Nobles Parents' E-Newsletter

April 2016

Nobles Parents' Newsletter April 2016

"How Do We Celebrate Creativity?" by Interim Director of the Middle School Colette Finley

The other night I found myself fully entrenched in the TED talk by Sir Ken Robinson titled “Do schools kill creativity?” The video was recorded in 2006 and is one of the most viewed TED talks of all time, with more than 38 million views. Throughout the discussion, Robinson argues that creativity is just as important as literacy in today’s world, given the fact that kids will enter the workforce in pursuit of jobs that do not presently exist. He worries that the current school system has created a structure in which students are told exactly how to think and in which those students who master this structured environment are highlighted and rewarded, while creativity is rarely celebrated. In addition, Robinson highlights the importance of “educating the whole being” as a way of promoting children to explore their passions and take risks.   

As we in the middle school embark on the many events that mark the culmination of the academic year, these thoughts left me pondering about whether we properly promote creativity through our many coming initiatives. Between Archival Print, Solar Car, 'Round the World, and Shakespeare Breakfast, it’s my belief that exploration and recognition of students’ creativity and imagination is alive and well within the friendly confines of the middle school. The flexibility in our curriculum and intimate setting allows for more risk-taking. Furthermore, the talk provided the connection between relational teaching and creativity. The focus on educating the whole being is at the forefront of the Nobles experience. Teachers who interact with students in the classroom, out on the athletic field, and onstage create deeper, richer connections. These relationships so often facilitate discussions that culminate with teachers encouraging students to promote originality. In addition, we use these relationships as avenues to push students to explore passions, irrespective of how those interests may be stigmatized in our society.

That said, we continuously look to improve and seek new approaches in order to further promote creativity. While in South Africa this March break with a group of Nobles students, I was inspired by our visit to the African Leadership Academy (ALA).  For those who are unfamiliar with ALA, it is a school that recruits students from all over the African continent to come for a two-year experience that prepares them for college and to become the next generation of leaders in Africa. ALA augments the traditional academic curriculum by teaching entrepreneurship via a BUILD model. Students first need to Believe that they have the power to change the world around them, Understand the community they hope to serve, Invent viable solutions, Listen to feedback from peers and users, and then Deliver these solutions. This provides the scaffolding necessary for a creative process. Through their BUILD model, students are challenged to hone and focus on entrepreneurial skills that will prepare them for an ever-changing world. Perhaps this process could help our students navigate these pending projects that allow for creative flexibility.        

Personally, it is my goal to be more reflective at work and in my class, which should generate more time for imagination and creativity. I find myself contemplating transformational approaches to things we have done in the middle school for years, but only when I find time to clear my mind of the day-to-day requirements. Is it because my brain finally has a chance to stop, reflect, and process? Our ever-increasingly, over-programmed society adversely affects our ability to think outside the box. It is so important for us to create time for our students to sit and reflect. I firmly believe that boredom can create the best avenue for imagination. I heard from a colleague a few years back that the best way for her to prepare for writing a long paper was to go for a walk. She let herself explore various ideas in her head, away from all distractions. The ability to ruminate in the unknown can be uncomfortable for a middle school student, yet important for the creative process.  How can we get them to be more comfortable with this? 

How do we celebrate creativity? This is an important question for us to continually ask ourselves.

"The Not-So-Easy Rider" by Provost Bill Bussey

For most of us, travel begins with family trips. Trips to the beach gradually build up to longer, more complicated endeavors, often involving everyone cramming like sardines into a car with enough saltines and peanut butter to survive the apocalypse.  Your car might have climbed Mount Washington but not before your brother pummeled you senseless from Pinkham’s Notch all the way to the top. You won’t find any bumper stickers that tell the real story: “My Parents Sang Petula Clark Songs While My Brother Turned My Face Into Silly Putty.” To paraphrase Tolstoy, “All happy family trips are all alike, all unhappy family trips are all alike, too.” 

