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April 2011

Berwick A c a d e m y

1791 L e t t e r

Creat ivit y Project The Art HOPE

Thursday, April 28 at 7 p.m.

Berwick Academy Whipple Art Center Theater For more information, contact Laura Jaquays, Art HOPE Artist-in-residence, York Hospital Oncology & Infusion Care 207-337-2900 or

w w w . b e r w i c k a c a d e m y . o r g / a r t h o p e 1791 Letter ~ April 2011

message f r o m

Greg Schneider

Head of School

His response was brilliant in its pithiness. “Yeah. Good luck with that.” The Administrator’s Dilemma While I don’t want to give the impression that I have some kind of incredible social life these days, I have to admit that I was back at the Music Hall in Portsmouth once again this month to watch another educational documentary. This time it was the academic treadmill embodied in Race to Nowhere. Not unlike Waiting for Superman, the topic of may last missive, this film has been widely discussed by heads of independent schools everywhere. The two films together create interesting bookends to the national educational debate in many ways, as they seem to offer a bifurcated view of our educational conundrum: on the one hand our system is failing our students in delivering quality academic challenge to all; on the other hand the system is over-valuing academic “production” at the expense of childhood happiness. Both films left me feeling simultaneously grateful for the Berwick community but reinvigorated to maintain our vigilance regarding the happiness and growth of our students. At the end of Race to Nowhere, there is a compelling “to do” list offered for each constituent group involved in the schooling of children, in the hopes of offering a more balanced experience. I began nodding my head as I watched the list unfurl for school administrators, in particular. I elbowed my friend and whispered in his ear. “Notice that the list for school administrators is twice as long as it is for everyone else,” I said. 

All of this made me think of my most trusted partners at Berwick – those on this campus who dutifully come to work each day with the “Admin” label stamped across their backs. They are the ten men and women who listen to me ramble on every Thursday morning as we try to simultaneously decide how to arrange the seating at Earth Day, contemplate new technologies for distance learning, plan the opening of school professional development, complete the needed hiring, matriculate the needed students, revise our bullying policies, align our honor rolls, finish our safety manuals, tweak the dress code, determine spring break for 2012, plan a party, and start a new faculty book club all in 90 minutes. That was in fact our actual meeting this past week, believe it or not. This month, I’d like to offer a few reflections on this group as a whole at Berwick. Before I do that, however, a few comments about the universal administrator’s dilemma might offer some useful context. The administrator’s dilemma in schools is one that is well known to every educational institution. Whether it is a college, university, public, or private school – the inherent imbroglio created by teachers and administrators seems to exist. School administrators straddle a line between minister, business person, boss, visionary, and friend. Most administrators were teachers and coaches at one point themselves (at Berwick, most of us still are), so they know what it is like to work for a deficient leader. Somewhere along the line of an administrator’s career there was some incident, some 1791 Letter ~ April 2011

person, or some spark that spurred us to try to do something more. In its most noble construct, administrators share a fundamental desire to lead. There is a belief that one can make a difference through more broad institutional change by stepping outside of the boundaries of a classroom. There is a desire to be a teacher of adults as well as a teacher of children. Certainly there are relative financial rewards for administrators, but these are usually accompanied by giving up the treasured academic vacation schedule, and it comes with an increased level of accountability and stress. I have to imagine that faculty at many schools view the administration as something of a necessary evil (i.e. “You can’t live with them, and you can’t live without them.”). While faculty everywhere often question decisions, in my experience they are often the first to recognize the administrator’s dilemma when they say: “I would never want your job.” I am a regular reader of the Chronicle of Higher Education, as I believe so many educational trends trickle down to independent school through this realm. I rarely encounter an issue that doesn’t document some painful tension between a university faculty and its administration. Some would argue that this is part of a strong faculty member’s role: to challenge and question the fundamental assumptions and practices of the institution. Parents and students have their own personal views of the administrators. We are the problemsolvers and the philosophical defenders. We are the providers of quality control and hopefully of empathy and support for our families. For students, we can

Berwick A c a d e m y be fixers – but we also need to be the enforcers. We walk the line of being compassionate and real while offering students the sense of boundaries that they require to flourish. Administrators need to both see the forest and the trees: our collective ability to rise up and envision the future is entirely sunk by even the most temporary inability to make our respective operational “trains run on time.” So what does this look like at Berwick Academy? I won’t speak for my colleagues, but I will speak for myself. I have traveled to a number of conferences in the last few years that have tried to grapple with the stress and complexity of the Head of School role in a time of unprecedented challenge and change. Often I hear a presenter offer their personal version of “no one can ever understand” or “it’s lonely at the top.” While I certainly can relate to these statements, I am also often the one who sheepishly offers my hand to say something like: “You know, there is no question that it has been hard at times, but I actually receive a lot of compassion from our faculty. They are constantly asking me how I am doing and whether or not I am taking care of myself and my family.” So as much as I understand that even Berwick faculty must have their own somewhat jaded view of administrators (or at least the administration), I feel incredibly supported in the work I am trying to do. I have come to appreciate that this in not the case everywhere.

