F e b r u a ry 2 0 1 2
BERWICK A C A D E M Y
1791 L e t t e r
Berwick Academy Upper School presents
Damn Yankees Friday and Saturday, February 24-25 Whipple Arts Center Theater The musical comedy features music and lyrics by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross, and the script by George Abbott and Douglass Wallop, based on Wallop’s novel, The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant. This modern retelling of the Faust legend, relates the story of what a frustrated baseball fan is willing to do to see his team win. “You’ve Gotta Have Heart,” Whatever Lola Wants,” “Shoeless Joe from Hannibal, Mo.,” “Who’s Got the Pain?,” “Two Lost Souls,” and “Those Were the Good Old Days,” are just a few of the major numbers from this Broadway show that showcases the genius of legendary choreographer Bob Fosse. Damn Yankees is under the artistic direction of Liz-Anne Platt, with musical direction by Seth Hurd ’90, who will also direct the “Bulldogs” Orchestra. Sasha Randall Malone and Christine Bessette are choreographing and staging the musical numbers. Polly Davie is designing costumes, Raegan Russell is in charge of set design, and Brad Fletcher will handle props and backstage. To order tickets, please use the form in this newsletter and return to Louise Rouleau in the Upper School. Curtain time is 7 p.m. both nights. Tickets are $7.00 for adults and $4.00 for students. From left to right: Julia Burke ‘14, Joe Borg ‘12, Jane Merrow ‘13, Liam Bristol ‘14, and Sarah Putnam ‘13, perform “Who’s Got the Pain?”
1791 Letter ~ February 2012
MESSAGE F R O M
These days, at about 6:45 a.m. through the prism of my curved windows in Burleigh-Davidson, I am greeted by breathtaking sunrises while my computer gradually awakens from its dormant state. Winter afternoons on the Hilltop are also ironically punctuated by panoramic sunsets on the porch that are beyond compare. Looking to the West, the path to Dover becomes illuminated, made possible by the sudden bareness of winter foliage. Barren winter offers beauty to my office windows in a way that is unparalleled by the other seasons of the Seacoast. And now, as we reach February, I begin my days amidst sunrises rather than darkness. Jeppesen seems silhouetted by rosy hues. The growing length of the days reminds me that we are all turning a corner as a community, beginning or culminating drive towards the end of our year. As many of you may have gathered from my earlier writings, diversity at Berwick has been an engaging conversation on the Hilltop this year. One book that seemed to grip the faculty most powerfully last summer was one entitled Covering by Kenjo Yoshito. The book is best described as part memoir and part legal treatise, but the takeaway is a powerful one. While we have made much progress as a society in the area of civil rights, there is still a great deal of hidden pressure for people to cover aspects of themselves. As Head of School at Berwick, I cherish the word authentic when describing this school, so I think the book struck an unexpected chord. In fact, it prompted 2
Head of School
me to offer my current Ethics students an assignment based on this premise: What do you believe students at Berwick Academy’s Middle School feel pressured to cover? What might we do to make our community even more authentic? I share four separate excerpts with you this month from those assignments, as I believe they offer a type of pre-adolescent wisdom that no adult could hope to replicate. The first thing I heard when I came for a visit Berwick Academy was a random comment from another student about someone’s 87% on a test being an epic failure… Usually I hear students talking about not spending time on homework at all and getting the highest grades anyway… Good grades are a wonderful thing, but it never should be the only criteria for the evaluation of students’ talents, abilities, efforts, etc. We are all different. We all learn differently, have different talents, different personal traits, different weak spots, and powerful points. Before I came to Berwick Academy, I thought that money might be an issue at the school… Some people tried to tell us that Berwick Academy was really snobby and even unfriendly and that I would have a hard time making friends because I’m not rich... Now that I’m here, it really isn’t an issue with my friends or with anyone that I’ve talked to. Sometimes I do feel badly because my friends all want to go skiing for the weekend and I can’t afford to pay for the lift tickets. I wouldn’t talk about that with my friends, but I don’t think it’s because of the school. One personal difference that is often covered up by Middle School students is their economic status. Berwick includes a wide range of economic classes. Some students have the iPhone 4s while others don’t have a cell phone. Students are judged on clothing, computers, 1791 Letter ~ February 2012
iPods, phones, and jewelry…I found myself asking for clothes as gifts and buying more and more new clothing.. In some ways I felt more confident, but I realized it wasn’t me. I didn’t want to be defined by my clothing. What students often don’t realize is that friends would be accepting of them no matter how much money they have or what they wear. In the end, Berwick Academy is a strong, tolerant community, but, like all other things, it could improve. I believe teaching the importance of personal values from a young age will help students grow away from insecurity… Once students have more self-confidence, they won’t feel the need to cover up anything about themselves… Students will take off their masks and show their true colors. What strikes me as most powerful about these words are two things. First off, through honest voices they articulate appropriate ambivalence about two of the toughest issues we face in this community: socioeconomic difference and our definition of academic excellence. These students neither express that our community is perfect nor do they suggest the School could possibly solve these dilemmas on its own. As adults, and as a Head of School, I often find myself in solution mode. I continually ask questions like: How can I fix that? and How can I make that go away? And yet these eighth graders implicitly recognize the impossibility in fully defining excellence at a community like ours. We want our students to stretch and achieve at the highest level possible, including exceptional grades and exceptional college outcomes. We also want to cherish the personal journey and personal best of every member of this community without over-emphasizing the prominence of
