Nobles Parents' E-Newsletter

September 2016

Nobles Parents' Newsletter September 2016

"Schools and Parenting in a More Complex Digital Age" by Head of School Bob Henderson

As the tenure of my headship enters its closing year, people ask me with greater frequency what has changed most about school leadership over the more than two decades I have been a head and over the more than three decades I have been a senior administrator. The answer is quite straightforward: these institutions are vastly more complicated enterprises than early in my career.

Many examples illustrate my point, but one of the best involves email. I honestly have a hard time recalling how I did my job before email. I do remember that the voice message indicator was always lit up on my phone in the old days, and very rarely is that so now. Somehow, calling has always been a bit more difficult than emailing, and so today the sheer volume of email is nearly overwhelming. I spend multiple hours every day responding to and composing it. Has email helped my job? I suppose it has in some ways, particularly in the efficiency and immediacy of communication. But how much less time do I actually spend making eye contact and really getting to know people? At my core, I still believe in the fundamental efficacy of management by walking around and having an accessible and open office door. I am not a Luddite and I accept advancing technology as both helpful in many ways and inevitable. And yet, I harbor no doubt that technology, and email specifically, has not simplified my professional life.

My observation of the student experience at Nobles reveals the power of the same influences. When I had peer difficulties in middle and high school, I mostly left them behind when I departed the campus. I heavily utilized the phone outside of school hours, but those conversations were limited and binary. Today, through electronic means, many, if not most, teenagers never escape the social whirl. Those conversations come home and carry over oftentimes right up to sleep, interfering with family relationships and schoolwork. Moreover, such digital discussions and exchanges, through whatever media, can be infinitely and instantaneously shared. Having grown up in this environment, our kids really do not know another way. Yet I am more often than not struck by how technology has escalated the stress and pressures of their existences even as it has provided new and enticing forms of exchange, entertainment and access to information.

I remember the decision my wife, Ross, and I made to allow our three sons to have cell phones at some point during their middle school years. I can tell you honestly that what drove that relenting (and expensive) moment was our own self-interest – for them to have mobile access was more convenient for us as parents, keeping track of their movements and plans and our family agendas. There is nothing wrong with that and my guess is that most Nobles parents arrive at the same decision in a similar manner. Yet, I have to say, at that very moment we gave in, we gave something up, and along with the convenient communication we gained, we irretrievably shifted family dynamics and modes of interaction in the direction of digital communication. Today, perhaps like many of you, I fully concede that if I want my progeny’s attention, I need to text.

There is no simple answer to these circumstances. Banning cell phones at the upper school level, for instance, is impractical and unenforceable because students organize their very lives around their devices, and even their assignments and academic world are accessed in significant measure through the phone. What I propose, however, is relatively easy yet requires deliberate effort and attention.

We need to be aware of the escalating complexity of modern life and take the steps we can to resist it. We need to engage personally and directly with the people we care about. We need to insist on as much time as we practically can away from our digital communicators. I take a very basic step with the senior administrators of the school, for example, and require that they not exchange any emails or other digital communications over weekends unless it is an emergency. After all, to do so is just dumping their problems on someone else when convenient as opposed to more respectfully waiting until Monday morning. I encourage all parents to look for the minor means by which we can make our lives a little more analog and thereby less complex – the small things can add up to a big difference. You will be doing a genuine parenting service for your kids, and if you model this in your own behavior, even when they do not seem to recognize or appreciate it you are doing right by them in the long run.

Save the Date: Grandparents' Day

Grandparents Day will be on Friday, Sept. 30 from 9:00 a.m. until 2:35 p.m.

For further information, contact Special Events Coordinator Katherine Minevitz at 781-320-7009 or
Grandparents, please click here to view the day's schedule and/or to RSVP.

Volunteer Opportunity in the Putnam Library

Would you like to volunteer in the Putnam Library at Nobles? We'd love your help with shelving books, staffing the circulation desk or with special projects. No special knowledge is needed--we'll provide training. If you're interested, please contact Emily Tragert at or 781.320.7231.  Thanks!  

"My Teacher, My Friend" by Head of the Upper School Michael Denning

Marlies Stueart is my teacher. I met Frau Stueart in the fall of 1981 when I entered her German I class as a new ninth grader. My memories of my first days with Frau Stueart are clearer than those of most other events of the past 35 years. As my school’s only German instructor, Frau Stueart had to endure my adolescent self five days a week from 1981 to 1985. Her burden was my good fortune.

