Nobles Parents' E-Newsletter

November 2016

Nobles Parents' Newsletter November 2016

Nobles Night this Saturday

It's not too late to RSVP to Nobles Night! 

Please join us for a festive evening to celebrate the school's sesquicentennial and Bob Henderson's 17-year headship. 

Saturday, November 5 at 6:30 p.m.

Beer, wine, champagne and hearty hors d'oeuvres
Guests welcome

Please note: this is NOT a student event and is for adults only

Traffic note: The Highland Ave Bridge in Needham, at Exit 19 on Route 95/128 will be demolished this weekend and may cause some delays. All of the information about the project, including detailed detour maps can be found here

To RSVP, visit or contact Katherine Minevitz at 781.320.7009 or

"The Times Change, Yet in Critical Ways, They Remain the Same" by Head of School Bob Henderson

Bob Dylan just won the Nobel Prize for Literature. The anti-establishment folk musician who had a hit in 1964 with the song “The Times, They Are A-Changin’” is now, over a half century later, receiving one of the ultimate recognitions of establishment honor (although, in his anti-establishment way, it seems Dylan may not show up to receive it). I am not sharing this observation based upon the merits of the award, but rather as an entry point to consideration of the nature of change. Trends and ideas synthesize over time, the illegitimate becomes legitimate and, as former Nobles board president Fred Clifford ’54 was fond of saying, “good begets good.” The only thing one can promise is that change is inevitable.

The other day I was standing with some students in the front lobby of the school looking at the renderings of the new Academic Inquiry Center soon to be built in the center of the campus. We were all admiring the plans and possibilities. Then one of the students, a senior who will be leaving the community this June, erupted that she “rather resented” the fact that her class was “not going to get that space.” There was humor in her voice, but the comment also betrayed a bit of genuine envy. I responded that when I was first a student at Nobles in 1973, the existing Putnam Library had not yet been built, and indeed there was no Arts Center, Castle addition, Baker Science Building, Pratt Middle School, Morrison Athletic Center, Lawrence Auditorium, Bliss Omni, nor even the building we were standing in at that moment. There was also nothing like the program and opportunities that students enjoy now at the school. All these things happened in incremental bursts, but the cumulative effect has been dramatic. Change is inherent to the nature of successful institutions, looking to improve and adapt in response to the times, pursuing visions of how to be the best at what they do, and seizing opportunities as they arise.

The other evening I was talking with some seniors and the subject of change in personnel came up. They actually asked me if I would be at their reunions in the future. I said yes, barring some unexpected intervention that prevents my attendance. Their query, however, said far more about the connections and positive experiences students have here with adult mentors than about the pending shift in headship. Personnel changes happen relatively infrequently at Nobles; this is a faculty with long, loyal and wonderful tenure. When people do leave, it can undermine students’ sense of connection to this place more than shifts in architecture and curriculum.

The simple fact of the matter is, however, that the student population turns over quickly at Nobles. Over 20% of the students are new every year, replacing a graduating senior class. Within three years, the great majority has no memory or experience of the school before their arrival. I recall vividly my own feelings about Headmaster Elliot Putnam when I was a student here in the early 1970’s; Mr. Putnam had retired in 1971, and yet I felt like his “era” at the school was ancient history. Teenagers adapt quickly to the reality of the moment in which they are living. Tradition to most students, and I’m not saying this facetiously, often simply means that it happened last year. So students, in that respect, are one of the most critical engines of change, putting their own creative imprint and generational stamp on the school, building new bonds with new members of the staff.

When I ask the senior prefects, as I do every year, “what should never change about Nobles?” I get a fascinating response. Invariably, year after year, whether a shift in headship is imminent or not, they say three elements need to remain immutable. The first thing they offer is “tradition,” but they are using that term with a long view of what really matters to them. By tradition they mean things such as lunch in the Castle, the blue blazers, white pants and white dresses at graduation, the rituals of morning assembly, and the intensity of athletic competition against Milton. Such elements of the culture and experience here are immensely powerful and important, and in fact merge with identity over a student’s years in the community.

The second unchangeable they offer is morning assembly itself. While recognizing that specific elements of it may change and have changed considerably over the years (as is true with graduation), they believe that the commitment to start the day as one community, to share stories and reinforce values, to be merged into something aspirational, fundamentally decent and purposeful, often amusing and entertaining, and driven by a mission in the world, should never be abandoned. They know it has shaped and transformed them into better people, and they hope the same for those who follow.

And, finally, they make reference to the fundamental joy of this place. By that they do not mean that every minute of every day is joyful. Students well respect the rigor and high expectations here, and adolescence is a complicated and sometimes discouraging process. Yet they know that the demands here are accompanied by support, kindness and love. Indeed, part of the school mission even asserts that humor is a critical foundation for a vibrant intellectual life. I believe the central joy of the Nobles experience is readily visible every time you walk the hallways, attend an arts presentation or event, stand on a sideline, or visit morning assembly. It matters to our graduating seniors that preservation of that culture will remain a priority, as a critical prelude to the construction of a joyful life.