BERWICK A C A D E M Y honor rolls and grades. We know that the reality of an independent school education (and for life in general) is that not everyone is blessed with the exact same range of opportunities based on economic status. While we can’t expect things to be equal for everyone, we also worry about students and families who may not feel as comfortable here as we would like. The second item that strikes me is a bit less obvious. Some people reading this might want to ask why I would even choose to reveal this apparent underbelly of our community through the eyes of our students. Certainly there were many other topics to be chosen this month. However, I hope this edition reminds you of the critical thinking occurring for these young minds. You are not sending them here to become mere receptacles of the collective adult knowledge latent in this community. You send them to Berwick so that we might help them think more critically and more deeply about the world around them. We want them to isolate problems and begin solving them. The ability of these eighth graders to probe (and not simply accept) the environment in which they dwell is extraordinary. There is a dose of courage in this as well when your Head of School is the audience. Phrases imbedded in our mission and core values such as “rejecting apathy” and “resilient citizens” seem alive and well to me in the words above. I do believe that our community is an authentic one in ways that surpass any other independent school community I have ever known. I do believe that Excellence has many faces at Berwick Academy. I do believe that our community is far more diverse than people assume, and it is becoming more so. I also believe that we are not
perfect, and that is why I choose to get up every morning to see the sun rise and set from the Hilltop each and every day. Luckily, I have about 590 non-adult minds to help show me the way. Upper School Director save the date As was announced previously, we are thrilled to welcome Shiela Esten to Berwick Academy next fall to become our next Upper School Director. For any parents in the community who are interested in meeting her, Shiela tentatively plans to be back on campus April 19 and 20. We plan to host a meet and greet event on the evening of April 19 at a location to be determined. Assistant Director of College Counseling I am excited to announce that we have selected Brian Sweeney to be our new Assistant Director of College Counseling in the Upper School. Brian has been teaching with us this year in a part-time role in the history department, and he has been offering part-time support in the college office as well. A graduate of Holderness and Colby College, Brian holds a master’s degree in history from the University of Edinburgh. He will teach two sections of Upper School history, coach two sports, and take on a moderate case load of college advisees to assist Moira McKinnon given our enrollment growth in the Upper School. One benefit of having an internal candidate is that Brian will be in the office this spring as he trains within the office and takes on some exciting professional development opportunities as well. His abilities as a writer, a communicator, and someone who has a deep connection with students will allow him to be an incredible advocate for our students and families while also being an important ambassador for Berwick Academy in the world of 1791 Letter ~ February 2012
higher education. Grade Two announcement Many of you may be aware that Amy Criswell, grade two teacher, will be joining her husband out in Colorado next year. We are incredibly sorry to have her leave us, but I am pleased to announce that Ruth Rioux, former Assistant Head of School and Lower School Head, has agreed to become our interim second grade teacher next year. Our students and parents are in for a wonderful experience in second grade next year. New Titles In 1791 I am pleased to announce two new titles in the 1791 house for next year. Tracey Boucher will officially become the Director of Communications, which is a title that more accurately describes her current roles and responsibilities. Jenni Franco becomes our Assistant Director of the Annual Fund, as she will move into a more substantial role in managing correspondence and volunteers on this critical effort as we look to expand fundraising initiatives next year. Enrollment Contracts due Just a reminder that enrollment contracts are due if you wish to reserve a place at Berwick Academy next fall. Particularly in the Upper School, we will need to gain clarity quickly regarding individual family plans. Spring Break is coming As we prepare for an upcoming spring break, I want to be sure to wish all of you a wonderfully restful time with family and friends. Come back ready for an amazing spring on the Hilltop.
Peter Saliba - Upper School Director
Upper School News I have found that situations that present the greatest challenges are the best opportunities to see the power of the human spirit. And, as you read this letter, we have entered a crucial time at Berwick. Invariably, the weeks of late February are marked by excitement, anxiety, and pressure surrounding the end of the trimester. If you throw in the lack of snow days, you’ve got quite a situation. For me, although many might see it as “bad,” I see these last four weeks as a chance to observe the strength of character and the ability to adapt that permeates our community. While many dread this time of year, I have often seen the best of people. This display comes in the form of adapting to the challenges during this time. How adaptable can a person be? I believe there isn’t a limit to the human capacity to deal with adversity. History abounds with examples of the impossible being possible because people adjusted to the challenges. And from the perspective of our community, there are plenty of impossible tasks which are conquered. Every day at Berwick, our community rises to the challenge of both the profession of education, and being educated. Faculty model this in their daily lives as they adjust to the changing needs of their students, and the constantly evolving world of best practices and pedagogy. From the perspective of our students, every day presents challenges as they move from introduction, practice, mastery, and then introduction again in every facet of their experience at Berwick. This cycle only intensifies at the end of the trimester. 4
These next few weeks will see a growth in the level of challenge and adversity. For some, it will require using old skills, and for others, it will necessitate developing new ones. Still others will realize that meeting a challenge is often much more complicated than applying a tool learned from a previous experience. You can have a solution worked out in your head, but then realize that it is not going to work. How people react in this situation, when they think they have the solution and it fails, is a true measure of their abilities and character. As we enter this time period which culminates with March break, our students will be challenged by the work before them. They will face adversity, and for some, there will be moments when they think, “How will I get through this?” For me, I am thankful that Berwick presents these moments to our students, and even more grateful for the support network that exists to serve them. When needed, the teachers, the advisors, the academic support staff, and all the other adults in the community enable our kids to rise to the challenge. This is the magic of Berwick. The greatest measure of a person is not how they are acting when things are in order, but when the chips are down, the stress is high, and they are faced with difficult choices. I know that our students will be challenged by the next few weeks, but they will make it. I know they will enjoy that moment of release when the bell rings at 3:00 p.m. on March 9. It is not a question of if they will get there, but how will they get there.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org to update all grandparent addresses or to provide the name and mailing information of a special friend. Invitations will be mailed soon!
