Page 1

April 2012


1791 L e t t e r

Lower School Musical - “Free to be You and Me”

1791 Letter ~ April 2012



What is in a Test? It seems that much of the political debate surrounding public education points back to standardized testing on so many levels. The obsession with words like accountability, results, and no children being left behind in an immensely heterogeneous world almost always comes back to testing somehow. In fact, perhaps the greatest strength of the Independent School movement is embedded in that very name – the independence we enjoy from such testing shackles. As an entity that does not receive state and federal funding, we are free to set our own curriculum, which clearly emphasizes “teaching to the test” far less than our public school peers. And yet we are no stranger to these types of tools in different ways – the SAT continues to drive student and parent anxiety as our students look towards college. The AP program, which concludes with a nationally standardized test, remains the somewhat ironic pinnacle of our program. And this month, I want to offer all of you an overview of some changes that we are making at Berwick next year in the area of standardized testing. Before I launch into all of that, however, I feel compelled to answer my own question: why does standardized testing matter for students at Berwick Academy? I believe that there are at least three reasons standardized testing needs to remain a tool for our students on the Hilltop. The first is that as much as we believe in our rigorous program and talented students, it is critical that we put the national dipstick in for 2

Greg Schneider

Head of School

our students periodically and simply see what the data tells us. While we will never “teach to the test” here, we are interested in how our students compare. We think that you should care as well. The second is that college preparation is absolutely central to our mission, and for the foreseeable future the SAT and/or ACT remain a critical part of this process. While admissions tours for colleges inevitably try to downplay the role of these tests in decisions, it is frankly depressing how many times scores are presented to us as the reason why a student was not admitted to a selective school. While I applaud parents who choose to put all of this in proper perspective on their quest to find a “best fit” college for their child, I feel our students and families have a right to gather some sense of where children will fall in this testing spectrum before they hit their junior year. Finally, standardized testing can often offer us useful insight into understanding learning differences and challenges for students. Perplexing testing results can often begin a chain of events that ultimately unlocks the, at times, elusive goal of effective learning for a particular student. Since my arrival here, the Administration has discussed deeply how we use testing to inform our program. If we are going to devote the time and resources to it – I want to understand how it will be used with families and how it will inform program and teaching. As many of you know, for recent years we have implemented use of the Terra Novas in alternating grades as our tool of choice. I am pleased to announce that after a thoughtful review of this practice, Berwick Academy will be moving 1791 Letter ~ April 2012

to ERB testing next fall. There are a number or reasons for the shift that I hope to outline in this article, but on a practical level we will now be able to test all students K-9 through an online tool that will cost us about as much as the testing in alternating years as we have done in the past. We are also moving to testing in the fall rather than the spring, so that results can be used more directly with parents and families during conferences. The current testing schedule meant that results often filtered back to us in the summer, making it logistically challenging to communicate and implement the findings in a meaningful way. Your children might be happy to know that this means we will forego testing this spring and start with our ERB tests in the fall. Perhaps most importantly, ERB is more of a skill-based test while Terra Novas tend to be more content driven. We are ultimately not convinced that the content asked by Terra Nova is what we aspire to cover in our classrooms. A skill-based test helps us understand areas like verbal reasoning, reading comprehension, and writing mechanics. It will allow us to look at patterns and trends of our students in such a way that should lead to program improvement and change as needed. The technology of the ERB tests is also adaptive, meaning that not every student is asked to answer the same questions. We believe the experience for students online will be far more engaging, and the tools for the youngest children, in particular, seem cutting edge. Finally, ERB results will offer our families a better sense of what they might expect for SAT results in the future. While none of us believe

BERWICK A C A D E M Y the SAT is the end game for a Berwick education, we think it is important for a family to gain awareness in Middle School that it is possible for an A student to deliver concerning test scores. We want families to be able to determine what to do with this information early enough in a student’s career so that they can take certain remedial steps – or not. We simply think it is good information to have. One other added benefit is that we will be able to test ninth graders for the first time. This will offer us a chance to test our students in a year when a huge number of new students join the School. We will use this data to understand the relative performance of these two groups and any systemic gaps that emerge. Finally, the ERB offers national, suburban, and independent school norms. Strong Terra Nova scores may not be the best indicator of how our students are performing compared to other independent school students. The ERB allows all of us to know how our students are performing compared to other independent schools –with whom they will certainly be competing in the future. In general, the community will need to brace itself for substantially lower scores when viewing independent school norms. While I am sure this will create a certain amount of buzz and concern next year, we will all benefit from this transparency in the long run. My hope is that parents view this as an important step towards transparency, college preparation, and school improvement. As has always been the case, it is not our intent to begin teaching to the ERB tests to manufacture high scores. Different families in our community will likely have different reactions to testing results, just as our families have widely

