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October 2013


1791 L e t t e r

First Annual Berwick Academy


November 11, 1:30 - 3 PM, Berwick Academy On November 11, 2013 Berwick Academy will host the First Annual Veterans Day Celebration to thank our veterans for their service. This event has grown out of senior Kevin T. O’Day’s 2012 Innovation Center Project and will involve the entire school (K-12). Kevin’s innovation project began with researching Veterans Day and he realized that Berwick did not have a traditional celebration for this day. Berwick Academy is also one of the only area schools that is in session on Veterans Day so it made sense to Kevin to start a new tradition at BA. The day kicks off with a luncheon for invited veterans and guests at 12:30 p.m. in the Commons Lounge. The celebration for the students will start at 1:30 p.m. at the flagpole for all three divisions. This gathering will last approximately 20 minutes, after which the Lower School students will return to class. The MS and US students will continue to the Athletic Center for a program lasting from 2-3 pm. We have 3 guest veteran speakers from 3 different wars/conflicts and music from the Granite State Choral Society. Students will also participate with poetry readings. ALL PARENTS, FAMILY & LOCAL VETERANS ARE WELCOME TO ATTEND ONE OR BOTH GATHERINGS. Please email Kevin O’Day at if you plan to attend.

Outdoor Gathering 1:30 - 1:50 p.m. • Poetry by Berwick students • Taps by Color Guard/Bugler • The singing of the National Anthem by Sarah Kahn

Featuring Guest Speakers: • Major General Edward Crowley - Vietnam War Veteran • Captain John Crowley - 1st Gulf War Veteran • Colonel Shawn O’Brien - Afghanistan War Veteran

Indoor Gathering 2 - 3 p.m. • •

Poetry by Berwick students Prayer for our Military by Abby Moore

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I think any sane person would claim a “love/hate” relationship with certain elements of being a Head of School. For me, one such area has always been serving as an accreditation chair for peer schools in New England. Given that Berwick Academy underwent this process last year, no one is more keenly aware than I that schools need thoughtful Heads to lead these endeavors well. Visits require a combination of diplomacy and courage as we must balance our competing goals of both genuine validation and honest critical feedback. However, saying yes to becoming a chair often feels like an honor in February and a bit more daunting in October when it happens. For me, it also means three days away from my girls, which pulls at my heart deeply these days. Running an accreditation team forces the chair to galvanize a team of strangers, analyze every aspect of a foreign school, and write a fifty page report (by consensus) in the span of three days and two nights. Suffice it to say that sleep is usually compromised in the process. However, most Heads, me included, would agree that this is the best professional development available in the business. In what other industry would the CEO be offered such transparent access into the inner workings of another peer business model? While visiting teams always try their best to do the ethical job of providing the school validation and feedback, team members always return from these visits with great new ideas to share with their own schools. In my most recent case, I visited a school that has truly enjoyed a marvelous run of success in the last ten 2

Greg Schneider

Head of School

years. One learns on these visits that as much as independent schools seem similar on the surface, the complexity, variability, and nuance of culture and personalities can be staggering. There are so many different ways to find a path to success (or failure, for that matter) and so many leadership styles that foster positive results. However, my recent visit affirmed something that I have always known to be an irreplaceable indicator of institutional improvement and success – strong governance. As the chair of the visiting team, I was asked to focus my energies on the governance standard, so the work of trustees is suddenly etched in the front of my mind in new ways. Usually once a year, I try to offer our own community some window into the life and work of our trustees here at Berwick, and my mind feels particularly fertile with thoughts about strong boards on the heels of this visit. However, my work at other schools is intended to be confidential, so please know that my comments here are drawn from general professional experience and my work at Berwick rather than my recent trip into the temporary abyss of chairing a re-accreditation team. Independent school trustees have three primary functions: establishing and ensuring the mission, protecting the long-term financial viability of the school, and evaluating, hiring, and firing the Head of School. Additionally, with input from the Head, the Board must play an active role in shaping the strategic direction of the institution. These are lofty responsibilities that are actually far more complex than they might seem. Often I worry that people assume trustees at independent schools are simply people who are able to make 1791 Letter ~October 2013

