Dear faculty, staff and students,
We did it! Welcome to the official start of celebrating the accomplishments of each and every member of the class of ’20, ’21, ’22, and ’23. Students, your teachers are proud of you, and we hope you’re proud of both your accomplishments, and your resilience. In time when the world faces not only uncertainty, but heartbreaking division, coming together as a community strengthens and supports each of us.
As Mrs. Martins said in her newsletter last week, Moving Up Assembly will happen tomorrow, Monday, June 1 at 10 am, and will last for just over an hour.
We’ll begin with a short prayer service, assisted by the incoming SLC president, Nachelle D, ’21. After hearing the grade level wisdom, and the junior class traditional reading of “Oh the Places You’ll Go” we will have the House senior send off. Mrs. Martins and I will close the celebration.
On Friday evening 6/5 at 7pm, we gather as a whole community– including family and friends of our class of 2020– to recognize and celebrate the graduating class. While this celebration marks the original date of graduation, please save the date of Sunday 8/2 when we hold Baccalaureate, the Legacy Garden and Graduation. Details will follow closer to that date as the admin is closely watching the guidelines for in-person gatherings.
Campus Minister/Humanities Faculty
April 30: APH Community Virtual Conversation with President
Dear APH Students and Families,
I hope this finds you well and healthy.
Even though our weather has been a little unpredictable lately, I think it’s safe to say Spring has arrived. For me, the Spring season signifies renewal, rebirth and growth, and its arrival is visible all over the grounds. The driveway daffodils are in full bloom; the ivy is spreading its tendrils across the face of the Manor House walls; and the maple and oak trees have sprouted new leaf buds.
As I reflect on the growth that has enveloped our campus, I am reminded of how quickly our community is growing too! Just before transitioning to our distance learning platform, we invited the largest group of well-spoken and empowered young women ever to join us this Fall. As the newest members of our great community, please join me in welcoming each of them and their families. I am so honored they have selected APH as their place to learn and grow for the next four years.
While I recognize things are still a little uncertain, and that our school year will not end as planned, please rest assured the APH Faculty and Staff remain united and committed to our shared mission to help students excel in every area of their lives. By relying on each other, we’ve come together to create a school learning experience that’s more rooted in support than ever before.
Similarly, I recognize the ways we interact with one another have changed, but our commitment to our students’ well-being continues to reach far beyond our classrooms. In response to feedback from students and parents, we developed an online course schedule that allows our students to stay focused and engaged in their learning; and our newly accepted students can now access enriching online programs that help them keep their skills sharp and build relationships with peers and future teachers.
To keep the roots of our community strong, our faculty and staff have created fun opportunities for us to interact with one another, including virtual meet-ups, online Karaoke nights, trivia games, guest speakers and community-wide Zoom events, including a Virtual Conversation with me and the leadership team next Tuesday, May 5 at 5 p.m.
I believe that APH has been metaphorically reborn this Spring season. Our roots may be sown deep within the grounds of our campus, but we’ve proven we can bloom together anywhere.
Have a wonderful weekend!
President of The Academy at Penguin Hall
April 24: Distance Learning Update & Revised Schedule
Dear APH Students and Families,
We hope you are safe and healthy. As we and the faculty indicated in the spring break video that went out this week, we miss you and we can’t wait to see everyone in person as soon as we are able to do so.
- We want to thank you for your continued support and feedback as we navigate the distance learning situation that Covid-19 has wrought. Your patience, goodwill, and good humor are very much appreciated. We also want to thank the students and parents who completed the Distance Learning Survey that was sent out in early April. Your feedback was invaluable to our administrative team and the faculty as we met to discuss adjustments to the spring schedule.
- Here are the adjustments we’ve put in place to see us through the next few weeks:
- We have pushed the start of the school day to 8:30 a.m. to allow students more rest.
- We have adjusted the length of classes from 75 minutes to an hour.
- We will continue to stress quality over quantity for homework and teachers will work to incorporate that homework within the class periods in an effort to reduce the amount of screen time required for students each day.
- Resource periods have been added to the end of every day to allow students more time to work with teachers to complete work they were not able to finish in class. Teachers will also be more deliberate in inviting students for extra help during Resource in order to further support students. If students receive requests from teachers to meet, our expectation is that they will honor those requests.
- On the shorter class days, the Advisory period has been moved to before lunch.
- Faculty meetings will now occur outside of the student class schedule, so we will suspend the late openings on alternate Thursdays and Fridays.
- The last day of classes for Seniors is Friday, May 22.
- The first week in June that was originally set aside for final exams will now be re-imagined to further celebrate the Class of 2020 and all of our students as we bring closure to the spring semester.
- Events to mark graduation for the Class of 2020 are being finalized now and those plans will come out under separate cover.
Click here to view the revised schedule.
Again, we thank all students and families for your stamina as we’ve navigated bringing APH online during this unprecedented time. We have learned a lot from you and about ourselves these last weeks. This is indeed a resilient and courageous community and we thank you for your continued support. With this in mind, we are adding an extra day to the April break so that we can bring the faculty back for a professional development day to do some additional planning for the end of this academic year.
There will be no classes for students on Monday, April 27th. Classes will resume on Tuesday, April 28, with a Day 7 schedule.
Please do not hesitate to reach out Jan Healy with any questions.
The APH Leadership Team
April 8: Announcing APH Scholars Workshops for New Students
As the parent of a newly accepted student, we want you to know that The Academy at Penguin Hall is committed to supporting your daughter’s education starting now! We recognize that you and she may be concerned about content she is missing in preparation for high school, or she may be hoping to find a way to further engage with the APH community… we are pleased to introduce our APH Scholars Program — a virtual enrichment program just for our accepted students!