My vivid recollections of my first year in Frau Stueart’s classroom are due, at least in part, to her imposing countenance. A refugee from a Europe that had been ravaged by World War II, Frau Stueart was serious about her purpose and our work, and she was very intimidating. We were there to learn, and in her classroom, there would be no nonsense. As I would come to appreciate much later, Frau Stueart was never bereft of a sense of humor, but my first impressions of her left me with a pit in my stomach. Certainly, I did not think we were friends.

At the outset of high school, I was immature and not a particularly inspired student; I was not nearly as motivated as most of the students whom I have had the privilege to teach at Nobles. I had always loved reading, and my childhood fascination with 20th-century history had led me to choose to study German instead of other languages. But discipline, determination and respect for the privileged education I was being offered were not yet there, and Frau Stueart seemed to make it her daily mission to point this out to me.

When Frau Stueart assigned homework, she expected it to not only be done, but also done to the best of my abilities (as determined by her, not by me). And when I offered what I considered to be a good effort, she would set a much higher bar and demand that I work harder and get over it. Her entreaties—that I “could do better;” that I was “capable of much more;” that I should take myself and my work “more seriously!”—went to war with my immaturity and insecurities. So in the beginning, she and I agreed to a culture of actions and consequences: when I performed short of her expectations, I would have to deal with not only a lower grade—which I could live with—but also extra time talking with her about my attitude and work—experiences that were excruciatingly uncomfortable. At the end of a couple of years, I had had enough, but, thankfully, Frau Stueart and my parents would have none of my sophistry. Whether I liked it or not, Frau Stueart and I were going to be a team for the duration of my high-school experience.

During my eleventh-grade year, American Field Service, an international-exchange program, came to my school to promote opportunities for students to spend a summer or year living, studying and/or working abroad. As class concluded one day, Frau Stueart pulled me aside to talk with me, suggesting during our conversation that I would be a good candidate for such a program and that she would be willing to recommend me.  To be frank, what I first thought I had heard was Frau Stueart telling me, as she had many times before, that I should do this because it would be good for me. But on this day, that is not what she had offered. What she said was, “Michael, you would be ideal for this program, and I would be happy to recommend you.” Frau Stueart was recommending me? Armed with her encouraging words, I applied and, to my great surprise and delight, was admitted.

During the summer I spent speaking German and working on a farm in Austria, my shaky foundation in my new language solidified. More importantly, the world—and the possibilities it offered—expanded before my eyes as I engaged new cultures, peoples and challenges; I fell in love with learning, in general, and learning about other cultures, in particular, and my confidence as a student soared. And when I returned for my senior year of high school, I began to get to know the student Frau Stueart had always seen in me.

I ended up studying German, history, and political science at college—one at which Frau Stueart knew German professors and helped my parents and me find—and in grad school, spending two years during my undergraduate and graduate studies at German universities. I became passionate about teaching about Europe, international relations and the Holocaust, passions that have grown only stronger with the passage of time. But the love of history, language and culture that Frau Stueart instilled in me—and that we share—was not what compelled me to write to her this summer to ask if we could meet.

At the end of 2016 I turn 50, and, as many of you know, I have a 15-year-old son whom I am trying to support as he begins to make his own way in the world. Moreover, I embark this fall on my 25th year as a teacher, a career that has been more rewarding and gratifying than I can adequately express in these words. Milestones such as these should provoke some moments of reflection, so I should not be surprised, I suppose, by my recent thoughts and emotions. But my feelings of gratitude have been powerful, and at my reunion with Frau Stueart this summer, she granted me the privilege of expressing some of these to her.

With her words of praise and encouragement and her admonitions, invariably high expectations and unwavering commitment, Frau Stueart cared for me more than I could ever have understood at the time. And while difficult to meet—and the source of some frustrating moments—Frau Stueart’s standards of excellence gave meaning to the praise and encouragement she later offered. Indeed, in the absence of her standards, expectations and admonitions, her words of praise and encouragement would have held much less meaning. Frau Stueart believed in me at a time when, like most adolescents, I did not believe in myself, and, as I look back with some wisdom accrued in 35 years, I realize that her teaching—not her friendship— made all the difference. Marlies Stueart is my teacher and, as such, one of the best friends I have ever had.

Foster Gallery Welcomes Artist-in-Residence Colleen Fitzgerald

We are pleased to announce Colleen Fitzgerald as our 2016 Artist-in-Residence! Colleen's show will open the Foster Gallery 2016-17 season. Her show, and over again, will open in Foster Gallery on September 12 and run until October 15. The opening reception will take place September 15 from 5:00-7:00 p.m.

