Nobles Parents' E-Newsletter

March 2016

Nobles Parents' Newsletter March 2016

"Time and Distance for Reflection" by Head of School Bob Henderson



While talking recently with a graduate from the early 2000’s at a reception in New York City, the following statement struck me: she said,“The further I get from my Nobles experience, the more I understand that it was the most important part of my education.”

The third quarter of the school year, between January and March, is my busy travel time of year. Admittedly, the weather sometimes does not cooperate with my plans (last year was a disaster), but it is the best time for me to be away from campus, given the density of school events I need and want to attend in the fall and spring. This winter I have been to New York, London, North Carolina, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

While my primary purpose has been to connect with our widespread alumni, I also have attended national meetings of the Headmasters’ Association and the National Association of Independent Schools. The latter two are important for me to stay connected with ideas and trends in education in general and independent schools in particular. Most significantly, however, the weeks I am on the road help me to develop perspective on the school and its challenges, a task hard to accomplish while intensely immersed in the daily experience of our community. There are invariably salient moments while on these visits, and this woman’s observation reinforced my most fundamental conviction about excellent secondary education.

Adolescence is a dynamic process and not, in most ways, a static or singular life experience. At Nobles we deal with middle schoolers, some of whom are as young as 11 when they first enter the school. We also will graduate students who are 19 and soon approaching their 20th birthdays. This is a huge spread of age and sophistication, especially so in the context of the incredibly rapid rate of physical, intellectual, emotional and psychological transformation that these young people are experiencing. Simply imagine for an instant the challenge of developing appropriate school assembly agendas for that whole spread. Yet a culture and set of understandings has developed about that task, much of it unspoken, that leads many, if not most, graduates to assert that assembly was among the most significant and memorable elements of their time at Nobles, helping them to formulate core values and views in regard especially to the importance of community.

College and the many experiences we have in life after high school are certainly critical and formative. They do not, however, occur in the context of such rapid personal transformation as adolescence. Because teenagers generally have not accumulated much perspective, their day-to-day lives are generally and simply mundane reality, and often are reduced in their estimations to good and bad, boring and interesting, amusing and inane. There is a truncated sense of the collective whole and only a limited understanding of one’s personal journey. I look forward to the month of May every year when the seniors start to emote about how much Nobles has meant to them, and yet even then I know the sentiments are at least in part informed by concerns about change and the loss of familiar patterns and relationships.

It takes time and reflection to know what it all meant, and to place Nobles in the larger context of life experience. I have loved hearing the perspectives of my three boys as they have gone through Nobles; while I have been the head here for nearly sixteen years, I have been a parent in this community for over half that time. I have taken my sons’ views seriously, and yet always with a grain of salt. What I really look forward to is the same conversations when they are twenty-eight. Then I want to know what teachers and experiences, positive and negative, made a difference for them, and whether the opportunities and the mission of the school inspired at all the trajectory of their lives. I encourage parents to take the same view, to remain connected and involved and yet nevertheless to avoid over-immersion in the details of their children’s lives and experiences at the school, especially as they strive to develop their own independent adult identities. Listen instead for the development of the big picture, for the emergence of adults who will enter the world with the values, skills and determination to inspire leadership for the public good.

Performing Arts: Save the Date



March Performing Arts Events

Nobles Theatre Collective Spring 2016 musical
The Sound of Music
Vinik Theatre
Final performances 3/2, 3/3 & 3/4, 6:30-9:15 p.m.
Box seats are $20; general admission is $12 (and may include standing room).
Some tickets remain online: click here to buy.

Winter Chamber Ensemble Concert
Recital Hall
3/10, 7:00-9:00 p.m.

Rally Day 2016



Thursday, March 3 is the third annual Nobles Rally Day: a one-day event during which the entire Nobles community unites to show their support for the school and its mission by making gifts to the Annual Nobles Fund (ANF). This year, our goal is to bring in 610 new gifts to the 2015-2016 ANF on Rally Day – one gift for every Nobles student. Gifts to the ANF support every aspect of the Nobles experience including financial aid, athletics, arts, service trips and so much more.

Answer the call! In order to achieve this ambitious goal, we will reach out to the Nobles community all day on Thursday to ask for your support. If you have not yet contributed to the ANF this year, please join us on Rally Day by making your gift over the phone or online at www.nobles.edu/giveonline. Your participation will make a big difference and get us one step closer to 610 new gifts for the ANF!    