In this community, good has begotten good, and over the decades changes have had a manifestly beneficial accumulated impact. I loved my Nobles experience forty years ago, but I believe this is a profoundly better school today. I have no doubt that future heads and boards of trustees, working with a brilliant and dedicated faculty, will continue to place at the center of their deliberations about next steps and new directions the delicate balance between preservation of the soul of this place with enhancement of the quality of the experience. In that sense, Nobles will not change at all.

"Obligations of Citizenship" by Upper School Head Michael Denning and Associate Director of Academic Support Sara Masucci

A word after a word after a word is power. - Margaret Atwood

What are we, as citizens, parents and educators, to do in an age of unprecedented incivility?

We are privileged to teach history at Nobles because we believe in its mission to promote “leadership for the public good” and because we want to inspire our students to care for their communities and believe they can “create a more perfect union.” While remaining faithful to the timeless democratic principle that reasonable, ethical people can, will and should respectfully disagree, we champion the search for historical truths because of the ways in which history can powerfully inform a person’s view of our country’s greatness and potential, as well as its challenges.

Our historical analyses and analogies, and those of our students, will sometimes be flawed, but we see wisdom in American philosopher Jorge Agustín Nicolás Ruiz de Santayana y Borrás’ cautionary aphorism: “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Most importantly, we teach history to shine a light on the responsibilities we all bear, as members of a free society, to protect and care for each other.

Our republic’s founders were deeply concerned with preventing tyranny. Embedded in the Constitution were safeguards against the formation of a European-style absolutist regime, one which would deprive individuals of their “inalienable rights” as free people. But with so much freedom, who was to protect individuals—particularly those unfairly burdened by a historical legacy of discrimination and oppression—from others more powerful or numerous? This has been a difficult question to answer and problem to solve, one that remains a profound concern in spite of over 225 years of legal decisions, a civil war, civil-rights legislation, federal enforcement of human rights, new and different schools, and amendments to The Constitution, particularly the 13th, 14th, 15th and 19th. Whether we like it or not, no government agency in a free society can eradicate violence, sexual assault, corruption, oppression and discrimination. Government agencies must do all that they can, but so, too, must citizens—in their personal and professional endeavors, in their communities, in their schools. In the words of one of the great observers of American democracy, the 19th century political philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville: “The health of a democratic society may be measured by the quality of functions performed by private citizens.”

This election has seen candidates and their advisors who:  

  • Condone corruption;
  • Would use national and local security as a rationale for limiting the rights, privileges, and opportunities of members of particular religious, racial, national and/or ethnic groups;
  • Demean and belittle others not only for what they say or do but also because of who they are;
  • Practice dishonesty;
  • Threaten to jail their political opponents;
  • Implicitly and/or explicitly condone gender discrimination and sexual assault.

Alas, while they might have a more modern veneer, these tactics and behaviors are as old as they are dangerous. Indeed, one need only look at the histories of Europe and the United States in the 20th century to find examples of politicians who pointed to scapegoats and threats, and used discriminatory language to garner supporters and votes.

We acknowledge that teachers who speak out about politicians during an election campaign, even at its very end, run the risk of appearing partisan. But are we simply to remain silent while others teach our children that misogyny, bigotry, assault, dishonesty, and corruption are acceptable attitudes and behaviors? If we believe, as we do, that our children are watching, listening to, and learning from us, then the assertions that politics are just politics and words are just words are not responsible positions for us, as teachers, parents, guardians and role models, to take. Elections matter not only because of their results, but also because of the ways in which they teach our children who we are. History has demonstrated that there is little to no safety in a world in which words have no meaning and in which political leaders are not held accountable for what they say and promote.

We cherish the privilege we have to teach history at Nobles and the values for which our community stands. Inasmuch as our school is dedicated to preparing students for the most rigorous undergraduate programs, this goal is superseded by a commitment to helping adolescents become people of character, leaders who embrace the idea that ethical principles—honesty and respect for self and respect for others—form the bedrock of just, safe, vibrant, strong, and supportive communities. And when politicians will not stand for these principles (or, at times, stand against them), then, as Tocqueville entreats us, it is “private citizens”—teachers, community leaders, and parents— who must do so in their place. This election will end on November 8 (we hope), but the incivility and unethical behaviors that threaten our republic will not. So, regardless of which side of the political fence you may stand upon, please join us. Talk with your children, as we will continue to do with ours, about the obligations of citizenship and the primacy of ethics and community principles. Their safety, liberty, and futures—and those of their neighbors—demand it.

Fall Dance Concert

The Fall Dance Concert will showcase faculty and student choreography. Students from Classes VI-I are a part of the hour-long show. No tickets required. Come one, come all to this high energy, entertaining evening celebrating the body in motion! 

Thursday, November 10 and Friday, November 11 at 6:30 p.m. in Vinik Theatre. 