big financial donations; I truly believe that this role, while important in many cases, is but the tip of the iceberg when it comes to good governance. Able trustees find a way to balance many difficult tensions. Insight and oversight is a good place to start. As the Head’s most cherished strategic partners, trustees are often most helpful in asking the right questions. While they clearly have a role in oversight, it can be incredibly easy (particularly at a day school) for trustees to succumb to the temptation of meddling in the affairs of curriculum and personnel. Understanding the difference between governance and management is such a critical factor in a healthy board culture. Another balance for trustees is that of selfless volunteer vs. shameless ambassador. On the one hand, ideal trustees do not choose to serve out of a desire to be recognized more fully for their talents or accomplishments. The best trustees serve on account of their deep connection to mission and the sense that they could have a positive impact on the legacy of the school. However, great trustees must also be comfortable in their roles as ambassadors, publicly championing the school efforts in admission, fundraising, and in the community as a whole. Sometimes this is true even when they do not agree personally with a collective decision the school has made. Beyond this needed loyalty, trustee connections and collective ability to open doors are critical to long-term institutional success. In my ethics class in grade eight, we spend a fair amount of time

BERWICK A C A D E M Y on ethical dilemmas; our trustees are forced to deal with all of them at times. One that strikes me as particularly hard is the balance between the short-term and the long-term. At day schools, trustees tend to be biased towards having current parents among their members. Given this reality, they are placed in a ubiquitous role of inner conflict about balancing the needs of current and future students. Perhaps this is most overtly symbolized when they have to vote on a tuition increase each January. Trustees are asked repeatedly (not only in the realm of tuition) to make decisions that are in the best interest of the institution without direct consideration of what might be in the best interest of their own child or family. They must always retain an affinity not just for today but for the future of the institution.

about our work as a group. As we find ourselves ready to approve our next long range plan in the coming months ahead, there is clearly some heavy lifting to be done. And as I was staggering home late at night this past week after leading my accreditation team at this other school, I was more resolved than ever that I simply cannot do it alone.

At Berwick, I enjoy the pleasure of working with the most committed group of volunteers I have ever known. Just as is the case with the school I recently visited, there is no way that we could have enjoyed the success we have found as a school in the past six years without their collective work, wealth, and wisdom. In fact, we are lucky to enjoy a number of former parents on our board who serve long after the needs of their own children are even in question. This has made us even stronger and speaks to the group’s deep understanding of service and legacy.

Halloween Parade On Thursday, October 31 the Lower School will have its annual Halloween Parade. You are welcome to line the quad and Fogg Field with the community to cheer for our youngest ghouls and goblins. The festivities will begin at 1:45 p.m. outside the Lower School on the small turf field.

Looking ahead, you should all feel that we are in wonderful hands. However, it is also true that we are continually in need of finding others who might be willing to make the same level of sacrifice in partnering with me to move this place forward. If you happen to be interested in any way, I would encourage you to speak to a trustee or me about any questions you may have

Promoting virtue and useful knowledge to the rising generations is not merely the work of one Head or even the work of one Board. It is the work of an organic, evolving institution approaching its 225th birthday in just three short years. Suffice it to say that it continues to be an honor to play some small part in that story.

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communication, the Berwick community is participating in the NAISsponsored Assessment of Inclusivity and Multiculturalism (AIM) survey process. There will be a second parent meeting on Thursday, November 7 at 5:45 p.m. in the Commons Lounge. This meeting has been scheduled to provide clarity to those who attended the first meeting and to provide an additional opportunity for those who could not participate in October. Phase two of the process will be an online survey sent to all constituencies in early December. The survey period will be open from December 2-13. Details and more information will be forthcoming. Thank you in advance for your participation and support for this important community endeavor.


Faculty Maternity Replacements The Berwick community is expecting a few new arrivals in the coming weeks in the Bishop (Kyle and Andrew), Coffta (Darcy and Brian), and Cooper (Courtney and Keith) families. In their absence, please welcome as long term substitutes, Deanna Martin in Pre-K for Courtney Cooper and Liz Reisz as the US Librarian for Darcy Coffta. Adelle Tibbetts and Jennifer Hill will be teaching additional Spanish classes for Kyle Bishop. AIM Survey As referenced in our recent school-wide 1791 Letter ~October 2013


