October 3rd, 2020
Austin Prep Claims Third Consecutive Nason Award
For the third consecutive year, and despite the cancellation of the spring season, Austin Prep has been named as the recipient of the 2019-2020 Boston Globe Nason Award. This award recognizes overall athletics excellence among Catholic co-educational schools across the Commonwealth, with overall, regular-season winning percentage as the criteria for selection. Congratulations to all our student-athletes and coaches for their unparalleled success over the past three academic years. Learn more about all the Boston Globe Scholastic Awards, including the Nason Award here.
Athletics Returns to Austin Prep
The quest for a fourth straight Nason Award began this week, as after school hours at Austin Prep returned to its normal, vital self with the return of athletics to campus. It was the first official athletics activity since March. Nearly 450 student-athletes participated in tryouts for fall sports or out-of-season practices. Photos are courtesy of Ms. Nicolle Renick, Head Cross Country and Assistant Track and Field Coach.
The first home, on campus varsity athletic contests will take place on Monday, October 12nd, with Field Hockey playing at 10:00 a.m. and Boys Soccer playing at 1:00 p.m., both against Bishop Feehan.
Austin Prep Faculty and Staff Enrolled in Diversity, Equity and Social Justice Class at Merrimack College
Austin Prep continues its commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives by advancing our cultural proficiency through faculty and staff professional development. Members of our administration and faculty have been actively participating in webinars run by the University of Notre Dame, Boston College, NAIS, AISNE, NEASC, and the NCEA. Currently, there are 12 faculty members who are enrolled in a Diversity, Equity, and Social Justice course taught by Tom Bourdon of the Merrimack College faculty. This course is specially designed for Austin Prep and is based on Dr. Bourdon's years of experience teaching this course at the collegiate level.
The class has focused on building community among the twelve teachers by discussing their experience and comfort level with the topic, followed by work on defining the terms diversity, equity and social justice so that they all have a shared understanding of the terms. The first week participants also discussed implicit bias as faculty took the Harvard Test. This served to help grapple with issues of race, specifically with the subject of engagement on school campuses. Faculty examined the difference between culture and climate and proposed ideas of how Austin Prep can promote higher levels of engagement for Students of Color. Austin Prep Faculty and Staff attending the class include, Ms. Kerry Barrett, Dr. Maria Blewitt, Ms. Alexandra Dell'Anno, Dr. William Driscoll, Mr. Raymond Kabunga, Mrs. Nicole Luongo, Mr. Michael McLaughlin, Ms. Sarah Meier, Mr. Jaycob Morales, Mrs. Nicole Putney, Mrs. Lisa Theriault, Ms. Alicia Varraso, and Ms. Heather Veit.
Despite Hybrid Learning Model, Science Labs Continue at Austin Prep
One of the many areas of the Austin Prep experience that had to be reimagined in our school reopening plan were science labs. Despite social distancing guidelines which impact how many students can be in a classroom, while simultaneously engaging students in a cohort learning from home, science labs are still a part of the curriculum at Austin Prep. Labs are possible, in part, to the addition of Ms. Alison Holland, Science Lab Assistant, who began work at Austin Prep just prior to the start of the academic year.
Ms. Holland helps manage a schedule to accommodate all of the science teachers and determine how to rework labs to be within the new guidelines posed by the pandemic, in addition to helping with the setup, implementation, and break down of lab experiments during class. She also takes students through the safety rules and regulations for the lab in which they will be performing experiments and moderates some labs when teachers are in class with remote students. Because some science classes have more than 10 students and because many of the labs only hold 10 students, a teacher can split the class in half and have Ms. Holland help manage the lab with half of the class in one room while the teacher has the other half of the class in another room. This way, the students can stay socially distant but still perform lab experiments.
Furthermore, students in the cohort learning from home are still engaged even if an experiment is taking place on campus. Labs are two part assignments to be completed after the conclusion of a two-day lab session, with the lab itself conducted while the student is on campus, and the remote activity a corresponding research assignment. This innovative approach being adopted in the science department creates an opportunity for students that otherwise would not be possible.
New Academic Program Provides Support to Children of Faculty and Staff
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many within our society to reimagine various aspects of daily life. As we return to some semblance of our routine lives, one such dilemma facing parents is the challenge of balancing professional obligations with family needs, an obstacle especially prevalent with those who work in various areas in elementary and secondary education institutions.
In the spirit of the Austin Prep mission, the School has developed the Academic Support Program, a program for Faculty and Staff to assist in the navigation of the delicate balance between professional fulfillment and family needs. At this time, hybrid and remote instruction delivery models are common practice throughout most school systems in our neighboring communities. The Academic Support Program offers a structured, and inspiring environment for our employees’ school age children to engage in their individual remote learning plans, unique to their schools, while their parents fulfill the responsibilities of their respective roles with Austin Prep.
The Academic Support Program launched September 8th and has been met with much success, as well as gratitude on behalf of our Austin Prep Faculty and Staff Community. The Program is staffed with educational leaders who are passionate about promoting a fluid, creative, and encouraging space for the young students, who represent grades ranging from 1st to 5th. The implementation of this program reminds us all during this time of uncertainty, when our community is faced with adversity, we can explore ways to identify a solution.
“Our goal is to provide a conducive, and supervised, environment for children of Faculty and Staff to allow them to independently engage in their respective remote learning plans while their parents fulfill obligations of their position with Austin Prep,” Mrs. Kelley Ferretti, Human Resources Generalist said. “I am thrilled to be part of creating something so innovative and new for our Austin Prep employees and their families.”
