Phillips Academy

Parent Bulletin

Phillips Academy Head of School Office
Rebecca Sykes, associate head of school

August 29, 2012

Getting Ready to Begin

This summer you have received numerous mailings from Phillips Academy, including a July packet containing the Parent Handbook, which we hope you have read in full. We are using this early edition of the Parent Bulletin to draw your attention to information that could be especially helpful in the first days of the school year.

While school is in session, the Parent Bulletin will arrive by email every two weeks to provide you with timely reminders and notices about upcoming events and deadlines. We strive to make the news digestible, so the entries generally will be brief. If at any time you have questions, comments or suggestions about the bulletin or about how we communicate with parents more broadly, please feel free to reply to one of my emails.

Summer break is waning and Labor Day is only 5 days away. Enjoy the holiday weekend. We will see you soon!

SOS (Start of School)

Under the SOS (Start of School) tab on PAnet, you will find information concerning registration and the opening days of school. This information is grouped into three sections:

  • Prepare for Arrival (What students can do during the summer to get ready for Andover)
  • Required Forms (Note: If any of the forms required for registration listed here are missing, you would have received an email reminder with instructions as to how to proceed. If you have not yet responded to that email, please do so now by going to the SOS tab to download the necessary forms.)
  • Registration Information and Welcome Book (The FAQ sheet concerning the registration process and a Welcome Book containing a schedule of events and other critical information pertaining to the opening of school. To be sustainable, we print only enough Welcome Books to distribute to each new student; parents of returning students wishing to have this information in hard copy may print it prior to your child’s arriving on campus.)

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

Most Andover parents undoubtedly have seen many references in the press to recent concerns regarding head injuries among children and college and professional athletes. Here at Andover, a multi-disciplinary team has been working for many months to revise protocols and implement current best practices to keep our students safe. The group — convened by Patricia Davison (Academic Skills Center and Disability Services Director) — includes Maureen Ferris (Risk Management Director), Diane Griesbach (Nurse Practitioner), Carol Israel (Acting Director, Psychological Services), Mike Kuta (Athletic Director and Athletic Trainer), Betsy Korn (Associate Dean of Studies), and Marlena Ysalguez (Academic Skills Center Counselor). The following message was written by Mike Kuta on behalf of the team.

Over the past few years, a great deal of attention has been focused on the number and severity of concussions (Traumatic Brain Injury – TBI) incurred by athletes across the country, especially adolescent student-athletes. Phillips Academy has taken steps to review and update its policies and procedures to ensure that students impacted by TBI have a safe return to physical activity and the classroom. As part of this initiative, we are implementing the “Heads Up Program,” sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). This program focuses on education of student-athletes, coaches and parents and involves the recognition, reporting and proper treatment of TBI. We encourage you to review the following video with your son and/or daughter so that you have a better understanding of this type of injury and how it may impact your child's return to activity at Andover:

We want to assure you that we place the highest priority on creating a safe environment for your child’s participation on the athletic field. All new students must take a baseline test (ImPACT) upon their arrival at Andover, coaches are trained in implementing safe practice plans, and certified athletic trainers are on duty for all practices and games. Nevertheless, injuries are inherent in all physical activities. In fact, just under half of the instances of TBI incurred by Andover students happened outside of an interscholastic practice or game. Thus, even though your child may not participate in interscholastic sports, you may find the information provided in the video useful. To help us do our best to care for your child, we ask that you include any information related to your child’s history of head injury when you complete the Academy’s medical forms. Thank you for your attention to this important aspect of our safety program.

Reflections and Invitation from the Director of College Counseling Sean Logan

Having recently completed my first year here, I have found Andover to be the vibrant and unique community I had read about in student applications for so many years as a college admission officer. The opportunity to work with so many bright, hard working, and diverse students and families is a rare treat for a college counseling office. The unprecedented changes in the college admission landscape in the last five to seven years coupled with the wide variety of interests in the PA community is a great challenge for my staff, and we are committed to providing a well-constructed and thoughtful process that will help every student navigate this important chapter in their life.

With a great deal of support from the senior administration, we are in the process of changing how we interact with families and work with students on the PA campus. This fall, we are adding a seventh counselor to our staff, as well as christening a completely refurbished College Counseling Office. We will continue to look at all aspects of our operation and refine our program to meet the needs of the current college admission climate. If you are on campus this fall, feel free to stop by and see our new space and as always, please send me any questions you may have. You may reach me at

Welcome Ryan J. Wheeler, Director of the Robert S. Peabody Museum of Archaeology

We are pleased to announce that the Robert S. Peabody Museum of Archaeology welcomed its new director, Ryan J. Wheeler, earlier this summer. Dr. Wheeler previously served as the State Archaeologist and the Chief of the Bureau of Archaeological Research for the State of Florida. He holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Florida, Gainesville, and has taught at the Archaeological Field School of Florida State University.

Welcome Dr. Amy Patel, Medical Director

The academy is looking forward to welcoming its new medical director, Dr. Amy Patel, this fall. Dr. Patel is board certified in internal medicine and pediatrics and has extensive experience in outpatient primary care and urgent care, as well as in the care of acutely ill patients from pediatrics to geriatrics. She has worked with adolescents in a residential treatment setting, as a team physician and as a consultant for a youth basketball camp. Coming to us from Good Samaritan Medical Center in Brockton, Massachusetts, Dr. Patel and her family will reside in Andover.

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