05 Apr

From Joe Algrant, US Principal

Dear Upper School Families,

Welcome to springtime. It’s been a busy but fun return to school this week. For some reason everyone looks like they’ve grown and changed over break, and certainly folks are happy to be entering the final quarter of the year, when the weather changes and it stays light out into the early evening.

I write today to let you know that next Friday, April 12, turns out to be a complete day of trips in the Upper School. For those students in the two yearlong physics classes, they will be going to Great Adventure for Physics Day, and will be doing experiments on the rides along with high school students from all around the area. You have no doubt heard about this earlier in the term.

There is also an intrepid group of students who will be at the Model UN Conference at Cornell University, up in Ithaca, NY. That group, as with all Model UN experiences, has been training for weeks for the conference, and will be off for three days of hard work that always makes for a terrific learning experience, both individually and as a group.

For those not going to Great Adventure or the Model UN, we will have the great opportunity to travel to the Lincoln Square IMAX theatre and see the recent documentary Apollo 11. Thanks to a generous gift, we will see the film and also hear from Todd Miller, who is the creator and director of the film. Mr. Miller will speak before the screening and then take questions afterwards. The film debuted at the Sundance Film Festival and has opened to excellent reviews this spring. We are indeed lucky to be able to see this film together and also get some inside information. Knowing the insightful and probing types of questions that our students ask, I will predict that we learn a lot more after the film. Mr. Miller is excited to show us the film and be able to talk about it.

We will leave school at 8:15 AM and return by 12:45 PM for lunch and afternoon classes. Students will all travel by bus to the theatre. Students who live in New York City will be allowed to meet us at the theatre at 9:15 AM, and will travel back to school by bus for the afternoon. We will assume that all New York City students will meet us at the theatre unless we hear otherwise from you. We will expect all students to return to school for classes in the afternoon.

All three trips that day will be exciting, entertaining, and educational. That is a great combination of adjectives that we hope will make for an inspiring day.

Unless you are a Class of 2019 (senior) parent/guardian, by now your child should have the Course of Study 2019-2020 booklet with descriptions of academic offerings for next year. We begin the formal registration process on Monday, and will continue until April 16. During this time students will finish making decisions about courses (and alternates when necessary), and they will sign-up online. Any remaining questions should be directed to the appropriate person(s), and hopefully you can come to final slate of classes during the next two weeks. There has been a lot of fruitful conversation this past week, and I see students coming to closure with this process. The last step to take is that you must sign the registration form, signifying that you have seen and approved of the choices that your child has made. Please remember there are also grade-specific resources that we have provided online on the Parent Resource Board, which is available after you LogIn to MyD-E.

Finally, a quick reminder that your child’s Interim Spring Grades are now (also) available to view on the D-E website (you can follow the directions at the end of this letter if you need a reminder about how to access them).  As you hopefully recall, our approach is that students were shown their grades first, in this case, yesterday. We want them to have time to think about and “own” their reports before engaging in conversation with parents. In some cases you’ve probably already had a conversation, in some your child may have chosen not to speak with you yet. We are taking time during these days for advisors to help students reflect and plan goals in response to the information contained in both the comments and grades. I hope that you will do the same; the combination should feel supportive and help your child use the reports in a productive way.


Joseph Algrant, US Principal

Instructions to Access Report Cards By following the directions below you will find your way to both the grades and comments for all classes. These steps detail how to access your child’s grades:

  • Go to the My DE area of the Dwight-Englewood School website by visiting www.d-e.org and clicking on My DE at the top-right of the page.
  • Log-in to My DE using your assigned password or the password you established for yourself. If you need help with your password, please call Computer Services at 201-227-3177.
  • Click on your child’s name near the top of the page.
  • Click on Progress (if not already selected), then click on the current grade for your child immediately below that.
  • After selecting the grade, click on the Report Cards link in the Performance area.
  • You will see a link for the Spring Interim: Academic Report Card. The Report Card includes the Comments shared earlier, prior to the Spring Break. When you click on the link, a pdf file that contains your child’s progress information will open in a new window.  This file can be saved to your computer or printed directly from the screen.  These reports will remain viewable while your child is enrolled in the School.
05 Apr

Change in the College Office

After five successful years in the role of Dean of College Counseling, Rosita Fernandez-Rojo has announced that she will retire at the end of this academic year. Rosita arrived at Dwight-Englewood in the fall of 2014 following an assessment that we did about the needs and wishes of the College Counseling Office. At the time we had only three counselors, and as the program and Upper School were growing, we needed a fourth counselor, and a leader for the program. After a nation-wide search we hired Rosita, who came with significant experience at two very strong independent schools and as a college administrator and admissions officer. She began a path forward for the office that has seen important growth and development, both within the School and in our relations with colleges. She has streamlined processes and improved systems; she has helped all of us better understand the college process and work together for the success of students.

It was only after long soul-searching that Rosita has decided to retire. There is never a good time for this type of change, which she pointed out as we discussed the bittersweet nature of her decision. In the days since she alerted us, we have been looking at our options for moving forwards, understanding the importance of this position in the life of the School. We don’t usually write home about personnel changes, but in this case I want to reassure us all that we will have a smooth transition to a new dean. In anticipation of this possibility, we have been quietly reviewing resumes over spring break and we are officially opening a search process today for a new dean. We are able take this step because the pool that we are finding is very rich with experience, quality, energy, and enthusiasm for the position and for being at Dwight-Englewood.

In the next few weeks we will be reviewing and researching, and ultimately bringing candidates to campus for full-day interviews. We will be sure that a full range of people from within the School have opportunity to meet each candidate and provide feedback. It will be sad to see Rosita leave and we wish her the very best in her next chapter, and at the same time it will be very exciting for us to begin our next chapter in the college counseling program, which remains anchored by our three directors. Rosita will of course be crucial in the transition to a new dean, and she has been clear that she will be available for whatever help we need. Certainly she will very carefully transition those juniors with whom she has been working this spring to the new dean. As she has written to that group, she will feel especially sad to leave them in the middle of the process, but she feels totally confident that she will leave them in great shape and ready for the fall.

For present junior families this may feel the most disruptive and it’s natural for there to be some concern over the change, and it’s important to say right now is that the college counseling program is in great shape, ready and able to embrace and thrive from this change. This transition will neither impede nor slow down the work that is so invaluable and critical in supporting students into and through the college application process.

Please feel free to contact me if you have questions or concerns. We will keep in touch as we move forwards, and look forward to the future.