News from the St. Mark's Dean of Students, Dean of Academics, and Dean of Faculty
November 20, 2020
NEW: Clarification on Status Requests for Winter and Spring

To clarify a point from Thursday’s communication to parents, families may request boarding, day, or remote status for the full period of time between January and May. In addition, in order to provide flexibility for students who may wish to be remote for a portion of the winter and spring while also ensuring consistency in our classrooms and residential Houses, the School will offer two sets of “arrival and departure” dates for students who wish to change status during the winter and spring: 
 
1. Arrive January 16- 18, Depart mid-to-late March (exact date to be announced)
This option is for students who wish to start as boarding students and change to day or remote status in March. March departure dates will be available in December.  
 
2. Arrive mid-to-late March (exact date to be announced), Depart end of year
This option is for students who wish to start as remote or day students and change to boarding status in March. Information about specific arrival dates will be available in December.
Please complete this form by December 2 to request your child’s status.
Thanksgiving Break & January Quarantine 

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. Please note, the rooms should be booked in your student’s name and St. Mark’s staff will assist with transportation from Logan Airport to the hotel and to St. Mark’s. Students should plan to check in by January 4.

The last day to book is Monday, December 28. Please book your reservation through our unique link so that our students will be together in the same block. If anyone has specific questions about the Residence Inn, please reach out to Director of Admission Anne Behnke at annebehnke@stmarksschool.org.

NEW: Academic News

Remote Schedule Update
As shared previously, we have been at work on adjustments for the daily schedule for our upcoming remote periods: December 1- December 15, and January 4-15Please note that we will have our annual fall Professional Development Day on November 30, so classes will not be in session that day.  
 
You will find a copy of the schedule here.
 
For more details on the schedule, you can view an explainer video here.  

Remote Schedule Notes
We are sensitive to the impacts of the different time zones on student access to class meetings, and have worked to schedule in a way that takes these needs into consideration. Students are expected to meet all class and community obligations happening between 7:30 a.m. and 11:30 p.m. in their local home time zones. We have asked them to communicate with teachers and advisors to be sure we have identified the right times to meet, as well as any obstacles (technology, home life, etc ... ) that may be making it challenging for them to connect. Please note that this timing is a slight shift from the earlier expectation, but one that we hope still sets a reasonable school baseline.    

Teachers will be working flexibly with the schedule to identify three touchpoints for students over the course of the week—two "live" or synchronous connections, and one "at your own pace" or asynchronous connection. Teachers will set meeting times with an understanding of the time zones on their roster. In some cases, the whole class will be able to be together each day; in others, teachers will gather smaller groups of students in different blocks at times that work for them. As before, work should only be due on days where the course is scheduled to meet, and the total investment of time for courses (live classes and out of class work) should be no more than five to six hours for regular courses, and six to seven for advanced courses each week. 

Please note that per usual, experiential learning courses will not meet in the period between the Thanksgiving and Winter Breaks. We look forward to the resumption of this programming when we return in person after January 19.   
 
Just as in in-person operation, we are here to help overcome any challenges that may come up, but are asking students to be self-advocates, and access their support networks. 
 
January Schedule
As we look ahead to our return to campus in January, a group of faculty will continue working with community input—including data from the recent student and parent surveys—to redefine the right approach to an in-person +remote schedule for the winter, and will share a follow-up update in December.  
 
We are still discussing whether to preserve the current approach to Wednesdays as remote class days, and experiential learning programming during the five day class week, as opposed to on Saturdays. As you can see from our remote schedule, we are imagining that Wednesday is a more robust day for class meetings, and have preserved space in our community blocks to locate experiential learning coursework. In either eventuality, we would be committed to supporting virtual connections for remote students and day students for whom it would be hardship to get to campus on these days. 


Updated: Introducing Your New Parent Portal 
We are pleased to off the launch of our new parent portal! Parents and guardians received a Parent Portal launch email on Tuesday, November 17 with detailed step-by-step instructions, as well as tutorial videos, to assist in the transition to the new portal. Please visit www.stmarksschool.org/login-setup to set up your account. If you have any trouble retrieving your username or resetting your password, please view this tutorial video. As a reminder, Window One grades will be available on the portal on Monday, November 23.

New: College Counseling 

Class of 2022 

College Counseling Q&A Zoom
Mark your calendar - Thursday, December 10, 2020, 8:00 p.m. EST. V Form (Students & Parents) Zoom Meeting. Review of College Counseling Calendar for Spring - Q &A. Details with Zoom address to follow.

Class of 2022 & 2023
 
Practice SAT and ACT Exam Information
As we head into the final days before the Thanksgiving break, we wanted to be in touch with some information about upcoming opportunities to take practice SAT and ACT exams.
 