differing perspectives on the college search. As a school, however, I want to know where we stand on some of these skills. Perhaps most importantly, I want to see how we trend in certain skill areas over time. I also want to understand how we are adding value and improvement to an individual student over a potential thirteen year experience on the Hilltop. Being at a PK-PG school allows us a unique opportunity to accomplish that, and we should fully seize that comparative advantage. Albert Einstein once said that “Not everything that counts can be counted and not everything that can be counted counts.” It is critical that we do not believe any kind of testing is the measure either of our children or the quality of their educational experience. Those who chose to work in education know that at its best, education is a murky business filled with nature, nurture, peers, families, teachers, school cultures, and hormones. No standardized test will ever be able to measure the complex chaos and exquisite beauty of a developing human being. John Dewey also reminds us that “Education is not a preparation for is life itself.” That is why we must all remember that our child’s education is not about the next gateway or destination; I choose to believe that education is a symbiotic partner in their life experience that is an end to itself. I hope that we continue to remain committed to reflecting upon and improving that experience as a school so that you will continue sending us the most important parts of your lives – these kids who exhaust us, frustrate us, make us laugh, and essentially make us look forward to tomorrow every single time.

1791 Letter

New Interim Director of Admissions It is with mixed emotions that I need to announce that Kate AugerCampbell has accepted a consulting position with SSATB next year and will not be returning to Berwick. While she has made incredible progress within our Admissions Office in a short amount of time, it is never easy to handle such a quick transition. In recognition of his many strengths, Andrew Kasprzak has been appointed as our Interim Director of Admissions and Financial Aid next year. Andrew possesses a unique charisma and love of Berwick that will serve him well in this new role, and I am thrilled to offer him this new opportunity to help Berwick shine. Grade Deans Some of you may be aware that next year, we are moving to an Upper School model that will include four grade level deans in lieu of one Dean of Students. These new Dean positions will entail a slightly reduced teaching load so that these individuals can focus on the transitional issues associated with each grade. They become a new contact for parents throughout the year, and they will be huge supports for students and advisors. We believe this new model will allow us to continue to deliver intimate personal service to all Upper School families at a time when we have experienced explosive growth. Please join me in congratulating this incredible line-up of new Deans. Ted Smith – Assistant Director of the Upper School and Dean of Grade Nine; Kyle Ridgway – Dean of Grade Ten; Peter Lassey – Dean of Grade Eleven; Raegan Russell – Dean of Grade Twelve.

continued on pg 10...

1791 Letter ~ April 2012


Peter Saliba - Upper School Director

Upper School News I think there would be little disagreement that cell phones and personal computing devices have fundamentally changed our lives. Some of this has been for the better and some of this has been for the worse. As you know, we recently shifted our policy towards these devices, so it was with great interest that I read a recent article about cell phones on the golf course during the Masters. While most of the nongolf action for the Masters revolved around the all-male membership of the Augusta National Golf Club and the conundrum with IBM’s CEO Virginia Rometty, I was fascinated to learn of the almost religious fervor when it comes to enforcing a ban on cellphones and personal computing devices. Of course, Augusta has a bastion of security guards and course rangers, but it is the fans enforcing this cellphone free zone. This is because people have discovered that actually switching off your phone and leaving it in your car is a good thing. Instead of walking around with your head down and being oblivious to the world, you have to interact with the people around you. This is the spirit which spurred us to make a change in our policy on campus. Of course, we don’t encourage golf watching at Berwick during the school day, but we do impress upon everyone to immerse themselves in our community. It is imperative that we continue to embrace the pace of technological change, but we also need to guard jealously those things which we consider vital to our School’s 4

mission. Berwick is about relationships and having students walking around with their heads down was directly impacting something we do really well. Today, the climate around school has changed in very positive ways. We’ve given up the bubble which forms around us when we use our smartphones in public settings and embraced interacting with those around us. I don’t think this has limited anyone from an educational perspective, and you could make the argument that it has had a very positive impact on our students. It would be a stretch if I was to assert that our students are enforcing the ban in the same manner as the fans at the Masters. However, it is no secret that this is a goal of ours. The student culture in the Upper School has made it clear that it is cool to be smart, that people can treat others with respect and dignity, and that every single person has something to add to the Upper School. These distinctive attitudes emerged from decisions made by students that they cared enough to create something special. Although it may have started with a seed planted by the adults, it is ultimately the kids who make these things part of our everyday lives. I would encourage you to ask them when they are not among their friends about their perspective of the cell phone shift, especially after these past few months. I would venture that they would privately say that the policy shift hasn’t been a big deal, and that it actually is not such a bad thing. I don’t 1791 Letter ~ April 2012

think they will say that it is the greatest thing in the world, but I’m hopeful that this will change in the coming years. Ultimately, I hope that our graduates for this year and beyond will leave Berwick with a healthy appreciation of what it means to be both connected AND disconnected with the world around us.

