Senior School Head's Page

May 2017

Dear Families,

The month of May is here with its wild fluctuations in weather that remind us that winter is not that far behind us and summer is not that far away! The campus is exceptionally beautiful at this time of year with the vibrant greens of new leaves and freshly cut grass, and the beautiful blossoms on the flowering trees.

Many years ago, a colleague compared the last month of school to a roller coaster ride. There is the slow, anxiety-producing ascent up a steep incline (students experience this as they prepare for final assessments, exams, athletic contests and performances), followed by a glorious and almost sudden descent into summer. I shared this metaphor with students at Assembly last week as we collectively embarked on the roller coaster ride of May. In advance of talking with them, I looked up some safety guidelines for amusement park rides, and shared my version of those rules (the phrases below in italics are from

  1. Read posted rules thoroughly. As students prepare for exams, it is essential to read over review packets and assignments to be sure they know what is expected in terms of preparation for each assessment. Also, it is essential that students are mindful of the Guiding Principles in these final weeks of school, particularly honesty and responsibility. It can be tempting to take “short cuts” when under stress, but academic integrity is always of utmost importance.
  2. Always use safety equipment provided. Although we don’t wear seat belts during the school day, we have a lot of “safety nets” in place to support students. I reminded students to call on their teachers, advisors, Deans, peer tutors and parents, if they need extra help while preparing to end the year on a strong note.
  3. Never ride while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This is self-explanatory!
  4. Drink plenty of water. We are at our best when we are well-rested, well-fed and well-hydrated, whether we are performing academically, artistically or athletically.
  5. Remain in the ride until it comes to a full and complete stop. There is a lot to do between now and the end of Term III. At Convocation in August, I talked about “staying in the moment.” This can be challenging when the end of the school year is so close, but we need to be “all in” each day to be at our best during these final weeks.

For many of our Form III students, this spring may be the first time they will experience cumulative final exams. They will be discussing “Exam Review Tips” in Designated Room this week, and will receive some suggestions for creating a study schedule in a packet put together by our Learning Specialist, Sandra Lashway. During the week of May 22, students will spend between 1-3 days reviewing in their classes (term courses have at least 1 day of review, while full-year courses have at least 3 days). Friday, May 26 is a Day Zero when all classes meet, and then we will have a CUP activity at the end of the day to celebrate the last day of classes. Exams take place during the week of May 29; please review the schedule.

There are no classes scheduled Monday, June 5 - Wednesday, June 7. Some students will have commitments on campus, notably the College Counseling workshops for rising Seniors on June 5 and 6, and the Leadership Retreat for student leaders on June 7. We come together again on Thursday, June 8 for Exam Debrief and Prize Day, and of course Friday, June 9 is Commencement. Please see the schedule for those days.

Buckle your metaphorical seatbelts for what promises to be a great ending to a terrific year! I look forward to seeing you in the upcoming weeks.


Sophie Glenn Lau
Head of Senior School

Sophie Lau

Sophie Lau

Sophie Glenn Lau was appointed head of the Senior School in 2016 after two years as the assistant head and dean of faculty. She previously spent 12 years at The Wheeler School in Providence, R.I., where she chaired the History Department, served as Upper School technology integrationist, advised the Student Senate, and was a member of the Discipline Committee. She also taught, coached and advised at The Pingry School (N.J.), Tabor Academy (Mass.) and Groton School (Mass.). Lau holds an A.B. in history from Princeton University and an M.A. in history from the University of Massachusetts.

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