Offices & Resources

Deans' Weekly Newsletter

The Deans' Weekly is a weekly newsletter filled with news and information on the campus happenings for the week as well as upcoming events. The newsletter is distributed to parents and guardians of our students. Content for the newsletter comes from the Deans of St. Mark's and is compiled by the Dean of Students for distribution.

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Dear St. Mark's Community,

It's Family Weekend! Lots going on tonight and tomorrow, so please make sure you register in the Hinkle Room upon your arrival to campus.

Family Weekend Highlights:

  • Teacher Conferences
  • Family Gatherings
  • V Form College Weekend
  • Family Weekend Concert - Watch the concert via livestream here.
  • All-Parent Meeting
  • JV Boys Cross Country Team Milestone - This Saturday, our runners will be vying for the program's 50th straight win. An amazing record -- Go Lions!

I'm looking forward to seeing many of you on campus – particularly at the visual and performing arts events Friday in the PFAC! Please select this link for the full weekend schedule.

Age Quod Agis,

David Vachris,
Dean of Students
[read more] about 10.18.18

Dear St. Mark's Community,

It's mid-October and after a run of rainy and damp days, we are looking forward to some sunnier weather in New England, with Family Weekend coming up next weekend, followed by Trustee Weekend.

As we get closer to Family Weekend, please encourage your child to take care of her/himself by getting rest, eating properly, and self-advocating when necessary.

October is a a very full month and we are looking forward to seeing many of you next week!

Age Quod Agis,
David R. Vachris
Dean of Students
[read more] about 10.12.18

Dear St. Mark's Community,

On campus, days have been very busy as we head toward our much anticipated Family Weekend in two weeks. During the beginning of the week, the community took part in an annual St. Mark's tradition, the "Blessing of the Animals," at our morning Chapel service on Tuesday. Later in the week on Thursday, the first Gray Colloquium speaker, Dr. Shivani Bhalla, shared her message on the importance of lion conservation. After an exciting week, many students are looking forward to tomorrow's "sleep-in" Saturday (except, perhaps, those taking the SATs).

Age Quod Agis,

Dave R. Vachris,
Dean of Students

[read more] about 10.5.18
Dear St. Mark's Community,

Happy end of September! We are in full swing with classes, sports, activities, conversations, meetings and meals. Many are tired (both students and faculty) and some have picked up an unpleasant "start of school" cold. In some ways the newness of the year has worn off a bit and the weather has not cooperated (then again, this is New England). Nevertheless, for the most part we are into our school routine, staying the the stretch zone, and doing well.

Please note that we are deliberate in producing this newsletter as the Deans'Weekly (notice the apostrophe), not just the Dean's. As with many other projects in our community, we have many people contributing to making this communication a reality. That said, I continue to be energized about the vibrancy with which this community operates, and I hope that this newsletter is helpful in keeping you abreast of the many happenings on campus!
[read more] about 9.28.18

Dear St. Mark's Community,

Over the past few weeks, Hurricane Florence, Typhoon Mangkhut, and the gas leaks of the Merrimack Valley have affected our St. Mark's families across New England, the nation, and the world. Our thoughts and prayers are with you as you recover, rebuild, and move forward.

Here on campus, I'm proud to report a continuous flow of positive energy and excitement. The week began with the new faculty installation at Monday's evening Chapel. Mr. Warren, Rev. Talcott, and the Monitors welcomed and installed our newest faculty members. To learn more about these wonderful individuals, select this link.

This afternoon, the School hosted its annual Club Fair where students are able to create, sponsor, and participate in a variety of activities and organizations. If you are interested in viewing footage from the fair, please follow us on Instagram or check out our photo galleries on Smugmug.

All the best,

David R. Vachris
Dean of Students

[read more] about 9.21.18
Dear St. Mark's Community,

The first academic week is almost in the books. Last Friday we kicked off the school year with our Convocation ceremony. The ceremony consisted of recognition of students' academic excellence, awards for teacher dedication, and a captivating speech from Mr. Warren. Mr. Warren spoke about his passions, what is meaningful to him, and ways in which he shares what is important to him with others. You can read Mr. Warren's Convocation talk by viewing the September Head's Reflection on our website.

