09 Nov

The Comments are Coming!

We have reached the end of the first quarter of the year, believe it or not. At the end of the first and third quarters, the teachers write comments to their students about their progress in their courses. Yesterday, Thursday, Nov. 8, students saw those comments, and reviewing them with their advisors. Today, Friday Nov. 9, we will release those comments to you. Instructions on how to access the comments are noted below. Before seeing them yourself, you might want to ask your student about them tonight, and hear their perspective after reading them and speaking with their advisors.

These comments do not include a grade on them, which we do so that students and families can focus on the comment itself and process the feedback without the distraction of the grade, which we have found does dominate if the two are released together. By separating them, we have had much greater success with student focusing and taking to heart the feedback from the teacher. The grades themselves will be available in the middle of next week for grades 9-11. Seniors (Class of 2019) will see their grades today, Friday, Nov. 9, because of the timing with early college applications.


Instructions to Access Comment Reports

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 report:

  • Go to the MyD-E area of the Dwight-Englewood School website by visiting www.d-e.org and clicking on MyD-E at the top-right of the page.
  • LogIn to MyD-E using your assigned password or the password you established for yourself. If you need help with your password, please call D-E Tech Support 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 two links for the Fall Interim: Academic Report Card and Physical Education Report Card. When you click on either of those links, 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.


09 Nov

Message from Joseph Algrant, US Principal

Dear Upper School (US) Parents / Guardians,

So it seems that the fall is finally upon us, with its vivid foliage, shorter days, (generally) cooler weather, and… some reminders and updates of upcoming school programs about which you should be aware.

Conferences

Coming up on December 6 and 7 are family/teacher conferences, an opportunity for you to meet with each teacher of your student (except for those in the arts and health and wellness).  These conferences are held in the Modell’s Athletic Complex, and families are invited to sign up to come to school during one of four, 2.5-hour time blocks. You are able to spend up to 10 minutes with each teacher during that time, and you are can arrive at any point during that time block, but know that it will take at least one hour to see all teachers. You will not have a specific schedule for each teacher, but instead will find each teacher in the Sherman Gymnasium. We will guide you once you arrive so that you make the most of your time.

While it may sound confusing, I promise that when you arrive and see the system, it will all become clear and work efficiently. Most importantly, these are valuable opportunities to talk about how your student is doing. The faculty find these meetings productive as well, and they look forward to seeing you.

The sign-up process will begin next Wednesday, November 14, and I will send a more detailed letter at that time with the directions to our online registration. I urge you to register right away, especially if you have time restraints during those days. We can accommodate about 125 families during each time block, and the sign-up is first-come, first-served. If you end up having difficulty with the time assigned, we’ll tell you what to do.

Peer Tutoring

I also wanted to bring to your attention a program that we have made known to students earlier in the term, which has been helpful to some families. Having grown out of a club, we now have a peer tutoring program, in which students in need of some help in a particular course can be paired with an upperclassman who can help a student in that course. The tutors are trained by our faculty, and the sessions are held during the school day. Tutors are in constant contact with the program leaders, and the program has been beneficial to both the student and the student tutor. If you’d like to know more about this program, please contact the faculty leaders: Jessica Leiken (leikej@d-e.org) or Karina Hernandez (hernak@d-e.org). For situations where you and/or your student think a student tutor might be more effective than a teacher, and you are looking for perhaps an ongoing situation, then peer tutoring might be a good option.

My Latest JoeCast

Finally I’d like to share my latest JoeCast with you. To listen you can click here.  You’ll likely gather that I thoroughly enjoyed interviewing our faculty and students who are involved in David & Lisa, this year’s Fall Play. David & Lisa opens at 7:00 PM tonight, Friday, Nov. 9 and will also be performed at 7:00 PM on Saturday, Nov. 10, at 7:00 PM in Hajjar Auditorium. And to our cast & crew: Break a leg!

Sincerely,

Joe Algrant

US Principal

19 Oct

Hispanic-Latino Assembly Highlights

A week ago, we were treated to a celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month by our Hispanic and LatinX Affinity Group, working in collaboration with our INSPIRE club. The groups came together early in the year to talk with each other and formulate a plan for what they wanted to present to the Upper School. Once they put the plan together (a feat in itself) they set off to pull together an hour long presentation that included defining some terminology about being Hispanic or LatinX, playing some wonderful videos to highlight aspects of the culture, commentaries by our students, and a panel discussion about being Hispanic or LatinX in our School. As always, we heard powerful comments that both uplift and offer suggestions about how we can all better live and work together in the Upper School. It’s a tribute to our students that they are willing to participate in an event like this because it takes courage and poise, but in the end we all learn from each other in positive and powerful ways.

