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November 2012


1791 L e t t e r

Upper School Play - “Charley’s Aunt”

1791 Letter ~ November 2012



Giving Thanks During a month in which we are all giving thanks, I thought I would offer some perspective on a group of people who I believe we all should be thankful for in this community: the Berwick Academy Board of Trustees. While they are shuddering as they read that opening line (preferring always to stay in the shadows), there is a reality to the notion that they are the governing body that has allowed this School, and this Head of School, to grow and flourish. I thought the community might enjoy hearing a bit more about what this group of volunteers actually does for the School, as I sometimes worry that they appear somehow mysterious or clandestine to the parent body as a whole. Our Board members are volunteers who serve the School on account of a deep sense of altruism, ownership, and pride for the Academy. While they each might respond slightly differently to the question “Why do you serve?” – my guess is that all want to express their gratitude to Berwick while making a difference in the future of the community that they cherish above all others. What are the qualities that we seek in Berwick Academy trustees? I will start with the notions that I believe are applicable to most independent school boards and then close with a few thoughts that feel more specific to this particular community and region. In the most basic sense, a Board of Trustees has three primary 2

Greg Schneider

Head of School

functions: 1) To approve and uphold the mission of the School, 2) To ensure the long-term financial sustainability of the Academy, and 3) To hire and evaluate (that sounds so much better than “fire,” don’t you think?) their sole employee: the Head of School. No single trustee has any authority to act on behalf of the School on his or her own, rather the Board votes and acts as a group. This is not to say that discussion and conversations within the Board are not exciting given the individual views involved – quite the contrary. However, the collective wisdom of this group of twenty-four allows us to arrive at the best decisions and judgment for the future of Berwick. In traditional non-profit lingo, potential trustees are sought for their “time, talent, and treasure” or “work, wealth, and wisdom.” This is to say that non-profit trustees philanthropically donate their most precious resources to the Academy over and over again. Coming from a variety of professional backgrounds and experiences, the group offers a kind of collective wisdom that allows them to emerge as the single greatest strategic asset of the School as a whole. The amount of time trustees devote to committee work, budgets, policies, and strategic planning is certainly not for the casual volunteer. And finally, every single trustee, regardless of their overall financial capacity, is asked to make Berwick Academy their single most important charitable endeavor. Suffice it to say that this is a powerful recipe for institutional improvement. Our Committee on Trustees is always seeking new candidates to serve in these ways, and this can happen 1791 Letter ~ November 2012

through a variety of initial contacts and channels. Most typically, a friend of the Academy (parent, alumnus/a, community member, etc.) is asked by the Committee on Trustees to serve on a Board committee, as a way to grasp more fully the commitment required of trusteeship. This level of involvement offers both the candidate and the Board a chance to see if there is the needed alignment around mission and values for it to be a productive match. While the Head of School does not make nor create these decisions in isolation, it is also true that I was cautioned appropriately at my New Heads “boot camp” in 2007: “Above all else, never miss a meeting of your Committee on Trustees.” So presumably, people who agree to a term as a trustee have some level of comfort, if not interest, in working with the Head of School as well. There are many ways a volunteer can serve Berwick Academy outside of trusteeship. There are a number of important avenues, most notably under the umbrella of BPC (including Athletic and Arts Boosters). We have active volunteers in Development, Admissions, the Library, and even in individual classrooms as needed. People who gravitate towards trusteeship are often concerned with legacy. They recognize that the experience our students enjoy today is built upon the backs of those who came before us, and it is now our turn to do the same for the future generations. While there is certainly a sense of duty imbedded in all of this, trustees would probably playfully admit that it is a bit more self-interested than that. I believe one of the greatest benefits for

BERWICK A C A D E M Y our trustees is that they learn from a remarkably talented group of people working towards a common goal. Hopefully their one employee makes them laugh a few times along the way as well. Certainly these volunteers are offered a transparent window into the complexity of running a place like Berwick Academy that is unlike any other lens. The burden of trusteeship is real as well. Trustees are on the hook financially and legally for any crisis that might afflict the School under their watch. It is their job to walk the delicate line of avoiding meddlesome involvement with management’s operations while guiding the overall strategy with proper wisdom and oversight. In fact, trustees often have to abdicate some of their typical rights as parents in the community, as it becomes problematic to advocate for one’s own child at the expense of any other child. Suddenly all 600 Berwick students become their children, which is both exhilarating and petrifying at the same time. I believe there are a few things that separate Berwick Academy trustees from those I have observed in other places. Our recent re-accreditation process validated that our governance structure is among the best in the country given our commitment to best practice that stems from our Committee on Trustees. More importantly, our trustees place the mission and values of our institution first. Even as current parents (in most cases), they demonstrate an unwavering commitment to think long-term rather than short-term. They understand roles and boundaries and seem to be extremely content to do their work away from the spotlight. Finally, they take great pride in championing