With classes and athletics well underway and the first St. Mark's Saturday classes approaching tomorrow morning, the week comes to a exciting and tiring end for all of us. The busyness of school can be exhausting and overwhelming for some. Most students are still in the process of figuring out how to navigate the grounds, juggle new classes and prioritize commitments. If your child is moving from the "stretch" zone to the "stress" zone, please be sure to reach out to your student's advisor. While the pace has picked up, the community will continue to be a vibrant place with much to do throughout the year. Let's keep everyone in the "stretch" zone!

All the best,

David R. Vachris
Dean of Students
[read more] about 9.14.18

Dear St. Mark's Community,

Dear Parents, Student leaders, preseason athletes, new students and their families returned to campus earlier this week.Returning students will make their way to campus today and we will be working toward getting everyone ready to start classes Saturday morning. The week has been very busy for our new students with orientation activities, and our student leaders have been supportive and helpful. On Thursday, the Monitors sponsored a pool party so that all could cool off during a hot and humid week. This evening, we will host our Convocation ceremony, which denotes and celebrates the official opening of the academic year. Saturday, all classes will meet in a special schedule.

We hope to see you Saturday (9/8) at our first Parent Speaker Series meeting of the 2018-2019 year! Light lunch will be served at 12:30 p.m. followed by the program at 1:00 p.m. and a short Parents' Association meeting. September's topic is "Fun in the Fall at St. Mark's," and our panel includes John Levandowski (Director of Athletics), David Vachris (Dean of Students), and James Wallace (Chair of the Arts Department). You'll also hear from Co-Chairs of the PA, Camilla and David King P'18, '20, and will have the opportunity to ask questions. The meeting will be livestreamed beginning at approximately 1:00 p.m. (Select this link to join the livestream.) The recording will also be made available online after the event for those unable to attend in person or watch live.

We will be downloading all of the data from the submitted Family Information Forms and making sure that all forms are in. Until we can complete this process, Boardingware will not be available, since we need the Family Information Form for updated permissions and other information. For now, all permissions to leave campus should go through the Dean's Office and the Front Desk sign-out sheet. This Saturday after our all-school cookout with Mr. and Dr. Warren at Choate House, mentalist Jon Stetson will mesmerize the crowd with his unique talents. We will be sponsoring an outdoor movie and pool party as well. Also this weekend, Ms. Kosow will be highlighting the Patriots Game (she is a big fan) on Sunday with a nacho bar, and we will be sponsoring off-campus trips to Target, the Natick Mall, Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, and more! Students should sign up in the Dean's Office for these trips. It's a Community Weekend, and we expect boarders to stay on campus overnight on Saturday, and would love to have day students stay or come back to campus on Saturday evening for the main event (if they can).

All the Best,

David R. Vachris
Dean of Students

[read more] about 9.7.18

Dear St. Mark's Community,

The end of August is here, which means the transition to school is right around the corner. All of us are getting ready with faculty meetings, last-minute maintenance projects, and finalizing rosters, and we hope that you are as excited as we are for the start of the school year. We are particularly thrilled about the completion of the new T. Jefferson Coolidge Jr. '50 Athletic Performance and Wellness Center, and the renovations to the small dining room!
We have some news and a number of reminders before school starts.

A reminder that the campus is closed over Labor Day weekend. Please do not swing by campus to drop off any personal belongings. In addition, please come on the appropriate designated days—your cooperation with this arrival schedule is important and appreciated.

Check out this blog post, "Explaining Episcopal Identity," by our own Rev. Barbara Talcott on the Nation Association of Episcopal Schools website.

Enjoy the weekend, and we look forward to kicking off the beginning of school next week! Here we go!

All the best,
David R. Vachris
Dean of Students

[read more] about 8.31.18

Hello from Southborough!

Greetings from St. Mark's! Where has the summer gone?!! Now deep into August, the School is busily preparing for the upcoming academic year with construction projects almost completed and new faculty on campus. As always, there is plenty to do before we begin the first semester in September and this newsletter serves as a reminder to the greater community about some of the upcoming dates, tasks, and events.