On behalf of everyone at Nobles, thank you for your support. Let’s get ready to rally!

"The Results Are In" by Dean of Students Marcela Maldonado



Over the last few months, Nobles has engaged in a myriad of learning opportunities for and about our students, their choices and behaviors, the promise of good things to come, and our roles as educators in those efforts.   

Frances Jensen, a former Nobles parent, neuroscientist, and author of the highly acclaimed The Teenage Brain, presented before the faculty in mid-February. Dr. Jensen offered a fascinating perspective on the science of brain growth, and why teenagers can be especially impulsive and not very good at responsible decision-making. She shared much scientific data, coupled with poignant anecdotes from her experience both as a scientist and a mother. 

Dr. Jensen explained, for instance, why occasional binge drinking can actually kill brain cells in adolescents yet not to the same extent in the adult brain, or why you can suffer brain damage as a teen for the same blood alcohol level that may cause bad sedation in the adult. It would do Frances Jensen no justice for me to attempt to explain her copious findings in any detail or the intricacies of how the teenage brain operates, and so I urge you to pick up her book – it is an easy read and you’ll be happy you did. 

What resonated even more for me than the information itself was Dr. Jensen’s assertion that giving adolescents the facts about what's going on with them is the most important thing you can do. Students today are data-driven, and would respond well to knowing that their behavior is, in large part, biologically based. Dr. Jensen noted that it is critical for teenagers to understand that “they're building their brains by what they do every day.” And so to provide them with scientifically based information about why they do the things they do, could be a game-changer. 

What we learned from Frances Jensen anchors the work we have engaged in to help students successfully navigate through their teenage years. This includes presentations by Katie Koestner and her colleagues to Classes I, II and III earlier this year, and the upcoming program for Class IV right before spring break. As a leading expert on student safety and teen culture, Koestner and her team led students through interactive exercises related to sexual misconduct, cyber harassment, and healthy vs. unhealthy relationships. The legal consequences of these issues were discussed openly, as was the importance of making positive life decisions beginning now.

In the fall, I shared that Nobles was partnering with the Freedom from Chemical Dependency organization (FCD) that provides alcohol and drug prevention education.  They administered a survey built to scientifically measure our present students’ actual attitudes and behaviors towards illegal substances, as well as their perceptions of the behaviors and attitudes of their peers. And the results are in…

The methodology used was impressive and the report is incredibly detailed and comprehensive.  The most important thing to share is that a “culture of health” pervades our community: the vast majority of Nobles students hold positive beliefs, engage in responsible decision making, and exhibit healthy behaviors. Other key findings to highlight:

1. Nobles students grossly overestimate alcohol and marijuana use, and underestimate abstinence from these substances, on the part of their peers.

a. For example, 85% of 10th graders never drink alcohol. Yet only 3% of 10th graders perceive that their classmates never drink alcohol.

b. For example, 25% of 11th graders say they typically use marijuana 1-2 times a year or more. Yet, 87% of 11th graders believe their classmates typically use marijuana at this rate or more.

2. A small number of students are engaging in risky behavior yet drive the perception that “everyone does it.”

3. The impact of family involvement and awareness on these issues

a. 15% of Nobles students say that they have used alcohol, marijuana, or other drugs at home WITH a parent or guardian knowing. For 11th and 12th graders, this figure rises to 21% and 30%, respectively.

b.  23% of Nobles students say that they have used alcohol, marijuana, or other drugs     at home WITHOUT a parent or guardian knowing. For 11th and 12th graders, this figure rises to 36% and 46%, respectively.

There is much more information to cull over and disseminate to the larger school community, and we will continue to do so in a variety of ways. These findings will be shared with students during an assembly before spring break, led by the Peer Help Program (PHP). These results should serve as the catalyst for honest dialogue with students about their choices and responsibilities, a conversation that will be dynamic, data-driven, and peer-lead.  FCD makes it clear that prevention is a climate not a program, and we have the facts on our side about what can be done. This is an opportunity we intend to take every advantage from. 