this place that we all love, which has seemed able to do more for kids with less resources when compared to so many of our peer schools. One of the reasons that we have thrived has been the willingness of this dedicated group to make hard decisions and act boldly when needed. Beyond offering you a bit of a window into the life of a Berwick trustee, it is also true that we are always seeking new volunteers who might be willing to take on this level of commitment to the School. While not for the faint of heart, it can be some of the most rewarding volunteer work one can do in the Seacoast. Feel free to engage me in a conversation or ask a trustee you know about how to become more involved if that is something of interest to you. For my part, I have come to know and appreciate that not every Head of School is blessed with the culture of trust within which I work. Having just gone through a process of considering other job opportunities, I was often asked the question about what surprised me most about becoming a Head of School. Ultimately, there are many reasons that one does this work, most of which begins and ends with the kids. That said, I wildly underestimated the critical aspect of the Board in achieving institutional success, and I never imagined that these twenty-four individual relationships would mean as much to me as they do today. Their support, guidance, and friendship have impacted me deeply as a leader, an educator, and a father. Notes: Accreditation Process While I am not at liberty to fully 1791 Letter ~ November 2012

1791 Letter

divulge the exciting results of our reaccreditation, I am comfortable saying that it was an astonishing success. Thank you to parents who assisted in this process, particularly BPC. I will look forward to sharing some of the feedback we received, both positive validation and constructive suggestions, with groups of parents after winter break when our reaccreditation becomes official through NEASC. Exploring the Lower School On Sunday, December 2, we will once again offer an “Explore the Berwick Academy Lower School Day.” This event is intentional hands-on and activity-based for small children, so it can be not only a way for new families to see the School, it is simply a great way for the local children to have a fun afternoon working with our teachers. As always, spreading the word about this opportunity is much appreciated. Barnes and Noble Book Fair One easy way to support Berwick is by doing some holiday shopping at Barnes and Noble in Newington on Friday, December 7. A portion of the proceeds comes right back to the Hilltop to support our library collections. Days before Thanksgiving In our trimester model, we try to work thoughtfully on the Monday and Tuesday before Thanksgiving to offer our students exciting opportunities while preserving time for our teachers to work on the comments that our parents appreciate so greatly. I wanted to say thank you to parents for your flexibility as we strive to make these days a little more exciting for the kids each year. continued on pg 10... 3

Shiela Esten - Upper School Director

Upper School News When John Dewey observed that “The self is not something ready-made, but something in continuous formation through choice of action,” he might very well have just experienced the inspiring celebration that is the Upper School Departmental Recognition Awards. Either that, or he understood very keenly the complex beauty of the learning process, and the importance of embracing opportunities to acknowledge its innumerable manifestations. While I’m sure the truth is closer to the latter, it’s fun to imagine that Dewey is out there somewhere cheering us on here at Berwick. Over the past two weeks we gathered as an Upper School community to honor students for their work this trimester in the various disciplines. One week we focused on seniors and juniors, and the other on sophomores and freshmen. Being new to this tradition at Berwick, I was captivated by the concept, but I was particularly taken by the execution. Three times a year, the Berwick faculty put their departmental heads together and reflect on student achievements that are noteworthy – not because they represent what we sometimes narrowly think of as excellence, but rather because they capture Dewey’s idea of “continuous formation through choice of action.” In other words, through these awards, the faculty strives to recognize the range of qualities that embody the compelling nature of student selves in the making. 4

In honoring this group of

learners – seniors Nathalie Peter, Ben Muthig, Peter Whelan, Hannah Sattler, Max Linemayr, Sandy Mait, juniors Sam Sullivan, Gabrielle Wiggin, Alex Katz, Skyler Gailing, Lucas Kaplan, Julia Kokernak, sophomores Sarah ReganKelley, Aidan Cookson, Jillian Clark, Maggie DuChene, Izzy Ballou, Taylor Knox, and freshmen Jess Hebert, Nick Noerdlinger, Jesse Vining, Margaux Munick, Zach Miller and Shiva Kovvori, teachers wrote creative and powerful tributes extolling virtues and practices as disparate as blazing through a complicated Charlie Parker tune, to participating successfully in Confucian relationships, to wrestling complex math equations into submission, to coloring outside the lines. They listed qualities and habits that range from curiosity, to diligence, to believing in oneself, to critical thought, to finding larger meaning, to tenacity, inspiration, and the re-creation of personal trajectories. Some even went so far as to draw unique comparisons between their students and indomitable forces such as the large but gentle ogre Shrek, and the anything but gentle hurricane Sandy. One might ask what compels a seasoned veteran like Brian Sanborn to sing his version of the Beverly Hillbillies theme song as a tribute to particular prowess in chemistry, but if he were sitting in the audience that day, I think Dewey would know. He might tell you that in an attempt to celebrate and encourage the continuous formation that is the learning process, teachers all over – and Berwick teachers in particular, strive to model the same 1791 Letter ~ November 2012

kinds of choice of action that make our student community so interesting and vibrant. He might also remark on the power of that impressive dynamic between teacher and pupil that sets the whole process in motion. There’s no question in my mind, however, that he would simply be impressed by the whole endeavor. On behalf of the spirit of that venerable educator John Dewey then, I wish all of our Department Recognition Award winners – and their tribute writers – many thanks for their contributions to our collective on-going formation, and a very hearty congratulations.