19 Oct

Save the Date: D-E PA Fête&Fare: Diwali Extravaganza, Nov. 15

Click image to RSVP

Fête&Fare is the new annual cultural gathering hosted by the D-E Parents’ Association (PA). Each year a different PA Affinity Group will host Fête&Fare in celebration of a unique holiday around the world to raise cultural awareness and to cherish the diversity in our D-E community.  This year, Fête&Fare: Diwali Extravaganza is being hosted by the South Asian Affinity Group (SAAG).  

To learn more and to RSVP online visit pa.d-e.org or click here.
19 Oct

From Joe Algrant, US Principal

Dear Families,

I’m writing as we come to the end of Spirit Week, our annual festival of fun events in a  energetic competition between grades for title of Most Spirited Class. This afternoon we crowned the senior class as winners of the 2018 trophy.

The events of the week range widely, in order to include many interests and abilities, from soccer to solving problems in chess and mathematics, and lots in-between. These events and the spirit of competition have magically lifted the mood on campus. From first thing Monday when the grade deans competed in charades and the dance club orchestrated a flash mob on stage, to yesterday’s door decorating, to today’s closing ceremony with musical chairs and limbo as the final events, it’s been five days of great fun. It’s hard not to be swept up in the emotion and good-natured excitement.

By happy coincidence, this has also been the week of several senior celebration days for our fall sports teams. With duplicate 1-0 wins on Wednesday, both the girls soccer and field hockey teams honored their powerful seniors and parents, while on Tuesday the volleyball team did the same, as did girls tennis yesterday. These are proud moments in the lives of seniors, to be celebrated for their years of participation and leadership. In celebrating the seniors, our younger students can look to the future as they cheer for their older teammates, and imagine what might be to come for them.

Lest you think this is only about fun, the week also invites other moments of education, development, and growth. It provides leadership opportunities for many students across the Upper School, both within grades and across them. It offers moments to highlight different talents, and presents challenges in grade-wide problem solving. I also hope that in some way it teaches a little about the importance and enjoyment of balance in life between work and play. In fact, it’s also been a week where students have been faced with work as usual, and we have watched them figure out how to get their stuff done and have time and energy for the fun. The week culminates tonight with a dance, from 7:30 to 10:00 PM, in Hajjar Auditorium.

The spirit and energy of the week is also of vital importance because of the way it unites us. Because our students and faculty lead busy lives that take us all in varied directions, many of them away from campus, we cannot always demonstrate spirit in ways more usual in other schools, such as being fans and spectators. I know that it frustrates our student athletes sometimes when the fan attendance is not what they would like. The same thing happens sometimes with other after-school, evening and weekend events such as theater or robotics events. I don’t believe this is really about lack of spirit, but more about the lives of our members and the geography of our School. So during a week like this, where we go out of our way to focus and encourage spirit, seeks to make up for the lack of more traditional demonstrations. Our intent is for students to walk away from the week feeling that there is a lot of positive energy around what is happening on campus.

Almost as an aside, one of my most favorite aspects of Spirit Week is watching the same students who can be typically adolescent: cynical, satirical, moody, brooding and just too cool for school; somehow turn into young children who love the prospect of dressing up in weird clothing and eating donuts off of a string. It’s what high school should be, so please look at the attached photos, which provide but a glimpse of what the week has been like.

I hope that your children enjoy the break on Monday while the faculty of all three divisions takes the day to meet as a whole and in groups to work on projects we have undertaken for the year. That will also be important work, but of a very different kind.

Best wishes for the weekend.

Sincerely,

-Joe Algrant, US Principal

16 May

13 Reasons Why

A year ago, the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why generated lot of strong responses, to the content of the series, to the dramatic nature of some of the scenes, and to the way it was seen to glamorize teen suicide. It did fuel lots of positive conversations about important issues, but it was also seen by some to be inappropriate for younger adolescents.