Please be sure to check the Getting Ready site on the main page of the St. Mark's website for up to date information to start the school year (found under Offices & Resources, The Admission tab, or the bottom right of the homepage).

Throughout the end of August, Ms. LaFreniere and I continue to be available and will be happy to help you with any needs, issues, or questions that you may have. Please complete the Family Information Form (FIF) and mail in your Health Service Form at your earliest convenience – turning in both the FIF and medical forms early will make this registration process go much smoother for all. I look forward to working together toward a very exciting and successful year. Go Lions!

All the Best,
David R. Vachris
Dean of Students

[read more] about 8.24.18
Dear Parents,
Woohooo! It's June, the VI Formers have graduated, the underformers have left campus, end of year faculty meetings are over and I am writing my last newsletter for the 2017-18 academic year. I like to say things are quiet on campus, but with the work with the Athletic Center and the Small Dining Room already started – there is some noise going on. Nevertheless, it is relatively quiet!
It was a wonderful day on Prize Day! The Class of 2018 has matriculated and is moving on! Baccalaureate, the Spring Concert, and the Athletic Awards all went well on Friday as well. Phew! Congratulations to the Class of 2018!
[read more] about 6.15.18

Dear Parents,

Prize Day Weekend is here ... time to celebrate the graduates of the Class 2018! While we have had a very positive academic year in the classroom, on the athletic fields, and in the arts, the VI Formers are definitely ready for the upcoming Prize Day celebrations. Who can blame them—we are thankful for this year and Prize Day should be an exciting and fun celebratory experience! Go Lions!

This is a Prize Day Deans' Weekly edition. A little shorter than usual, with a follow-up summer edition!

On Thursday, more than 100 St. Markers, chaperones, and guests enjoyed the annual VI Form Dance. Celebration began on the Thieriot House lawn on Thursday afternoon, when sharply dressed St. Markers gathered with family, friends, and faculty for photographs. From there, buses took everyone to Boston Harbor to board the Odyssey where the main event—dinner and dancing—was appreciated by all. The harbor was beautiful and the weather was spot on! Students came back to campus for roller skating in Elkins Gym, fire pits and s'mores in the Athletic Quad, and more snacks and conversations. Check out the pictures here!

[read more] about 6.8.18
Dear Parents,

Happy June! The second week of Lion Term is almost complete, and we are looking forward to finishing our experiential courses and at the same time welcoming many of the VI Formers back on to campus on Wednesday. Lion Term has been full with the III Form hike up Monadnock Mountain, food trucks on campus, off-campus visits, community service, and much more! It's been a good week—thank you Ms. McColloch! Next week is full of commencement events and Lion Term culminating projects. Prize Day is a week away—very exciting!

Check out the Lions Roam blog for news from Iceland.

Looking for Prize Day and VI Form Dance information? – click here. If you need further information, please contact Marissa Papazian in the Head of School's Office or Karen Bryant who help coordinate Prize activities.
[read more] about 6.1.18

Dear Parents,

Lion Term has begun! Reunion has passed! Lions Roam to Iceland are away! Last week of spring athletics with Groton Games today and tomorrow! A great concert last Tuesday! VI Formers went to the Pawtucket Red Sox game! It's Memorial Day Weekend with no classes on Monday!

Looking for Prize Day and VI Form Dance information? – click here. If you need further information, please contact Marissa Papazian in the Head of School's Office or Karen Bryant who help coordinate Prize activities.

[read more] about 5.25.18

Dear Parents,

Assessments, final projects, the last day of SMSaturdays, athletic contests, One Acts and the SM Alumni Reunion are all coming to a head this week—things are definitely busy at this point in mid-May!

You should know that at this point, all VI Formers have been placed on a "probationary-like" status until after Prize Day. Any Level I, II, or III rule violation may jeopardize their privilege of marching at Prize Day and/or possibly graduating from St. Mark's. If you have a VI Form student, please help him or her keep their eyes on the prize...which is Prize Day! We want everyone to have a wonderful few weeks culminating in receiving their SM diplomas.

