Phillips Academy

Parent Bulletin

Phillips Academy

September 20, 2013

Former Associate Head of School Becky Sykes launched the Parent Bulletin as a way to keep parents current on important dates, campus events, and “news you can use” related to your child’s experience. After 40 years serving in numerous roles at PA, Becky left the Academy this summer to become president of the Oprah Winfrey Charitable Foundation. We are so happy for Becky! Her legacy will continue in countless ways, including via the Parent Bulletin.


In Touch with…
Tracy Sweet, Director of Academy Communications

E-newsletters are just one of the many ways Andover communicates with those who care about the school. Reaching our global community are PA’s website and social media channels, Andover magazine and eNews. We have more than 21,000 fans on Facebook ( and hope you are among them! You can follow PA on Twitter (@phillipsacademy), view photos on SmugMug and a growing video collection on YouTube.

Campus bloggers include Head of School John Palfrey, Dean of Students Paul Murphy and nutritionist Aggie Kip. The Peabody Museum is tweeting, so are the Addison Gallery and Andover Athletics.

We are active communicators, to be sure, and we recognize that each parent has a special interest in what happens on Andover Hill. Your "touch points" include personalized interactions with your student’s teachers, coaches, counselors, and deans, text alerts in an emergency, and timely emails from the head of school. New this year, you will have access to your child’s end of term grades and comments from teachers and house counselors.

This is just a quick introduction to the many ways we reach out to parents and the wider PA community. We hope you find these resources helpful and always welcome your feedback.

Time to Get the Flu Vaccine

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the seasonal flu vaccine for all children and adolescents (unless there is a contraindication; if you are unsure, call Isham Health Center, 978-749-4455. Dr. Amy Patel, medical director, supports this recommendation and encourages everyone at Andover to get immunized to protect themselves and those in our close community. The flu vaccine needs to be given annually since it contains different strains from year-to-year, and the protection from the flu vaccine decreases over time. The flu season typically runs from October through May, and it takes up to two weeks to develop immunity after the vaccine is given. How can you get your child the flu vaccine? Click here for more information and a consent form.

Update: PA Policy on Outside Tutors

Last winter, in the context of campus safety, we shared with parents an update on Andover’s background check process for outside tutors. As we continued to evaluate use of our campus, over the summer, the Academic Council reviewed the academy’s policy on allowing outside tutors on campus. The Council acknowledged that the academy offers many internal services to help students succeed academically, from working with teachers during conference periods to study centers to peer tutoring. Students may obtain ongoing academic support throughout their time at Andover. Additionally, the academy’s Academic Skills Center provides resources for students who could benefit from supplemental coaching in time management, organization, and general study skills.

Given the many on-campus supports already available, the academy will no longer allow outside tutors to work with students on campus. Parents who remain interested in outside tutor services to supplement the on-campus offerings should work directly with tutors to secure safe tutoring space in the local community. For more information about campus services, please visit Academic Support Services.

News from the PSPA

PSPA has many exciting events and volunteer opportunities coming up this fall. To stay connected to the PA community via PSPA please join our mailing list at If you are a Facebook user, please join our group page, where you can ask questions, get advice, share info and photos.

Last week's fall reception, featuring a candid discussion with John Palfrey, is available for viewing. Click here to watch the video: As always, the password is: PAparent.
Plan to arrive early for Family Weekend in order to attend our next PSPA Parents' Meeting on Thursday, October 17, in Kemper Auditorium at 7 p.m. "On Gender and Leadership" will include a panel of faculty, students, and administrators discussing the challenges that Andover and the world face in addressing gender and leadership. On Friday, October 18, in Kemper from 3–4:30 p.m., please join our second annual "Parent-to-Parent Forum". PSPA parents and Graham House counselors will offer personal perspectives and advice on the challenges of parenting a student at PA, from near and far. This is a terrific opportunity to connect with other parents in similar geographic situations and with Graham House counselors.
Parents of seniors, please order your Senior DVDs! Every senior is represented in this professionally produced gem of your student's senior year at Andover. Visit our website to view highlights of last year's DVD and to place your order.

Upcoming College Fairs, Sept. 25 and Oct. 2

The College Counseling Office is sponsoring two college fairs this fall: September 25 and October 2. Both events will be held in the Borden Gymnasium from 6:30–7:30 p.m, and are for Phillips Academy families exclusively. A list of colleges and universities participating in each event can be found on your Family Connection/Naviance site. For more information, please contact Karen Wakeling in the College Counseling Office at or 978-749-4155.

"The Communication Complication" – Sept. 27 Panel Discussion

Parents are invited to a panel discussion "The Communication Complication: Taking on the World Bit by Byte" Friday, September 27, from 5:30–7 p.m in Tang Theater. The panel features three speakers: Jonathan Alter, formerly of Newsweek and author of "The Center Holds: Obama and His Enemies”; Susan Chira, associate managing editor of The New York Times; and Joe Salvo, a research scientist and entrepreneur at General Electric who is currently developing the next generation of the internet. The panelists will discuss the pros and cons of exclusively online news sources and online education, as well as how both can be used most effectively. You are invited to meet the panelists at 5 p.m. for a parent-centered conversation before the community joins at 5:30 p.m. This event is funded by an Abbot Academy Association grant written by Joseph J. Salvo ’15.

Catholic Confirmation Program Begins, Sept. 29

Under the Catholic Chaplaincy at PA, a Catholic Confirmation program is offered. Catholic Chaplain Dr. Mary Kantor oversees this program, which culminates with a Confirmation Mass on campus in May. The program is open to all academy students. Classes meet most Sundays from 5:30–6:30 p.m., followed by Mass for the Catholic community at 6:45 p.m. The program begins on Sunday, September 29. If you have questions or would like to enroll your son or daughter, please contact Dr. Kantor at

Inaugural Latino Film Festival, Oct. 4 & 5

Alianza Latina is proud to announce the first Phillips Academy Latino Film Festival on Friday, October 4 and Saturday, October 5 in Kemper Auditorium. Award winning director and producer, Elena Greenlee, will be on campus Friday night for a screening of her short film “Mariachi” followed by Q&A with the audience. Greenlee was born and raised in Brooklyn, but her passion for filmmaking has been honed all over the Americas. Fluent in Brazilian, Portuguese and Spanish, with a background in documentary and anthropology, she is a narrative filmmaker in the service of telling socially relevant stories from diverse and unexplored angles. She was awarded the Spike Lee Fellowship Award, Clive Davis Award, Fotokem Award and Fuji Film Award for her thesis film "Nasceu Maria." Greenlee is in post-production for her first feature film as a producer, Manos Sucias, a Spanish language thriller set on the Pacific Coast of Colombia. This event is free and open to the public.

Women of the World Concert, Oct. 4

The Music Department presents Women of the World on Friday, October 4, at 7:30 p.m. in the Cochran Chapel. Women of the World is a Boston-based collective of women musicians. Hailing from Japan, India, Italy, Haiti, Mexico, and the United States, the core singers and their eclectic band perform original and traditional folk music in over 17 languages. This concert is free and open to the public. Cochran Chapel is handicapped accessible. For further information please contact the music department at (978)749-4260 or e-mail to

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