"Co-Education and the Nobles Mission" by Director of Admission Brooke Asnis '90

Greetings from the Admission Office. This fall, our admission staff members are attending 25 school fairs, visiting dozens of individual schools and serving on numerous panels to talk to prospective families about applying to independent secondary schools (and specifically Nobles). We host an average of 45-50 families per week for tours and interviews. On October 15, we welcomed nearly 1,000 people to our Fall Open House. As admission professionals, we are grateful for the opportunity to represent Nobles and to interact daily with enthusiastic prospective families.

Although we are fortunate that many families are exploring Nobles as an option, we are also aware that we are situated in the heart of a competitive secondary school landscape. We work to market the differentiators that set Nobles apart among the many excellent school options in the Boston area. We focus our marketing efforts on the school’s mission and the ways in which it is expressed and executed in our curriculum, programs and culture. We talk deliberately, for example, about assembly and the Afternoon Program as spaces where community building and leadership development occur. We also continuously emphasize diversity fully expressed as an essential quality of our mission and community. With this commitment to a diverse school community in mind, we wrote the following statement on co-education this fall:

At Noble and Greenough School, our excitement about learning and our commitment to students translate to extraordinary intellectual and personal growth in young people. Academics at Nobles are challenging—yet our community balances high expectations with joy in the classroom, on the playing fields and on stage. Always, the Nobles experience is anchored in authentic relationships between students and faculty. From college counselors to coaches to academic advisors and others, students are surrounded by adults who know them well—and care about their health and success. Nobles also believes deeply in service and in community, broadly defined. EXCEL, our experiential learning program, is one avenue through which we support our mission to inspire leadership for the public good.

Our diverse, coeducational community is also at the heart of our mission. At Nobles, students learn from one another and learn to work together with people of different backgrounds and life experiences. Coeducation is central to our educational philosophy; we believe that optimal learning occurs when school life mirrors the complexity of our society. Our curriculum and programs demand that students engage in open discourse, consider disparate viewpoints and grapple with some of the more difficult topics facing our ever-changing world. Our school community provides students with the academic and interpersonal skills to be effective leaders who make a positive impact on the global community after graduation.
This statement is displayed prominently in the Admission Office along with some quotes from current Nobles seniors about why coeducation matters to them. We are having interesting conversations about the value of coeducation every day with visiting families. We hope that you will also talk about the school’s diverse, coeducational community as a hallmark of Nobles in your conversations with potential future Nobles families. Thank you for your support of our efforts.

Grandparents Day 2016 Portrait Information

Portraits will be available online October 14, 2016 through February 6, 2017 to view and purchase at

Username: noblesgp16        
Password: 22507-93016

Enter your email address, then under “GUESTS,” click: “VIEW PHOTOS”

Please note that photos will be sorted online by the location where the portrait was taken and by the time it was taken.

Please contact Colleen Penkala in the Nobles Development Office with any questions at 781.320.7004 or

"This Week’s Top Picks: Top 5 School Skills Students Can Learn From Playing Fantasy Football" by Director of Academic Support Gia Batty

This month, I teamed up with science teacher Michael Hoe, our resident brain expert (and fantasy football guru), to examine how we can translate all of the cognitive skills that our kids are using to play fantasy football into actual school skills. Yes, I’m seriously writing about this. 

The bottom line is that if your kids are playing fantasy football, they are practicing and refining some of the key skills required to be successful in school.

First, in case you are not one of the 40 million Americans who play this game, fantasy football is a game in which you “draft” a virtual team of professional football players and, each week, their real world stats earn points for your team. Throughout the season, you must evaluate your team and predict which starting lineup will earn you the most points on game day. Fantasy football is played within a league—usually with friends and family, but sometimes online with people you don’t know. Each week (in most leagues), you compete head-to-head against one person in your league for the most earned points.

In other words, to excel at fantasy football, you need to research, reflect, organize, strategize, predict and take risks. I’ve watched my kids and my students play this game for years, and I’m more convinced than ever that playing fantasy football may actually be good for them.

Top Five School Skills Kids Can Learn From Playing Fantasy Football

1. Executive Functions
Some of the skills included in this set are planning and prioritizing, cognitive flexibility (the ability to adjust thinking or attention in response to changing information), working memory (the ability to hold information in mind and mentally manipulate information), task initiation, and organization. At Nobles, students must constantly apply these skills throughout the day as they move from class to class—taking notes, taking tests, learning new information, planning for projects and homework—and at night as they work through their assignments, study, and complete larger projects.

In fantasy football, the major weekly task is “setting the lineup,” which is an exercise in executive function, much the way school itself is. The lineup is based on many factors—who is playing, who is injured, who they are playing with, who they are playing against, and even where they are playing. It must be decided which players on the roster will start and which will sit for each game in a given week. Setting the lineup involves task initiation (the lineup must be set before games begin), planning and prioritizing which players will start for each game, working memory (“holding” data about past performance and player health while considering who to start in a given week) and cognitive flexibility as information about players and teams are constantly changing. If this task doesn’t give kids much needed practice in executive functioning, I don’t know what does.

2. Time Management
The lineup must be set before kickoff of each game, but in order to do that you’ll need to review last week’s performances and the injury list and the projections that the experts are making that week. Changes can’t be made after kickoff, so careful planning and decision making is necessary. This is time management and working memory wrapped into one!