Shiela Esten - Upper School Director

Upper School News It’s always amazing to look up and realize you’re eight weeks through a trimester. The hope is that this provides a great opportunity for reflection, and for planning as they move forward. It also allows for some important conversation between students, teachers, parents and advisors. For freshmen, it’s a chance to assess how well they feel they’ve settled into the new routine and what kinds of strategies they’ve developed for handling the 9th grade demands. Socially, it’s also a point where we hope they feel increasingly comfortable in making connections and exploring opportunities. For sophomores, it’s a chance to assess where they are with the challenge they’ve selected in this second year. Juniors seem to keenly feel the increased load of challenging classes, along with the additional layer of beginning to take the first steps in the college process with things like standardized testing. They see it as a critical year in charting their paths post-Berwick, and it’s also important that the adults in their lives pay close attention as they also try to maintain balance in this equation. The seniors are in the thick of the college process, with an early action deadline coming up on November 1. But they are also enjoying their new status as school leaders in a variety of exciting and affirming ways. For my colleagues and me, it is an equally valuable moment to reflect. I contend that Berwick teachers are a unique breed of people who care deeply about their charges. They 4

are tasked with challenging and inspiring them in myriad ways, but they do it always with an eye toward considering well-being. It’s an intricate dance of setting high expectations because you believe in the kids, while also nurturing them so they know that the rigor they encounter is coming from a place of great care. I think the result is an environment where young people know that it is safe to explore, to take risks, to fail sometimes, and also to succeed. The very best moment of this school year for me so far was in conversation with a group of sophomores in the dining room who told me very simply, they love school. At the end of every one of our busy Berwick days, that is the sentiment we hope for. I know that parents are also doing their own reflection. I’ve been so grateful throughout the fall to meet with groups of parents in our gradelevel coffees to hear first-hand about their thoughts, concerns, hopes, and celebrations. As we do this work with young people, we know this partnership is critical, and that it is the foundation for creating the best possible school experience. It’s been a busy eight weeks indeed, and taking this moment for reflection allows us to more fully appreciate the opportunity we have collectively to guide our students and to cheer them on as they seek to create the richest possible journey. It doesn’t really get more important - or exciting - as that.

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Ryan Feeley - Middle School Director

Middle School News A few weeks ago, I took a walk during our Tuesday morning activity period in the Middle School. Students and teachers were engaged in a number of enrichment and recreational pursuits ranging from yoga to chess, community service, and calligraphy. Wherever my wanderings took me, I saw students trying new endeavors and truly enjoying the experience. All around me were living examples of our core value of stretching through engagement. As I ventured outside the Middle School building, I came across a highly entertaining sight. A group of students were engaged in a game of Muggle Quidditch. If you aren’t familiar with Quidditch, I will simply tell you that it is the most popular sport played at the Hogwarts School in the Harry Potter novels. Just picture 25 fifth through eighth graders, running around the campus with brooms between their legs! They assumed the roles of some of their favorite literary characters and loved every second of it. As I watched with a huge grin on my face, one of the eighth graders from my English class approached, perched on his “Nimbus 2000” broom.

“How’s it going?” I asked.

He smiled and said, “Mr. Feeley, Quidditch is the sport of kings,” and then he “flew” away from me upon his broom to rejoin the game. This exchange has remained with me these past few weeks, not only because of the humor involved,

but because it underscores for me the incredible level of comfort our students feel on the Berwick Academy campus. When I think of my experience as an eighth grader in a large Rhode Island public school, I am certain that I never would have taken a risk like that (no matter how much I might have wanted to do so) simply because of the potential for relentless teasing. Yet this eighth grade boy felt perfectly at ease running around with kids both his own age as well as two and three years younger, with a broom between his legs. Moreover, he did it with tremendous zest and enthusiasm. He was comfortable in our Berwick environment, being himself, and pursuing something he found engaging and fun. I find myself thinking more and more about the notion of comfort these days. We all desire to be comfortable in some way and yet we recognize that too much comfort can be counterproductive and ultimately lead to laziness, complacency, even resistance to change. The ideal of feeling comfortable often comes to the forefront when we think about raising and educating children as well. In fact, the words comfort and comfortable often emerge in the language of educational research, yet often from contradictory perspectives. One of the most widely accepted theories in education comes from developmental psychologist, Lev Vygotsky, who referred to an individual’s “Zones of Proximal Development,” 1791 Letter ~October 2013

the area in which a learner is challenged to engage with ideas that are not so difficult as to lead to frustration, yet just far enough outside the learner’s comfort zone to create an appropriate challenge. The notion of getting outside one’s comfort zone, of course, is now quite popularized and exists throughout our culture, not only in school settings, but also in the realms of athletics, performance, even interpersonal relationships. From this perspective, learning and growth cannot happen when one is too comfortable. Yet, we also see plenty of research to suggest that students must be comfortable in order for learning to happen. As educational theorist Rick Wormeli writes, “Almost everything that enters a young adolescent’s mind goes first to emotional response centers rather than cognitive centers of the brain. So right there, we’ve identified a major route to students’ success: a positive connection between teacher and student.” Without appropriate levels of social, emotional, and physical comfort, student learning would be waylaid in those emotional response centers Wormeli refers to, much like a delayed passenger, stuck in an airport terminal, waiting for a storm to pass. Obviously, we can’t accept a school environment so comfortable that challenge and rigor cease to exist. Likewise, very few would advocate for a return to the fearsome Tom Sawyer vintage schoolmaster with a wooden paddle at the ready. So how do we reconcile this apparent contradiction continued on pg. 10... 5