Middle Schoolers Study the Moon During Rare October Month
Ask a member of the sixth grade class of 2027 about the moon and they'll tell you about its phases, waxing and waning, and that October 2020 has two full moons. This past month, students have been exploring our nearest neighbor in the solar system - the moon - in their Earth and Space science class. Dr. Maria Blewitt, Science Chair, developed the course in line with her doctoral research on the pedagogy of citizen-scientists. Students crave curricular relevancy and the opportunity to apply knowledge to the real world. Sixth graders have enjoyed taking the vocabulary and concepts they've been exploring in class and applying them in staring into the starry skies and being their family's resident astronomer. Dr. Blewitt's curricular work continues the work of the Middle School Strategic Plan to invigorate the curriculum with innovative approaches to instruction that animate students' curiosity and spirit of inquiry.
College Counseling Hosts Junior Families on Webinar
Last week, the Office of College Counseling continued their virtual webinar series with a Junior Family Information Night. Panelists included admissions representatives from Boston University, the University of Pittsburgh, and Roger Williams University.
A reminder to our Juniors and Seniors that colleges have signed up to connect with you virtually. If you are on campus, these visits will take place in Rooms 307 or 309 and if you are remote, you may access the session with the URL that you receive when you register on Naviance under the "What's New" tab. Next week's visits include: Bentley University, Colby-Sawyer College, Curry College, DePaul University, Drexel University, Emerson College, Gettysburg College, Hobart William Smith Colleges, Johnson & Wales University, Kean University, Lasell University, Le Moyne College, Lycoming College, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, Stony Brook University, State University of New York, University of California-Irvine, University of Massachusetts-Lowell, University of New Hampshire and the University of Rochester.
Flu Shot Clinic a Success
Austin Prep hosted two successful Flu Vaccination Clinics for the school community on campus this week, with over 240 community members receiving a flu shot. As a reminder, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts now requires the influenza vaccine for all students in Kindergarten to Grade 12. All students must receive the vaccine before December 31st, 2020. If a student is unable to receive the vaccine, there are medical and religious exemptions allowable in the state of Massachusetts. If your child falls into one of these categories, or if you have any other questions, please contact the Health Office at (781) 944-4900, ext. 816 or 716.
Save The Date: Virtual Open House Week is Approaching
This year, Austin Prep will host our annual fall open house with a series of evening webinars starting on Monday, October 26th to Monday, November 2nd. Families can pick and choose which webinar they would like to attend. Each presentation is designed to provide families with a closer look into different aspects of Austin Prep including details specific to the Upper School, Middle School, athletics, arts and design, and much more. The webinars will include presentations from school leadership and a student panel discussion. More details will be forthcoming, but in the meantime, please contact the Office of Admissions at email@example.com.
Hispanic Heritage Month Continues at Austin Prep
Austin Prep is celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, and we have been recognizing the contributions, achievements and influence of Hispanic Americans on the history and culture of the United States. Throughout the month we have provided students with opportunities to embrace and celebrate Hispanic culture. Yesterday, students enjoyed cuisine from Puerto Rico, including pollo guisado (Puerto Rican braised chicken thighs), Puerto Rican grilled flank steak, Puerto Rican pink beans, and sauteed zucchini with tomato sauce. Thank you Sage Dining for helping to supplement the learning experience of our students (and for the great food).
October 10th, 2020
Virtual Open House Week is Coming Soon
This year, Austin Prep will host our annual fall open house with a series of evening webinars starting on Monday, October 26th to Monday, November 2nd. Families can pick and choose which webinar they would like to attend. Each presentation is designed to provide families with a closer look into different aspects of Austin Prep. It is our goal that by the end of this virtual series, families will have a better understanding of Austin Prep and our mission: to inspire hearts to unite, minds to inquire and hands to serve. Some of our best referrals come from current families. Click here to learn more.
Art and Design Students Connect Class Curriculum and Dance
Madeline Hickey '22, an Independent Study in Advanced Choreography student, is seen here practicing the "Firebird" jump last week. This jump was made famous by Misty Copeland in the ballet of the same name. Copeland is the first African American principal ballerina with the American Ballet Theater. Students in Mrs. Marla Pascucci-Byrne's P'26 Middle School dance classes are also studying the Young Adult version of Copeland's autobiography this semester.
Picture Retakes Scheduled for October 13th and 15th
For those who missed school pictures last month, picture retakes have been scheduled for October 13th and 15th from 9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. Chapel attire is required. If you had your picture taken last month but were not in chapel attire, you need to attend picture retakes. Learn more here for picture-ordering information.
If you opted to participate in the remote only teaching and learning option this quarter, you will not take your school picture on campus. Please contact Mark Lawrence Photography directly to schedule a time to have your photo taken at their studio.
Math Department Successfully Adapts in Hybrid Learning Setting
With the implementation of a hybrid model to start the academic year, there have been many changes to how Austin Prep faculty engage with and teach students. This has particularly been the case in our math classes, as the days of paper classwork, group projects with shared materials, and going to the white board for extra help have passed -- for now.
To help with this transition, professional development and various new software programs have provided our math faculty with the tools to effectively teach in the hybrid setting. Over the summer, the math faculty reimagined the best ways to reach all levels of students regardless of if they were learning from home or in the classroom. Faculty took multiple professional development courses related to remote learning and they experimented with different software packages and strategies to teach mathematics.
Faculty and students are using a multitude of teaching and learning strategies. Some teachers are creating videos of their lessons, allowing students the opportunity to preview material. The software app Notability adds a key component, allowing teachers the ability to share their screen with students at home and on campus so the students still receive the experience of working collaboratively with teachers to solve math problems. In this video, Mathematics Faculty, Mrs. Michele Brewer demonstrates this teaching technique. Additionally, breakout rooms incorporate cooperative learning, and extra help is easily available on Zoom with the shared screens.
"We are fortunate to have access to a wide range of technology and teaching tools to ensure that we are teaching math at the highest level, despite the circumstances." Mathematics Department Chair, Mrs. Natalie Petrillo P'10, said. "Although we look forward to returning to the whiteboard, we are pleased that our students are current with our curriculum and learning at the same pace as in previous years."
