Parent FAQ's

Q

When does the formal college counseling process begin?

A

The college counselors start working directly with students beginning in January of their V Form year. At that time, the class begins weekly meetings with the counselors, and students make individual appointments to discuss their own plans. Early in February of the V Form year, there is a Friday night/Saturday morning series of workshops for the V Form and their parents conducted by the college counselors and a panel of college admission deans. -College Counseling Office

Q

When do students take College Board tests?

A

St. Mark’s is a national test center for three of the seven test dates, as well as the PSAT test. V Formers take PSATs in October; SAT-I (verbal and math) in December and May; and SAT-II tests in June. Some VI Formers retake SATs in October and December. -College Counseling Office

Q

How else are the college counselors involved in students’ plans?

A

Many III, IV, and V Formers and their families seek assistance with planning each year’s courses, having certain kinds of college aspirations in mind. The college counselors work closely with families, students, and faculty advisors to assist with these plans. -College Counseling Office

Q

How do students get to medical appointments?

A

Transportation for medical appointments that are not within walking distance will be arranged for by Health Services. The charge for this service is made to the student’s Incidental Account. Students are notified by note to their mailbox the day before any appointment, indicating the time to be at Health Services, allowing enough time to travel to an appointment. -Health Services

Q

Can appointments be scheduled during school obligations?

A

All appointments related to health and/or medical needs must be cleared through Health Services. Appointments are not to be scheduled during the academic day unless it is for emergency reasons. If a student is ill and not returning to school at the expected time, Health Services must be notified before 8 a.m. on class days. Any student who returns to school after an illness or injury must check in at Health Services upon return to school. -Health Services

Q

Who determines whether a student can return to school activities or sports after an injury or illness? What written documentation is required?

A

The School Nurse, the School Athletic Trainer, or the School Counselor may make decisions regarding return to school and activities based on present illness or injury, using their professional judgment and practice guidelines.

They may require a medical consultation with an appropriate medical doctor or other clinical specialist, if the presenting condition is controversial or falls outside their professional practice guidelines. The evaluation by and opinion of an appropriate medical doctor or clinical specialist will be included in the decision for return to school activities, sports, or other school functions. This evaluation must be a written statement, dated and signed by the medical doctor or clinical specialist. This statement must be transmitted to Health Services immediately upon return to school. When a health situation is unclear, the School Nurse, the School Athletic Trainer, the School Counselor, or the designated school medical doctor will make the final determination regarding return to school or activities. -Health Services

Q

What immunizations are required for students by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health?

A

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health requires that all immunizations meet the Massachusetts Department of Public Health Minimal Immunization Requirements before attendance is permitted in schools in Massachusetts.

New requirements for all grade-nine students include completion of hepatitis B series (3 doses); varicella (chicken pox — number of immunizations is age dependent); and a tetanus-diphtheria (Td) booster if less than five years has passed since the child’s last booster. The same recommendations are suggested for grades 10 through 12.
Any student entering high school must have at least two measles immunizations on their immunization record. The only exception is a physician-documented incidence of measles. The measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) combination vaccine is preferred in order to maximize protection against all three diseases.

A current tetanus or tetanus-diphtheria (Td) is required every 10 years. This immunization protects against tetanus (lockjaw). The current recommendation for adolescents is that a Td booster be given if the last immunization is more than five years old. Remind your child’s doctor to update the tetanus immunization if the current immunization expires before June 2002.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has recommended new standards for the use of tuberculosis skin tests. The new recommendations limit tuberculosis skin testing to only those having exposure risks.

Your child’s physician must complete the school’s Tuberculosis Risk Assessment profile and record his/her findings as indicated. This Tuberculosis Risk Assessment must be returned with the student’s Health Record.

If a PPD/Mantoux skin test is performed and the result is “positive,” the result must be recorded in millimeters. A “positive” PPD reaction requires an evaluation at the local hospital Department of Public Health/Tuberculosis Clinic in Framingham, Mass. This evaluation includes a chest x-ray and a visit with the clinic doctor. The doctor reviews the risk factors and may prescribe a course of daily medication to prevent the occurrence of tuberculosis disease development in your child’s life.

All services and medications related to tuberculosis evaluation and treatment are dispensed without charge to applicable students.

Students may not attend school if required immunization information is missing or incomplete. -Health Services

Q

How is student housing assigned?

A

With the exception of Gaccon House, a dorm for IV and V Form girls in our main building, our younger students are housed in dorms on our West Campus and the Thieriot Houses on the main campus. Assisting them in these dorms are upper-form student leaders selected to work with them as mentors and faculty families in residence. Our main building houses dorms for V and VI Formers. In May of each year, we hold a housing lottery in which students draw into dorms of their choice, according to seniority and space available. We reserve spaces in the lottery for incoming students and assign them in consultation with the Admission Office, working to place entering students in a place that will be good for them. Our entering students, with rare exceptions, are housed in doubles, as having a roommate helps speed the adjustment and integration into a new community. -Residential Life

Q

How are faculty advisors assigned?