Please refer to the Prize Day website for information about the upcoming celebration.

[read more] about 5.18.18

Dear Parents,

It's the middle of May, and we continue the good work of educating students in the classrooms and on the fields and there is plenty to do and to celebrate. Prize Day is less than a month away. Happy Mothers' Day to all of our St. Mark's moms! Thank you for all that you do!

[read more] about 5.11.18
Happy May! Thank you to all the parents who came to the Parents' Association Speaker Series on Saturday, April 28th to hear the Director of St. Mark's Saturdays, Katharine Millet, speak about the program. You can view all of the new course offerings [click here] and speak with your child about his/her selections for 2018-2019!

A great night of entertainment on the docket for tonight to support or Haiti partnership !Broadway Nights - Class of '51 Lobby 7:30pm - 9:30 pm Friday and Saturday! Also tonight from The Center an Educator Meet-Up Talk Over Tapas - Choate 6:00 - 8:00.
Don't forget that we have the Cum Laude Dinner on Tuesday May 8th 6:00 pm (by invitation) Hinkle Room which is then followed by the all school Cum Laude service at 7:00 pm in the PFAC - Required for all and chapel dress.
Pre-VI Form Dance Photo Opportunity on Thursday, June 7th. Picture taking and students send-off will take place at 4:15-5:15 in the Thieriot House Quad.
[read more] about 5.4.18
Dear Parents,
Thank you, thank you, thank you to all of the parents who made Faculty Staff Appreciation Day such a success. It was a wonderful event and everyone in the SM family is so grateful. Thank you for your generosity and for the large amount of hard work that went into organizing this faculty/staff awesome event! It's definitely one of my favorite days at SM! [read more]

Some important dates coming up:

  • III Form Parents: May 1 at 7pm is the annual infectious disease project. Please join us in Taft to see what the students have learned!
  • One Acts changing from this weekend to Wednesday, May 16 & Friday, May 18
  • Pre-VI Form Dance Photo Opportunity on Thursday, June 7th. Picture taking and students send-off will take place at 4:15-5:15 in the VI Form Quad.
  • Lion Term is coming soon: check out the micro-site for more information about this upcoming educational opportunity! [read more]

[read more] about 4.27.18

Dear Parents,

It's the middle of April. Lot's going on while we all hope for warmer and nicer weather!

On April 11, a triumphantly successful first-ever SM Giving Day shattered its stated goal of inspiring 360 gifts in one day - representing one for every student currently enrolled at the School - as 551 gifts were made and almost a quarter of a million dollars raised in support of the St. Mark's Annual Fund.[read more]

Exterior doors are now locked throughout the day. We have had very few hiccups with access cards, and continue to welcome feedback about which doors should have card access. It will take some time to get used to the locked doors. Please do not encourage your children to climb in windows!

Architects from Goody Clancy who are working with on the upcoming residential house project were guests at seated meal Thursday evening. At dinner, they spoke briefly with the community to about their process and used a few minutes of time to capture feedback from the students on note cards which were at each table. This is a very exciting project and just one step in gathering feedback from student and faculty.

Looking forward to Faculty/Staff Appreciation Day sponsored by the Parent's Association next week! Go St. Mark's!
[read more] about 4.20.18

Dear Parents,

Giving Day was an overwhelming success! We are still processing gifts, but the initial results are astounding. We received 541 gifts and raised $241,901 in one incredible Giving Day. Thank you for your part in making this day a success for SM! Go St. Mark's!

Important reminder to all Parents:
If you have received your re-enrollment contract(s) for next year, those along with your deposit(s) are due by next Friday, April 20th. We must receive both contract AND deposit in order for your re-enrollment to be complete. Thank you. Please feel free to contact either Anne Behnke at or Laurie Kalapinski at

Evening Chapel and Seated Meal on Thursday, April 19. Please plan ahead.

Leo – newest edition is out! Please dive into the latest LEO: Once again, all four Forms are represented...sweet! [read more]
[read more] about 4.13.18