Rosemary Zurawel - Middle School Director

Middle School News It occurred to me, as I was sending out cards to my young relatives, that they will wake to the magic of the Easter Bunny, have a chocolate-laced breakfast this weekend followed by bubbles outside, egg hunting in the grass, and a new stuffed animal for their beds. The tooth fairy has not yet begun her visits, and Santa is still some eight months away. Fundamentally, their year will be punctuated by magic. As the enthusiasm for The Hunger Games has taken over so many of the imaginations of our young adolescents (and not a few adults), it seems to me that we are longing for magic in our lives. Some of us are firmly grounded in the “hard sciences” and trust that which we can measure and explain through empirical data. As a young interviewee told me yesterday, “I know that magic doesn’t exist, but when I read, I can believe in it.” Through that one revelatory statement, I not only understood a little more about this applicant, but more about myself. I began a book, and some two hundred pages later that night, I was “there.” The suspension of my disbelief had brought me to a crime scene in New Jersey where the investigation of a body dump was puzzling investigators. I kept wanting to shout, “Just because there’s an identifiable ring on his pinky finger, don’t trust that as your sole device to identify the body!” I was plenty annoyed. I also was three hundred miles from home, having left my corporeal self in bed while my mind was picking up scents and vocal tones and my brain was craning its virtual neck to see beyond yellow police tape.

When I read the three volumes by Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games is the first), I was a silent runner alongside Katniss, as this young warrior set out for the games. Now I face a dilemma that leaves me a bit unsettled. What if the movie does not match the images in my memory? If they don’t, who is wrong? The director, who brought his perspective to the film (and by all reports, the adventures and the deaths of the contestants are riveting without being gory)? What if I am wrong? I know the Great Lakes and the areas surrounding them, and I have granted the books this setting for their dystopia. Am I willing to sacrifice my own magic for that of another creator?

code, the moments when our hearts are pulled and our minds are lifted from the confinement of gravity, still draw us in. The sentence to adulthood seems lengthy and harsh when issued to our ten to fourteen year olds. I wish they could hold onto magic a little longer, and with books like The Hunger Games, perhaps there is the chance they will. Enjoy some magical escape with your children. You deserve it. So do they.

Whether it is Harry Potter, the fantasy series Eragon (the first book in the Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini), this new series, or even the Twilight books, the thirst for magic has overtaken the Young Adult best sellers list in the New York Times, and there are many on the adult list, as well. Ultimately, our world, our bodies (thank you, Human Genome Project), and outer space have lost their mystery. We can quantify almost anything that once was phenomenon. We no longer need myth to explain the natural world; we can Google the evidence. Our demons are found on the nightly news and they are far too realistic. Thankfully, our heroes make headlines, as well, and the everyday heroes returning from assignments in Iraq and Afghanistan are surprising their children in classrooms around the country. Those surprises are true magic and they remind us that while the universe may be reduced to binary 1791 Letter ~ April 2012


Joel Hawes - Lower School Director

Lower School News Important layers of faculty and administrative meetings, exchanges and decisions take place in formulating each Lower School academic year. The spring season brings with it broad discussions on next year’s school calendar, division schedule, and curricular revisions. The summer months typically offer an opportunity for a wide range of professional development experiences and building preparations, and fall, of course, introduces the promise inherent in a new academic year. En route to early September, meetings and program preparation can become involved, if not complicated, affairs. Yet schoolrelated decisions and implementation become less challenging and more manageable when focused on the collective best interests of our students’ development and our school’s mission. Recently, I have joined with the Administrative Team, the Lower School faculty, and outside consultants for a review of our student assessment procedures. Varied discussions have resulted in moving from two to three report cards per year, introducing online math instructional and assessment programs, continuing our important literacy group evaluations, and reviewing admissions testing. Arguably our most important discussions, however, have occurred around standardized testing. The process of implementing standardized testing and reporting on student progress is an important component of our yearly Lower School endeavor. In the past, we have administered the Terra Nova 6

standardized tests to our second through fourth grade students in late April. Primarily a content-based test, we have noted limitations with this tool and with our ability to work purposefully with the results—both internally with faculty and externally with our parent community. We have also noted the importance of accurately comparing our students’ progress with a testing measure that connects more uniformly with the progress of peer independent schools and students.

than its fourth grade counterpart: auditory comprehension, reading comprehension, word analysis, writing mechanics, and mathematics.

After broad administrative level review, we have decided to use two forms of tests produced by the Educational Records Bureau (ERB) in place of the Terra Nova exams. We will administer the ERB’s standard Comprehensive Testing Program (CTP) skills-based test to our third and fourth graders (as well as fifth through ninth graders) each October, and we will administer a “junior version” of the ERB—the Children’s Progress Academic Assessment (CPAA) to second graders and below.

