Offices & Resources

Academics

By now, everyone has submitted course requests for the coming year. Students will get their preliminary course schedule by mid-August.

Course schedules are subject to change, however, and are not usually finalized until early September.

Click on an option below for additional information.

Summer Reading

This summer, students will engage with one community read, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

The goal of a community read is to provide a shared experience for our students, faculty, and families. Classes will start the year with a common text that can enhance curriculum and tie back to our 2018-2019 Gray Colloquium theme of “Creating Change” Through this shared experience, and our thoughtful work to situate the text in our classroom context, we aim to instill in our students a love of reading that will stay with them throughout their lives.

Background

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is the autobiography of William Kamkwamba, a young man born in a rural village in Malawi. As a child, William shuttled in and out his classroom as his family worked to gather the resources necessary to pay his school fees. Through struggle and hardship, William demonstrated his resilience, resourcefulness and entrepreneurial spirit by teaching himself the skills he needed to construct a windmill in his community. In bringing power to his neighbors, William’s provided hope, and eventually the resources necessary to make improvements to their local infrastructure. Later in life, William became a TED Fellow, and attended Dartmouth College, graduating as a member of the class of 2014.

Kamkwamba urges his readers to look honestly at the challenges -- poverty, climate change, famine, infectious disease -- facing his home community, but also to consider the transformative power of ingenuity and imagination. We hope that our community of readers will engage in the core Global Citizenship skill of perspective taking and perhaps re-investigate their own received narratives about under resourced communities. With luck, Kamkwamba’s story will also inspire some of our own St. Mark’s inventors and tinkerers to channel their empathy, creativity, and entrepreneurial spirit into change for their communities.

Please note: Students who have enrolled in and been approved to take Advanced US History this school year are also required to read Nathaniel Philbrick’s Mayflower.

Essential Questions

  1. What does it mean to make meaningful change in a community?
  2. How can we understand and listen in order to ensure that the change we seek to make will be truly impactful for others?
  3. How does Kamkwamba’s story push our perspective-taking, and encourage us to rethink some of our narratives about under resourced communities.
Resources for Further Exploration


  1. TED Speakers Profile, William Kamkwamba
  2. William Kamkwamba’s Blog
  3. Moving Windmills: Moving Windmills Project supports Malawian-run rural economic development and education projects in Malawi, with the goals of community economic independence and self-sustainability; food, water and health security; and educational success.
  4. “If You Want to Help Someone, Shut Up and Listen!” TED Talk, Ernesto Siroli

Finally, please note that the optional summer book groups that have operated in past years will not run this summer. We hope that in their stead, you will take the opportunity the vacation offers and read as much and as widely as you can!

Textbook List

Book lists for classes will be available in July.
Please note we will have the books available for purchase in the fall (by charging the student’s Lion Card). If you would like to purchase the book on your own over the summer, you may do so (the ISBN – International Standard Book Number – must be exact to ensure you are purchasing the correct book).

Technology

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 below:

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 emailed in July.

Telephones: All student rooms have telephone jacks for students to use the school’s telephone system. Students may not have cordless telephones in the dorms.

Please note: St. Mark’s does not allow cordless phones and does not allow attaching personal wireless devices (including wireless routers) to the data network.

  • Students may bring their own telephone from home as long as it is a single line analog phone.
  • For long distance calls, students must have a calling card or make arrangements for a PIN number through the St. Mark’s Business Office.

Private Music Lessons

Twenty professional musicians teach and coach in the SM Music program. Typically, over eighty St. Mark’s students participate in our private music lesson program. Lessons are offered for a fee on a credit or non-credit basis. 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 — pipe organ, jazz, blues, classical piano
  • Voice
  • Strings — violin, viola, cello, bass
  • Guitar — acoustic, electric, bass
  • Winds — flute, oboe, clarinet, saxophone, bassoon
  • Brass — trumpet, trombone, French horn
  • Percussion — timpani, drum set, ethnic drumming

Academic Programs

Course Pages
To the right are links to the academic departments. Course information is available in our online Academic Program.

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.

Signature Programs

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.