28 Feb

Message from Joe Algrant, US Principal

Dear Parents and Guardians,

While we are closely monitoring the global public health situation as you’ve read in recent messages, we also are trying to operate school in a normal fashion, and to that end I want to remind you about important events upcoming in the next week. On Monday, March 2 at 7:00 PM, we invite parents of students currently in Grades 9, 10, and 11 to an evening to learn about the curriculum for next year and the choices that students will have. The scheduling process has begun and we will be spending the next month working on helping students choose their courses for 2020-2021. Please join the deans for this important meeting at 7:00 PM. Rooms will all be adjacent to Hajjar Auditorium so please come to the Klein Campus Center.

That meeting will be preceded by a College Roundtable at 6:00 PM in Hajjar Auditorium. The roundtable is a question and answer session moderated by the College Counseling Office that will address issues on your minds.

Other important events next week:

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

WINTER SPORTS BANQUET, 6:30 PM (Hajjar Auditorium)

Wednesday, March 4, 2020


We will be spending part of Wednesday in activity and conversation about the importance of empathy. The event, primarily designed and organized by students, includes a keynote speaker from an organization called Making Caring Common, running out of the Harvard School of Education, along with discussions and a common interest activity. This is the first of a series that we are planning to deliver over the next year or so, in part to help us learn to have more productive and deliberate conversations around difficult issues in an age where that can be complicated.

Friday and Saturday, March 5 and 6, 2020

NEWSIES, the Upper School Winter Musical, is performing 7:00 PM on Friday, March 6 and 2:00 PM and 7:00 PM on Saturday, March 7. Like the fall play Radium Girls, this show is inspired by real events that changed both the private and public lives of those involved. By showing courage, perseverance, and unity to push back against the crushing pressure of the newspaper moguls who wished to “bolster the bottom line” and guide the public narrative, the “newsies” use their own agency to change an outcome. They publish their own paper to get the word out to the public. We hope that you will all come to see our kids who are on the stage, behind the stage, or in the orchestra!

A Note about Spring Sports

And finally, a note about spring sports, which begin next week, Friday March 6. Because of the weather, the condition of the fields, and the requirement to have completed six practices before scrimmages begin, we will need to spread practices over the weekend. We will have a final schedule to you by Monday, but please know that there will be practices for some teams on both Saturday and Sunday.

10 Jan

College Counseling Office (CCO) Update

The D-E CCO is hosting several upcoming events. See below for highlights & check your Email for details.

College Roundtable
Thursday, January 23, 2020, 4 PM – 5 PM

Hulst House (in Leggett Hall)

You are warmly invited to participate in a “Roundtable” (i.e. unscripted) discussion with members of the CCO. Bring your questions about any aspect of the college process!

Questions?  Email cco@d-e.org or call 201.227.3170.

Practice ACT with Revolution Prep
Saturday, February 8, 2020, 8 AM – 1 PM

Registration Deadline: Friday, January 31, 2020

Dwight Englewood’s Revolution Prep liaison Sue Hmelovsky will be available for 30-minute score report consultations to help you interpret your child’s results after the exam. This is a fantastic resource that is free of charge for Dwight-Englewood students.

For further information and to register for the February 8, 2020, Practice ACT, simply click here.

Click here for a Revolution Prep information flyer (PDF).

Questions? Email Joseph Yung, Director of College Counseling at yungj@d-e.org

03 Jul

Nurse’s Office Update

The end of this school year brings the retirement of Sara Schulman, who has been our Middle/Upper School Nurse for the past 10 years. Sara stepped in at a critical time after the sudden passing of our previous nurse, and she has been with us since. She brought vast experience with her, both about nursing and about general aspects of health and wellbeing. She has shared advice about dealing with various kinds of ailments with anyone who was in her office, and she always seemed to appear with the appropriate cure. She has also led our work on concussion protocols that we have instituted and continue to address.

