News from the St. Mark's Dean of Students, Dean of Academics, and Dean of Faculty
January 15, 2021
NEW: Important Return to School Information
For important reminders and updates on returning to St. Mark's, see Mr. Warren's email from Thursday, January 14. This information can also be found on the COVID-19 Updates section of our website.
NEW: U.S. Guardian/Emergency Contact Information Update Required
 
This month St. Mark's will be confirming all U.S.-based guardian and emergency contact information. If your family has not been able to provide this information, please do so immediately by contacting the Dean of Students Office. If your family has provided contact information for a U.S.-based guardian/emergency contact, please reach out to them and confirm that they are able to care for your child in the event of a school closing which would include providing private transportation away from St. Mark's School.
 
We are dedicated to our safety protocols and COVID-19 safety measures, yet we must also have a plan in place should we be required to close school for any reason. The U.S.-based guardian/emergency contact has always been a requirement and in our current reality, it is even more important as we seek to provide adequate care for our community.
 
Due to the concerns around COVID-19 and other potential safety issues, all students must have a viable local/U.S.-based guardian/emergency contact that is able to arrange for the student to be able to leave campus within 24 hours via private transportation in the event of student illness or temporary campus closure. This guardian/emergency contact expectation includes both international and domestic students who are farther than six hours driving distance from campus. A viable local/U.S.-based guardian/contact should not include siblings or family friends who reside in college/university residential housing. 
Move-in Details

Similar to the move-in/move-out in the fall, we are asking students to sign up for a 30-minute slot here to return to campus between January 16-18. Available time slots are as follows: 

  • Saturday, January 16 from 2:00-5:00 p.m. 
  • Sunday, January 17 from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. 
  • Monday, January 18 from 9:00 a.m.-noon 

Students will be tested upon arrival and then can complete the move-in process. Please reach out to the Dean's Office or Luke Chiasson at lukechiasson@stmarksschool.org with any questions.


Check-in Location: MFAC Athletic building (Rt. 85 entrance)
 
We will be following required safety protocols, which will include providing specific time blocks for families, as well as social distancing, masks, hand sanitizer, and escorts in and out of the Houses. In order to keep Houses de-densified, we ask that only one parent and one student are involved in this process and that families adhere to the 30-minute slot when moving in.
 
Families should arrive 15 minutes earlier than your slotted time for COVID screening. Please come to the MFAC Athletic building (Rt. 85 entrance) to check-in and to complete your screening. Families will need to demonstrate the completion of a student’s negative PCR test (taken within the last seven days). At that time, a PCR test will be administered by a member of the St. Mark’s nursing staff. Families will then be directed to the appropriate House, where they will be guided to the student’s House and room.  
 
We ask that families are on time for their appointments and that they stay in their cars until we can ensure that the screening area and House are clear and available. If you are late or cannot make your assigned time, please contact the Dean’s Office. Appointment times are scheduled to maintain the appropriate density on campus and cannot be extended or changed without prior approval. If you are late for your start time, you will only have whatever time is remaining from your assigned appointment. 
 
After moving in, students will need to be quarantined in their House rooms until their PCR test results are returned. Our testing facility continues to report a 24-hour turnaround.
 
In their rooms, students will be able to set up their rooms and prepare for the upcoming in-person school week. The School will provide meals while students are quarantined in the Houses and will have someone checking in on them periodically while they wait for the test results.  
Academic News

Daily Schedule Changes for 2021
Dean of Academics Mr. Waters shared an update with the community about some schedule changes for the upcoming semester. You can find the updated daily schedule here, along with an explainer video. We have worked to make appropriate changes based on our experience and feedback from the fall, along with some of the special considerations for our operations this winter (athletic practice schedules, health, and safety protocols, etc.).  
 
Full implementation of the new schedule will begin on January 25. During the week of our return to in-person and remote classes, January 19-22, we will run a modified schedule that offers each class the opportunity to meet synchronously for 60 minutes, and add one additional asynchronous preparation. As Window Two and Semester One close on Friday, January 22, this schedule offers us time and space to manage workloads at a traditionally stressful period of the academic year and to readjust to the routines we will be operating here on campus for the remainder of the year.  
 
We encourage students to reach out to their teachers and advisors with questions about how class and campus routines will change with the updated schedules.


Update on January-May Modified Class Schedule 
With the cancellation of spring break this year, faculty members and administrators have worked to develop a schedule for the January-May time period that maximizes the effectiveness of teaching and learning throughout the winter and spring and includes short breaks to provide essential rest periods for students and faculty members. Realizing that successful teaching and learning depends on physical, mental, and emotional well-being, these breaks have been scheduled intentionally and thoughtfully to ensure the greatest opportunity for rest and recuperation for the greatest number of people. In addition, the schedule mixes weekend and weekday rest days to distribute time off in a balanced way.
 
The rest days are scheduled as follows:

  • Friday, February 12—Monday, February 15 (Lunar New Year and President’s Day Weekend)
  • Thursday, March 4
  • Tuesday, March 16
  • Friday, March 26—Monday, March 29 (Midsemester Weekend)
  • Tuesday, April 6
  • Monday, April 19 (Patriots Day Weekend)
  • Wednesday, May 5
  • Thursday, May 20
Please note: Pink ovals are midweek “no class” days, while long weekends are indicated with blue squares. 
 
You will note that we have scheduled some rest days around public holidays that previously existed in the schedule—Presidents' Day and Patriots Day. To keep the semester balanced, we have also shifted the close of Window Three from Friday, March 12 to Thursday, March 26, and created a four-day weekend at this important juncture of the academic calendar.  
 