 

"The Value of a Summer School of Hard and Helpful Knocks" by Head of Upper School Michael Denning



Presidents’ Day Weekend has come and gone. With each passing day, we gain precious minutes of natural light, and the “mad dash to spring break” has entered our collective consciences and classrooms. I love this time of year. Although feelings of exhaustion and crankiness stemming from the winter quarter’s challenges and weather rear their heads from time to time, more prevalent is a sense of excitement about fun upcoming events: the opening of The Sound of Music; big end-of-season games (especially those against Milton); New England Championship tournaments; the annual 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament; the Chamber Music Concert and Fringe Fest; and spring-break plans. Shattuck Schoolhouse is abuzz with positive energy and witnessing this never grows old.

I also relish this season’s spirit of renewal. Just last week, the course-registration process began, offering returning students the chance to consider great opportunities available for the next academic year. This perennial process is also a reminder that the school year will soon enter its final quarter and that summer break will be here before we know it. Indeed, while considering courses for next year, students and parents also need to begin to finalize plans for the summer months spent away from Nobles.

There are a number of worthwhile ways to spend the summer. Some individuals— accomplished student-athletes, musicians, studio artists and thespians, for examples—will take time to immerse themselves more fully in endeavors to which they have devoted a great deal of time during the academic year. However, if your son or daughter has not yet discovered an academic or co-curricular passion to which he/she wishes (or should) devote two to three months of intensive study—and this is a large number of Nobles students—then I invite you to consider the benefits of a summer job, one of the greatest learning experiences available to high school students. What follows are a few ideas to consider:

  • Bosses, Managers and Supervisors can be great teachers: Teachers offer feedback on student performance, often through grades and comments. So, in one sense, a teacher can emulate the role of an employer. Nevertheless, inasmuch as a teacher offers critical feedback, he/she has the luxury of being—and, frankly, the responsibility to be—very invested in an individual student’s growth, improvement and success. Many supervisors and bosses, however, don’t have or want that luxury. For most supervisors, there is a bottom line, a service to customers that must be rendered and organizational objectives to be reached. If the employee does not contribute sufficiently to these, they may, regardless of how the manager may feel about them, be let go. I suspect that it was with this reality in mind that renowned Wellesley High School teacher, David McCullough, delivered his famous graduation address, “You are Not Special and Other Encouragements” (which he later turned into a bestselling book by that same title).                                                                                                                       
    At Nobles, our kids develop confidence from our reminders of how special they are, but spending time around supervisors who suggest they are not so special may be edifying and helpful. If you think low grades and academic warnings inspire reflection, you should be present when a student tells me what they learned from dealing with a challenging boss or from being fired from a summer job.
     
  • Co-workers can be great teachers, too: Co-workers can offer students a more expansive, sophisticated and mature understanding of the world(s) in which they live. Throughout a student’s years at Nobles, we endeavor to give him/her opportunities to work with and know people from backgrounds different from their own, believing that exposure to economic, cultural, political, religious and ethnic differences develops confidence, humility, cultural understanding and an appreciation of the value of diversity. Summer jobs can offer not only all of these opportunities, but also cross-cultural and intergenerational endeavors that are uniquely eye-opening and empowering.
     
  • The Value of Hard-earned Money: If you link your child’s summer earnings to his/her spending allowance for the 2016-2017 school year, the impact on their maturation could be immense. Consider what your son/daughter might learn if you made him/her responsible for much or all of his/her recreational spending money for next year? Would he/she begin (or continue to learn) to understand how to plan, prioritize, save and live on a budget? Would their decision-making process with regards to spending and chitting change in a positive way?
     
  • College Admissions Deans love reading about paid summer jobs because they know most summer jobs are environments in which students have had to stand on their own two feet and deliver. 
     
  • The Positive Relationship between Confidence, Satisfaction and Responsibility: Students are crucial to the successes of Nobles’ classes. However, with few exceptions, no academic class’ success is dependent upon any one student. Implicitly, students know that if they are absent, they will be missed but their classes will go on (and probably be successful). Moreover, they also know that when they compete for teams, perform with ensembles, serve on a tech crew, write and edit The Nobleman or Calliope or immerse themselves in a project in the service of others, they are essential to, and thus responsible for, their endeavor’s successes and failures. In many respects, this is the essential value of experiential education.

