Peck News: Fall/Winter 2023

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AT PECK, it is only fitting that our current kindergarten students—the Class of 2031—create the artwork for the cover. With the beauty of their imaginations and creativity at hand, each student drew themselves as a “Peck student,” often enhancing their drawings with lions, hearts, Downy-Redhead images, and symbols of nature that shout happiness and joy. Every kindergartner is represented on this cover, symbolizing Peck’s commitment to an inclusive community—one for which everyone’s contributions are meaningful, and in which every one of us belongs.



IN OUR LAST EDITION OF Peck News, we highlighted our eighthgrade program and the wonderful accomplishments and milestones experienced by our oldest Peck students. Fittingly enough, this edition goes back to the beginning and shines a spotlight on our kindergarten program. Frequently dubbed the “happiest place at Peck” and “a magical experience,” our kindergarten program is remarkable. It is the perfect way to begin a Peck journey.

Personally, it’s a bittersweet year in the Delinsky household as our youngest child, Will, began kindergarten this fall. Like our other two children (Eve ’25 and Finn ’28), Will and his classmates are soaking up the magic. This grade is a special one: they have their own building to themselves; they have buddies across the school; they are greeted each morning by a role model eighth grader; they experience specials for the first time; they become immersed in a wonderful learning program; they sing The Turkey Song ; they shine in two theatrical productions; and they are the celebrities of the Peck campus. For these reasons and so many more, it is a year to remember!

This year is also special because the Class of 2023 and I began our Peck journey together: this class of eighth graders started kindergarten during my first year as the new Head of School. I remember it like it was yesterday, spending time with the 28 who started that year. Like their parents, I marvel at the remarkable growth they’ve experienced during their Peck journey. The Class of 2023 certainly holds a special place in my heart.

In this issue, you will read more about this incredible kindergarten program, from our approach to the curriculum and our Mystery Reader program, to our Eighth-Grade Kindergarten Helpers and our Spanish immersion lunch program. You will read about our newly launched strategic plan, Deeply Rooted, and the exciting work already underway to strengthen and extend Peck’s rigorous academics, character education, and sense of community.

You will also read how a Peck alum is paying it forward in the field of education when we catch up with Amie (Pierce) McInerney ’91, a kindergarten teacher at Ashley Hall, one of the nation’s top all-girls schools in Charleston, South Carolina.

It’s no accident that a Peck education produces eighth-grade graduates ready to succeed in secondary school, and well-rounded adults leading healthy, productive, and principled lives. We intentionally craft a program that optimizes the learning environment for students’ eager minds and fearless hearts. The outcome is, as we say, magic.



14 DEPARTMENTS 34 Campus News 42 Arts Update 44 Athletics Update 46 Faculty News 48 Class Notes 4 10 CONTENTS CHILDHOOD |
Peck’s kindergarten program is structured to meet children where they are, at every angle— academically, socially, emotionally, and developmentally.
Morning centers feature purpose and meaning with movement and freedom in the K’s Big Room.
The kindergarten’s approach to math ensures that students arrive at the same understanding of numbers and math concepts, no matter which angle they’re coming from. ALSO IN THIS ISSUE: 18 Mystery Readers Keep Students Guessing in the K 20 Yo Quiero Por Favor: Students Learn Spanish Through Immersion Teaching Approach 22 Science, Design, & Technology in Kindergarten: The Great Pumpkin Dissection 24 Eighth Graders Lend a Hand in the K 28 The Lifers Look Back
30 26 A twice-yearly publication for families, faculty, and alumni of The Peck School in Morristown, New Jersey HEAD OF SCHOOL Andrew C. Delinsky EDITORIAL STAFF Director of Strategic Communications & Marketing Heather Burchfield Associate Director of Visual Brand Strategy Jen Cleary Digital Marketing Associate Brielle Runyon Advancement Office Sarah Quinn Clausen Ilana Radcliffe Taylor Williams WRITERS/CONTRIBUTORS Guest Writers: Maribel Mohr, Kristin Young Features & Departments: Heather Burchfield, Jen Cleary, Brielle Runyon; Class Notes & In Memoriam: Advancement Office PHOTOGRAPHY At-Home Studios (, Peck Faculty, The Peck School, The Peck School Archives PRINTING Bolger, Inc. ART DIRECTOR Bruce Hanson The Peck School 247 South Street Morristown, NJ 07960 (973) 539-8660 Northern New Jersey’s timeless and transformative co-ed independent elementary and middle school education for grades K-8. The Peck School does not discriminate in the admission process, its scholarship programs, or in the administration of its other programs, or policies on the basis of characteristics or conditions, such as creed, race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation or disability. Peck News FALL/WINTER 2023 ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT: AMIE (PIERCE) McINERNEY ’91 Alumni Associate Taylor Williams interviews Amie about her calling as an elementary teacher. DEEPLY ROOTED: THE PECK STRATEGIC PLAN Peck launches its new strategic plan, Deeply Rooted.

Of all you learn here, remember this the best; Don’t hurt each other and clean up your mess. Take a nap every day, wash before you eat; Hold hands, stick together, Look before you cross the street. Remember the seed in the little paper cup, First the root goes down and then the plant grows up!

— Kindergarten Wall, refrain, Peck Lower School



John McCutcheon released his song Kindergarten Wall on an album that, as noted in its description, is “for dancing and singing, for going to sleep and waking up, for remembering and imagining, for thinking about the future and the past.” In other words, Kindergarten Wall is part of a collection of songs about childhood life.

Peck’s kindergarten students have sung Kindergarten Wall during assemblies and Sings for the past few years. It’s a catchy tune (and one they perform with glee and gusto) that speaks to that unpretentious-yet-exhilarating life stage occupied by five- and six-year-old bodies and brains.

At this age, kids are learning to learn, to find routines, to follow norms, to clarify their voice. To be aware of their relation to others and their community. They’re learning what’s important, to themselves and to others. And the Peck kindergarten program is structured to meet them where they are, at every angle— academically, socially, emotionally, and developmentally.

“There are so many ways to describe a five- or six-year-old,” said Kindergarten Teacher Maribel Mohr. “They’re playful, joyful, energetic, happy. Inviting and inquisitive. Curiosity is a human condition, and you can see how much they’re constantly wanting to learn and grow and make connections.”

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Distilling kindergarten to just the “ABCs” and “123s” does a disservice to the whole world of things to learn and experience at this grade. Peck’s kindergarten program is both academically rigorous and thoughtful in its approach to teaching young children how to learn.

Given that children hit a critical period in brain development from about age two to seven, Peck’s program capitalizes on the last few years of this growth. This is prime ground to nurture executive functioning skills, emotional intelligence, and a growth mindset. Kindergarten teachers Mohr and Kristin Young (who both hold advanced degrees and have decades of experience in early education) attend to how kids learn just as much as what they learn.

“There’s a certain freedom to them, and they don’t judge the thought in their head,” said Mohr. “They learn that mistakes are part of learning and to fail successfully.”

A willingness to take risks and the resilience to make mistakes and try again are crucial capacities for lifelong learning. Of all the things Peck kindergartners take away from their inaugural year, it’s remembering ‘I can try this, and try again!’ that propels them to even greater potential.

routines that help them understand things like taking turns, sharing, and relating to others. Our students come from so many different communities and environments, that we’re starting a school year with a different baseline than, say, a public preschool that transitions into a kindergarten.”

Teaching young children how to reciprocate within a community requires more than just a caring, fun, and friendly environment. Peck’s kindergarten program relies on structured approaches and frameworks to meet these goals— such as the Responsive Classroom technique and curriculum targeted towards strengthening social-emotional skills.

“Kindergartners are constantly wanting to learn, not only academics, but socially learning right from wrong, simple skills such as sharing and caring, and that every decision they make has an effect. They learn that being kind to someone makes you feel good,” said Young.

Take a nap every day, wash before you eat.

Though Peck kindergartners don’t nap, they do enjoy the home-like feeling of their own space—and the agency, ownership, and stewardship that feeling cultivates. The standalone Deetjen Kindergarten building is one of the top things that distinguishes our program, with its homerooms and “Big Room,” Kindergarten Idea & Design Lab (known as the K.I.D. Lab!), and an outdoor learning space and playground.

Consideration of others and empathy are core to the Peck experience. From kindergarten through eighth grade, character education and academics intersect powerfully in the learning experience. This is a philosophy that speaks to not only how we relate to each other, but to the responsibilities of trying your hardest, contributing to your community, and respecting your space.

Kindergarten is also a prime year for forming friendships with peers, which plays a significant role in social-emotional development and community responsibility.

“However, before young children can begin to have relationships with others they need to develop an awareness of self— their behaviors and feelings, impact on others, and how to act within a space,” said Lower School Psychologist Ashley Tabor.

“This is the basis of any social-emotional learning. One of the critical things that Peck does so well is integrating kids into

“We create a real sense of community in the beginning,” said Young, “where we can be together in our own building. It’s intimate, and they feel like they can move in their own space.”

When it comes to lunchtime, kindergartners eat together in the Big Room, sometimes as homerooms and sometimes as the whole grade (as they do for ¡Vamos a Comer! spanish-immersion lunches.) In a miniature version of Peck’s Family Dining program, they chat over their meals while sitting at round tables, helping each other clean up, and making connections that otherwise might be lost in the hubbub of a multiple-grade lunch space.

Throughout kindergarten, students increasingly become more independent and confident completing small tasks by themselves. From serving themselves lunch to washing their hands properly, they start taking charge of daily activities that make them more responsible.