Joel Hawes - Lower School Director

On the heels of the September Back to School Night, the Lower School held an early October Curriculum Night. The informational evening was developed several years ago in an effort to provide an in-depth view of varied curricular areas following our parent night overview. This year, Kim Francoeur (Math In Focus), Liz-Anne Platt (Passport to World Culture) and Marilena Sanborn/Marguerite Genest (Health Class/Social Thinking) made detailed presentations about their respective areas within our program. It was impressive to consider the preparation that these faculty members, in collaboration with their colleagues, have given over the past months (and years) to make these curricular areas a reality. The Math in Focus program has been introduced in kindergarten through fourth grade this year. Besides outside professional development experiences, we appreciate the extra time and effort that Kim Francoeur has given to faculty and students alike in her role as Lower School Math Coordinator. Liz-Anne Platt led the development of Passport to World Culture following an impressive research focus last spring and summer and after making important connections to Social Studies, World Language, and Unified Arts classes. This hour-per-week class in grades one through four is off and running thanks to exciting collaborative faculty interactions with Liz-Anne Platt, Deloris White, and colleagues.


Lower School News The Health Class and Social Emotional Learning programs have been strategically developed and implemented over the past years by Marilena Sanborn and Marguerite Genest. The idea of a healthy and empathic lifestyle through safe, kind, and honest actions are at the core of Lower School interactions. The Lower School is proud of the collective commitment it has annually given to positive student interactions and interpersonal growth. Our Lower School Community Compact supports this fundamental approach. The Compact sets the foundation for our Lower School program with these guiding beliefs: be kind, be safe, be honest... be ready to learn. At the beginning of the school year, the Lower School faculty introduced the Community Compact document during in-class discussions and Friday morning community meetings. A good example of a recent teachable moment involved the Upper School sports captains talking with the Lower School students about the honesty necessary for positive team play and leadership at the Upper School level. This assembly interaction made a positive contribution to our recent Blue and White Spirit Week. After discussing and learning about these Lower School fundamentals, the pre-kindergarten through fourth grade students develop their Classroom Promise Statements. At the same time, the first through fourth graders take their individual compact sheets home to discuss with their parents. Students, parents, faculty, and administration all sign each individual student’s compact document in support of our group focus around these 1791 Letter ~October 2013

behaviors. The final stage involves compiling the individual contracts in classroom binders as important reference documents for the year ahead. As Academic Support Coordinator and Lower School Counselor, Dr. Genest offers both leadership and support within our Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) program, which includes the Classroom Promise and the Community Compact. Prior to writing this article, Dr. Genest and I discussed the importance of the SEL program as having both a local and global perspective. One might say that Safe, Kind, and Honest can be developed within our student interactions, within classroom initiatives that span world views (such as Passports), and within interactions that take place at home and throughout one’s community. As Dr. Genest mentioned, it is both exciting and validating to see research and curriculum out of major universities and organizations regarding the impact of empathic actions on physical and emotional well being, academic performance, and ultimately, success in the workplace and in personal relationships. On a global level, it appears that being able to understand and appreciate the perspectives of others (or to put yourself in others’ shoes) is an essential component of success and fulfillment. Unfortunately, there are those who feel that our young people are becoming less empathic for various reasons, one of them being their exposure to technology, which minimizes face continued on pg 10...

Rob Quinn - Athletic Director

2013 Bulldog Golf Classic Thank you to all of those who participated in the 2013 Bulldog Classic Golf Tournament last month. A special word of thanks to our Tournament Sponsor, UBS Wealth Management and The Hoy Family, our lunch sponsors The Levy Family, Reid and Company, and The Spearman Family, and also our putting green sponsors the Bristol Family, The Friel Family, Tim Dempsey, Collins Sports Center, Atlantic Sportwear, and Eastern Propane. Through everyone’s support we were able to make this tournament very successful, with a great day of golf enjoyed by over 90 golfers. This year’s event included a great showing of alumni, current and past Berwick parents and many friends of the Academy. This would not have been possible without the time and commitment of many. Thank you to everyone who helped pull this event together including Andrea and Tyler Bristol, Amy Gaynor, Paula Reid, Jeff Palleinko, Mike Johnson, Rich Salvati, Paula Hoy, Judith Trotsky, Sue Downey, Marilena Sanborn, Travis Derr , Marlow Rahn, Paul Quintal, Daniela Linemayr, John Barbour, Matt Schweisberg, Deb Cooper, Kayleigh Bedsole, Amy Smucker, and Seth Gabarro. All of your efforts were greatly appreciated. Please join us for the next Athletic Boosters meeting in November.