Colleen Fitzgerald is a New England-based visual artist and educator. Her practice incorporates experimental and traditional photography, video, and mixed media. You can find more about Colleen's work by visiting her website.

We look forward to having her here at Nobles!

"Influencing an Adolescent's Core" by Dean of Students Mark Spence

A lot has happened within the country and the world over the last three months. In many ways, it has been a difficult summer. Many issues have been in the spotlight. Whether it be gun control, race, terrorism, political correctness, immigration, human rights, police/community relations, employment or religion; these complex issues have taken their place in the forefront of our lives. These issues are complex. There are arguments on all sides. Moreover, these discussions and arguments are fueled with emotion. You usually stand where you sit.

It can be difficult to see other points of view when you are squarely on one side or the other. I have emerged from the summer asking myself, what have we learned and where are we heading? Tensions are high and if another challenging incident occurs, the same emotions are likely to return to the discussion. Healing takes a long time, especially if the scab continuously rips off. Hopefully, as we move forward we can tackle these issues with clear minds and hearts.

I reflected on the roots of the events of the summer and the elements of those roots. How were these roots developed? Could they have been developed by the surrounding environment? How they were taught? Who influenced them? No matter how you look at it, the incidents that have occurred throughout the summer were caused by people who made decisions. That’s the one element that all of these major incidents have in common. They occurred because a person or a group of people made decisions. These decisions were consciously made regardless of the background of the individuals.

As adults, I feel that one of our most important responsibilities is to positively influence the ethical core of young people. I think that it is one of the main reasons why we, as educators, work in a school. We want to influence kids in positive ways. A faculty member at my alma mater, Middlebury College, once said, “I’ll know that I did good job when my students return as alums 20 years from now and they are somehow contributing to someone’s life (significant other, kids, family/friends, colleagues) in a positive way.”

On a larger scale, we hope to shape people who will beneficially shape and lead our society down a positive path. Grades and results are important and students should strive towards doing well. However, it’s not only about the measureable results. It’s about playing a role in the development a young person’s life. One of our challenges is to help create and formulate a student’s core so that he or she can make decisions stemming from that strong core. That’s on us. Whether you are a parent or a trusted adult in a young adult’s life, you need to stand strong, commit and own this responsibility.

The events of this summer have only enhanced this conviction for me. I hope it has for you. It is something that we need to take seriously. Kids are always watching and listening and they take their cues from us. Yet as mentioned before, it goes deeper than that. An adolescent’s core is still developing and can be influenced. We need to embrace this challenge. It’s not about us. In fact, it’s about them.

We are all excited to have the opportunity to work with your kids this coming year. We all love the summer holidays but coming back to work with such talented kids is something that we eagerly anticipate.   

Save the Date: Nobles Night

Nobles Night*

Please mark your calendar and save the date of Saturday November 5, 2016 for a very special Nobles Night to celebrate Noble and Greenough School’s Sesquicentennial—the 150th Anniversary of the school’s founding—and the 17-year headship of Robert P. Henderson, Jr. ’76.

This festive event will take place on the Nobles campus.

Saturday November 5th
6:30 p.m.

Champagne, beer, wine and hearty hors’doeuvres will be served.

All guests will receive a complimentary copy of the newly released sesquicentennial history of Nobles, In Their Voices, written by former Communications Director and veteran journalist Joyce Eldridge, which captures the dramatic changes—and the longstanding values and virtues—that have characterized Nobles since its founding in 1866, but with special focus on the last fifty years. 

*Please note: This is NOT a student event.

For further information, contact Katherine Minevitz at 781-320-7009 or

"A Healthy Net of Support" by Director of Counseling, Jen Hamilton, Licensed Psychologist

Every time I get asked by a new acquaintance what I do for a living, I feel proud to tell them that I work at Noble and Greenough School. There is usually a follow-up question to find out more about Nobles. What makes it special, or how is it different from other independent schools? I explain that while Nobles is top-notch for academic rigor, we also have an unsurpassed level of student support. No other school that I am aware of works harder to foster nurturing relationships and to support the health and well-being of its students. This combination creates an ideal environment in which students grow and thrive.

An integral part of creating a healthy net of student support is that Nobles has always been ahead of the curve in having a very robust counseling department. Over the past 15 years that I have been at Nobles, the school's leadership has consistently put a great deal of emphasis on backing and enhancing the counseling team. This is because there is an awareness that by being pro-active about creating a foundation of well-being for students, we can give kids the tools to better cope with various stressors instead of simply waiting to react.