1791 Letter ~ February 2012
Rosemary Zurawel - Middle School Director
Middle School News “In the event of a loss of air pressure in the cabin, please put on your oxygen mask before helping others.” During this odd and snowless winter, I have been regularly noting the colds, flu symptoms, and fatigue around me. Students, teachers, and parents have wondered aloud just why each has felt so tired. I believe that the answer lies in the lack of snow and more importantly the partner pieces that go along with this; a steady stream of school days without delay and without cancellation. This winter, all our athletic events have been held, music rehearsals have been frequent and regular, classes have pushed through material, and deadlines have stayed firm. What is missing is the delicious anticipation of snowfall and the imposed rest and recovery time that marks so many winters. In talking with adults, there is a clear expression of “pushing through” to the March vacation. Each one of the parents and teachers with whom I have spoken has past experiences that required him or her to see a project through to its end or the absolute deadline that had to be met. We bring our memories, and sometimes our promises to “never go through that again” to the challenge of long-term work. We know how to persevere. It is the perseverance that separates us from the children. Grownups are supposed to remain stoic and steady. Sadly, I think many of us have given up the childish hope for just a few more hours in bed on a week day, and with that surrender comes the burden of this February malaise that I keep seeing.
To return to the flight attendants’ quote above, I think we adults need to begin the process of some self-care, and I hope that it begins with laughter, silliness, and an abandonment of care for just an hour or two. We owe this to the children. Rather than coming home with slumped shoulders and a deep sigh, we might mix up our routine to see if there might just be a surprise at the end of an evening at home. Popcorn for dinner? (That counts as a vegetable, right?) Eat dinner in your pajamas? Tell the funniest story that ever happened to you? Or, here’s a thought: if laughter has curative powers, why not repeat, “Ha, ha, ha,” until each person is laughing? There are laughter clubs that meet around the globe each day to exercise their funny bones, and the leader simply starts with three chanted, “Ha, ha, ha.” And so, as we near the end of a brown February, I hope each adult you know can do some self-care. Our children will thank us for it. One of the ways in which we care for students is to provide each with important information. On February 28, we will host Officer Jennifer Frank, a well-known presenter on the topic of cyber-safety. Seventh and eighth graders will meet with her at 11:00 a.m. that day for an hourlong presentation that promises to be informative and timely as their social networking worlds expand. She will meet with the Upper School students later that afternoon. Most important of all, we have hired Office Frank to meet with all Berwick parents in the Commons Lounge at 3:30 p.m. in order to address your concerns and to 1791 Letter ~ February 2012
help you appreciate the role of social networking and its risks in the lives of your children. Please try to attend. A second way in which we partner with you to care for children is to be present at times when their pride in their work is at a high point. This month that includes the Science Fair for all seventh grade students. Early next month it will be the showing of the documentary films that have been created by our eighth grade. Each of these events takes place in the evening; parents, siblings, and important others are most welcome. The Science Fair is set up in the Jeppesen Science Center, and is a culminating event of weeks of investigative research. Visitors stroll through classrooms examining hypotheses and results. The documentary film night is organized in a seminar fashion, and various classrooms in the Clement Middle School are arranged by themes or time frames. The documentaries require each student to put forth a thesis statement which each then attempts to support using archival footage, primary source materials, and recorded interviews. The fifth and sixth grade evenings take place later on in the spring. I hope that you will join us.
Joel Hawes - Lower School Director
Lower School News Annually, I enjoy hosting the Lower School Forum due to the importance of presenting and discussing critical program matters with our parent community. During the recent February Forum, we reviewed 2010-2011 topics and discussed current agenda items. From the pre-Forum social gathering to Forum interactions, I continue to appreciate the support that parents, faculty, and administration bring to this endeavor. I will highlight the evening’s talking points and themes in this entry. We began the Forum by reviewing last year’s topics: Responsive Classroom, Math Program, Science Program, After-School Enrichment, Pre-Kindergarten and All-School Events. Serving as our foundational social-emotional program, the Responsive Classroom consists of classroom management and teaching strategies based on important principles: The social curriculum is as important as the academic curriculum and how children learn is as important as what children learn. We are currently in year two of a three-year Responsive Classroom implementation approach, which, in its final classroom form, will include classroom management strategies such as classroom meetings, morning messages, consistent/ supportive teacher language, and consistent logical consequences in support of positive individual and group behavior. The math program also registered on last year’s Forum list. In the past year, we have added a Math 6
Coordinator position to our Lower School personnel. Kim Francoeur works effectively with teachers and student groups to support math extensions. We have also piloted online math programs in grades one through four, which has given greater flexibility to our math instruction. Yet, our primary math focus continues to be a guarantee of one-hour math classes scheduled per day that use the Investigations math program as its base, including a sequential scope and sequence of algorithms and arithmetic objectives from grade to grade. Last year, my Lower School job description expanded to include that of Lower School science teacher in grades one through four. From moving the science classroom from the Jeppesen Building to the Lower School to revising the curriculum, it was a busy year. I have been aided this year with the assistance and support of Meaghan Foster. And I appreciate the fact that the “assistant position” will continue to be in place next year, giving me greater flexibility in accomplishing both my administrative and instructional duties. During my presentation, I also highlighted various ways this interactive science classroom has benefitted the Lower School students, ranging from regular science classes to special after-school events. We then moved on to afterschool enrichment. Because this is a carry-over agenda item, I will refer to this topic later in this entry. Last year, we anticipated launching our Pre-Kindergarten
1791 Letter ~ February 2012
program during the 2011-2012 school year. Now that those plans have become reality, it is exciting to reflect back on the developments of our youngest grade level. With skills taught in a theme-based curriculum, the Pre-Kindergarten class makes an interesting entry-point into the Lower School and connects successfully with the approaching Kindergarten grade level. Our current program is primarily homeroom-based, with the students also transitioning to three unified arts classes per week: library, physical education and music. As we plan for next year, we are excited to be able to offer a full-day option for families looking at this entry point into the Lower School. Our review of last year’s topics ended by celebrating the continued emphasis Berwick has placed on developing meaningful all-school events. The Tenth Day Assembly, the Halloween Parade, the Martin Luther King Assembly, and the recent Pep Rally are all impressive examples of administration, faculty/staff, and students effectively collaborating on our Three Divisions—One School model. This year’s Forum topics consisted of the following agenda items: After-School Programs, Curriculum Mapping, Standardized Tests/Assessment, Social-Emotional Curriculum and Plans for 2012-2013. After-school enrichment starts with our Aftercare program base, where students are exposed to indoor and outdoor play in a safe, nurturing environment. continued on page 10...