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Of all you learn here, remember this the best.
Don’t hurt each other, and clean up your mess.

Hold hands, stick together, look before you cross the street.

Forging connections with the rest of the school isn’t forgotten during the school year. Indeed, it’s an important component to ensuring a smooth transition from kindergarten to first grade, as well as an overall experience through eighth grade.

The Class of 2023 have designated ‘buddies’ in the first and fourth grades, with whom they enjoy fun projects and field trips. With the fourth and eighth grade, they participate in Peck’s Reach Across program.

They’ll parade for Halloween and take walking field trips with their firstgrade buddies (holding hands on the way!). Field trips and reading time is special with fourth-grade buddies, as is celebrating “Pajama Day” together in December.

During Reach Across activities, the K (as they are affectionately known) is grouped with fourth and eighth grade for fun projects fostering collaboration and communication.

“My FAVORITE part about having a buddy is playing with him!” said kindergartner Fitz Zeidler, of his fourth-grade buddy Arthur Soudah.

Connecting with adults on campus is intentional, too, as nearly every Peck

teacher or staff happily volunteers to be a surprise reader. The kindergarten also travels to learn from other teachers for classes like Art, Music, Library, and Science, Design, & Technology. While the K remains their home base, they develop comfort and confidence among the rest of Peck’s buildings and entire school community.

Exposure to the emotions and perspectives of other people, from same-age to older, is part of building emotional resilience and independence.

Students build habits for sharing, taking turns, active listening, and communicating their ideas to others— all which lay the foundation for leadership qualities as they grow.

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Peck’s kindergarten program deeply roots young children in the habits of active learning. Teachers (both homeroom and other Peck specialists who teach kindergartners) feed curiosity, welcome questions, and nurture independent thinkers. Honoring this stage of development, where the world is full of new things and endless possibilities, is something that Peck teachers excel at, every day.

“We have an extremely nurturing community here,” said Mohr, “with the flexibility to meet kids where they are. If they’re not happy and content and ready to learn, they’re not going to learn—so we stop and recognize moments that are emotional or where we make a mistake, and the more we do that, the more we can support each other.”

“We build a strong foundation of trust and connection, which lets them learn deeply and enjoy it,” continued Mohr. “I love that we can be responsive; when we want to know more about why something works the way it does, we can investigate that. When we need to acknowledge and celebrate each other, we do that and it builds a stronger community. And when we want to break out into song, we break out into song!”

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First the root goes down, and then the plant grows up!

FROM 7:30 TO 8:10, KINDERGARTNERS HAVE the unique opportunity to choose a morning center in the Big Room— which is, perhaps, one of the most fun choices they may make that day.

Inspired by a Montessori approach, centers feature purpose and meaning with movement and freedom in the kindergarten’s largest space, the Big Room. Exciting and boisterous play quickly gets underway as students navigate their way through the centers set up for them.

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“Centers are excellent for pushing children to try new things,” said Lower School Psychologist Ashley Tabor. “They offer structured ways to encourage students to engage in things they may not naturally gravitate towards. The beauty of centers is that they can try something for a short time, and then move onto the next thing.”

Adventurous learning and fun risk-taking are at the core of the materials found throughout the Big Room. Equipped with play sets, STEM toys, games, and building materials, the tables and spaces become highly engaging zones for students to tinker and play.

“Creative play is an outlet for exploration,” says Tabor. “ Kids can try on different behavioral and emotional hats in these environments, and role-play different scenarios. All of these exercises are necessary for childhood, from supporting socialemotional learning and physical development, to problemsolving and building confidence, to creative growth.”

Our new wooden play kitchen offers kindergartners a delightful new opportunity. Children (often dressed in aprons) serve each other food, take orders with notepads, and interact with each other in a different way than in the classroom. They engage in negotiations and sharing that are key to building social and self-

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5 Ideas from Mrs. Mohr for Creative Play at Home

It’s beneficial to engage in creative play with your child at home, because it not only gives families the opportunity to play together but also fosters joy, togetherness, and for adults, that feeling of being a kid again!

BALLOON TENNIS: When was the last time you played with a balloon? A balloon is a simple, yet magical thing in the hands of a child. It provides them with endless fun hitting, kicking, and punching the balloon and then watching it soar, sink, or float down to the floor. For our family “ balloon tennis” is a staple sport. We use badminton rackets to hit the balloons across the living room—and there is nothing like the sound of a racket hitting a balloon!

FOIL ARMOR : When our children were growing up, aluminum foil was always on hand in the kitchen AND

the playroom! It easily transforms into Viking helmets, elaborate shields, and medieval armor. You can even cover a strip of cardboard for a sword, or make foil cannon balls!

COMMERCIAL DINNERS: Ask children to make an advertisement (either a voice pitch or with artwork) at the dinner table for a product like Gatorade or something that is on their plate. This playful activity may highlight skills students didn’t even think they had!

MYSTERY PROP: Take a goofy prop like a pool noodle, and see if everyone in your family can come up with a fantastical story as to what it might be used for. For example, maybe the pool noodle is a straw for giants!

THE DOCTOR IS IN: Kids love figuring things out, and who better to “ figure and fix” than a doctor? You can create your own equipment with tape, string, cardboard tubes, and paper—and then give your child a checklist to ask about your symptoms.

control skills, and often take multiple orders from their highly engaged eighth-grade Kindergarten Helpers. Play-Doh is another exciting table. Strengthening their fine motor development and hand muscle coordination without even knowing it, students create elaborate cookies, creatures, and sculptures that they then often distribute to peers around the room in a playful and fun way.

The math center reinforces the learning that is happening in the classroom. Children love the opportunity to practice their skills. Unifix cubes, math scales, and dry erase boards allow children the chance to explore these manipulatives without guidance and freely tinker on their own.

Often, you may see the spontaneous play of a student mimicking a teacher’s directions at this center, and pretending that the table is their classroom. Here, their play is reflecting their daily learning.

To get more play into the classroom, Peck teachers apply frameworks from The Harvard Graduate School’s Project Zero Pedagogy of Play. For example, when studying penguins, students are challenged to build habitats for small toy penguins. Elaborate bubble wrap and small container homes are designed to shelter penguins against the cold and ice. Students take great care in creating their shelters, and are able to discuss the different aspects and purpose behind their designs.

In the kindergarten, we spread learning-through-creativeplay throughout the curriculum, not just during morning centers or projects in the Kindergarten Idea & Design Lab. This approach enhances the children’s growth as learners, individuals, and community members—and also provides a good deal of joy throughout every school day!

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A Parents’


Guide to Kindergarten


IS how do we learn —which is the essence of our approach to teaching math. Because we learn through so many different ways, and each student can learn differently, we need to ensure that students can arrive at the same understanding of numbers and math concepts, no matter where they start.

THE FOUNDATION: What is Number Sense?

The first, and most essential concept in kindergarten math is number sense—a person’s ability to understand, relate, and connect numbers.

For example, we know that 2 and 2 is 4, but why is it 4? We can break down number 4 into parts, where we see 2 parts and 2 parts, or 1 part and 3 parts, or 4 parts and 0 parts. Understanding that different combinations of parts can lead to a whole number (or a whole number can be split into different combinations) is the basis for strong number sense, which helps build a foundation for mathematical understanding and allows students to think flexibly and fluently about numbers.

Focusing on number sense at an early age helps build the foundation necessary to compute and solve more complex problems in later grades. Building

a love for math begins with nurturing an understanding of numbers, which is the foundation for higher-level thinking in math.

THE APPROACH: Concrete, Pictorial, Abstract (CPA)

Our learning framework relies on a progression of approaches to build number sense and comprehension: concrete, pictorial, and abstract. Called the CPA Approach, this is a fundamental theory of learning proven to lead to greater mastery of math concepts.

Concrete learning is a hands-on approach that uses tangible items to represent a number being taught. Pictorial learning introduces students to the use of pictures and drawings that represent numbers; a method that helps to clarify reasoning. Lastly, students move into the abstract stage where numerals are put in place (for example, writing out that 3 + 2 = 5).

For all three learning approaches, we use many types of manipulatives to help cultivate a strong command of number sense.

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Concrete Abstract

THE TACTICS: What are Manipulatives?

Manipulatives are any various objects or materials that students can touch and move around in order to help them learn mathematical concepts. We use many manipulatives to gain a concrete understanding of numbers.

Manipulatives provide great opportunities for tactile and kinesthetic learning, an ideal method to ensure comprehension for five- and six-year-old learners. .

Two types of manipulatives often used at Peck are ten frames and number bonds, both of which demonstrate combining and breaking down numbers.

TEN FRAMES: We use ten frames to demonstrate the relationship between numbers and quantities. We practice the many different combinations of 10, both forward and backward. (For example, two and eight make ten, but so do eight and two. This is called a ‘turnaround fact.’)

We always start by using a five frame, which is half of a ten frame. In a concrete learning approach, these frames utilize small, colored discs for students to physically place a certain number of yellow discs and a certain number of red discs to create a combination. In a pictorial learning approach, the grid might feature drawings of pumpkins and apples. Here students would circle two different groups to describe the quantities of ten. In an abstract approach, students would write out the numerical equation of what they see on the ten frame.

Using frames allows for more flexible thinking and builds confidence with knowing that there is more than one answer.