*This is a full-length SAT practice not and not the PSAT.
 
Academic Approach, our partner for test prep, is generously offering full-length practice versions of the SAT and ACT for any interested students. This year, given COVID-related restrictions, we will administer online via Zoom on consecutive Saturdays in December:

  • SAT - 10:00 a.m. EST Saturday, December 5, 2020
  • ACT - 10:00 a.m. EST Saturday, December 12, 2020
 
Students will be able to download and print a copy of the test or view an electronic version. They will complete an answer sheet and submit it directly to Academic Approach for scoring.  
 
Academic Approach will score the tests and send results to students and the college counseling office by December 18. While the tests are full-length, “retired” tests, they are not official; therefore, scores are not official and can not be used for purposes other than those described above.  
 
If you are interested in having your child take either test, please fill out the form found here:


The forms are set to collect email addresses automatically but can only be completed by those with a St. Mark’s email address; please have the student complete the form. Please note that the form also includes information related to the spring online SAT and ACT prep classes offered by Academic Approach. 
 
If you have any questions, please contact Eric Monheim at ericmonheim@stmarksschool.org.  
Updated: Admission Announcements
Do you know a family or student interested in attending St. Mark’s School? If so, please share our upcoming opportunities to connect with admission representatives, faculty, and current students to learn more about the topics below. Please register in advance below. After registering, participants will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
 
Student Life - Admission Virtual Open House
Tuesday, December 1, 2020, 7:00-8:00 p.m. EST 
Connect with members of our Dean of Students Office and current students to learn more about our clubs, weekend activities, and residential life program at St. Mark’s.
 
College Counseling - Admission Virtual Open House
Saturday, December 12, 2020, 10:00-11:00 a.m. EST
Connect online with Eric Monheim, director of college counseling; Nora Guyer, associate director of college counseling; Jordan Studevan, assistant director of college counseling; and recent St. Mark's graduates to learn more about our student-centered approach to the college process. A registration link will be available in mid-November.
Register Now:
 
New: Athletics News

Lively Practices, Intrasquad Games Highlight SM Fall Sports
With no in-person competition scheduled against outside opponents this fall, St. Mark's teams and St. Mark's athletes have still managed a productive sports season this autumn. Read More.

Instasquad Game Videos: 
SM Football Sponsors Coat Drive for Boys and Girls Club
Thanks to COVID, there have been no outside games on the 2020 calendar for St. Mark's football. Still, the team has not been inactive. Heading into Thanksgiving break, the St. Mark's football players have been collaborating with the Worcester Boys and Girls Club to sponsor a Coat Drive. Read More.

"Virtual Races" Highlight SM Boys' Cross Country Season
St. Mark's boys cross country has not been able to run any live races during the 2020 season because of the pandemic, but it has enjoyed some "virtual" races, where teams run on their own campus and then compare times. Read More.


Parents’ Association

Parent/Staff/Faculty Book Club
December 9, 3:00-4:00 p.m. EST
Our December title is A Long Petal of the Sea by Isabel Allende. At the end of the meeting, we’ll choose a book title to discuss at January’s virtual meeting. Interested in attending? Please email Laurie Kalapinski (lauriekalapinski@stmarksschool.org) or Joanne Flathers P’15, ’19, ’21 (joanne@flathersfamily.net) to receive the Zoom link the morning of December 9.
 
Other books suggested by members, in no particular order:
  • And They Called It Camelot: A Novel of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis by Stephanie Marie Thornton
  • Holding On To Nothing by Elizabeth Chiles Shelburne
  • Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid
  • Together Tea by Marjan Kamali
  • The Red Lotus by Chris Bohjalian

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.

New: Campus News
St. Mark's Celebrates Spirit Week in Groton-less Autumn
There were no Groton games this fall, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, but that didn't stop the St. Mark's chapel program, the 2020-2021 Monitors, and the students on the St. Mark's Athletic Council from celebrating the traditional "Spirit Week" in days before what would have been a weekend of games with longtime rival Groton School. Read More.
Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Now at St. Mark's
This past weekend, Rob Kuklewicz, chief financial and operations officer at St. Mark's, announced the completed installation of four electric vehicle charging stations on campus. Read More.

Calendar News:
November 21 - School Closes for Thanksgiving Break
November 23 - Window One Grades posted in the Parent Portal
November 30 - No Classes
December 9 - Parent/Faculty/Staff Book Club 
December 10 - College Counseling Q&A Zoom, V Form Students & Parents
December 16 - Service of Lessons & Carols
December 28 - Last day to book the Residence Inn for January Quarantine