Nobles Parents' E-Newsletter

January 2016

Nobles Parents' Newsletter January 2016

Achieve - Bruins



On Tuesday, February 2, 2016 as the Boston Bruins take on the Maple Leafs, the Achieve program will be the featured charity of the 50/50 Raffle at the TD Garden!

We're looking for 25-35 volunteers who can help sell tickets during the first two periods of the game (and then watch the third period from the media box!). If you're interested in helping or getting involved, please contact Cat Kershaw at cat_kershaw@nobles.edu or 781-320-7012. Thank you!

"Rules of Engagement" by Head of School Bob Henderson



Two students were sitting on the bench outside my office the other day having a discussion. At first I thought it was just two friends gossiping, albeit with notable energy and animation. Sometimes students forget I am sitting just across the hall because, although my door is open to the corridor, they can’t see me just around the corner at my desk. Although it is not my intention, I occasionally overhear some remarkable things! This time, however, it soon became clear to me that the topic was politics. More specifically, it was about the merits of Donald Trump’s candidacy for the presidency. Gradually the volume and emotion of the conversation escalated. Neither student, who had sharply differing views of Mr. Trump, was listening particularly carefully to the other. Both were attempting to talk over the other. They were not amused, and it was bordering on the personal. It started to remind me of one of those cable news shows where the guests think they can “win” by dominating the most airtime. One student was arguing that Trump was a menace and a fascist. The other insisted that, while he found Trump irritating in style, some of the perspectives he was advancing were necessary at this juncture in our history. I listened with a mix of concern for the direction of our national politics, admiration for these smart, intensely engaged and civic-minded young people, and bemusement at their youthful passion.

Then, all of a sudden, one of the students completely interrupted the pattern of the conversation, saying, “You know, this is wrong, this isn’t the way we do things here.” The other responded, “You’re so right; this is why we can’t get things done in this country any more.” The volume then dropped, calm was restored, and I lost track of where their discussion headed thereafter. But I was left to ponder what it really represented.

On the one hand, this is what you want in an academic community; students immersed in the news of the day, thinking intensely and responsibly about issues that affect them and will shape our collective future. On the other hand, much of their dialogue reflected the decay of these debates nationally, at the highest levels of our government, in the media, and in our political vocabulary and conflicting agendas. In the end, however, I was profoundly encouraged by their mutual recognition that this was no way to carry on their discussion. And they were right about that, reflecting an impressive degree of sophistication and rationality that I wish was more often evident as our nation has traversed so many disturbing or downright frightening situations over the last several years.

The way we expect difficult conversations to occur at Nobles is explicitly reflected in the mission statement of the school, and I will use key words from the mission to make my point. This is a rigorous academic community dedicated to inspiring leadership for the public good, and we want and even require students to articulate and explore highly challenging ideas and developments. Yet we believe that a vibrant intellectual community, in order to achieve its goals, must also espouse humility, humor, honesty and respect for others as fundamental foundations. Within that context, we must also understand that Nobles is a secondary school, and not a college; adolescents will make mistakes and misjudgments as they explore the emotional issues of our time. This is very rarely done from a place of malice and our job to help teenagers to grow and build the depth and breadth of their understanding of and empathy for the complexity of the world and the diversity of people’s experiences and perspectives. In that process, we must strive to foster appropriate rules of engagement for a secondary academic community, but not to provide the answers to questions that students need to probe for themselves. Because we are a human institution, we may not always do this perfectly, but we keep the objective of cultivating purposeful citizenship ever in front of us. It is our business to develop character and intellect in deliberate conjunction.

Listening to how those two young people moved through their argument that day, I was reassured that, in a world where civility sometimes seems in precipitous decline, it remains the prevailing ethic in this community. 