By moving to fall assessment, we will not be testing our second through fourth grade students with the Terra Nova standardized tests this spring (as we have done in the past and as is currently designated on the Berwick calendar for the week of April 24). This scheduling adjustment will allow us to be better positioned to report results to parents during the school year, rather than over the summer (as in the past with the Terra Nova’s). Likewise, it will allow faculty to work more purposefully with test results in support of individual student growth and division-wide academic review. We look forward to other faculty meetings in the near future that will further support our revised testing procedures. In fact, the faculty and I are eager to use a portion of our professional development day on April 23 for this purpose. In turn, I look forward to making further reports on ERB-related progress to our Lower School community. While the month of April will be a little quieter this year in the absence of the Terra Nova exams, we will certainly be working

The fourth grade ERB-CTP consists of auditory comprehension, reading comprehension, verbal reasoning, writing concepts and skills, writing mechanics, mathematics part one, mathematics part two, quantitative reasoning, and science. This is essentially the same exam format that our fifth through ninth grade students will follow, ensuring an important sense of continuity from grade to grade. At the third grade level, the ERB-CTP is still comprehensive in nature while having fewer sections 1791 Letter ~ April 2012

The ERB-CPAA for grades two and below offers formative and on-going assessment three times per year in the areas of math, literacy, and language arts and will essentially become a quantitative progress report on student academic growth in the fall, winter, and spring of each year.

continued on page 10...

Rob Quinn - Athletic Director

Athletics News A Winter to Remember

This past athletic winter season was memorable in many ways. We had the excitement of winning our third consecutive Girls Varsity Ice Hockey EIL Championship in a thrilling overtime game vs. Pingree. We also witnessed history with our Boys and Girls Swim team performing brilliantly at the New England Swimming Championships. Our squad came home with five gold, two silver, and one bronze medal. If that was not enough, we had four EIL Most Valuable Players: Harry Rafferty in Boys Basketball, Juliana Blais in Girls Basketball, Shannon Farrell in Girls Ice Hockey, and Izzy Reis in Girls Swimming. This feat has never happened before in our athletic history. Our Boys Varsity Basketball joined our swim team in qualifying for the NEPSAC tournament for the third year in a row, while our Girls Basketball, Boys Ice Hockey, and Girls Ice Hockey all narrowly missed a NEPSAC bid. All in all a tremendously successful winter sports season. Berwick Student-Athlete Qualifies for Olympic Trials Izzy Reis, a freshman at Berwick, has recently qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials in the 100-meter butterfly. The Olympic Trials will be held June 25 – July 2 in Omaha, NE. Izzy has made rapid progress from a year ago, shattering her personal best. She began her training in early April and will work straight through to the trials, both in the pool and in the gym, where she’s logged a lot of hours. Let’s all send Izzy good wishes as she travels to Omaha in June for a chance to qualify for the U.S. Olympic team headed to London this summer. Save The Date: Athletics Boosters Annual Athletic Community Dinner Berwick Academy Athletic Boosters cordially invite you to gather for an evening of drinks and hors d’oeuvres at our annual community dinner. It will be held on Thursday, April 19, 2012, at 6:30 p.m. in the Athletic Center. Our Guest of Honor will be outgoing Upper School Director, Peter Saliba. Please join us in wishing him well and honoring his years of service to our athletic program. We will gather in the newly renovated Athletic Center lobby in a relaxed social setting to acknowledge our community commitment to athletics at all levels. Enjoy the new space and see the custom-crafted trophy case archiving continued on page 10... Upper School Winter Athletic Awards

Middle School Winter Athletic Awards



Coach’s Award


Coach’s Award

Boys Varsity Hockey

Liam Darcy

John Malloy

Coed Hockey

Sam Twombly

Boys JV Hockey

John Reinhardt

Tyler Webster

Girls Blue Basketball

Lilly Hedges

Girls Varsity Hockey

Shannon Farrell

Kaitlyn Wurzer

Boys Blue Basketball

Connor Criswell

Girls JV Hockey

Anna Cronin (Most Improved)