Athletics News

This is a portion of a presentation I gave to our captains and school student leaders on their role in leading others. Leading starts with showing others the “correct” way to do things. Leaders must be credible, dependable, and trustworthy. In addition, leaders need to be effective communicators, able to empower and build others up, and always willing to help others get better. Leading others entails:

• Thursday, November 7 - Middle School Winter Sports begin • Wednesday, November 13 - US Varsity Winter Sports begin • Monday, November 18 US - Junior Varsity Winter Sports begin

• Listening - it’s the start to good communication. • Esteeming - empower others and let them know you believe in them. • Serving - always look for ways to help others improve. Courtside Café As we head into the winter season we are looking for help from Middle and Upper School parents who have students playing basketball. We have an outstanding concessions area in the Athletic Center that we use to raise money for our athletic programs. The Courtside Café is run by our Athletic Boosters group and they are currently looking for parents to donate their time and help with concession sales. This is a great opportunity to participate in the community and meet new people. If you are interested in helping with the set-up, shopping, scheduling, or working, please email Paula Reid at paula@ Upcoming events:

Leading Others Part of our role in athletics is to help our captains become better leaders.

• Tuesday, November 5 - Middle School Fall Sports Awards, 1:30 p.m. 1791 Letter ~October 2013


Seth A. Hurd ‘90 - Visual and Performing Arts Director

Arts News

The Berwick Academy Theater and Dance department is pleased to announce its Fall 2013 season of productions.

Arsenic and Old Lace, the smash comedy classic by Joseph Kesselring, will open Berwick Academy’s 2013-2014 performing arts season. In the production we are introduced to the Brewster sisters, an eccentric and charming pair of old ladies, who dispose of socially and religiously acceptable old men in their cellar, their nephew who thinks he’s Teddy Roosevelt, another nephew who reminds everyone of Boris Karloff, and to a host of other interesting characters running around Brooklyn, NY who require no further explanation. Insanity runs in some families, but in the Brewster family, it practically gallops! The production will be staged Friday and Saturday, November 8 and 9, with curtain at 7 p.m. both evenings in the third floor of the William H. Fogg Memorial Building. Tickets are now available online: Friday, November 8, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. - Saturday, November 9, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. -

Disney Channel’s smash hit musical comes to life on the stage at Berwick Academy in Disney’s HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL JR.! Wildcat basketball star Troy Bolton and brainiac Gabriella Montez raise eyebrows among their friends when they decide to audition for the high school musical. Cliques clash and friendships are tested in this modern take on Romeo and Juliet. The students of East High must decide whether to stick to the status quo or break free to find out what’s truly important. The production will be staged Friday and Saturday, November 22 and 23, with a Friday evening curtain at 7:00 p.m. and a Saturday matinee curtain at 3:00 p.m. Both productions will be in the Patricia Baldwin Whipple Arts Center Theater. Tickets are now available online on Friday, November 22, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. - Saturday, November 23, 2013 at 3:00 p.m. -

Please email for further information or questions.


1791 Letter ~October 2013

BPC Notes - from the BPC Board Members

BPC Fall Social Many thanks to all who planned, supported, and attended the BPC Fall Social Clambake. Our co-chairs Donna Copani and Suzanne Miller created yet another unforgettable evening complete with delicious food and drinks, a great band, and an overall good time. Even the weather cooperated! The fall social is one of the events that the BPC holds that is not a fundraiser which enables it to be a fun and social event for all. We were happy to be able to create an event where we did not have to call upon volunteers to work during the event. A special thank you to the families who sponsored faculty and staff. Twenty-five percent of the attendees at the Clambake were sponsored by our generous families. Thank you. AIM A sincere “thank you” to those parents who attended the recent AIM meeting. Your input is sincerely appreciated. Next, all parents should watch for your opportunity to participate in the quantitative portion of the AIM project, followed by a written report currently scheduled to be completed in February. BPC Grants Our 2012-2013 school year saw some significant changes in our fundraising platform yet we were still able to offer

