News from the St. Mark's Dean of Students, Dean of Academics, and Dean of Faculty
May 1, 2020
Welcome to May! A shout out to the Alexander and Harper families who correctly identified the spot of last week’s introduction video. I was outside the Library entrance to the Library Quad near the lion statue.
Academic News
Attention VI Form Parents!
Over the past several weeks, a team of faculty has been hard at work to create a plan for the final two weeks of the VI Form year. We listened carefully to students, and while we know our plan will not fully replicate Lion Term, we are confident that we did capture two key themes:

  • student choice and independence
  • the desire to break away from the computer

Please watch this introductory video created by Mr. Camp and Ms. Cook. After watching the video, we ask that VI Form students please complete this quick mandatory survey . Student responses are the key to our ability to move forward.   
Once we have the results from the survey, we will organize and be back in touch with students, advisors, and parents or guardians about the next steps. 
We are excited about the possibilities that exist for continued learning and collaboration in this plan and look forward to working with you all during this home stretch of your time at St. Mark's. Successful completion of this experience is a required part of the VI Form program. Thank you!

Remote LEO is Here!
LEO Season 7, Issue 10 is here, and it's all about the humanities. It's our first issue of remote learning, so be sure to support your classmates from afar. Learn about witch hangings, gender pay gaps, teen angst, systemic racism in literature, poetry en español, and ... Moana !
View work by Amanda Wang, Grace Li & Rebecca Wu, Catie Summers, Allison Bechard, Lina Zhang, and Nick Sparrow!

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 the survey .

Congratulations to the St. Mark’s Poetry Week Contest Winners
Thank you to all who participated by reading and writing poems last week ! I was overwhelmed by the quantity and quality of submissions, so I want to express how grateful I am to be in such a creative community.  
And now [drum roll], the winners of the St. Mark's Poetry Week Contests are…

Collaborative Contests
Best collaborative poem about living and working in isolation: 
Padma Mynampaty and Kendall Sommers with "2001"

Best poet and artist collaboration: 
Kendall Sommers and Lily Wang Luo with "Sealed With Gold"

Best poem written by an advisory group on food: 
Ms. Donovan, Jiamin Li, and Shin Yeong Park with "Comforting"

Individual Contests
Best poem by an individual that only uses words beginning with S and M: 
1st place: France Hornbostel with "Sandy Simplicity"
2nd place: Kendall Sommers with "Meaning More"
3rd place: Maeve Ahern with "St. Mark's Mornings"

Best overall individual poem:
1st place: Naila Strong with "Until It Is Time To Go Out"
2nd place: Jane Dubrova with "Lullaby for the End of the World"
3rd place: Louise He with "The Void"

Best poem written by an alumnus/alumna of St. Mark’s:
1st place: Nick Noble '76 with "Reflections on an Uncertain Present"
2nd place: Finnegan Schick with "A Coronapoem"
3rd place: Courtney Flynn with "untitled"

You can read the winning poems on the Poetry Week webpage here: 
Center News
Resource from the Center - Questioning Mindset
One common skill we are trying to develop across the curriculum is a "questioning mindset." Warren Berger , an influential researcher on the science of "questioning," has recently written a short article with tips on how educators can help learners develop this important skill. If you are curious about how you might help your St. Marker develop a questioning mindset, we invite you to take a look: A Tool for Uncertain Times by Warren Berger .
Academic Support
This week a group of dedicated Student Mentors held drop-in office hours for students who needed academic assistance. Next week, St. Markers will be able to email these mentors directly to arrange for 1:1 help if needed.
Screentime & COVID-19
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. 

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:
Campus News
SDC Members Announced
Congratulations next year’s members of the Student Discipline Committee!              
VI Form: Leila Frederick (Head of SDC), Tom Haugen
V Form: Jackie Zatsiorsky, Thomas Li
IV Form: Darius Wagner, Avery King

Pathway Prefects Announced
Congratulations to Sam Wang (V former from Jiangxi, China), Bannon Jones (V former from Jamaica Plain, MA), Vianey Morris (V former from Chicago, IL), and Daniella Pozo (IV former from Bronx, NY) for being selected as Pathways Prefects next year!

