News from the St. Mark's Dean of Students, Dean of Academics, and Dean of Faculty
November 7, 2020
Important Parent Survey Coming Monday
On Monday, November 9, you will receive an email from Head of School John C. Warren that will include a link to an important survey for parents. The survey will help us gain information about your impressions of the fall experience and will complement the student survey that was administered in October. Please take a few moments to complete the survey before November 16. Thank you!

Academics News
Window One closes today, Friday, November 6. As a reminder, faculty will be at work in the coming weeks finalizing grades and narrative comments, which will be available through our new Parent Portal on November 23.  

We are immensely proud of the adaptations our students and faculty have made over the course of this marking period to very different ways of operating in the classroom, and the ways that our learning community has stayed connected. Students will be hearing feedback in the weeks ahead on the work submitted over the past few weeks, and we have communicated that this is an opportunity to recalibrate goals, define new strategies, and also to reinforce good habits that are fueling success. 

With the recent advent of Daylight Savings Time, we appreciate the adaptation of members of our community who live in locations that do not observe Daylight Savings, which means that they are another hour "off" from the schedule in the Eastern Standard Time Zone, and perhaps finding it more challenging to connect to class meetings. We have asked for the flexibility of the broader community as we navigate this shift. Some class meetings have and may continue to occur at different times, including the morning and evening remote blocks, and some students may have to join smaller groups or 1:1 meetings with teachers to stay connected with the class. As a reminder, students are excused from classes meeting before 7:45 a.m. and after 11:30 p.m. in their home time zones, and should be communicating with their teachers to identify the right times to connect if class meetings will be happening on campus outside of these times.  

As we look ahead to the December remote period (Dec 1-18) and our return to school in January, a group of faculty, led by Classics Department Head Jeanna Cook and Dean of Academics Nat Waters are working on schedule changes that will provide the right supports for learning based on the lessons we have learned during this first stretch of the year. We will share details of an updated remote learning schedule as we get nearer to Thanksgiving Break, and a January return to school schedule before Winter Break.

Academic Support
Ms. Eslick is offering drop-in office hours for students via Zoom every Wednesday from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. EST. Please encourage your St. Marker to come and chat about learning strategies! Students who cannot attend at this time should email Ms. Eslick for an appointment.

November Boarding Departure Updates 
During the November departure, students will be required to fully pack their rooms and will be able to leave belongings in their rooms. Packing materials will be provided and students will receive details from the Dean of Students Office by email. Boarders are required to complete a November Departure Boardingware leave by Thursday, November 12 to confirm the date of their departure from school. School closes and all students must depart by 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 21.

Athletics 

Join us for Blue/White Play Days - November 11-13, 2020
The Athletic Department is excited to host Blue/White Play Days next week to highlight our student-athletes who have practiced tirelessly this fall. We are so proud of their spirit, effort, and dedication despite the disappointment of no league competition. All the credit goes to our amazing students and coaches!
 
Please note that we will be featuring our teams on different days next week. Varsity on Wednesday and Friday and JV/Thirds on Thursday.
  • Wednesday, November 11, 2:45 p.m. - Boys' Varsity Soccer and Boys' Varsity Football
  • Thursday, November 12, 3:30 p.m.- JV & Thirds Girls' Soccer, Boys’ Soccer, and Field Hockey
  • Friday, November 13, 2:45 p.m. - Girls’ Varsity Soccer, Girls’ Varsity Field Hockey, Boys’ and Girls’ Cross Country.

We hope your schedule allows you to come out and cheer on our student-athletes. If so, please support our health and safety protocols in being socially distant outside your family group, and by wearing a mask at all times. Also, please know that you will not be able to access the School's indoor spaces.
 
Fingers crossed for good weather and we hope to see you next week!

National Letter of Intent (NLI) Signing - Wednesday, November 11
During School Meeting on Wednesday, November 11, six St. Mark’s student-athletes will sign National Letters of Intent (NLIs) to officially commit to athletic programs at the college or university level. More details to come.


COVID-19 Testing Update
We have completed seven weeks of community COVID-19 testing on campus for our adult community and for day and boarding students. Thank you to our students for their cooperation with the testing process. As a reminder, St. Mark’s will only be in touch with families if there is an issue with their child’s test. We will no longer contact families each week to confirm that their child has tested negative for COVID-19. Please contact healthservices@stmarksschool.org if you have any questions about your child’s test. 

Book the Residence Inn for January Quarantine
If you wish to book a room at the Residence Inn Boston Framingham for quarantine prior to the start of January classes, please use this link: https://www.marriott.com/event-reservations/reservation-link.mi?id=1603744582202&key=GRP&app=resvlink. Rooms are available from January 2 through January 20. Students must quarantine for 14 days before arriving at St. Mark’s for the first day of in-person classes on Tuesday, January 19. The last day to book is Monday, December 28.



AP Testing 
All IV, V and VI form students received information on how to register for the May 2021 AP exams. Even though the exams are administered in the spring, the deadline to register for a test and to avoid a late fee is November 12. Before a student registers for the test, we recommend that they consult with their teacher, advisor, and perhaps a college counselor, to make sure that taking an AP exam is the right choice for them.  
 