Our APH Scholars’ Workshops are designed to be an informative and fun way to help solidify her current skills, learn new skills and content, build confidence, and prepare her to start high school this Fall. In addition, the workshops are another opportunity for her to meet new APH students. Based on interest and needs of our new students we will be expanding these offerings over the next few weeks.
Workshops begin Tuesday, April 14 and are scheduled through May.
How the Program Works:
Sign up for one, two, or all three APH Scholars Workshops.
After registering, you’ll receive an email with more information about workshop content and schedule, and a list of any materials your daughter will need.
What We’re Offering:
Workshop: Mathematics for Rising 9th & 10th Graders
Meets once a week from 3-4 p.m.
Math workshop participants will be placed based on their current math class placement. Workshop content will include either an Introduction to Algebra or Principles of Algebra. You will receive additional information on workshop placement once registered. There will be additional classes based on interest and need.
Meets twice a week from 3-4 p.m. You can attend both, or you can attend one Humanities Workshop and one math class so that you get both experiences.
Join our dynamic Humanities faculty for discussions centering around readings that all students are likely seeing for the first time as well as writing exercises. Selections will include poetry, short stories, and essays focusing on literature, history, social sciences, and art.
Workshop: Study Skills & Strategy
Meets every other Friday, from 3-4 p.m.
Our Learning Specialist will guide students in helpful study skills! Topics include:
How to take better notes
Time management of long term projects
How to organize your schedule and create balance during the school year
Participation in Live Online Classes
Curious to see what type of fun projects are happening inside of APH classrooms right now? We’ll also be offering all accepted students the option to visit some of our virtual classrooms throughout the week. Classes will include:
Intro to Languages – French & Spanish
Art of Diversity (a class investigating multiple forms of diversity in visual arts)
Look for more information about live online classes in your inbox soon! We hope that you will find these optional offerings helpful as we all navigate education through the rest of the academic year.
Have questions? Please reply to this email.
Director of Admissions, The Academy at Penguin Hall
April 2: Service Hour Ideas from Campus Ministry
“Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.” ~John Wesley
Dear APH Community,
Our means for doing good have certainly changed in the past few weeks! As we think about how our own lives have shifted gears, it’s time to get creative in finding ways to do good. Doing good has a positive impact on our own morale, and in tough times, our simple acts of reaching out in kindness can have a huge impact on someone else. Below are some ideas that students and teachers have shared with me. If you have a creative idea to share, please send it along!
Students can use the regular Service Hours Tracking Form linked here (make a copy of it first!) and simply have a parent sign-off on good deeds. All service treks done through school at grade level retreats, and during symposium week, will count toward your 25 hours.
Are you crafty?
Hooks & Needles club knitted caps during the first semester to donate to a hospital. Keep knitting! There are charities in need of knitted items. Keep track of how much time you’ve spent knitting. You can make caps, blankets, or wraps for newborns, sick children, and the elderly. Even rescue animals need blankets!
Check out some DIY videos and articles, like this one published by The New York Times for how to make face masks. Here are a list of Massachusetts agencies in need of face masks.
Are you being SUPER KID at home? :-)
Families are making a huge adjustment to working from home together. Have you taken on an extra chore or two to help out? Maybe you’re reading to younger siblings, or helping them with their homework. Have you tried out a new recipe or two for family dinner? Can you safely rake or do yard work for an older neighbor? Keep track of all the ways you’re spreading cheer at home.
Reach out to senior citizens
Many senior citizens are feeling alone and worried. Maybe even your own grandparents, aunts and uncles, or family friends could use some cheering up. You can write notes and letters, and just call to chat and check in.
If you want to “adopt a grandparent” there are ways to reach out:
- Salem seniors need check-in calls.
- Contact Ms. Beckman for names and addresses of seniors who would love to receive a cheery note in the mail.
- Contact a nursing home, assisted living facility, or senior center in your town to see if they are accepting notes and letters for their residents.
As families adjust to new work situations, many need help stretching their food supplies. Open Door in Gloucester and Acord in South Hamilton are two local food pantries that are helping our neighbors. If your family can afford to shop for a few extras, donations are still accepted. Check the websites for details. Feeding America also has terrific ideas about how we can all help!
With warm regards,
APH Campus Minister
March 18: First Day of Distance Learning
It was good to be back together as a community today – although virtual classes are certainly not the same! Thank you for being so flexible as we figure this out together.
Here are some reminders and answers to some questions that were raised today:
It is an adjustment moving to online learning. Let your advisor or teacher know if you are having difficulties. Definitely wear headphones and consider using blue light glasses if you don’t have them. There are a number of styles of glasses available on Amazon and it looks like you can get them within a few days.
Try to establish a regular schedule. Even though you don’t have to get up quite as early, it is a good idea to give yourself 45 minutes or so before classes start to wake up, eat some breakfast and get ready for the day.
We know that many of you have siblings or parents who are working from home as well. It is fine to be attending class from your bedrooms, but you do need to be dressed and out of bed.
The breaks have been built into the schedule deliberately to give you time to stretch and take a short walk. Leave the room you are working in and go outside for a couple of minutes if possible.
Several of you noted that the special effects backgrounds were distracting in classes or other zoom meetings. Please reserve those for your advisory groups. (With your advisor’s permission)
Teachers noted that it was distracting to have you eating while in class. Please save snacks for the breaks. It is fine to have drinks during class.
Study halls are independent study periods. Please use those constructively. Just as when you are at school, study hall is a good time to check in with teachers who are free or with Ms. Reynolds or Mr. Delloro.
Cumulative grades will go live on Friday and will stay live through the distance learning period since it is now not as easy to meet with teachers or your advisor to review your grades.
Tomorrow should feel more “normal” as we work toward a more normal schedule rotation.
Have a good night.
Dean of Academics