Our counseling team is comprised of 3 professionals, and together we have 37 years of experience supporting students and adults at Nobles! In addition to myself (my office is situated in the middle school) and Mary Batty, a trusted counselor in the upper school since 2004, this year we are very pleased to add Dr. Rick Wilson as an upper school counselor.  Rick, who has served masterfully as our psychological consultant since 2006, will expand his hours at Nobles this year to allow him to also work with students. The counselors will continue to work very closely with Mark Spence, who has now moved into the role of Dean of Students. As always, we will also collaborate with teachers and advisors to ensure that they have the tools to address student issues as they arise, since teachers and advisors are often "on the front lines" when needs bubble to the surface.

In an effort to be certain that every student is aware of the support services offered at Nobles, a member of the counseling department will reach out to every class VI, V, and IV student each year for a "get to know you" meeting. All new class II and class III students will also be invited to have a meeting. Over time, this will mean that all Nobles student will have met with one of the counselors at least once during his or her academic career, hopefully reducing any stigma attached to the idea of counseling. During introductory chats, we also aim to gain a baseline understanding of students' study and sleep patterns, how they relax and unwind, and any stressors that we might not have been aware of at first glance. Often during these meetings we'll subtly introduce some rudimentary stress-management concepts such as mindfulness, breathing exercises, and other positive psychology strategies.

To broaden the net of student support even further, any student who is returning to school after a medical leave or after sustaining a concussion will have a counselor reach out to him or her for a meeting, as will all students who are returning to Nobles after a semester or year away from school. 

Throughout the year,  counselors are available to meet with students for any reason at all... we try to keep our doors open whenever not in meetings so that students can feel free to stop by and chat. There are also various groups that students may choose to attend, including family discussion groups, a re-entry group for students returning to Nobles after spending time away during their junior year, mindfulness groups, and various other opportunities for support and connection.

As we always tell students, what is discussed in meetings with members of the counseling department remains confidential unless we have concerns about their mental or physical well-being, in which case we will work together with the student to include parents in the conversation. Because adolescence is a time when students are striving to become more independent from their parents (and a time that they have much more to think about,) it is important for students to have the freedom to come and talk confidentially with someone as they work through whatever issues might be on their minds.

Mary, Rick and I are also available to talk with parents about issues students may be facing, or to offer confidential referrals. We recognize that often  students or families might prefer to connect with a psychologist or psychiatrist outside of Nobles.

Please feel free to contact me if you'd like to discuss the various levels of support at Nobles (or anything else!) I can be reached by email or by phone 781-320-7073. I am very grateful for the privilege of getting to know you and your children!

“Safety First: An EXCEL Global/Immersion Mantra" by Director of the Cabot/Anderson Center for EXCEL Ben Snyder

Whenever I get close to construction sites, I am continually struck by the prominence of the often ubiquitous “safety first” message. On t-shirts and signage the message is clear — above and beyond all else, safety is the primary concern.

The same message applies directly to all Nobles global/immersion experiences, and is our highest priority as we build programs for Nobles students. Given the current global and domestic environments, it is important for parents to know the measures we take to ensure the health and safety of all Nobles travelers.

There are many approaches we take as we prepare, the first being to develop long term  partnerships with trusted schools and nonprofits in areas where the United States government, our risk management partners, and we deem it safe to go. Our partnership approach assures us of having trusted colleagues “on the ground” with whom we have worked for many years (both for logistics and for direct partnership). These relationships guide us in many ways, certainly in our ability to keep everyone safe and healthy.

In addition, we monitor the United States State Department notifications to be aware of their latest recommendations. Nobles has worked for many years with International SOS — a leading medical and travel security services company that provides ongoing “status” updates on all potential risks as well as medical assistance, emergency services, healthcare, evacuation, and repatriation services. According to the International SOS website, they count nearly two-thirds of the Fortune Global 500 companies as clients.  The combination of these resources allows for Nobles not only to be prepared in advance, but also to be able to respond rapidly should any safety related situation arise.

Nobles also provides significant resources to the faculty and staff who lead these opportunities. Every trip has a primary leader who has extensive experience both in leading groups of students and familiarity with our destinations. All leaders and chaperones go through an annual risk-management training that includes everything from review of emergency protocols to basic first aid training to risk prevention through case study exercises. We have built a series of protocols and “on call” resources to be able to respond rapidly to any circumstance, but our focus is always on making sure that we prevent any risky situation from occurring.