Sara will be finishing her work soon, and I am pleased to announce that we have hired another wonderful nurse to replace her. Let me introduce Allison Herriott, who will begin her work in August. Allison has been a critical care/intensive care nurse as well as a school nurse in several different settings. Alongside nursing, she has also done administrative health work in schools throughout the NYC area, so she brings with her all the important elements of the position. Most vitally, she has demonstrated already that she is an energetic and caring person who will take charge of the office when school starts, in the most positive of ways.

Allison arrives at the same time that we are implementing Magnus, our new service for health form management. She has worked with similar systems in other positions, and she will have no problem learning how to manage this one.

So far the switch to Magnus has been pretty clean. I know that several of you have been writing to Sara with questions or other comments about Magnus or your particular child. Please know that once Sara leaves, her email will be forwarded to Allison, but there may be a short time lag before you hear a response. Magnus will continue to send you requests and alerts, and we will be working on the forms during the summer, both Allison and others in the office, to be sure that we stay current during the transition. If you encounter ongoing problems this summer, please be sure to let me know, but with luck all will continue to go smoothly.

03 Jul

From Joe Algrant, US Principal

Dear Families,

I hope this final Upper School News edition for the 2018-’19 year finds you well, and starting to relax into the patterns of summer. Not that the weather has completely turned to that season, but it has tried a few times and hopefully looks at the calendar and sees that we have now left the month of June. A couple of important items are contained here that pertain to both the summer and the opening of school in September.

If you haven’t see it already, the summer reading list is posted online, on our Upper School website (www.d-e.org/upper) and also available by clicking here.

You can find the “Start of Season” schedule for the opening of the Fall 2019 sports season (beginning on Monday, August 19 and running through Friday, August 30) online, on our Athletics website (www.d-e.org/athletics).

At some point this summer, you might also want to watch the keynote commencement speech by our guest speaker, D-E alumnus Devin Delliquanti ’02. A writer for the “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah”, Devin’s talk to the graduates was a stunning tribute to how what you learn in high school will help you both in college and in a career. He spoke several times about the value of an outline, which he uses to create the pieces he writes for the Daily Show as well as for his own comedy. Yes he was funny in his talk, but he was quite serious, especially with the words of “loose advice” that he presented to the Class of 2019.

Several transitions are taking place within the school’s staff this summer too, specifically, within our College Counseling Office (CCO) and the Nurses’ Office, about which you can read below and you will learn more when we are back together this September.

For now, I wish for you a restful break, one in which you can enjoy a different pace and fulfilling new experiences.


Joseph Algrant, US Principal

03 Jul

Eileen Feikens Appointed Dean of College Counseling

As you know, we have been working this spring to find a replacement for Rosita Fernandez-Rojo, who will be retiring. We opened a search process and interviewed many qualified candidates from all over the country, looking for the person with the best experience to match our needs in the College Counseling Office and who is best suited to move forward the functions and services provided by the counselors.

We actually needn’t have looked farther than our own building, and we are very pleased to announce that Eileen Cunningham Feikens emerged as our top candidate and has accepted the position of Dean of College Counseling. Eileen has worked in our office for the last eighteen years, and over that time has been involved in creating a highly functional and efficient office that first and foremost takes excellent care of students and their families in what can be a stressful and demanding process.

Besides a thorough knowledge of our school, of the college landscape, and with a vast repertoire of colleagues in both other high schools and colleges, Eileen brings with her some excellent ideas about how we can expand the work of the office in ways that are designed to lower the tension that this process can sometimes create. The key to these improvements lies in earlier and more substantive communication of information to students and families. We always try to balance the way we work with families so that thinking about college does not dominate the upper school experience. That can easily happen in today’s environment that places such huge significance on the college a student ultimately attends. Despite all the data that exists to demonstrate that what you do in college is much more important than where you go, there is enormous (and unhealthy) pressure placed on the outcome. We try to strike a balance so that pressure might be placed in perspective and perhaps therefore be lessened.

