Getting Ready Academic Information
- Summer Reading
- Textbook Information
- Private Music Lessons
- Academic Programs
- Signature Programs
In the coming year, we will explore together our obligations to one another in an antiracist community, and our role as citizens in a just, global society. Before school begins this fall, all students and faculty should watch and read this short collection of clips and articles that we will use to inform our conversations.
Chimamanda Ngoze Adiche: The Danger of a Single Story (TED Talk, 2009)
Jhumpa Lahiri: Excerpt from My Two Lives (via Facing History and Ourselves, 2007).
Bryan Stevenson: The Power of Proximity (CEO Initiative, 2018).
In addition, we will have required reads for all US History Students (Advanced US History and US History), and next year’s Third Form (Class of 2025).
Required Third Form Text (Choose One)
In addition to the selections above, all incoming Third Form students should read one of the following texts prior to their arrival on campus. As a part of extended Orientation, members of the Third Form will be engaged in book groups with peers who read their selection, and will make connections to the texts within their Global Seminar course.Since these texts will connect to our exploration of the theme of Identity, please consider the following question as you read: "What parts of yourself do you recognize in these characters?"
1619: Jamestown and the Forging of American Democracy
The essential history of the extraordinary year in which American democracy and American slavery emerged hand in hand in colonial Virginia.
“Along the banks of the James River, Virginia, during an oppressively hot spell in the middle of summer 1619, two events occurred within a few weeks of each other that would profoundly shape the course of history. In the newly built church at Jamestown, the General Assembly — the first gathering of a representative governing body in America — came together. A few weeks later, a battered privateer entered the Chesapeake Bay carrying the first African slaves to land on mainland English America.
In 1619, historian James Horn sheds new light on the year that gave birth to the great paradox of our nation: slavery in the midst of freedom. This portentous year marked both the origin of the most important political development in American history, the rise of democracy, and the emergence of what would in time become one of the nation's greatest challenges: the corrosive legacy of racial inequality that has afflicted America since its beginning” (Barnes and Noble).
Abina and the Important Men, 2nd edition, by Getz & Clarke
The first of its kind, Abina and the Important Men is a compelling and powerfully illustrated “graphic history” based on an 1876 court transcript of a West African woman named Abina, who was wrongfully enslaved and took her case to court. The book is a microhistory that does much more than simply depict an event in the past; it uses the power of illustration to convey important themes in world history and to reveal the processes by which history is made.
These texts are completely optional, but hopefully one sparks an interest. Start here, and read widely!
Chimamanda Ngoze Adichie, Americanah
Brit Bennett, The Vanishing Half
H.G. Bissinger, Friday Night Lights: A Town, A Team, and a Dream
Nicole Chung, All You Can Ever Know
Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See
Barbara Ehrenreich, Nickel and Dimed: On (not) Getting by in America
Mark Haddon, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime
Arlie Hochschild, Strangers in Their Own Land
Laila Lalami, The Other Americans
Rebecca Makkai, The Great Believers
Emily St. John Mandel, Station Eleven
Trevor Noah, Born a Crime
Tommy Orange, There There
George Orwell, 1984
Julie Otsuka, When the Emperor Was Divine
David A. Robinson, The Barren Grounds
Brian Stevenson, Just Mercy
Angie Thomas, The Hate U Give
R. Eric Thomas, Here For It: Or, How to Save Your Soul in America: Essays
Colson Whitehead, The Nickel Boys
Jesmyn Ward, Sing, Unburied, Sing
Isabel Wilkerson, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents
To download a printable .PDF regarding the Summer Reading list and a note from Dean of Academics Nat Waters, select this link.
Many of the books used in our courses have online components, which cannot be purchased with used books. For this reason, textbooks are distributed on the first day of class. Faculty provide our bookstore with a list of the books a student has received, and the bookstore charges the student's Lion Card.
All books and supplies will be available for purchase in our bookstore.
The school’s technology system provides a communications network within the school, educational resources and access to the internet. Use of this system is dependent upon members of the community abiding by the standards outlined in the School Handbook. If you have any questions about this access, the community standards, or the technology needed to use this system, please contact the Academics Office (DeanofAcademics@stmarksschool.org), the Dean of Students Office (DeanofStudentsOffice@stmarksschool.org) or the Technology Department (Helpdesk@stmarksschool.org).
Computer Hardware and Software Requirements: The school supports both Windows and Macintosh computers on the network. All student rooms have wired access to the network and an ethernet cable (RJ45) is required. In most areas of the school, wireless access is also available. For more details on the Technology Requirements please check the link to the right.
MS Office is the school standard and can be downloaded, free of charge, from the MS Office online portal using your St. Mark’s credentials. Additional information for this process will be provided during Orientation.
Please note: St. Mark’s does not allow attaching personal wireless devices (including wireless routers) to the data network
Fifteen professional musicians teach and coach in the SM Music program. Typically, over sixty St. Mark’s students participate in our private music lesson program. Lessons are offered for a fee on a non-credit basis, or for credit as part of the Music Studio course. Students may also seek permission to take lessons as an independent study project or in lieu of sports.
[click here] to sign up for private lessons.
Instruction is offered in these areas:
- Keyboard — piano (classical, jazz, pop), classical pipe organ
- Voice — (all styles)
- Strings — violin, viola, cello, bass, Chinese guzheng
- Guitar — acoustic, electric, bass
- Winds — flute, oboe, clarinet, saxophone, bassoon
- Brass — trumpet, trombone, French horn
- Percussion — timpani, drum set, ethnic drumming
An email will be sent to new students and parents in late April with links to Course Request Forms and Placement Tests. If you have questions about courses, please contact the Academics Office.
Academic Placement materials are released in early May and due May 21.
St. Mark’s educational philosophy is to advance three core values: intellect, character, and leadership. By advancing these core values in a developmentally appropriate method, St. Mark’s provides an education of consequence, sending into the world individuals who are prepared to make a meaningful difference in whatever arena they choose to focus their talents.
Our commitment to innovation as well as to interdisciplinary, experiential and community based learning is what sets us apart and is at the core of what our Signature Programs are built on.