As we build itineraries, we work to make sure the experiences of our students provide challenge in a safe and healthy context.  It is also significant that while each Nobles adventure involves a sampling of local sites, for the most part Nobles students are immersed with people and organizations away from the typical tourist scene (which has obvious educational benefits along with risk management benefits). And it goes without saying — although it is important to say — that if we have any reason to believe a Nobles destination is anything other than fully safe, we simply will not go.

Given recent national and global events and dialogue, there can be a natural inclination to “hunker down” at home, yet many argue that there has never been a more important time for young people to engage deeply and meaningfully in the wider world. The breadth of Nobles experiences allows our young people to put themselves out into that world safely in a way that connects them to people and places who will broaden their view of the world and their place in it. With opportunities for the coming year in places as far flung as New Orleans to South Africa, Alabama to Cambodia, Spain to China, we remain committed to putting “safety first” as we head out into the world with our most precious cargo — your kids. 

From PA Co-Chairs Kennie Grogan and Anne Kelley

Welcome, parents, to the 2016-2017 school year!

As this year’s co-chairs of the Nobles Parents’ Association, we are excited for the new school year, and would like to extend a warm welcome to you and your family.

All Nobles parents and guardians are automatically members of the Nobles Parents’ Association (PA). Although the PA has many different roles at Nobles, it is our goal to help all families feel welcome and integral to the everyday functions of our school. One of the best ways you can become connected to the Nobles community is to volunteer your time. No matter the amount, your support of the activities and events going on make the Nobles experience a rewarding one.

We hope you’ll join us as we kick off the school year on Saturday, September 10, at the Nobles Parents’ Association Fall Social, from 6:30-9:00 p.m. in the Castle. This annual tradition is a casual and fun way for new and returning parents to meet one another as well as a great way to reacquaint with old friends after the summer months. Please RSVP by September 7 using the link in the weekly emails you will receive.

The fall at Nobles is bustling with activity. To find out more, please read your respective Parent Class Representatives’ letters in the Class Notes section of this monthly e-newsletter. Also, each week, Upper School parents receive a Friday email from Patricia Aliquo and Middle School parents receive a Wednesday email from Maryanne MacDonald with news and reminders for the week.

Please take a moment to log onto the “Parents” portion of the “Nobles Community” tab on the right side of the Nobles Website. Select the “Volunteer at Nobles” link in the left navigation pane. On the “Volunteer at Nobles” page, you can browse through numerous opportunities that include class-specific as well as school-wide events. Once you have selected the function you would like to volunteer for, the committee chairs will be in touch with further details.

The Nobles website is the center of all news in the busy Nobles community. Please make it a habit to check it for afternoon program announcements, athletic schedules and calendar updates. Be sure to log in so you can see all aspects of the website, not just the public pages. If you have any problems, please contact ISS via email at

Finally, as you plan your fall schedule, please save these dates on your calendar:

Thursday, Sept. 15
Parents’ Association Meeting, 8:00 a.m.
Please join us for our first PA meeting of the year. Have a cup of coffee and listen to Bob Henderson speak about the upcoming year. Come learn about the PA’s many planned activities for this year and meet the Class Reps and Committee Chairs that make up our dedicated PA board.

Thursday, September 22
Back to School Night, 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
This night gives you the opportunity to meet teachers and experience your child’s day in an abbreviated form.

Friday, September 30
Grandparents Day 
This is a wonderful day that connects all ages and generations. Many volunteers are needed, so please consider joining the ranks to host our special guests. Sign up using the “Volunteer at Nobles” link on the website.

With warmest regards,

Parents’ Association Co-Chairs,
Anne Kelley and Kennie Grogan

Class IV Parent Reps

Dear Class IV Parents and Guardians,

Welcome to Class IV (freshman year, ninth grade) at Nobles! We would like to extend a warm welcome to all of the new families joining this wonderful community, and to say welcome back to all of the returning families. This year, the move to the Upper School and the start of high school represents a new experience for all of our children.
We hope to meet you personally this fall, however please feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions or concerns. The first few weeks can be overwhelming, especially for new Nobles parents and students, with many events and things to remember.

We are very excited about our roles as Class IV Representatives, and are looking forward to getting to know you and to working with you throughout the year. Here is a snapshot of Class IV:
• 116 students
• 62 boys, 54 girls
• Class comes from 43 cities and towns

Part of our job as class reps is to ensure that parents get to know one another. This can be accomplished in a number of ways: attending Parents' Association (PA) meetings; parent coffees and socials; volunteering for a number of different activities and attending any of the numerous school events (art openings, theatrical performances, musical concerts, athletic games, etc.).