"A Dickensian Holiday: Conversations with my Grandmother and Spirits of the Past, the Present and the Better Days Yet to Come" by Michael Denning



Over the past couple of weeks, I have found myself thinking about my paternal grandmother, Aida Denning. While I never knew my paternal grandfather, Martin—sadly, he died when my dad was a teenager—my grandmother supported her five children, grandchildren and communities well into her tenth decade. For nearly 40 years, Aida was an important source of perspective and inspiration for me; she has been gone for more than ten years, but I can still recall (and, in many respects, hear) her words of love, wisdom, encouragement and hope.

The arrival of the holiday season often evokes reminiscences of long-ago celebrations with family—our own Dickensian ghosts of Christmases past, I suppose. That said, I suspect that this month’s reflections also stem from my grandmother’s powerful teaching. As a close follower of politics and culture throughout her life, Aida would be profoundly upset about the devastating, horrific events, at home and abroad, that seem to dominate our news cycles. So, too, would she be deeply concerned about the lack of civility, cooperation, and moral and political leadership coming from leaders on both sides of the proverbial aisle.

Orphaned at a young age, Aida came to the United States from the Philippines, but she considered herself an American, through and through, and a member of Tom Brokaw’s “Greatest Generation.” Coming of age in the 1920s and 1930s—a period in history often characterized by scholars as one of bigotry, societal divisions, economic depression and xenophobia—she bore witness to, and suffered from, great acts of discrimination. But in spite of her struggles, and the scars she carried as a result of these, she remained hopeful to the end of her life, believing that the promises of our Constitution, education systems and civil and human-rights movements would lead to more prosperous and just futures for not only her family’s members, but also those of families residing throughout our country and across the globe.

My grandmother was devoted to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, voting for him, I believe, in four elections. In the principled ways in which she endeavored to raise her children and grandchildren, she promoted (and, at times, quoted) his famous aphorism from his first inaugural address: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself...” While Aida acknowledged FDR’s shortcomings—his own legacy of bigotry and the grievous injustices tolerated and, even more tragically, sponsored by his administrations—she never lost sight of his belief that hope was an essential, ineffable ingredient in the creation of “a more perfect union.” Indeed, Aida stood with many of her generation in believing that there would have been no victories in World War II, no advancements in civil and human rights, no GI Bill, no Great Society, and no War on Poverty without FDR’s New Deal and its legacy of hope.

Last week, I had the privilege of attending Facing History and Ourselves’ Community Conversation with Bryan Stevenson, a MacArthur Fellow who is a renowned civil-rights attorney and community leader, as well as the author of the acclaimed book, Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption. Professor Stevenson brought to life FDR’s aphorism, my grandmother’s wisdom and the promise offered by Nobles’ mission, asserting that leadership for the public good requires:

  • working in close proximity with people from backgrounds different from our own;
  • recognizing and expanding the limits of our knowledge and, thus, the narratives through which we see, judge and work in the world;
  • acknowledging that positive change and the promotion of justice require that we all do and experience things that will, at the outset, make us feel very uncomfortable.

Last but not least, claims Stevenson, is the primacy of hope. Effective leaders for the public good, he argues, must continuously nurture a habit of hopeful thinking—both within themselves and within those with whom they work and live—because in the absence of hopefulness, a commitment to working with, and in the service of, others is impossible to sustain.

Dag Hammarskjöld was a Swedish diplomat who served brilliantly as Secretary-General of the United Nations. Posthumously awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, Hammarskjöld died tragically en route to UN-sponsored negotiations between warring factions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Indefatigable, deeply spiritual and imbued with a love for people, Hammarskjöld left behind a collection of essays and reflections entitled Markings. I was first introduced to Markings by the late Reverend Ted Gleason, a former Nobles head of school, when he presented the following from Hammarskjöld during a eulogy some years ago: “For all that has been — Thanks. For all that shall be — Yes.” Powerfully revealed in 12 words are the core beliefs and ethics of one of the 20th century’s greatest leaders, a person who, throughout his extraordinary life, was able to feel and express profound gratitude and hopefulness while facing some of life’s most terrible and overwhelming struggles.

