Nobles Parents' E-Newsletter

April 2015

Nobles Parents' Newsletter April 2015

7 Essential Skills, by Assistant Head of School and Head of Middle School John Gifford

Parents and guardians who have slogged their way through previous newsletter pieces of mine know that academic skill development is a favorite topic.  I wonder if it is because there is so much variance in development during the early teen years that middle schoolers are so desperate to not seem different.  In any case,  because puberty can strike at any point within a large band of years, students are undergoing vast physical, emotional and intellectual change. Brain researchers continue to realize all of the ways in which sexual maturity also impact brain functioning and this comes as no surprise to middle school teachers.

A student’s own brain development is one, but not the only reason why, in a class of 50+ students, there is a vast range in students’ understanding and ability to employ vital academic skills.  All students who are accepted to Nobles have done exceedingly well in their previous schools and many have not yet needed to use sound academic skills. Some students previous academic programs have not been intentional in skill work and therefore it slipped by unnoticed.

For some time the Nobles Middle School has believed that it is “all about skills.” We have a stimulating, inventive curriculum, but in the end  if it does not practice and instill academic skill development, it is useless.

This fall, a group of middle school faculty continued our interminable discussions about academic skill development by asking the following question: Can we whittle down all the skills that we work to instill in students – across disciplines into an essential few?  Is there a manageable selection of skills that, if practiced, will serve students well no matter the class?

The initial list hit 58, if memory serves, and over a period of months the team whittled it down.  All the initial skills were valid and certain teachers, at one point or another, practice them all.  But we were after those skills that supported all classes, be it Pre-Algebra or English via Latin. We wanted to be able to say to students, ‘if you can consistently employ these following skills, academic success will follow’.

Because we were coming up with something so universal, the final list is not the least bit earth shattering.  The skills are the basic components of being a thorough student (or adult professional, for that matter). They are:

The student consistently:

  • turns in assignments when due
  • maintains all course materials in an organized way
  • advocates for him/herself proactively
  • uses a planner to keep track of assignments and obligations on a daily basis
  • follows written and oral directions
  • takes organized and effective notes in class
  • engages actively in class while resisting distractions

See?  No surprises here. The next step was to take these established skills and make sure that students were consistently being evaluated about their ability to employ them.   We have done that by adding them to the form that teachers use to write their grading period comments. Asking teachers to evaluate each student’s success will provide the discipline to always evaluate these skills in the comment that is read to the student and goes home to parents.

In my own set of comments it was heartening to see the clear correlation between students who developed these salutary academic habits and the students who were seeing the most success in my class. We are on the right track!

We have to remember that while middle school students often can act like informed adults, they are only just starting to practice adult strategies that enable efficient and effective productivity. We need to teach, and model these skills. We need to focus on the skill development rather than the otherwise mystifying results. It has long been an understood priority of the Nobles Middle School faculty, now we have another tool to help make it happen.

Common Fire Day: Celebrating the Importance of Community

Recently I read an insightful blog by John Chubb, the NAIS president, called "Power of Community." Independent schools often assert that "Great schools are distinguished by their communities. They are distinguished by the human connections that help students understand right from wrong, the dignity of every individual, the value of self-respect, respect for one another, the duty to serve others, and the content of character."

I believe Nobles is a "great" school.  Not just a good one that attempts to do the right thing more often than not, although it does do that. But I say a "great" one, because having been on the inside of this vibrantly alive institution for almost 20 years I have the perspective of knowing that we build community in hundreds of ways over the course of each year, layering all-school events like assembly or sporting contests with one-on-one advisor meetings, or extra help sessions built into every faculty member's day. Over time, and with intentional planning, astonishing bonds are built within these moss covered New England rock walls that surround our campus. But there is another kind of community Nobles has built, and we will celebrate it in a big way on April 14, "Common Fire Day."

For decades, each extracurricular season finds students and faculty coaches climbing into vans and traveling out to the local Dedham and Boston social service agencies and schools to spend their afternoon hours connecting with them and working for them. Afternoon program director Linda Hurley makes sure that every afternoon we build tutoring, teaching, creating, sorting, and preparing food is a "connective tissue" with the world outside the walls of our school and classrooms. The people out there are our friends and colleagues. We know them, and they know us.