We highly recommend attending the first (and only) Nobles all-school Parent Social, September 10, 6:30 p.m. to 9:30p.m. This is a wonderful party and a terrific way to meet other parents.

Volunteer opportunities can be found on the Nobles website, under the parent portal, on the left side. Please feel free to contact us any time during the year with ideas, suggestions and questions—or just to chat.

A few dates/events to remember:

Tuesday, Sept. 6: Retreat Day for Class IV 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 7: First day of classes. Students should bring their books to school.

Saturday, Sept. 10: Nobles All-School Parent Social (6:30 p.m.-9:00 p.m.). This fun event is complimentary and dress is casual. (You will receive an email with a link to RSVP online.) This is a great opportunity to meet new parents and catch up with old friends.

Thursday, Sept. 15: First Parents Association Meeting 8:00 a.m.-9:30 a.m.  Headmaster Bob Henderson will be the speaker.  This is always an informative meeting.

Tuesday, Sept. 20: Class IV Fall Coffee: A wonderful way to make connections within the class. Class coffees meet in the Castle, after morning drop-off (8:00 a.m.-9:30 a.m.).

Thursday , Sept. 22: Back-to-School Night:  This is your big chance to sit in on all of your student’s classes and to meet the teachers as well as his/her advisor.  BTS night is a great way to learn your way around campus, to put faces to the names of your child's teachers, and to visit with other parents. No homework will be assigned to you, we promise!

Friday, Sept. 30: Grandparents Day: Additional information will be forthcoming.
Wednesday, Oct. 12: Yom Kippur. School is closed.

Thursday, Oct. 13: Class IV Fall Parent Social. Come join other Class IV parents as we mingle and get to know each other in an informal setting in the Castle.  An invitation will be emailed to you soon. 

Monday,  Oct. 24: Comment Writing Day. No school.

Thank you in advance for your support and participation; we look forward to meeting you in the next few weeks.

Catherine Walkey and Deanna DiNovi 

Middle School Parent Reps

Welcome to the Nobles community and the 2016 – 2017 academic year! 

One of our primary responsibilities as Middle School parent representatives is to keep you informed of the important events happening in the Middle School, as well as schoolwide events, through the Nobles Parents’ Association newsletter. You will receive this newsletter via email at the start of each month, and it can also be accessed on the school website. What follows is a list of key dates that you might consider noting in your calendar now.

Key Events for September & October 2016

Tuesday and Wednesday, September 6 and 7: Class VI and Class V Retreat Days (7:40 a.m.-3:30 p.m.). Dismissal is at Pratt Middle School. Dress is casual. Students should bring their textbooks to school on September 7.

Thursday, September 8: First Day of School. Dress code will be in effect on this day.  Afternoon programs will be in effect on this day. Please refer to the Nobles practice schedule for dismissal times. (

Saturday, September 10: Parent Association Fall Social from 6:30-9:00 p.m. in the Castle. This is a schoolwide event, and it is the perfect way to meet new parents and catch up with old friends over cocktails and hors d’oeuvres in a fun, casual, and parents-only environment.

Thursday, September 15: First Parent Association Meeting, 8:00 a.m. in the Castle. This is a school wide, i.e. middle and upper school, parent meeting. All parents are welcome.

Thursday, September 22: Back-to-School Night, 6:00-9:30 p.m. All parents are invited to Nobles for an evening of classes and the opportunity to meet your child(ren)'s teachers, advisors and coaches. If at all possible, make this event your top priority.

Friday, September 30: Grandparents’ Day. There are plenty of parent volunteer opportunities over the course of this fun day. (More information to follow.)

Wednesday, October 5: Middle School Coffee at 8:00 a.m. in the Castle. Please join us for a conversation with Middle School Dean John Gifford, who will talk about life in the Middle School and answer some of your questions.

Monday, October 10: Columbus Day – school closed.

Wednesday, October 12: Yom Kippur – school closed.

Monday, October 17: Second Parent Association Meeting, 8:00 a.m. in the Castle. All parents are welcome.

Tuesday, October 18: Middle School Parent Event & Social at 6:30 p.m. Please come and enjoy some hearty hors d’oeuvres and mingling before we all gather to listen to Dr. Jenny Berz talk to us about childhood and adolescent development. Here is a brief bio and her website.

Monday, October 24: Teacher Comment Writing Day – no classes.

Please keep in mind that volunteering at Nobles is a wonderful way to quickly become immersed in the community.  You will meet other parents, begin to develop a sense of the outstanding teaching community, and become acquainted with your child’s classmates and friends. Log on to the Nobles website and please take a look at the available volunteer opportunities. Additionally, we will highlight those opportunities in the weekly MS emails from Maryanne MacDonald and these monthly school wide newsletters.

