01 Jul

A Message from Dr. Mirangela Buggs, D-E Director of Diversity & Equity Engagement: Family Resources to Explore this Summer

Dear D-E Families,

I write first to thank you for your patience, flexibility, and support of the school’s work to continue school life amid the challenges of a global pandemic. Thank you for lending us your children. It is a pleasure to work with them.

Many of you may know that I began my work as the Director of Equity and Diversity Engagement in the summer of 2017. It is common for schools like D-E to have a school wide leader to work full-time on many endeavors that deepen the school’s mission to embrace diversity. I am part of a network of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) leaders working in school communities around the country. Our work is similar, in that we are charged with moving forward the DEI conversation and the day-to-day work of education around those topics. We all work to support students, to structure professional learning for faculty and staff, to assist with hiring more diverse teachers and staff, and to generally support our schools to commit to practices that create inclusive and equitable school cultures, where students and adults of many backgrounds and identities can feel they belong and can thrive. And, each school has their own culture in which DEI leaders participate. The culture at D-E is uniquely diverse; we are one of the most diverse schools in the New York City metro area. With that diversity comes so much excitement and growth, as well as particular challenges.

Our current historical moment has presented our entire nation with both a fraught and promising challenge. We are living in a global pandemic. Now, a global movement against anti-black racism has emerged in protest. For the past several years our country has seen the rise of racism targeting multiple communities of color, along with the rise of violent and deadly anti-Semitism. Our world, our society is at a crossroads. Will we embark upon a national healing process to transform injustice and inequity? Will our society affirm the lives and dignities of all? What work will schools do to aid in transformation? What work can we do at D-E?

During our days away from school during the pandemic, adults from all areas of the school and several Upper School students met weekly for “Equity Checks” – presentations and conversations around a range of DEI topics pertinent to our social and school-based contexts. In the aftermath of George Floyd’s death, we supported Black students and students of all racial identities to meet, to express their feelings and views, and to lead their peers in dialogues about being upstanders for justice. These recent gatherings flowed from the pain and the need to create community around what has been happening this spring, and they are connected to the range of equity and diversity conversations we have as adults and that we support among students at D-E.  You have chosen a school for your children that has a clear mission that guides us all to “. . . embrace diversity in order to develop the skills, values, and courage to meet the challenges of a changing world and make it better.” How will we, as a community, live this mission more fully in 2020 and beyond?

Dr. De Jarnett has uplifted us all with his thoughtful reflections on the work we need to do going forward. Also, D-E has publicized a Community Letter that commits us to re-double the efforts in our DEI work. Over 1600 members of our community– parents/families, alumni, faculty-staff – have pledged to this work of deepening/redoubling our understanding and efforts to create a more safe, inclusive, and equitable world. More signatories from these constituents come forward each day. As I was preparing this letter to send to you, Black alumni and current students have stated a list of recommendations that are aligned with the deepening/redoubling that school leaders are involved in and planning for D-E right now. We are thankful to our alumni and students for their clarity and for their insistence that we at D-E do the work necessary for true belonging and equity.

For those of us who educate your children, we are called to commit to the life-long learning our mission inspires us to foster in our students. We intend to build upon the work of creating the diverse community that D-E has become, and to build upon the DEI-focused professional development work we’ve been doing at D-E. Before the final end of the year for employees, adults who work at D-E were given summer professional development work to prepare them for next year’s school wide conversations around equity, unlearning bias, and being an inclusive school. We are designing the work for teachers and others to engage in professional learning about race and racism, why and how it exists today, and how we all, including our students of all ages, are impacted by a legacy of racial inequity. Addressing racism and how it lives on a spectrum and how it shapes the very fabric of our nation, and of our schools, is so important in all that we aspire to do in our embrace of diversity. This work is timely now, urgent. As a nation and as a school, we all must unlearn racism in all of its forms and wholly support all of our students in this endeavor. 

We also would like to involve parents in these conversations next year. Many families in our community already have these discussions at home. Many would like to learn more and to have more of these discussions in their families. There are many, many resources that help people think and talk about race, racial identities and racism from many perspectives – history, psychology/social emotional lenses, sociology, political science, cultural studies, etc. Please take a look at the following curated list of resources that we hope are helpful and practical for D-E families wanting to explore alongside educators this summer. Some of these pieces will give insight about having conversations with your children about happenings in the world:

Resources to help you talk with your children (and adults):

Resources for adults and older students wanting to have a sense of various conversations about race, history, the present and schools:

For those interested in the conversation about what it means to be white/European-American:

Ultimately, the work of diversity, equity, and inclusion exists to create more connected, more kind communities where people from many backgrounds are able to create authentic bonds and to better bridge to each other’s worlds. Creating anti-racist cultures is core to DEI work in schools. While talking about race and racism can be uncomfortable, what awaits us on the other side of the process is a more knowledgeable, understanding and supportive community.

