November Letter from the Assistant Headmaster
November 15, 2017

Dear Parents,

Many of you are about to have your teenager back in your home, possibly for the first time since August. Some particularly generous folks are even hosting teenagers who are not their own for the break, which we truly appreciate.
As part of our mission to educate the whole student, we have spent the fall helping your children think about the decisions they are making as they develop towards adulthood. I wanted to make you aware of a great quick talk by Dr. Lisa Damour that provides some insight into how to approach helping your teenager become an adult. First, Dr. Damour notes that we need to help students think not in terms of how to get away with things, but instead how to be focused on the real and sometimes dangerous consequences of one’s actions. She calls this “helping teenagers get better at risk assessment.” Dr. Damour gives a great example of how to approach a conversation about texting and driving. The goal is to help teenagers switch from the “I can get away with texting and driving,” to “I don’t want to text and drive because I put other people in danger.”
Second, Dr. Damour notes that we all have crazy spots — or our own hang ups and peccadillos. The point at which both parents and children understand our respective issues is a watershed moment when children shift from being children to becoming adults. This requires the development of empathy for you, as the parent and a person.
Third, Dr. Damour points to how helping children become adults is a team effort. We are thrilled to be working with your children on this growth period and appreciate the work you, too, are doing to support your children. Dr. Damour’s video can be found here .
A final thought, not from Dr. Damour but from me, has to do with the idea of a grace period. A product of boarding school myself, I knew that I had a couple of days once I returned home on break to have a grace period of sorts. My parents, just happy to have me around, may have let me get away with more than they might have otherwise. I share this mostly because the arrival of your child back to your home — whether she or he is a boarding or day student (as day students spend so much of their time here) — will cause a bit of a transition for your household. While I know in large part it will be a wonderful homecoming, I also know that transitions are often times when strange things happen. For example, we know that we sometimes see an increase in homesickness post-breaks, even from students who seemed well settled before the break.
All of this is to say that we hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and trust that you will get lots of insights from your children about how their experience is unfolding at Taft. We have had a great fall — from the first bell to a great Spirit Week, Red Rally, and Hotchkiss Day. The return from break will be busy with exams and the short hop to the next break. As ever, I appreciate your feedback and questions.

Happy Thanksgiving and safe travels.
Jeremy LaCasse
Assistant Headmaster
From the Dean's Office
Please plan your travel carefully. The last classes on Saturday morning, November 18 or Wednesday, December 13 are as important as any other. It is important that your child be here to attend those classes.

Through the Dean’s Office, your child may arrange transportation to local train stations, regional airports, or New York City. Please have your child contact Mike Blomberg in the Dean’s Office for details.
From the Director of Residential Life
For Thanksgiving Break, all students need to be off campus by Sunday, 11/19 at noon. The dorms will re-open Sunday, 11/26 at noon.

For the December Holiday Break, all students need to be off campus by Thursday, 12/14 at noon. The dorms will re-open Monday, 1/1 at noon.

Prior to departure for holiday break, all students need to have their room checked by a faculty member. This entails having trash emptied, all perishable food items cleared out of the room, floor swept or vacuumed, windows closed and locked, beds made, and desk cleared.
From the Alumni & Development Office
The Alumni and Development Office will host two holiday receptions, one in New York on December 7 and one in Chicago on December 11 . The events and details about them will be listed at: .
From the Communications Office
Interested in learning more about what is going on every day at Taft? Parents are encouraged to follow Taft’s social media channels, listed in the footer of this email. Photos of arts, athletics, and other events are available to view and download at . And videos of Taft speakers are posted on the Taft Vimeo channel .
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