There are those who argue that today’s threats to our security represent clear and present dangers, that we have more to fear than just fear itself, and that as we prepare our students to assume responsibility for the communities they will enter, we have an obligation to help them to replace naiveté and ignorance with data, rigor and “tough” rational decision-making. But I am provoked by Hammarskjöld’s and Stevenson’s mandates for hope and haunted by my grandmother’s admonitions. Although today’s threats are real and, in some cases, dire, I worry that too many of our generation’s leaders are talking far too often about fears instead of dreams, problems instead of solutions, differences instead of the empathic community-building ethics, principles and values that so many of us share. As we prepare for, and worry about, today’s challenges and threats, I wonder what we teach our children: about human potential; about what they can and should expect from themselves and others; about the values and ideas for which they should work hard; about the primacy of hope in a life well lived.

In our communities, families and personal histories, many of us are fortunate to have (or have had) people like Aida Denning, Bryan Stevenson and Dag Hammarskjöld, teachers whose ideas and examples challenge our intellects while also nurturing our hope for—and belief in the possibility of—a more just, safe and prosperous future for all. What remains to be seen is whether or not we will have the wisdom, courage and patience to hear their messages and celebrate their visions. In an era when fears are pervasive in many of our conversations, I sense that celebrating an ethic of hope in our schools and homes is more important than ever. I wish you a peaceful, healthy, prosperous and hope-filled 2016.

-Michael Denning, Upper School Head

Grandparents Day 2015 Portrait Information



Grandparents Day portraits are available to view and purchase online now through February 3, 2016. Go to www.enjoyphotos.com and enter username/password as follows:

Username: noblesgp15        
Password: 22507-92515
Enter your email address, then under “GUESTS,” click: “VIEW PHOTOS”

Please contact Allie Trainor in the Nobles Development Office with any questions at (781) 320-7005 or allie_trainor@nobles.edu.

"Getting Them There" by Dean of Students Marcela Maldonado



I am a huge fan of TED Talks. I spend far too much time looking for the latest or most interesting ones online, and they often and quickly become what I will turn to when procrastinating about things that need to get done. I find these talks inspiring, even mesmerizing, and relish the minutes I spend absorbed in someone else’s world or line of thinking. Indeed few presentations have impacted me more than Chimamanda Adichie’s highly acclaimed “The Danger of a Single Story.” Hers is a cautionary tale about our incessant need to create a single story about the “other.” Adichie shares “show a people as one thing, as only one thing over and over again, and that is what they become.”

As an immigrant to this country, this notion of a “single story” holds particular resonance for me. My immigrant story, while sharing traits with all such stories, is unique, yet people have always made assumptions about where I come from, how I got here, and the circumstances that led my family to make the decisions that they did. Interestingly enough, friends and colleagues have sometimes rewritten my own narrative to fit their purposes. I find no malice in any of this, but simply a desire to make things neat, tidy, and easy. But the human experience isn’t easy, and expedient paths to understanding can fall far short of the goal. The need today for efficiency in all we do often masks or works against the very things we need in our interpersonal lives, the qualities of empathy and meaning, which are necessary to connect with others. 

Chimamanda Adichie further states that “the single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story.” Nothing rings more true today than these words, as we grapple with so many political and philosophical complexities. To only hear one story of a people or a nation leads to far more ignorance than to know nothing at all. We have default positions about the “other,” and the damage comes in painting an incomplete, if not debilitating, picture. While the stereotypes are bad enough, when these are modeled or perpetuated in the lives of students, we enter dangerous territory.

These are interesting times, and there are few things we could do better for our students that to encourage them to hear from many voices and to know many stories. The goal of a Nobles education cannot simply be tolerance, but rather a true understanding of peoples and places that serves each of us as global citizens.  Diversity of thought and action has never been more important, and how to make sense of the world through the multiplicity of ideas that students are exposed to daily is a key ingredient of a successful education.  We need understanding that moves us forward, and our students need skills of discernment in order to wade through all that is coming their way. So it is incumbent upon us to teach these qualities, encourage respectful skepticism, honor what isn’t ours, and respect the infinite dignity of the individual. 