There are different strategies to ensure that balance, and we are working already to make sure we fine tune our messages to provide important and relevant information earlier. Eileen will be spearheading this effort, as well as ways for our counselors to spend more time earlier with students.

Eileen has begun her work already, and now leads the transition into the fall. She will be working on both very practical matters involving the office over the summer, and also starting to look ahead to improvements to be made during the new school year.

As a result of the search process this spring, we have also decided that we will add a fifth counselor for the 2020 – 2021 academic year, so that we can continue to provide the most individualized service in the search and application process. The search for a fifth counselor will begin in the winter.

Please join me in congratulating Eileen on her appointment, and know that the strong office that Rosita has worked so hard to build will continue to grow and flourish under Eileen’s leadership going forwards.

15 May

Exam and End-of-Year Schedule

Exams for the spring term will be held Monday June 3 and Tuesday June 4, with a make-up day on Wednesday June 5. Students in grades 9 and 10 will have exams in science and mathematics, and some will also have a language exam, depending on the course. You can click here to find the exam schedule for this spring.

Students in Grade 11 will continue with regular classes on these days. The one exception is that juniors who are in language classes that are giving exams will take those exams on the given day.

Wednesday June 5 will be class day for each grade, designed by students, advisors, and deans. It will also be the make-up day for exams.

Thursday June 6 will be the last day of school, with classes ending at 12:30, followed by lunch and yearbook distribution. Buses will run at the normal time. There will be no late bus.

Exam Hours:   

Morning (AM):

  • Regular time, 9:00 – 11:00 AM
  • Extended time, 8:30 – 11:30 AM

Afternoon (PM):

  • Regular time, 1:00 – 3:00 PM
  • Extended time, 12:30 – 3:30 PM

Students need to be in school only for their exams, so they may leave school after their morning exams on any day or come to school in time for their afternoon exams. Students must provide their own transportation if they intend to travel outside of the regular bus times.

Students do not need to sign in or out during exam week.

Students will receive a personalized exam schedule during the last week of May. After seeing the individualized schedule, students should let the dean know right away about any conflict that has not been addressed.

Students with extended time will not be required to take two exams in the same day. We have adjusted for this change on individual schedules. Please see the class dean or Mr. Gladstone if necessary, to revise the schedule.

Buses will run on the normal schedule from June 3-6, in the morning and afternoon. There will be NO late buses from June 3-6. The last day for the late bus is Friday May 31.

The library and COOP will operate on normal schedules June 3-5, and close at 4:00 on June 6.

Lunch will be available from 12 PM – 1:00 PM on June 3 – 6.

15 May

From Joe Algrant, US Principal

Dear Families,

Tomorrow morning (Thursday, May 16), we will be having an extended Upper School (US) assembly program that I wanted to mention to you. One of the most important outcomes from our school response to the graffiti incident earlier in the spring was a request from students for more education on the subject of hatred. We wanted to address this need before the end of the year, and we are pleased to welcome Dr. Kyati J. Joshi to school to assist in our understanding of this history. Dr. Joshi is an award-winning scholar and professor of Education at Fairleigh Dickinson University. Her extensive work in social science research and community connections inform policy-makers, educators, and everyday people about race, religion, and immigration in 21st century America.  (Note: Click here to learn even more about Dr. Joshi.)

Dr. Joshi will speak in direct response to the graffiti. Specifically, she will look at both anti-Semitism and anti- black racism, and the connections between them. The powerful image of the leaders of the Black Affinity Group and the JADE club (Jewish Awareness at DE) sitting together in meetings of student leaders symbolized and spurred their common interest in addressing the hate that was expressed by this graffiti on our campus. The program will also include some conversations, and questions and answers in a town hall format. Students will all have the chance to participate and engage this very relevant topic.