We look forward to reconnecting with returning parents and getting to know all the new families.  Please do not hesitate to contact us should you have any questions or concerns about anything parent-related at Nobles. 

Thank you,

Class V Reps
Kate Saunders,
Kristin Welo,

Class VI Reps
Melissa Janfaza,
Sarina Katz,

Class I Parent Reps

Class I...

As we enjoy the last few days of summer and prepare for the school year ahead, we wanted to welcome everyone to Senior Year!  As your Class I PA Reps, we'd love to see everyone get involved and volunteer for all the great Senior events throughout the year. We'll be using SignUpGenius links in subsequent weekly emails to let you know about upcoming volunteer opportunities.

Class I Events for your calendars:

Tuesday, September 6, 7:30-8:00 a.m., "The Beach"
Grab-and-Go Breakfast for Class I students before they board the retreat bus. We've got food, they bring water bottles.

Thursday, September 8, 7:00-8:30 p.m., Towles Auditorium
College Process Nuts and Bolts for Class I Parents/Guardians

Tuesday, September 27, 8:00 a.m., Castle Library
Class I Parent Fall Coffee (As special guests, we've invited our Class I Deans, Mike Kalin and Kim Libby to stop in and say hello.

Friday, October 14
Class I Parent Social

Friday, October 28
Halloween Surprise Lunch*

Tuesday, November 15, 5:00-7:30 p.m.
Fall Transitions

Friday, January 13, 8:00 a.m., Castle Library
Class I Parent Winter Coffee

Tuesday, February 14
Valentine’s Day Surprise Lunch*

Monday, March 27, 5:00-7:30 p.m.
Senior Transitions

Thursday, April 27
Spring Surprise Lunch*

Friday, May 5
Class I Parent Spring Social

Tuesday, May 30
Class I Celebration “The Way We Were”*

Tuesday, May 30
Class I Project Night

Wednesday, May 31
Class I Night

Thursday, June 1 
Awards Night

Friday, June 2

Friday, June 2
Graduation Party (parent-sponsored event)

*Volunteer help appreciated

If you have any questions or suggestions now or along the way, please let us know. We are looking forward to a great year, and to seeing all of you. We’ll see you on campus soon!

Sherri Athanasia (
Rikki Conley (
Sarah Keating (

Class I Dean's Report

Welcome back! We hope you and your family had a fantastic summer. We’re excited about the beginning of the new school year and are especially looking forward to working with the wonderful class of 2017. This class is special in so many ways, and we’re honored to serve as the Class I deans.

Both of us had enjoyable and fulfilling summers. After spending time in Montréal with a group of Nobles musicians, Kim joined the Upward Bound faculty as a writing instructor and capped off the summer with a conference on integrating mindfulness in the classroom.

In addition to visiting his family back in Iowa, Mike participated in a variety of professional development workshops, including a conference in New Orleans about evolving educational technologies and innovative teaching practices.

We came back from our summers rejuvenated and ready to support all of our Class I students. The class will play an integral role in setting a positive tone both inside and outside of the classroom, and we’ll work closely with the students as they navigate their many responsibilities.
On September 6th, we will help students kick-off their senior year at the annual retreat held at Camp Bournedale.  Every year the goal of the retreat is to give students time to reconnect with their classmates after the summer, enjoy time with each other, and help them think about their goals for the upcoming school year.  Students will engage in a program focused around the theme of “Telling Our Stories.”  By sharing their stories, we believe that students learn more about one another and, as a result, build stronger relationships and become even better leaders.  The college office will give a presentation of the “Nuts and Bolts of the College Application Process.” While students will likely be tired by the end of the long day, we are confident that students will be prepared and committed to the expectations that we set forth over the summer.

The beginning of every school year is a time of excitement, change, and inevitably some anxiety.  In just a few short days, students will have a fresh schedule, a line up of different teachers with high expectations, a new assembly seat, and challenging leadership roles to assume. We recognize that the first semester can be a stressful time, and we want to reiterate to you that we’ll support your student to the best of our abilities. As one way to support the class, we’ve planned a few evenings as part of our Transitions program that will help equip students with information about making the most of their passage from Nobles to their respective college or university. You’ll hear more about these evenings over the next couple of months. If you ever have any questions or concerns about your son or daughter, please contact us, the college counseling office, or the student life team, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

We would like to express our immense gratitude to the Class I Parent Representatives: Sherri Athanasia, Rikki Conley, and Sarah Keating, who have already provided a great deal of support in our efforts to make the 2016-17 school year a successful one. They will be in touch with you soon about upcoming events.
Finally, we hope to see you at Back to School Night on Thursday, September 22 at 6:00 p.m. Thank you in advance for entrusting us with your son or daughter. It will be a genuine pleasure to work with such a kind, considerate, and talented group of young men and women!