concerns, my hopes, my dreams, and even my annoyingly repetitive stories. While I appreciate all of that, the sense of camaraderie and shared purpose goes far deeper on my end. The work and example of these ten sustain me in ways that they could not possibly realize. Their collective willingness to strive for what is right rather than what is easy spurs me to come to work each day and try to be the best possible leader for Berwick. One of my favorite days of the year is our annual Admin dinner in June. I like to meander around the table and articulate the progress I have seen in each of their respective areas of campus. The longer I do this work, the more I realize that what little success I may ever have here is the result of this group’s passion. They are the implementers, and they make ideas become reality through hard conversations and their limitless elbow grease.

1791 Letter

The BPC Community Benefit: Please join us for this incredible Berwick event at the Outlook in South Berwick on April 30. This is the one time during the year when the entire community comes together to support our children and celebrate what makes the Berwick experience so special. Our volunteers have worked so hard to put an incredible evening together – it is not to be missed. Classes on April 25: In response to the amount of snow days we all had to endure this year, we will have a full day of classes on April 25 for all students. Our faculty will do some work in professional development in the afternoon, so there will be no afternoon activities or late bus that day.

So as your child continues to have experiences with teachers that I hope are transformational, remember there is a group of conductors behind the classroom, attempting to make all of the players join in the symphony. It is the administration’s job to catalyze the conditions under which teachers can create the magic of the classroom that our families cherish. And don’t worry about me – it is the weekly embrace of these ten people at our round table that seems to provide all of the strength, and laughter, I need.

All of that said, this edition is not about me; it is intended to be about those ten people who show up at our meetings each Thursday. They make the experience unfold so gracefully for our families. Sadly for them, they now have the honor of knowing me better than anyone. They know my style, my 1791 Letter ~ April 2011

Peter Saliba - Upper School Director

Upper School News One of the battles we fight as educators is helping students communicate. This is not a new engagement; it has been going on since 1791 as we have encouraged our students to write succinctly, speak clearly, and listen with alacrity. However, in the past five years there have been major changes in both the medium and miniaturization of communications that have shifted the landscape. Having lived through these trends, I’m sure you have been wrestling with coaching your kids through this transition and we encounter the same thing at school. The proliferation of communication mediums has had a dramatic impact on how we write, speak and listen. Specifically, I’m referring to email and texting. These methods of communication have transformed our communication styles and approaches. Most of us typed our high school papers on the IBM Selectric III, and if we had email, it was mouseless. Now, we have other ways to reach out. While this took a little getting used to, it is fantastic to shoot off an email or a text when we need to communicate. The difference between us and our kids is that they have never known a world without texting or email. This lack of perspective manifests itself when adolescents decide to ask someone out on a date via text message, or they send their teachers email communications that start with the salutation “Hey!” Our students go down this path because their experience doesn’t really give them the context for making choices on which medium to use and how to use it for each situation. This is 

usually not a disaster, but we do spend a great deal of time coaching them through their choices of words and their methods of communication. We are fighting a pretty big social trend, but for us it is worth it. It’s also worth fighting the miniaturization of our technology. The ubiquitous nature of personal devices (e.g. smart phones) has placed them front and center in our lives. This is not a bad thing, but it does have potential to negatively alter our relationships. The obvious major change is that we receive a greater volume of communication. Some professionals in their careers receive more than a hundred emails along with texts and voicemails in a 24hour period. I’m sure that some of you receive an even larger number. While this is a great deal of volume, consider that the Nielson Company reported that American teenagers sent and received 2,273 messages per month, on average (New York Times, May 25, 2009, Page D1). For those of you who are rolling your eyes expecting a treatise on why we shouldn’t text so much, you should prepare yourself because I’m not going to say that. However, I do think it is important to coach them on when and how they text. If you walk down a street, chances are you will observe someone who has their face buried in their Blackberry/Android/iPhone. This makes for good people watching because often these people will not pay attention to their surroundings which is prime time for some comic relief. (I’ve 1791 Letter ~ April 2011

even seen someone walk into a bush!) The darker side of these phenomenon is the safety of teenagers when they are driving while texting. It can be a deadly mistake, and I think all of us are aware of the new laws surrounding distracted driving. At school, we spend some significant energy working with our kids and their use of technology. We don’t let them use their cell phones in class, and we do ask them to put them away unless it is important. We ask them to do this because it helps to maintain and grow an aspect of Berwick which is vital to the mission of the school. By not having 275 students walking around campus with their heads down texting, we are valuing the human relationships that define our Academy. This includes the obvious moments such as classes, assemblies and sports practices. However, it also encompasses walking down the path to the Commons and saying hello to the people you pass by. Engaging with other people definitely includes electronic mediums. We need to make sure that our students utilize the tools of communication that are available to them and this definitely falls into the realm of “useful knowledge.” But proper use of the tools falls into the category of “virtue” which we have also pursued since 1791. While it’s not always fun to call them out, it’s under the hope that this year, no one will ask someone to the prom via text message. That’s not the right way to do it!