Rosemary Zurawel - Middle School Director

Middle School News There have been times when I have learned quite a lot from students, and recently I saw two sisters who engaged in play on the basketball court that reminded me again that observation and consideration are essentials to making changes in practice. On this particular autumn afternoon, just before the buses departed, the two girls were shooting baskets. That alone is not earth shaking, nor is the fact that they were taking turns. Let me describe just how they took turns. Sister A had the ball, and she repeatedly shot at the basket and missed while sister B watched and waited. That’s when it grew interesting. As soon as sister A succeeded in putting the ball through the hoop, she relinquished the ball to sister B. Sister B shot again and again until she sunk the ball, then turned it over to sister A. And so it went until it was time to board the buses. The rule they followed is not common to children playing sports. Typically, a player shoots until s/ he misses. In other words, making a mistake removes the player from practicing, and dominance on the court is held by the better players who continue to improve their shooting skills. The weaker players spend most of their time observing, or, in a real game, being relegated to defense where they can do less harm. As I returned to my office, I continued to think about how uncommon their game was, and how its unintended consequence was to promote skill and learning for each of them. The two girls were naturally

altruistic and neither of them seemed aware of my presence. Certainly the two had little idea that I would be writing about my observations this month. Nevertheless, I continue to experience a small ‘frisson’ of delight when I think of this metaphor for teaching and learning. A former colleague of mine wrote a dissertation about learners who learn “alongside” their peers. The effective ways in which children learned together, and not in a hierarchically arranged setting were supported by data that showed that the lessons yielded better and more lasting skills and knowledge. When Dr. Sugata Mitra showed us his work in late August with the “hole in the wall” computers, the discoveries made by groups were measurable and replicable. Not only can children teach one another effectively through solving problems, they may also possess the necessary collaborative skills to promote one another’s success. While thinking deeply and pondering is an activity demanding solitude or at least isolation from sounds and other stimuli, the notion of moving back and forth between those two worlds may be where our efforts must lie if the goals for our children are to be met in this century. I believe that gains may be appropriately assessed in both cases. In his book Drive, ©2011, Daniel Pink writes that motivation for the completion of tasks (or a degree or a major undertaking of any scale) is best sustained when 1791 Letter ~ November 2012

those doing the work see a purpose in it, who care about mastering the skills needed, and who have the freedom to self-direct (autonomy). It might seem obvious, but schools and businesses seldom operate with those principles in mind. Sometimes, however, the freedom of having only one basketball, one hoop, and two sisters is enough. What kept them going was what can be achieved when a writer is heard or published. It is what lies at the heart of societies that have no word for ‘war.’ It takes the discovery of a new drug compound from the hands of a single chemist and places it in the arena of peers to examine, ask questions, and push upon the chemist until everyone has exhausted collective memories and skills. The lighting of fire in prehistory was just one of the thousands of “disruptive innovations” that marks the paths that lie behind us. Our children deserve to think deeply but also playfully and in groups. The strangest notions may eventually lead them to great solutions. They may well find their imaginations best used as problem finders, not problem solvers. This month, in the hours after Thanksgiving dinner, please take a moment to consider how new rules for collaboration might look at home. Why not let the children take the lead? Just watch them; they may show you something disruptingly innovative.


Joel Hawes - Lower School Director

Lower School News Thoughtful evaluative procedures lead to meaningful personal and professional growth. At a time in the school year when third and fourth graders have just finished their ERB standardized tests, when first trimester Lower School narrative report cards are soon to be completed, and when Kindergarten through second grade students will eventually be taking their CPAA literacy and math assessments, this point certainly rings true for the Lower School children. And while this applies to our students, it also holds for our Lower School faculty group. Monthly, I anticipate the arrival of my Educational Leadership subscription—a professional journal distributed by the Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development. The general publication themes and individual articles support and inform my administrative practice. A timely topic as the current school year moves into November, this month’s articles highlighted faculty evaluation systems that foster improved student learning and inform quality teaching. As I reviewed article after article, I gained further appreciation for the multi-faceted components necessary within a faculty evaluation system. Peer and administrative review through classroom observations, professional development goal-setting (with clear instructional and program development standards), and active involvement in professional focusgroup interactions should all play key roles in teacher evaluation—beyond the obvious administrative oversight 6

inherent in faculty supervision. As I consider basic needs involved in faculty evaluation, I begin with the intangibles that are not as easily measured—both the shared trust between teacher and administrator and the motivation a teacher holds to be at the top of his or her professional game. Without this internal support and drive, the entirety of any evaluation system loses an essential level of relevance and significance. As you know, an accreditation team from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges recently visited Berwick Academy. While their formal evaluation analysis is still being crafted, the informal observations shared with me during and following the visit firmly support my belief in Lower School collegiality. The committee was impressed with the positive tone found within our Division and was highly complimententary of the professionalism and commitment demonstrated by our faculty. The positive feel presented by the Lower School faculty is obvious on many levels—from dressing as Berwick teammates at the recent Halloween parade to supporting our professional evaluation system. Such an evaluation system must be carefully laid out and given its requisite time—in conjunction with the many daily and yearly needs that constitute a school day and school year. In the Lower School, the process begins with teachers holding individual meetings with me in the fall, mid-year and at year’s end. It also includes faculty goals set around curriculum 1791 Letter ~ November 2012