Parent Community News

$28,000 to the faculty, staff, and administration grant program. We received 42 requests totaling $114,000. Led by Nickie Gaudette, Grant Coordinator, the BPC board reviewed all of the proposals, then they were discussed with an admin team and finally decisions were made. At this time each year, we publish the list of projects that were funded so you can see what our fundraising benefitted last year and so that as a community we can celebrate the incredible caring and passion that our faculty and staff have for enriching the lives of our students. Following (in no particular order) is the list of grant requests that were funded in June 2013: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Presentation equipment (projection instead of overhead use) Sewing machines for MS community service BA Teleprompt GPS for the minibuses 3D printer for student-produced 3D designs and projects School bass amplifiers Auxiliary lighting equipment Two indoor rowing machines for the new crew team In-house theatre filming project Golf cart for campus operations Speakers US Filmmaking – auxiliary lighting and audio equipment Jackson Library – create flexible space in the MS area Piano renewal program Orchestral chimes

When you see these improvements being used on campus, you can take comfort in the fact that they were made possible by the generous contributions of our Parent Community. Auction We had such a successful Gala last year that we have made the decision to repeat it again this year as a platform for the tuition raffle and Fund-A-Need. More information on this event will be coming out soon. Save the date – Saturday, April 26, 2014. Similar to last year, we will not be holding a live auction, rather we will continue to have those items that would have been “live” featured prominently in our Online Auction. This year our Online Auction will focus more on “talent and services.” More on this too will be forthcoming. continued on pg 10... 1791 Letter ~October 2013


Middle School News...cont. from pg 5

between the need for comfort and the need to step outside one’s comfort zone? In our environment, I think it comes down to faculty members thinking of themselves not as teachers, but as middle school teachers. They understand the unique joys and challenges of this stage in human development and they have developed a keen sense of when to encourage their students to stretch and when to provide a safe haven from the often overwhelming physical, emotional, and intellectual period of upheaval that is young adolescence. The result is that our students are able to work within those zones of proximal development without reaching a point where they feel so uncomfortable that the opportunity to learn is lost. In other words, students feel that they are in a place where they can be comfortable being slightly uncomfortable. This fact of our school culture manifests itself all the time, be it in a student musical performance, a public speaking opportunity in front of an assembly, an attempt to share a contradictory opinion in class discussion, or in something as playful and lighthearted as running around a field, “flying” on a broom. It is a critical balance that we must strike and when we do it well, our students are the ultimate beneficiaries.

To that end, we are pleased that we will be focusing on the direct instruction of empathic communication in various Lower School contexts— from direct Health and Wellness Class discussions to varied teachable moments across the curriculum including the Classroom Promise and the Community Compact approach. With the continuity of Social-Emotional Learning that begins in the Lower School and continues directly into the Middle School classes, we feel confident that we are laying a strong foundation for success in this crucial area of our students’ lives. BPC News...cont. from pg 9

Welcome Lower School parents, you once again have two colleagues who represent you on our BPC board. Annemarie Canas has joined Jan Nedelka as Lower School Coordinator. Welcome Annemarie! Diane Walker BPC President

Lower School News...cont. from pg 6

to face contact and personal conversation. This controversial topic leads to the question Dr. Genest is often asked: “Can empathy be taught?” Her response to this is that not only can empathy be taught, but that it should be taught (and highlighted), in order to ensure that our children will be fully prepared to engage with others both in the present and in the future. 10

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myBERWICK We are pleased to announce that we will be launching a brand new website for Berwick Academy on NOVEMBER 27.

Along with the new site will come a new online community called myBerwick for parents, students, faculty, and staff. myBerwick will have a new look and feel but much of the same functionality as the existing portal. Parents will continue to have access to their children’s class pages, homework assignments, sports schedules, and other important school information. A training video and how-to guide will be sent to parents prior to the launch of myBerwick and in-person trainings will be offered in the month of December. We are very excited about launching our new site as well as myBerwick, please do not hesitate to contact Director of Communications, Tracey Boucher at tracey.boucher@ with questions or suggestions.


he 2014 Annual Fund is officially underway! A key element to the success of this year’s campaign will depend on the efforts of our Annual Fund volunteers. Each year, Annual Fund volunteers devote their time by reaching out to other members of the Berwick community. With the goal of helping grow the culture of philanthropy at the school, Annual Fund volunteers focus on increasing parent participation. Their role is crucial in helping families, friends, and other potential donors understand the impact of their gifts and their donation options. If you are interested in becoming an Annual Fund volunteer please contact Seth Gabarro in the Advancement Office at 207-384-6309 or Thank you!