A

Advising groups are limited to six to eight students to insure individual attention for each member. Incoming students are assigned an advisor with an eye to matching up interests and personalities. In the spring of each year, all students are invited to express a preference for their advisor for the following year. While most students choose to continue with the same advisor, some decide to make a change, and we honor their preferences as far as space in the requested advisor’s group allows. -Residential Life

Q

When and how can students leave campus?

A

Student groups get off campus regularly during the week for sports, cultural trips, community service, and the like. The town of Southborough is small but within easy walking distance, and St. Mark’s students frequently make use of the pizza place, local market, and barber shop during their free time. On the weekends, we sponsor frequent trips into Boston and elsewhere, and school vans provide regular trips to local malls and movie theaters. We require students to have a set of standing permissions from parents designating the privileges and means of transportation they are allowed, and all students are required to have specific faculty permission and to sign out when leaving campus. -Residential Life

Q

What if a student needs to miss school for an outside appointment or family commitment?

A

We ask that families schedule appointments, family trips and celebrations, and non-school athletic events around the school calendar. It is nonetheless inevitably the case that conflicts will arise when family or other obligations fall during a student’s school commitments. As a general rule, we endeavor to be responsive to student and family needs, but the school reserves the right to make final decisions about excusing students from classes, sports, chapel, study hall, and the like.

All medical appointments must be cleared through Health Services. Students depart from Health Services and return via Health Services in order to be excused from classes.

Family commitments for religious or cultural holidays and family events that would require absence from school need to be approved by the Deans’ Office two weeks in advance, in writing whenever possible.

College visits are another reason a student might need to miss classes. VI Formers are the only students excused to take college visits, and such trips must be arranged through the College Counseling Office and the Deans’ Office.

Last-minute emergencies requiring immediate departure that arise on a weekend must be cleared through the Dean of Students, Head of School, or the weekend administrator. -Residential Life

Q

What are Regular, School, and Open Weekends?

A

On a Regular Weekend, classes are held on Saturday but students may sign out through their dorm and the Deans’ Office in order to spend Saturday night at home or at a friend’s house, leaving after their last commitment on Saturday.

On School Weekends, boarding students are required to spend both Friday and Saturday night in the dorms. These weekends occur at the beginning of the school year and during the periods immediately before or following breaks, and are times when we hold campus events that boost school spirit.

Several times each year we have Open or Extended Weekends. On Open Weekends, Saturday classes are cancelled and students may sign out on these weekends after their last commitment. Although Saturday classes are cancelled, many students still have Saturday afternoon sports commitments they need to fulfill. They may, however, sign out for both Friday and Saturday night so long as they return to fulfill their commitments. Extended Weekends include Mondays on which classes are not held (in conjunction with legal holidays) and afford students the opportunity to get away for both Saturday and Sunday nights. -Residential Life

Q

What do students do on weekends?

A

St. Mark’s offers a variety of activities each weekend. On many weekends, there are activities on campus for recreation, including dances, hypnotists, movies, Oktoberfest, Casino Night, basketball tournaments, and more. Every weekend there are vans to the mall and movie theater on Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon, and we frequently sponsor outings to sports events and are invited to dances and activities at other Boston area schools. About once a month, we sponsor trips to an event or area of interest to the students. In October, students went to Salem, Mass., to see the Pumpkin Festival, for example. During the winter months, we organize trips to New England ski areas for skiing and snowboarding. There is also a program throughout the year in which students have opportunities to attend cultural events including the Boston Symphony and Classical Orchestras, Shear Madness, and Blue Man Group, and we travel to New York once a year to attend the Metropolitan Opera. -Residential Life

Q

How is day student life different from boarding?

A

In most ways there is no difference between the experience of a day student and that of a boarder. Though day students return home at the end of each day, they often remain on campus until study hall in order to participate in clubs, study groups, and so forth. Many spend much of their free time here on weekends participating in campus activities or simply relaxing with friends, and they are welcome to stay over in the dorms on Saturday nights. Day students are welcome to eat all meals here on campus if they choose, and many do. -Residential Life

Q

What are the policies governing student use of cars on campus?

A

Our rules regarding cars are quite strict because we are concerned about the safety of our students. We have a small campus on which it is easy to walk to everything, and when we take trips off campus, the school provides the transportation.

Day students with parental permission to drive to school may use their cars only for transportation to school in the morning and back home at the end of the day. Carpooling among families can be arranged though the families involved, and the Deans’ Office must be notified in writing of these arrangements. Students may not drive or ride with other students, except in the case of pre-approved carpooling.

Boarding students may not have cars on campus and they may not drive cars back onto campus when they are signed out for a weekend or overnight. -Residential Life