The same is true at Nobles. Students have to exercise time management skills on a daily basis—their homework is due in class the next day, they have a certain amount of time to complete a test or quiz, and they need to manage the long-term projects that are assigned days or weeks ahead of time. Just like fantasy football, time management at Nobles involves careful short term and long term planning,

3. Test Prep
Here are some of the things a student has to do to prepare for a unit test at Nobles: organize notes and identify key concepts into a study guide, consult the textbook and other documents, memorize key vocab, be able to answer essential questions from the unit, determine study strategies based on the format of the test, review old tests, potentially find time to meet with their teacher, and complete practice tests.

We can think of preparing for a fantasy football matchup in the same way. Kids have to research and review the data, make predictions and evaluate areas of need, and make adjustments and fill in the gaps on their roster. Then, on game day, just like on test day, kids can see if their preparation and strategizing has paid off. At times there may be an element of luck or chance involved; if they didn’t win, they must reset, try to learn from their mistakes, make some adjustments and try again next week.

4. Research Skills
Believe it or not, there is a lot of reading involved in the playing of fantasy football. An incredible amount of data has to be scanned, sorted, and synthesized each week. Kids need to consult a variety of “texts”—on their phone, on their laptop, in magazines, even on television—and, as they gain new knowledge from these sources, they have to add that to the body of research they’ve accumulated over the course of the season (and even prior seasons) of play.

This sort of self-guided research is another academic skill that Nobles students must use in order to be successful. We ask them to consume a large amount of information and ultimately make decisions about which details are important and which aren’t. As they learn about new topics, they must manage and sort the details and then access and add to their prior knowledge.

5. Risk Taking
Playing fantasy football requires some level of risk taking each week. After researching their players for the week, they can try to predict who will score the most points for them, but there’s no way of knowing for sure. To play fantasy football is to continuously work and rework “what if” scenarios for the team. It is an exercise in calculated risk-taking.

In school, students are asked to take risks when they raise their hand in class, when they write a response paper in English or answer an open ended question in Algebra II or Physics. They take risks in how and what they study for a test. If it doesn’t go well, they must review their study guide (the roster!) and try something different next time.

Believe it or not, we could go on. We could argue that playing fantasy football also teaches grit, empathy, reflection, patience and leadership. And don’t get us started on the math. Yes, they’re even doing math, too!

"New Works" by Bob Freeman

From November 4 through December 18, former longtime artist-in-residence, mentor and Nobles parent Robert Freeman will display his exhibition New Works at Adelson Galleries in Boston’s South End. New Works explores and celebrates the complexities and grace of the black middle class.

This will be his first solo exhibition in the Boston area in 10 years. The opening takes place Friday, November 4.

Read more about the show.

Robert Freeman Party Lines

"A Parent Guide to Service at Nobles: Not just getting it done, but finding meaningful opportunities" by Director of EXCEL Ben Snyder

At a recent meeting of local independent school leaders I discovered, much to my surprise, that Nobles was the standard bearer in terms of having a significant service requirement. “It isn’t really genuine ‘service’ if it’s required” said one administrator at another school. Someone else shared that their school “encouraged” students to become involved and that “many” did. I walked away simultaneously dismayed by the lack of commitment from peer schools yet proud of the long standing “culture of service” at Nobles and its direct connection to fulfilling our mission of “leadership for the public good.”

John F. Kennedy’s observation "For those to whom much is given, much is required" (or expected) has biblical roots which reflect the timelessness of the expectation that individuals have commitments to one another;  those blessed with opportunity are obligated to behave in ways that benefit the common good.  Beyond that philosophical foundation lies the pragmatic consideration that if we believe something is critical to the development of a young person’s intellect and character, we must require it — not simply make it an optional activity.

At Nobles, our goal is for every student to find an opportunity to serve in a way that has meaning for her or him and that fulfills a broader community need.

So what is the requirement — and how do Noble students fulfill it?

Every upper school student is required to perform, document, and reflect upon 80 hours of service prior to graduation. Most students fulfill their requirement (and more than two thirds of the Class of 2016 exceeded the requirement) through Nobles EXCEL program offerings including:

  • Afternoon program community service (available every season for all upper school students)
  • Travel programs — Nobles service trips generally include up to 40 hours of service.
  • Other programs such as tutoring for Achieve, participating in the Empty Bowls program, working at the Stamp Out Hunger drive, Ride for Food event or with Sunday sled hockey

A handful of students  fulfill their requirement by documenting service with outside organizations, especially those with which the student or family has prior relationships. To pursue such “independent” service (in the summer, on weekends or during vacations) students must have their service approved by the EXCEL Community Service team. In addition, the service must be for a non-profit, not involve a family member as a supervisor, and preferably puts a student into an unfamiliar or challenging environment that benefits an underserved community.

Students are also asked to reflect on their service (through journals or presentations) as we know such reflection leads to more impactful learning. In addition, we work to provide context for students around the societal needs to which their service is responding and the strategies employed to address some of the larger issues involved.