Mike Kalin and Kim Libby


Class II Parent Reps

Dear Class II Parents,

It’s hard to believe that junior year is upon us! We hope you have had a fun and relaxing summer break.  Although this year is bound to be busy and sometimes stressful for both students and parents, we hope to keep you informed of all the upcoming important events. 

As you plan for the fall, please put the following dates on your calendar:

Class II Orientation Evening: Thursday, September 1, 6:00-7:30 p.m. (Performing Arts Lobby)
Welcome to Nobles new Class II Students! Please join your class deans and Student Life Council representatives for an orientation meeting and BBQ dinner. 

Class II Parent Coffee: Monday, September 19, 8:00 a.m. (Castle)
Please join us to reconnect with fellow parents and hear about our plans for the year.   We will have sign-up sheets for some Class II volunteer opportunities.

Class II Parent Fall Social: Friday, November 18 (Castle), 6:30-9:30 p.m. - Join fellow Class II parents for an evening of cocktails, dinner and conversation.  Look for an invitation and more details in October.

We look forward to seeing many of you back on campus in the upcoming weeks.  If you have any questions, ideas, or suggestions please feel free to e-mail either of us.

Your Class II Parent Reps,
Gretchen Filoon,, (c) 617-470-4125
Jessica Patterson, (c) 781-733-0692

Class III Parent Reps

Dear Class III Parents:

We hope you have had a wonderful and relaxing summer and that you are anticipating, as we are, a busy and exciting fall. We are pleased to serve as your Class III Parent Representatives and are looking forward to working with all of you to make this a great year for our sophomores.

Our role is to hopefully be a conduit of information from the school to your home regarding important dates and announcements. We’ll also try to continue to build our class community by scheduling a number of parent social opportunities throughout the year. It is also a good idea to bookmark the Nobles website and check the calendar. Be sure to keep an eye out for the Friday weekly updates as well.

Our class has four new students joining us this year and we hope you will welcome these families to Nobles. Whether you are new to Nobles this year, still feel new, or have been at the school for years, we invite you to attend this year’s Class III events. Below we have highlighted just a few of the important Class III dates for the first part of the year. As always, the Nobles website,, is a great resource for the entire school calendar. Many of these events are supported by parent volunteers. Volunteering is a great way to get involved and connect with other families and there is an opportunity for everyone however you choose to engage. For those who would like to volunteer, we will have sign-up sheets at Back to School Night, at our first parent coffee and via email using Sign Up Genius.

Class III Orientation Retreat: September 6, 9:00 am – 9:15 am arrival, Shattuck Schoolhouse
Class Bonding event is a Blue Hills Reservation hike – bag lunch is provided but must bring a snack and backpack; pickup 3:45 p.m. – 4:15 p.m. at Shattuck Schoolhouse; see the summer mailer for other important details.

First Day of Upper School Classes: September 7, 8:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Fall Parents Association Social: September 10, 6:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m., the Castle
Entire Nobles parent community social event; RSVP via the calendar on the Nobles website by September 7.

Parents Association Meeting, September 15, 8:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m., the Castle
First PA meeting of the year.

Back to School Evening: September 22, 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Preview your student’s classes while also meeting their teachers and advisor.

Class III Parents Coffee: September 29, 8:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m., the Castle
An informal, drop-in opportunity to see other Class III parents.

Grandparents Day: September 30, 9:00 a.m. – 2:35 p.m.
More information in the Nobles mailer.

Columbus Day, October 10
School is closed.

Yom Kippur, October 12
School is closed.

Class III Parent Fall Social: October 20, 7:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m., the Castle
This is a great opportunity to meet new Class III parents and catch up with old friends.

Class III Head of School Dinner Dance: March 4, 6:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m., the Castle
This is an event hosted by Bob Henderson and is specifically for Class III students.

We hope to meet you personally this fall at our various school events, but in the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact either of us at any time with questions. We look forward to a great year together!

Susie Winstanley (Allie Winstanley’s mom)

Heather Markey (Will Zink’s mom)

10 Campus Drive,
Dedham, Massachusetts
tel: 781.326.3700
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If you have questions, comments or suggestions for this newsletter, email Kim Neal at