News from the St. Mark's Dean of Students, Dean of Academics, and Dean of Faculty
October 2, 2020
St. Mark’s Campus Operations Phase Levels
The School recently published a document outlining its phases and approach to ensuring a safe transition to various levels of changes to teaching and campus operations as a result of COVID-19. Each plan is subject to change given the specific circumstances of the scenario at-hand.

Phase levels are determined by the Health Services and administrative teams in conjunction with the Health and Safety Task Force. The key to phase determination is speed and follow-through. The School will also work in conjunction with the Town of Southborough public health director. In addition, the School will examine data as part of the EH&E tracking database as well as work with the consultant(s) at EH&E, as needed.

The phases used are independent of the color code systems used by any other jurisdictions or municipalities.

Changes in phases will be communicated via our RAVE emergency communication system via text and email. This communication will be sent to our entire community, including all parents, students, and all faculty and staff. A change in phases will include the delivery of an initial RAVE message explaining the phase level immediately followed by a more detailed email explaining the phase details.
Attendance: Remote Learning
Families, we hope the latest experience with remote learning for your children is going well. We do realize that this experience is still much different than in-person learning and want to emphasize that we are here for support. Part of our support system is attendance accountability. Through monitoring attendance, we are able to keep track of students that may be facing challenges (time difference, motivation, confidence, time management). Keeping track of attendance also helps us to intervene before missing commitments becomes an issue that has deep impact on academic performance and/or connection to the community. If you suspect your child is not as engaged as they should be please share this with your child's advisor. Together we can leverage resources to help your child get the most from learning and community involvement.
Club Fair
Clubs are officially up and going! On Wednesday, September 30, St. Mark's had its first Virtual Club Fair, with more than 30 clubs participating. Clubs ranged in interest from the Culinary Arts Club to the Dance Club to clubs devoted to giving back to the greater community. All club leaders have proposed either virtual or in-person ideas for activities they can sponsor on the weekends. Students joined clubs on Friday, and their first club meetings will be Wednesday, October 7. Looking forward to seeing all the ways clubs can keep our community connected!
ACTION NEEDED: Social Agreements for Students & Family Waiver
In these unprecedented times of a pandemic, it will take a shared commitment from each and every member of the St. Mark’s community to maintain the health and safety of all. We take great pride in being a caring and inclusive community where we value each other over self-interest and where we live by the standards of RUSH: Respect, Understanding, Safety, and Honesty. Therefore, as a member of the St. Mark’s Pride, students promise to protect their classmates, the St. Mark’s faculty, our families and neighbors, and myself by adopting the practices and attitudes summarized in the agreement.

Any student who feels uncomfortable or is unwilling to follow these standards and protocols, or feel that these standards and protocols are not sufficient, can choose to attend school remotely.

A student who does not fully comply with these standards and protocols will be required to attend school remotely for the time period (likely 14 days, but potentially the entire fall term) defined by the Dean of Students. 

Students: Please visit this link to agree to the social agreement:

We are asking all families to sign a consent form and liability waiver. The waiver can be found here. Please review the document and click the appropriate buttons to accept the terms as soon as possible.

Families: Please visit this link to agree to the waiver:
St. Mark’s Welcomes 11 LEOS to the Pride 
St. Mark’s recently hired a number of “LEOS”—Leaders for Educational and Operational Support. LEOS will support students and faculty during the academic day in classes and activities conducted synchronously or asynchronously. This will include helping to manage virtual classroom transitions, supporting students who cannot be physically present, providing supervision for students during meals and traveling between classes/activities, and any other support duties as assigned. Please join us in welcoming the LEOS! Some are familiar faces and some are brand-new to our community.

To learn more about our new members of the pride, select this link.
Boardingware Update
Dear St. Markers & Families,
If you will be joining us at school for the fall you must be sure you have created a username and password for your Boardingware account. Boardingware is the app-based system we use to communicate between home and school about requested time away, sign-outs, and more. This year to support a healthy community all boarders and day students will complete a morning health check form on Boardingware before arriving at school and before leaving their residential houses.

Families, you have also received an email invitation from Boardingware to connect to your St. Marker as parent or guardian. Please click the button in the email to create a profile. When students are able to request passes for time away from school (weekend overnights, etc.) you will be able to use Boardingware to approve your child's requests and to also submit requests on behalf of your child.
Download Boardingware Student App
What do I need to do?
If you have already connected to Boardingware in previous years no action is required. Your username and password remain the same. Please test your password by trying to log in and use the "forgot password" feature if you need assistance.
If are new to SM or have never used Boardingware you will receive an email invitation from Boardingware (not from St. Mark's). Open this email and click to create a username and password.
Note: This username and password are not connected to your St. Mark's email and password.
When will I use Boardingware?
Because we are all committed to abiding by the COVID social agreement our only use for Boardingware in the first 3 weeks of school will be for the following reasons.
Day Student Use
Day students will use Boardingware to complete a health check form before arriving at school each morning. Upon arrival, students will receive a bracelet to wear indicating the form was completed for the day.
Day students will sign in upon arrival at the Library Tent or MFAC by scanning their phone with the Boardingware App installed on one of the checkpoints at these locations.
Day students will sign out when leaving school for the day (following your last commitment which may include athletics) by scanning their phone with the Boardingware App installed on one of the checkpoints at the Library Tent or MFAC.