NUMBER BONDS: Number bonds are represented as circles connected by lines. The “whole” is written in the first circle, and “parts” in the adjoining circles. This is another visual tool that allows students to see how a number is broken down. Number bonds show how pairs of numbers can be added or subtracted to create a third number. Number bonds can also be used as ten frames, with the CPA approach.

7 and 3 make 10

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7 Math Games from Mrs. Young to Play at Home

Connecting math to daily activities in the real world is an important way to help children develop higher engagement in math. If you’ve ever heard kids say, but math is soooo boring—fear not! Here are a few ways you can make math fun in your own home:

After a day of apple picking at a farm, count out the apples in different ways! For example: a parent picked 5 and sibling picked 2. Who picked more? Less? How many more? How many in all? Encourage children to draw out their answers!

When getting home, estimate (and then test it out!) the number of steps to the front door.

Play card games! “Match to Make 11” is played with three rows of three cards face-up. Check to see if there are two cards that add up to 11. If so, remove those cards and replace them with new ones. If not, add another row!

Play dice games! “Dice Wars” is played with two dice and several objects to use as counters. Roll the dice, add them up, and then ‘steal’ the sum from the ‘treasure’ of objects!

The board game Trouble is great for decomposing numbers!

Go on a scavenger hunt and find three things in a certain shape.

Skip count (count by multiples) pairs of shoes in your house by twos, or count how many fingers in your family by skip-counting by fives.

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whole part part whole part part

Mystery Readers Keep Students Guessing in the

FOR MORE THAN A DECADE, parents, faculty, staff, and even grandparents have shared in the magic of storytime that is a pivotal part of the Peck kindergarten experience. Peck’s Mystery Reader Program, which features two-tothree “mystery guests’’ per week, invites a Peck employee or a kindergartner’s family member to secretly volunteer to share a story of their choosing. And of course, guessing who will be the day’s mystery reader is a favorite pastime in the kindergarten!

“The Mystery Reader program is important because we really want to build community,” said Kindergarten Homeroom Teacher Maribel Mohr. “We want the students to know each other’s families. We want to make sure all of the faculty and staff are familiar faces—and that the students know what they do around Peck. Then, when our kids see different adults on campus, they can say hello and make those connections.”

This fall, Upper School Science Teacher Liz Belasic read The Bug Girl by Sophia Spencer, a true story about a girl who loved bugs, even though her classmates thought she was a little odd for it. Belasic, an insect aficionado, also brought her bug collection and bug-catching net!

“I love the Kindergarten Mystery Reader program because it gives the kids a chance to meet the members of their community, and we get to share something we like with them,” Belasic said.

Shannon Roth, also an Upper School Science Teacher, read the fan-favorite Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin.

“I wanted to read to the kindergarten because I think it’s really important for them to have a chance to meet and interact with different adults on campus in a setting that is comfortable and familiar to them. It’s not as intimidating, and then we become a familiar face,” Roth said. “It’s just as exciting for the kindergarteners as it is for the adults— and it’s a fun way to establish an early and meaningful connection that will continue to grow over their future on campus.”

Several staff members read their Mystery Reader favorites every year, such as School Nurse Colleen Loughman’s Germs Are Not For Sharing and Noses are Not For Picking by Elizabeth Verdick, and Upper School Math Teacher Stewart Wilkinson’s The Gruffalo (which he both reads AND performs!).

“I was thrilled to be a mystery reader for the kindergarten!” said Pallas Jia, mom of kindergartner Ilan.

“It is an amazingly meaningful opportunity for me to be there to see him and his friends in action, and be a part of their reading and learning journey!”

Many parent readers donate their book to the classroom adorned with a plaque in their honor. The kindergarten teachers also maintain a bulletin board of all the readers and the books they read throughout the year.

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“A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.”– C.S. Lewis


Students Learn Spanish ImmersiveThroughLunches


around lunch time on any Wednesday and you’ll think you’ve been transported off the campus of The Peck School and to un restaurante (a restaurant).

Students dine on manzanas (apples), yogur (yogurt), galletas (cookies), arroz (rice), pollo (chicken), and chocolate (chocolate). They say ¡hola! (hello), buenos días (good morning), and gracias (thank you) while excitedly chatting with their friends and teachers.

Welcome to ¡Vamos a Comer!, a weekly Spanish immersion lunch in the K. Spanish teachers Adriana Sykora and Sara Montijo have created a mock restaurant experience for their youngest learners to practice conversational Spanish skills in an organic and authentic way.

It’s part of a teaching approach called “comprehensible input.” According to The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages,

which recommends that learning take place through the target language for 90% or more of classroom time, comprehensible input is language input that can be understood by listeners, despite them not understanding all the words and structures in it. It is described as conversing at a level just beyond students’ current level of proficiency in the language, but not out of reach. According to American linguist Dr. Stephen Krashen’s theory of language acquisition, giving learners this kind of input helps them acquire language naturally, rather than learn it consciously.

Students learn the vocabulary words for things like foods, objects, and requests in their twice-a-week Spanish classes. The weekly immersion lunch offers an additional opportunity to put those new skills to work in a natural setting.

“By having an immersion lunch, it separates for the students mentally where they are learning the vocabulary

and where they are practicing their skills,” Sykora said. “Language retention is higher when they practice in a more organic environment because their brain is absorbing all of the language and structure without them realizing they are learning a language.”

Sykora and Montijo also use hand puppets, a key element that intensifies both language usage and excitement during the lunch.

Rosco el zorro (Rosco the fox), Orgullo el Léon (Pride the lion), and Café el caballo (Coffee the horse) travel around the room “stealing” food. On their feet, in real time, the students gleefully practice asking for their food back by saying, Yo quiero por favor mi (or in English, may I have my, followed by the Spanish word of their food item.

The use of the puppets also provides an opportunity for students to learn the names of a variety of animals throughout the year including un pavo (a turkey), which is used near Thanksgiving, and un reno (a reindeer), used near the winter holidays.

By the end of the year, students will not only have learned the names of all of the animals that show up to crash their lunch, but they also master several phrases including necesito ayuda por favor

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Orgullo el León Rosco el Zorro

(I need help, please), abre por favor (open, please), yo quiero leche por favor (I would like milk, please), ¿puedo ir al baño? (may I go to the bathroom?), ¡terminé! (I’m finished), and asking to go outside for recess ( ¿vamos afuera? ).

Sykora, who introduced ¡Vamos a Comer! in 2016, says the program can also help students navigate realworld conversational Spanish. “They really love it,” Sykora said. Additionally, this year Sykora is reintroducing regular ¡Vamos a Comer! lunches for the Lower and Upper School, who eat family-style in the dining hall. “The same benefits of ¡Vamos a Comer! in the kindergarten apply for students of all ages,” Sykora says.

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Science, Technology, & Design in Kindergarten

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A FEW DAYS BEFORE HALLOWEEN, the Class of 2031 had a surprise waiting for them in their Science, Design, & Technology class. Ten bowling-ball-size, classic orange pumpkins and several miniature ones festooned the Lower School Science Lab, sparking curiosity and excitement.

The pumpkins would become subjects of a scientific exploration drawing upon a wide range of skills: examining, questioning, counting, analyzing—all foundational skills not only for science but also for design, engineering, and other STEM-related areas.

Peck’s Science, Design, & Technology class for grades K-1 is an overlap of three interrelated curricula. It follows Peck’s “specials intensives” structure, meaning the class meets frequently for longer periods of class time, and rotates every few weeks with other specials. Following this structure allots the same number of minutes-per-year for the curricula, but capitalizes on memory and momentum, allowing for deeper retention.

Co-taught by Lower School Technology, Innovation, & Design Integrator Jennifer Garvey, and Lower School Science Teacher and Department Chair Dr. Kathy Kennedy, the program leverages and optimizes

Education Standards for Garvey—but they weave these standards and concepts together in a powerful way. “Both sets of standards also include design and engineering, which is where the marriage of technology and science come together really nicely,” says Garvey.

For example, students might first do a scientific experiment then use technology (such as SeeSaw or PicCollage) to demonstrate their understanding, rather than a worksheet. This enables them to learn how to use various platforms to demonstrate their knowledge.

“A lot of the tech tools we use really make their thinking visible. For example, they can snap pictures of what they’re doing, or sort and categorize what they photograph,” said Kennedy. “As emerging readers, writers, or creators, what might be on paper may not correlate with how they express their understanding, but they can articulate it verbally and capture that using a microphone. And they can share that with their peers and parents.”

In this particular pumpkin-focused class, students applied design thinking principles to their dissection and experiments.

framework was founded on the hypothesis that by fostering an innate sensitivity to design—the ability to look closely at something, and see how parts interconnect and relate to a whole—teachers help students discover their own sense of agency in learning. “We take things apart to see what their purposes are, and that builds skills for every class,” says Garvey.

After counting the number of ridges on each pumpkin, groups of students dug into their pumpkins to explore the insides, and count how many seeds they could find. They also had to guess whether or not miniature pumpkins would float in water, and wonder why that could be. They later designed models of their pumpkins, indicating where the various parts were located.

The Science, Technology, & Design class also leverages what’s happening in homerooms. When the K does their penguin unit in winter, Kennedy and Garvey link to already-established understandings. For example, since the class has discussed what living things need, they question how does a penguin stay warm, and how do they protect their eggs.

Kennedy and Garvey also teach and reinforce collaboration, a skill which may not always come naturally to five- and six-year-olds. Building this capacity rounds out a comprehensive learning experience, leading to students working in pairs during a science lab or on a team during a coding exercise that teaches computational thinking.

not only discipline-related skills, but also fundamental learning skills such as observation, wondering, collaboration, exploring, and understanding systems.