    This feeling of responsibility is felt just as strongly by those who experience a good summer job. I know this from the hundreds of conversations I have had with students—and the many thousands of college essays I have read—about the powerful confidence-building experiences that summer jobs have been. Whether they are serving as camp counselors, flipping burgers, bagging groceries or waiting tables, our students love to add value and feel great satisfaction when they are able to positively impact an organization and/or customer’s experience.

I could go on and on about the valuable skills and attitudes one can learn on a summer job, and the opportunities some provide for students to apply and practice the analytical skills they develop during the school year, but I have gone on for too long already. So I will conclude with one final thought. Over the course of the past three decades, we have endeavored to develop significant opportunities for experiential education, believing that it “is through Experiential and Community-Engaged Learning (EXCEL) that Nobles develops citizenship, collaboration, empathy, resilience, appropriate risk-taking and character.” There is perhaps no better complement to Nobles’ EXCEL programs than a challenging summer job.

Spin for Achieve



On the weekend of April 2-3, we are organizing a spinning fundraiser to benefit Achieve! Three different indoor cycling studios will be offering a class that weekend and all of the proceeds will directly support the Achieve program.

You will have your choice to sign up for a class at either CycleBar in Wellesley, at SoulCycle in Chestnut Hill or at the Recycle Boston Common studio. More details to come, but please mark your calendar and plan to join us for a fun end-of-winter sweat session that supports a very worthy cause. 

If you have any questions or would like more information, feel free to contact Cat Kershaw: at cat_kershaw@nobles.edu.

www.theachieveprogram.org    

"A Different View on Black-and-White Thinking" by Licensed Psychologist Jen Hamilton



Chances are, we have all succumbed at one time or another to feeling the remorse of setting a goal, getting off track, and then saying, "what the hell, I blew it (my study schedule, my promise to check my phone less, my training plan... enter your resolution here!)" Inevitably, the shame of having failed leads us even further from our goal. As it turns out, this common "what the hell" feeling is an actual psychological principal, coined by researchers Janet Polivy and C. Peter Herman about 15 years ago.

The idea behind the "what the hell" effect is that shaming ourselves when our best intentions go awry does not lead to better behavior; in fact, it causes us to go even further astray. Telling yourself that since you missed your workout or didn't stick to your study guide, you might as well just sit around like a sloth for the rest of the day (or week!) is a very black-and-white way of thinking.

In fact, the "what the hell" effect is quite the opposite of a growth mindset (conceived by Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck.)  We all make mistakes. We all procrastinate. Life, more often than not, gets in the way of our best intentions to stick to a plan. However, the answer is not to make ourselves feel ashamed or guilty for getting sidetracked. Self-criticism is actually linked to less motivation, according to many studies. Rather, the answer lies in self-compassion. Being supportive and understanding with oneself leads to greater rationality and motivation. It is very important to encourage ourselves and our kids to recalibrate after we make a mistake. If our children see us being very black-and-white about our intentions and errors, they will follow suit. If they see us being flexible, forgiving ourselves, and learning from our mishaps, it will pave a path for them to do the same.

So, the next time you set an intention and find yourself starting down a road that runs counter to your plan, take a few moments to acknowledge that everyone goes off course at times. Then ask yourself, "what's the next thing I can do that will get me back on track?"  Making these difficult decisions builds resilience. You may not be exactly where you want to be, but a day from now you can either be one step closer to your goal, or you can continue to stray further and further away.

If you have any thoughts on this topic (or others) that you would like to discuss, please feel free to contact me at JHamilton0f@nobles.edu, or to Mark Spence (MSpence0f@nobles.edu) or Mary Batty (MBatty0f@nobles.edu). We always welcome your thoughts and comments!

"The Prom: Basic Facts and Other Musings" by Provost Bill Bussey



Ahhhhhh. It’s that time of year again. And it comes much earlier this time around.

The Prom: April 9th

If your child is attending the prom, I would urge you to read, re-read Mr. Henderson’s letter regarding this event. And then 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, the most important date, the line-in–the sand date, is Monday, April 4th , 5 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 it cannot be changed. Your child will receive a formal invitation and be reminded ad nauseum of this responsibility between now and then.

Costs 
Prom: $78.00

Dinner: $45.00

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.