Molly Lapointe

Boys White Basketball

Luke Stockmayer

Girls Varsity Basketball

Juliana Blais

Nicole Kleinmann

Dance Award

Emma Sattler

Girls JV Basketball

Samantha Sullivan

Cora Ordway

Girls Spirit Award

Gabrielle Michaud

Boys Varsity Basketball

Harry Rafferty

Saul Groman

Boys Spirit Award

Jake Dupont

Boys JV Blue Basketball

Max Linemayr

Sam Salvati

Boys JV White Basketball

Mark Hoyt

Jules Cook


Boys: Nate Potter Girls: Emma Walsh

Boys: Benson Tuthill Girls: Abby Donoghue


Boys: Will Reis Girls: Izzy Reis

Boys: Connell Altschiller Girls: Olivia Richter

1791 Letter ~ April 2012


Deloris White - Fine Arts Director

Arts Boosters Silent Art Auction Students in the National Art Honor Society, visual arts faculty, and members of Parents for the Arts will host the tenth annual Silent Art Auction during May. This is the Arts Boosters final fundraiser for the 20112012 school year. Thanks to the Parents for the Arts, there will be a new element as the Silent Art Auction goes online for bidding. Students, faculty, and friends will donate art that will be exhibited in the arts center lobby/ gallery. You will be able to see the actual pieces in the arts center as well as photos of the works on line. However, all of bidding will take place online. More information will be available in upcoming communications. Last year, this event generated $835 of income to the Arts Boosters. In the past, Arts Boosters funds have been used to purchase polo and T-shirts for music ensembles as well as musical instruments, a flat file storage unit for the Upper School studio, and photography equipment. Arts Boosters has also provided funding for field trips, student scholarships, and artists in residence. Please contact Deloris White if you are interested in donating a fine arts item. Dance Dance Production 2012 The Berwick Academy Dance Program welcomes you to an exciting weekend of performing and visual arts on May 4 and 5. BA Dance is proud to present Dimensions: An 8

Arts News

exploration of space, time, energy and motion featuring the K-12 dancers in two outstanding exhibitions of artistry, innovation, multi-media, and collaboration. The four dimensions of dance are the inspiration for this year’s theme and through dialogue, improvisations, explorations, and finally compositions we have arranged a showcase that will bring the audience on an enriching journey through the creative process of movement arts. Performances are on Grandparents Day, May 4, at 6:30 pm and again on May 5 at 3:00 p.m. The Berwick Parents Community for the Arts extends an invitation to attend a 2:00 p.m. Arts in the Lobby event prior to the performance. At this time, audience members will have the opportunity to observe student visual art pieces, some of which are also inspired by the theme of the dance performance, while enjoying light refreshments and conversation with the artists and choreographers. Berwick Academy Company Dancers are thrilled to offer yet another opportunity to showcase their talent on the Hilltop during our final performance of the weekend. The weekend of dance will culminate on May 5 at 7:00 p.m. with a student produced event entitled Forward Motion. Head Company Blue Captain Katy Davis, alongside Co-Captains Autumn Richards and Madison Keefe will share the fruits of their creative labor with an evening dedicated to the celebration of student choreography. In its fifth year of development, the Saturday evening company showcase has grown into a remarkable representation of the initiative, discipline, and raw creativity 1791 Letter ~ April 2012

that has become a signature of the BA dance program. Our dancers have been busily preparing for this upcoming weekend with many extra hours of rehearsals, master classes, and several outside performances. Whether they are performing at the Rochester Opera House, rehearsing through dinner on a Saturday evening, or even taking master classes in New York City, the Berwick dancers represent an air of humble sophistication. Their hearts beat to the rhythm of the dance and they are sure to bring us yet another outstanding weekend of performances. We hope you will be able to attend one or more of these performances and discover, if you have not already, how remarkable this community of artists truly is. For more information about the dance program, performances, or summer dance camp please contact Sasha Randall Malone at srandall@ Music Spring Concerts 2012 Plans for the 2012 Spring Concerts are underway. This year, we have arranged the concerts by ensembles rather than by grade levels. This new format will provide the opportunity for students and parents to see the breadth and depth as well as the continuity and development of our performing ensembles across the divisions. The 5/6 band, 7/8 band, MS jazz band, US symphonic band, US continued on pg 10...

BPC Notes - from the BPC Board Members

It’s hard to believe that our school year is coming to a close, but the frenetic energy in the BPC office as we prepare for our Community Benefit is always an indication that the last weeks of school are upon us. I would like to thank everyone who donated and bid on items in our online portion of the Community Benefit that closed over the weekend. For those of you who placed winning bids, we will be contacting you in the next few days to arrange for pickup of your items. Although it’s too early for us to announce proceeds from our online auction, it is safe to say that it was a very successful auction. A huge, “THANK YOU” to all of you who supported our efforts.

Parent Community News

Please join us for drinks, appetizers, and conversation that night. It’s a nice opportunity to gather with fellow BA parents from all divisions in a social environment. More information regarding this event is forthcoming. Lastly, if you’re interested in volunteering within the BPC organization, please forward your name to me at We currently have positions open on our board for LS Coordinator, MS Coordinator and US Coordinator. Don’t hesitate to contact me with questions regarding those positions.

Fan, Follow Connect! Berwick Academy is on Facebook! Become a fan to see daily updates, photos, videos, and more. berwickacademy

Looking forward to seeing you at the Community Benefit on April 28!

Berwick Academy is using Twitter! Create a profile and choose to “follow” Berwick Academy. Opt to receive updates via phone and you will receive a text message every time we post something new!