Kennedy and Garvey have their own standards and curriculum that each is responsible for teaching— Next Generation Science Standards for Kennedy and International Society for Technology in

“We’re building a little on what is living and what is non-living,” says Kennedy. “We capitalize on their excitement for the fall and the holiday, and look at the idea of parts and their purpose in a system, and how those parts work together.”

This project also follows the Harvard-based teaching framework “Agency by Design” which Peck implemented in 2018. The

“These are learning experiences that build their skills in every class,” says Garvey. “When we look ahead and think about our students writing an essay in, say, sixth grade, we know how important it is now to start building the skills to take a step back, find opportunities for improvement, and appreciate that others might have a different perspective or solution for a problem.”

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Eighth Graders Lend a Hand at the

AT 7:30 A.M. IN “THE K”, it’s totally acceptable to have cupcakes for breakfast and hot chocolate with extra chocolate and extra whipped cream. Pretend breakfast, that is.

A kindergartner serves an eighth grader an imaginary cup of coffee while another takes their breakfast order. Another serves cupcakes for an eighth grader’s pretend birthday. As other kindergartners arrive, they gravitate toward this bustling corner of the kindergarten’s “Big Room.”

Just like the kitchen is the heart of the home, so too is it the heart of the K at this early hour.

Five days a week, six eighth graders start their morning assisting in the kindergarten through the Eighth-Grade Kindergarten Helpers program—a leadership opportunity asking eighth graders to arrive early, help kindergartners out of cars and into the K’s Big Room, and transition into the day. As kindergartners arrive and choose between several centers (many focusing on fine motor skill development), from Play-Doh and painting, to colored pencils and mag tiles, from letter tracing to the creative play kitchen, their eighthgrade buddies are there, ready to play.

“The Eighth-Grade Helpers have made my daughter feel so welcome at Peck, creating such a sense of community for her,” said Shannon Karches, mom to kindergartner Claire. “She is excited to

see the eighth graders in the morning, but even more excited when she spots them in an assembly or walking around campus.”

Karches explains that her family moved to New Jersey this summer, and she was worried Claire would be nervous about starting a new school. “But seeing older kids be so kind to her, remember her name, and smile at her each morning has created such a warm and welcoming feeling for her, and led to a love of coming to school every day,” she said.

The older students not only assist the kindergartners at the centers each morning. They also become role models for Peck’s youngest students, modeling the school’s core principles of consideration of others and community responsibility.

“We’re setting an example for them of how to act,” said Alexa Cassanelli ’23. “By spending time with them each morning, we are also showing the kindergartners that they matter, they are important, and they belong in this community.”

“They get to see older people they know in a different space in the school,” added Maggie Rogers ’23. “It eliminates the intimidation factor.”

Being an Eighth-Grade Kindergarten Helper is a leadership activity that students voluntarily choose to participate in. It’s one of the few that requires an early morning arrival, something that might be a disincentive for sleepdeprived tweens. But these helpers say they had no reservations about the time commitment.

“I have been here since kindergarten,” said Rogers, “it’s fun to see that I was once that size. They feel so small to me now!”

It’s tough to say who enjoys this morning tradition more: the kindergartners or the eighth graders.

“It’s a lot of fun to hang out with them in the morning,” Cassanelli said. “We get to know them better and help them be more social, less shy, and more open.”

The feeling is mutual.

Kindergartner Luciana Paul said she really enjoys playing in the pretend kitchen with them.

“I like being with them because they’re really fun to play with,” she said.

“They’re really sweet.”

“They look like the biggest graders ever!” exclaimed kindergartner Hannah Shen.

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“We’re setting an . .example for them . .of how to act,” said . . Alexa Cassanelli ’23. . .“By spending time. .with them each . . morning, we are. . also showing the. . kindergartners that . .they matter, they. . are important, and . .they belong in this . .community.”.

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Alumni Spotlight:



YOU COULD SAY Amie (Pierce) McInerney, Class of ’91, was born to be a teacher. After all, her grandmother and mother were part of the Peck faculty for more than seven decades! Her mother, Judy Pierce, taught kindergarten for 45 years, retiring in 2013. Her grandmother, Helen Hurley, taught second grade for 18 years and was the Lower School reading specialist for 14 years.

Following in their footsteps wasn’t necessarily Amie’s plan as a child; however, her student teaching experience while she was at the College of Charleston changed her mind. She soon entered the field of elementary education. Amie has taught at Ashley Hall in Charleston, South Carolina, a private K-12 all-girls school, since 2001. She credits her students for bringing her joy and turning her exhaustion at the end of each day into excitement at the start of a new one.

One of the things that Amie affectionately cherishes about her time

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“It takes a big heart to help shape little minds.”
— Unknown


The Look Back

We affectionately refer to those eighth-grade students who have been at Peck since kindergarten as Lifers—and a few of them shared their memories, favorite books, and advice for today’s kindergarten class!

I’d say to the kids to enjoy every moment of kindergarten because it will be the year you don’t forget!

And I remember that my favorite book in kindergarten was Goodnight Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann! — Souren Ouzounian ’23

“The advice I would give to a current Peck kindergartner is to take your time. I always wanted to be

the oldest because it seemed more fun. Now, I wish I took in all the small moments! I also remember

that my favorite book we read in kindergarten was Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodikina, because my last

name is a part of the title! My parents came in one day to read this to the class.” — Lily Kapp ’23

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“I don’t myremember first Peck handshake, but I do remember that it was Mr. Delinsky’s first day ever and he told us it was ok to be afraid because he was scared, too!”

— Audrey Bendelius ’23

“My favorite book to read in kindergarten was Peanut Butter and Cupcake and this book sparked my love for reading.”

— Erika Avery ’23

“My favorite kindergarten memory was when we had a record of 13 recesses in one day. It is self-explanatory: FUN! To the kindergarten: have fun, work hard, and be positive!”

— Matias Stevenson ’23

“IlovedRainforestDayin kindergartenbecausemy grandparentscameupfrom Florida—itwasreallyfunandspecialfor metospendthedaywiththem.Andmy favorite book we read was the Piggyand Gerald series.Theywerebestfriendsand dideverythingtogether.Theyhadfun together,buttheyalsohadtoovercome challengestogether. Ilovedthebooks, becausetheyalsoconnectedintoreallife, andhelpedmefigureoutproblemsIwould comeacross.Totoday’skindergartenclass: EnjoyyouryearsatPeck;it’sshorterthan yourealize.Itseemslongatthemoment, butwhenyoulookbackitseemslikejust yesterday.”—


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Inside the Development of Our New Strategic Plan

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We are excited to officially launch our new strategic plan, Deeply Rooted


This plan was intentionally crafted during a robust yearlong process which included participation from all constituent groups. Coming on the heels of a global pandemic, this process offered us a chance to reflect on how we have grown as a school, and also how we can recommit to our areas of strength.

This plan truly speaks to the core of The Peck School. In Peck’s 130-year history, one thing has remained central: character education. Deeply Rooted is designed to build on this core strength. Our community survey illuminated that our character education program and our focus on values remains a primary reason parents choose to enroll their children at Peck, and a main area of deep satisfaction. This strategic plan directs our focus on deepening this commitment to character building as foundational for learning and success in life.

You’ll learn from several integral members of the Strategic Planning Design Team how this plan developed and how it deepens and extends the best of Peck. Additionally, you can preview our three areas of strategic focus. Learn more at


ANDY DELINSKY, Head of School, Current Parent

SUBA SHAH, Former President, Board of Trustees, Current Parent

BEN ROGERS, Co-Chair, Strategic Planning Committee, Trustee, Current Parent

CHRIS WEAVER, Co-Chair, Strategic Planning Committee, Director of Curriculum and Faculty Development, Past Parent

FOR MORE INFO: 31 Peck News |


OUR GOAL: Enhance a learning culture that integrates academic excellence, character development, and student ownership.


• Develop a portrait of a Peck graduate and align curricula, pedagogy, assessment, and culture to desired skills and outcomes.

• Prioritize student-centered learning and experiences to foster agency, engagement, and real-world connections.

• Elevate the seventh- and eighthgrade student experience for greater engagement, independence, and student agency.

• Use expertise in child developmental stages to better structure the student experience.

• Articulate our criteria for excellence in teaching; continue to celebrate and showcase teaching excellence.

• Invest in our faculty and staff growth and development to align core competencies with our mission and vision.

• Leverage exercise and daily movement as a key component to enhance learning and wellbeing.


OUR GOAL: Expand our expertise and impact in K-8 character education.


• Study and gain community expertise in K–8 child development to create the conditions needed to best foster a community of character.

• Integrate service into the core academic experience as a tool for character development and community responsibility.

• Design curricula and programs to foster belonging and personal development, such as conflict resolution, ethics, civil discourse, environmental stewardship, and student mental and physical health and wellness.

• Use athletics and other team-building opportunities to reinforce character formation.

• Build partnerships with aligned character-based programs and organizations.

• Anchor Peck’s traditions in our core principles to ensure belonging and character development.

• Consider creating a Character Lab to both lead and showcase our character education program.


OUR GOAL: Strengthen a culture of belonging for all community members: past, current, and future.


• Strengthen our community through a focus on belonging, inclusion, and equity.

• Reimagine how we attract, recruit, and retain a diverse, best-in-class faculty and staff.