With best wishes for a restorative and healthy summer,

Dr. Mirangela Buggs

01 Jul

Message from Joe Algrant, US Principal

Dear Upper School Families,

Spring has turned to summer, and I have been looking back to see where the time has gone from March 12 to now. That was the last day we were in school together, and the time that has flown by so quickly seems simultaneously like so long ago. Our world has changed pretty dramatically in these months, and the summer does bring some time to reflect on that, much as we are already deeply into planning what the fall might look like for our school, and for society in general. 

We’ll have more to say about the fall in a few days, and you’ll hear from Dr. De Jarnett with our current thinking, but I wanted to take a moment to look back over the last few months and comment on how adept our students were at struggling through the simultaneous difficulties with which they were presented. The pandemic was certainly enough for them to process, and without a longer term perspective on world issues it was hard for them to see how this moment in time compared to other crises that the world has endured, and pulled out of in some ways better off than before. We hope this is the case with COVID-19, but that does remain to be seen, and what happens in the next few weeks nationally with the data on the coronavirus’ transmission will determine a lot about how we are able to return in the fall.

Then you add the dramatic international reactions to the horrific racist murders of George Floyd and others, and your children had a very emotionally challenging ending to an already tough semester. We tried the best we could, considering that we were all at home, to provide some safe space to talk, and many of your children took the opportunity to come to meetings and participate in the different kinds of conversations that took place. Because of student interest, some of those groups are continuing into the summer, and that will help us be more prepared for the fall when school starts again, in whatever form that takes. Please read the letter from Dr. Mirangela Buggs, our Director of Equity and Diversity Inclusion (click here), that summarizes what we have been doing on the subject of race, what we are asking the faculty to do over the summer, and what we anticipate starting in the fall. Having seen the comments from the #blackatdwightenglewood Instagram site, we know how important this work is, more so than ever.

In terms of fall athletics, we remain in a holding pattern until we see what the regulations are from public health officials and the state, and we consider what makes the most sense for the School. This will not be an easy decision, and should we be able to offer our fall competitive athletic program, there will certainly be various restrictions on what is allowed, so that we do not violate any of the necessary health and safety rules that have allowed the case numbers in our area to decline. 

That vigilance will remain critical throughout next year, and as you will hear more about in several days, our life in school will necessarily be altered to accommodate our mutual health and safety. And while it may feel quite different, at least we hope to be somewhat physically together, if in smaller groups than usual, but being able to be on campus.

Many thanks again for your support of our work with your children. Your responses to the various surveys and questionnaires were critical in the decisions we made to schedule and then reschedule the school, and to help keep students engaged while understanding the surreal factors that were impeding on our regular learning. There will likely be more moments where we check in and ask your opinions as we prepare for September.

Best wishes for some relaxation and rest, and times with less stress.

Sincerely,

Joe Algrant,

US Principal

P.S. A quick note for all Junior (Class of 2021) Families: You should have received by now an Email  from the College Counseling Office (CCO) about Summer college admissions preparations (click here to view). I encourage you to also (if you missed it) watch the video of a recent CCO-hosted Zoom session, featuring Adam Ingersoll (Compass Education Group) on the topic of standardized testing and the impact of COVID-19. 

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

CONNECTIONS DAY: BUILDING EMPATHY

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.

21 Feb

Looking ahead to 2020-2021: Academic Scheduling Begins

As we begin to plan for next year (yes it’s that time), we are altering our process from previous years just a little, aiming to make things a little more clear and efficient. There are many steps to the decisions that students will make, and we’ll start this week with asking current sophomores and juniors to indicate which honors and AP courses they want to be considered for. The department chairs have explained the options at a meeting at the end of last week, after which students have completed their requests. The department chairs and deans will take these requests and make the final determinations on placement. We have urged them to remember that indicating preference is not admission into the course. We will place students in courses xbased on what we believe is best for them.

After working with this information, we will move more deeply into the scheduling conversation in about two weeks, and we invite you to hear from the deans on Monday March 2, 2020, at 7:00 PM. We will send a reminder the week before the event but please mark the date. This is an important event to attend for parents in grades 9, 10, and 11.

As we get to the logistics of the process, we have come to realize over the past couple of years that fewer and fewer students actually use the printed copies we produce of the Course of Studies book, so we have decided to take the more environmentally sound route and work from the online version.

Parents/guardians will learn more about this at the meeting on March 2.

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

17 Dec

TEST POST: Save the Date: MLK Day of Service 2020

D-E families of all ages are encouraged to participate in D-E’s MLK Day of Service 2020, on Monday, January 20, to include both off-campus community service trips and on-campus learning and service opportunities. Additional details and sign-ups will be coming immediately following Winter Break. Questions in the interim can be directed by Email to Dr. Mirangela Buggs, D-E Director of Equity & Diversity Engagement (buggsm@d-e.org) and/or Debbie Murphy, D-E Director of Student Activities (murphd@d-e.org).  Make it a Day “On” Not a Day “Off” with D-E! 
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.

Warmly,

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.