design, classroom management, and professional interactions. To reach these goals, professional development plans are set and followed, while classroom observations are made of the teachers at their craft. There is an interesting secondary component to this approach. Our teachers participate in small-group focus studies that support Lower School initiatives. This year’s focus groups include a writing committee, a green committee, and a social-emotional committee. Besides working on these topics in sub-groups, members report out on progress and suggested initiatives at faculty meetings throughout the year. Professional growth is the end result of professional evaluation in the Lower School; in our Division, we promote a system that supports the varied instructional, collegial and research needs of a teacher. Expertise emerges through a cyclical focus on informed research, practice, presentation, review and improvement. At the end of a given school year, a formal evaluation administrative writeup for each faculty member and a self-evaluation written by each faculty member brings closure to the yearly review. Like any administrator, I have learned over the years that no evaluation system is perfect—all have their limitations. That is where the structural guidance of school mission and core values comes into play, with continued on page 10...

Rob Quinn - Athletic Director

Goals and Success As we prepare to enter the winter athletic season it reminds me of the importance of goal setting and success. In Happier written by Tal Ben-Shahar, he talks about how people who set goals are more likely to succeed than people who do not. “Having explicit objectives that are challenging and specific with clear timelines and performance criteria – leads to better performance. Setting a goal is about making a commitment in words, and words have the power to create a better future. “Goals communicate, to ourselves and to others, the belief that we are capable of overcoming obstacles. Imagine your life as a journey. You are walking, knapsack on your back, making good progress, until suddenly you reach a brick wall that stands in the way of reaching your destination. What do you do? Do you turn around, avoid the challenge posed by the barrier? Or do you take the opposite approach and throw your knapsack over the wall, thus committing yourself to finding ways of getting through, around, or over the wall? “In 1879 Thomas Edison said he would publicly display the electric light bulb by December 31, even though all his experiments had, to that point, failed. He threw his knapsack over the brick wall – the numerous challenges he still faced – and on the last day of that year, there was light. In 1962, when John F. Kennedy declared to the world that the United States was going to land a man on

Athletics News

the moon by the end of the decade, some of the metals necessary for the journey had not yet been invented, and the technology for completing the journey was not available. But he threw his – and NASA’s – knapsack over the brick wall. Though making a verbal commitment, no matter how bold and how inspiring, does not ensure that we reach our destination, it does enhance the likelihood of success.” This passage helps us all remember not only how important it is to set goals, but to strive and achieve those goals. So as we prepare to enter the winter season as a studentathlete, coach, or parent, let’s throw that knapsack over the brick wall and challenge ourselves and others to bring out their very best. Fourth Championship in a Row for Golf Team! Congratulations to our Boys Golf Team for defending their EIL crown for the fourth year in a row! It’s officially a golf dynasty! Coach Downey and his fearless team had a terrific regular season posting an undefeated 14-0 record, winning the regular season title and only losing three individual matches the entire season. Then they charged on to win their fourth consecutive conference tournament championship, in grisly weather conditions, at Carnegie Abbey, the Portsmouth Abbey home golf course, in Portsmouth, RI. The squad was led this year by seniors Max Linemayr and Jonny Malloy. Congratulations for this amazing achievement.

1791 Letter ~ November 2012

Girls Varsity Soccer Incredible Turn-around Year Coach Travis Derr and his Girls Varsity Soccer team just completed a terrific season finishing with an 11-4 record, a huge improvement from last year’s 3-8 season. They qualified for the “A” bracket in the EIL Tournament for first time in ten years and promptly knocked off the #1 seed Lexington Christian Academy in the first game of the tournament. They lost a hard fought battle in the championship game to Pingree 0-1. They narrowly missed a NEPSAC Tournament berth. Great turn-around season for this program. Varsity Field Hockey Wins EIL “B” Bracket Tournament It was a fantastic day for our Varsity Field Hockey team. They qualified for “B” bracket in the EIL Tournament as a sixth seed and won the first game vs LCA soundly 2-0. The played Portsmouth Abbey in the final who had beaten Berwick in the regular season 3-0 and pulled out an exciting come-from-behind victory to claim the “B” bracket championship. Not bad for a second year varsity program. Fall Middle School Coaches Awards Boys Blue Soccer - Jack McCraven Boys White Soccer - Max Gassner Girls Blue Soccer - Erin Casey Girls White Soccer - Jaclyn Mait continued on pg 10... 7

you gotta have Arts

Deloris White - Fine Arts Director

Arts News

MUSIC Field Trip Festival News Congratulations to our students who have successfully auditioned for competitive music festivals this fall. Noah Landis will be the pianist for the Maine Allstate Jazz Band at the Allstate Jazz Festival, January 3-5, 2013 at Bangor High School. Seven Upper School students will represent Berwick Academy at our Maine District One Honors Music Festival, January 25-26 at Noble High School. Stephanie Storey will sing alto in the Treble Choir, Cat Connors will sing alto in the Mixed Choir, Nathan Anderson will sit 2nd chair alto sax in the Concert Band, Clayton Jacques and Jessica Hebert will play violin in the String Orchestra, and Noah Landis and Shiva Kovvuri will be the pianist and the guitarist in the Jazz Band.