When I casually look back on the trips that my parents put together, there was one unifying thread that seems to have run through most of them: someone usually got sick in public.  Somewhere there’s a family photo that my father took of us standing in a public park overlooking a thundering Niagara. I’m easy to spot. I’m three feet off to the left from my family, pale as a ghost and hunched at a forty-five degree angle. At the sound of the shutter’s click, my upper torso shot into a rose bush. I can still hear the cries of “Oh, my God” as newlyweds fled. In this regard, my list is endless. The lobby of the Hotel Astor. At the Plains of Abraham. Not always me but a blood relative. Sound familiar?

Whenever my family hit the road, we, like your family, usually got lost. Collectively we couldn’t navigate a drive-thru. In the summer of 1965, we all piled into our car and headed to the New York World’s Fair. Not surprisingly, my father was unfamiliar with Queens and failed to find the twelve-story globe on our first attempt. The impatience and frustration that often was our touring trademark quickly took over. Our map soon was in shreds. Parts of all five boroughs whirled around our heads when I lowered the window for some much-needed air. The Tommy Tucker platter that I had wolfed down earlier at Howard Johnson’s was not sitting well. The kicker came as darkness took over, and our worst fears were confirmed when we passed a sign that said “Montreal - 310 Miles.”

You can never be quite sure what is going to happen when you take to the sky or the road, but that’s the point. As mind-numbing as those family ventures could be, we end up treasuring even some of the ugliest moments. How many family gatherings depend on the endless re-telling of good plans gone bad? And once those times with our folks have passed for good, we all move on in our own way to do our best to recreate some version, perhaps an improved version, of what captured our interest and imagination early on. And eventually we do our best to re-create those treasured memories with others who play a strong role in our lives.

I was talking with a Class I student at dinner the other night, and all he could think about was his upcoming New York City trip with Dan Halperin. Tickets to see “Hamilton” purchased many, many months ago, a prescient move by Dan, were included. Tell me you aren’t envious. It’s a staggering fact that 25% of the student body had access to faculty-run trips, trips that I can guarantee you were far better organized and saner than any of my family roadshows and probably yours, too. But what really blows me away is the fact that more than 20 faculty members eagerly gave up a sizable portion of their spring vacation, and more than a few the entire break, to share what they love with your children. That gesture alone will influence your children’s future far more than viewing the Taj Mahal.

"Living in a Five-Star World" by Director of College Counseling Kate Ramsdell

Just last week I decided not to buy a pair of pajama pants for my husband because the average of all customers’ ratings was 2.5 stars out of a possible 5. Their major flaw was the fact that they “shrank up a great deal – almost 2 inches!” In spite of the fact that I really didn’t have the time, I was reading the ratings for a pair of pajama pants. Perhaps more notably, I let a group of random strangers – whose sartorial pre-dispositions, sizes, general attitudes, and overall capacity to judge pajama pants notwithstanding – dictated my behavior. I’m not ashamed; I saved myself twenty-five dollars and my husband the humiliation of too-short PJ pants.

Recently, I’ve used the ubiquitous 5-star rating to help me choose accommodations for a family trip to New Orleans and then to differentiate among hundreds of BBQ joints in Austin, Texas (yes, Franklin BBQ is as good as the wait is long, and you can’t beat the sausage at Kreuz Market in Lockhart – they ship anywhere in the U.S.). I have also sought ratings for medical practitioners when my mother was diagnosed with cancer and for my newborn sons as I began the mystical journey into the world of new parenthood. Ratings have sometimes proven useful to me, though admittedly more useful for avoiding a bad meal or short pajamas than choosing the pediatrician or oncologist with the right balance of knowledge, experience, empathy and humor to suit our family’s needs.

Certainly as the “National Reply Date” of May 1 approaches for Class I students who are choosing a college at which to matriculate, and as we in the college office begin the sometimes mystical journey into the college process with our juniors, the question of ratings abounds. We familiarize ourselves with college rankings annually so that we can help our students understand what they really measure, and so that we can urge our counselees – and their families – to develop their own understanding of quality and their own five-star system for finding the institutions where they might thrive.