• Find solutions to attract and retain a diverse student and parent body to strengthen a community of missionaligned families.

• Be leaders in how we build meaningful relationships with parents as partners in their child’s academic success and character development.

• Strengthen our relationship with alumni to forge lasting connections with the school.

• Build community partnerships locally and globally that create authentic contexts for service, learning, and impact.

• Explore opportunities to ensure that the school’s financial model remains sustainable now and into the future.

• Consider opportunities for philanthropic support of our mission, vision, and strategy.

• Examine Board structures to ensure that the board remains agile in supporting strategic opportunities.

• Optimize current and build new opportunities to create genuine schoolwide community and pride.

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At the Core

A Conversation With Four Community Members Who Led Deeply Rooted to Completion

Where did the plan start?

CHRIS: It started with affirming who we are. Even before we dug into the plan, we simplified our school mission, crafted a vision statement, and documented a set of core principles.

SUBA: We started from a place of wanting to be a leader—in our own way. We want to continue the work that makes Peck a leader in K-8 education and character development—and do it at an even higher level.

ANDY: I think of it as rooting our community. It’s getting to the core of Peck, staying true to our marriage of character education and academics, and moving forward with intention and integrity.

What’s exciting to you about the plan?

BEN: I’m a big believer in character formation— and the plan commits to it in new ways. Kindness, integrity, empathy, respect, building relationships, the consideration of others: to me, those things are what school—and life—is all about.

CHRIS: New research in child development—and our own experience—is telling us that students in their seventh and eighth grade years need a stronger sense of independence. The plan asks us to re-think our approach to those years.

ANDY: It’s hard to choose! I’ll say that when we held focus groups with parents, they emphasized the importance of community: How can we strengthen our community in ways that benefit everyone? The plan has good answers to that question.

SUBA: To me, the beauty of the plan—and the school— is that everything works together. Our three pillars— learning, character, and community—are most effective when they’re fully integrated.

What’s the one thing you want people to know about the plan?

ANDY: We want our students to be good, grounded people who think creatively, lead with compassion, and reach out to others. From that foundation, the plan asks: How does a great school keep getting better?

BEN: The plan is an example of “cathedral thinking.” Cathedrals took a hundred years to build—and they were meant to last thousands of years. We’re building the future of Peck on principles that have stood the test of time.

CHRIS: And we want to put our principles into action. The plan says: Character is more than an ethos; it’s a call to action. Let’s create a program that helps every member of our community build character—and apply it in and out of school.

SUBA: This is Peck looking forward. Think of how education has changed in the last five or ten years. We want Peck to be a leader in the things that last—and in areas that are still coming into focus. I want our kids to be successful at whatever comes next.

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Fall Fest 2022 CAMPUS NEWS

THE PECK SCHOOL HOSTED THE Parents Associations’ (PA) inaugural Fall Fest on a beautiful fall day in October, welcoming our community to a campus filled with activities and games, a pumpkin patch, inflatables (including inflatable axe-throwing!), arts and crafts, music and field games, and delicious refreshments provided by Flik and Peck alumna and parent Brooke Worthington ’96; P’29, ’31.

A new event this year, Fall Fest pairs the best of fall with the best of Peck— that is, fun seasonal activities that bring families and friends together for celebration and school spirit. The idea originated with last year’s PA Friends, Family, & Philanthropy event, which incorporated a similar theme while fundraising for Homeless Solutions, Inc.

“Every detail of the event was thoughtfully planned by the amazing chairs and committee, which made for an amazing afternoon for Peck students, parents, alumni, and friends. The excitement and joy was palpable everywhere you turned! This might be the first Peck Fall Fest, but it certainly will not be the last,” said Director of Advancement Sarah Quinn Clausen.

A joyful, carnival-like atmosphere permeated campus as families mingled and enjoyed the activities. Students played across the entirety of Peck’s grounds, from the pumpkin patch on the quad, to games on the fields, to the GaGa pit at the playground. Between the turning leaves, fall-themed photo booths, sidewalk chalk and face

paint—the event even looked as brightly colorful as it felt.

“We were so thankful for the opportunity to bring Peck students, families, alums, and prospective families together on a beautiful fall day, where lasting memories were created and the warmth and vibrancy of the Peck community was felt by all. Gatherings such as Fall Fest remind us how special it is to be part of the Peck community,” emphasized Fall Fest Co-Chairs Elizabeth Cox and Emily Dingle.

We are grateful to the entire Fall Fest Committee, the dozens of parents and students who volunteered to help with set-up, activity stations, and clean-up, and participants that made the day so special!

Fall Fest PA Committee:

EVENT CHAIRS: Elizabeth Cox, Emily Dingle


ACTIVITIES CHAIRS: Li Marone, Laura Sahazizian, Sarah Sakr

DECOR CHAIRS: Ashley Lan, Christina Tonzola

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35 Peck News |

Peck officially launched its 2022 Strategic Plan, Deeply Rooted, on November 3. Ten committees begin the implementation of the school’s revised mission, vision, core principles, and strategic focus areas.

Five of the ten committees are being overseen by the school’s Academic Council, the school’s primary vehicle for advancing academic initiatives. Composed of faculty and staff volunteers, the council serves as a flexible, inclusive arena for leadership, analysis, and perspective. These committees focus on the design of a Portrait of a Graduate, the importance of movement in the classroom, a renewed focus on the uniqueness of the seventh- and eighth-grade experience, and the purposeful integration of service into the Peck program. Additionally, four faculty members spanning both divisions are undergoing a deep dive (following

Peck Welcomes New Board President Souren Ouzounian

Peck welcomed a new President of the Board of Trustees on July 1—current parent and longtime trustee Souren Ouzounian

“I am most looking forward to supporting [Head of School] Andy Delinsky and his team, and working with all of the talented and committed trustees,” Ouzounian said.

One of the strengths Ouzounian said he feels he brings to the role is a deep understanding and appreciation for faculty as a result of being the son of a third- and fourth-grade teacher. “I am very in tune to how hard teachers work to give our children the

Peck’s unique structure for this level of immersive professional development) into various aspects of child development, from sleep and nutrition to executive functioning and emotional regulation.

Five other committees are engaging in a parallel process overseen by the administrative team and a Strategic Plan Implementation team composed of administrators and board members.

The Work of Deeply Rooted Begins with 10 Committee Launches DEEPLY

These five committees focus on enhancing the culture of belonging at Peck, recruiting and retaining faculty and staff as well as students and families, re-engaging our alumni, and further strengthening the incredible parent-school partnership that is a hallmark of the Peck experience.

Read more about Deeply Rooted at

best learning experiences possible,” he said. Other strengths he brings to the board are his skills as an active listener and a lifelong learner.

Following in the footsteps of Suba Shah and a legacy of outstanding board chairs, Ouzounian said one of his goals is to continue to foster a board environment where each member can use their voice and feel empowered to contribute meaningfully to each conversation.

“The more inclusive the dialogue is, the more we learn from everyone’s perspective and achieve better outcomes,” he said.

Ouzounian has served on the Board of Trustees of his alma mater, Boston College High School, from 2015-2017 and is a member of the Steering Committee for their recently

announced fundraising campaign.

He is a Vice Chairman and Managing Director of UBS Investment Bank, where he has worked since April 2020. He has served on Peck’s board since 2014 and has been a member of the Advancement and Finance Committees. He is currently serving on the Committee on Governance.

Ouzounian obtained his BA in economics from Columbia College in New York City, and his MBA from the Sloan School of Management at MIT.

He and his wife, Carol, live in Short Hills with their three children, Alexandra (’19), a senior at The Pingry School; and twins Souren (’23) and Annabelle (’23).

“We have appreciated everything Peck has done for our children,” he said.

“Having the opportunity to assist in any way I can is a privilege.”

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Tech Assistants Go Beyond the Camera at Assemblies

An exciting opportunity for our Upper School students transcends the classroom and allows them to get involved at weekly assemblies. Technology Associates Andy Cohen and Shawn Yao have spearheaded a leadership initiative for our students to get their hands on soundboards, content creation, and camera

operation. Currently, we have several students assisting our tech team at Upper School and All-School assemblies. Responsibilities include leveling audio, ensuring all mics are functional, recording assembly footage, and so much more!

“Students are taking real ownership of the space, equipment, sound design, and lighting,” said Cohen.

“They are really taking this seriously, and the results show!”

School/Student Council Hosts Inaugural Homecoming

Our first homecoming was this year on September 28! Coordinated by our student council and Director of Athletics Jess McGinn this was a day that students will not soon forget. Our crosscountry team made an opening lap around the fields. Students ran a snack stand, came out to cheer on their classmates, and so much more! Even Pride the Lion came out for the fun, dancing along the sidelines. It was a great day of games, sportsmanship, teamwork, and fun!

We can’t wait for the next one.

New Upper School Assistants Program

Our eighth-graders were presented with a new leadership opportunity this year with the Upper School Assistants Program. Eighth-grade students had already been going above and beyond helping at the kindergarten as Kindergarten Helpers, and now they are lab assistants, tech assistants, and more throughout the Lower School. This program sparks joy in all, and perhaps especially the teachers who taught the older students so many years ago. Head of Upper School Sadie Albertyn notes, “It teaches our Upper School students about collaboration and responsibility, and provides them with the opportunity to live consideration of others.”

