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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12.14.18


Dear St. Mark's Community,

All of us in the Office of the Dean of Students and the Office of Communications and Marketing (Dave, Mallory, Caleb, Sue, Sandra, Nick, Stacey, Sarah, Leah, and Caitlin) want to wish you all the best to you and your families during this holiday season!

It has been a couple of crazy weeks in December, culminating with Assessment Week. Thankfully we are finishing 2018 in strong fashion and look forward to the continued communal support throughout 2019. In particular, thank you for the Exam Bake (one student mentioned that Exam Bake was one of her favorite events at SM!) with the array of very popular food ... cookies, cupcakes, drinks, fruit, and so much more. The students were very appreciative to everyone who organized and supplied all of the treats. Look forward to Casino Night in January as well as many other community-building events!

Age Quod Agis,

David R. Vachris
Dean of Students



[read more] about 12.14.18
12.7.18


Dear St. Mark's Community,

I am constantly reminded how talented our students are. Thursday night's Service of Lessons and Carols was the latest of these reminders--a festive holiday occasion with beautiful singing and music. I would like to extend a huge thank you to Mr. James Wallace, his crew, the Religion Department, and the Choir for their work in putting this service together at a very busy time of year. If you are close to campus this weekend, we invite you to the community service of Lessons and Carols on Sunday, December 9, at 4:00 p.m.

In addition, the very popular Exam Bake--held each year during Assessment Week--will take place on Tuesday, December 11, from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. This event is made possible thanks to the outstanding work of the Parents Association. The second exam block will take place from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m., and students will have an opportunity to grab a well-deserved treat after their afternoon exam.

Finally, the Wellness Department will be sponsoring the highly anticipated Puppy Pet on Wednesday, December 12, at 3:30 p.m. on the Athletic Quad.

Sincerely,
David R. Vachris
Dean of Students

[read more] about 12.7.18
11.30.18

Dear St. Mark's Community,

I hope that everyone had some time with family and friends during last week's Thanksgiving break. We have much to be thankful for and we appreciate your continued support of the work we all do here together at St. Mark's. A lot is happening on campus as we are moving into December and the end of the calendar year.

Exam Bake is coming! The Exam Bake will be held this year on Tuesday, December 11, from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. in the Hinkle Room. The students love the opportunity to take a break from tests and studying to enjoy a spread of goodies including sweets and healthy snacks, too! You (the parents) make it happen--thank you! If you are able to help the Parents' Association in any of the following ways, please sign up via the SignUpGenuis page. More information can be found in the Parents Association News section.

For those planning ahead, Lessons and Carols for the St. Mark's community will take place on Thursday, December 6. This is a Chapel Dress event. Lessons and Carols will follow Evening Meal and we will have dessert, including the VI Form-Faculty Dessert, after Chapel.

All are cordially invited to St. Mark's Service of Lessons and Carols, on Sunday, December 9, at 4:00 p.m. in Belmont Chapel. This is a high point of our Chapel year, and we hope that you can experience this SM tradition.

On a different note: To help ensure the safety of our community and prepare ourselves best we can for potential emergencies, we will be performing an emergency lockdown drill on Tuesday. Students were made aware of this in School Meeting on Wednesday, and a reminder email with the basic process steps will be sent out Monday morning. We will use our RAVE notification system to initiate the drill and to then gather everyone together.

Age Quod Agis,

David R. Vachris
Dean of Students

[read more] about 11.30.18
11.16.18

Dear St. Mark's Community,

Thanksgiving break is here, and we are all very thankful! We are also thankful for field hockey and girls' varsity soccer qualifying for the playoffs and for the awesome and popular production of the Fall play, "She Kills Monsters." It's been a busy week with a Gray Colloquium speaker (Go Outreach360!) on Monday, Evening Chapel on Tuesday and the Fall Athletic Awards on Thursday. Unfortunately the Race of Champions on Saturday has been canceled! (Sorry Grant, Hans, and Natalie!). Please check the SM website for more information about these events and more on campus!

Our next Parent Speaker Series meeting of the year will be held this Saturday, November 17, in the Hinkle Room. The gathering starts at 9:30 a.m. with coffee and connecting, followed by the program at 10:00 a.m. November's topic is "Educating the Whole Child: Developing Good Habits and Instincts Outside the Classroom." After a welcome from Head of School John Warren, you will hear from Dean of Students David Vachris and Head Chaplain and Religion Department Chair Barbara Talcott. If you are unable to join us on campus, please save this link to watch the meeting via livestream.