Athletic Department Prepares for Home Competition Monday
This Monday, October 12th marks the first home athletics contest to start the 2020-21 academic year. We are excited to see our student-athletes compete again, and Athletic Department staff have been hard at work preparing our facilities for spectators.
As we prepare for games on campus, and using CDC provided guidelines with collaboration with our Catholic Central League (CCL) counterparts, we have developed a set of spectator and visiting team guidelines for this Fall season, which can be found here. These guidelines are put in place to help ensure the health and well-being of not only our community, but those who visit our campus.
Parenting in a Pandemic
Please join us on Tuesday, October 20 at 6:30 p.m. for an interactive webinar featuring adolescent psychologist, Lance Linke, Ph.D. Parenting during the Covid-19 pandemic has presented new stressors and challenges. Household rules and norms have shifted and knowing how to foster independence and growth in adolescents is more complex than ever. In this webinar, Dr. Linke will discuss both the new (and old) challenges of parenting teenagers. His discussion will focus on the importance of careful decision-making for parents and guardians. Dr. Linke will also share practical tips and strategies related to setting healthy boundaries, best practices for communicating with students, and managing emotions. If you have any questions regarding the webinar, please contact School Counselor Mrs. Jess Lenci. To access the webinar, click here. If prompted, the passcode is 395469.
Dr. Linke is a clinical psychologist with expertise in self-regulation and behavior change. He holds doctoral-level degrees in both clinical and educational psychology. Dr. Linke has worked nationally and internationally with departments and ministries of health and education to create mental health frameworks that focus on the importance of emotional development across cultures. Dr. Linke has held faculty positions at Hawaii Pacific University, Yale University School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry and the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. His research publications are in the fields of cultural, educational and clinical psychology. Dr. Linke is currently the Director of Child & Adolescent Services at Kendall Psychological Associates.
Midweek Update Returns Here!
We are honored that the Austin Prep community favorite, Midweek Update, makes its season two debut here in the Cougar Courier. To check out what T.J., Marvin, and the rest of the APS Media crew are up to as they start the school year, click the button below.
Green Key Ambassadors Participate in Virtual Training
This week, 200 Austin Prep Green Key Ambassadors participated in workshops conducted by Core Trainings. An annual training, this year the training was conducted virtually. These workshops focused on understanding leadership and relational leadership concepts. Each session was customized to support this year’s School theme of “I pray that they will all be one," and each student participated in two and a half hours of training. In the training sessions, students focused on how leaders see beyond their perceptions, beliefs, and biases, and the value in mentoring others, especially our peers and younger students.
International Students Give Background on Chinese Moon Festival
Last week was the Chinese Moon Festival, a day similar to our Thanksgiving. In World Language Faculty Dr. PoChun Wang's Middle School Mandarin 1 class, international students Doris Du '23 and Sylvia Chen '21 presented to the class about traditions and how their families celebrate this special day. Doris showed the class a picture of the traditional moon cake her grandmother made.
Mr. McLaughlin Continues Work with National Geographic
Head of Middle School, Mr. Michael McLaughlin, who also serves as a National Geographic Certified Educator and Guide, recently led a National Geographic Educator Certification program webinar. The webinar, which had over 200 educators representing six continents, focused on the implementation of Phase 2 of the program, where educators design and implement two lessons using resources from National Geographic and must be intentional about embedding the National Geographic Education Frameworks within those lessons.
"One of the most gratifying elements of serving as a guide with the National Geographic Education program is the opportunity to work with educators from across disciplines, grade levels, and around the world," Mr. McLaughlin said on the webinar. "While my role is to provide support and encouragement, the greatest benefit of this work is to interact on the global scale and collaborate in instilling a sense of wonder, curiosity, and responsibility in students."
Community Spotlight: Mr. Raymond Kabunga
Note: Our vibrant campus comes to life as a result of the talented students and faculty who make up the Austin Prep community. We look forward to periodically highlighting those individuals here in the Cougar Courier.
Name: Mr. Raymond Kabunga
Hometown: Watertown, Ma.
Education: St Mbaaga’s Major Seminary Kampala, Uganda, B.A. Philosophy and Theology; Boston College, M.A. Religious Education
Years at Austin Prep: First Year
Years working in Education: 8 years
Department and Courses Taught: Theology; Introduction to the Sacred Scriptures, Living as Members of the Church
Describe a teacher who inspired you growing up: In high school in Uganda, I had a teacher who taught social studies. He made me love the subject to the point that I would always try my best to never miss his class. One of the things I learned from him was that he was always on time for his class and he always emphasized how being on time is essential and builds character.
Do you have a motto you teach by, or an expression you try to instill in your classroom? "It always seems impossible until it’s done" - Nelson Mandela
What’s the most insightful thing a student has ever said to you? “Thank you for being a good listener and someone who has taught me with patience over the past four years."
If you weren’t a teacher, what career would you have? I would be a priest.
Favorite Quote: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure” - Nelson Mandela
Fun fact about you, or something your colleagues & students might not ordinarily know: As I was growing up in Uganda, I used to like climbing trees and being able to go to the top of the trees and see the rest of the forest.
Any other information you would like to share? I am a fan of Arsenal Football Club in the United Kingdom. I am also a fan of Boston College sports. I like traveling, cooking, and hiking.
School Closed Monday
In accordance with the school calendar, Austin Prep will be closed on Monday, October 12th. The school will reopen on Tuesday, October 13th, and Cohort A will be on campus. Enjoy the day Monday!
October 17th, 2020
Freshman Class of 2024 Summit
Augustine as a young person found himself endlessly restless in the core of his being. There was a constant desire to know more, be more, see more, do more, have more, feel more. And this restlessness that appeared to be a kind of curse turns out, in Augustine's experience, to be the point at which God touches each human being.