This country has given me more opportunities and possibilities than my parents could have ever imagined. It has formed and shaped me, and taught me in no uncertain terms the power of ideas. Nobles allows me to belong to a community of possibilities, where we strive in countless ways to push our students beyond what is safe and tidy, and to not be afraid to hear the unfamiliar and uncomfortable. It is from worthy engagement that we come to understand others, but there is also inherent responsibility in freely exercising our opinions.  We will continue to instill this every day from the stage, in our classrooms, and via conversations in the halls.  There is urgency to this task with students today more than ever, and a profound sense of responsibility on our part to get them there.

"You're More Creative Than You Think You Are" by Director of Academic Support Gia Batty



Sara Masucci and I recently recorded an episode for our Studies Show podcast about some interesting new research on creativity. The bottom line is that we’ve got it all wrong.

We tend to think about creativity as something bestowed on a chosen few at birth, that creative thinking is this innate characteristic that we either have or don’t. We think that those who are creative can draw and paint and post things on Pinterest. Those who deem themselves “not creative” steer clear of creative activities, and see creativity as something they can live without. Students, especially, live in this binary and also tend to see creativity as something that belongs solely in the arts.

Well, the studies show that we are way off in our thinking about creativity. Creativity is more of a process than an event. In other words, (or in the famed psychologist Carol Dweck’s words), we need to think of creativity in a growth mindset rather than with a fixed one. In her book, Dweck identified a growth mindset as the belief that our abilities can be improved with sustained effort and practice, while in a fixed mindset we see our abilities as invariable and, well, fixed. Creative thinking is actually a skill that can be improved through practice, and there a lots of easy ways we can all hone our creativity.

Here are three things you should know about creativity:

Creativity should not be seen as existing only in the Arts Center
Instead of thinking about creativity as something separate, we need to realize that creative thinking is an essential aspect of learning that does not only pertain to the arts. Creativity happens during class discussions as students make connections between texts or ideas.  Students need to be creative to solve problems in math and science. In the humanities, it takes creativity to come up with an original thesis for an essay or research paper. We are being creative in the classrooms of the Shattuck Schoolhouse and the Baker Science building, onstage in Lawrence and on the athletic fields and the courts in the MAC. Creativity is a necessary skill for learning, for studying, for writing and for leading.

We were all creative when we were young
George Land, who developed a creativity test for NASA to use with its engineers and scientists, tested 1,600 preschool aged children to determine their level of creative thinking. After the initial test, he re-tested the group five years later and then again 10 years later.  The results showed that when the group was at its youngest, 98% were considered “highly creative.” Five years later that number dropped to 30%  and at the last test only 12% of the original group were considered “highly creative.” So, unfortunately, we learn to be less creative as we get older, which is not good (see below for some tips to reverse this). As well, this research tells us that most of us are way more creative than we think we are. We need to stop saying things like “Oh, I’m just not a creative person,” and start focusing more on how to tap into and train our inner creativity.

Tips for being more creative

  1. Let your mind wander. There has been lots of buzz in brain research about mind wandering.  Mind wandering is when we allow our brains to sort of go “out of focus” like right before we fall asleep or when we’re exercising. When we let our minds wander, our thoughts are loosely connected, we’re not totally in control of them, and it’s actually our most creative state of thinking. Taking walks outside, looking at art, listening to music are all easy ways to let your mind wander and, in turn, boost your creative thinking.
  2. Try something new (and be okay with embarrassing yourself in the process).  Being creative is about taking risks, and this process isn’t always pretty or smooth.  Be prepared to make mistakes as you engage in activities outside of your comfort zone--an important way to jumpstart your creativity. Some ideas: learn a new language, try ceramics, start keeping a journal, write a poem, tell a story onstage.
  3. Limit yourself.  We are more creative and resourceful when we have less to work with. Try writing a short story in six words like Hemingway did. Give yourself only five minutes to solve a difficult math problem. Use just two colors in your painting. Use a timer when brainstorming an idea for a paper or a project.
  4. Don’t give up. Researchers at Harvard found that “giving up is the enemy of creativity.” When engaged in creative thinking, we tend to underestimate how many new ideas we can generate. Creative thinking is difficult and we are quick to say we’re “stuck,” but some of the best ideas will come if we are persistent. According to the study, we need to remember that the “stuck feeling” is part of the creative process and we need to embrace it.  Also,  we must ignore our first instinct to give up and attempt to generate just a few more ideas--they will likely be your best ones.