Rosemary Zurawel - Middle School Director

Middle School News When you think back to your years in school, are you struck by how concrete ideas were at that time? Do you remember how classmates with the great memories seemed to earn the accolades? Tomorrow’s successes will be marked by fairly good memorizing skills, but more importantly by the creative and innovative ways in which today’s students think about and solve problems. In this month’s 1791 Letter, I want to celebrate the divergent thinkers and creative problem solvers in our Middle School. There are no easy answers to the most important problems of the world. Instead, our work as parents and educators is more appropriately positioned to shape dispositions. There are few questions that Google cannot answer, it seems. However, the questions that must be asked in order to solve problems in the future have few definite answers. Just this week, I learned that scientists in Japan have considered the most important question, “What if…?” to address the continued leakage of radioactivity into the Pacific Ocean. “What if we introduce nitrogen through pressure into the radioactive hydrogen?” I do not pretend to be a chemist, but the effort was intended to prevent a hydrogen explosion. The fundamental question of how to prevent another explosion finds a potential answer in the simplest of chemistry, and yet it took three weeks before this question yielded a possible solution. What is important is that the solution arose from “What if…” thinking.

This brings me to the work since January of the Odyssey of the Mind Teams. The Odyssey of the Mind program is supported by a nonprofit devoted to creative problem solving. This twenty-first century skill has less than nine decades to inspire the skills that will take our world cultures through the century. What is Odyssey of the Mind? Odyssey of the Mind is a creative problem-solving competition for students of all ages. Teams of students select a problem, create a solution, then present their solution in a competition against other teams in the same problem and division. There are many nuances of the basics of participation: _ Students work in teams of up to seven members under the guidance of an adult coach. _ Teams spend weeks or months, at their own pace, creating solutions to long-term problems. _ Team members come up with all the ideas for their solution and do all the work themselves. Coaches may help teach skills and educate the team on ways of approaching the problem and of evaluating their solution. _ Teams work within a cost limit of $145.00. _ Teams have eight minutes to present their long-term problem solution in competition. _ Teams are scored for meeting the requirements of the problem and for creativity in categories specific to each problem. At the competition, teams are presented a spontaneous problem 1791 Letter ~ April 2011

to solve on site. A team’s standing in competition is determined by its combined long-term score, style score, and spontaneous score. To solve a problem, teams must follow rules, limitations in the problem, and clarifications issued during the year. What makes this apropos of the Middle School is that one of our two teams (Our younger team placed third in the State of Maine, and our older team placed first.), established in January, will now move to the World Competition in Maryland during the latter part of May. Thanks to support from the Berwick Parent Community and funding from the Academy, the student participants will be able to attend this event and to compete against teams from the United States and 30 other countries late in May. Ultimately, the experience is one that is designed to bring students in the global community together to solve small problems today that perhaps will lead them to solve the larger problems that will impact our future. None of the success of the teams could have happened without the dedication of two parent volunteer coaches, Michael Donoghue and Keith Borkowski, who, with the help of a few Berwick faculty, have made this accomplishment an uplifting and signature event of this school year. My hope is that the success of our students marks the beginning of a new tradition of searching for answers to unusual problems. This year, our winning team has created cars powered continued on pg. 14... 

Joel Hawes - Lower School Director

Lower School News On the heels of our spring parentteacher conferences and prior to our year-end report cards, the Lower School teachers and I will be engaged in important student assessment and reporting conversations at the faculty meeting level. As we approach the 2011-2012 school year, our goal is to review and update our trimester report card format. While there will most likely be checklist and narrative changes, Berwick’s mission of promoting essential knowledge and social/emotional growth within our division will continue to inform our approach. School-to-home student reports help define us as a Lower School community, and we must, therefore, place this process in the larger context of the teaching, learning, assessing and reporting process. Our current Lower School report cards are primarily narrative in nature with limited checklist items. The format and language contained within these reports is an essential starting point in completing assessments that honor and personalize the academic journey of every Lower School student. Thus, one of the obvious faculty-level discussions will be the degree to which future reports focus on narrative versus checklist review. While considering both function and form, they highlight our primary Lower School learning objectives—foundational learning skills for lifelong engagement and learning. Certainly this list will include everimportant literacy and math skills, but 