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Cindy Briggs - Assistant Head of School

A M essage from A thletic T rainer Holly Bennett: It’s hard to avoid hearing about concussions this time of year. In the news we have heard about the NFL’s $765 million settlement over concussion-related brain injuries among its 18,000 retired players. In other sports, like ice hockey, calls are being made to fundamentally alter the way the game is being played. Doctors and researchers state that ice hockey causes too much brain trauma from such activities as body checking and fighting. There are news reports about concerned parents not allowing their kids to play youth sports because of fear of concussions. Youth organizations are listening and adjusting. In youth football, leagues are reducing the amount of time that can be spent practicing hitting. In youth ice hockey, they have raised the age for legal body checking. Soccer leagues are limiting the number of days players can practice heading the ball. The common threads among these sports are not only increased awareness and preventative strategies but strict concussion management protocols for the concussed athlete. So what is Berwick’s concussion management policy? We have a comprehensive concussion management system that utilizes a team approach enabling us to employ the best practices. This includes our nurse, counselor, academic support coordinator, athletic trainer, deans, faculty, and coaches along with the athlete’s concussion specialist and primary care provider.

We l l n e s s N e w s

Baseline Neurocognitive Testing

Cognitive Rest

Our students who participate in contact sports take neurocognitive testing at the start of each season. This is called the ImPACT test. This is a computerized cognitive screening that establishes a baseline from which clinicians and the patient can monitor recovery. This test is only one of several tools that we use to diagnose and monitor recovery. The concussion specialist re-administers this test following the concussion and uses this test along with the results of the clinical evaluation to make recommendations about recovery, including attendance at school and academic restrictions. The student will not be able to return to sports until the symptoms subside and the score of the ImPACT test returns to baseline.

When a student-athlete suffers a concussion, the student is expected to stay home from school and avoid all athletic practices until symptoms have resolved. Cognitive rest should be practiced at home with supervision from parents. This means no participation in any activity that triggers symptoms. Unfortunately, this often encompasses the following restrictions: no homework, no use of technology, no TV or movies, no loud music, no practicing instruments, no driving a vehicle. Rest is the recommended treatment for concussions. Although the student may be tempted to do homework while home, he or she may find that even twenty minutes can trigger a flare in symptoms that may require another day or two to recover. This time can be overwhelming for the student. The concerns over the academic fallout and the social isolation feed this stress. To relieve and reassure the student, communication will be sent to the parents from the school nurse, the dean, and the academic support coordinator (ASC) about the process and the academic expectations.

Faculty and Coach Training Faculty and coaches complete concussion education training at the start of each school year. This provides them with the tools to recognize concussions and how to manage them on the field. If the concussion is sustained during an athletic event, no athlete with a suspected concussion is allowed to return to the field without an evaluation. This is typically performed by the home school’s athletic trainer. In addition to on the field management, classroom teachers receive training on employing classroom strategies for the student during recovery. This includes training on academic adjustments and cognitive rest.

Channels of Communication: A Team Approach As soon as the nurse receives word of the concussion, she emails the student’s teachers about the event and the recommendations for reduced workload. This signals the ASC to set up an individualized document where the teachers input expectations for homework, papers, and tests for the duration continued on pg 15...


1791 Letter ~October 2013

Alice Lynch ‘88 - School Archivist

Do you remember visiting a music store to browse for new records? Or perhaps you recall making a mix of songs on cassette tapes? Current Berwick Academy students most likely listen to music streamed from the Internet. This concept could not even be imagined in the 1970’s. None-the-less, adolescents from various generations have devoted time to listening to music. From 1975 to 1981 Berwick Academy halls echoed with music and news being broadcast from WRBA, Berwick’s own radio station. In the fall of 1974, Berwick Academy’s Executive Committee consisted of Owen Stevens, Francis Robinson, Carolyn Cadwalader, Philip Hussey, Jr. and Headmaster Andrew Holmes. On October 21, 1974 these members voted “To establish a Department of Broadcast Communications at Berwick Academy with the express dual purpose of teaching broadcast communication arts and providing educational radio to the Southern Maine Community of South Berwick and surrounding areas.” (Board of Trustee Minutes) Mr. James Long, BA parent to Morgan ‘77, was instrumental in the creation of WRBA. He evaluated

Archives News

Andrew Holmes’ preliminary plan and provided necessary guidance about the design and construction of the console and recording studios. “The labor and generosity of many, in particular parents, Mr. James Long, Mr. Raymond Fulliero, and Headmaster Andrew Holmes, helped make the regular airtime possible (1976 Yearbook).” For several years, Berwick’s administration and interested students worked to secure and install the necessary equipment.

funds were to aid the development of the station as an educational FM outlet.”