Rob Quinn - Athletic Director
Pilot Crew Program After over a year of research and discussions with UNH and the Great Bay Crew Company, Berwick is considering a pilot crew program. With rowing, BA will be more closely aligned with the tiers of schools in which its perspective students are interested, offer an alternative sport for students, and provide an arena for student growth in work ethic, physical health, and team dynamics. There is a possibility of a shared facility between Great Bay, UNH, and Berwick. The location site is on the banks of the Cocheco River in Dover, close to the George’s Marina. This area has favorable water for crew, unlike the current location for the UNH team which uses an Oyster River site with difficult tidal issues. BA plans to collaborate with Great Bay and UNH in this endeavor by taking advantage of their expertise in regards to knowledge, safety training, skills, and initial equipment access. Berwick will promote Great Bay’s summer camp program to our students with the hope that those interested will attend camp and return to BA in the fall with a new skill set. There is already interest on campus as 25 students (boys and girls) signed up to learn about crew. In the spring there will be two sets of “learn to row dates”. Plans are also underway to join “National Learn to Row” on June 2. Crew requires a significant financial commitment as the equipment is very expensive. The athletic department has been researching “used” shells and the capital necessary to launch this type of program.
Winter Sports Teams Having Terrific Seasons The winter teams at BA are putting together a memorable season. As we prepare this publication our Ski Team has just competed in the NEPSAC Championships at Berkshire East Ski Area in Charlemont, MA. The entire Swim Team travel to Deerfield, MA to compete in the NEPSAC Swimming Championships in early March. The Boys and Girls Varsity Basketball teams are positioning themselves for a two or three seed in the EIL Tournament “A” bracket for Saturday, February 25, but also have their sites set on a NEPSAC bid. The Girls Varsity Ice Hockey team is headed into the EIL Tournament as the #1 seed, with only one loss to an EIL opponent, and also have a chance to receive a NEPSAC bid. The Boys Varsity Ice Hockey team is also positioning themselves for a potential NEPSAC Tournament spot with their late season surge. It has been many years since Berwick has had this many teams near or at the top of their league standings and vying for NEPSAC Tournament opportunities. GO BULLDOGS! Equipment Swap Set to Launch Next Year The Athletic Boosters have agreed to sponsor the Equipment Swap next year during the fall & spring Blue & White weekends. There will be equipment stations set up in the wood gym on the Saturday of Blue & White weekend to stop in with your clean, used equipment and the opportunity to pick up some used equipment for your child(ren). This has been something we have been successful with in the Middle School with the Book Swap and it is our hope to see similar results providing the opportunity for Berwick families to 1791 Letter ~ February 2012
come and drop off/pick up equipment for their upcoming season. We will start this next fall. Please contact Rob Quinn for additional details Farrell hits 100 points for BA Girls Ice Hockey Shannon had 98 points going into Saturday’s game against Portsmouth Abbey. She earned her 99th point in the third period by netting a goal with an assist by Tilly Burzynski at 8:31. Shannon got a breakaway with 2:57 left in the third, decked the goalie and backhanded it over her into the net. Play stopped and the achievement was announced over the loud speakers. As of this publication Shannon has a total of 22G and 10 A this season, the most goals and overall points in the EIL. Shannon is only the second person in Girls Varsity Ice Hockey to reach the 100 mark, and the first to do it in just three years. Congratulations Shannon! Uniform Return Middle School collection will be at practice Tuesday, February 28. Upper School collection will be done by US coaches the week of March 5 Sports Awards: Middle School is at 1:30 p.m. on March 6 and Upper School March 1st at 5:30 p.m. team gatherings on campus and 7 p.m. Awards Presentation in Theater. Spring Practices All varsity spring practices will begin on Wednesday February 29, the JV teams will begin practices after spring break on Monday March 26. Coaches should be meeting with players soon. Spring Game Schedules Will soon be available on the portal. continued on page 14... 7
Deloris White - Fine Arts Director
DANCE The dance program kicked off the trimester with an outstanding performance at the Berwick Academy pep rally. The Hip-hop, intramural ,and Company Corps groups brought the spirit with choreography by Lisa Grondahl, Gina Hesse, Amy DiLorenzo, and Morgan McGuire. The season continued with breathtaking (and simply delightful!) choreographic works for February’s Winterfest evening of arts. The hours of rehearsal time were evident in the strength of preparedness and quality of work. Each group demonstrated tremendous creativity with their pieces. Six dances comprising a total of nineteen dancers took the stage for the magical evening. Dancers representing each division delighted the audiences with their artistic visions. Closing this trimester’s dynamic dance performances is the Upper School musical, Damn Yankees. This high energy show features exuberant fancy footwork lead by dance captains Katy Davis and Maddy Keefe. It is not to be missed! Berwick Academy’s Company dancers have been busy performing on campus and are preparing for offcampus opportunities. The Thornton Academy Dance Festival, March 17, in Saco, ME features both Sasha Randall Malone and Gina Hesse as master teachers, with Company Blue dancers invited as guest performers. Dance Northeast!, March 24, in Rochester, NH presents student pieces from young dancers from Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. This adjudicated evening of dance culminates with dance