it will also include our comprehensive special subject focus and essential emphasis on social and behavioral skills. While potentially challenging to write and respond to at the elementary level due to the evolving and fluid nature of student abilities, report cards remain an essential document for teacher-parent communication. During this process, we must develop reports that are helpful for teachers and parents working in partnership in the learning process for our Lower School students. Within a trimester, across a grade level and from grade to grade, reports should be working documents that plot student progress and prepare for future learning experiences and emphases. Our online curriculum maps (subject-area documentation) add greater versatility to sharing and highlighting curricular objectives; report cards make ideal connections with these curriculum maps. Internally and externally, we use the curriculum maps as a guide to highlighting essential questions, skills, content and assessment within our unit-by-unit instructional approach. Report cards, on the other hand, are traditionally seen as an outcome of the curriculum maps. By their nature, however, report cards can also inform the final product of curriculum maps—what we expect our students to learn. Whether making the case for leading or following, student reports command a crucial role in the learning cycle. This fall, we have an important new grade-level audience to add to 1791 Letter ~ April 2011

our report cards. With the addition of the pre-kindergarten program, we will necessarily align the reports from our youngest grade through grade four. I look forward to the challenge of creating a document that has the continuity and flexibility to successfully span six grade levels. Because report cards remain one of the most important final products of a given trimester and/or school year, the faculty and I look forward to undertaking and completing this important review and revision process. Along the way, I welcome thoughts and ideas from the Lower School parent community about the form and function of the future report cards. And in the end, I anticipate presenting our new reporting format to our Lower School families in September!

Rob Quinn - Athletic Director

“Building and Sustaining Athletic Excellence” This was the title of a recent Association of Independent Schools in New England (AISNE) workshop I attended. I found the experience to be informative, interesting, and enlightening and wanted to share some of what I learned. The workshop offered an opportunity for coaches and administrators to review and clarify their approach to fostering athletic excellence. We initially broke into groups to discuss what makes a great coach or administrator? There was lively dialogue and in the end we came up with a great list for coaches and administrators. The coach’s list was the following: 1. Knowledge of Sport 2. Teacher/Communicator 3. Enthusiastic Motivator 4. Sportsmanship 5. Self Awareness 6. Success (Can be measured in other ways) 7. Enjoyment. There were many coaches in the room that gave us fantastic examples of their coaching experiences, which were incoporated in the traits listed. The administrators’ list was the following: 1. Strong communication skills which includes listening. 2. Visionary 3. Educator 4. Organizational/Management skills 5. Passionate, dedicated, great work ethic 6. Resourceful and creative problem

Athletics News

solver 7. Sense of humor The athletic administrators that contributed to the discussion were insightful and shared valuable information during these break-out sessions. In looking ahead to the future of athletics at Berwick Academy, I feel that character development should be a top priority for our coaches. Our coaching must be focused on teaching our athletes about respect, honesty, teamwork, and responsibility, and our coaching philosophy should be ethical and transparent. We also need to be flexible. We want our students to have the balance that we promote every day, but with balance we also need compromise and diplomacy. Summer Camp Opportunities at BA As many of you know, there will be a number of camps held on our campus this summer. We would love to have as many BA students attend these camps as possible. This year, we continue our strong relationship with Seacoast United and their soccer, field hockey, and lacrosse camps as well as the popular BA Multi-sports Day Camp and Dance Camp. Berwick Academy Offerings: Multi-Sports Day Camp June 20-24 & June 27-July 1 Dance Camp June 20-24 & June 27- July 1

Seacoast United Camp Offerings: Boys Lacrosse Camp July 5-8 Community Soccer Camp July 6-10th Soccer Training Academy July 11-15 & 18-22 Girls Lacrosse & Field Hockey Camp August 1-5

Winter Sports Awards - Upper School MVP Coach’s Boys Varsity Hockey Alex Devine Charles Oliver-Gallant Girls Varsity Hockey Shannon Farrell Jenny Scharff Boys Varsity Basketball Harrison Rafferty Saul Groman Girls Varsity Basketball Juliana Blais Rebecca Siegel Ski Team Boys: Nate Potter Girls: Emma Walsh Alex Grammenos Swim Team Boys: Andrew Briggs Boys: James Davis Girls: Kelsey Hayden Girls: Lydia Waldo