So when we want to celebrate Nobles as an institution, and we plan events to do that for our Sesquicentennial, we reach out to these hundreds of partners beyond Nobles and ask to spend a whole day with them doing service. They say yes, despite the recent (and very cogent and timely) Boston Globe article that exposed the frustrating side of being a nonprofit organization who uses volunteers. It is true that huge groups who want to arrive on their sites in flip flops, with no water to drink or sunscreen, hoping to paint a wall or interact with second graders often have little or no real connection or understanding of the places they are serving and end up being more of a hassle than they are a help. Nobles has been guilty of that at times I am sure, but we are aware of our clients' genuine needs as well, because we are not doing "one shot" days of service for them very often. Our usual commitment is for 8 weeks at a time, on a daily basis. They know us well enough to tell us what they genuinely can use us to do, and our work is to educate ourselves so that we can be of real value, or go and find something else to do! That way, the community we do establish between ourselves and our service sites are what friendship really depends on--mutual aid and respect.

As we think about our community in the year ahead, it is vital to celebrate, notice and comment on the interactions we have every day in small and large ways between the members of this great school. But to my mind, one of the reasons we chose to "kick off" our celebration of all that makes us strong as a Nobles community, by leaving our campus for the day and revisiting our neighbors out in Boston, is that we also recognize that "greatness" comes of a shared commitment to the health and happiness of the whole city. That is what service at Nobles is celebrating; finding common cause with the world that can truly warm the world--the "Common Fire" of which we speak.

Sandra MacQuinn, Director of Community Service

There's Still Time. Register for Nobles Day Camp.

New this year, the Nobles Day Camp will be offering expanded lunch options, additional transportation options, and a 9 a.m.-2 p.m. program for campers entering grades 1 through 6.

To find out more about Nobles Day Camp, visit their website.

To learn more about the different specialty program offerings, please check out the Summer Programs section of the Nobles website.

Full Circle by Dean of Faculty Maura Sullivan

When asked how long I have been working at Nobles, it isn’t unusual for me to get a look of surprise when I reveal that I have been here for 26 years. The looks continue when people find out that I started my career at Nobles as a teaching fellow. I remember walking through the front doors of the schoolhouse in the fall of that first school year, all of 22 years old, wondering what I had gotten myself into, but excited to get started. While most of that year is a blur to me, I do recall ultimately realizing two things: that I was getting great experience and that teaching was what I wanted to continue to do with my life.

The teaching fellows program has evolved and become much more formalized in the years since I started. However, what has continued is a wonderful program that not only brings tremendous benefits to the school but also gives young educators an invaluable springboard into the world of independent school teaching. The teaching fellows contribute to our community in a myriad of ways. Just this year alone, the job description of the combined TF group looks something like the following: teaching classes, co-teaching classes, teaching PD, helping in the admission office, coaching teams, working with our community service program, costuming for the theater performances, supervising the yearbook, proctoring study halls during the academic day as well as in the dorm at night, giving endless hours of extra help, running clubs and organizations, chaperoning trips/activities/dances, and serving as informal mentors to countless young people.

Each year, Nobles hires a handful of teaching fellows. The disciplines in which we hire these fellows varies from year to year, depending on our needs (sabbatical absences, extra section of a course to cover, maternity leaves, etc.). Once hired, we do a great deal of mentoring these young teachers, both before we begin the school year but also once we get started. Each teaching fellow responsible for teaching their own course is in touch with the department head or core leader during the summer to get all the materials they need and to go through the course syllabus. Before they arrive, they are each assigned a faculty mentor who helps them to navigate the Nobles world, both in and out of the classroom. Once they are here, there is a faculty member who leads a weekly seminar for all the fellows and guides them in educational philosophy as well as practical classroom methodology. That faculty member also observes each teaching fellow in the classroom several times during the course of the school year and then meets with them to reflect on their teaching. Finally, each teaching fellow is also required to visit the classrooms of experienced teachers, both in and out of their disciplines, to observe what they do well. Our goal is that during the course of the year, these young teachers will be exposed to many different styles, will engage in countless discussions about teaching, and will come away from the year with a greatly expanded teaching “toolkit.”

Teaching fellows are generally hired for a one-year commitment. On occasion, when the situation presents itself, we extend that into a longer stay for some individuals, which is what happened in my case. In fact, there are several faculty members at Nobles who started as TFs, including our head of school! Spring is hiring season at Nobles, and as we continue to interview and hire our teaching fellows for next year, it is exciting to think about all the ways in which they will contribute to the fabric of the school. The hope is that they will gain and grow from this experience just as much, if not more so. I certainly did!