Carol Dweck’s excellent book
Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

George Land’s research and TED Talk

Hemingway’s six-word story

Harvard research on persistence
 

"Achieve & Upward Bound: Embodying Nobles’ Commitment to Leadership for the Public Good" by Director of the Anderson/Cabot Center for EXCEL Ben Snyder



The Nobles’ mission could hardly be more aspirational given the commitment to “inspiring leadership for the public good.” Nobles is well known for the challenge of its academic program; the creative and inspirational pedagogy of the faculty; and the breadth and depth of service, travel and study away programs. Less well known, however, are the ways in which Nobles has been steadily and effectively serving the public good through two programs that benefit low income students from Boston and Lawrence to help them realize the advantages of higher education through our Achieve and Upward Bound programs - both part of EXCEL at Nobles.

The summer of 2015 marked the 25th anniversary of the Nobles/University of Massachusetts Boston Math/Science Upward Bound program. Upward Bound is a federally funded academic program that targets low income high school students who would be in the first generation of their family to attend college. The six-week summer residential program (along with ongoing academic support during the school year) for students of promise from Lawrence, MA has been directed by a Nobles’ faculty member since inception and is currently directed by history teacher, coach, and class dean Edgar DeLeon N’04 who first came to Nobles as an Upward Bound student (see feature on Edgar and Upward Bound in the upcoming Nobles magazine). Edgar DeLeon succeeded current Dean of Students and history teacher, Marcela Maldonado, who served in that role for more than a decade.

What is distinctive about the Nobles’ version of Upward Bound is the direct connection between Nobles faculty, curriculum, and young graduates in the creation and delivery of the program. While funding for the program comes through U-Mass Boston, the program has been built through the hard work of generations of Nobles faculty - Tilesy Harrington, Alden Mauck, Doug Jankey and countless others. Dozens of Nobles teachers have given up their summers to work with Upward Bound students, and over one hundred young Nobles graduates have served as “CA’s” in the summers delivering extracurricular programming, supervising the dormitories, and counseling students. Roughly four hundred students who would not have gone to college have gained access to and realized the benefits of a Nobles’ education through Upward Bound - affirming Nobles’ commitment to providing educational opportunity to those who could not otherwise afford it.

Realizing the success of Upward Bound prompted the founding of Achieve at Nobles in 2008 - again serving a low income middle school student population (this time for eighty students from Boston). Directed by Nobles history teacher, Nora Dowley-Liebowitz, and using the Pratt Middle School as its home, Achieve’s six week summer academic and social enrichment program is supplemented by eighteen Saturday sessions during the school year. Again, Nobles faculty members such as Jody McQuillan and Eric Nguyen have been intimately involved in the development of the Achieve curriculum and measuring its effectiveness. Like Upward Bound, young Nobles graduates have worked since inception as teaching assistants but unique to the program are the 75 current Nobles students who serve as tutors in the program.  Achieve is funded entirely through private donations, and current and former Nobles parents, trustees, and graduates make up the Achieve advisory board. Achieve has consistently monitored the progress of its students and works with students (and their families) to place them in high performing public, parochial and independent schools to assure access to higher education.

