Phillips Academy

Parent Bulletin

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

November 16, 2012

Wishing You a Safe and Happy Holiday

The long-awaited holiday break is here and we hope that wherever you and your children are next Thursday you will have a chance to catch up and relax. Since the school draws students from around the world, we know that not everyone will celebrate Thanksgiving and that some students who live at a distance will spend the break away from home. Whether or not your family takes part in one of the favorite American holidays, it is a good time for us to say thanks to you for the support you give each individual student, and to the faculty and staff who have the privilege to work with them.

In Touch with…

Patricia Davison, Coordinator, Academic Skills Center

Preview, Predict, Plan, Prepare: A Thoughtful Thanksgiving Break

Thanksgiving Break provides your child a much needed rest as well as an opportunity to get in shape for the final lap of a marathon term. The Academic Skills Center suggests the following tips to students:


  • Which courses have term papers, projects, or portfolios due the week after Thanksgiving?
  • Do I understand the Extended Period Week Schedule?


  • How much time is necessary to have projects completed and ready for submission upon return to school?
  • What do I need to review in order to make the best use of the final class week to ask questions or seek clarity?
  • Which kind of final assessment can I expect for each course (department exam vs. teacher exam, oral report, etc.)?


  • What are the necessary organizational approaches for each course (flashcards, test corrections, etc)?
  • Are there any teacher-led study groups I can attend?
  • Which teachers should I see for the last two conference periods of the term?


  • Collect, organize, and correct tests and quizzes for each class.
  • Prioritize how to spend time relative to each course and type of assessment.
  • Identify questions or concepts that remain unclear.
  • Make a list of all such questions to ask teachers in the remaining week of class.

Student Safety and Security

Phillips Academy is fortunate to be situated in a quiet and relatively safe area. Like any community, however, we do experience the occasional safety or security challenge. You may have heard from your children or read last week’s Phillipian editorial about a theft that occurred in Paresky Commons. (Andover Police have made an arrest and recovered some of the items.) Following that incident, a subsequent theft was reported in the athletic complex. The Academy Safety Committee issued the following update on steps being taken to address the problem:

In light of a recent theft of student property (a backpack containing a laptop, phone, wallet, etc.) from the boys’ locker room at the Borden Gym, we write to inform you of initiatives, both new and ongoing, that the Academy is undertaking to ensure student safety and security.

Borden Gym: In the short-term, the Academy will restrict access to the Borden Gym by locking all but the front doors. This practice was previously implemented with success by Summer Session and will allow for better management of building visitors. In addition to this immediate solution, the Academy is in the process of developing a longer-term access control system for the gym. This project began in earnest in the spring of 2012, when representatives from the business office, public safety, risk management, facilities, technology, the Addison Gallery, and athletics gathered to examine access to the Borden Gym. The group worked with outside consultants to identify areas of potential risk and develop solutions to secure gym access. One possible solution for a proximity card access system has been identified, and the working group is currently refining this solution to meet the Academy’s needs. It is expected that the Borden Gym will serve as the pilot for this system. As such, the group is carefully considering options to ensure that the model selected for the Borden Gym may be replicated successfully in academic and administrative buildings across campus.

Accessing the Parent Portal

With the constant stream of paperwork and electronic messages we all receive from so many sources, it’s not surprising that a number of parents have recently written to say they misplaced their access information for the Parent Portal. The team on the academy’s Technology Help Desk is happy to help parents reset their password and gain access to the Parent Portal. The Help Desk staff are available Monday–Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 978-749-4357 or by email at

Upcoming Events

The Nutcracker:

  • Friday, November 30 at 8 p.m.
  • Saturday, December 1 at 2:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.
  • Sunday, December 2 at 2 p.m.

All performances of The Nutcracker will be in Tang Theater. Tickets are $10 for Phillips Academy community members and $20 for the general public. You may reserve your tickets by calling the Box Office at 978-749-4433.

Friday, November 30

  • PSPA Holiday Sale, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. in Paresky Commons, lower left dining room. A great opportunity for students and local parents to purchase Phillips Academy merchandise as gifts for family and friends! To volunteer to help with the sale, please sign up on the PSPA website.

Sunday, December 2

  • Service of Lessons and Carols, presented by the Phillips Academy Chaplaincy and Music Department, 4:30 p.m. in the Cochran Chapel. This concert is free and open to the public. For further information please contact the music department at 978-749-4260 or e-mail
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