News from the St. Mark's Dean of Students, Dean of Academics, and Dean of Faculty
April 24, 2020
Show your Lion Pride!
Launch of Online Store
We are excited to announce the launch of our online store , your destination for official St. Mark’s apparel! The store will be open for a limited time only, so visit today at
Orders must be received by Sunday, May 10 . Order today!  
 
St. Mark’s School Zoom Backgrounds
Want to show some St. Mark's pride on your next Zoom call? Download one of these St. Mark’s Zoom backgrounds ! Here's some information to get you started: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/210707503-Virtual-Background
Academic News
Plan for Learning at St. Mark’s from May 18 - June 6
  As Mr. Warren shared this week in a message to the community, we have decided to extend Window Four for III, IV and IV Formers through Friday, May 29. Faculty are now at work designing experiences that will extend their current course offerings, and will communicate their plans to their classes in the weeks ahead. A smaller group is also working with members of the VI Form to identify the right format for the separate program for VI Formers, which as Mr. Warren shared, will include a focus on "independent and experiential work (away from the computer screen) done in collaboration with faculty and staff mentors." We will be sharing further details in this space as we identify them.  
 
One detail we can share is that Memorial Day (Monday, May 25) will remain an off day, with no school programming or class meetings.  
 
Remote Learning - Week Four 
Remote Learning for Week Four is in the books. Dean of Academics Nat Waters shared a screencast with faculty and students earlier this week, announcing an adjustment to the synchronous class approach for Vth and VIth formers. After collecting student, faculty, and family feedback, it was evident that a desire and capacity existed among our older students for additional opportunity to connect through Zoom with classmates. While we remain mindful of the trend of "Zoom Fatigue," and the importance of a greater emphasis on asynchronous engagement to support all of our students, we are raising some of the thresholds for synchronous time. Classes for Vth and VIth formers may now meet in Zoom up to two times per week, with the goal of not more than one hour of total synchronous time per week, and not more than 40 minutes in any individual session. We are keeping our expectations for shorter Zoom sessions in place for our III and IV form students. In our evening parent forums this week, we addressed this adjustment, as well as our standing target for about three to four hours of total work per class each week. You can learn more about the Remote Learning program on the Academics page of our website. 
 
Advisors are checking in on students over the course of each week, and are a good point of contact if you have questions about how your student is doing in meeting the expectations in their courses. 


Parent Remote Learning Survey
Please use   this survey  to send us feedback about your family's experience with St. Mark's remote learning. Feedback from this survey will be shared on an ongoing basis with the Academic Council, Community Life Council, head of school, senior administrative team, and others as appropriate. You can return to this survey and submit additional responses at any time. If your feedback varies by child, feel free to submit separate responses. Take Survey .

Poetry Week Recap  
This week, St. Mark's held its annual Poetry Week (during National Poetry Month). A creative writing champion, IV Former Kendall Sommers, conducted our first virtual poetry workshop this week based on one she took through the Pulitzer Center. We also held numerous challenges, contests, a poetry chapel, readings, a Poem-A-Day, and more, synchronously and asynchronously. To view and listen to some of the poetry from this past week, select this link . Winners of the contests will be announced early next week. 

Gray Colloquium
With the Gray Colloquium speaker series theme still undecided for next year, we have been gathering ideas from the school community and narrowed it down to about five choices. Students have applied for positions of leadership in the Gray Colloquium Student Committee, and membership will be announced next week. Gray Colloquium Student Committee members brainstorm ideas for speakers and presentations, facilitate visits, act as ambassadors for our speakers, and work to promote the Colloquium both inside and outside of the school community. We look forward to announcing the new members of our Gray Colloquium Student Committee soon!
Campus News
Spiritual Reflections
Twice a week, we gathered 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!
 
Join the St. Mark’s B.A.A. 10k Team!
On Sunday, November 22, a team of seven St. Mark’s faculty members will participate in the Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) 10K, presented by Brigham and Women’s Hospital. The team is Lauren Ames, Veronica Barila, Casey Bates, Amanda Hultin, Lindsey Lohwater, Elise Morgan, and KK Roussinos. Please join the team today by clicking "REGISTER" here: https://charity.gofundme.com/o/en/campaign/age-quod-agis  
Dean's Office News
Advisor Selection
Check out the newest LOOM Video from the Deans’ Office focusing on the Advisor Selection Process.
 