intensive workshops at Sole City Dance. Upon our return from a much deserved spring break, the dance students extend their focus to the spring performance. This allschool extravaganza depends on the many gracious volunteers to make it a seamless and delightful experience. Students, faculty, staff and parents alike are welcome to join the ranks of the dance department in order to help with tickets, posters, costumes, makeup, and much more. Please contact Sasha Randall Malone at srandall@ berwickacademy.org if you are interested in assisting this year. MUSIC AND VISUAL ARTS Winterfest 2012— Twenty-three students representing all three divisions at Berwick Academy graced the stage on Friday, January 20, making their own Berwick history. Performing as soloists, in duets, or ensembles, students from grades one to twelve danced, sang, or played an instrument, sharing their passion for the performing arts. The evening performance was the culmination of many months of practice, anticipation, and excitement for the student performers. The theater was filled with a responsive audience of families, friends, and students, acknowledging each performer with exuberant applause. Through their performances, our performing artists evoked many emotions illustrating the human experience. We greatly appreciate the time and commitment
demonstrated by each of these performing arts students, their parents, and their music teachers. Thank you and congratulations to one and all. Selected works from students in all three divisions were on exhibit in the Lobby/Gallery representing the Winterfest Art. This exhibit showcased works in a variety of media from Kindergarten through grade twelve artists. MUSIC Festival News— Congratulations to Claire Breger-Belsky, Emma Hambright, Sarah Bryn, Emma Sattler, Zoe Spearman, Emily Barbour, Lily Reed, Jessica Hebert, Indigo Milne, Sarah Khan, and Sahana Heiderscheidt who represented Berwick at the York County Junior High Music Festival on February 3 and 4. We would also like to acknowledge that Emily Barbour was a featured soloist with the orchestra. April Recitals— Berwick’s music recitals will take place during the week of April 9. All students who take lessons on campus are encouraged to perform. Applied lesson teachers and parents should arrange a recital time for each private lesson student during this specific recital week. Spring Concerts— This year, the spring concerts will feature ensembles by discipline in order to provide the time for each group continued on pg 11...
1791 Letter ~ February 2012
BPC Notes - from the BPC Board Members
As you may know by now, BPC is gearing up for our annual Community Benefit on Saturday, April 28, 2012 at the Red Barn at Outlook in South Berwick. This event is a fun and festive celebration of Berwick Academy that raises funds to provide many enrichment opportunities for our children. Invitations to this event will be sent out in March, and we hope you will join us on this wonderful evening. I would like to thank Lored Fabbricatore and Lisa Grondahl for all their help and hard work in planning the Community Benefit this year, as well as our wonderful volunteers, and those who have donated items for auction. We certainly couldn’t do it without all of you! In addition to our live event, we will be hosting an online auction that will run from March 26 to April 14, 2012. You will be receiving email notifications in the coming weeks regarding our online auction – be sure to check out the wonderful items that are available for bidding. I promise you, there is something for everyone. If you’re interested in getting involved with the final stages of planning our event, join us at our next BPC Community Benefit Meeting on Tuesday, February 21 in the Commons Lounge. We are in the beginning phases of identifying new BPC board members for the coming year. If you are interested in getting more involved with BPC, please forward your name to me at email@example.com. I am more than happy to discuss the many volunteer opportunities we have available.
Parent Community News
Be sure to check our “Lost and Found” area in the lower level of the Commons to locate that missing jacket, sneaker, or hat. There are many articles of clothing that have accumulated, and we will be collecting these items in the coming weeks to donate to Goodwill if they are not retrieved. Lesli Friel President – Berwick Parent Community
Faces of Social Networking Tuesday, February 28 Parents Welcome
On Tuesday, February 28, Investigator Jennifer Frank of the Plymouth State University Police department will present “The Faces of Social Networking” to our students in grades 7-12. Jennifer will be holding a special session for parents from 3:30-4:30 p.m. in the Commons Lounge. All parents are welcome. Jennifer’s presentations will cover an introduction to what Social networking is, it’s history, how it is being utilized, the liabilities of various social networking sites and students’ use of them. Jennifer will also focus on cyberbullying, social media outlets and your privacy, legal and personal implications of use, cyberstalking, and sexting, with advice and information geared especially for parents. Investigator Frank is a member of the Grafton County Juvenile Diversion Board, and adjunct faculty at Plymouth State University and the NH Police Standards & Training Academy. She is the Co-Chair of the New Hampshire Violence Against Women Campus Consortium and an executive board member of the New Hampshire Violence Prevention Team, Plymouth Area Sexual Assault Resource Team and a liaison to the U.S. Department of Justice Attorney General for Project Safe Childhood.