We are currently finalizing specifics around adult supervision for students on these rest days, and are also exploring other steps beyond days off to promote the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of our students and all of our community members. We look forward to sharing more information in January. 
Admission Announcements

Application & Financial Deadline Approaching - Friday, January 15

Application
Admission and financial aid applications are due by end of day on Friday, January 15. Our deadline for Slideroom media submissions is also January 15. The admission office will continue interviews between January 16-30 with appointment priority given to applicants who have otherwise met the application deadline.

Financial Aid (FA)
Financial Aid (FA) is an annual application process, so we need a completed 2021/2022 PFS by the January 15 FA deadline and 2019 tax materials by then if yours were delayed or amended during this past tax season. All 2020 tax materials are due by March 1.
Yearbook Recognition Ads

Are you looking for a way to celebrate your graduating VI Former? What better way than to purchase a recognition ad in the yearbook! There is a range of sizes and costs available— and you can design and pay for your ad all in the convenient Jostens website! 
 
Click here to access the ad website (click on "Recognition Ads") and get started.  
 
You can read this pamphlet if you need more information on logistics. 
 
The deadline to purchase ads is January 31.
NEW: Bookstore News
Online Bookstore Open Now for a Limited Time
Our online store, your destination for official St. Mark’s apparel, is NOW OPEN! Be sure to visit before it closes on Wednesday, January 20.

Orders must be received by Wednesday, January 20. Order today!

Tommy Hilfiger Partnership
The St. Mark's School's online store by Tommy Hilfiger is Live! Select this link to purchase Tommy Hilfiger apparel with St. Mark's School logos and branding.
NEW: E&R Laundry Sign Up

To sign up for the E&R Laundry service, visit www.EandRCleaners.com to create an account. When the order is complete, you will receive an order confirmation. Once confirmed, St. Mark's will create a bag for the student and deliver it to them.
NEW: Upper-Form Day Student Lounge Furniture

New living room-style lounges have been set up in Taft, Outer Taft, and the Class of '51 Lobby in the PFAC! As Mr. Warren mentioned in December, St. Mark's worked with our architect on the design for the upper-Form day student spaces. The goal was to make them inviting while also staging them for appropriate social distancing. Special thanks to our Facilities team for overseeing the overall plan and installation process for this.
Parents’ Association
 
NEW: Recording of Learn & Lead Fitness Event Now Available
On January 13, St. Mark’s Strength Coach Pat Hagerty gave a virtual presentation on how he works with students, and then showed us a 30-minute circuit workout we could do at home. Watch the recording here.

NEW: Volunteer Opportunities
The Parents’ Association (PA) needs additional volunteers to serve as Form parent representatives. This role is important because it keeps Form parents connected to each other and the School. Some responsibilities of the Form parent representative include: 
 
  • Providing a line of communication between Form parents and PA Chairs
  • Welcoming new parents to your Form
  • Working closely with PA Chairs to provide successful parent programs
  • Attend (in person or virtually) Form representative meetings, Parent Chats, Parent Speaker Series/Parent Association meetings, and other events, and encourage other Form parents to attend these meetings
  • Supporting St. Mark’s with a gift to the Annual Fund
 
Parents can team up to share the Form parent representative responsibilities. Since this role can be managed virtually, parents don’t need to live locally. We encourage St. Mark’s parents around the country and around the world to participate! Please contact Gage Gillis at gagegillis@stmarksschool.org for more information.
 
 
For other volunteer opportunities, complete the Parents’ Association volunteer form.
 
Upcoming Events:
 
January 20, 2021 - Parent Speaker Series - Parents As Partners, 7:00-7:45 p.m. EST
 
Join Colleen Worrell, director of The Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning, for a discussion about how to help your child navigate the winter and spring terms.
 
 
A Zoom link will be emailed to registrants an hour before the event. For more information, contact Gage Gillis in the Advancement Office at gagegillis@stmarksschool.org.

January 22, 2021, at 2:00 p.m. EST and January 25, 2021 at 7:00 p.m. EST-Parent Q&A with School Administrators

As mentioned in the January 14 Welcome Back and Important Updates email from Head of School John C. Warren ’74, there will be two informal opportunities for parents to meet virtually with senior administrators and ask questions about the winter and spring terms. Please join the session that best fits your schedule. A Zoom link will be sent next Thursday, January 21, 2021.
 
February 3, 2021 - III Form Parent Chat, 7:00-8:00 p.m. EST
More details to follow in an email to parents.
 
February 10, 2021 - St. Mark’s Parent/Faculty/Staff Book Club
Our next meeting will be from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. EST via Zoom. The February title is Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants, by Robin Wall Kimmerer. At the end of this meeting, we'll choose a book for March. 
 
Interested in attending? Please email Joanne Flathers P’15, ’19, ’21 (joanne@flathersfamily.net) or Laurie Kalapinski (lauriekalapinski@stmarksschool.org) to receive the Zoom link the morning of February 10.
 
Other book titles suggested by members, in no particular order:
  • Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips
  • The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab
  • The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
  • Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  • The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson

February 11, 2021 - Battle of the Brews 

February 11, 2021 - IV Form Parent Chat, 7:00-8:00 p.m. EST 
More details to follow in an email to parents.
 
Calendar News:
January 19 - In-Person Learning Resumes
January 22 - Window 2/Semester 1 Ends 
February 2 - Grades Posted
February 3 - III Form Parent Chat, 7:00-8:00 p.m. 
February 11 - IV Form Parent Chat, 7:00-8:00 p.m. 
February 15 - Presidents' Day, No Classes
February 24 - Community & Equity Day