The Prom: Basic Facts & Other Musings by Provost Bill Bussey

Ahhhhhh. It’s that time of year again.

If your child is attending the prom, I would urge you to read, then re-read Mr. Henderson’s recent letter regarding this event. Spend 20 minutes going over some of its key messages with your child. This is a terrific evening and we’d like your help to keep it that way.

The Real Date to Remember: While the prom is held on Saturday night, April 25th, the most important date, the line-in–the sand date, is Monday, April 20th at 5:00 p.m. Why? That is the last day for Class I & II  students to reserve a spot for the Prom Dinner with Ms. Overzet. That’s our deadline and cannot be changed. Your child will receive a formal invitation and be reminded ad nauseum of this responsibility between now and then.

Cost: Prom $77.50/Dinner $42.50

Awkward: If your child has asked or been asked by someone to go with them as a date: Make sure that it is crystal clear by the time they RSVP to Ms. Overzet that there is an agreement as to whom is paying for what.

The Dinner: Class I and Class II will be dining together and with faculty. I will be present at the Prom (my 25th Prom, one of those "time-to-re-evaluate-your-life" stats) with Class Deans. As always, we also have plain-clothed security covering the event and exits. In the last three decades of Nobles proms, we have experienced only one minor misstep that occurred during the prom itself.

We’ll Call You: Some Class III students do get invited. And once in a great while, a Class IV student will be invited. I will be calling the parents of any Class IV student invited to make sure they understand our concerns regarding this evening.

Pre-Prom Photo Opportunity: Last year we offered the opportunity for Class I parents to shoot prom photos on campus at the Castle from 5:00-6:30 p.m. It was crowded, and parking was a bit difficult, but people enjoyed it. This year we will offer the same opportunity to Class II parents to take photos of their children in the Performing Arts Building. It could be very crowded, but we want to give it a shot. We have a parking plan that we will send out later. BUT…please don’t feel that this is something that you have to do. Here’s why: At the prom, we have a Nobles grad, Randy Smith, who makes his living as a professional photographer in New York City. He has been our prom photographer for about a decade. He does it as a favor. He takes a zillion photos of every grouping imaginable for those who ask. In the past, we have sent the entire batch to your children. They do not pass them on to you. This year we will send them to you via email as well.

One Down: At this writing some (but surely not all) of the prom anxiety around who is going with whom has subsided. Know that every year some students choose to attend with a group of friends, and that we do everything on our end to encourage that approach. For a variety of reasons the prom generally means more to Class I students than to Class II students; more than a few Class II students sit this one out. And that’s okay, too.

Next One to Follow…Navigating Transportation: For many students, navigating prom transportation, not just the mode but especially with whom, inevitably grows complicated. Feelings get hurt. Cars and limousines only hold a finite number of people. They leave it to the last minute. Someone always feels that they didn’t make the cut. If there is one area you should keep your eye on, it is this one. Guide, suggest, and support.

And to All a Goodnight: Our responsibility with regards to this evening ends at midnight or when your child leaves the Battery Wharf Hotel. The adults stay until midnight, but students generally leave much earlier to avoid higher limousine costs, adhere to license restrictions, and to get a jump as to where they are heading afterwards. When they depart, they are then your responsibility. Know where your child is going, know what they are doing, and have a clear plan as to when your child returns home and how. 

Civil & Criminal Liability: It is our experience that there will in all likelihood be a few parents who will disregard our concerns and feelings about what happens under their roof following the prom. Asking parents not to break the law, especially on this night, seems like a reasonable request. The majority of after prom parties at the very best simply get weird and uncomfortable as the clock ticks--at their worst, humiliating, life-threatening and tragic.

Let me leave you with a recent quote from a mom and dad who thought they and a few other adults could serve alcohol to a small group of students (“really nice kids who we knew for years”) without any incidents:

“We must have been out of our minds. What were we thinking?”

As always, thank you for your help and understanding.

Save the Date: Grandparents Day and Nobles Night

It's never too soon to mark these dates on your calendar.