When U.S. News and World Report ranks colleges, they take a number of indicators into account, but they weight what they describe as “peer assessment” quite heavily. They ask college presidents, provosts, and deans to offer ratings to their peer institutions regarding undergraduate academic reputation. Interestingly, they also survey secondary school guidance counselors at 2,200 public schools and an array of the largest independent schools in the country. What I found most intriguing is that: “Each academic and counselor surveyed was asked to rate schools' academic programs on a scale from 1 (marginal) to 5 (distinguished). Those who didn't know enough about a school to evaluate it fairly were asked to mark ‘don't know.’”(1) And while I realize that talented statisticians employed by U.S. News are working to control for error and outliers, and that my colleagues in this profession work to develop informed opinions, many thoughts, ideas and experiences go into these anonymous 1-5 ratings.

In a different way, “peer ratings” seem to matter a great deal to the kids we work with and sometimes to their families. The opinions and experiences of a neighbor’s child, a grandparent, a former teacher, or a friend can take on disproportionate weight. Add to that the swirl of media attention – even Frank Bruni has decided that college admission is his soap box – uncertainty about one’s financial future, the rising cost of education, and the various demands and stressors that could impact a family’s capacity and desire to send a child away from home to college, and an external rating system – 5-star, peer or otherwise – seems woefully inadequate.

Though I understand that crowd-sourcing opinions is a part of the world that we live in, what I am sure we can all agree to is that decisions are often hard; they are particularly challenging when they involve one’s future, wellness, or mortality. What we strive for in the college office is to help you measure your own values, expectations, performance and interests against the larger landscape. Sometimes we think it is valuable to include what Forbes, Princeton Review or U.S. News has to say on the matter of quality; sometimes, we do not.

We spend the better part of almost two years building relationships with our counselees and their families, often longer if we have had the chance to teach, advice, coach or dorm parent them. Though we have useful guideposts in the external measures and the data that we consult, it is the meaningful connection and the trusting and supportive relationships that we build with our counselees and their families that seem to serve us best as we all work through a process whose complexity almost always belies the rankings. 

(1) How U.S. News Calculated the 2016 Best Colleges Rankings

"Spring Renewal" by Dean of Faculty Maura Sullivan

As we returned last week from spring break, I loved hearing all the amazing stories from so many students about the trips that they took with Nobles groups. What was equally amazing, however, was to hear the exact same sentiments and stories from the adults in our community.  During the two weeks of break, approximately two dozen Nobles employees gave up their vacation time to travel with students.  While I have not spoken with every chaperone, those I have talked to all agree that it was time well spent.

The pace of life at Nobles is fast. We hit the ground running in early September and it does not let up until we finish in early June. It seems as though there should be some ebbs and flows to the hectic nature of things, but we generally seem to always be operating at top speed.  Because of this, it would seem natural that when presented with a two-week vacation in the middle of March, most adults would not consider spending it with students.  However, year after year, we have many adults who plan, organize and propose trips, and many more who step up to help chaperone. An obvious benefit of these trips for adults is the opportunity to travel and immerse themselves in different cultures. That is also why these trips are so appealing to students.  But another great benefit is the opportunity to make connections with a wider variety of students, many of whom these teachers would not have crossed paths with while at school.

The relationships between adults and students have always been a hallmark of Nobles.  Between morning assembly, small class sizes, advisors, and the teacher-coach model that we employ, there are many opportunities for adults to get to know students (and vice-versa.) However, the bond that can form when you are traveling with a group is very different than that which forms in the classroom. The adults who built homes in New Orleans, biked through Cambodia, went on safari in South Africa, and visited orphanages in Romania all had something in common. They all allowed themselves to be vulnerable with a group of young people. In situations where everyone is outside their comfort level and pushing their own limits, barriers are broken down and connections are made much more quickly than they can be during our normal school routine. These relationships can be some of the most memorable of their lives for all involved.

For the chaperones, there is another advantage to traveling and spending this time with students. In an age where teenagers are often less resilient and attentive than we would like them to be, many of these trips renew our hope in this generation. To watch students help other people and to see the potential in them to affect positive change in the world is not just inspiring but truly energizing. When the cell phones are left behind, and the stress of schoolwork taken away, the true character of a young person shines through, and we are reminded of all that we love about working with this age group. It can be truly rejuvenating and a great way of spending two weeks away.