Boys JV Basketball Winn Hahn Trestan Matel Girls JV Basketball Cora Ordway Mary DePascale Boys JV Hockey Jake Woodward Jordan Sanford Girls JV Hockey Amy Rawn Halley Tower

continued on pg 14... 1791 Letter ~ April 2011

you gotta have Arts

Deloris White - Fine Arts Director

Arts Boosters Silent Art Auction Students in the National Art Honor Society, visual arts faculty, and members of Berwick’s Arts Boosters will host the Ninth Annual Silent Art Auction during May. This is the Arts Boosters final fundraiser for this school year. Students, faculty, and friends donate art that will be exhibited during two weeks in May as Silent Auction items. The person placing the highest final bid will own an original piece of art. Last year, this event generated $835 of income to the Arts Boosters. In the past, Arts Boosters funds have been used to purchase polos and T-shirts for music ensembles as well as musical instruments, a flat file storage unit for the Upper School studio, photography equipment, and to fund field trips. Please contact Deloris White if you are interested in donating a fine arts item or would like to volunteer your time. Dance Dance Production 2011, Continuum The dance students are buzzing with excitement for the upcoming dance performances. This year’s performance of CONTINUUM explores the progression of dance and music through history and delves into the concept of our own individual life stories. The dancers are working diligently to prepare an exciting weekend of shows for the Berwick Academy Community. This K-12 performance always brings a wonderful amount of enthusiasm, energy, athleticism, and artistry!

Arts News

“Freedom Through Expression” Senior Company Blue captains, Taryn Decker and Jordan LaChance are producing the Company Showcase this year. Freedom Through Expression will highlight the talented dancers and choreographers in our Middle and Upper School Dance Companies. Guest artists from nearby studios and professional companies will also be on the Whipple stage to display their talents. Tickets are on sale now. Shows tend to sell out, so get your orders in! Please visit the Dance Community page on the Berwick Academy website or contact Sasha Randall for more information.

Thursday, May 19. Visual art students will exhibit their work in the lobby gallery opening at 6:30 p.m. followed by student performances in the theater at 7:00 p.m. Virtual Choir 2011 The 2011 Virtual Choir 2.0 premiered April 7, via live streaming webcasts. The Virtual Choir is the brain child of contemporary American composer Eric Whitacre. Senior Fred Deingott was a participant in this global choir of over 2,000 voices from all around the world. After overwhelming success of the first Virtual Choir, Mr. Whitacre invited his fans to participate in an attempt to put together the world’s largest chorus.

Music Swing into Spring Plans for the 2010 Spring Swing Music Concerts are underway. This year, Upper School students in the various ensembles and choruses will perform on Tuesday, May 17, during Spring Swing I. In order to accommodate the students traveling to the World Odyssey of the Mind Competition we have changed the order of the Middle School concerts. Middle School musicians in the 7/8 ensembles will present Spring Swing II on Tuesday, May 24. All fifth and sixth grade student musicians will perform in Spring Swing III on Thursday, May 26. Each of the Spring Swing Concerts begins at 7:00 p.m. Senior Arts Night Members of the senior class will participate in Senior Arts Night on 1791 Letter ~ April 2011

Virtual Choir 2.0 features the performances of 2,052 singers from 58 countries. The process involved the participants downloading “Sleep” a choral piece by the composer/ conductor. The next step was to rehearse the music while watching a video of Mr. Whitacre directing. After several practice takes, Fred uploaded his audio-video performance to the website and became a part of an incredible experiment in social media. The Virtual Choir 2.0 is the largest online assembly of voices in history and far surpassed the goal of 900 voices. Through technology voices in large cities to very remote areas, many were able to join together in song to create beauty across time and space. continued on page 14...

BPC Notes - from the BPC Board Members

It’s becoming more apparent that spring is actually here! With spring comes many exciting events on the BPC calendar. By now you are aware, BPC will be hosting the Berwick Academy Community Benefit on the evening of April 30 at The Red Barn at Outlook. This evening is a wonderful way for all parents, faculty, staff and supporters to gather and celebrate the BA community, while supporting all the enrichment programs that the BPC funds. We are planning many fun and exciting events for the evening and hope you plan to join us. As always, one of the big moments of the evening is our FundA-Need project. Each year, the administration and BPC identify a specific need on our campus that we can each step up to help support and fund. It is with great excitement and pleasure that I announce this year’s Community Benefit Fund-A-Need Project: the Campus Preservation and Enhancement Fund. We truly believe that the preservation of our historic landmarks exemplifies the pride we have in our school, and with your support, we can ensure these landmarks will be around for further generations to appreciate. From the restoration of stained glass in Fogg, to the day-to-day maintenance that is required in these buildings, there is a financial need that we can meet. Most importantly, we hope you will purchase a ticket by contacting the BPC in the Burleigh Davidson building or by contacting Andrea Bristol at to join us on April 30. It is always a night that should not be missed!

Parent Community News

BPC Board As we wrap up the nominating process for open positions on the BPC Board, we will be forwarding our proposed slate for approval by the parent community via email in the coming weeks. If you are considering a position on the board, or would like to nominate a candidate to a position, please forward your interest to me at as soon as possible as time is now limited. We have been thrilled with the response we have received thus far and are excited about the direction the BPC is heading in for the coming years. As always, we welcome all parents to join us at our

final general BPC meeting scheduled for May 24 in the Commons Lounge.