Grandparents Day
Friday, September 25, 2015

Nobles Night
Thursday, November 12, 2015

If you have any questions, regarding either event, please contact Katherine Minevitz at


A Response to Frank Bruni by Director of College Counseling Kate Ramsdell

On March 13, just before many colleges released regular decision news, The New York Times ran an Op-Ed piece by Frank Bruni entitled, “How to Survive the College Admission Madness.” It made quick rounds in the college counseling world. Colleagues and parents forwarded the link to me, commenting: “This is so refreshing!” or “Nothing new, but the kind of piece you wish parents might take a minute to read.” Truthfully, columns on the college process written by high-profile journalists, who also happen to have published recently a book on the topic of college admission, can send shivers of cynicism up my spine. Yet, Bruni’s insight, while not entirely new, is worth a read.

At the outset, Bruni tells the story of two students, Peter and Jenna, who did not get into a “top choice,” ending up instead at the University of Indiana-Bloomington and Scripps College, respectively (editorial comment: two excellent institutions). Eventually, the Hoosier lands at Harvard Business School right next to a high school classmate who’d attended Yale. The Scripps grad goes on to gain a coveted spot at Teach for America before heading up a charter school. They both admit to being pleased with their ultimate career outcomes and attribute some of their resilience and success to their ‘default’ college paths. Bruni admits that these students’ stories are “not extraordinary.” Happiness and success, he argues, come under different guises at different points in people’s lives. He also notes, “Rejection was fleeting — and survivable.” Yes, and those profiled also had the benefits of many years of excellent education behind them (as Bruni shares in the article) and the privilege of being able to afford college.

It is worth noting that Bruni interviews Jenna and Peter when they are 26 and 28 years-old – with reasonable distance from a process that can, in the moments when decisions arrive, deliver a blow not only to one’s self-esteem but also, seemingly, to any future plans of success and good fortune one night have imagined for him or herself. His interviews are not unlike conversations I have had with Nobles graduates who may not have grabbed their self-defined “brass ring” in the college process, at least in senior year terms. Most will share, with the benefit of experience and hindsight, that their “not top choice” college turned out to be a fantastic home – filled with smart, fun and interesting people – and a great launching pad to adulthood.

I do take issue with Bruni’s offering that the executives at the top 10 Fortune 500 Companies went to the following institutions and that’s somehow supposed to make college outcomes for 17 year-olds in 2015 easier to swallow: the University of Arkansas; the University of Texas; the University of California, Davis; the University of Nebraska; Auburn; Texas A & M; the General Motors Institute; the University of Kansas; the University of Missouri, St. Louis; and Dartmouth College. For, as we well know, more than the “brand” of one’s college degree goes into one’s trajectory to this type of position, and times are changing: at the top 5 of these companies, the men at the helm were born between 1930 and 1966.

What I, perhaps, appreciated most about Bruni’s essay is that he acknowledges some of the demographic complexities we watch play out over the college admission process in a Nobles community that is increasingly diverse. He points out that for most Americans it’s not a question of “What great college can I get into?” or even “What institution will I attend?” but, “Where can I afford to go to college?” This is a key caveat to an argument otherwise pitched at an exceedingly small slice of the American population.

In sum, Bruni’s main points are hard to disagree with: many people place too much emphasis on gaining admission to one of a handful of the most selective colleges when there are many excellent institutions of higher learning in this country; parents would do well to support, love and nurture their children unconditionally; and college outcomes do determine something for those of us who have the chance to go to college. Whether that something is surviving rejection, making us bolder risk takers, opening our eyes and minds to new experiences, getting us to high-paying or otherwise fulfilling jobs, becoming people who make the world a better place or perhaps even introducing us to a future spouse, there is a lot to look forward to beyond the four years after Nobles, and that remains true whether you grab the brass ring this time or not.

From the Co-Chairs: AE Rueppel and Brooke Sandford

Welcome back! April has arrived, and with it the promise of spring’s blooms (soon, we hope) and the start of one of the most (if not the most) exciting and busy seasons of the entire school year.

While March was over before we knew it, thanks are due to Class III Reps Anne Umphrey and Heidi McNeill for organizing a wonderful Head of School dance, and to Parent Enrichment Reps Gretchen Filoon and Lee Collins for continuing the circuit training classes at the MAC. Additionally, we would like to thank this year’s PIN Reps Izzy Loring and Dania Mansour for keeping us updated on PIN happenings throughout this entire year, and finally – we offer thanks to the Host Program Reps who have been hard at work “behind the scenes” lining up existing Nobles families to soon welcome new incoming families into our community. Thanks are due to Julie Dixon, Maxence Metayer, Melissa Janfaza and Lori Giandomenico for making these important connections happen.