- Fr. Michael J. Himes, Ph.D., Theology Professor, Boston College
On Wednesday, 9th Grade Dean Mr. Peter DeLuca hosted a Virtual Leadership Summit for the Class of 2024. This leadership program was designed for our Freshman community members to reflect on some thought provoking questions and help them better understand our Austin Prep values of Veritas, Unitas, and Caritas.
The 9th Grade Summit was based on a Road Trip and Journey theme, with students participating in activities and Zoom breakout groups with Faculty facilitators. Following those exercises, freshmen participated in a webinar consisting of four guest speakers expanding on the initial reflection questions. The speakers also shared their experiences and reminded our students of the resources available to them at Austin Prep. Speakers and topics included Ms. Jamie Arena, a representative from St. Jude Hospital, who shared their mission and reminded students of the importance of service; Ms. Lucie Langa, Teaching & Learning Specialist, who shared strategies and resources on how to be successful in and out of the classroom; Mr. Jaycob Morales, Coordinator of Community Engagement and Inclusion, who reflected on inclusive practices and community on campus; and Mrs. Jennifer Hodgdon, Director of Alumni Relations and Giving, who spoke to her role of keeping Austin Prep alumni connected to campus as their journey continues after graduation.
"Push yourself to take full advantage of the opportunities you have and to create new opportunities, but while doing that, do not forget the mundane moments where we deepen our relationships with others, " Mr. DeLuca told the class. "One without the other is incomplete."
Middle School Summit
Also on Wednesday, Head of Middle School Mr. Michael McLaughlin, hosted a Virtual Leadership Summit for the Middle School. This leadership program followed the same format as the 9th Grade program, but was based on a Superhero theme. In addition, Mrs. Jess Lenci, Middle School Counselor, hosted grade-level Zoom calls to continue our work in cultivating community among students.
To read Mr. McLaughlin's remarks from the Leadership Summit, check out the Middle School Blog here.
Austin Prep Transitions to Modified In-Person Model
This past week, Austin Prep transitioned to a modified in-person teaching and learning model as outlined in our School Reopening Plan. Yesterday, all Middle School students were welcomed to campus, which will be followed by the complete return of the Upper School on Tuesday, October 20th.
With an increased number of students on campus, we anticipate a higher volume of traffic during drop-off and pick-up. The procedures for drop-off have remained unchanged for parents/guardians dropping off students; however, we have made a slight shift to the pick-up procedures, moving from four pick-up lines to three pick-up lines in the Meelia Hall parking lot. While this is a subtle change, the increased number of students on campus will likely create a slight delay in exiting campus during pick-up.
As we make this transition, our shared responsibility as a community to be vigilant and selfless is critical. More than ever, our commitment in letter and spirit to Austin Prep’s Covenant is vital.
Dr. Kuykendall Returns to Campus Next Week
Dr. Crystal Kuykendall, the 2020 St. Augustine Series Speaker and recognized expert on facilitating change in educational institutions and an authority on diversity, equity, and inclusion, will be on campus next week addressing both our Upper School and the Middle School. Dr. Kuykendall was last on campus in late August, when she led discussion and activities for faculty and staff during professional development week. During her visit next week, Dr. Kuykendall will be discussing the key themes revealed in the video above, and how Austin Prep's values of Veritas, Unitas, and Caritas promote our work in diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Austin Prep Names New Board Member
We are excited to welcome the newest member to the Austin Prep Board of Trustees. Ruben Reyes, M.D., P'24, '26 is the parent of two current Austin Prep students. A board certified hematologist, he has extensive experience in Hematology and Oncology clinical practice, clinical research and drug development.
Dr. Reyes currently serves as Senior Medical Director, Global Head Hematology Therapeutic Area at Paraxel International, a global biopharmaceutical services company. In this role, Dr. Reyes has served as the global or North American regional medical monitor for phase I, II and III studies on acute myeloid leukemia, non-Hodgkin lymphomas, melanoma, and ovarian, lung, pancreatic and gastric cancers. He also served as the lead physician for the creation of the Gene & Cell Therapy Working Group at Paraxel, and as the principal investigator on an extensive list of grants and clinical trial contracts.
Prior to that, Dr. Reyes served as an Assistant Professor of Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, at the University of Kansas Medical Center. In this role, Dr. Reyes taught medical students, residents and fellows, and supervised pharmacy and psychology students rotating in the hospital ward. His philosophy of teaching was based on active learning with an emphasis in honest decisions and compassionate care.
Dr. Reyes has served on advisory boards for Millenium, Alexion, and Pfizer, and is a member of The American Society of Hematology, The American Society of Clinical Oncology, and the South West Oncology Group.
Dr. Reyes received his M.D. from the Higher Institute of Medical Science of Santiago de Cuba, where he was named the Golden Diploma Graduate, which is the most prestigious award in Cuban Higher Education. He has completed fellowships and residencies at the University of Miami, the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and East Carolina University. He currently resides in Andover with his wife Emma, daughter Paula '24 and son Steven '26.
Parenting in a Pandemic
As a reminder, on Tuesday, October 20 at 6:30 p.m. Dr. Lance Linke will be hosting a webinar entitled "Parenting in the Pandemic." Please submit any questions you have for Dr. Linke by clicking here.
Parenting during the Covid-19 pandemic has presented new stressors and challenges. Household rules and norms have shifted and knowing how to foster independence and growth in adolescents is more complex than ever. In this webinar, Dr. Linke will discuss both the new (and old) challenges of parenting teenagers. His discussion will focus on the importance of careful decision-making for parents and guardians. Dr. Linke will also share practical tips and strategies related to setting healthy boundaries, best practices for communicating with students, and managing emotions. If you have any questions regarding the webinar, please contact School Counselor Mrs. Jess Lenci. To access the webinar, click here. If prompted, the passcode is 395469.