In so many ways Achieve and Upward Bound embody Nobles’ commitment to the public good. Nobles utilizes its facilities and staff in the summer (and on Saturdays during the school year) to help young people who would not otherwise have the opportunity to experience the gifts of a Nobles’ education, putting them on the path to college. Both programs are essential to the Nobles’ mission, are closely connected to hundreds of people in the Nobles’ community, and enrich the lives of both the students who attend the programs and those fortunate enough to work with them.

Class I Parent Reps



Dear Class I Families,

Happy New Year and welcome back from what we hope was a joyous and relaxing winter break.  January marks the beginning of the "home stretch" for our seniors and we know that time will fly between now and graduation on June 3rd.   

Yearbook senior pages are due on Jan. 8. Every Nobles senior is given a full page to design with his/her own photos, text and memories. They'll design their page within the Yearbook website. They should refer to www.hjedesign.com. The Yearbook staff will email you if they miss the deadline to keep you in the loop. 

Save the date, Friday, January 22nd, for our Class I Winter Coffee in the Castle Library.  We had a great turnout at the fall coffee and hope that you will come join us for conversation and planning the many special events scheduled for the spring semester. We look forward to seeing you there.

It's been a terrific year to date for our seniors and we look forward to an equally fun and rewarding New Year!

Sylvia Crawford (skkuzman@aol.com)
Anne London (annelondon@icloud.com)
Pam Notman (pgbn61@yahoo.com)
 

Class II Parent Reps



Dear Class II Parents,

Welcome back and Happy 2016! We hope everyone had a restful, enjoyable break and that the students are returning refreshed after some much needed down time.

As we gear back up in this busy junior year, here are the some important January dates to remember:

Thursday, January 7, 10 a.m. - Class II Surprise Lunch Planning Meeting, Castle
Friday, January 8 - Registration Deadline for February 6 ACT Test
Monday, January 18 - Martin Luther King Day, No School
Saturday, January 23 - SAT and SAT Subject Test Date
Saturday, January 23, 1-4 p.m. - Gap Year Fair, Performing Arts Lobby
Saturday, January 30, 9-11 a.m. - College Counseling School for Class II Parents/Guardians, Towles Auditorium

As always, please reach out to one of us if you have any questions or suggestions.  We look forward to seeing many of you around the campus.

Your Class II Parent Reps,

Anna Abate
annaabate@verizon.net

Nicola DiFelice
nicoladifelice@comcast.net

Class I Deans' Report



Greetings and Happy New Year!

It’s hard to believe that one semester is already gone, and the seniors are now heading down the homestretch of their time at Nobles. We hope that as graduation nears, seniors will find time to reflect upon and appreciate their experience at Nobles. In the hope that Class I takes full advantage of this last semester, we wanted to tell you about some of the annual advice and unique opportunities that we will share with the seniors at our class meeting:

1. Seize the opportunity to set a positive tone for the school. As always, underclassmen will be looking to the senior class for leadership, whether it be in the classroom, on the stage, on the athletic fields, or outside of Nobles. We challenge seniors to avoid “checking out” too early, as the rest of the student body needs the seniors to continue to play an important role in the culture of the school.

2. Continue to embrace the unique academic opportunities at Nobles. Seniors will be enrolled in many fantastic electives this spring, exposing them to subjects and disciplines not offered at many schools. “Value learning for learning’s sake” is admittedly a cliche, but we hope that students will not lose sight of the fact that they have access to so many engaging academic courses that may lead them to discover new passions and interests.

3. Consider a senior project. Every spring, seniors are given the opportunity to engage in a self-designed senior project for the last quarter of the spring term. We introduced the Senior Project Program to the class at the fall retreat, and they all have participated in a November workshop to learn the nuts and bolts of the process. As a reminder for your student, preliminary proposals are due on Wednesday, January 6th. Hopefully your senior has talked to you about potential ideas. Though these are not mandatory, we hope that many seniors take advantage of this as way to pursue a passion or learn something new. Here is a link to a website that will provide you with more information about the senior project process. Should you have any questions about this, please do not hesitate to contact us or Dominic Manzo.