Boarder Use
Boarders will use Boardingware to complete morning health checks. Upon confirmation that form is complete students will receive a bracelet to wear indicating the form was completed for the day.
What is the Morning Health Check Form?
The health check form will help keep all members of our community safe. All students will participate honestly in a self-screening to report any COVID related symptoms and will have their temperatures taken every morning before entering the school community.

First Week of In-Person Learning
The first week of in-person operations have asked us all to learn a very new mode of operations, and we are grateful for the flexibility of faculty, students and families alike in adapting to the new routines. We will continue to listen to feedback and make adjustments as we move forward. While our in-person routines may be new, the work of our classes is gaining momentum, and students will start to see graded work assigned and returned in classes, and an uptick in the number of assessments and projects.

For some students, the feedback they will receive may be challenging, and they may reach out to process it with you. Please reinforce the message that part of the experience here means they will be "stretched," and they have all of the support needed to help them rise to the challenge. In particular, your student's advisor is a very helpful resource in connecting students to the many elements of our support network here at school.

Please also be mindful that we report cumulative grade information to families following the close of each quarterly marking period, or window. Faculty compose narrative comments to accompany grades at the close of Windows One and Three only. Families will receive a summary of each student's overall life at school in the form of an Advisor letter at the close of each semester (in January and June). Window One will conclude on November 6, with grades and comments posted to the NetClassroom interface on the Parent Portal on November 23.

If you would like to know more about your student's progress in the meantime, please be in touch with the student's advisor. As a school, we believe that the advisor serves an integral function in the life of the student, acting as a coach and the primary communicator with that student's family about that student's progress. The advisor's communication with families is crucial, as the advisor is able to provide meaningful context, goal-setting, and guidance alongside raw feedback, integrating the information from all parts of a student's life into a meaningful whole.

VIDEO: Mr. Camp’s Getting Lost Class

Check out this video from Mr. Camp’s "Getting Lost" class. Mr. Camp provides an overview of the first week of class and shows how students are working hard and staying positive.
E&R Laundry
For the 2020-2021 academic year, St. Mark’s School and E&R – The Campus Laundry will once again partner to provide laundry services to all interested students to better meet our community’s needs. For many years St. Mark’s School has partnered with E&R Cleaners - The Campus Laundry. This has been a way that E&R can help ease students into campus life by offering them a break in their increasingly busy schedules. Today, the service E&R provides students is more valuable than ever. We are fortunate to have E&R’s nearly 100 years of cleaning expertise available to you and strongly recommend that you take advantage of their services to help your student keep as clean and safe as possible.

For more information and to view E&R Laundry’s October promotion, select this link.

Please Note - To students residing in our Main Building dormitories:
We are excited to see you next week when you return to campus! Currently, construction is being completed to the new Gallery Entrance at the East side of the building. This addition to our Main Building will add a fully accessible entrance to this location. The student laundry room for the Main Building is adjacent to this work and will need to be closed for most of October and November. As a result, the School is covering the costs of the E&R Laundry service for the Fall for all four dormitories in the Main Building which includes Gaccon, Thayer, Coe, and Sawyer. This will include the "Look Sharp Plan" which was shown on the flyer by E&R Laundry earlier this week and includes laundering of all articles of clothing and even including dry cleaning as needed. E&R Laundry will create a laundry bag with you name on it and the service includes pick up of clothes on Tuesdays and return of clean clothes on Fridays.

Let us know if you have any questions. You will be automatically signed up for the service.
Weekend Activities 
What's up this weekend? Select this link to view this weekend's campus activities.
Wellness & Health Services News
Wellness Weekly Check-Ins
The Wellness Department has added weekly check-ins to its voluntary programming. Our student's in the St. Mark's community are seeking alternative ways to interact in these unprecedented times. Over the course of the full academic year the Wellness Department will offer two opportunities for an entire form to meet within a week. Monday and Thursday night at 9:30 p.m. one form will have the ability to have a conversation with each other and an adult from the community. This will be a great way to keep everyone engaged and to make sure that our school continues to be safe and healthy.

New Counselor: Welcome, Robin Brown!
St. Mark’s is proud to welcome Robin Brown to the counseling team this semester! 
Robin holds a B.A. from UMass Amherst and received her graduate degree from Simmons College School of Social Work. Robin is a skilled clinician with over twenty years of experience in residential programs, therapeutic schools, youth and family services, and private practice.  
She currently works at Blackstone Valley Regional Vocational Technical High School supporting students with issues of anxiety, depression, self-harm, relationship problems, school performance, family dynamics, and substance use. In addition, Robin provides school-wide workshops on healthy relationships, suicide prevention, vaping, relapse prevention, and stress management.
Robin will be at St. Mark's on Mondays and Thursdays and will assist with the weekend on call schedule.