Dr. Linke is a clinical psychologist with expertise in self-regulation and behavior change. He holds doctoral-level degrees in both clinical and educational psychology. Dr. Linke has worked nationally and internationally with departments and ministries of health and education to create mental health frameworks that focus on the importance of emotional development across cultures. Dr. Linke has held faculty positions at Hawaii Pacific University, Yale University School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry and the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. His research publications are in the fields of cultural, educational, and clinical psychology. Dr. Linke is currently the Director of Child & Adolescent Services at Kendall Psychological Associates.
Order Your 2019-2020 Yearbook Now
The 2019-2020 Yearbook is finally available for sale! Don't miss this opportunity to remember and celebrate the many Austin Prep events of this historic year, including Austin Prep's fall and winter athletic seasons and signature events. Other highlights include summer trips and memorable arts performances, such as the choir trip to the Vatican, as well as special coverage of virtual events during our remote spring.
You may order your copy now for $50 by clicking on the button below, which brings you to the website of our yearbook company, Yearbook Innovation, and Austin Prep's personal yearbook section. Orders must be placed no later than October 22nd.
Austin Prep Faculty to Participate in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Event
Members of the Austin Prep faculty will be attending the AISNE Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Conference, taking place October 19-22. The virtual event includes four days of interactive experiences with other independent school leaders across New England, focusing on diversity, equity and inclusion topics in our schools. Learn more about last year's conference here.
Austin Prep faculty attending include: Mr. Nick Reynolds, Ms. Kerry Barrett, Ms. Kristen Donnelly, Ms. Heather Veit, and Mr. Jaycob Morales.
Trivia Contest Returns Next Week
The next round of our monthly Advisory Contest will be will take place Friday, October 23rd. Upper School Advisory teams will compete against other Upper School Advisory teams, and Middle School Advisory Teams will compete against other Middle School Advisory teams. The Contest questions will vary and challenge your group's knowledge on subjects like History, Literature, Math, Science, Geography, Austin Prep Fun Facts, and general trivia. Results will be shared after the Contest and prizes will be available at the end of the semester. For more details, contact your Advisor or Mr. Patrick Costello, Coordinator of Student Activities.
Hispanic Heritage Month Celebrated in English Class
Austin Prep was proud to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, which concluded October 15th. Freshman in Mrs. Nicole Putney's '26 English class read The House on Mango Street. Over the past month, students in Mrs. Putney's class studied the work of many Hispanic American writers, especially Sandra Cisneros, and mimicked her writing style to reflect on the origin of their own names. This activity celebrated the importance of individuality and heritage.
Science Lab Experiments Continue in Chemistry
Students in Ms. Anjali Bhardwaj's Chemistry class conducted labs on physical and chemical changes this week. Students did five experiments involving water and sponges, sugar cubes, CaCO3 in water, water heated in foil, and sugar heated in foil to determine whether a chemical or physical change had occurred.
Students Make Connections Between Language and Indigenous Cultures
This week, students in Mrs. Linda Filadoro's P'22, '23 Spanish 1 CP class created a project based learning assignment. This teaching method incorporates not only a culture centric connection to the Aztec history going back to 1521 before they were defeated by the Spaniards, but the students gain knowledge and skills by working with the days of the week, month, and holidays including their birthday in Spanish.
Green Key Ambassadors Prepare for Virtual Open House Week
As a reminder, this year Austin Prep will host our annual fall open house with a series of evening webinars starting on Monday, October 26th to Monday, November 2nd.
Few people can speak to the Austin Prep experience more sincerely than our students. Our Green Key Ambassadors play an important role within the Office of Admissions, including serving as panelists at our Open House events. Sal LoCoco '21 recently had this to say about his Austin Prep experience: "I am lucky to be involved in the Austin Prep community because it has allowed me to live up to my fullest potential. I have been involved in the varsity soccer and football programs and I have learned many lessons on and off the field that made me who I am today. I am happy I chose Austin Prep and wouldn't want to spend my high school years anywhere else."
The Student Panel Webinar during the Virtual Open House Week will take place Tuesday, October 27th from 6:30 p.m. - 7:10 p.m.
Rescheduled Convocation Date
An annual tradition at Austin Prep, Convocation marks the official start of the academic year. This year's rescheduled Convocation Mass will take place Wednesday, October 28th at 8:15 a.m. More information regarding the mass will be forthcoming.
October 24th, 2020
Middle School Students Receive New iPads
This week, the Technology Department distributed new iPads to most Middle School students, with the remaining Middle School students scheduled to receive their new iPad next week. iPad distribution took place during scheduled class times. Students returned all their old equipment and received a tutorial from Technology Department staff on how to set-up and log-in to their new equipment, as well as how to move all of the content they needed from their old device to their new device.
Convocation Rescheduled to Thursday, October 29th
Please note, Austin Prep's annual tradition of Convocation Mass has been rescheduled to take place on Thursday, October 29th at 9:30 a.m. in Richard J. Meelia Hall. Due to social distancing guidelines, only Seniors and 6th graders will be in attendance in Meelia Hall. Chapel dress will be required of all students that day. All other students and community members will be able to view mass while on campus through a livestream, which will be available next week. In the past, parents have been able to attend the Convocation Mass, but restrictions placed on gatherings will not make that possible this year. However, parents will be able to view through the livestream. The event will conclude with the raising of the Class of 2021 banner, which will remain in Meelia Hall until being lowered during Baccalaureate Mass in May. More information will be forthcoming regarding access to the livestream.
Dr. Kuykendall Speaks to Student Community
Dr. Crystal Kuykendall was back on campus on Wednesday and Thursday and led five presentations for the student community: one presentation for the Middle School and one presentation for each Upper School class. Additionally, Dr. Kuykendall engaged with faculty and staff, continuing recent dialogue to advance diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives on campus. A central theme of Dr. Kuykendall's presentation revolved around our own individual stories, and how we fail to notice stereotypes if we listen to only one story. Dr. Kuykendall closed the presentation emphasizing to students the importance of CPR: Compassion and Courage, Patience and Persistence, and Respect and Resiliency.