To give a sense of what is possible, below are some examples of how some current students and a recent grad have engaged with service at Nobles;

  • A recent Nobles graduate worked at the Dedham YMCA afterschool program through our afternoon program, traveled with Nobles to Rwanda and was co-president of an Indo-American Youth Service group.
  • A current Nobles junior was part of the Nobles afternoon program tutoring at the Ohrenberger School in Boston, tutors for the Achieve program, helped found the “Golden Dawgs” program connecting local seniors with Nobles students and has been on the Nobles service trip to Romania.
  • A Nobles senior participated in the afternoon program Empty Bowls which benefited local food pantries, went on a Nobles service trip, and through her church participated in a mission trip to Philadelphia and helps out at her church’s “rest stop” to help the homeless in Boston.
  • One of the members of the Class of 2017 has been significantly involved in the sled hockey program at Nobles as well as tutoring in Achieve and used his photography skills to be an event photographer at a local community benefit race.

We have learned that “one size doesn’t fit all” and what may have a deep sense of meaning and purpose for one student simply may not resonate with another. We hope that all students  ultimately find a service path that is meaningful to them, be it close by or halfway around the world.

The Nobles service requirement has been in place for almost thirty years, is not going anywhere, and we continue to work hard to help students find a place in their busy lives to unearth meaningful ways to contribute to the public good.  If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to any member of the EXCEL service team — Linda Hurley, Holly Bonomo and Amy Joyce. 

Auditions for "Shrek"

Auditions for the Nobles Theatre Collective's 2017 musical, SHREK, are open to classes I-IV and will be held November 16 and 17. Students should speak with Dan Halperin if they are interested or have any questions.

Foster Gallery Announcements

Foster Gallery's show, The Boston Years, is up now through December 9. Read the description here.

Artist-in-Residence Colleen Fitzgerald will have a three-day pop-up show outside Foster Gallery entitled Stamina. It is a sneak peek into the work that she has created on campus during her residency, and will run from Nov. 9-11. 

The Afternoon Ceramics program in conjunction with the Community Service Board is hosting The Empty Bowls Project on Thursday, November 10. The Project will sell bowls and cups, along with popcorn and hot chocolate, in the Arts Center in front of the Nobles Dance Concert. The Afternoon Ceramics program worked with various groups of volunteers to create one-of-a-kind, handmade bowls and cups whose sale will benefit our partner, Three Squares New England. The sale will run from 5:30-6:30 p.m.

From the Green Team

Did You Know? Turn the Key to be Idle-free

With so many families driving to and from Nobles every day, and with the promise of colder temperatures arriving, November is a good time to point out the importance of limiting and eliminating idling whenever possible. Our campus is committed to fostering an idle-free environment, and we hope our community of families will consider limiting and eliminating idling in your travels beyond Nobles.

Key Reasons for Limiting and Eliminating Idling:

Cleaner Air:
Idling tailpipes emit the same pollutants as moving cars. Limiting idling will help decrease levels of hazardous pollutants found in our air. These pollutants are linked to serious human illnesses, and when we idle on our campus, these pollutants are released into the air our students breathe.

Help the Environment:
“For every 10 minutes your engine is off, you’ll prevent one pound of carbon dioxide from being released (carbon dioxide is the primary contributor to global warming). An EDF report shows that in New York City alone, idling cars and trucks produce 130,000 tons of carbon dioxide each year. To offset this amount of global warming pollution, we would need to plant an area the size of Manhattan with trees every single year.”*

Protect Your Car and Save Money:
Idling can increase wear on a car’s engine and can cost between $70-$650 a year in extra fuel costs.*

How You Can Help:

Refrain from and limit idling whenever possible:
Idling for 10 seconds wastes more gas than restarting your car. If you know you will be waiting at a pickup line, turn off the car and restart to move forward when possible (in cold weather consider turning the car on and off as is needed to stay comfortable). Waiting in a building rather than idling in a car is a good option when possible.

For more information click here.

Warming up your vehicles:
Warm up your car by driving it. A vehicle's engine will warm up twice as fast when driven rather than sitting stationary. As opposed to cars of the past, today’s cars do not need to be warmed up to be driven. Warm up the inside of your car by driving, the air will be cleaner compared to breathing in the air from your exhaust and that of others.

*EDF - Environmental Defense Fund

Class III Dean's Report

Hello Class III Parents!

It has been a whirlwind of a first quarter to say the least. It is always a difficult transition to go from the freedoms offered by the summer months to the rigor of the school year. However, we have incredibly hard-working and engaged students who made this transition effortlessly. As deans, we continue to be in awe of the efforts of our Class III students and we are excited to see them grow and come together as the year progresses. 

We hope the students all enjoyed learning about the history of Nobles on Founders Day as part of our year-long sesquicentennial celebration. It gave us all a chance to reflect and see how far the school has come since its inception. We have enjoyed getting to know this class and are excited to see them grow and come together as the year progresses. 