No Class IV Students Will Be Allowed to Attend the Prom. A handful of Class III students do get invited.

The Dinner
Class I and Class II will be dining together and with faculty at Maggiano’s in Boston at 7:15 p.m. I will be present at the Prom (my 26th Prom, one of those time-to-re-evaluate-your-life stats) with Class Deans (Battery Wharf Hotel, 9-Midnight). 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 very minor misstep that occurred during the prom itself.

Pre-Prom Photo Opportunity 
Class I students and their parents may shoot prom photos on campus at the Castle from 5:00 p.m.-6:30 p.m. Class II students and their parents may take prom photos from inside the Performing Arts Building or on the Beach, weather and lawn conditions permitting. Last year it was a bit crowded and parking was a bit difficult but people enjoyed it and all went smoothly. We have a parking plan that we will send out later.

Please don’t feel that this is something that you have to do. Here’s why: At the prom, Nobles grad, Randy Smith, who makes his living as a professional photographer in New York City, will be taking photos at the event. He has been our prom photographer for over a decade. He comes up from NYC in appreciation of his time at Nobles. 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.

Who's Going
Know that every year some students choose to attend with a group of friends rather than go with a date. 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. Since this is the first go-round for many Class II students, it’s little surprise that many juniors grow anxious as the event nears. We ask that all parents help us in keeping a realistic perspective regarding this evening. 

Navigating Transportation 
For many students, navigating prom transportation, not just the mode but especially with whom, inevitably can grow unnecessarily complicated. Feelings get hurt. Cars and limousines only hold a finite number of people. Too often students leave the transportation details to the last minute. If there is one area you should keep your eye on, other than what happens after the prom, especially if you are a Class II parent, it is this one. Guide, suggest, and support. And then step back a bit and let your child work it out.

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. If your child is spending a few hours or entire evening night at someone’s house, I see no reason as to why you shouldn’t contact the host(s) directly.

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.

"Excel, College Admission and Your Child's Brain" by Director of the Anderson/Cabot Center for EXCEL Ben Snyder



All of us remember the times in our adolescent days when, looking back, we say to ourselves, “What on earth was I thinking?” As parents of teenagers we return to that refrain regularly when our children make the inevitable mistakes that are part and parcel of growing up. Over the last couple of decades there have been tremendous advances in neuroscience that have allowed us a window into the neurological reasons that adolescents (and young adults into their mid-twenties) make so many “head-scratching” decisions that have parents wondering, “What the heck were you thinking?!”

Two recent books The Teenage Brain by former Nobles parent Frances Jensen (who led the Nobles faculty retreat in February and is the mother of Will Murphy N’08) and Age of Opportunity by Laurence Steinberg illuminate the science behind the developing brain and give great insight into what parents and educators can do to help our children and students develop into capable adults of character.

Both books emphasize how the adolescent brain is primed for tremendous growth (neuroplasticity) and how that results in an almost compelling need for new and novel experiences. The major challenges parents and schools face, however, is how to create healthy and safe opportunities to take the risks that lead to growth. Both authors also emphasize the need for young people to develop “grit” and resilience by “learning failure” through some kind of adversity.

Unfortunately, the world of competitive college admissions does not have a great track record of supporting “failure,” which may lead students (with support from their parents) to shy away from courses or activities or experiences where they will not “succeed” in traditional ways (high grades, making a top team, or winning a music competition).  This “achievement” orientation has worried many of us in both secondary and higher education and just recently a consortium of college admission deans (led by Rick Weissbourd at the Harvard Graduate School of Education with whom Nobles has worked for many years) published "Turning the Tide - Inspiring Concern for Others and the Common Good through College Admissions." The goal of this report was to encourage young people to have more meaningful contributions to others, to promote ethical engagement and contributions to others, and to redefine achievement more broadly.

As I’ve read these books and reports, talked to authors, and shared perspectives with colleagues, the importance of EXCEL (Experiential and Community Engaged Learning) at Nobles has been reaffirmed for me. The variety of ways in which we encourage students to find their own paths to serve their communities in meaningful ways allows the kind of ethical contributions and engagement we want all students to have. While there is always some cynicism about Nobles’ eighty hour requirement, the flexibility in the ways in which the requirement can be filled allows our students to find opportunities that both resonate for them and make a positive impact on others. Given that over eighty percent of Nobles students exceed their requirement is testament to most students finding that meaningful path.