Important AP information:  
  • Registration is done through the student's College Board account following these instructions
  • Each exam has a unique alphanumeric join code. Select this link to view the Join Codes for each AP exam.
  • At this point, the College Board is still planning to offer paper-based tests during the first two weeks in May: Monday, May 3, to Friday, May 14 during the school day.
  • The cost for each exam is $95 and will be billed to your child's Lion Card in May. Students who qualify for College Board fee waivers for the SAT may also qualify for reduced fees for the APs.
  • There is no unused test fee.  
  • There is a late fee of $40 per exam ordered after the November 12 deadline

If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to Mary Ann Ciampa (maryannciampa@stmarksschool.org).

Wellness News
IV Formers had their first class of NRS (Nutrition, Relationship, and Substances) last Friday, October 30. Guided by Ashley Maddock, the entire form was led through a discussion of what the six essential nutrients makeup both a balanced meal and diet. The conversation was facilitated through the Zoom platform and the students were split up into breakout rooms to construct breakfast, lunch, and dinner using the six essential nutrients as building blocks. Here is the article that was shared with everyone to serve as both a reminder and to aid the fourth form in this activity.
 
Weekend Activities
What's up this weekend? Select this link to view this weekend's campus activities.
Chapel News

Confirmation and Baptism at St. Mark's 
Christian confirmation and baptism preparation for students is held on campus beginning in late February. This preparation leads up to a service in our own Belmont Chapel in late April, assuming our progress on COVID-19 makes such a service possible. Students from all Forms and denominations are welcome to participate. If you and your child are interested in this program, contact Head Chaplain Barbara Talcott.

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!

Alumna in Chapel Highlights Memorial Project in Kenya
On Tuesday, October 27, St. Mark's alumna Jess Danforth '02 was the speaker for morning chapel. She shared with the school community the story of her best friend, fellow St. Marker Caitlin O'Hara '01 (pictured at left), who died at the age of 33 of complications from cystic fibrosis. Danforth then introduced the work she was doing in East Africa as a memorial to her friend: the Leo Project. Read More.
 
Admission News

Parent Volunteers Needed
The Admission Office is seeking parent volunteers to meet with prospective parents virtually this season. Since we are unable to hold these meetings on campus 'in the parlor,' we are shifting them to Zoom sessions. They will be held three times a week, every week (except during Thanksgiving break and winter break). Each will be roughly 30 minutes in length. If you helped in the past and would like to assist with these or you haven't been able to volunteer in the parlor before due to your location away from campus, now is your opportunity! We'd love to have you.
 
If you are interested in volunteering for this purpose, please contact our Head Admission Parent Volunteer, Marisa Macri P '21 at marisamacri@comcast.net. Marisa will be able to provide you with more information on these sessions along with the SignUpGenius information with the volunteer schedule. Additionally, if you have any other questions about these, feel free to reach out to Jenny Golding P '07,'09,'13, in the Admission Office at jennifergolding@stmarksschool.org.


Parents’ Association
Below is a list of upcoming events. Please reach out to Parents’ Association Co-chairs Michelle and Tom Davis P’21 at St.MarksPA@gmail.com if you have any questions.
 
Parent Speaker Series - November 10, 7:30 p.m. EST
Topic: Highlights of a St. Mark's Education
Presented by the Parents' Association
Join other parents and hear from teachers and students about St. Mark’s signature programs. Learn what makes St. Mark’s unique and how expert faculty members are guiding our perennial programs through these unusual times. 
Faculty panelists include Laura Appell-Warren, John Camp, Christopher Kent, and David Palmer. Event moderated by Colleen Worrell.
A Zoom link will be sent an hour before the event. 
 
Parent/Faculty/Staff Book Club - November 11, 3:00-4:00 p.m. EST
Topic: A Discussion About The Red Address Book
Contact Joanne Flathers P’15, ’19, ’21 (joanne@flathersfamily.net)
or Laurie Kalapinski (lauriekalapinski@stmarksschool.org) for more information.
 
Learn & Lead Parent Stump Trivia - November 18, 8:00-9:15 p.m. EST
Please join current parent Amy Frederick P'21 as she leads a fun and interactive evening of stump trivia! We have been missing all of the face-to-face personal connections this year, and this is a great opportunity to socialize with other parents. Register online here to join in the fun. 
 
Service of Lessons & Carols - December 16, 8:00-9:00 p.m. EST
Join us for the traditional service of Lessons & Carols, presented virtually this year. More details to follow.

Important Note: Topics, dates, and times are subject to change. Updated details will be in the Deans’ Weekly and upcoming parent emails.
Calendar News:
November 6 - Window One Closes
November 9 - Important Parent Survey Launches
November 10 - Parent Speaker Series
November 11 - Parent/Faculty/Staff Book Club Meeting
November 18 - Learn & Lead: Trivia and Form Connections
November 23 - Window One Grades posted in the Parent Portal
December 16 - Service of Lessons & Carols