On November 10, Mr. Baldwin and some of his Middle School African music students traveled to Tufts to attend a concert by Nani Agbeli and his college students. Nani is a Ghanaian dancer/drummer who worked with the BA faculty last spring. Berwick’s faculty and staff all had a great time learning a traditional warrior dance with Nani as our teacher. This year, Nani will be our Artist-In-Residence in the African Ensembles in Middle and Upper School. The concert at Tufts gave the Berwick students a close-up look at what college-age African music groups are doing. It was a sensational show, with athletic dancing and very fast drumming led by Nani. We are all looking forward to Nani joining us in the months to come and inspiring us to play and to dance at a higher level! VISUAL ARTS

The auditions are rigorous, competition is stiff, and our students have prepared and done well. Bangor in January is a stretch, but we hope to see many Berwickians applauding our students at the District Festival Concert which begins at 3:00 p.m. on January 26. The music will be wonderful! York County Jr. High Music Festival News Stay tuned for information for this event in the December newsletter as all of the nominations have not yet been confirmed.

Scholastic Art Competition After Thanksgiving break, the Upper School art room will be in a flurry of activity as students prepare their work for entering the National Scholastic Art Competition this year. Students will be entering individual work by the January deadline in categories that may include sculpture, painting, drawing, and fashion. VISUAL AND PERFORMING ARTS Honor Society Inductions Twelve Upper School students were


1791 Letter ~ November 2012

inducted into the National Art Honor Society and nine students were inducted into the Tri-M Music Honor Society during a symbolic ceremony on Thursday, November 1, in the Commons. These organizations recognize students who not only achieve success in visual expression or music performance and academic achievement but also contribute to the increased awareness of the fine arts at Berwick Academy. Berwick Academy has maintained a chapter of these two national honor societies since the 1990’s. National Art Honor Society Inductees Seniors: Gabby Blackman, Cam Carter, Bebe Gassner, Kelsey Hayden, Eliza Hazen, Amy Rawn, Andrew Waterhouse, and Anna Wright; Juniors: Lily Spearman, Sephie Bennett , Kenzie Levy, and Colby Wood. Continuing member Benn Clapp assisted with the ceremony. These students epitomize the dedication, commitment, and artistic vision to warrant membership in this prestigious organization. Tri-M Music Honor Society Inductees The Tri-M Music Honor Society welcomed the following new members: Benn Clapp, Mel Mait, Matt Butcher, Kevin O’Day, Stephen Sherbahn, Cam Toohey, Benson Tuthill, Sammy Lowell, and Rebecca Ruben. These students were recognized for their musicianship, scholarship, cooperation, leadership, and service to school and community. continued on pg 11...

BPC Notes - from the BPC Board Members

Holiday Time! Each December we kick off the holiday season with a BPC-hosted coffee. All parents are invited to join us in the Commons Lounge on Friday, December 7th at 8:15am for coffee, conversation, and a chance to enjoy baked goods provided by the BPC Board. This year we will follow the coffee with a Community Benefit meeting, so plan to stay after the coffee to see how you can help with our Online Auction planning. This meeting will take the place of the two meetings originally scheduled for November 16th and December 3rd. Off Balance – On Purpose While I’m sure the keynote speaker at the hotel conference I attended last week was intended to make me think about his comments with respect to my work initiatives, I couldn’t help but think about the BPC and volunteerism while listening to him. His message (while riding a 6’ unicycle and juggling knives) was that we can’t move forward without being off balance. Think about it… he’s right. If you don’t lean forward and take yourself off center, you aren’t able to step forward. I often hear from people that they “don’t have time” to volunteer or that they don’t know what is involved. Here in the BPC, we have volunteer needs that take as little as ½ an hour and as much as several weeks of commitment and we are happy to explain them to anyone.

Parent Community News

So as the first trimester comes to a close, and you are gearing up for the holidays, and thinking about your New Year’s Resolutions, we at the BPC would like to ask you to lean a little off balance, and add a commitment to volunteering with us in the New Year. Contact any board member for information on what their area needs for volunteers, or contact me and I’ll have the appropriate person get back to you. We look forward to having you volunteer with us. The BPC in Action At our recent board meeting, we discussed the fact that many of you don’t know about all of the things the BPC supports throughout the year for our students, faculty, and staff. So I thought we might use this space to periodically highlight some of our projects. The BPC supports a number of initiatives for each division every year. The funds for each of these comprise our annual operating budget. The divisional events that are currently in our budget are:

o Lift tickets for the Middle School at Gunstock • Canobie Lake Trip o Admission for the Middle School at Canobie Lake Park • 8th Grade Yearbook o Funds to produce the yearbook Upper School • Convocation Lunch o Decorations and Dessert • Senior Mugs, Banquet & Arts Night • 100 Day Lunch • Guest speaker, Comedian, and Hypnotist Next month…what the BPC does for parents. Parents, congratulations on making it to the end of the first trimester, and Happy Thanksgiving to all! We look forward to seeing you at the BPC Holiday coffee in December! Diane Walker BPC President

Lower School: • Pizza-Bingo Party: o Pizza, and prizes • Skating Party o Admission to skating for the entire Lower School • 4th Grade Memory Book o Funds to produce the memory book Middle School • Ski Trip 1791 Letter ~ November 2012