As part of Nobles' initiative to create a more open and inclusive community , the Diversity & Inclusion department has encouraged all students and faculty members to explore their identity through storytelling. The hope is that community members can find points of relatability through other’s experiences. The department also hopes that exposure to different stories will grow our students' cultural lenses. We are excited to hear from our students.

Teachers just finished writing comments for the first quarter, and by the time you read this newsletter, your children will have reviewed their comments and grades with their advisors. In our opinion, the teachers’ comments are more important than the grades themselves, and we hope that you will take the time to review the comments at home with your son or daughter. While the grades are an indication of how your child is doing, comments are filled with insight into strengths, areas of growth, and most importantly, guidance for improvement. Please do not be alarmed if your child’s grades have declined in certain subjects. As you may know, the sophomore year curriculum is challenging in new and different ways as students transition from concrete to abstract thinking and are asked to synthesize. Additionally, it takes time for students to adjust to the curriculum and to the new expectations in each class. By the time the December comments are written, most students will have grown more familiar with the demanding curriculum and with the expectations of their teachers, and they will have discovered what they need to do in order to meet their personal goals.

At the beginning of the year and throughout the fall, we have emphasized the importance of community involvement to Class III. During sophomore year, it is important for students to pursue their interests and to participate in clubs and other extracurricular activities at Nobles. There are so many clubs and organizations, and if students join and are active this year, they may have the opportunity to take on leadership roles in upcoming years. Additionally, we were thrilled to learn about the sophomores' interest in travel this year. Students were provided with an array of service trip opportunities to choose from. The opportunities were as follows: New Orleans, Cambodia, Vietnam, Japan, India, Romania and Bulgaria, France, Guatemala and Rwanda.These trips make a lasting impact on those who experience them; we hope that students will continue to explore Nobles trips in the future.

Every year 10-15 students study away from Nobles during their Class II year. If your student is interested in studying away next year, he or she needs to begin planning soon! On Wednesday, November 16, all Class III students will hear presentations from the following programs during X-block: School Year Abroad (SYA), the Mountain School of Vermont, the Alzar School of Idaho, the School for Ethics and Global Leadership of Washington, D.C., Maine Coast Semester at Chewonki, the High Mountain Institute of Colorado, CITYTerm of NYC, the Island School of the Bahamas, and the African Leadership Academy of South Africa. Additionally, representatives from each of these study away programs will set up a table in Gleason Hall from 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. so that students may speak to them, gather more detailed information and ask specific questions. Visit or speak with Study Away Coordinator Laura Yamartino for more information.

Enjoy the rest of the fleeting fall, and have a happy Thanksgiving with your family.

Kind Regards,
Amy Joyce '03 & Edgar De Leon '04

Class III Deans

Class IV Parent Reps

Dear Class IV Parents and Guardians:

It has certainly been a whirlwind of a fall!  We hope that you and your ninth graders are settled in and are feeling connected to the Nobles community. We also hope you have been able to attend a PA Meeting, a class get-together, or simply cheer for your child at some of his/her games. There are still plenty of volunteer opportunities to get involved with in the school which is a great way to meet other parents. Please check the Nobles website for these opportunities.

The Fall Cookout, Grandparents Day and the Multicultural Fair were all very successful, and we hope you were able to attend some of these wonderful community-building events.  Our Class IV Fall Social in the Castle was fantastic and we had a great turnout! Thank you to all who were able to attend.

Please note the following:

  • The marking period is ending and conferences with your child’s advisor will be held in November.  More information on this will follow from your child’s advisor.
  • As the fall afternoon program season draws to a close, please be mindful of changes in the afternoon schedule. Check the Nobles online calendar for your child’s specific afternoon activity.

Some important dates to keep in mind:

November 5: Nobles Night in the Omni rink. Come help celebrate Nobles' sesquicentennial (150th)!

November 12:  Nobles/Milton day. Come cheer on the Dawgs!

November 14:  No school in honor of Veterans Day

November 15, 16, 17: Parent/Guardian Advisor Meetings

November 23: Thanksgiving break begins.

November 28: School resumes and winter afternoon program begins.

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


Catherine and Deanna 

From the Co-Chairs: Kennie Grogan and Anne Kelley

We would like to thank our wonderful PA Vice-Chairs, Isabelle Loring and Gina Doyle, and all of the Class Representatives and Event Co-Chairs who have done a superb job with all the socials and events so far this fall. Thank you also to everybody who has attended; we hope you are enjoying spending time with other parents in our Nobles community!

Please join us for our next Parents’ Association meeting on Thursday, December 8 at 8:00 a.m. in the Castle Library. President of the Board of Trustees Beth Reilly ’87 will be our guest speaker. Don’t miss this opportunity to hear about the Nobles board activities and the recently completed Head of School search.