"Voluntourism? Not at Nobles." by Director of the Anderson/Cabot Center for EXCEL Ben Snyder

There is some irony that while I was in Rwanda over March break with 18 Nobles students and two colleagues (and while an additional 104 students and 20 Nobles adults were in New Orleans, Alabama/Georgia, South Africa, Romania/Bulgaria, Cambodia/Vietnam and India), The New York Times published The Voluntourist’s Dilemma outlining the many missteps that can be part of volunteering abroad. While in Rwanda I shared the article with our Nobles travelers (and have since had a number of conversations with other students and faculty who traveled in March), and it is clear that Nobles “does service travel” the right way - not the voluntourist’s way.

There are so many benefits to travel in and of itself - some say it is the best way to encourage personal growth over a lifetime - and we hope to imbue that understanding among Nobles students (about 80% of whom will have traveled with Nobles or studied away before graduating). But to travel “the Nobles way” is a unique experience.

First, the ongoing partnerships that Nobles has developed over many years (as examples, Kliptown Youth Program, Marathwada Gramin Vikas Sanstha, Romanian Children’s Relief, St. Bernard Project, Soleaid International and Agahozo Shalom Youth Village) allow Nobles to develop longstanding relationships that not only ensure productive work but engender a more profound educational experience for Nobles students. Our partnerships allow greater insight into the work done, the issues addressed, and the people doing the work. The preparation beforehand, the trust on the ground, and the meaningful (both financial and through hard work) contributions made give the experience greater meaning for Nobles students and greater value for our partners.

Second, Nobles service travel develops and enhances personal relationships between Nobles students and young people overseas as well as among Nobles students and the faculty leading these trips. Each experience provides opportunities for our students to connect with other young people from dramatically different walks of life - and to gain respect for and understanding of the intelligence, resilience, motivation and determination of young people growing up in circumstances very different than our own. Connecting across lines of nationality, race, class, religion, and educational background provides learning opportunities rarely found by American students. We have also discovered that our internal Nobles community culture is greatly enhanced by the mixing of Nobles students and faculty far afield. There are new friendships formed and greater respect developed among our students when they return to Dedham.

These relationships add depth to the building of perspective on our lives at Nobles and in the United States. Because Nobles trips are developed and led by Nobles faculty, the learning extends over a much longer period and is based on a community of trust that provokes greater honesty and deeper reflection as the experiences are processed. The connection to our mission of leadership for the public good resonates with our students and shows them the myriad ways in which that mission can reverberate throughout their lives (on top of introducing them to people who are living lives of meaning and purpose in traditional and untraditional ways).

The Nobles approach is rooted in the premise that we will learn as much from our partners as they will benefit from our work and donations. We are not traveling to New Orleans or South Africa simply to “give” or “solve,” we go to learn and grow. The data from Nobles graduates over the last 15 years affirms this approach - roughly 80% are studying abroad and are engaged in service (either domestically or internationally) in their lives after Nobles.

We also take great pride in making sure that every Nobles student - regardless of family financial circumstance - has the opportunity to participate in these experiences. Because the trips are led by Nobles faculty (who for the first time this year received a very small stipend for their work), the costs are significantly lower than those of commercial ventures allowing us to stretch our financial aid dollars further and provide broader access than is typically found in programs like these.

As I conclude each trip with Nobles students I share the thought that “once we know, we can’t pretend we don’t.” What I hope our students begin to know is that there are many ways to live a good life and to contribute to the world either right around the corner or halfway around the world.

Are we changing the world? Probably not.

But we are immersing ourselves in new environments, learning from others, and having experiences far beyond that of a “voluntourist.” What each student sees and experiences will remain, giving each a broader view of the world and her or his place and responsibility in it. And I’m good with that.

From PA Co-Chairs Barbara Ito and Polly Maroni

Welcome back!  We hope you had a wonderful and restful break.  Spring is always a busy time at Nobles and this is year is no exception.  We hope you will join us for some fun parent activities coming up as well as the class-specific dinners and coffees. Please see the separate class notes for details.

April PA Meeting
Our monthly PA meeting is on Wednesday, April 13, at 8 a.m. in the Castle Library. Master teacher Nick Nickerson will be our guest speaker.