Looking immediately forward to April, thanks are due to Laura Monrad and Catherine Walkey for organizing and hosting the much-appreciated Spring Faculty Lunch, and to Community Service Reps Cindy Trull and Kristin Welo for their efforts to help coordinate Common Fire.

Highlights for April include the following events – we hope to see you on campus for any or all of these upcoming spring happenings!

April PA Meeting
Join us on Thursday, April 9 for the monthly Parents’ Association Meeting at 8:15 a.m. in the Castle Library. Our very own Nobles Provost, Bill Bussey will lead a panel through a discussion of “What is timeless about Nobles, and what has changed?” Joining Bill will be master teacher Nick Nickerson who has served Nobles for over 35 years, English guru Alden Mauck, who has taught and coached at Nobles for over 20 years, and Class of ’90 alum and Admissions Officer Brooke Asnis. Come catch up with friends after the long break, and join us for what promises to be a wonderful morning of insight and foresight! And, keep a close eye out for your Class-specific notices (below, weekly) which will feature all the details for Socials, Coffees, Surprise Lunches, Enrichment events and more!

PA Book Discussion
Our final gathering of the year will be held Wednesday, April 8 and will feature Maria Semple’s bestselling book Where’d You Go, Bernadette? Treat yourself to this “modern-day comic caper full of heart and ingenuity” and a night of light conversation and camaraderie. Join at 6:30 p.m in the Castle for optional dinner ($5 chit) or by 7pm for the book discussion. See the weekly emails or contact Lee Collins or Gretchen Filoon for more details.

Parent Spring Socials …‘Tis the Season!
Don’t miss the chance to gather with class parents this month to celebrate the season and another great year at Nobles. Your dedicated Class Reps and Matt Burek are hard at work arranging wonderful menus and all details for these April parent celebrations. As always, your RSVP will ensure a well-planned evening for all. See dates below, and watch for invites in the weekly emails. (Additionally, see dates for Spring Parent Coffees and Surprise lunches—also happening in April. Support for your Class Reps and attendance encouraged and welcome!)

Parent Circuit Training Classes
Our very own version of “spring training” continues! Join Nobles athletic trainer Kevin O’Neill and other parents for circuit training classes, Thursday mornings in April at 8:15 a.m in the MAC. (No class Apr 9 due to PA meeting). $80 for all 4 classes, or $25 drop in fee. (Cash or check made out to Kevin.) Contact Gretchen Filoon with questions.

Marathon Monday
Marathon Monday is on April 20, and every year families are invited to join the Nobles community to watch the Boston Marathon and to cheer on the Nobles Marathon Fund team. Students, faculty members, graduates and parents will be running, biking and rowing in support of the Nobles Marathon Fund, which currently supports eight Nobles students annually. For more information on participating or attending the event, check out or contact Michelle Lynch at or 781-320-7007.

Fashion Karma for Achieve
Modern day philanthropy can be as simple as cleaning out your closet! Achieve is excited to announce its partnership with Union & Fifth, a non-profit that raises money for amazing charities by selling donated, gently worn designer clothing and accessories on their website ( Please join us on Friday, April 24 at 8 a.m. in the Castle for a fun fashion show breakfast event to celebrate this new partnership and learn more about how you can help! Questions? Contact Cat Kershaw at or (781) 320-7012.

In case it is helpful, here is a (long!) list of April events.

Thurs Apr 2 Circuit Training with trainer Kevin O’Neill*
Tues Apr 7 Spring Faculty Lunch*
Wed Apr 8 PA Book Discussion*
Thurs Apr 9 PA Meeting* (Bill Bussey panel discussion)
Thurs Apr 9 Class I Surprise Lunch*
Fri Apr 10 Spring Socials*: Middle School (and) Class II
Mon Apr 13 Class III Surprise Lunch*
Mon Apr 13 Jenny Berz: Presentation with Middle School Parents
Tues Apr 14 Common Fire*
Wed Apr 15 Class IV Parent Coffee*
Thurs Apr 16 Circuit Training with trainer Kevin O’Neill*
Fri Apr 17 Class III Parent Coffee*
Mon Apr 20 School Closed; Marathon Monday Nobles Event
Thurs Apr 23 Circuit Training with trainer Kevin O’Neill*
Thurs Apr 23 Imani Concert
Fri Apr 24 Achieve Fashion Karma Breakfast in the Castle
Fri Apr 24 Spring Social*: Class IV
Sat Apr 25 Nobles Prom
Tues Apr 28 Middle School RTW Surprise Lunch*
Tues Apr 28 Middle School RTW Night
Thurs Apr 30 Circuit Training with trainer Kevin O’Neill*
Thurs Apr 30 Jazz, Blues, Guitar, Drum Concert
Fri May 1 Spring Socials*; Class I (and) Class III