Austin Prep Donates Thermal Scanner to Child Care Center
Austin Prep recently donated a thermal scanner to the Shiloh Child Development Center in Washington D.C., where Dr. Crystal Kuykendall, the 2020 St. Augustine Lecturer, is chair of the Board.
Shiloh Child Development Center is licensed by the District of Columbia Department of Health to serve 68 children, aged 2 – 14, and functions under the auspices of the Office of the State Superintendent of Education. The Center purposefully and intentionally creates a Christian environment of unconditional love, support and respect for all the families they serve. In recent years, Shiloh Child Development Center has functioned under the dynamic leadership of the Henry C. Gregory III Family Life Center Foundation (FLCF).
"The schools in Washington D.C. are still learning remotely, and the Child Development Center is open from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. as a place for children and families to go," Dr. Kuykendall said. "There is still quite a bit of fear and apprehension in that community, and the thermal scanner helps parents know that the center is a safe place for their kids. And the kids like how interactive the scanner is."
Winter Dress Code Requirements Coming Soon
As we transition through the fall, please note that winter dress code will begin on Monday, November 2nd. Moving forward, winter dress code will be in effect for Quarter 2 and 3. Warm weather dress code will be in effect for Quarter 1 and 4. More information regarding the winter dress code can be found in the Parent and Student Handbook, beginning on page 9.
Green Key Ambassadors Prepare for Virtual Open House Week
As a reminder, this year Austin Prep will host our annual fall open house with a series of evening webinars starting this Monday, October 26th through Monday, November 2nd.
Few people can speak to the Austin Prep experience more sincerely than our students. Our Green Key Ambassadors play an important role within the Office of Admissions, including serving as panelists at our Open House events. Faith Moran '21 recently had this to say about her Austin Prep experience: "My experience at Austin Prep was everything and more than what I expected it to be. I have made life long friends and countless memories. I have been able to try new activities like Track and Field and find out what being part of a team is all about. Academically, I've challenged myself because I know I have an amazing support group of teachers and peers. Some of my favorite clubs include Dance Club, Service Club, and Math Peer Tutors. I am really fortunate to be able to call Austin Prep my second home. "
Faith is taking part in Virtual Open House Week on Wednesday, October 28th on the Upper School Academics Panel.
Junior Book Awards
The College Counseling Office was pleased to award 35 members of the Class of 2021 Book Awards from various colleges and universities for demonstrating outstanding academic achievement, leadership, community service, and good citizenship. Congratulations to all of the Class of 2021 honorees.
Ariana Clark, Assumption College; Alexis DeMarco, Brandeis Book Award; Emma Kilbride, Brown University; Bennett Donnelly, Bryant University; Ryan Noyes, Clarkson Achievement Award; Emma Ricciardelli, Clarkson Leadership Award; Liam Prigmore, Dartmouth University; Emily Pessina, Elmira College Fall 2018 Key Award; Xinjie (Jimmy) Ding, Elmira College Fall 2018 Key Award, Callum Tinkler, George Washington Book Award, Thomas Brosnan, Harvard University, Lu (Sylvia) Chen, High Point University; Kate Simpson, Johns Hopkins; Elizabeth Bodette, Kenyon College; Elizabeth Walsh, Lasell College; Michael Kamelle, Le Moyne College, Stanley Alger, Oberlin College; Mary Hueston, Rensselaer Medal; Katelin Stone, Saint Anselm; Zhenlan Hu, Saint Lawrence University; Arya Gupta, Saint Michael's College; Amanda Patti, Saint Michael's College, Zoe Karoub, Salem State University; Cheyenne Smith, Smith College; Molly Dugan, Stonehill College; Alyssa Cross, Suffolk University; Edward Wei, University of Rochester Bausch + Lomb Hon Sci Award; Ethan Luongo, University of Rochester Fred Douglass and Sue B. Anthony; Nizhoni McDonough, University of Rochester Young Leaders Award; Ashley Murdock, University of Rochester Xerox Award for Inn and Info Tech, Faith Moran, University of Pennsylvania; Brianna Fountain, Villanova University; Eryn Trant, Wellesley College; Gwyneth Kirby, Western New England Book Award; Kayla Russell, Yale University.
Keeping Our Community Safe
On Tuesday, Austin Prep transitioned to a modified in-person teaching and learning model, and welcomed back to campus the entire school community. While we are excited to all be back on campus together, we continue to be vigilant in keeping our community safe. Please review these videos that describe some best practices to help keep those around us healthy.
Mid-WeekEND Update: Autumn at Austin Edition
This weekend is Autumn at Austin: Virtual Homecoming, which is our opportunity to bring alumni back to campus safely. To help celebrate, Austin Prep students TJ Dysart '21 and Marvin Twombley '21 take their Midweek Update to the weekend to entertain you with parodies and humor centered around our faculty who are alumni.
In addition to TJ and Marvin, Midweek Update is brought to you by Alyssa Cross '21, Executive Producer, Cinematographer, Editor, and Writer; Ashley Murdock '21, Executive Producer, Cinematographer, Editor, and Writer, and Conor Long '21, Writer.
Additional Autumn at Austin: Virtual Homecoming programming is as follows:
From Willow Street to the World: Hear from Head of Middle School Michael McLaughlin and alumni Matthew Deeble '20 and Pedro Castro '17 about Austin Prep's service and study-abroad programming.
Virtual Tour Austin Prep Campus: From McLaughlin Hall to Richard J. Meelia Hall (the MPF to many), experience Austin Prep like never before.