1791 Letter ~ February 2012
Lower School News...cont. from pg 6
Over the last year and a half we have also added enrichment programs to our after-school efforts based primarily on trimester scheduling. These activities have ranged from Math Mania to ArtWorks to White Pine Nature Club. This mix of arts, athletics and science has proved to be a valuable component to our Lower School approach, and we look forward to continuing after-school enrichment next year with greater focus on advanced advertising and logistics to give the program greater value and use within the Lower School community. We discussed our approach to documenting our curriculum by way of Rubicon Atlas, our online curriculum mapping software program from PreKindergarten to grade twelve. In doing so, our focus is both on horizontal curricular alignment (grade level) and vertical curricular alignment (grade to grade). The faculty has used this approach for the last several years, and it has created greater focus in recording and evaluating our curriculum in a systematic manner. Because it is a computer-based model, we are able to access it for faculty meetings and conversations that promote greater analysis of our curriculum. In the end, the progress that we have made on our curriculum will allow us to roll out public documents which our families will be able to access as we begin the upcoming school year at events such as Back to School Night. Standardized testing and reporting on student progress has been an important part of our yearly focus. With our trimester model, we hold parent-teacher conferences in October and April and write student reports at the end of November, in mid-March, and mid-June. In the past, we have also administered the Terra Nova standardized tests in April to our second through fourth grade Lower 10
School students. Primarily a contentbased test, we have noted limitations with this tool and with our ability to work purposefully with the results both internally and with our parent community. After much administrative level review, we have decided to use two forms of tests produced by the Educational Records Bureau for the coming year in place of the Terra Nova test. We will administer the standard ERB skills-based test to our third and fourth graders, and we will have the option of administering a “junior version” of the ERB to our students in the grades below second grade. This junior version offers formative and ongoing assessment three times per year in the areas of math, literacy, and language art and would essentially be a progress report on student growth. Thus, we will not be testing the students with the Terra Nova standardized tests this spring, but rather will wait to administer the ERB tests next October. We are excited about the potential of administering the tests in the fall, so that we have more time throughout the year to work with the results. While I presented specifically on the Responsive Classroom to open the presentation, I also focused more globally on our socialemotional program near Forum’s end. We appreciate the foundation that Responsive Classroom gives to our classroom initiatives, and we have also benefitted from a social thinking program led by Marguerite Genest. Working with the students and teachers in both homeroom and unified arts classrooms, Dr. Genest focuses on ten social skills that range from eye contact, to tone of voice, to personal space. Other aspects of our social-emotional curriculum include health classes connected to physical education classes, wellness events, the fourth grade Ambassadors Program and our Community Compacts (grades 1791 Letter ~ February 2012
one through four), and Class Promises (Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten). My final Forum topic involved projecting ahead to next year. With mixed emotions, the Lower School faculty and I have recently learned of Amy Criswell’s intentions to move to the greater Boulder, Colorado area over the summer. The Criswell family looks forward to this new chapter in their personal and professional lives. We have had the good fortune of Amy’s expertise as a four-year first grade teacher and (soon to be) two-year second grade teacher at Berwick Academy. I have the utmost appreciation and respect for the manner in which she has dedicated herself to our Division during these six years. A versatile educator, Amy immersed herself in Lower School life from the outset. Our student-directed instructional and social/emotional support expectations for classroom teachers are many and varied. Yearly, Amy has expertly modeled pedagogical approaches in areas ranging from literacy and math instruction to Responsive Classroom and Social Thinking efforts. I appreciate Amy’s efforts on behalf of students and colleagues over the years. While we know that we will miss her next year, we also are excited for Amy and her family and the Colorado adventures that await them. To maintain a critical level of consistency and continuity in the Lower School, we felt it important to find a replacement for Amy who knew our school well and who had a deep appreciation for our Lower School approach. To that end, we fortunately did not need to look any further than in the direction of former Lower School Teacher and Director (and former Assistant Head of School), Ruth Rioux. Ruth will help stabilize our efforts at the second grade level for the coming year, while we have the opportunity to explore longer-term
faculty options. We greatly appreciate Ruth’s enthusiasm and excitement in preparing for this new position— one for which she is extremely well qualified. On a personal note, I have benefitted greatly from Ruth’s wisdom and collaboration over the years, and I look forward to the opportunity to once again work closely with her. Likewise, I am excited to re-introduce Ruth to the Lower School community for the coming year--especially to our group of rising second graders. Thank you, as always, for your interest in the Lower School program. I hope that these notes were helpful in better understanding a number of examples in which we collectively support the growth of our Lower School community. Arts News...cont. from pg 8
to showcase their accomplishments and to demonstrate the continuity in the program across divisions. Spring Concert I— Tuesday, May 15: MS and US Bands and Jazz Bands, MS and US African and US a cappella Spring Concert II— Tuesday, May 22: MS and US Orchestras/Chamber and MS Guitar Ensembles Spring Concert III— Wednesday, May 23: LS, MS, and US Choral Ensembles (grades 2 – 12 Choral Concert) Summer Programs— Each summer, several Berwick Academy students attend performing arts camps and visual arts programs. Stephanie Sanders and Raegan Russell have information available if you are interested in learning more about intensive summer music or visual art opportunities for your child.