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

Hiring As you have all learned recently, we have a number of retirements coming at the end of this year (Jim Sullivan, Janet Miller, and Rosemary Zurawel) that have us springing into hiring mode. In particular, the national search for a new Middle School Director begins immediately. A search committee has been formed, and first round candidates will come to the Hilltop before winter break. We hope to see finalists in January, and there will be opportunities for parents to meet the candidates at that time. Please be in touch with Cindy Briggs if you have any thoughts about the process or regarding potential candidates. Fellowship News While the internal employee community is aware of this, I thought parents would be interested to know that I have been awarded a Klingenstein Fellowship to pursue study at Teachers College (Columbia University) in late January for two weeks. Twenty heads of school are selected for a fully funded experience from across the globe, and I feel so humbled to have been selected. In conjunction with our recent self-study, I plan to pursue research on effective models for teacher collaboration. Given our busy schedules, I am committed to finding new ways for our teachers to share their expertise with one another to build a ubiquitous culture of professional growth at our School. This will also offer Cindy Briggs the opportunity to fully take the helm for the two weeks I will be in the Big Apple. Best of luck, Cindy! Giving Thanks As I wish all of our families a Happy 10

Thanksgiving, Amy and I wanted to thank all of you for the incredible support during our recent search process in the Boston area. The amount of understanding and empathy we received from parents, in particular, regarding our family situation was one reason it became so obvious to us that we needed be at Berwick Academy. With a new level of appreciation for all that makes this community special both as educators and as Lower School parents, the Schneiders are giving particular thanks this year for Berwick Academy.

Lower School News...cont. from pg 6

the assurance, ultimately, that our individual and collective efforts support school-wide goals. In the case of our faculty group, I know that we are doing just that due to our consistent efforts at maintaining the Lower School’s approach to optimal elementarylevel learning within the homeroom and unified arts subjects and with the foundational support provided by our social-emotional learning program.

Athletics News...cont. from pg 7

Boys XC - Ben Isaak Girls XC - Liz Niznik Girls Field Hockey - Sam Gaudette Tennis Team Boys - Adam Richardson Tennis Team Girls - Samantha Greenspan Spirit Award Recipients: • Will Hebert • Zoe Spearman

1791 Letter ~ November 2012

Off The Hilltop Gabrielle Blackman had a successful Grand National Morgan Horse Show in Oklahoma City this past month. She participated in many classes over the week and was the Reserve World Champion in the Classic Pleasure Saddle Youth, division and third in the World Champion Western Pleasure Youth division. She was competing in the division above her age group with young adults up to 21 years of age. Congratulations Gabrielle! Winter Sports Bag Routine Reminder Upper School students with hockey or ski bags are asked to take advantage of our “curbside service” program. Students may place their hockey/ ski bags on the curb as they exit the school bus or in the walkway in front of the arts center prior to morning assembly. We will bring the bags over to the storage areas in the field house. Bags are not to be left in the lobby of the arts center or in the Fogg hallways during the academic day. Facility Use As the winter sports seasons are upon us, students will be using the athletic facility more than in recent months. In order to maximize the usage of the facility, we are encouraging students to utilize the locker rooms and lockers that are provided. Often students leave belongings scattered throughout the locker rooms instead of storing their clothes and belongings inside the lockers during practice. By utilizing these lockers, it will be much easier for students to keep track of their belongings, and they will be less likely to contribute to the ever-growing heap of lost and found items that are collected daily throughout the facility. Please remember that food and drinks (water is the only exception) are prohibited in the Wood Gym, the Blue Gym, and the Fitness Center.

Restricting food and drinks allows us to keep our facility cleaner and in great working order. Upcoming Events November 26: Late Bus schedule begins, 5:30 p.m. November 27: Upper School Fall Sports Awards 7 p.m. in the Wood Gymnasium (team gatherings on campus start at 5:30 p.m.) November 28: Athletic Booster meeting at 6:45 p.m. in the athletic center lobby

Arts News...cont. from pg 8

students are encouraged to prepare early and thoroughly. Because of the large numbers of students auditioning, each student may audition only once, either as a solo performer or part of a group. If selected, each student may perform ONLY as accepted by audition. Everyone must decide exactly what they will be performing prior to the audition. Please note that Winterfest 2013 will take place on Friday, February 1, at 7:00 p.m. with a snow date planned for Sunday, February 3, at 3:00 p.m. Any student interested in signing up for an audition should check with parents and coaches to determine if they have any conflict with the performance date or the snow date. Please contact Deloris White if you

have any questions regarding this process. Students who are selected by the audition process will be notified during the winter holiday break. We continue to look upon the auditions as an educational experience. Last year, 76 individual performers or groups auditioned. The final selection of 20 performers was very difficult.