-Lesli Friel, BPC President

Here’s a great way to volunteer! If you: - are friendly - can make 3 phone calls

3 4 Friends

BPC is partnering with the Berwick Academy Admissions Office to welcome new families. All we need are a few friendly voices. If you would like to help, please contact: Diane Field Admissions 207-384-2164 Ext. 2301

1791 Letter ~ April 2011

Katie Clark New Family Coordinator 207-384-0019

Grandparent’s Day-May 6, 2011 Each year all grandparents are invited to campus for the day to attend classes, see a fine arts program, and have lunch with their grandsons and granddaughters. This year Grandparent’s Day will be held on Friday, May 6. We understand that it is sometimes difficult or impossible for grandparents to attend this day. If that is the case for some, we would like to extend the invitation to students to bring an adult special friend for the day. Please contact Kellie Varano at 207.384.6303 or to update all grandparent addresses or to provide the name and mailing information of a special friend. Invitations have been mailed and many grandparents are ready to attend classes on May 6. Please refer to the schedule below and talk to your children about their daily schedule. Grandparents visiting students in Kindergarten—Grade 6 8:00 Continental Breakfast Under the tent 8:45 Welcome From Head of School Under the tent 9:00 Theatrical Performance Whipple Arts Center Theater 9:45 Off to the Classrooms Escorted by Volunteers 11:15 Lower School Lunch The Commons (Grades K-4) 12:05 Middle School Lunch The Commons (Grades 5&6)

Grandparents visiting students in Grade 7—Grade 12 8:00 Continental Breakfast Under the tent 8:45 Welcome From Head of School Under the tent 9:00 Off to the Classrooms Escorted by Grandchildren 11:00 Theatrical Performance Whipple Arts Center Theater 12:05 Middle School Lunch The Commons (Grades 7&8) 12:45 Upper School Lunch The Commons (Grades 9-12)

Volunteers Needed! Hosting 300 or more grandparents and special friends takes the work of many volunteers. If you would like to be a Grandparent’s Day volunteer, please check the listing of opportunities below and contact Kellie Varano at or 207.384.6303.

Volunteer Positions Include: Greeters • Theater Ushers • Commons Dining Hall Assistants For more information on what each position entails, visit the Announcements section on the Parent Portal.


1791 Letter ~ April 2011



Saturday, April 30

at the Red Barn at Outlook Farm South Berwick, ME Tickets are still available Contact the Berwick Parent Community office at 207.384.2164

ATHLETIC BOOSTERS Annual Dinner and Reception

Thursday, April 21, 2010 6:30 p.m. in the BA Athletic Center. All parents and coaches are invited to attend this annual event. Cocktails and appetizers will be served. Bring a friend and enjoy a fun evening while learning about what our Athletic Boosters has to offer. RSVP’s appreciated but not required at

For more information please contact Rob Quinn or Paula Reid

1791 Letter ~ April 2011


Cindy Briggs - School Counselor

Every so often I ask other faculty or staff to write my column for the 1791 Letter. This month, Marguerite Genest, the new Lower School Academic Support Coordinator graciously offered to share her thoughts and observations about her new position in the Lower School. Enjoy! Cindy Briggs As the second trimester of 2011 comes to a close, I continue to be in awe of the dedication and diverse talents of the Berwick Academy faculty and staff. My first year as the Lower School Academic Support Coordinator has been both challenging and rewarding, and the level of support I have received along the way has made my transition from Western Massachusetts to Southern Maine a gratifying one. The enthusiasm and approachability of everyone on this hilltop has been a source of inspiration as I see their effect on our students. It’s delightful to witness the sincere kindness of the SAGE staff in their interactions with the kindergarten students at lunchtime. The maintenance staff has gone above and beyond the call during these snowy winter months and still manages to smile and assist with individual concerns. And everyone continues to answer my unending questions with patience and smiles. Additionally, these acts of sincere kindness have been evident in those upon whom I have relied for supervision and direction. Their training and advice have facilitated the efficient implementation of strategies that best support the efforts of the Lower School.

We l l n e s s N e w s

One example of this is the opportunity to respond to teachers’ concerns when a student demonstrates academic concerns. My previous experience in the field of learning disabilities has given me insight into the variety of learning styles that make us who we are. The fact that we are all “wired differently” makes us the individuals that we are. Our talents, strengths, and goals are the products of a number of factors, as are those that inhibit our ability to realize our potential. Learning delays can manifest in a number of ways, rarely in one form. Reading fluency, for example, can include deficits in phonemic awareness, impacting phonological memory, spelling, word retrieval, verbal expression, and reading comprehension to name a few. Students with such deficits would demonstrate problems with math, when problems are presented in word form. And if working memory concerns are involved, sequential processing is also impacted when requiring holding a math problem in mind, working it through and then producing a correct response. Writing a fluid and cohesive narrative is also affected by language and memory issues, as a student may have all of the facts and ideas in mind but is unable to organize them into a fluid product. Additionally, if a student demonstrates issues with attention, impulsivity and executive functioning, academic potential is further compromised. This becomes especially concerning as the student transitions to middle school where learning to read becomes reading to learn, and material becomes more inferential and abstract, requiring higher order thinking