Peer Discussion Groups | III Form 
Peer Discussion Groups (PDG) are back up and running this year! All III Formers had a remote PDG on Tuesday, September 22, and continued on Friday, October 2, with in-person PDGs meetings. 
Our groups are smaller this year due to room occupancy and we have two fully remote PDGs and one hybrid class with students both in-person and remote.  
Additionally, many thanks to the Peer Discussion Leaders (PDL) who have met over the summer for training and preparation: Adam Costley, Sam Galanek, Abby Griffin, Sahil Gupta, Cam Lynch, Brady Leonard, Erin O'Keefe, Michael Fisher, Natalie Zaterka, Jackie Zatsiorsky, Pete Maro, Grady St. John, Hannah Mcleod, Riley Schumacher, Andy Zhou, and Joy Wei .  
We are looking forward to a great year with our new III Formers!
Scenes from Campus: SmugMug Galleries 
At St. Mark’s we build resiliency, emphasize the importance of collaboration, embrace connections, and strive to bring out the best in each other. These first days back have been nothing short of that.

We invite you to take a look at the photos galleries below of scenes from our first week back of in-person learning. 

First day on campus:

Academic classes:

Admission News | Upcoming Events
Community & Equity Virtual Open House - Saturday, October 17

Save the date and stay tuned for more information to follow!

Explore St. Mark’s - Thursday, November 5

Do you know a family that might be interested in learning more about St. Mark’s School? Interested families are invited to connect with admission representatives and current students during Explore St. Mark’s on Thursday, November 5 from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. More details to follow in the coming weeks about this event. 

Registration for Explore St. Mark’s can be found here:
Spiritual Reflections
Twice a week, we gather for prayer, meditation and reflection, St. Mark's School style. The Chaplains at St. Mark's would like to offer that same kind of reflection to you, twice a week, by email. Reflections will be short and inclusive: mindful of the present, but rooted in the eternal. Sign up if you are interested, and spread the word!
Parents’ Association
Book Club: Wednesday, October 7 from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. EDT. 

The first 2020-2021 St. Mark’s Parent/Faculty/Staff book club will take place via Zoom. For those who have attended in the past, please note the new time.

Any adult within our community is welcome to join! That goes for faculty/staff/SM parents/spouses or significant others/LEOS too.

Participants selected two summer reading titles, The Stationery Shop by Marjan Kamali, and This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger. Please join us for some discussion and a bit of socializing.

Email Laurie Kalapinski at or Joanne Flathers at to receive the Zoom link. Invitations will be sent the morning of Wednesday, October 7.

If you have questions or want to be added to our email list, contact Joanne Flathers P’15, ’19, ’21 at or Laurie Kalapinski, admission coordinator, at
We look forward to getting together and another year of good reads and book club meetings.

Parent Virtual Meet & Greet: Thursday, October 8, 8:00 to 9:00 p.m. EDT

This will be a terrific opportunity for new parents, as well as existing parents who have new students, to connect with each other, ask questions, and learn more about the student experience at St. Mark’s. 

Welcoming Remarks by
  • John C. Warren ’74, Head of School
  • Michelle and Tom Davis P’21, Parents’ Association Co-chairs
  • Mike Pellini P’20, ’23, Annual Fund Parent Chair

No registration required. You will receive an email with the Zoom link about an hour before the event. 

Contact Advancement Projects Coordinator Gage Gillis at 508.786.6289 or for more information.

Volunteer Opportunities

St. Mark’s parents are automatically members of the Parents’ Association (PA).
Intended to keep parents connected to the School, as well as each other, the PA offers events, meetings, and volunteer opportunities that provide insight into the School community as well as ways to support the faculty, staff, and students.
We are seeking volunteers to fill the new positions of Form Parent Representatives. Parents may choose to pair up with others in their Form to share these responsibilities:
  • Provide a line of communication between the Form parents and PA Chairs, and work closely with the PA Chairs to provide successful parent programs.
  • Attend in person or virtually a Form representative kick-off meeting.
  • Attend Parent Speaker Series/Parent Association meetings, when possible, and encourage other Form parents to attend.
  • Host virtual meetings for Form parents, organized by the Advancement Office.
  • Welcome new parents to your Form.
  • For III and IV Forms, attend winter Parent Chats, if possible.
  • Host, or secure hosts, for two Form events a year, either in person or virtually.
  • If possible, attend Family Weekend, and volunteer to help staff events.
  • Support St. Mark’s with a gift to the Annual Fund.
  • Parents need not live nearby to participate—parents around the country and the world are invited to volunteer. This volunteer opportunity can be achieved virtually.
  • The Admission Office is seeking St. Mark's parents to be on Zoom chats with prospective parents on set days and times, expected to be held a couple of times each week October through January. Please stay tuned for more information about this volunteer opportunity.

If you are interested, contact Gage Gillis at
For other volunteer opportunities, please complete the 
Calendar News:
October 7 - St. Mark’s Parent/Faculty/Staff book club meeting
October 8 - Parent Virtual Meet & Greet, 8:00 p.m. EDT
October 17 - Admission - Virtual Open House - Community & Equity
November 5 - Admission - Explore St. Mark's