Parent Circuit Training Classes
Get ready for spring and summer by getting in shape with Jesse Hutchins, one of the Nobles trainers.  Meet at the MAC fitness room April 1, 8, 15 22 and 29, 8:15 – 9:15 a.m.  $25 fee payable to Jesse by check or cash.  Any questions contact Gretchen Filoon.

Floral Workshop
On Thursday, April 14, at 10:00 a.m., we will be holding a floral workshop.  There will be a small fee to cover materials. Please RSVP to Pam Gibson by Monday, April 11.

As supporters of the Nobles Green Initiative, we would like to include a link to an article about the environmental stewardship that is part of how the Nobles playing fields are managed. Pete Thibeault, the Nobles Buildings and Grounds crew member featured in this article, taught a turf science class in the fall to AP Environmental Science during their soil and nutrient recycling unit. A member of the class, Teddy Dawson, wrote the article.

Happy Spring to all! 

Barbara Ito
Polly Maroni

Class II Parent Reps

Dear Class II Parents,

Welcome back from spring break!  We hope you all are returning rested and ready to gear up for the busy couple of months before school closes and junior year is behind us.  Hopefully there is some warmer weather in store as well.

April is chock full of events, most notably the Prom. The school has communicated the details of the evening and we’ve included the highlights below along with other important April happenings:

Friday, April 8, Registration Deadline for May 7 SAT Test
Saturday, April 9, ACT Test Date
Saturday, April 9, Junior and Senior Prom
5-6:30 p.m.- photos in the Performing Arts Building or on the Beach
7:15 p.m.- Dinner at Maggiano's, Boston
9 p.m. to midnight- Prom at Fairmont Battery Wharf Hotel, Boston
Monday, April 18, Patriots Day, No School
Wednesday, April 20, 8-9:30 a.m.- Class II Parent Coffee, Castle
Thursday, April 28, 7p.m.- Preparing to Write the College Essay Presentation for Class II Parents/Guardians and Students, Lawrence Auditorium

Also, please save the date for the Spring Class II Parent Social.  It will be held Friday, May 6 in the Castle. Look for an invitation to follow via e-mail in the next couple of weeks.

Please contact us anytime if you have any questions or suggestions.  We always welcome help on any of the Class II events and will include links in the upcoming newsletter when the time comes.  We look forward to connecting with you all this April.

Your Class II Parent Reps,

Anna Abate

Nicola DiFelice

Class IV Parent Reps

Dear Class IV Parents and Guardians:

Welcome back from spring break! We hope you all enjoyed some relaxing family time during the two week break. It promises to be a busy spring as we close out the Class IV year.

Spring Parent Social—Please join us for the Spring Parent Social on Friday evening, April 8, at 6:30 p.m. in the Castle. We have a wonderful group of parents already registered to attend the Social, and the only thing missing is you!
Please use this link to RSVP.

Below are some dates to mark on your calendars:

Tuesday, April 12, 7:00 p.m.8:30 p.m.: Summer Trips Parent and Student Informational Meeting in Towles Auditorium.

Wednesday, April 13, 8 a.m.–9:30 a.m.: PA Meeting in the Castle Library.

Monday, April 18: Patriots Day - No School.

Looking ahead in May:
Thursday, May 5, 8 a.m.–10 a.m.: Final Class IV Parent and Guardian Coffee in the Castle. Please join us!

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


Lauren Kinghorn (
Cindy Trull (

Prom Reminders from Mr. Bussey

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 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, 9:00 p.m.-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.

Class I Parent Reps

Welcome back from what we hope was a relaxing spring break. "Senior Spring" has now officially begun and so have senior projects for those doing them. April is rather quiet, at least on the PA activity side. Below please find scheduled events for the rest of the year. 

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 (Class I Parent sponsored party off campus - info to come)

Have a wonderful spring! 
Sylvia Crawford (
Anne London (
Pam Notman (

Middle School Parent Reps

Welcome back from spring break!  We hope everyone had a restful two weeks.  April is a busy month in the Middle School. For Class VI 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, parents and families on April 26, at 6:00 p.m. There will also be a surprise lunch for all middle school students on that day to celebrate this important project. (Shhhh, it’s a surprise!)  If you would like to help out at this fun event please see the sign-up below.