processes as opposed to understanding factual information. The understanding of others’ motivations when reading or writing, forming hypotheses, making predictions and demonstrating conceptual knowledge is required in most classes. Of equal concern is how the presence of these and/or other issues can impact the student’s social functioning. Recent research into the impact of social skills deficits on not only selfesteem but also academic performance has revealed significant findings that warrant consideration. It seems as though poor social interactions, or perceived social rejection can lead to withdrawal or acting out of one’s frustration, leading to a decline in the quality of academic performance. As a school psychologist, I am acutely aware of the need to address these types of concerns early in the student’s academic life in order to provide optimal opportunities for learning. The provision of this service in the Lower School reinforces Berwick Academy’s mission to provide the potential for excellence. It is a pleasure to observe our teachers interact with each student with enthusiasm as they learn, and with empathy as learning problems become apparent. As a student is referred to me, discussions with teachers and parents often reveal a history of concerns that have intensified as the child has progressed through school. Following these discussions, informal assessments can be administered, which can indicate the underpinnings of these concerns. For example, if reading deficits are due to continued on pg 15...


1791 Letter ~ April 2011

Rachel Saliba - School Archivist

Archives News

May Day Pageant at Berwick Academy A Lost Tradition from the 1920’s One of the greatest treasures in the BA Archives is a collection of scrapbooks that Headmaster Homer Crooker kept while he ran the school from 1920 to 1929. The scrapbooks are full of news clippings, photos, and invitations, but the most compelling parts of the scrapbook are those that document the old English tradition of celebrating May Day during Girl’s Day in early June. Every girl at Berwick Academy had a part in the annual May Day Pageant that included “an elaborate program of dances and drills” (1924 BA Catalog p. 14) One girl from the senior class was elected to be the May Day Queen along with two girls from each class to be the Queen’s attendants. The following is a program and photos of the May Day Pageant from the 1927 Crooker Scrapbook.

The May Day Pageant usually included theatrical and dance performances followed by a May Pole dance. Left: 1927 May Day Queen Dorothea Clark and Attendants (Notice the chair and the corner of the piano that was brought outside for the pageant.)

Below: 1927 May Pole Dance Below: 1927 May Day Flowers (Notice Burleigh-Davidson in the background. It was still a private residence at the time this photo was taken.)

Please contact Rachel Saliba at rsaliba@ if you’d like to see the Crooker scrapbooks or if you interested in volunteering in the archives to help me to scan all of the Crooker scrapbooks. May Day Pageant Program

1791 Letter ~ April 2011


Middle School News...cont. from pg 5

by mousetraps. Tomorrow, these engineers and divergent thinkers may be at the forefront of finding an answer to the “What if…” question that will be answered by their determination to solve a problem of global proportions. What better way to celebrate the arrival of spring than with something new and innovative? Athletics News...cont. from pg 7

All League Awards Girls Hockey: Shannon Farrell, Anna Wright, Dori Craig, KaitlynWurzer Boys Basketball: EIL MVP Harrison Rafferty, Jason Gorman Girls Basketball: Juliana Blais Swimming: EIL Boys MVP Andrew Briggs, Will Reiss, Kelsey Hayden, Caroline Seekins

Middle School Coach’s Awards Middle School Hockey Nathan Anderson Girls Blue Basketball Emma Brin Boys Blue Basketball Mark Hoyt Boys White Basketball Connor Criswell Girls Spirit Award: Parker Johnson Boys Spirit Award: Will Scharer

Off The Hilltop Berwick Upper School Student Qualifies for Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA) National Finals Upper School sophomore, Camden Carter, who rides with the York Equestrian Team, recently placed 14

fourth in the Varsity Intermediate Over Fences Hunt Seat class against eleven other riders at Zone 1 Finals held at Mount Holyoke College. This placement qualifies her for National Finals at Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, at the end of April. Camden rides with trainer and coaches, Kate McDaniel, Stephanie Plaisted and Deanna Kravetz at Greystone Stables in Berwick, Maine.

Arts News...cont. from pg 8

The Virtual Choir 2.0, “Sleep” can be viewed on the following link: Look for Fred on the United States globe and in the credits at the end of the video under Bass 2. Congratulations to Fred for his efforts in this beautiful performance.

Lacrosse Clinic on New Turf field

Visual Art

Over March break, the Berwick Academy Boys Varsity Lacrosse team hosted a free clinic for boys lacrosse players from Marshwood Youth Lacrosse. There were 38 fifth through eighth graders in attendance. The Berwick team led the drills and instructed the players about basic lacrosse skills on BA’s turf field. Coach Bill Clapp commented, “I could hear all the BA players coaching the younger kids all the things we’ve been telling them during pre-season. It was nice to hear those types of comments coming from our team; it appears they are in fact listening!”