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How the Kindergarten Created The Peck News Magazine Cover

Take one template, a few boxes of markers and crayons, plus 35 kindergartners and voila! You have the cover of this Peck News magazine. For this issue, the Class of 2031 drew selfportraits that illustrate their identity as a Peck student. In addition to 35 happy selfies, their drawings often included bright suns, colorful rainbows, green grass, and smiling lions— showing that, to a five- or six-year-old, Peck is a pretty idyllic place to be.

“I’m excited to see it,” exclaimed kindergartner Will Delinsky. His classmate Jack Christensen followed up with, “me too because I LIKE making drawings!”

Kids Column: A New Student Paper at Peck

Extra, extra, read all about it! While walking around campus, you may find one of our students on a mission to find the “scoop.” Fifth grader Lydia Pester reports on-campus happenings in a new publication, Peck School Kids Column. After reading The Candy Smash by Jacqueline Davies, Lydia was inspired to create a news column of her own.

“Sometimes I ask people to be interviewed, and sometimes people ask to be interviewed,” she said. Using her mom’s laptop, she pulls together her stories into an appealing and engaging format that highlights insider student and classroom news at Peck. The newsletter is distributed on Mondays in the Higgins Library.

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for a new GaGa Pit

This year, we had an exciting addition to our playground. The Peck School Parents Association donated a Gaga pit to the school! Students are going “gaga” for Gaga, as each day during recess the octagonal ring is filled with students ready to play. The game is a form of dodgeball that originated in Israel in the 1970s, and is said to have spread when Israeli camp counselors brought the game to summer camps around the world. “Gaga” is actually translated from Hebrew as “touch-touch,” as players yell “GA!” when the ball first bounces and “GA-GA” when it is in play.

DETERMINATION: This Year’s Sixth Core Value

“Determination, to me, means you have to stick with it,” says Patrick Machir ‘26. This year’s core value, determination, shows the perseverance of our students, faculty and staff, and greater community. The sixth core value changes annually, and is voted upon the year prior by the rising class of eighth graders. To hear from Peck students about what determination means to them, check out our Instagram @thepeckschool.

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Biomimicry With Fifth Grade

When you think of windscreens and windmills you may not think of dragonfly wings and whale fins—but that does not mean that these man-made inventions weren’t inspired by the things we see in nature.

Biomimicry, or the design and production of materials, structures, and systems that are modeled on biological entities and processes, is, essentially, creations and inventions inspired by nature. From the shinkansen (Japan’s bullet train) with its nose design resembling the kingfisher’s beak, to hydrophobic materials inspired by the lotus leaf, many things we use and see every day are inspired by the world around us. Our fifth-graders have been learning all about this in the Osborn Idea & Design Lab.

Students were tasked with creating a robot that emulates an animal’s digging style. They were given a hypothetical scenario: a company named The Helping Hands Robotics Company is looking for prototypes of robots that will dig under rubble after natural disasters to search for any missing persons. Students modeled their robots after aardvarks, pangolins, naked mole rats, gophers, and more. Each robot has motors, and some have sensors. At the end

Introducing Pride Podcasts

of this project, robots had to make their way into a box with packing peanuts, moving the peanuts a specific distance to qualify as functional prototypes. Keep an eye out on our social media for some fun reels of these robots in action!

The Pride Podcast was an exciting special feature hosted on Peck’s podcast, The Peck Pawscast. After an adventure into the tech office’s supply closet, Technology Associate Andy Cohen discovered audio recording equipment which had been gifted from the Class of ‘21. “The idea of The Pride Podcast is simply to give another avenue of public speaking and expression to the students of Peck. Each five-minute episode focuses on learning about our community one person—and one story—at a time.” said Cohen. Students have been getting involved, with the first podcast hosted by fourth graders. “The intention is for students to be involved in all aspects of the production and learn through doing!”

Uniform Donation to Haiti

This year’s uniform update resulted in old uniforms that we knew could be put to good use. So, the Parents Association organized a uniform donation drive in collaboration with Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth in Morris to send gently-used uniforms to children in need in Haiti.

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A Fun Visit from Morristown Fire!

Peck had a very special visit from the firefighters in Morristown. Our kindergarteners and first graders learned about fire safety, what it means to be a firefighter, how quickly our firefighters get to the scene, and more. Did you know firefighters must get dressed in their gear in 90 seconds or less? That’s less time than it takes to walk to music class! Before fire engines and firetrucks, firefighters rode on horse-drawn carriages with dalmatians! Dalmatians are good at calming horses, incredibly loyal, and have high endurance and extremely loud barks. The dogs would charge ahead of the horsedrawn carriage, barking to clear the way so firefighters could get to the scene more quickly, similar to the sirens we use today!

Inuksuit Statues in Second Grade

Second-grade students learned about Inuksuit statues in the Osborn Idea & Design Lab this year, and were tasked with building some of their own with long wooden blocks. Inuksuit, or Inukshuk (singular) statues are man-made stone structures and landmarks built by the Inuit, Iñupiat, Kalaallit, Yupik, and other native peoples of the Arctic region of North America. These structures can also be found in northern Canada, Greenland, and Alaska. Inuksuit statues have been used for navigation, as markers for travel routes, fishing spots, camps, hunting grounds, veneration, in drift fences for hunting, or to mark a food cache.

Lunch From Around The World

As part of an ongoing partnership with FLIK Dining to celebrate cultures around the world, we’ve been enjoying regular meals inspired by heritage and cultural recognitions and holidays. In September we celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month with delicious meals from Argentina, Columbia, Cuba, and Spain. In November we celebrated Native American Heritage Month with food from the Chickasaw Nation and Wampanoag Peoples. We’ve also had special meals for Diwali, German-American Heritage Day, ItalianAmerican Heritage Month, and Rosh Hashanah.

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HUNGER WALK 2022 HAD ITS HIGHEST NUMBER OF SUPPORTERS: Each year, the student council coordinates and organizes a team to participate in nourish.NJ’s Hunger Walk in Morristown. Students, families, and even pets come together to walk laps around the school, enjoying each other’s company and the weather while walking for a good cause. This year, Peck was proud to have the highest number of Hunger Walk supporters out of all teams participating!



1 Kindergarten, mixed-media masks inspired from masks around the world (Jack Butler; tempera, oil pastels, beads, pom poms on cardboard)

2 First Grade, Matisse-inspired collages (Nirmaan Doshi; paper)

3 Second Grade, radial symmetry designs and amulets inspired by artwork created by indigenous people of America (Hunter Blanco; Sharpie on paper, Shrinky Dink plastic, beads, string)

4 Third Grade, state-themed shadow boxes inspired by artist Joseph Cornell (Helen Peek, “Welcome to West Virginia”; watercolor and Sharpie on paper, found objects on cardboard)

5 Fourth Grade, portraits using symbols to represent their identity (Becky Yu, “My Little Sunshine”; colored pencils, Sharpie, watercolors on paper)

6 Seventh Grade, Hua Tunan-inspired contemporary ink painting using a combination of expressive and detailed ink techniques (Adit Dahiya, “Wolf”; ink and watercolor on canvas)

7 Eighth-Grade elective portfolio piece based on independent study and original artist exploration (Annabelle Ouzounian, “A Winter for Bob”; acrylic on canvas)

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3 2 1
5 4


1 Third Grade, pizza puzzle using the coping saw (Teddy Falk)

2 Fourth Grade, marble maze using the dovetail saw and try square (project example)

3 Sixth Grade, woven warp and weft on footstools, and acoustic amplifiers for smartphones (Back row footstools l-r : Eve Delinsky, Piper Chapple, and Lucas Librizzi. Front row amplifiers l-r : Hunter Riley [in process], Trina Falk [in process], and Carter McMahon)

4 Eighth-Grade Elective independent projects (clockwise from top left: corner shelf by Audrey Bendelius; knickknack shelf by Eden Avery; jewelry cabinet [in process] by Kendall Young; candy dispenser [in process] by Maggie Rogers; and heart-shaped box [in process] by Chloe Kintiroglou)


Lower School students expressed themselves through singing, creatively moving, and playing numerous pitched and non-pitched instruments. Opportunities to grow in poise and confidence were abundant with several fantastic performances: kindergartners delighted the Peck community with The Turkey Song at the Thanksgiving Assembly, first grade performed The Veterans Salute and third grade performed an American Sign Language interpretation of God Bless America at the Veterans Day Assembly, and second graders performed the beloved Witches Brew at the Halloween Assembly. Fourth Grade shared the art of hand chime ringing at various performances throughout the fall and winter.

Upper School students have been focusing on pentatonic singing, technique, and exploring a number of instruments such as xylophone and drums. Seventh-grade classes have even dipped into their Karaoke suggestion box, leading to several fun musical moments in class! Eighth graders have also been working on instrumental accompaniment for The Sing: A Celebration of the Holidays, using percussion, ukulele, and xylophones.

Eighth Grade Elective musicians have been learning the fundamentals of creating popular music. They have learned popular chord patterns while making music as an ensemble. The students have also been enthusiastic about recording “Name That Tune” videos for the school community and prepared a full song (Riptide), including recruiting peers for vocals and string, for a live performance at the all-school assembly on November 14.

Peck Instrumental Ensemble: Instrumentalists are having a wonderful start to the year! We have lessons before school and during Academic Support, as well as a full ensemble rehearsal on Fridays. Our ensemble includes flutes, clarinets, alto saxophones, trumpets, baritone horns, trombones, and percussion.

The Sing: A Celebration of the Holidays: After diligent preparation, Peck students performed their best for the return of Peck’s December performances! The daytime Holiday Concert featured all grades plus our faculty choir, followed by Peck’s beloved evening Sing: A Celebration of the Holidays; where first- through eighth-grade students and faculty choir reprised their joyful repertoire.