4. Take time to have a conversation with as many classmates as possible. While Nobles is a relatively small community, many seniors have acknowledged that they have not yet had the chance to learn more about their classmates, who each have so much to offer the school. Whether it be lunch at the castle or a conversation in Gleason, we encourage seniors to continue to expand their social circle and develop new and meaningful friendships.

5. Maintain close relationships with faculty members. At Nobles, we pride ourselves on our relational pedagogy, and we know that our seniors have developed many meaningful relationships with their teachers, coaches, advisers, and other members of the Nobles community. It is only natural that some seniors may have a tendency to begin to distance themselves from faculty members in preparation for their departure from Nobles; instead, we hope that seniors will continue to nurture these relationships that may last long after graduation.

6. Have fun! Nobles is a challenging and rigorous experience for every one of our students, who have had packed schedules for years, full of academic and extracurricular commitments. Although we recognize that these commitments will not and should not disappear, we encourage seniors to make sure that they spend time with their family, friends, and other people who have had a profound impact on their lives. As seniors prepare to take the next step and move beyond Nobles, we hope that they will not forget to enjoy and appreciate the many great opportunities that senior spring will provide.

We’re so proud of the seniors, who have modeled leadership and integrity throughout the entire first semester, and we’re looking forward to a fantastic final few months with them!

Sincerely,
Meg and Mike
 

From PA Co-Chairs Barbara Ito and Polly Maroni



Happy 2016!

We hope that everyone had a relaxing winter break. It is hard to believe that a new year has begun and with that a new semester for students and many activities for parents.

Although December seems like it was so long ago, we’d like to thank all the parents who helped organize, bring food and set up the reception for the Choral Concert, as well as those who helped at the Candy Bar on the last day of assessments. The kids and parents were happy recipients of your hard work!

Plan to enjoy the Jazz/Blues/Guitar/Drum concert the first week back to school. Held on Thursday, January 7 from 7:00 pm to 9:30 p.m., it is sure to be a wonderful evening.

Our first PA meeting of the year will be on Wednesday, January 13th at 8:00 a.m. in the Castle Library. Our panel of speakers will be Michael Denning, Collette Finlay (acting Head of the Middle School), Gia Batty and Sara Masucci. They will speak about creating the best curriculum in both the Upper and Middle School given the range of academic abilities, as well the support that is available to all students.

Please be on the lookout for our new anti-idling signs outside the drop off/pick up points on campus.

Did you know…Airborne emissions toxins are known to cause cancer or other serious health effects. Children's lungs are still developing, and when they are exposed to elevated levels of these pollutants by idling cars at school, children have an increased risk of developing asthma, respiratory problems and other adverse health effects that also affect adults.

We wish everyone a happy and healthy new year. Please make a resolution to meet someone new to you in the Nobles community and attend or volunteer at one of your class events!

Warmest regards,
Barbara Ito and Polly Maroni

Class III Parent Reps



Happy 2016 and welcome back! We hope everyone had a relaxing and enjoyable winter break, and your students are recharged and ready for second semester. January promises to be another busy month of concerts and performances, winter sports, a PA meeting and the MLK community service activities.

Class Specific News:

It is time to start planning for the Class III Surprise Lunch (Thursday, Feb. 4) and the Class III Head of School Dance (Saturday, Mar. 5), and we definitely need your help to make them a success!  The first parent volunteer meeting for both events will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 13 right after the PA meeting around 9:30 a.m. in the Castle study. Please use the following link to sign up to attend this planning meeting:
http://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0c4dabad2fa2fe3-class. If you are unable to attend the meeting but want to help out, please email one of us.

January Dates:
Mon. Jan. 4: School reopens
Mon. Jan. 11: MLK Day; school closed/optional day of community service
Wed. Jan. 13: Parents’ Association Meeting, 8-9:30 a.m., Castle library followed by Class III Parent Volunteer Meeting

Looking Ahead:
Thurs. Feb. 4: Class III Surprise Luncheon
Sat. Mar. 5: Class III Head of School Dance
Thurs. Apr. 7: Class III Parent/Guardian Spring Social
Thurs. Apr. 11: Class III Parent/Guardian Coffee

As usual please check the Nobles website and Friday newsletter for any updates. Please contact us anytime for questions, and we look forward to seeing many of you on January 13.