Placing students (through EXCEL travel, exchange, service and study away programs) in unfamiliar environments and putting substantive challenge in front of them create the kinds of novel experiences that middle and high school students need and crave and which lead to enormous personal (and neurological!) growth. We have learned over the years that engaging in these experiences with Nobles faculty enhances student growth dramatically as the opportunities to prepare, collaborate, reflect and share accelerate the learning and embed the experiences more deeply. And when the inevitable setbacks and challenges that come with being in dramatically different environments arise, the support system of peers and teachers allows students to learn and grow in significant ways.

In addition, there are an increasing number of courses at Nobles that place significant emphasis on process and project based learning and where adversity and “failure” is inevitable (and valued!). Courses such as Robotics or Journalism or Innovation and Entrepreneurship or Advanced Topics in Biochemistry or Advanced Placement Studio Art push students to think originally and creatively, experiment with ideas, face setbacks, collaborate, and develop the resilience necessary to work through longer term challenges. Neuroscientists such as Frances Jensen and Laurence Steinberg see these kinds of learning experiences as crucial to adolescent development.

Time will tell whether competitive college admission offices will recognize and more formally value the goals of "Turning the Tide" and programs like EXCEL. That said, we have enough experience at Nobles to know the positive impact of EXCEL on our students and that as we move forward, the opportunities for experiential and community-engaged learning will increase and their influence will continue to be expansive and meaningful.  

Class II Parent Reps



Dear Class II Parents,

At this time of the year, junior year can seem quite overwhelming, long forgotten is winter break, classes are in full swing and the whole college process is starting up. The good news is Class II students have two weeks of vacation to look forward to and then only one quarter left of their junior year. Following the break, we will be working on one more special surprise, just when they may need the extra treat. Stay tuned for ways you can help.

Here are some important March dates to remember:

Friday, March 4: Registration Deadline for April 9 ACT Test
Saturday, March 5: SAT Test Date (no subject tests on this date)
Saturday, March 12- Sunday, March 27: March Break

We wish you all a fun, relaxing break.

Your Class II Parent Reps,

Anna Abate
annaabate@verizon.net

Nicola DiFelice
nicoladifelice@comcast.net
 

Class III Parent Reps



Dear Class III families,

While we are in the final third of the year, we still have some of the most important Class III student and parent events yet to come.

March 5th from 6:30-10:30 p.m. marks the date of the Head of School Dinner and Dance, a milestone in our students’ years at Nobles. We want to thank in advance the terrific team of parents who have worked so hard to produce a fabulous, fun evening. The theme of “A Walk In The Woods” has led to an inspiring outpouring of creativity that is sure make the Castle into a sight to behold.

The parents/guardians only have a few times a year to gather together as a class. Two of them are in April. Please save these dates and join us:

Thursday, April 7: Class III Spring Parent Social from 7:00-9:00 p.m. in the Castle Dining Room. An invitation will follow shortly.

Monday, April 11: Class III Spring Parent Coffee from 8:00-9:30 a.m. in the Castle Library.

Other March dates:

Wednesday, March 2 – Friday, March 4: The NTC’s 2016 Spring Musical “The Sound of Music” from 6:30 p.m.-9:15 p.m. in Vinik Auditorium

Thursday, March 10: Chamber Music Concert, 7:00-9:00 p.m., Recital Hall

Saturday, March 12-Sunday, March 27: March Break

Have a wonderful month!

Your Class III Reps,
Alison Horne
(Allison@justloveme.com)

Isabelle Loring
(Izzyloring@yahoo.com

Class I Parent Reps



Class I...

Thank you to all of the Class I parents that helped make our Valentine’s Day Surprise Dessert Bar such a success. Class I had a decadent afternoon enjoying all the delicious treats.

There are no March events planned for Class I, but we have more events coming up this spring.  We’ll be using SignUpGenius links to let you know about any volunteer opportunities.