WINTERFEST Winterfest Auditions Please note date change!—The Audition Recommendation forms for Winterfest must be submitted by Friday, November 30, as indicated on the school calendar. The auditions will take place on Monday, December 17 (not the 18th as shown on the calendar) and Thursday, December 20, from 1:00 – 3:30 p.m. in the theater. Any Berwick performing arts student who excels in their performing arts concentration must submit a recommendation for audition form signed by their music, dance, or theater instructor by the November 30 deadline to secure a five-minute audition time slot. The auditions are open to all Berwick students in all three divisions who take lessons on campus with one of our instructors as well as students who study with instructors off campus. Students will be informed of their assigned audition time. Auditioning before a jury is a competitive process, therefore, performing arts





Our Annual Fund progress continues to climb. We are proud to report that we have received

$449,421 in gifts and

pledges! Parent participation remains steady. In order to keep pace with last year, we need

10 more

gifts or pledges by November 30. As always, participation is paramount to our success. To make a gift or pledge, please consider doing so online at Thank you as always for your support!

1791 Letter ~ November 2012


Cindy Briggs - Assistant Head of School

We l l n e s s N e w s

The Search for Balance

core values and I believe we do try to help students find balance during their time here.

With a little over a month to go before the birth of my second child, I have found myself spending a lot of time reflecting on how my life will change. Our family of 2 v. 1 goes to man-toman defense and the long nights of feeding, rocking, shushing and singing will begin again. With the birth of my first child, I did not know what to expect. But now I know…and I worry about when balance will return to my life.

Berwick Academy constituents participate in a quest for balance that fundamentally defines our sense of community. We exist in a spiraling cycle of discovery, self-reflection, and growth. While each community member’s individualized journey towards this value is a personal work in progress, we share a common appreciation of the tensions that exist within our definition of this ideal:

I am a very organized person. I color-code my Google calendar, every thing in my house has a place, and I am that person that takes an extra minute to do something the “right way” instead of just dealing with it later. But the thing that I need to schedule the most does not make it onto the calendar: Me Time – time when I can just sit and relax, time when I can read that book or article I have been meaning to read that has nothing to do with work or kids, time that is just for me with no hidden agenda. Now I realize this is a common complaint for busy adults, but I think it is also something that our own children deal with on a regular basis. I believe the key to a well-balanced child is a well-balanced parent. Role modeling positive ways we manage our stress along with the development of good coping strategies goes a long way toward helping our children become well-adjusted and happy individuals. 12

Balance is one of Berwick’s

- Challenging ourselves with ambitious goals while nurturing each other with kindness, joy, and humor - Excelling through risk taking while honoring safety and wellness - Valuing and exploring academics, arts, athletics, and service - Appreciating tradition and innovation with both pride and humility - Embracing service and stewardship not only on our campus but in the communities in which we live. When reading these words though, I cannot help but wonder if the adults (faculty, staff, parents) in our community also try to live this ideal. What does “balance” really mean to you and your family? Are you role modeling what you expect of your children? Upon further research, I came across some great tips for families on how to work toward achieving balance so that we all can try to live this Berwick core value. 1) Turn it off: Try to disconnect whenever possible. Maybe you have 1791 Letter ~ November 2012

set rules surrounding Internet use for your kids, but do you follow them too? I am never far away from my phone, but when I am, it really does feel good. I want my children to learn that though technology is amazing and has improved our lives in so many ways, it is also just a cell phone or computer. These devices cannot replace the feelings that emerge when you really do connect with another human being. When was the last time you had a face-to-face conversation that was not interrupted by a text message or a phone call, or a desire to write a social media post? Try to find the time in your week when you can unplug and re-connect with family and friends in more meaningful ways. 2) Learning to say no: We cannot “do it all” no matter how hard we try. There are studies that have shown that multi-tasking is hugely inefficient. Yet, we very rarely say “no” to all the extra activities that crop up in our lives, usually when we are at our busiest. What is the harm in scheduling one more thing, but that is when the Me Time disappears. I personally have a very hard time saying no, but I am starting to forgive myself for not doing it all. I now ask, will this be important and worthwhile to my family and me? What value are we getting out of attending? 3) Staying healthy: I cannot highlight enough the importance of sleep, eating well, and staying active. This not only keeps us physically healthy, but it also impacts our continued on pg 14...

Alice Lynch - School Archivist

America’s Future

Archives News

from this mock election.

The above excerpt was published in an October issue of a BA student newspaper. Can you guess what year it was published?

Presidential Results Nixon 62 Humphrey 57 McCarthy 26

Throughout Berwick Academy’s history there have been a variety of student newspapers. One of the Academy’s most professional looking newspapers existed during the 1930’s and was called The Academy Quill. This newspaper had a large student editorial staff, in addition to a business department that handled the staff typists, advertising, and circulation. Each issue cost ten cents.