Sincerely,

Allison Horne and Isabelle Loring

Class IV Parent Reps



Happy 2016 and welcome back!  We hope everyone had a relaxing and enjoyable break and the students are recharged after some family time and down time. January is filled with events but fortunately, not as busy as other months. 

Monday, January 4:  School Reopens
Wednesday, January 6:  All School Photo
Wednesday, January 13:  Parents Association Meeting, Castle Library, 8 A.M.
Thursday, January 14: PA Lunch in the Castle, 11:45-1 P.M.
Friday, January 15: Class IV Surprise Lunch Planning Meeting, 8 A.M. Castle Dining Room
Monday, January 18:  No School – MLK Jr. Day; Day of Service at Nobles


...Shhh! Thursday, Feb. 11: Class IV Surprise Lunch.
Every year, each class has a special treat lunch, usually with a fun theme, which is hosted by the parents/guardians in the Old Castle dining room.  This lunch is always appreciated by the students, who enjoy a break in the middle of the semester to do something a little different and fun. A planning meeting is scheduled for Friday, January 15 at 8 A.M. in the Castle, and all are welcome. This is a great way to get to know and connect with parents in the class, so we encourage you to volunteer, either in the planning stages or the day of set up and coordination, or both! We would love to have your help. We thank all those who have already volunteered.

Here is the link to the Surprise Lunch Sign Up Genius:
http://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0b44adad2caaf49-class

Back in September, our hope was two-fold: (1) that new and returning students would join together to form a cohesive, supportive, serious yet fun class; and (2) that parents would be involved and engaged, share information, get acquainted, and participate as fully as their schedules allow. The ultimate goal was for our kids to transition into high school as seamlessly and successfully as possible.

From our vantage point, it appears that this hope has largely become a reality. Our kids have adapted to their new status as high school students with surprising ease and old students have welcomed new ones into the fold to form a cohesive group. New friendships have been formed by both students and parents and we have been gratified by your support for all of the activities we’ve had thus far. We hope you know that your help is highly valued. One of the great benefits of involvement is the wonderful opportunity it presents to share in the lives of our children at Nobles. We hope that you have been pleased by what you’ve seen and that you have been taking advantage of all that the school offers. We thank you for all your support and for your participation.

Warmly,
Lauren Kinghorn  lkkinghorn@comcast.net
Cindy Trull  cdtrull@att.net

Middle School Parent Reps



Welcome back and Happy New Year! We trust that your family was able to find some time to relax and enjoy the much needed break. The students were hopefully able to get some sleep, serious downtime and recharge for the next half of the academic year.

January is a busy month at Nobles. We are looking forward to seeing you at the events listed below.

Important Dates for January

Monday, January 4: School Reopens

Wednesday, January 6: All School Photo in Rapport Gym at 8 a.m.—please arrive on time

Thursday, January 7: Jazz, Blues, Guitar and Drum Concert, Lawrence Auditorim at 7 p.m.

Friday, January 8: Nobles Varsity Girls Basketball games vs. Cotting School Rappaport Gym 6pm

Monday, January 18: Martin Luther King Day—school closed
  
Tuesday, January 26: March Trips Parent & Student Information, Meeting in Lawrence Auditorium at 7 p.m. Please note: An informational parent meeting regarding the Washington, D.C. trip will take place on February 23rd at 6 p.m.

Friday, January 29: Middle School Movie Night, Pratt Middle School, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Please contact us if you have any questions.

Class V Reps

10 Campus Drive,
Dedham, Massachusetts
02026
tel: 781.326.3700
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If you have questions, comments or suggestions for this newsletter, email Kim Neal at kim_neal@nobles.edu.