Art and Community Service Several student artists are making portraits of children in Kenya for the Kupenda Project which is an art and service project that raises money to help disabled children in Kenya. Alumni Julia Stevenson (2007) who is a senior at Gordon College organized the Berwick portrait donations for Kupenda’s auction. Students involved are: Sam Auty, Juliana Blais, Amelia Hazen, Tucker Trimble, Ellie Penati, Autumn Richards, Jessica Murray, Hayley Adams, Katie Towey, Whitney Pasternak and Brian Rawn.

BA hopes to host more free clinics like this one in the future. ATHLETICS BOOSTERS Annual Dinner and Reception Thursday, April 21, 2010 6:30 p.m. in the BA Athletic Center. All parents and coaches are invited to attend this annual event. Cocktails and appetizers will be served. Bring a friend and enjoy a fun evening while learning about what our Athletic Boosters has to offer. RSVP’s appreciated but not required at For more information please contact Rob Quinn or Paula Reid

1791 Letter ~ April 2011

Advanced Placement Studio Art The AP Studio Art Exhibition is open to the Berwick community. Come see the amazing work by AP artists before it gets sent off to the AP Portfolio grading process! The work will be exhibited at the Jackson Library Gallery for two weeks from April 18 through April 29. Join the artists for an opening reception on Thursday April 21 from 5 - 6 p.m. Haystack Mountain School of Crafts Abby Scanlon will be going to Student Craft Institute 2010 at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts on Deer Isle, Maine, over Memorial Day Weekend to study glass. She is one of 70 student artists across the state of Maine selected to attend. Katie Towey has been selected as an alternate and is hoping a space opens up for her

Monday, April 25, 2011 Due to recent snow days

School will be held in lieu of originally scheduled Faculty Professional day After school activities will not be held and there will be NO late buses.

to attend as well. The program is a three-day intensive crafts program for distinguished art students to study with artists and craftspeople in Maine’s internationally known craft facility and studios. Again, this year, Raegan Russell has been invited to be a studio assistant. Wellness News...cont. from pg 12

poorly developed phonemic awareness skills, asking the student to read a list of nonsense words which increase in difficulty is helpful. Decoding nonwords requires the sounding out of strings of letters without the benefit of memory-for-sight words. Also, informal assessments in reading comprehension look at the student’s understanding of not only the basic facts of a passage, but higher level inferential comprehension as well. These, along with other types of assessments, allow us to either implement immediate strategies in and/ or out of school. A network of tutors has been developed to work with the students as needed either during the

school day or after school. However, if there appears to be a number of interrelated factors needing to be more clearly identified, the student can be referred for more complete testing. This is especially true if anxiety contributes to the student’s learning issues. In order to address concerns around social skills, I am hoping that the implementation of a curriculum around social pragmatics will focus on skills involved in initiating and maintaining friendships, resolving conflicts and developing empathy and respect for the perspectives of peers. I am excited to explore and integrate the principles of the Responsive Classroom into this proposed curriculum. With specific strategies in place, it is hoped that our Lower School students will generalize them to the Middle School environment.

their impact on academic performance makes her a solid resource for parents and teachers. Collaborating with her allows a greater focus on the successful transition of our fourth graders to the Middle School environment. Thanks also to Joel Hawes and Cindy Briggs for their unending guidance and patience as I navigate my way through this amazing environment. I anticipate continued collaboration with them as well as with the parents who have been so welcoming! Sincerely, Marguerite Genest

I am so fortunate to have the support of Stacey Sevelowitz in the Middle and Upper schools. Her knowledge of various learning styles and 1791 Letter ~ April 2011


Jedd Whitlock - Director of Advancement

Alumni and Development News Dear Berwick Community, The 2010-2011 Annual Fund is growing steadily thanks to an incredible amount of support from parents, faculty, alumni, grandparents, past parents, and friends of BA. This year our parent participation goal is 70%. To reach this goal, we need 88 more gifts from the parent community. We are within reach, but need your help to make our goal a reality! Annual Fund contributions enrich each area of campus life and affect every student every day. Gifts at all levels are needed and greatly appreciated. By participating in the Annual Fund, you are supporting the School’s academics, arts, athletics, technology, and financial aid programs. Please be one of the next 88 donors to help us meet our goal!

To g i v e o n l i n e , v i s i t w w w. b e r w i c k a c a d e m y. o r g / g i v i n g You may also send a check to the Development Office here at BA at 31 Academy Street, South Berwick, ME 03908. Or please contact me directly at 207.384.6304. Many thanks for your continued support and belief in Berwick Academy! Best,

Jedd U. Whitlock Director of Advancement


1791 Letter ~ April 2011

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