Well, the second season of 13 Reasons Why is being released this Friday, May 18, and so I thought to let you all know that, in case you are not already aware. Apparently this season is also dark and intense, and includes scenes that are violent in nature as well as some that show sexual violence as well.

Not that it will necessarily be as popular as the first season, but if so then we can expect many of our students to be watching this over the weekend and during the next few days. In speaking with our psychologists, we thought to remind you that our Student Support Page on the D-E website has resources for you to read if you’d like. That page can be accessed by clicking here. I also wanted to point you towards Common Sense Media, a valuable resource that has prepared several pages that might be of help with this show. You can find them by clicking here. Of course, if you’d like some specific advice or information, feel free to call us.

16 May

Liberty in North Korea

When children walk out of the auditorium program saying things like “that was the best assembly ever,” or “that was amazing,” I pay attention because those statements mean something. While I don’t always know what it means, in this case I knew exactly what it meant because I had the identical reaction. I think the entire room did.

With help from the Grace and Mercy Foundation, we had the good fortune to welcome the Director of an organization called Liberty in North Korea (LiNK). Hannah Song spoke with us about the work that this NGO does for North Korea. She opened by asking what came to mind when thinking about North Korea. Responses were, as she anticipated, related mostly to Kim Jong-Un or nuclear weapons, or the upcoming summit or, on this particular day, the three prisoners who were released from North Korea and arrived that morning in Washington.

Ms. Song wanted to expand our view to issues of human rights in North Korea, and hoped that her presentation would help us understand more clearly the restrictive lives of North Koreans, and the work that her organization does to help “change the narrative” so that the people of the world know the truth. Another piece of LiNK’s work is helping refugees escape to freer societies around the world, and no matter how much she had convinced us of the value of this work, the message hit home in a visceral way when she introduced Robert, a refugee who escaped from North Korea several years ago and was making a new life for himself in the US.

This young man, who you may have probably about from your child, told a harrowing story about his journey that was riveting, both in the drama of what he had to do, but also riveting in the way he had internalized it and used it to make incredible strides in his life. Students remarked at how happy he was and how easily he spoke about himself and his experience, which begins with his father abandoning him at age 5 and then his mother passing away when he was 12, and includes jumping out of moving trains and forging rivers in the middle of the night to escape from North Korea to China. You should ask your child to relay the story he told us because it’s incredible, and my words on paper won’t do it justice. Robert is now all of about 22, speaks remarkable English having started high school at age 17 when he arrived, is studying coding and working as an intern at LiNK. He wants to open a restaurant someday (food – or the lack thereof – was a major theme of his story), and was pleased to tell his audience about being hooked on video games for a while when he first arrived.

On many levels this was indeed an amazing morning. As a personal story, as a study in perseverance and determination, and as a story about how we can help others, the tangible response from many has been to try to start a chapter of LiNK on campus to be more closely associated with the human rights work of this organization. Students also remarked, and they were completely right, that you can watch lot of videos and read accounts of these harrowing escapes, but hearing these stories in person and being able to react to the words, emotions, and body language elevates the experience to a level that we hope inspires. Our students’ worlds are so video and media heavy that sometimes we worry about their connections to real life, so I was very glad to hear them recognize the importance of live interaction.

13 Apr

Save the Date: Spring Carnival Sunday, April 29

D-E’s annual all-school Spring Carnival, sponsored by our US student clubs and the Parents’ Association, is set for Sunday, April 29, on Leggett Field (or, in the Myrna B. Sherman Gymnansium in the event of inclement weather). 15+ booths and activities including free BBQ lunch, live music by our US students, tie-day Tshirt making, photo booth, ‘make your doggie treats’, and a STEM Festival with drones, “dry ice” ice cream, slime making station, and more. Free admission and open to D-E families of all ages. For more details click here or go to www.d-e.org/activities (D-E LogIn required).

13 Apr

Community Service Fair 

Last week the Upper School sponsored our first annual community service fair. To assist students in understanding and choosing projects and locations and interests, we invited service organizations from around the county and in the city to come and talk about what kinds of service are available for high school students. The groups ranged in scope from Englewood Hospital to a teen volunteer theatre troupe that performs educational skits about important current social issues for middle schools.

We plan to repeat this fair every year, and to bring more organizations as we increase our focus on the value of service to others. Below you can view some photos from the Fair. To view a list of the participating organizations that attended click here or visit www.d-e.org/activities(D-E LogIn required.)