Our live event will take place on April 28 at the Red Barn at Outlook Farm in South Berwick. Be sure to send in your RSVP if you would like to attend that evening. As always, we have wonderful donations from each class, student artwork, wonderful and unique experiences, and other great items up for auction that evening. The drawing for the winner of the Tuition Raffle will also take place that evening. Tuition Raffle tickets are still available and can be purchased by completing the Tuition Raffle form in the Downloads section of the Parent Portal. No more than 275 tickets will be sold, so don’t wait to get yours! berwickacademy

Connect, reconnect, and engage with Berwick Academy alumni, parents, and friends.

We would also like to invite you to a BPC social that has been planned for the evening of Friday, May 11 at Robert’s Maine Grill in Kittery, ME.

Search for Berwick Academy under Groups

1791 Letter ~ April 2012


Head of School News... cont. from pg 3

laughter and camaraderie. Please refer to the School’s website for details.

New Upper School Director to visit campus in April New Upper School Director, Shiela Esten, will return to campus on Wednesday, April 18 through April 20. A parent forum designed to introduce Shiela to the community will be hosted on Thursday, April 19 from 6:00-7:00 in the Fogg Library (Faculty Room).

Other April Events Please take note of the following dates: April 9-12 (private lesson music recitals), April 13 (US Service Day), April 16 (Language Honor Society Inductions), and April 20 (Earth Day).

Pre-K Announcement In an attempt to broaden the reach of our Early Childhood programs at Berwick Academy, we will be allowing students who turn three by September 1, 2012 into our new Pre-K next year. This new model of including three and four year olds will allow the class to grow beyond our current limit of eight to as many as 12, and it allows us to market to families earlier who are thinking about nursery school. While this program will remain the ideal preparation for our Lower School, we hope that it might also emerge as a wonderful Early Childhood experience for some families who will end up in public schools. Kelly Sullivan, our Pre-K teacher, has extensive experience working with three year olds and would be happy to answer any questions about the new composition of the program. Next year all students in the Pre-K will have the ability to opt into full day experiences, so we hope this might be of some appeal to Berwick families who might like to get younger siblings into the Berwick calendar and community more quickly. BPC Spring Benefit Please be sure to join us for the BPC Spring Benefit at the Links at Outlook on Saturday night, April 28. Separate from the importance of raising funds to support our students, this is the one time all year when parents from all three divisions have a chance to come together and celebrate what makes this School so special. There is always great 10

May Energy May is arguably the busiest month on the Berwick Calendar, but it is definitely the most fun. Whether it is Grandparents Day, Blue and White weekend, or the dance performances – there is something for everyone to enjoy in May. Please check the calendar to see what appeals to you. Lower School News...cont. from pg 6

actively behind the scenes in support of Berwick’s students and mission…and next year’s ERB assessments. Athletics News...cont. from pg 7

current and past successes of BA’s athletic program. Come learn more about the Boosters and enjoy a social evening connecting with old friends and meeting new ones. Summer Camp Opportunities at Berwick Multi-sports Day Camp: June 18 - 22 Dance Camp: June 25 - 29 Seacoast United Soccer Club Training Academy Week 1: July 9 - 13 (7-13 year olds) Week 2: July 16 - 20 (9-18 year olds) Sports Equipment Swap Do you have any sports equipment sitting in your garage or basement? Drop off gently used and cleaned sports equipment to the athletic center on Friday, May 11 between 5:00 and 7:00 p.m. The swap will be held on Saturday, May 12 from 9:00 - 1:00 p.m. 1791 Letter ~ April 2012

Arts News...cont. from pg 8

jazz band as well as the 5/6 African, 7/8 African, and US African will perform on Tuesday, May 15, during Spring Concert I. Middle School and Upper School string musicians, 5/6 orchestra, 7/8 orchestra, US chamber along with 5/6 guitar, grade 7 guitar, and grade 8 guitar will present Spring Concert II on Tuesday, May 22. Finally, our choral students in all three divisions, LS chorus, 5/6 chorus, 7/8 chorus, US chorus will perform in Spring Concert III on Wednesday, May 23. Each of the Spring Swing Concerts begins at 7:00 p.m. in the Patricia Baldwin Whipple Arts Center Theater. Senior Arts Night Members of the senior class will participate in Senior Arts Night on Thursday, May 17. Visual art students will exhibit their work in the lobby gallery opening at 6:30 followed by student performances in the theater at 7:00. Virtual Choir 2012 The 2012, Virtual Choir 3.0 premiered April 2, via live streaming webcasts from Lincoln Center. The Virtual Choir is the brain child of contemporary, American composer Eric Whitacre. Music teacher Stephanie Sanders was a participant in this global Virtual Choir 3.0 that features the performances of 3,746 singers from 73 countries. The process involved the participants downloading “Water Night” a choral piece by the composer/conductor. The next step was to rehearse the music while watching a video of Mr. Whitacre directing and listening to the full audio performance. Participants practice with the “virtual conductor” and then make as many recordings as needed, selecting the best to upload. Stephanie uploaded her audio-video performance to the website and became a part of an incredible experiment in social media.