Upcoming Important Dates:

Wednesday, November 2, 8:30 a.m. - Historical Tour of the Nobles Campus led by Head of School Bob Henderson (meet for coffee at 8:00 in the Castle Library)

Monday, November 7, 8:00 a.m. - Please join us outside the Castle after drop-off for the last walk of the fall around the cross-country trails

Fridays, 8:00 a.m. - Parent Circuit Training in the MAC

Saturday, November 5, 6:30 p.m. - Nobles Night

Monday, November 7, 11 a.m. 1:30 p.m. - Nobles Employee Appreciation Luncheon

Thursday, November 10 and Friday, November 11, 6:30-8:00 p.m. -
Fall Dance Concert

Saturday, November 12 - Nobles/Milton Day

Thursday, November 17 - Middle School Pie Drive

We wish you and your family a happy Thanksgiving. We are grateful to be a part of this community and we look forward to many good times ahead!

Warmest Regards,
Anne Kelley and Kennie Grogan

Class I Parent Reps

It was wonderful to see so many Class I parents at our social last month! We were thrilled with the turnout and appreciated all of you coming to make it such an enjoyable event. We would also like to thank the parent volunteers who donated treats and showed up to help with the Class I Surprise Halloween lunch! It was amazing.

Each month feels like an important milestone in our seniors’ last year at Nobles and November is no exception. Good luck to everyone with preparations for next year!

We have only ONE Class I Event this month:

Tuesday, November 15 – Mandatory Senior Transition Event with Katie Kesner,
5-7:30 p.m. in Vinik Theatre. Dinner will be served.

Monday, November 7 – Employee Appreciation Lunch

Monday, November 14 – Veterans Day – no classes

Wednesday November 23 – Monday November 27 – Thanksgiving Break

Wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving! Please get in touch with any of us if there is any way we can be helpful. There is no PA meeting this month but the next meeting will reconvene on December 8.

Your Class I PA reps,
Rikki Conley,
Sherri Athanasia,
Sarah Keating,

Class II Parent Reps

Dear Class II Parents,

Welcome to November! We hope your children have successfully navigated the end of the quarter tests and papers as well as enjoyed some fun times (Friday Night Lights) this past month. Please remember to check out all the important dates and information in the Nobles Parent Friday emails. 

The Class II Fall Social is Friday, Nov. 18, 6:30-9:30 p.m. in the Castle.  Please come enjoy the company of other class II parents. Click here to RSVP by Nov. 11. You will be chitted $25/per person.

Hope to see you there!  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact one of us.

Gretchen Filoon,
Jessica Patterson,

Class III Parent Reps

Class III Parents,

We have been gifted with summer weather this fall that has served to enhance the many events and activities around Nobles. The Multicultural Fair, PA Cookout, Class III Social, theater productions and Friday Night Lights have been some of the highlights.

November offers many more opportunities to connect on campus.

Saturday, November 5, 6:30-10 p.m. - Nobles Night! In celebration of the School’s sesquicentennial, Omni Rink

Thursday and Friday, November 10 and 11, 6:30-8 p.m. – Fall Dance Concert, Vinik Theatre

Saturday, November 12 - Nobles-Milton Day, Nobles athletic fields and gymnasium

Monday, November 14 – Nobles Veterans Day Holiday – School Closed

Tuesday-Thursday, November 15-17 – Parent/Guardian Advisor Meetings

Thursday, November 17, 8:30-9:30 a.m. – Class III Surprise Lunch Planning Meeting in Castle

Wednesday-Friday, November 23-25 – Thanksgiving Break

Future Class III happenings include the Surprise Lunch on Friday, January 27 (shhhh!), the Head of School Dance on Saturday, March 4, the Spring Parent Coffee on Friday, April 21 and the Spring Parent Social on Friday, May 19. As these and other upcoming events approach, we will be sure to send more details and please remember to check the school’s website and Friday emails.

We hope to see you on campus in the coming month and wish you and your loved ones a Happy Thanksgiving!

Your Class III Reps,

Susie Winstanley (Allie Winstanley’ mother)
Heather Markey (Will Zink’s mother)

Middle School Parent Reps

It is hard to believe that the first academic quarter is behind us, and we are heading into the final month of the fall afternoon program. Before we look ahead to November, let’s take a quick look back at October.

We had a great turnout for our first Middle School Coffee.   Thank you to all who attended and organized this fun and informative morning. Also, thank you to John Gifford '86, the Head of the Middle School and current middle school parent, who kindly shared his vision for the middle school and fielded questions from parents. He reminded parents to please keep advisors in the loop if a child is spending too long on any one subject. After the coffee he also shared books that might be of interest for new parents to better understand the breadth of the Noble’s approach to educating the whole child.  Below is a list.

The Road to Character, David Brooks
Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D.
The Teenage Brain, Frances Jensen
The Pressured Child, Michael Thompson
Helping Children Succeed, Paul Tough
How Children Succeed, Paul Tough
Faith Ed: Teaching about Religion in an Age of Intolerance, Linda Wertheimer
The Age of Opportunity (Lessons from the New Science of Adolescence), Laurence Steinberg
Anxious Kids, Anxious Parents: 7 Ways to Stop the Worry Cycle and Raise Courageous and Independent Children, Lynn Lyons

FYI:  We have it on good authority that John is currently reading Anxious Kids, Anxious Parents by Lynn Lyons, but it is NOT a comment on his opinion of our families.