VISUAL ARTS Scholastic Art Competition— Fourteen Upper School students and one grade eight artist submitted 22 works to the Annual Scholastic Art and Writing Competition. Four students received regional recognition with a total of five awards. There was not a regional affiliate to sponsor Maine’s artists this year, therefore, the work of Maine’s students was not only judged with students from the New England states, but also with students from New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland. Berwick’s 2012 Scholastic Award Winners: Indigo Milne ‘16 Silver Key Award in Design, Ellie Penati ‘12 Honorable Mention in Mixed Media, Kristin Sanborn ‘12 two Honorable Mentions for Photography, Autumn Richards ‘12 Silver Key Award in Sculpture. • The Silver Key is high honors on the regional level and places students in the top 15% of their region. • Honorable Mention distinction shows tremendous creative promise and places students in the top 20% of their region. This excerpt from the recognition newsletter describes the significance of this competition and the process. “Since 1923, The Awards have recognized some of America’s most celebrated artists and writers while they were teenagers, including: Andy Warhol, Richard Avedon, Cy Twombly, Robert Indiana, Kay Walking Stick, Philip Pearlstein, and John Baldessari. We’re proud to count all Award recipients among them and among the next generation of artists and writers!” The award-winning work from BA will be on exhibit in the Arts Center Lobby/ Gallery and posted on the portal for all to see! 1791 Letter ~ February 2012
Silent Flight Art Contest— The judging process at the state level has been completed and the following students have received certificates and letters of recognition from the National Association of State Aviation Officials in Washington, DC. Camille Gaudet ‘21 earned third place in the Junior Division, Sophia Estes ‘20 earned second place in the Junior Division, and Chloe Schmir ‘14 received a first place award in the Senior Division. Their paintings and drawings will now be entered into National Competition where the national judges will consider all of the winning entries from each state to determine the national winners in each division. Youth Art Month 2012 at the Portland Museum of Art— March is Youth Art Month. Deloris White, Teaya Fitzgerald, and Raegan Russell recently selected the work of Samuel Hanson ’21, Alexis Seta ’18, and Juliana Blais ’12 to represent Berwick Academy at this annual art exhibit sponsored by the Maine Art Education Association and the Portland Museum of Art. The exhibit will open at the Portland Museum of Art on Tuesday, February 28 and will be on display through Sunday, April 1, 2012. The opening reception and awards ceremony will take place on Saturday, March 10, from 4:00 – 7:30 p.m. Certificates will be awarded in the PMA Theater to grades 3 – 5 artists at the 5:30 p.m. ceremony and the grade 6 – 12 certificates will be given at the 6:30 p.m. ceremony.
Cindy Briggs - School Counselor
A message from Kim Kryder, School Counselor: As the new Upper School and Middle School Counselor at Berwick Academy, I knew I had some big shoes to fill. What I soon learned was I not only was filling shoes, but I was also creating some new shoes. It has been clear since my first day that I was not just going to be the school counselor, but I was really becoming part of a Wellness Team. This team includes Cindy Briggs, Director of Support Services; Holly Bennett, Athletic Trainer & Health Educator; Karen Chiang, School Nurse; Sarah Ross, Academic Support Coordinator; and Marguerite Genest, Lower School Counselor. This team exists because Cindy Briggs and Holly Bennett had a vision and a goal to provide our students with wellness content and discussion that will not only enrich their time at Berwick, but will better prepare them for the world beyond the Hilltop. I want to share some of the group work, classes and activities I have had the pleasure of being involved with this year. Many of these are new to Berwick and though some are still having the wrinkles ironed out, I think these examples offer a good snapshot of the work the Wellness Team has been doing this year. NEW Freshmen Foundations: All ninth grade students met once a week during the first trimester to talk about various wellness issues facing teenagers such as stress management, depression and suicide prevention, substance use, body 12
We l l n e s s N e w s
image, and sexuality. At the end of the class, I asked that everyone fill out an evaluation. Here are some of their comments: - I liked the fact that the atmosphere in class was very open to our thoughts, questions, and opinions. I felt comfortable asking and talking about most topics without feeling embarrassed. - That it wasn’t just us listening to someone lecture and we got to put in our own opinions. - I like that we reviewed all the most common drugs because that is probably something that we will be offered in the future. We now understand the consequences of doing drugs. - I liked how the class was very open and I could talk about my feelings without being judged for once in my life. - Learning about useful resources for troubled classmates. - I liked how the class gave us opportunities to work together and figure things out and learn new things on our own, and not just be lectured. NEW GIRLS (Girls in Real Life Situations) Group: Self-selected seventh and eighth grade girls met once a week during the second trimester activity period to talk about issues that are important to them. During a discussion on how girls treat each other, co-leader Jen Hill and I asked the girls to finish the following phrases. Here are a few responses: Girls are…confusing, moody, judgmental, aggravating. Girls can be…jealous, dramatic, cliquey, hurtful, mean. 1791 Letter ~ February 2012
Girls should be…caring, nice, respectful, open, smart. After discussing those responses we had the girls finish these phrases: I am…challenging, different, emotional, secretive, insecure. I can be…gossipy, rude, private, emotional, sarcastic, mean. I should be…nicer to my friends, stronger, an individual, open-minded, proud, inclusive, confident. NEW Fifth Grade Seminar Class Wellness: All fifth grade students met twice a week during the second trimester to learn more about wellness and the habits we can build for a lifetime of good health. Recently these students were asked to identify a physical activity they enjoyed doing and how it helped them physically, mentally and socially. Here are a few of their responses: - My favorite physical activity is surfing. It benefits me mentally to be out in the ocean. It makes me feel really happy and it is a stress reliever. - Playing catch helps my throwing and catching. I also have to run when it goes into the woods. It’s relaxing once you get the hang of it. I get to hang out with my dad, brother and sister. - My favorite activity is basketball. It makes my muscles stronger and it helps me sleep better. It is also a big stress reliever. I also learn how to be part of a team and I enjoy socializing with my teammates. - Horseback riding makes me happy. - Hockey is my favorite physical continued on pg 14...