Happy spring!

AE Rueppel and Brooke Sandford
2014-2015 PA Co-Chairs

*PA (or PA-Assisted) Event

Class IV Deans' Report

I have been a bit too exuberant in my laud of snow in the past newsletter.

We have experienced one of the most intense winters on record. The first hint of a snow day brought cheer far and wide. Quickly, though, the novelty wore off, and the snow piled up. Days off became a serious obstacle to rebounding successfully from Winter Break and to getting into the rhythm during the third quarter. I know that all were affected–parents and guardians concerned about driving, students confused about studying, teachers considering curricula.

As spring nudges it way back into New England, the days have become longer. There is a new energy, which I hope we can harness in the coming months. For those of you new to spring at Nobles, it flies by. We are already in the midst of the spring athletic and extracurricular season. Common Fire is only days away. Soon, the musical will be up. The focus then tightens on the senior class, as a series of events celebrates their impact on our institution.

From the freshman lens, this can be a confusing time. Class IV students will peer out of the windows of their classrooms and see upper-classmen enjoying the warm weather. Seniors will seem a foreign species, as they experience the ups and downs of finishing their careers at Nobles while preparing themselves for the excitement and uncertainty the year ahead.

Yet it is not that time for Class IV. The freshman will enjoy that flood of emotion in a few years. At this point, we need to be focus on completing the curricula while managing their extracurricular activities. This is a great time to begin assembling academic materials from the year, in order to identify gaps in comprehension before we approach review sessions and final exams.

As a final note, we will also be holding elections for Class III representatives to the SLC (Student Life Council). I encourage students to look around and assess the state of their class. They should take a moment to reflect. Who are they as a class? What challenges might they confront? What can they do to continue to effect positive change? These are issues that should influence their decision to vote––or better yet, run.

We will soon find ourselves spending more of our time down near the MAC, either for games, graduation or exams. I hope we that we, as a Class, can take stock of the current situation now, so we can approach the coming months with confidence.


Dave Ulrich

Class III Parent Reps

Happy Spring, Class III parents!  We have a busy month ahead!  Our Class III surprise lunch is coming right up on Monday, April 13th. (Shhh!!!) Our creative committee of surprise lunch planners are hard at work already. 

Our next planning meeting will be held at the Castle right after drop-off on Monday, April 6th. If you would like to get involved, please come. We will also need help on the day of the lunch. Let us know if you would like to be added to the list!

Just after our surprise lunch, we have our Class III Spring Parent Coffee on Friday, April 17. Jess Brennan, our Class Dean, has promised to stop by and give us an update on the kids.  Please join us! Lastly, mark your calendars for our Class III Spring Parent Social to be held on Friday, May 1st in the Upper Castle Dining Room. 

Please see the online invitation and RSVP today. Please note that the Class I Spring Parent Social is scheduled for the same evening. Parents with children in both classes should reply to both invitations, but will only be chitted once.

Class II Parent Reps

Hello, Class II Parents,

Welcome back from spring break. Looking around at all the snow remaining on the ground, it’s hard to believe it is actually spring and harder to believe that our kids are winding down their junior year. We hope that you have all returned to school well rested after a much-needed two-week break in the action.

April is a busy month with spring after school activities resuming, standardized testing on the horizon and the anticipation of the April 25th Junior-Senior Prom.  The administration will communicate the details of Prom activities and we will use the weekly emails to rally support where needed and make sure everyone is in the loop.

We also have two more parent activities planned between now and the end of the year. We hope you are planning to join us for the last parent evening social on Friday, April 10.  This happens to be the same night as the Middle School Social, which may be a bonus for some of you. Invitations and RSVP links have been posted in the weekly news. We also have our spring morning coffee to look forward to as our last planned event together on May 12.