In February 2023, our fifth-through-eighth-grade thespians will put on Moana Jr. for the delight of the Peck community! Moana Jr. is a 60-minute adaptation of the Disney animated film, and will feature all of the beloved songs from the film, written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Opetaia Foa’i, and Mark Mancina, including How Far I’ll Go, Shiny, and You’re Welcome

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sportsmanship | underscored: ATHLETICS AT PECK

Our coaches recap the FALL SEASON for our Peck teams. Go Pride!

Girls 5/6 Field Hockey had a fantastic season! The sixth graders elevated their gameplay, displayed wonderful sportsmanship, and assisted the newly competing fifth graders in developing their skills. These 20 players represented Peck with pride. The leadership and experience of our 10 sixth graders, in addition to the talent and enthusiasm of our 10 fifth graders, made for an unstoppable combination. It was an exciting season, as the girls excelled at playing multiple positions, learned intricate corner plays, and finished the season 5-0, shutting out all their competition and outscoring their opponents with 24 goals scored to zero goals allowed. They practiced and played with fierce determination, always hustling and putting their best foot forward with their attitude and effort. The future looks bright for Peck field hockey!

Girls 7/8 Field Hockey enjoyed another fun and productive season. Everyone worked hard each practice to improve their technical skills and understanding of the game, and grew and developed in at least one aspect of their game. The White team achieved a 7-0 winning record, while the Blue team ended the season 2-2-1. The highlight of the season was, for many, bringing home the Greater Morris County Junior School Coaches Association Field Hockey Group 1 county crown, but for the coaches, it was seeing the girls always having a blast and exhibiting great sportsmanship!

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The Boys 7/8 Soccer team had a great season and posted a 6-2-1 record, but, more importantly, the players really gelled, coming together at a critical moment in the season. They reclaimed the Delaporte Cup for the 29th time since 1971 in Peck’s annual contest with Gill St. Bernard’s, and performed admirably in the Middle School Athletic Association tournament. They dominated in the quarter and semifinals, and gave a valiant effort in their final match though ending 0-3 against a tough squad. Over the season the team showed toughness and grit—playing through adversity such as losing three key players to injury at different times during the season. The eighth graders have left a legacy of determination for our promising seventh-grade players to build off of as they prepare to lead the program into next season.

Boys 5/6 Soccer had an excellent season. Their positive attitudes, hardworking approach to practices and games, and collaboration on the field led to much growth and success. With two equal teams, players got a chance to try different positions, work on their game individually and collaboratively, and form two cohesive units. With a combined 7-1 record, the squad shows great promise! They cheered one another on and met each challenge with a can-do attitude and determination.

Cross Country completed a fantastic fall season! Led by eighth graders, the team competed in five races, all of about 1.75 miles. Rain or shine, Peck runners demonstrated motivation to continually improve their times, thus, improving Peck’s overall scores. Throughout the season, there were countless positive stories of personal bests, gutsy finishes, challenges overcome, positive leadership, and teamwork. At the final meet, the Gill St Bernard’s Middle School Great Pumpkin Run, the boys finished in a solid sixth place (with the top five runners finishing at least 55th out of about 150 runners). The girls finished in third place—just five points behind first place—with five runners in the top 20 and seven in the top 25.

45 Peck News |

Kennedy Named Finalist for Presidential Award

Dr. Kathy Kennedy, Peck’s Lower School science teacher and Science Department Chair, was named one of two New Jersey finalists for the 2022 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST).

The highest national recognition that a K-12 science, technology, engineering, or math teacher can receive, the PAEMST awards recognizes outstanding teachers who embody (among many criteria) deep content knowlege, exemplary pedagogical skills, leadership, reflective teaching, student assessment expertise, and the ability to motivate and enable students to be successful in STEM disciplines.

The awards follow a robust process from nomination to selection—which not only highlights the nominated

teacher’s skills and qualities, but also reflects upon the school’s program and student experience as a whole. For example, a required element of Kennedy’s application documentation was an actual science lesson she uses here at Peck. She submitted a video recording of a third-grade lesson examining variables affecting motion. “Student actions” and “science talk” were examined as a representation of student experience.

Kennedy also was tasked to include examples of differentiation strategies to meet the needs of all students, and formative and summative assessment examples that reflect student learning. These elements—which are reflective of the overall science program at Peck— were commended for their creativity, alignment to standards, and ability to promote learning for all students.

A national selection committee composed of prominent mathematicians, scientists, math/ science education researchers, district personnel, and classroom teachers convene to review finalists’ applications. The National Science Foundation (NSF) then recognizes up to two finalists per state. Kennedy is one of those finalists, and was recognized in-person at the NJ Science Convention Banquet on October 18.

“I am humbled to be a 2022 Finalist for the PAEMST program and honored to join this cadre of outstanding educators,” said Kennedy. “The award process is a reflective journey that has improved my teaching and inspired me to continue to grow as an educator, and guide each science learner that I work with in the Peck community. Recognition in the PAEMST program speaks highly of Peck’s science program, and I am grateful for the support of my colleagues and administrators.”

Established by Congress in 1983, the awards are administered by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The President of the United States may recognize up to 108 exemplary teachers per year. Awardees receive a grant from the NSF, participate in an award ceremony at the White House, and join a national cohort of award-winning teachers and professionals with opportunities to impact teaching on a state and national scale.

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Three Faculty Honored with Disciplina ad Vivendum Awards

Three distinguished faculty members were awarded the highest honor for a Peck teacher: the Disciplina ad Vivendum Award for Teaching Excellence. This award is given annually to a faculty member who exemplifies a commitment to learning for life. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic the award had not been given out for two years. At the Welcome Back Dinner on September 9, the award for 2020 was awarded to Upper School English Teacher Virginia Savage, the 2021 award to Second

Teacher Jane Attah , and the 2022 award to Upper School English Teacher Sarah Chan

Atkins Receives Ben Alexander Faculty Enrichment Grant

Tee Atkins , third grade homeroom teacher, traveled 6,792 miles across the country this summer as the recipient of the Ben Alexander Faculty Enrichment Grant. This grant is awarded annually to a faculty member for a personally enriching experience that demonstrates the growth mindset and sincere interest of the recipient. Atkins shared highlights of his trip with faculty and staff during opening meetings in August, and has also shared new learnings and firsthand experiences with his third graders.

Erin Ceder: A Teacher Story

Second Grade Teacher Erin Ceder was selected to share her teacher story at this year’s opening faculty meetings. Ceder, who transitioned back into the classroom after 12 years as Director of Admissions & Financial Aid, detailed her lineage in a family of educators and the importance of family in her life. The Teacher Story, typically shared annually at opening faculty meetings, is a longstanding community tradition at Peck.

Peck Hosts NJAIS Tech Innovation and Collaboration Conference

Several Peck faculty members presented at the New Jersey Association of Independent Schools summer technology conference, “Innovation and Collaboration.” Lower School Technology, Innovation, & Design Integrator Jennifer Garvey, Director of the Osborn Idea & Design Lab Bruce Schwartz , and Dr. Kathy Kennedy, Lower School science teacher and science department chair, presented during the two-day conference hosted on Peck’s campus.

Burchfield Attends NAIS School Leadership Institute

This summer, Director of Strategic Communications & Marketing Heather Burchfield attended the National Association of Independent Schools’ School Leadership Institute. This three-day residential program helps school administrators better understand their leadership style and identify strengths as well as areas for improvement. All participants use a 360-degree assessment Leadership Practices Inventory to assist them in their professional growth.

Tabor and Rose Attend NJAIS Women in Leadership Institute

Lower School Psychologist Ashley Tabor and Grade 7 Lead Teacher Laura Rose are attending the yearlong New Jersey Association of Independent Schools’ (NJAIS) Women in Leadership Institute. Both also attended The Head’s Network’s Women’s Seminar: Rose in 2021 and Tabor in 2022. The NJAIS institute serves to promote personal and professional growth for current and aspiring female school leaders. With facilitation by veteran school leaders, consultants, and other women in leadership, attendees navigate topics that challenge women on a path to leadership roles in schools. “I wanted to participate in this year’s Women in Leadership Institute because I would love to dive deeper into my leadership journey and learn from other women in the field,” Tabor said. “I feel strongly about empowering women to take on more leadership roles, and I feel this experience will help influence the younger generation of girls to do the same.”

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Grade Homeroom



ROSSITER LANGHORNE ʼ52 writes that he and Noemi returned from the UK to the US last March and enjoyed a very hot Wyoming summer. They will be spending Thanksgiving at Chico in Prae, Montana, then leave for the Philippines shortly thereafter as Noemi has not seen her family in three years. He says that he had “hoped to get back to visit and see ‘52 classmates this past year, but Covid has put a spanner in everyone’s socializing and alumni gatherings. So, in lieu, wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving and hope to see you in the New Year. With kindest regards and best wishes to one and all.”

NEILSON ABEEL ʼ54 sent an update that he and his wife, Tori Bryer, are living in Portland, Oregon in a loft they created in a 1909 historic warehouse. He keeps in touch with JOHN DENEUFVILLE ʼ53 and recently met the niece of PEYTON (CHAPMAN) HORNE ʼ54

SUSIE (MARCKWALD) MACKAY ʼ54 writes that she had a great visit with PEYTON (CHAPMAN) HORNE ʼ54 in Stonington and had several laughs remembering their Peck school days. She hears from MARTHA (VAN BEUREN) STORY ʼ54 and her husband, WILLIAM STORY ʼ54 . She wishes all of her classmates happy holidays!