The Virtual Choir 3.0 is the largest online assembly of voices in history and far surpassed the goal of 1,500 voices. Mr. Whitacre was overwhelmed by the number of participants this year as he felt Water Night is a difficult piece and believed that not as many singers would attempt to learn it. Through technology, voices in large cities to very remote areas were able to join together in song to create beauty across time and space. The Virtual Choir 3.0, “Water Night” can be viewed on the following link This year there will be many installations of the Virtual Choir 3.0 in various places around the world including “Titanic Belfast,” the new Visitor Center in Northern Ireland, commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the Titanic. Virtual Choir 3.0 will be broadcast on April 14, the date of the maiden voyage, dedicated to and to “provide a moment of contemplation for the lost souls.” Look for Stephanie in the video at three minutes into the video and her name can also be found under the soprano section in the credits. Visual Art 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 19 through April 27. You are invited to join the artists for an opening reception on Thursday April 19 from 5 p.m.-6 p.m. The exhibiting Advanced Placement artists include: Juliana Blais, Shannon Farrell, Nicole Kleinmann, Jessica Murray, Ellie Penati, Autumn Richards, Kristin Sanborn, Abby Scanlon and Katie Towey.

Haystack Mountain School of Crafts Amy Rawn will be participating in the Student Craft Institute 2012 at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts on Deer Isle, Maine in May. She will have hands-on opportunities to explore the creative process involved in wood working. She is one of 70 student artists across the state of Maine selected to attend. 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. Benn Clapp was selected as an alternate and is hoping a space will be available for him to attend as well. Raegan Russell has been invited to be a studio assistant in the pin hole photography workshop this year.

Henkel, Ian MacFarlane, and Will Duffy. Members of the Berwick Academy Dance Department will create an improvisation based on a text, along with performing studentchoreographed pieces. Ian McFarland and his band will perform several of his own compositions along with works of other musicians. For more information, please be in touch with Sasha Malone, Dance Director or Liz-Anne Platt, Upper School Drama Director.

Theater Student-directed One Acts Student-directed one act plays, scenes, monologues, dance, and music will be staged Friday, May 11 at 7 p.m. in the Patricia Baldwin Whipple Arts Center. The presentations represent the combined efforts of members of the Berwick Academy Upper School Drama Course, the Drama Club, the Dance Department, and Ian McFarland’s band. Liam Bristol, Benn Clapp, Freeman Fletcher, Parker Johnson, Jane Merrow, Will Platt, and Nate Richard will direct a variety of dramatic and comedic works, including selections by Shakespeare, Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller, Terrence McNally, John Guare, a murder mystery, film adaptations, and a drawing room comedy. Many of those directing will also be performing in each other’s pieces. The full cast includes Matt Butcher, Abby Scanlon, Spencer Fascetta, Connell Altschiller, Stephanie Storey, Skyler Gailing, Kevin O’Day, Ben Thut, Breandan Haley, George 1791 Letter ~ April 2012


Cindy Briggs - School Counselor

Navigating Transitions: Academic Support at BA by Sarah Ross, Academic Support Coordinator My ninth grade year of prep school sometimes doesn’t seem too long ago to me, even though it was indeed more than half my lifetime ago. I’ve more recently asked of myself, however, “Why do I feel that way? Am I just perpetually youthful? What does it mean to be ‘grown up,’ anyway?” I did develop a pretty strong identity as a child growing up in the hills and valleys of Western Massachusetts, and I suspect my digging in gardens, romps through the woods, and private school ramblings instilled in me a sense of place that will be, by the glory of the universe, always just there. But ninth grade was pivotal. In ninth grade we were asked to engage in self-inquiry and self-reflection that made me become more critical of my own tendencies and lineage in ways that I had never been—and ways that have forever changed me: “How have I come to be who I am?” Or, “Who am I?” In my thirties, I still find these old questions grounding and especially important to pose in times of transition—a continual reminder that we are always on the verge of newness, and so always, perhaps, youthful. When faced with the challenge of teaching the study skills portion of Freshman Foundations this past fall, I found myself suddenly “back there.” I felt like a freshman—heartbeat in my bones, no license, no road, but a serious lease on life. Thank goodness for living so close to the water, which 12