Sunday Mass with Chaplain Fr. Patrick Armano: Celebrated from the Chapel of St. Augustine. (Link available tomorrow on Facebook).
St. Augustine Series Lecturer Dr. Crystal Kuykendall: Distinguished leader and educator Dr. Kuykendall works with our community to continue to advance diversity, equity and inclusion through our values of Veritas, Unitas and Caritas.
Aerial Tour of Austin Prep Campus: Take a bird's eye tour of the ever-changing Austin Prep campus. (Link available tomorrow on Facebook).
Links to all virtual experiences will be posted throughout the weekend on the Austin Prep Facebook page and in the Austin Preparatory School Alumni group.
Halloween Activities Planned for Next Week
Student Government is happy to announce that several community events are planned for next week. Each day will have specific Halloween-themed activities. Students received an email last night with details about the events. If you have any questions, please to reach out to School-wide Secretary, Liam Prigmore '21 or Coordinator of Student Activities Mr. Patrick Costello. We look forward to celebrating a fun Halloween Week!
Middle Schooler Enjoys Continued Horse Show Success
Angelica Zizza '26 recently competed in the American Paint Horse Association Eastern National Show in Lexington, VA. She was named 6 time National Champion and 4 time Reserve National Champion in multiple disciplines including hunter under saddle, equitation, western pleasure, horsemanship, and showmanship. Angelica has been riding horses since she was three and showing horses since she was four. "I love the feeling of competing and felt great throughout the show, " Zizza said. "I'm looking forward to finding a horse that can take me to the next level and bigger, world shows."
Community Spotlight: Annie Hamilton '22
Note: Our vibrant campus comes to life as a result of the talented students and faculty who make up the Austin Prep community. We look forward to periodically highlighting those individuals here in the Cougar Courier.
Annie Hamilton '22 is always on her toes. The sixteen-year-old from Andover has been balancing a comprehensive academic schedule at Austin Prep since she arrived as a freshman (brother Will, ‘18 may have been her inspiration), and this summer, she was named an apprentice with the Dance Prism Ballet company of Concord, MA. We caught up with Annie outside the Dance Room and asked her about her future plans.
Q. Summer programs often provide great experiences for dancers to visit other studios and companies to perfect their craft. How did Covid-19 and Zoom affect your summer study?
A. Before Covid-19, I had planned on spending my summer attending the American Ballet Theatre’s Summer Intensive Program. What would usually be a sleep away camp-like experience, staying in college dorms and eating in dining halls, turned into an online program, solely on Zoom. I spent six hours a day for three weeks on Zoom taking virtual ballet classes. I am so grateful that I was able to at least get back into an actual local dance studio, not in my living room, to participate in ABT’s Summer Intensive. Dancing alone in a studio was at times challenging, but led me to hyper-focus on my technique.
Q. Dance is certainly a community-based event; many performers get energy and excitement from the audience. How have your performances changed since the onset of Covid-19?
A. Since Covid-19, all of my in-person performances for Northeast School of Ballet and Dance Prism have been cancelled. We are still able to perform virtually; each piece in the show is recorded, and then edited together for online viewing. Although we cannot perform full-length classical ballets, it is nice to be learning new pieces and “performing” in some way again.
Q. You balance very difficult academic courses with a significant commitment to ballet; as an apprentice to the company, you are expected to dance every day. Most pre-professional ballerinas do not attend regular school. How do you balance your time? What tips would you give to other students who have many commitments?
A. I have a very structured schedule! I try to be present and enjoy what I am doing in the moment. I have learned that if I am worrying about a major test during dance for example, I lose focus and can’t get the most out of my technique class. Also, when I get home from school and dance, I try my very best to get my homework started right away, not allowing any time for distractions. Another helpful method I use is to get as much school work done as possible on the weekend (in between rehearsals), so I have less school work to complete during the week. I get all of the work done that is assigned to me, even if the assignment is not necessarily due on the following Monday.
Q. What are your plans for the future? Do you intend to dance professionally? Teach dance? What do you hope to study in college?
A. I am still unsure on what I want to do in the future. Currently, I am part of the pre-professional trainee program at Northeast School of Ballet. Dancing seven days a week now, I wish to continue to dance rigorously throughout college. Depending on which school I attend, I would either like to major (along with another major) or minor in classical ballet/dance. I know dance, and ballet specifically, will always be an important part of my life. If I am able, I would love to dance professionally, along with having another career, perhaps in sports medicine.
Don't forget, our annual fall open house begins Monday with a series of evening webinars running from Monday, October 26th to Monday, November 2nd. Families can pick and choose which webinar they would like to attend. Each presentation is designed to provide families with a closer look into different aspects of Austin Prep. It is our goal that by the end of this virtual series, families will have a better understanding of Austin Prep and our mission: to inspire hearts to unite, minds to inquire and hands to serve. Some of our best referrals come from current families. Click here to learn more.
October 31st, 2020
Austin Prep Illustration students help get the community into the spirit of the season with their Visual Journal entries for “Halloween.” Happy Halloween, everyone! Enjoy the evening but remember to make every effort to prioritize the well-being of our School and your local communities this weekend.
Austin Prep Presents...Thriller!
To celebrate Halloween, members of APS Media and our Middle School Dancers proudly present Austin Prep's annual interpretation of "Thriller." Enjoy the "Tale of Haunted Austin..."
Virtual Open House Week a Success
Our Virtual Open House Week wraps up on Monday with a final webinar: Application 101. We would like to thank all the faculty, staff, parents and students who participated in or promoted our Open House this past week. Your participation provided an authentic view into different aspects of Austin Prep, and what makes our school community unique. In particular, we would like to thank our student panelists, who are always the highlight of our admissions events. If you have any questions about our Open House week or admissions at Austin Prep in general, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Virtual All Saints' Day Mass Tomorrow
The month of November is a time for us to be mindful to pray for the faithful departed, especially our loved ones. Our faith assures us that the bonds of love that we have shared with them do not end with death. Throughout the month of November, we will remember all those we have loved in this life, and we remember them at the Altar of the Lord. We are inviting you to list the names of your deceased loved ones by clicking the button below. We will place the names at the foot of the altar in St. Augustine’s Chapel to be remembered in our masses, prayers and sacrifices, as an expression of our faith and in gratitude for your being part of the Austin Prep community.