TRUDY GLIDDEN ’60 started an organization that seals eligible arrest records to enable people to get employment, housing, and professional licenses, so that they can be contributing members to society. This follows an exciting career of managing trade of software products with worldwide companies. Trudy is currently living in Denver, Colorado.

DOUG WATSON, JR. ʼ61 shared the great news that his son, Taylor, married Carly Mayer in June!

SUSAN (NICHOLS) FERRIERE ʼ65 writes, “we headed to Southern California, and a great highlight was spending time with my Peck Kindergarten deskmate, ELLEN (BYRNE) DANFORD ʼ65 , who showed us the beauties

of Santa Barbara. We rented a small chateau in Touraine, a lifelong dream, and invited family and friends to join us. This merry band included oldest and best friend, LEIGH (GASTON) PUNJ ʼ65, and her husband, TV. We then spent time with our close friends in the Adirondacks and traveled to Rome and Geneva. Warmest wishes for the Holidays to all, and please don’t forget us if you come to NYC.”


AMIE (QUIVEY) QUICKSTAD ʼ86 writes, “my husband, Jim, and I spent a lovely afternoon with KATHRYN (HUDACEK) HARLOW ʼ86 and her family at their home in Enfield, NH this past October. We explored Kathy’s beautiful gardens and met all the chickens, ducks, and Oochy the dog! Forty-five years of friendship started on the kindergarten playground at Peck!”


SHANNON BARRY O’GRADY ʼ90 is proud to have completed her second summer teaching at Northampton Community College and started her second school year as Theater Director for Salisbury High School in CT. Shannon

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is looking forward to celebrating her fifteenth wedding anniversary with her husband, Chris. Her son Riggins (13) studies Latin and German and is an avid swimmer, while her daughter Teagan (11), is involved with the drama club at school and aspires to be an engineer someday.

DEVON WORTHINGTON ʼ99 recently started a new position as a Senior Consultant at Deloitte after working in the fashion industry for 10 years. She lives in Harding, New Jersey.


CHELSEA BLACKER ʼ00 has been living in Berlin, Germany since 2019 with her partner, son, and dog. Chelsea works with German businesses to adapt their technology for English markets. On weekends she would like to ski and rock climb but finds herself in soft play centers, sketching crude caricatures of Disney’s most famous characters, and developing her puppetry skills.

KATHRYN (MACRIDES) CONROY ʼ03 sent sn update that she is “living in Chatham with my husband Kevin and two daughters Caroline (4) and Liza (2). I recently started a new position with the Estée Lauder Companies leading North America Online Supply Chain. I am focused on bringing the consumer and commercial side of the direct-to-consumer business into back office functions to drive high-touch experience across ELC’s portfolio of brands.”

TAYLOR (WORTHINGTON) WILLIAMS ʼ03 is back at Peck as the Alumni Relations Associate in the Advancement office. She is looking to connect with as many alumni as possible and welcomes all alumni back to campus. If you are interested in visiting Peck to see the beautiful campus, please email Taylor at Taylor and her husband, Tyler, currently live in Bernardsville, New Jersey with their two daughters, Emerson (2) and Palmer (1).

TIM SIMON ʼ05 and his wife, Katie, welcomed Evelyn Campbell Simon on October 26, 2022. James (2) is adjusting to his role of big brother as he learns “gentle” on repeat!

WALKER KIRBY ‘08 and Inés Guinard celebrated their marriage on July 2, 2022 in Mallorca, Spain!

CAMERON SIMON ʼ08 married Claire D’Arcangelo in New York City on October 15, 2022.

RYAN MCDONNELL ʼ09 went on a two-week service trip to Uganda with friends from his church. This fall, he rejoined a Morristown, NJ-based choir, Harmonium Choral Society. He also volunteers playing piano for every Sunday Mass at St. Paul Inside the Walls in Madison, NJ. Ryan has worked as an actuary at Everest Reinsurance since 2018 and is taking the fourth actuarial exam in the spring of 2023. FACEBOOK: INSTAGRAM: @thepeckschool

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JACQUIE JAKIMOWICZ ʼ12 sent in an update that she is a second-year student at The University of Miami School of Law with an interest in practicing art law. This fall, she has been serving as a legal extern at LegalARTLink, an arts advocacy organization that provides pro bono legal services to local Miami artists. She has enjoyed experiencing the pro bono legal sector and is exploring similar internship options in New York for this upcoming summer.

JACK GRIER ʼ15 consulted for two NGOs, one focusing on education and the other focusing on girls’ and women’s empowerment in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. He also took classes in Swahili.

JANET PEARCE ʼ18 graduated valedictorian of the Oak Knoll School of the Holy Child Class of 2022. Academically, Janet was a member of Cum Laude Society and The National Junior Classical League Latin Honor Society, and also received many awards for her academics during her time at Oak Knoll. Janet was Oak Knoll’s Creative Arts Council President; President of “Scribes,” Oak Knoll’s Calligraphy club; and a successful sprinter who qualified for the indoor track and field meet of champions in the 4x400 relay and the outdoor track and field meet of champions in the 200m and 400m events. She attends the University of Pennsylvania, where she will follow a pre-med track and minor in classical studies.


CARSON YOUNG ʼ21 returned to campus to be a Kindergarten Mystery Reader! The students were excited to have Kindergarten teacher Kristin Young’s son visit their classroom and read to them.

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REFERRING TO PECK AS A “FAMILY OF FAMILIES” means more than its family-like atmosphere. For many alumni, Peck not only provided a solid elementary and middle school foundation for them—but now, is educating their children, too. A few of them reflected on what it means to be a “Legacy Parent.”


XXAs a Peck alumna, I knew that the school would provide the social, moral, and educational foundation to position my kids for future success. We are so thrilled with the Peck experience and our children’s continued development!”



Dropping Bodie off in the morning and seeing him walk over to shake Mr. Delinsky and Officer Cooney’s hand every morning puts the biggest smile on my face. The values that Peck instills in its students is unlike any other. I am such a proud mom seeing him turn into a little gentleman and getting to experience the wonderful place that Peck is and has been ever since I was there as a kid. We feel so lucky to still be a part of this amazing community!”



Peck instilled in me a love of learning, and it’s been a joy to watch that same love blossom within my own child.”


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FACEBOOK: INSTAGRAM: @thepeckschool


Peck extends its sympathies to the families and friends of the following members of our community:

SHARON LEE THOMPSON , December 10, 2021; part of the Peck faculty 2003-2014, mother of Chelsea Thompson ‘02, and Jason Thompson ‘05.

ANDREW CUTLER THURLOW ʼ68 , March 13, 2022; brother of Charles Thurlow ʼ65 and Paul Thurlow (a member of the class of ʼ71), nephew of Ralph Cutler ʼ32, and first cousin of Timothy Cutler ʼ69, Stewart Cutler ʼ71, and Fearn Cutler deVicq ʼ73.

JAMES V. HECK , May 21, 2022; grandfather of Samantha Heck ʼ23 and Joseph Heck ʼ26, father of current parent James Heck and father-in-law of current parent Sarah Heck.

ALEXANDER (SANDY) FRASER , June 13, 2022; husband of Elisabeth Fraser (Peck faculty 1984-2002), father of Timothy Fraser ʼ85 and Ben Fraser ʼ89.

PAT MOODY-SNYDER , July 1, 2022; part of the Peck faculty for over 50 years, first as history and athletics teacher from 1952-1955, and then as a fifth-grade homeroom teacher from 1967-1993. Mother of Clarke Moody ʼ70 and Michael Moody ʼ72, grandmother of Brett (Moody) Bodnar ʼ99, Brookes Moody ʼ01, and Kelsey Moody ʼ04.

WILLIAM E. SEELY, JR ʼ58 , July 30, 2022; brother of Cynthia Seely Edgar ʼ52.

NICK MATHUS ʼ15 , August 19, 2022; son of past Peck parents Lisa and Glenn Mathus.

KATIE (BROWN) FENSTERMAKER ʼ98 , August 25, 2022; daughter of past Peck parents Cathy and Douglas Brown, sister of Jennifer (Brown) Hayes ʼ94, aunt of Shane Brown ʼ11.

ALFREDO GARIBAY , October 6, 2022; father of Logan Garibay Ortynski ʼ30 and husband of current parent Joanna Ortynska.

JOHN WILLIAMS , October 12, 2022; grandfather of Jake Naughton ʼ25, and father of Director of Secondary School Counseling Christine Williams.

MARGARET CLEARY , November 5, 2022; great-grandmother of Sofia Corica ʼ28 and Timmy Corica ʼ31; grandmother of current parent and staff member Jen Cleary.

Every effort has been made to include notices for “In Memoriam” through December 2022. We regret any omission; please notify the Advancement Office of any errors by calling (973) 539-8660 or emailing Taylor Williams at

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53 Peck News | Save the date for an event in honor of Nina Sharma‘s Retirement from Peck Sunday, June 11, 2023 4:30-6:30 P.M. The Peck School DETAILS TO COME!

247 South Street | Morristown, NJ 07960-7381

The Peck School honors the simple joys of childhood—and provides a haven where your child can be a child just a little longer. This is a place where school culture still trumps pop culture, and where they can grow into their full potential without growing up too soon.

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