Important upcoming events for April 2016

April 4 & 7 - Visit Days for Accepted Students

April 14 - 5-7 p.m. Middle School Arts Opening at Whole Foods in Dedham (Legacy Place)

April 15 -  Middle School Day of Service - no classes as students will be participating in community service activities throughout the Greater Boston area.
Also, Middle School "No Homework" weekend

April 18 - Patriot's Day/Marathon Monday - school closed

April 26 - RTW surprise lunch (to volunteer please click here)

April 26 - 6:00 p.m. RTW Culminating Event, the Morrison Forum & middle school classrooms. All family members invited!

April 28 - 6:15 p.m. Class V Student/Middle School Mentor Pizza Event to discuss transition to the Upper School, Middle School

"Known and Unknown" by Class IV Dean Dave Ulrich

I am looking at the ten-day forecast with a bit of trepidation. Eight days of gray, one day of sun, and a strong threat of snow (this has, in fact, come to pass in the process of writing this article). The elements are clearly in flux, and at points, the prospects can be daunting.

I find that the academic clime is similar as we approach Spring Break. Class IV students have just met with advisors to discuss their academic course load for the coming year. The transition is exciting, though sometimes overwhelming. In Class III, the onus of scholarship begins to shift along with the cognitive development of the students. Much of the scaffolding so sturdily in place for freshmen begins to yield to expectations of more proactive student engagement.

Students are prepared, though. They will continue to benefit from the strong relationships they have established with their peers, their teachers, their coaches and their advisors.  Lessons learned throughout the past few months will continue to guide and inform academic growth. The worldview of each student will expand, figuratively and literally.

As many of you know, Nobles offers a rich variety of experiences domestically and abroad.  Trips to New Orleans, Cambodia, Vietnam, Rwanda, India and Romania allowed students and faculty to experience news ways of life and new paths of learning. Some of these experiences seem overwhelming at first. I encounter the same anxiety in my first-year language students when they are asked to communicate exclusively in a language that is new to them.  Many wish to have a script, in order to assure themselves of all possible eventualities and to work out in advance ways of answering questions and addressing challenges.

This is not, fortunately, how life works.  We are not able to script every encounter, nor are we to aim always for perfection.  We should, however, strive to approach novel situations with confidence in the lessons we have already learned, and a curiosity about the lessons still out there for our enlightenment.  We employ known skills in order to navigate the unknown.

With this in mind, I am confident that Class IV students will find success.  Whether navigating mercurial weather, the academic terrain of Class III, or the splendor of the world around us, may we take a moment to reflect on the lessons of today so we may embrace our future endeavors. 

I wish you all a successful close to the Class IV year!

Dave Ulrich
Class IV Dean

Class III Parent Reps

Class III Parents,

Happy spring and welcome back! We hope everyone had a relaxing and enjoyable spring break.  It is hard to believe that there are only roughly ten weeks left of sophomore year for our students.  Hopefully the greater daylight of April and the start of spring athletics and performing arts activities will help propel our students with energy into their end of year events and responsibilities!

One of our last community building events of this year is next week at our Spring Class III Parent Social on the night of Thursday, April 7 from 7-9 p.m. in the Castle. We would love to see as many of you as possible at this fun Class III event. Please join us!  You can the link below to RSVP (please log-in to the website first):

Also, just after our parent social on Monday, April 11 from 8-9:30 a.m. we have our Spring Class III Parent Coffee. This event is held in the Castle Library, and we would also love you to join us for coffee and conversation.

April dates for your calendar

Thursday, April 7: Class III Spring Parent Social
Monday, April 11: Class III Spring Parent Coffee
Monday, April 18: Patriots Day - school closed

As usual please check the Nobles website and Friday Notes for updates and announcements. Please contact us anytime for questions, and we look forward to seeing many of you on evening of April 7.

Cheers to warmer weather and the arrival of spring!

Allison Horne and Isabelle Loring

10 Campus Drive,
Dedham, Massachusetts
tel: 781.326.3700
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