Vice-Presidential Results Muskie 95 Agnew 35 Lemay 5

During the 1960’s there were a variety of student papers, such as Academy Quill, The Foolscap, and The BA Quill to name a few. Most of these papers consisted of articles that were compiled by a small editorial team and typed by students before being mimeographed. To my delight, I found the results of a student mock election in the Review ‘69, which was described it as “a semi-literary magazine; seminewspaper.” The paper reported that Mr. Del Prete’s US history class held a mock election in November of 1968. It is interesting to note that the students voted for presidential and vice presidential candidates separately. I have included the top three results

After the 1972 presidential election between George McGovern and Richard Nixon, student Monica Keating had teachers and students voice their political opinions by filling out a questionnaire. What I find intriguing is that some of Monica’s questions could be asked today. For example, “What do you think about the parties’ spending?” Here is a snippet of the responses recorded in the March 1973 issue of the Berwick Academy, Free Press newspaper. “I think both parties spend the right amount of money.” “Spent a lot more than needed - especially the Republicans.” “The Democrats were publicly financed indicating strong popular support -

1791 Letter ~ November 2012

the Republicans have a good deal of money for obvious reasons.” “I think it’s a shame that the parties spend millions of dollars on a cause which doesn’t feed the starving people, help the sick, save our environment, or help people in another way...” Today, Berwick Academy’s students still hold a range of political opinions. This year, under the guidance of Jonathan Witherbee, the eighth grade students learned about the election process. Each class was then divided into red and blue political action teams to work on getting their candidate, Mitt Romney or Barack Obama, elected president during the Middle School mock election. They developed campaign strategies that included posters, commercials, and voter registration cards. They also prepared debate speeches on the major issues and the ‘all-star’ debaters presented to a special Middle School assembly. After this assembly, 126 of the 143 registered voters went to the polls to cast their votes. Obama won, 70 to 56 votes. In case you are still wondering about the “America’s Future” article, it was published in the October 28, 1936 issue of The Academy Quill. I leave you with the closing sentences from that 1936 article.


Wellness News...cont. from pg 12

emotional health. The loss of sleep is probably what scares me the most about welcoming a new baby to our home. Protect the sleep of your children as well as your own. It will make for a much happier home. 4) Explore together: Creating new memories and experiencing new adventures together as a family is really what it is all about. Do not shy away from opportunities to get out all together and try something new. It could be through a volunteer opportunity or simply going for a family walk in the woods. So much of our lives revolves around organized and planned activities. Athletic team practices and games, work/school, lessons, etc. It’s great to switch it up and see where less scheduled family time takes you. Have fun…nothing is more energizing and good for the soul than laughter. I know you all are now thinking, when do I have time to do this?!? But it is really about prioritizing what is important to you and your family. I know that once “survival mode” turns to “one-day-at-a-time mode” following the arrival of our new baby, we will be searching for ways to find balance again for our family and I know that this ultimately begins with me and my own personal quest for balance. Wish me luck! Kim Kryder, School Counselor Sources: “10 Simple Ways to Find Balance and Get Your Life Back” “Creating Balance for Overscheduled Students” “When Parents Are Overscheduled”


Rewarding Excellence Early Introducing Two New Lower School Awards: First Grade Award Fourth Grade Ambassador Award

In an effort to reward excellence early and strengthen our partnership with families of the Seacoast, Berwick Academy is excited to announce two new Lower School Awards. It is such an exciting time to be a member of Berwick Academy and its Lower School community. The Lower School is a child-centered environment that balances individual readiness, interest, and ability with an academic tradition that challenges students in their journey of becoming self-motivating, selfmonitoring, and self-adjusting learners. As a school, we value the strong personal relationships that we have with our parents. We hope that you will share this news with your friends, family, and neighbors.

To learn more about these awards, please visit our website at

1791 Letter ~ November 2012

Middle School Musical, “The Pirates of Penzance”

1791 Letter ~ November 2012


Jedd Whitlock - Director of Advancement

Alumni and Development News Dear Berwick Community,

procedure and call us to assist in any way. The impact of your gift could be even more significant!

A few weeks ago the 2012 – 2013 Annual Fund campaign officially kicked off, and it kicked off with gusto! Early momentum has catapulted this year’s Annual Fund to a quick start, and I am pleased to let you know that as of November 14, we have raised over $450,000 in gifts and pledges (ahead of last year’s pace). As you know, contributions to the Annual Fund have a direct and long-lasting impact on students and faculty, providing crucial revenue in the areas where the need is greatest each year. Often, these gifts are used to support excellence in our academic program, technology and innovation, the arts, athletics, faculty professional development, financial aid, and campus enhancements.

We have set an ambitious goal of $750,000 for this year’s effort, and we need to keep this great momentum going. As always, to monitor our progress, please visit www., and please consider making a gift or pledge today at While the Annual Fund officially closes on June 30, we hope to raise 85% of our goal in gifts and pledges by December 31. Sincerely,

Jedd Whitlock, Director of Advancement Ultimately, the Annual Fund can be viewed in one of two ways. Traditionally, it has been seen as the source of funds that covers the gap between tuition and what it actually costs to educate each Berwick student. But more importantly, it is what enables a very good school to become a great one with better programs, facilities, and resources. Don’t forget about the following programs: • The Recurring Gift Program is a convenient and secure way to support Berwick Academy. This program enables donors to build annual contributions through smaller monthly installments, and significantly minimizes the amount of solicitation letters, phone calls, and emails. To enroll, simply visit To download, complete and return the authorization form to Jenni Franco in the Development Office. • In addition, we have included an easy way to find out if your gift may be matched by your employer. With matching gifts, you can sometimes double or even triple your gift! Many employers sponsor matching gift programs and will match charitable contributions made by their employees. To find out, please visit berwickacademy/ and type in your company’s name in the search bar. If your company matches, you may be able to access the forms directly through the search. Follow the set 16

1791 Letter ~ November 2012

November 1791 Letter  

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