During the first days of school in September, Shattuck is abuzz with students reconnecting after a summer apart. Big hugs, enthusiastic greetings, and shrieks of delight fill Gleason Hall and the sophomore and junior alcoves. In September, though, the freshman alcoves are a little different. Some students already know each other; many do not. Everyone is quiet, serious, a little more reserved, as they feel each other out.
Now, after three full months, we can safely say that is no longer the case. The freshman alcoves are filled with laughter and conversation. Incoming and returning students alike have made new friends, and, in general, it seems that Class IV has begun to make a home for themselves in Shattuck. We applaud how quickly new students have adjusted to life at Nobles and rising middle schoolers have gotten used to the upper school! In October we had two excellent panels of Class IV students at the Admissions Open House who spoke eloquently and enthusiastically about their transition into high school. Thank you to all the students who volunteered and to the students who will volunteer at the Admission Open House on December 6! Additionally, Class IV’s four SLC reps have taken the charge of bringing the class together as a group through fun activities in our class meetings. Thank you for the hard work so far from Becca Gill, Noah Janfaza, Emily Orscheln and Harry Roberts!
And yet, many students are still getting to know each other and striving to feel comfortable at school, and that’s okay! With the start of the winter season, new afternoon programs will bring opportunities for meeting more people and making more friends. Not only that, but we would also like to encourage all Class IV students, even if they already feel like they have found their niche, to remain open and accepting to everyone in their class and the Nobles community. Shared interests and common afternoon programs offer convenient and natural opportunities to connect, but we encourage students to engage meaningfully with students who might have different interests in classrooms and in the alcoves.
Class IV seems to be adjusting academically as well. After a flurry of nerves surrounding quarter one grades at the end of October, Class IV has come out on the other side. Many students are learning the importance of seeking help and understanding the resources available to them and now have set up regular meeting times with teachers or sought out peer tutors, and it seems Class IV has headed into quarter two with renewed energy and vigor. A reminder to both students and parents that quarter one grades are merely indicator grades, but quarter two grades (that will come out at the end of the semester, in mid-December) will be part of the student’s official transcript. Therefore we encourage everyone in Class IV to work hard and finish out the semester strong!
Between Thanksgiving and winter breaks, students will have two weeks of classes followed by a week of assessments. No tests may be given and no papers or projects may be due on the Monday after Thanksgiving, and from Tuesday, November 29 through the end of the day on Friday, December 9 (the last day of classes before assessments), teachers are only able to assign one significant assessment (e.g., test, lab report, presentation, essay, annotated bibliography). Assessments begin with computer science and math on Monday, December 12, followed by science and English on Tuesday, December 13, and wrap up with language and history on Wednesday, December 14. As for assessments, Class IV should remember that while it may be intimidating to go down to the gym for their tests, the winter assessments are not designed to be full exams. They are not accumulative (except in subjects that are always assessed cumulatively, such as math or language), and they are designed to take only a little longer than a regular full-period test (about an hour instead of 50 minutes). We encourage Class IV to take the time to meet with teachers well in advance of assessments to set up a studying plan and ask questions, and they should also remember that studying in smaller sessions over the course of many days is always more effective than cramming the night before. Be sure to get lots of sleep and eat a good breakfast before each assessment! The final day of the semester, featuring a holiday long assembly, shortened classes, and advisor meetings, will be on Friday, December 16. If you have any questions about the upcoming schedule, don’t hesitate to contact us.
Come January, students will begin with a clean slate regarding grades. They will have the ability to shake off any difficulties they may have experienced during the first quarter of academic adjustment. This will be a great time to implement the suggestions from comments in quarter one and two, bolstered by a better sense of course expectations and school norms.
We know that there is a great deal of excitement and a hearty dose of anticipation in the coming months. New material and fresh faces of the current winter afternoon program will help to expand the horizons of Class IV. We firmly believe, however, that our faculty, the upperclassmen, SLC representatives, and familiarity with the rhythm of the school will guide them through the challenges and draw them closer to our ultimate goal: feeling confident and at home here at Nobles.
We hope to see every member of Class IV to finish 2016 strong!
E.B. Bartels & Kimya Charles
Class IV Deans