We l l n e s s N e w s

has, over and again, managed to pull me “back here.” I’m more grounded than my freshman self, more resilient; I have learned to make strategic choices and yet trust that there are reasons why life often longs for us more than we do for it. I am a teacher with a lot of wisdom and knowledge. These are reasons I love what I do. When I’m asked what it is that I do in my work as the Middle and Upper School Academic Support Coordinator at Berwick, the most basic response might be that I help to coordinate the most appropriate academic support for students in need. A more complex response might be that my job—indeed our jobs as educators and parents—is to help students find just the right tools for their own personal journey, and to help them move through transitions with grace, humility, and vigor. On a fundamental level, I work with students, families, and teachers to determine the organizational supports on all fronts (home and school) that may help to scaffold students’ independence as learners. I help students work toward evolving answers to questions like “Who am I?” and “How do I learn best?” and “Can you help me figure out how to ask this question?” Practically, this support comes in many forms: short-term 1:1 intervention for students experiencing difficulty in class, accommodations and support plans for students with diagnosed learning disabilities, ongoing work with teachers to differentiate instruction in classrooms, guidance for parents, content tutorial support through professional and peer tutors, study skills courses (currently in 1791 Letter ~ April 2012

fifth and ninth grades), and, sometimes, additional work with the very talented members of our Support Services staff. There are at least a few standard academic recommendations that I often make to students—for the sake of moving toward higher achievement and greater happiness, toward self-sufficiency, and for the sake of developing an aesthetic for one’s own existence: Keep an active daily, weekly, and monthly planner, breaking larger tasks into smaller ones. With larger assignments, add the due date to your calendar and then “plan backward,” adding key steps to your calendar. Do the hard stuff first. Keep an organized binder, with appropriate sections for each class and sub-sections for tests, quizzes, notes, and handouts. You may also wish to keep a “homework folder” to keep track of work that must go home and work that must come back. At home, keep an “archive” of older materials that you may need to help you prepare for final assessments. Develop a routine when you get home from school. Begin your homework at the same time each evening, and carefully choose the workspace where you will be most productive (for most this means a quiet, organized workspace with minimal distractions). Engage in consistent, daily review of your notes, quizzes, and reading and devise questions to ask in and out of class. continued on pg 14...

Rachel Saliba - School Archivist

Archives News In heavy slumber all the street While from the church, just out of sight Behind the elms, comes slow and sweet The organ’s drone, the voices faint That sing the quaint long-metered hymnI somehow feel as if shut out From some mysterious temple, dim And beautiful within blue and red And golden lights from windows high Where angels in the shadows stand And earth seems very near the sky.

Sarah Orne Jewett BA Class of 1865 (photo c. 1885) In honor of National Poetry Month and our Poet-in-Residence Week, the following is a poem written by Sarah Orne Jewett Class of 1865 that I hope will remind you of spring in New England. Jewett is Berwick’s most famous alumna and according to the Poetry Foundation, “one of the most prominent literary figures in her time.”

The daydream fades-and so I try Again to catch the tune that brings No thought of people, nor of priest But only of a voice that sings. A handwritten copy of this poem was given to her friend Miss Kate Sanborn, daughter of the town doctor. Many of Jewett’s poems were unpublished during her lifetime (1849-1909), but you can find many of her works online at the Jewett Text Project at the University of New England ( sj-index.htm). The Jackson Library and the BA Archives also house a thorough collection of Jewett’s published works and the Old Berwick Historical Society ( is also a great resource. At the very least, I encourage you to visit the Sarah Orne Jewett House this summer at 5 Portland Street in South Berwick. It is open from June to October.

AT HOME FROM CHURCH By Sarah Orne Jewett The lilacs life in generous bloom Their plumes of dear old-fashioned flowersTheir fragrance fills the still old house Where left alone I count the hours. High in the apple tree the bees Are humming, busy in the sunAn idle robin cries for rain But once or twice and then is done. The Sunday morning quiet holds

Downtown South Berwick c. 1890’s. The Jewett home is on the left (Photo courtesy of OBHS). 1791 Letter ~ April 2012


Wellness News...cont. from pg 12

Why are these (and so many other) practices important to coming to know oneself? Simply put, they are lifelong tools to help people (young people—which means all of us) engage meaningfully and productively with others (their teachers, peers, parents) and so the world in which they live. They also just so happen to be things I really began to learn, in a “your life depends on it” kind of way, when I was in ninth grade. Here’s to our evolving youthfulness, to supporting and respecting one another, and to being just who we are. Sincerely, Sarah Ross

Grandparent’s Day is Friday, May 4! 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 4. 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.

Annual Athletic Boosters Community Dinner Thursday, April 19 at 6:30 p.m. Athletic Center Honoring Peter Saliba All parents are welcome to attend this event!


1791 Letter ~ April 2012

□ □

1791 Letter ~ April 2012


Jedd Whitlock - Director of Advancement

11 0 2 10

Dear Berwick Community.,





The 2011-2012 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 72%. To reach this goal, we need 57 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 very student everyday. Gifts at all levels are needed and greatly appreciated. It is a point of pride that so many in the community join together to support this worthy cause. By participating in the Annual Fund, you are supporting the school’s academic, arts, athletics, technology, faculty and financial aid programs. Please be one of the next 63 donors to help us meet our goal!

Gifts to Goal

Alumni and Development News

To give online visit 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


1791 Letter ~ April 2012



Annual Fund

April 1791 Letter  
April 1791 Letter  

BA monthly newsletter