1976 Berwick Academy Yearbook

Milford Citizen - Donated by Mrs. Charlotte Batchelor, BA class of 1948

In the archives, there is no evidence of WRBA becoming an FM station. In fact, it is unclear whether the School ever fully developed a Department of Broadcast Communications. By 1982, the radio station was inoperable due to equipment failures. If you have stories to share about WRBA please contact Alice Lynch, BA Archives Manager at

By 1975-76 WRBA, Berwick’s student-operated radio station was on the air at 6:40 a.m. with music, sports, and informational programming. The station operated daily from 6 to 8 a.m. and from 3 to 5 p.m. (Since 1791 Newsletter, November 1975). The studio was situated in the basement of Fogg Memorial where the freshman lockers are located today. The 1976 yearbook gives credit to Mr. John Herrick, Upper School English teacher, for serving as the program’s advisor. During this same year “WRBA was awarded a $1,000.00 grant for the Gannett Foundation. The 1791 Letter ~October 2013


BPC Clambake


1791 Letter ~October 2013

continued on pg 15...

Wellness News...cont. from pg 12

of the concussion. A parent meeting is called with the teachers, the nurse, the counselor, the ASC, and the dean if the student is out for more than one week. This meeting is designed to reassure the family regarding the adjusted academic expectations and to discuss the plan for moving forward. At this point if the student has not seen a concussion specialist, a recommendation for a referral may be made. A concussion specialist can provide a more comprehensive management plan which can include: vestibular and physical therapy to help with symptoms such as dizziness, medications to help with headaches, academic recommendations, and psychotherapy to assist with mental health symptoms like depression and anxiety which can often accompany post-concussion syndrome.

repeat that step. Once this is completed, the athlete is cleared for full return to athletic participation. If you have questions about our policy please reach out to our athletic trainer, Holly Bennett, or our school nurse, Karen Chiang.

Gradual re-entry is the key. We do not recommend students return to class until symptoms have improved. We find that students who return too soon, or return with headache/fogginess/dizziness or malaise can trigger worsening symptoms by attending class. Students are not expected to do any work while out, nor are they expected to return with missed work already completed. When returning to class, the student may be a passive participant at first and teachers along with the academic support coordinator are prepared to assist in any way possible to get the student caught up. Return to Play Most concussions resolve within two to four weeks and the student is able to make up classroom work on a modified schedule. Once the student is symptom free, he or she completes a step-wise return to play program with the athletic trainer. This is a five day process that includes increasing the exercise intensity and complexity each day. If any step during this process triggers symptoms, the athlete must wait twenty-four hours and

1791 Letter ~October 2013


Amy Smucker - Director of Advancement

Advancement News Dear Parents, It has been a pleasure to meet so many of you at the New Parent Dinner, Berwick South event, and the BPC clambake. When I have introduced myself to people as the new Director of Advancement, I have received some quizzical looks and questions along the lines of “what on earth does that mean?” My typical response has been to say that Advancement is the fancy new name for Development. This usually sparks recognition that I am responsible for fundraising at the School. While my ultimate responsibility is to ensure, along with the Head of School, that the School has the appropriate resources to operate and fulfill its strategic plan, I see the role of the Advancement office as being much more than that. I like the word advancement because it provokes an image of progress. It is exciting to be at an institution that is moving forward, perpetually changing, and able to be nimble in an educational world that is constantly evolving. Our School leadership and faculty clearly demonstrate that they are advancing their areas of expertise on a daily basis. The School’s facilities, staff, and programs also work to be at the forefront of educational evolution and innovation. While the Advancement Office manages the fundraising effort at Berwick, which is critical to the School’s existence, the act of soliciting donations is not our sole function. Our main goal is to rally the greater community so that all constituents understand the mission and core values of the School, as well as the direction in which the School is moving. The Advancement staff helps to explain new initiatives to our constituents and present a strong case for funding. Careful and articulate communication of fundraising initiatives, like the Annual Fund, is critical to the success of each campaign, which keeps the School moving in a forward direction. While clear communication is vital, we feel it is equally important to help constituents understand and appreciate the value of their contribution. Although our office focuses predominately on financial contributions, we know that involvement can take many forms, and all are valuable. Advancing Berwick requires the efforts of many people who are able to offer support in a variety of ways. We in Advancement are committed to ensuring that every Berwick constituent feels connected, valued, and is given the opportunity to support the School in a way that feels best to them. All the best,

Amy Smucker


1791 Letter ~October 2013

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