energy Drinks Promise Edge, but Experts Say Proof Is Scant" by Barry Meier, New York Times, Jan. 1, 2013)

Recognizing that our kids swim in a cultural soup that touts the vital importance of performance and the value of a competitive edge, it is easy to see how they might fall victim to patterns of substance use (from energy drinks and bars, to over the counter caffeine boosts, to prescription amphetamines). 

It is not an enormous leap to move from the use of energy drinks and power bars, to the abuse of a friend’s supply of Adderall, Ritalin or Focalin to help stay awake well beyond one’s normal bedtime to finish an assignment.  We need to acknowledge that our kids live in a culture that relentlessly seeks a “leg up” on others, that says they need specialty coaches (both academic and athletic), and that they should employ ANY MEANS NECESSARY to get ahead.

Our kids do not remember a time when prescription drugs were NOT marketed directly to the consumer. They have more than a glancing knowledge via television advertising, with Abilify, Pristiq, Cialis, Celebrex, etc.  They may not remember the specific symptoms or diseases that these meds treat, but they get the clear message that there is a drug for whatever ails you.  Again, it is not much of a leap to assume that adolescents will look to find a drug for what ails them: fatigue, lack of focus, lack of achievement, lack of understanding, etc.

Our responsibility in all of this is to make our students aware of the kinds of dependencies that await them:  if they forever look to substances to solve their challenges, they may ultimately become substance dependent and that is something we all want to avoid.  Let’s work purposefully and together to counter that.

Thanks for reading,

Erika Guy
Dean of Students

Middle School Reps: (from left) Rhonda Kaplan, Sarah Paglione, Janet Nahirny, Michelle Abrecht

January was certainly a great month for music at Nobles!  We hope you were able to enjoy the jazz, blues, guitar and percussion concert or the wind, strings and orchestra concert.  In February, performing arts continues to shine as our thespians take to the stage.  The student-directed plays kicked off the month—congratulations to all involved!  Feb. 13-14, the Middle Schoolers will perform on the Towles Auditorium stage with their rendition of The Yellow Boat by David Saar.  And, for the grand finale, the Nobles Theatre Collective’s winter mainstage production is Pink Floyd’s THE WALL Reimagined. NTC mainstage productions are top caliber and typically sell out. Performances will be on Feb. 20-23. Please know that there are mature themes to this performance.  Viewing the show will not be required for any Middle School class and you should discuss the appropriateness of the show with your children.

A special notice from Dan Halperin on behalf of The Nobles Theatre Collective:

"We believe that the themes explored in our production are relevant to adolescents, that we are 'holding, as t'were, the mirror up to nature.'  The issues the show portrays range from alcohol abuse to eating disorders to family dysfunction and mental health.  Our hope is that by investigating the circumstances of our fictional characters, we can increase audience members' awareness and help them develop greater empathy.  We also recognize that some individuals may be strongly impacted by the performance.  In order to support student audience members (as well as the cast and crew), the NTC is collaborating with the school's student life team in a variety of ways.  We will offer post-show discussions after each performances, school counselors will be available each evening, and students will be provided resources that they may easily access. "

The Middle School Parent Coffee is on Feb. 6, at 8 a.m.,  in the Castle Library.  John Gifford and Colette Finley will be joining us to discuss topics relevant to the Middle School.  We hope to see you there, and at the Parents' Association meeting on Feb. 14.

Assuming appropriate behavior, a Middle School no homework weekend starts on Fri., Feb.15-19.

School will be closed on Mon., Feb. 18 for Presidents' Day. Also, there will be no school on Tues., Feb. 19.

All Class V parents are invited for a meeting on Wed., Feb. 20, starting at 6:30 p.m., in Morrison Forum. Ben Snyder, Head of the Upper School, will discuss course selections for next academic year (2013-14). Also, faculty member and trip leader, Thomas Forteith, will talk about the upcoming Washington, D.C. trip and itinerary.

Middle School Nobles/Milton games will take place on Fri., Feb. 22. This will mark the end of the winter Afternoon Program for the Middle School.

Middle School long advisory meetings will take place—in lieu of Afternoon Program—on Mon., Feb. 25 from 2:30-4 p.m..

Musicians return to the spotlight at the end of the month with the chamber music concert on Feb. 28.  This is a more intimate venue, in the recital hall, mimicking the ambience of the original chamber concerts.  At Nobles, chamber music is anything but staid—be ready for some surprises as Nobles musicians tend to be quite creative.

The PA is also hosting a service learning outing to the Cradles to Crayons Giving Factory in Brighton.  Cradles to Crayons is an agency that provides clothes, toys and other supplies to families in need.  Please contact  Jill Dalby Ellison at 508-494-1632 or if you are interested. 

Please contact us if you have any questions.

Class V Reps
Sarah Paglione,
Rhonda Kaplan,

Class VI Reps
Janet Nahirny,
Michele Abrecht,

Write to Us!


The E-Newsletter is a monthly resource for parents. If you have comments, submissions or suggestions, please contact E-Newsletter Editor Julie Guptill at

You can find the current issue, along with back issues in the archive at

Class I Reps: (from left): Linda Courtiss Rheingold, Marion Mussafer, Elaine Sobell

Dear Class I Families,

Thank you to everyone who came out and made our winter morning social at NEST on Jan. 18—it was a huge success!  A very special thank you to Class I parent Brooke Cabot for hosting our gathering at her fabulous store in Dedham Village, and to Marion Mussafer for providing us with a smorgasbord of yummy breakfast treats. We had a wonderful turnout, and everyone agree that there couldn't be a more perfect location for a Nobles parent coffee!

On the immediate horizon, there is still time to sign up for the Class I Valentine's Day Surprise Dessert Buffetbut hurry! The festivities start on Wed., Feb. 13, from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m., when we will be gathering at Laura Monrad's home in Newton for a baking and dessert making party. Stop by any time to create festive offerings for our dessert buffet; a light lunch will be served. Also on Wed., Feb. 13, from 4-6 p.m., we will decorate the Castle lower dining room with the help of the PA’s plentiful stash of Valentine's party supplies. Then on Thurs., Feb. 14,  from 10:30 a.m. – 1 p.m., we will set up and run the Class I Valentine's Day Surprise Dessert Buffetthink Rosie's Bakery meets Dylan's Candy Bar! Libby McClintock is chairing this event and there is still time to sign up for one of these fun activities. If you are interested in participating, please contact Elaine Sobell at

Looking ahead, the Spring Fling Surprise Student Lunch originally scheduled for Fri., March 29, has been moved to the following Fri., April 5, to avoid the dietary restrictions of Lent and Passover. Anna's Taqueria has once again graciously offered to donate their delicious food for this event. We will reach out in March for volunteers to help decorate the lower castle dining room for a Mexican Fiesta and help serve the surprise lunch on the 5th. Watch the Friday updates in February for further details.

Please also log in and check the Nobles web calendar for many exciting all-school arts, athletic and cultural events coming up in February!

Marion Mussafer,
Linda Courtiss Rheingold,
Elaine Sobell,

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