For Thanksgiving, students may depart after SM Saturdays on November 17, and our houses close at 5:00 p.m. Boarding students return in time for evening study on Monday, November 26, and school resumes for all on Tuesday, November 27. The Houses are closed on Sunday, November 25.

At this time, I am reminded how much I have to be thankful for as a member of the St. Mark's community. While our collective lives here on campus can seem to be a little hectic at times and world events outside of Southborough continue to be concerning, I continue to appreciate the support from parents, faculty/staff, and students and the many positive things that continue to happen here on a daily basis. I hope that your family has a wonderful Thanksgiving and a restful break. We all have much to be thankful for!

Age Quod Agis & Happy Thanksgiving,

David R. Vachris
Dean of Students

[read more] about 11.16.18
11.9.18

Dear St. Mark's Community,

Groton Day is almost here! The Monitors and additional members of the campus community are busily preparing for the pep rally and the bonfire tonight in celebration of our rival competitions. Tonight's bonfire will be a rainy and wet experience, which is appropriate for the type of fall we have had in New England. Keep your fingers crossed that will be able to proceed as planned.

On Saturday, the Groton Games will be held at Groton and at Progin Park (please see updated schedule below) and our cross country teams are off to Avon Old Farms and Governor's Academy for the Cross Country New England Championships.

Groton Day Schedule:
  • 7:30-9:00 a.m. - Breakfast
  • 8:45-11:15 a.m. - SM Saturdays
    *Please note the earlier start time for SM Saturday Programming
  • 11:15 a.m. - School Meeting followed by the traditional Snake Dance
  • 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. - Lunch
The following games are on as scheduled with time changes for field hockey:
  • 1:30 p.m. - Football @ Groton
  • 1:30 p.m. - Varsity Field Hockey @ Groton
  • 3:00 p.m. - JV Field Hockey @ Groton
The following games will be played at Progin Park in Lancaster. Games will be played on fields #1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.
  • 2:30 p.m. - Varsity Boys' Soccer vs. Groton @ Progin Park
  • 2:30 p.m. - JV Boys' Soccer vs. Groton @ Progin Park
  • 2:30 p.m. - Varsity Girls' Soccer vs. Groton @ Progin Park
  • 2:30 p.m. - JV Girls' Soccer vs. Groton @ Progin Park
  • 2:30 p.m. - 3rds Boys' Soccer vs. Groton @ Progin Park

Go St. Marks! Beat Groton!

Age Quod Agis,

David R. Vachris
Dean of Students
[read more] about 11.9.18
11.2.18

Dear St. Mark's Community,

With the close of Window One, the first major college application deadline, and Halloween behind us, we hope that all will be able to catch their breath (albeit short) over the course of this Open Weekend.

The Admission Office had a great event this week with Explore St. Mark's Day. More than 60 families came to campus for this open house and heard from faculty, students, current parents, and coaches, and had the opportunity to learn more about core curriculum, signature programs, community life, academic programs, the arts, and athletics. Thank you to all of our amazing parent volunteers who helped out with the day!

[read more] about 11.2.18
10.26.18

Dear St. Mark's Community,

Family Weekend was a successful community event. Thank you to everyone who took the time to be with us here in Southborough either physically or in spirit. On the playing fields, the Lions were victorious in many of their contests and the long weekend provided a much-needed respite as we get ready for the end of the academic Window, Trustee Weekend, and the early college application deadlines.

This evening, we held the dedication of the T. Jefferson Coolidge Jr. '50 Athletic Performance and Wellness Center. Next week, students and faculty will show off their appropriate costumes for Halloween on Wednesday and many others will continue to root for the Red Sox in the World Series!

Lastly, in an effort to continually improve the School's programs, we welcome your feedback on this past weekend's activities. Whether you attended or not, please take a moment to complete this survey.

On behalf of the faculty and staff, thank you for the apples! What a great fall treat!

Age Quod Agis,
David R. Vachris
Dean of Students
[read more] about 10.26.18
10.18.18

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
10.12.18

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
10.5.18

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
9.28.18
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
9.21.18


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
9.14.18
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
9.7.18

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
8.31.18

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
8.24.18

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
6.15.18
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
6.8.18

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
6.1.18
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