Please note that there will be no school on Patriot’s Day, Monday, April 20. We look forward to seeing you on campus this spring! Please contact us with questions. 

Your Class II Parent Representatives,

Betsy Dawson

Lauren Doherty

Middle School Parent Reps

Welcome back from spring break! We hope everyone had a restful few weeks. April is a busy month in the middle school. For Class IV it can be summed up in three words: RTW ('Round The World). This exciting project culminates in an evening showcase where Class VI students present their “travels” to their peers and parents/family on April 28th, at 6 p.m. Also on April 28th there is a surprise RTW lunch for the middle school students (this is a surprise for the students).

During the month, Class V will rev up for the solar car races; stay tuned for the final event in May. Also, please note, our Middle School Parents’ Spring Social is the evening of Friday, April 10th and will be another festive and fun gathering. We look forward to see all of you there!

Important upcoming dates for April:

April 10 - MS Parent Spring Social, Castle Upper Dining Hall @ 6:30pm

April 13 - Dr. Jenny Berz Presentation "Teen Brain Development: A Workshop for Parents" in Morrison Forum 6:30 p.m. please RSVP online here. If you would like more information, please contact Jen Hamilton, Middle School Psychologist at

April 14 - Common Fire! No classes as all students, faculty & staff will be performing community service activities throughout Greater Boston area.

April 16 - MS Art Opening at Whole Foods-Glass Room @ Legacy Place-Dedham featuring 7th grade artists 5:30-7:30pm

April 17 - MS No Homework Weekend

April 20 - Patriot's Day/Marathon Monday-No School

April 22 - Middle School Shakespeare Breakfast in Morrison Forum @ 8am

April 28 - Class VI - RTW Night on Tuesday, April 28th @ 6pm in Morrison Forum and all middle school classrooms.

April 30 - Jazz, Blues, Guitar, Drums Concert at 7pm in Lawrence Auditorium

Class IV Parent Reps

Dear Class IV Parents,

Welcome back! We hope you and your families were able to enjoy Spring Break and recover from this never-ending winter! Hopefully spring will be here anytime!

Below are some dates to mark on your calendars, we hope to see many of you at the social events planned specially for class IV:

  • Wednesday April 15, 8 am-9:30 am in the Castle Library: Class IV Spring Parent coffee
  • Monday April 20: Patriots Day - No School
  • Tuesday April 21, 7 pm-8:30 pm in the Towles Auditorium: Summer Trips Parent and Student Informational Meeting
  • Friday April 24, 6:30 pm-9:30 pm in the Castle: Spring Parent Social.

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


Suzie Montgomery
Nathalie Ducrest

Class I Parent Reps

Dear Class I Families,

We’ve rounded third and are heading into the home stretch! We hope you and yours enjoyed a wonderful break and are ready to embark on senior spring. There are still many opportunities to join in the fun and volunteer before graduation. Please be sure to check the Class I notes in the Friday update emails for important details. In the meantime, please mark your calendars with these upcoming dates:

Thursday, April 2, 11 am–1 pm: “The Way We Were” Kickoff Planning Lunch Meeting in the Castle Library

A big thank you to our Event Chairs, Cindy Jaczko, Melanie Mace and Laura Monrad. They will be hosting this meeting for volunteers interested in helping with this traditional highlight of Senior Week. This year’s TWWW will be on Tuesday, May 26 11 am–1:30 pm. We welcome and need lots of help. No experience needed!!  If you cannot make this meeting and would like to help, please let us know. There will be more information in our Class I weekly notes. Stay tuned!

Thursday, April 9, 9:30 am–2 pm: “Kick off to Senior Spring” Class I Surprise Lunch

We welcome and need your help decorating, serving and cleaning-up. It's great fun, and many hands will make light work and ensure that this last surprise lunch for our seniors is truly a special event. To volunteer, please click here.

Friday, May 1, 7 pm–10 pm: Class I Parent Social in the Castle

This is a not to be missed evening as it is our last time together as Parents/Guardians only!  We hope to see you there. Invitations will be “mailed” shortly and more information will be forthcoming in our Class I weekly notes.

Thank you for your time and generosity. We have an amazing group of Class I parents and are looking forward to sharing a fun, memorable senior spring with all of you!

Lynda Ceremsak
Carolyn Harthun
Anne Kelley

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