Rachel Saliba - School Archivist
Archives News Undergarments Required
Everyone has an opinion about the dress code. The issue isn’t new, nor is it unique to Berwick Academy. As early as the 1790’s other academies similar to Berwick required students to maintain “decency in apparel and cleanliness.”* The best (and funniest) dress code I have come across so far is the following, written by the legendary hockey coach and Assistant Headmaster, Paul “Pop” Whalen in 1972.
continued on pg 14... 1791 Letter ~ February 2012
Wellness News...cont. from pg 12
activity. I feel proud of myself when I score a goal or get an assist. My family is there to support me. - Skiing. Mentally it helps me because I don’t have to think about school. Physically it strengthens my muscles and socially you can meet new people on the chair lift. - Throwing Ninja Darts. Physically: strengthen core. Mentally: makes me tired so I sleep better. Socially: someone is there to count my points. Seventh Grade Sexuality Workshop: A night for seventh grade students and their parents to be introduced to the new Health unit of Sex and Sexuality. Seventh grade students are led in discussion by SWAT Leaders from the Upper School while parents are led in discussion by Holly Bennett on how to foster communication about sexuality topics with their children and other adults. At the end of the night, the students and parents came together to share their answers to these questions. Students: What is the major obstacle that prevents teenagers from talking with their parents about sexuality issues? - It’s embarrassing…I don’t want to because it would be AWKWARD. We see them every day and they might treat us differently. - It’s a subject that we don’t really talk about. So it makes it more awkward than if your mom or dad just asked you how your day was or what you had for lunch. - Teenagers are often embarrassed about what is happening to their own bodies. - It’s awkward because usually people don’t talk about it at the dinner table. We also don’t know what our parents will say. - Because we don’t think they will understand us.
Parents: Write down one message that you hope to pass on to your child about sexual health. - I would like my child to feel what a loving relationship means and how to respect each other in a relationship by using their strong sense of self. - Openness and self-confidence. - The only silly question is one that is not asked. Be fearless when seeking an answer and making decisions. - My wish is that you respect yourself and others. I hope you know you can always talk to me about anything without judgment. Please don’t give in to peer pressure. When re-reading many of these responses, I continue to be struck by the sincerity and the insight students are willing to share when we take the time to ask. I am also reminded of the power of groups, especially during adolescence, and how they can help each other realize they are not alone in their worries and concerns. I truly believe the sky is the limit for how Berwick’s Wellness program can evolve to better support our students and help them to gain essential life skills. As a new member of the Berwick community, I am extremely proud to be a part of this team. Sincerely, Kim Kryder, School Counselor Archives News...cont. from pg 13
(Paul “Pop” Whalen1971 - 1977) While it is comforting to know that we no longer need to require students to wear undergarments, defining a dress code is still a challenge – especially for girls. Part of our job as educators and parents is to teach our children the nuances of dressing appropriately and the types of responses that dress can elicit in others. Having a dress code is just one tool to achieve these results and if history is our guide, will remain a part of Berwick for centuries to come. * Chadbourne, Ava. A History of Education in Maine. The Science Press Printing Company, 1936. Correction from January 1791 Newsletter: Ben Isaak is in the 7th grade, not the 5th grade as written. Athletics News...cont. from pg 10
We are finalizing schedules and will be inputting in the next week. Equipment for Spring Lacrosse helmets should be inspected yearly and must be stamped and meet NOCSE approved standards. Helmet life is three to four years. Girls lacrosse players must wear goggles. These goggles need to be ATSM approved for lacrosse. Various types of goggles can be found in sporting good stores. Colored mouth guards are required for both girls and boys lacrosse. 1791 Letter ~ February 2012
The Berwick Academy Upper School presents
Damn Yankees Friday February 24 and Saturday February 25 7:00 p.m. Whipple Arts Center
Ticket Order Form
• Reservations required – seats are assigned on a first-come basis.
• Tickets must be pre-paid - please include cash or check payable to Berwick Academy.
• Tickets are NOT mailed. Tickets will be held at the theatre and may be picked up one hour prior to the performance.
Friday, February 24, 2012
Number of student tickets at $4.00 each Number of adult tickets at $7.00 each Total number of tickets
Saturday, February 25, 2012
_____ _____ _____
Cost ______ Cost ______ Total ______
Number of student tickets at $4.00 each Number of adult tickets at $7.00 each Total number of tickets
_____ _____ _____
Cost ______ Cost ______ Total ______
Please return to: Louise Rouleau, Registrar Berwick Academy 31 Academy Street South Berwick, ME 03908 Please call Ms. Rouleau at 207-384-2164 ext. 2500 with any questions.
1791 Letter ~ February 2012
Jedd Whitlock - Director of Advancement
Alumni and Development News Dear Berwick Community, On the evening of February 15, Berwick held its annual Portsmouth Regional Gathering for alumni and parents of alumni at the Music Hall Loft. Every year, this event grows and presents a wonderful opportunity for professional networking and for reconnecting with Berwick Academy. We were fortunate to have Ben Baldwin and Kent Allyn play jazz tunes while guests enjoyed the venue and festive atmosphere. In addition, freshman musician and guitarist, Brennan Santinello, accompanied Kent and Ben throughout the evening. We hope to see this and other regional events continue to grow as well in Boston, New York City, and Manchester, NH. Other cities and states such as Washington, DC and Florida are areas that we would like to visit in the near future. Please enjoy the below pictures from the Portsmouth event! Best, Jedd Whitlock Director of Advancement
1791 Letter ~ February 2012