Housing Lottery
The housing lottery takes place in mid-May. All St. Markers should reach out with a classmate whom they feel they can room with for the coming academic year. While some singles may be available, they are first granted to House Prefects, followed by VI Formers. Most of our students have roommates for the duration of their time at St. Mark's. As the process nears, encouraging honesty and an open mind are very helpful. 

  • Housing Lottery (selection of numbers) will take place the Week of May 11
  • Single Room Lottery will take place the Week of May 18
  • Housing Selections will take place on May 25
 
Student Leadership Selection Process
In a Loom Video talked about this process in last week’s newsletter. If you missed it, here is the link .
Center News
Rituals and Routines
Rituals and routines help students learn effectively and boost productivity. Here are a few resources on the rituals and routines of “deep work” that will help your St. Maker develop strong habits for lifelong learning and meaningful work:

Resources 
These resources from Harvard's Project Zero hold useful tips & guidance for parents as you support your St. Marker's during remote learning:

COVID-19 Support
Psychologist Lisa Damour, who spoke with St. Mark's parents in 2015, offers support for parents with teens at home due to Covid-19:

Parenting in a Pandemic
These are difficult times for all—and those raising adolescents face a special set of challenges. How do we help teenagers through this hard time when we are feeling unmoored and unsure ourselves? I’ve developed some resources that might help.

New York Times Articles
 
New York Times Book Review Podcast
Parents’ Association News
Parent Town Hall Follow-up
 
Thank you to all of the families who joined the Form Parent Town Halls this past week.
Special thanks to Parents’Association Co-Chairs Michelle and Tom Davis P’21, Head of School John C. Warren ’74, Chief Technology Officer and COVID-19 Task Force Chair Ken Griffin, Dean of Academics Nat Waters, and Dean of Students David Vachris, for their time as well. See the Town Hall recordings below:
 
 
School administrators and the Advancement Office will be following up with families to help answer any remaining questions. You can also reply to Stephanie Katz, director of advancement programs, at stephaniekatz@stmarksschool.org with your questions. In addition, please see the School's COVID-19 Updates webpage for more information.
 
Thank you again for continuing to stay engaged with St. Mark’s. We hope you and your family are healthy and safe.
What’s On Your Mind?
All of us at St. Mark’s are interested to know what is on the minds of our parents during this incredibly challenging time for St. Mark’s families. If you have questions that have not yet been answered or topics that you feel need to be addressed in greater depth, please let us know by emailing communications@stmarksschool.org . We’re all in this together! Thank you.
SM Community Hub News for Friday, April 24 (an abbreviated version)
Wanna play Minecraft?I Wanna build a community while building a community?? Fill out the survey if you would be interested in using an all-school St. Marks server! SURVEY

Thank you for voting in the SDC election. We had a four-way tie in the rising VI Form elections - runoff ballot is out there from Ms. L - please vote. Deadline extended to 8:00 a.m. Sunday. New members will be announced Wednesday, April 29.

Check out these resources:
New planning template Mrs E. created this week- Homework Planner by Date  
If you don't like planning your work by color block, try this instead.

Wellness:
Here is an article that speaks about screen time during Covid-19. These are unusual times and it is important to understand that the use of technology will be important for all of our kids. The article asks you to cut yourself some slack, understand not all screen time is the same, and embrace the boredom of isolation. https://health.usnews.com/wellness/for-parents/articles/screen-time-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic-how-much-is-too-much

Check-Ins: 9:30 p.m. ALL Forms (optional)
Similar to being in the Houses - checking in to seeing who is around, say hi to others, ask questions, say goodnight to somebody other that parents/hosts. 
  • Monday - III Form
  • Tuesday - IV Form
  • Weds - VI Form
  • Thursday - V Form

Today - April 24 Friday


This Weekend
Visit the SM Community Hub Page:
  • See what Ms. K has on Instagram and in the Activities and Club sections
  • Workouts in the Athletic sections

Would you like Rev. Talcott and Rev. Solter to pray for someone (including yourself)? Use this SM Chapel Prayer link
Calendar News:
April 24 - Chapel
May 9 - PDL and House Prefects Announced
Week of May 11 - Housing Lottery