Additionally, we enjoyed the Middle School Speaker Event featuring adolescent development expert and parent coach, Dr. Jenny Berz.  Thank you to the large community of MS faculty who attended during this very busy time of year.  Also, thank you to Jen Hamilton, the Director of Counseling, for playing a key role in helping to organize this special night. Dr. Berz clearly illustrated how the teenage brain differs from the adult brain, and she shared tips on best practices for navigating relationships with your children as they travel through the adolescent years, which lasts a little longer than most of us realized (ages 11 – 25).  We hope to share a quick summary of those tips with you in the December newsletter.

Before we list a comprehensive catalog of the key dates in November, we would like to highlight 2 significant events for you to consider attending.

Nobles Night, Friday, November 5, 6:30 p.m. Omni Rink
Please mark your calendar for and consider attending a very special Nobles Night to celebrate Noble and Greenough School’s Sesquicentennial (in other words, 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 in the Omni Rink.

The Annual Middle School Pie Drive, November 17, 2:00-4:30 p.m. Castle Dining Room
Please consider volunteering for this fun event. Every year for the last 13 years at Nobles MS students make apple pies for their families, faculty members and local charities.  Volunteering at this event allows you an opportunity to help the community at large while providing a casual, unobtrusive way to see your children in action having fun with their new friends. Please note: your MS child will be involved in this required afternoon program on Thursday, November 17 from 2:45-4:30 p.m. Pick up will be at the Middle School.  Further details on how to sign up to volunteer are noted below in the Key Events & Dates section of this newsletter.

What follows is a more comprehensive list of important dates and events that you might consider noting in your calendar now.

Key Events & Dates for November 2016

Thursday, November 3:  Flu Clinic in Morrison Forum from 9:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
There will be a flu clinic held in Morrison Forum (Middle School) for students, parents, and Nobles’ employees. It is being provided by Maxim Health Systems. Only vaccinations will be offered, no flu mist.

You may pay with cash or check payable to Maxim Health Systems ($25) or choose to use your insurance.  If your insurance is not listed below, you will have to pay with cash/check.  Please note: United Health Plan is not accepted.

Maxim accepts Tufts Health Plans, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of MA (including HMO Blue New England), Aetna, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Fallon Community Health Plan, Mass Health, Medicare Part B, PFFS type Medicare Advantage, Neighborhood Health Plan, Humana Gold Choice, Premara Blue Cross, SummaCare, Unicare, Anthem, Sierra Heath and Life and Connecticare.

A copy of the health insurance card will need to be provided at the time of the vaccination if insurance is to be used.

Parents and guardians who wish to have their children vaccinated should print out and complete the consent form that is available online and either fax it to the Health Office (fax# 781-459-0204) or send it with your child on the day of the clinic. Consent forms can be found on the Nobles' password protected parent site (  On the left side, click on the "Parent Resources and Forms" link and then scroll to the bottom where you will find the flu vaccination forms.  If you will be paying cash/check for the vaccination, use the "flu vaccine: immunization consent."  If you will be using your insurance, please use the "flu vaccine: insurance consent."  If you have any questions, please contact the Health Office at (781) 320-7070. Thank you

Saturday, November 5:  Nobles Night, Omni Rink at 6:30pm.  Please join in the celebration. 

Thursday, November 10 & Friday, November 11: Fall Dance Concert in Vinik Theatre at 6:30pm.

Friday, November 11: Middle School Milton Games. This will mark the end of the Fall Afternoon Program.

Saturday, November 12: Milton Games for Varsity and Junior Varsity teams will be held at Nobles this year.  Festivities will be hosted near the athletic fields by the Nobles Office of Graduate Affairs and the Milton Academy Alumni Office.

Monday, November 14: Nobles' observance of Veteran’s Day. School closed.

Tuesday, November 15 – Thursday, November 17:  Parent Advisor Meetings. Please contact your child’s advisor to schedule an appointment.

Thursday, November 17:  The 14th Annual Middle School Pie Drive,
2:00 – 4:30 p.m. in the Castle Dining Room. Over 150 pies will be donated to the Single Parent Family Outreach Center in Boston as well as to the Dedham Food Pantry. This year the proceeds from this pie drive will support Three Squares New England.

Click to volunteer
To order pie(s)

If you have any questions, please contact the MS Pie Drive Committee:
Dave Camacho -
Caroline Ryan -
Isabelle Roy -
Lori Shaer -
Natalie Willi -

Thank you for your support!

Monday, November 21:  Faculty Meeting in Morrison Forum @ 3:15pm. No Afternoon Program.

Wednesday, November 23 – Friday, November 25:  School Closed for Thanksgiving Break.

Monday, November 28: School Reopens. Winter Afternoon Program begins.

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,

10 Campus Drive,
Dedham, Massachusetts
tel: 781.326.3700
Site Map
Terms and Conditions
Privacy Policy
Connect with Nobles facebook twitter youtube

If you have questions, comments or suggestions for this newsletter, email Kim Neal at