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:  
Dean's Office News
Advisor Selection
Advisor Request Form will go out to students on Friday. 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 , I talked about this process in last week’s newsletter. If you missed it, here is the link .
Admission News
Thank You! | Re-Enrollment Process
To our families: We want to thank you so much for being so respectful and adhering to the re-enrollment process for the 2020-2021 school year especially during this difficult time. We know how challenging the last few months have been. For anyone who is not fully 're-enrolled' yet, Anne Behnke will soon be reaching out individually if your family is missing anything for your students’ re-enrollment. Full re-enrollment includes completed online contract and submitted/received registration deposit. Anne Behnke has so enjoyed having the opportunity to connect with many of you already and will continue to reach out with reminders or if you need help or have questions. Thank you again!   
Parents’ Association News
Parent/Faculty/Staff book club
The May meeting of the St. Mark’s Parent/Faculty/Staff book club will take place via Zoom meeting on Thursday, May 21, from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m.
Interested in attending? Please reply to this email or email your interest anytime to Laurie Kalapinski at or Joanne Flathers at to receive the Zoom link invitation the morning of Thursday, May 21. As always, interest does not mean obligation. We understand that circumstances can change quickly.
We will discuss what members are reading, have read, or plan to read, if any titles at all. As this will be our final book club meeting for the 2019-2020 academic year, we also will be putting together a listing of summer reading book titles.
From the April Zoom meeting we learned that members are still reading, albeit, whether consciously or subconsciously, leaning their reading genres more toward light fiction.
Titles members are currently reading or mentioned as their favorite adult reading titles include (in no particular order): 

  • The Enlightenment of Bees by Rachel Linden
  • The Feast Nearby: How I Lost My Job, Buried a Marriage, and Found My Way by Keeping Chickens, Foraging, Preserving, Bartering, and Eating Locally by Robin Mather
  • Moloka’i by Alan Brennert
  • Unfinished Journey by Yehudi Menuhin
  • Circling the Sun by Paula McLain
  • Three Days at the Brink by Bret Baier
  • Educated by Tara Westover
  • My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman
  • A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
  • The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
  • A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
  • The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See
  • Sourdough by Robin Sloan
  • Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang
  • Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
Members are looking to home bookshelves, virtual local library services, Little Library projects around their hometowns, Nook/Kindle book downloads, and Amazon in search of their next read. Have any book title resource “places” to share while we await the return of public libraries and bookstores? Send them along, thanks!
Happy reading,
Laurie Kalapinski
Joanne Flathers
Co-chairs 2019-2020
Faculty and Staff Appreciation on May 18
Just as the School has had to pivot to remote learning, we’re thinking of innovative ways to convey our appreciation for all that the faculty and staff do year-round and during this pandemic. We invite you to recognize those who go above and beyond in the classroom, on the athletic field, in our homes (both on campus and remotely), and everywhere else at St. Mark’s.
Here’s how you can help:

  • Tell us why you appreciate St. Mark’s faculty and staff. Provide a general note of thanks or explain how they have impacted you.

  • Take a photo of yourself and your family, maybe even the pets! You can even add a note, poster, or sticker in your photo. Be creative!
Throughout the day on May 18 we’ll post the notes and photos on St. Mark’s social media.
Want to send a note to a specific faculty or staff member? Please email them directly on May 18. Find their email on the School directory .
Don’t forget to check out St. Mark’s social media on May 18!
Parent Town Hall Follow-up
Thank you to all of the families who joined the Form Parent Town Halls April 21 and 22.
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:
If you have further questions please contact Stephanie Katz, director of advancement programs, at . 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.
St. Mark's News:
April Head's Reflection - St. Mark's Spring 2020: Embracing a Remote Approach to School
When the news of the Novel Coronavirus (later named COVID-19) was first reported late in 2019, its worldwide impact was hard to imagine. Indeed, the impact on school operations was unimaginable to many of us even in early March when the only question we thought we needed to answer was whether the School's Spring Break travel programs—cultural and athletic—could proceed. Shortly thereafter, of course, the educational landscape changed radically. The focus immediately became how to develop an outstanding remote academic program, an outstanding approach to caring for our students, faculty and staff, and an outstanding approach to maintaining routines that would keep our community feeling together even while apart. We immediately recognized that the focus of our planning for the time of physical separation needed to be comprehensive: academic and personal, individual and collective.

Engineering Students Use Minecraft to Recreate Campus
Engaging in hands-on work remotely creates obstacles for science students, but one creative band of St. Mark's engineers is taking a proactive approach to their subject, using the video game Minecraft.

From a Distance: Visual Art Still Flourishing for St. Markers
During this time of remote learning, the visual arts remain an integral part of the St. Mark's curriculum. Veteran art teachers Barbara Putnam and Aggie Belt have been assigning art projects to their students and have been receiving the results of St. Markers' creative and resourceful efforts.

Theater Arts Goes In-Depth with Remote Learning
During this time of remote learning, the visual arts remain an integral part of the St. Mark's curriculum. Veteran art teachers Barbara Putnam and Aggie Belt have been assigning art projects to their students and have been receiving the results of St. Markers' creative and resourceful efforts.

Music at St. Mark's Now Looking Ahead
You might think that, given the limits of technology, group music classes, like team athletics, would be suffering the most during these demanding times. Yet James Wallace, director of music and art department head at St. Mark's, has kept the School's music program going by looking ahead.

Calendar News:
May 9 - PDL and House Prefects Announced
Week of May 11 - Housing Lottery
May 18 - Faculty and Staff Appreciation
May 21 - Parent/Faculty/Staff book club