Here are the Class I Events for your calendars:

Tuesday, May 3 - Spring Surprise Lunch (Involves parent volunteers- details to follow)
Friday, May 20 - Class I Parent Spring Social (parent event- Evite to follow)
Tuesday, May 31 - Class I Celebration “The Way We Were” (Class I student event- details to follow)
Tuesday, May 31 - Class I Project Night (parents, Class I students, faculty, and staff event)
Wednesday, June 1 - Class I Night (Class I students, faculty and staff event)
Thursday, June 2 - Awards Night (parents, Class I students, faculty, and staff event)
Friday, June 3 - Graduation (details to follow)
Friday, June 3 - Graduation Party (student event- details to follow)

Enjoy Spring Break! 

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

Middle School Parent Reps



Hope you are all enjoying winter this year! February was a short, but very busy month, and March promises to be the same. We have come to the end of the Winter Afternoon Program, and we are nearing the end of the third academic quarter.

On March 7, Class V students will travel to Washington, D.C. for a four-day trip to enrich their civic studies. In that same week, Class VI students will participate in Identity Week. Enjoy your March break and THINK SPRING.

Warmly,

Your MS Reps,

Cindy Jaczko, Sarah Gomez, Carla Higgins and Grace Slosberg

Middle School Events in March 2016

March 2 - National Latin Exam in the Castle Dining Room at 8 a.m. All Class VI EVL students and Class V Latin students will participate.

March 3 - Course Signups for 2016-17 due

March 2-4 - School Musical -The Sound of Music, Vinik Theatre 6:30 p.m.

March 4 - Middle School Magic Bus to a surprise location. Buses leave campus @2:45pm and will return around 5:15pm. It will be a great time & you can chit this event.

March 7-10 - Class V Washington, D.C. Trip. No school for Class V on Friday, March 11th.

March 7-11 - Class VI Identity Week. More information to follow.

March 14-25 - Spring Break

March 28 - School Reopens! No afternoon program. Dismissal @ 2:40 p.m.

March 29 - No afternoon program due to faculty meeting in Morrison Forum starting @ 3:15 p.m. Dismissal @ 2:40 p.m.

March 30 - Individual advisor/advisee meetings to discuss 3rd quarter grades/comments 8:25-8:55 a.m. AND 1:45-4:00 p.m. Discover Nobles Event starting @ 5:45 p.m.

March 31 - Accepted Student Visit Day (other visit days: 4/4 & 4/7) and spring afternoon program begins.

Class IV Parent Reps



Dear Class IV Parents and Guardians,

Welcome to March, as the countdown to spring break begins. The longer days and warmer weather will be a welcome change.

First, we want to thank Matt Burek and the Castle staff, as well as the energetic, creative parent volunteers for their hard work and for the wonderful job put forth for the Class IV surprise lunch. By all accounts, the students were surprised and thrilled with everything about the event; it was Red Sox/Yankees mania from the minute they walked into the Castle!  Thanks to all who made it special—we couldn’t have done it without everyone’s help.

Below are some of the scheduled events for March:

March 2-4: Remaining performances of the NTC Winter Musical The Sound of Music
Monday, March 7:  Katie Koestner Presentation; more details to come in the weekly newsletters
Friday, March 11:  Last day of classes before spring break
March 12- 28:  Spring break
Monday, March 29:  School resumes, afternoon program limited to varsity sports, including tryouts. There will be student/advisor meetings.
Tuesday, March 30:  Afternoon program limited to varsity sports, including tryouts. There will be student/advisor meetings.
Wednesday, March 31:  Afternoon program begins for all students.

Looking ahead, our Class IV Parent Social will be held on the evening of Friday, April 8, 6:30 -10:00 p.m. Please mark it on your calendars and join us in the Castle for great fun, food and conversation. If you would like to help decorate the Castle, please email either Lauren or Cindy. More details to follow in the weekly newsletters.

Fortunately, there will be one more Class IV parent/guardian coffee before the end of the school year. It is scheduled for Thursday, May 5, 8-10 a.m. in the Castle. Please put it on your calendars!

As always, please let us know if you have any questions or comments. We look forward to seeing you soon.

Warmly,

Lauren Kinghorn (lkkinghorn@comcast.net)
Cindy Trull (cdtrull@att.net)

Class III Dean's Report



Hi Class III Families,

We are happy to report a milder winter than last year up to this point, and hopefully an even warmer spring! Class III is working hard right now to finish up the third semester. The “Winter Wonderland” surprise lunch that Class III enjoyed this semester was much appreciated. It was a wonderful respite from all the hard work of the winter quarter and a nice way for the Class III students to gather together more informally. Thank you to all the parents who helped to organize this fun event.