Additionally, we would like to invite you to join Father Patrick Armano, School Chaplain, as he celebrates a special virtual All Saints' Day Mass tomorrow from the Chapel of Saint Augustine on the Austin Prep campus. You can view the mass here.
We will be celebrating virtual mass from the Chapel of Saint Augustine on select dates for the remainder of the academic year. Those dates will be forthcoming. We hope you will join us.
Online Store for Quarter Zips and Jackets is Open
Need a quarter zip pullover or jacket? Click on the link below and order your Austin Prep gear. This online store is only open through Wednesday, November 4th. The anticipated delivery of any ordered items will be Thanksgiving week. Click here to order: Pre-Winter Online Store.
Fall Sports Team Store Update
The Fall Sports Team orders have arrived. If interested, you can pick up your order next week at designated times. See the below details:
Pickup Days: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday
Pickup Times: 2:30 - 3:30 p.m.
- When you arrive on campus, drive and park in the area directly across from the stadium gate.
- Call the Main Office at (781) 944-4900 and let them know you're on campus to make a pickup from the Unitas Shop (school store).
- Provide the Office Staff with your name and the Fall sport.
- Stay in your car.
- Someone will bring the order to your car.
If you can't make it to campus next week, the orders will be available for pickup at the Unitas Shop when you are back on campus.
Middle Schooler Studies Bharatnatyam Dance
Anika Mittal '25 recently performed a traditional Bharatnatyam dance in praise of Lord Ganesha, one of the five worshipped deities in the Hindu pantheon. This dance is called "Ganesha Pancharathnam." Anika has been a student of the Kolam Dance Academy for seven years; each year she learns new choreography and performs in competitions. Anika is also a member of the Austin Prep Dance Program.
Finneran Scores Program's First Goal, Named Globe Player of the Week
Kerri Finneran '25 was named a Boston Globe Field Hockey Player of the Week on October 20th after scoring the first goal in the history of the program. Kerri also contributed to the program's first varsity win, a 3-2 victory over St. Mary's of Lynn on October 20th.
Mr. McLaughlin Presents to International Audience
Mr. Michael McLaughlin, Head of Middle School, recently presented "Creating Community in the Digital Middle School Classroom" for the Association of Middle Level Educators. His presentation focused on ways in which Austin Prep has navigated the COVID crisis since March and how our early work with regard to academics positioned the school to be able to focus on activities and community building, important for student Social-Emotional Learning. There were around 2,200 attendees representing all 50 states and countries in the Americas and Europe. Many schools plan to use the recorded sessions from the conference as professional development for their faculty throughout the rest of the fall.
Virtual College Fair Available to Students
The New England Association for College Admission Counseling (NEACAC) is hosting a virtual college fair on Sunday, November 15th. There are over 260 schools participating so no matter where you are in the college search and admissions process, we welcome you to register to connect with individual schools. You can learn more about the virtual college fair by visiting here.
Austin Prep Faculty Attend Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Conference
Mr. Nick Reynolds, Ms. Kerry Barrett, Ms. Kristen Donnelly, Ms. Heather Veit, and Mr. Jaycob Morales recently attended the AISNE Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Conference, which took place October 19-22. The virtual event included four days of interactive experiences with other independent school leaders across New England, focusing on diversity, equity and inclusion topics in our schools. Presenters focused on personal experiences or studies related to ways to make all students feel included within their own school community.
"One thing that stuck out to me throughout the seminar was Dr. Keith Hinderlie, who spoke about supporting the academic and social adjustment of minority students," Mr. Morales said. "Most of his presentation focused on how we as an institution can create and help our minority students who are adjusting to new curriculum and a new environment."
Community Spotlight: Ms. Kerry Barrett
Note: Our vibrant campus comes to life as a result of the talented students and faculty who make up the Austin Prep community. We look forward to periodically highlighting those individuals here in the Cougar Courier.
Name: Ms. Kerry Barrett
Hometown: Sayville, NY
Education and Degrees: B.A. in Biology, M.Ed. Secondary Education, both from Providence College
Years at Austin Prep: First year
Years working in Education: 3
Department or Subject: Science
Describe a teacher who inspired you growing up: I had a research class in high school with the most incredible woman. She brought me to professional conferences as a 10th grader and connected me with some really important people in science. She was absolutely brilliant in her field but more importantly for me at the time was that she had this knack for engaging students and meeting them at the level they were at. She could jump from talking with us about opening night for the Mets one minute to explaining complicated science to us in a way that made sense the next minute. She worked us harder than any other teacher I had in high school. There were so many late nights in the lab but it always seemed worth it because I had a teacher who was interested in me and we all knew she had our backs. She is someone that I have always wanted to be like whether as a teacher, a scientist, or a person in general.
Do you have a motto you teach by? Or an expression you try to instill in your classroom?:
1. You get out what you put in. 2. It’s just science. You can do it.
What’s the most insightful thing a student has ever said to you? "Sometimes I think we all worry too much about stuff we can’t control which takes time away from worrying about the things I can control…what a waste of time."
If you weren’t a teacher, what career would you have? Genetic Counselor. Before I started teaching I did a lot of research with genetics. I love the subject and similar to teaching, genetic counseling combines my love for science with my social personality and desire to help others.
Accolades: My research is about to be published in Evolutionary Applications!
Favorite Quote: “Love is how you stay alive even after you are gone” (From Tuesdays with Morrie)