I hope that you will engage your child in a conversation around this program and discuss how they received the day, and how they are processing what they learned. We see the program this as another step in our learning and understanding about today’s world.  

In other news, today is the last day for seniors. They will celebrate (with their advisors and juniors) at the prom Friday night,  and for the next two weeks until Commencement. Next week they will be participating in various activities as a class, taking trips, and participating in smaller courses on campus. Traditions abound this time of year and you’ll be hearing more from me in the coming weeks about these programs as we wrap up the year. 

Speaking of end-of-year programs, a quick shout-out to our athletics teams, which will be celebrating their season with the Spring Sports Banquet on May 23; the Swartley Gallery Series Senior Spotlight Exhibit, which opens next week; and the Senior Spring Theatre Production, which is performing CARRIE on May 24-26 in Hajjar Auditorium.  For details on each of these events see below. 

Looking forward to a successful end-of-year,

Joe Algrant

US Principal 

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.

15 Mar

From Joe Algrant, US Principal

Dear Families,

We reach spring break after an emotional couple of weeks. It has been tremendously uplifting to be part of the Upper School during this time because of the ways in which students responded to the acts of anti-semitic and anti-black racist vandalism. During some tense and emotional days, they were able to engage in difficult conversations and express themselves to each other and to the faculty in mature and open ways.

At our school meeting last Tuesday, we asked students, in a town hall format, just to respond to the original piece of graffiti in the bathroom. What emerged were expressions of pain for some, outrage and anger for others, as students spoke openly about how it felt having our campus violated. Most impressive was the common feeling that we needed to work together to combat this hate, and that there were things we could do to improve our student culture.  Several meetings of student leaders during the following days resulted in four tracks of action to take in response to these events and some of the other, similar, issues that emerged.

We started today with two of the tracks: education and a visible unifying action. One of the commonalities we discovered was that hate was not to be tolerated, and that we needed to understand the history of hate, and the relationship between anti-Jewish hate and anti-Black hate. We started that learning journey today with a short assembly talk that introduced the concept of hate in a historical context, as well as why it’s important to look at the roots and reality of bias. This talk sets up later events this spring that will further develop and deepen our understanding, into a more specific study of hate as it pertains to certain groups. The slides for that presentation earlier today are available for viewing; click here or visit www.d-e.org/USAssemblyMarch2019.

Today we also dressed in school colors and were presented a banner by student leaders that reads “We Stand Together,” in reference to students’ desire to demonstrate unity in the face of hate. During lunch everyone was invited to sign the banner, which will hang in the dining room for the rest of the year. In signing the banner, we hope to begin the third track of student action, which is to begin a campaign to eliminate the offensive and derogatory language that students hear too often on campus. The goal is for students to hold each other accountable for their language, and for the adults to hold students accountable for monitoring each other’s language. We don’t often hear it directly, but we will be more vigilant in general, and also help students to better monitor each other. That is a more long term outcome, but if we can even approach this goal as a result of these awful writings, it will be a proud accomplishment and legacy for the student body.  

This week was also extremely busy academically, as teachers tried to close this part of the semester in a natural place before the break begins. This is the time of year when Interim Comments are once again available for viewing and were discussed by your child(ren) with their Advisor. The instructions for how to access Comments are provided below. 

And a brief note about Academic Scheduling: We have formally begun the process of choosing courses for next year. This past Monday, parent meetings outlined the process and the choices that students have at each grade level. The powerpoint slides that each of the Grade 9, 10, and 11 Deans can be accessed here in this e-newsletter and are also posted on our online Parent Resource Board, which is accessible after you LogIn to MyD-E. Students will be spending the two weeks once we return from break working to finalize their selections, and you will be part of that process and need to sign-off on the final selection form.

Finally there are always lots of assessments this last week. Suffice it to say, students will likely reach today’s dismissal with joy, and now they will be able to relax and enjoy the break.

I hope that you all find that same relaxation and important time with family and friends.


Joseph Algrant, US Principal