Since January, all students have been very busy with their many academic commitments, including the U.S. History Research Project, their involvement in sports, the theater, and other extracurricular activities. As you may know, the musical, The Sound of Music, was moved to the winter this year. If you were able to get out and see it, you know how wonderfully successful the production was. We are sure that everyone is looking forward to vacation in order to relax and recharge for the final quarter of the year. To all of those traveling on Nobles spring break trips, we extend our best wishes for a safe and wonderful experience.

Through class meetings, assemblies and other announcements, our students have heard from a variety of study away program representatives over the past two months and we would like to applaud those who took the time and the risk to apply to study away from Nobles for either a semester of next year or for the entire academic year. If your child applied to study away, he/she should hear from the different programs by mid-April. If your child is accepted to one or more programs, he/she must make a decision and inform Nobles of this decision by May 1st. Your child should inform his/her advisor, Jennifer Hines (Dean of Enrollment Management), as well as the two of us. If you have any questions about this process or about the individual programs, please do not hesitate to contact us.

On February 29th, Summit Education offered a program on Standardized Testing and the College Process. It was an opportunity for parents to learn about the adjustments made to the SAT and ACT exams.  Summit also used some sample questions to go over testing strategies. The evening ended with a discussion the impact exam scores have on students’ college applications. 

As you may know, Class III has a special yearly event and this year it is held on Saturday, March 5th.  As is the tradition for Class III each year, Bob Henderson hosts the Class III Head of School Dinner & Dance to mark the midway point of their upper school career at Nobles. It is a great night for the sophomore class to be together, to recognize that they are halfway through their time at Nobles, and to start to think of who they want to be as a class. Each year, this event proves to be a wonderful night. We would like to thank all of the parents who worked to make this event memorable.

Circling back to some of the themes of sophomore year that we talked about at Back to School night and the opening parent coffee, the school felt it important to bring in Katie Koestner and her team to address important issues facing teenagers and relationships. On January 24th, sophomores and juniors students spent an evening learning about healthy relationships and decision making. They examined real life situations and gained a better understanding of the short and long term implications some of their actions may have. Students also took part in a survey that was used to gather information on our class and teenage culture outside of school. As you may imagine, sophomore year is a tricky time for our students. While they are no longer “new” to the high school, they also do not have the clout or confidence that an upper classmate may have, finding themselves a bit lost.

Our survey confirmed that while our Class III students are vulnerable, their perception of what takes place outside of school is not the reality.  Our fear as educators (and as people who care about your children) is that these perceptions can often lead to bad decision making in an attempt to fit in. We urge you as parents to continue your vigilance and have open dialogue with your children.

We look forward to a strong finish to the year with the Class III students, and we hope to see you on the Nobles campus this spring. We wish you and your family a relaxing and fun-filled March vacation!

Best,
Edgar DeLeon and Amy Joyce McBrien

From the PA Chairs



First, a big thank you is in order. To all of the exceptional class reps and parent volunteers who organized surprise class lunches, coffees, parent events, and to all those who are planning upcoming spring events: THANK YOU so much!

Although March is a relatively quiet month for the PA compared to all the activity in February, don’t let the time get away from you. Please take advantage of all the available events – attending these give you a better understanding of the school and strengthen your relationship with the parent community. Once we return from spring break it seems like there are only a few short weeks until we are done!

Due to the break, we will not be having a PA meeting in March. However, mark your calendars for April 13, at 8 a.m., in the Castle Library for our next PA meeting.

Did you know… that the average bite of food you eat travels 1,500 miles before it reaches your plate?

Nobles’ FLIK dining department sources what is served at the Castle from numerous local producers, reducing the carbon footprint of the food consumed on campus.  A variety of seasonal produce comes from the Jansal Valley in Massachusetts, as well as other NewEngland farms. Fish served at the Castle is caught by a New England fishermen’s consortium FLIK belongs to.

We wish you a wonderfully relaxing vacation!

Barbara Ito and Polly Maroni

PA Co-Chairs

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If you have questions, comments or suggestions for this newsletter, email Kim Neal at kim_neal@nobles.edu.