Phillips Academy

Parent Bulletin

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

December 7, 2012

Fall Term assessments will end today and your children will all depart the campus by tomorrow morning. Several winter season varsity teams will participate in showcases and tournaments over the next week and we are grateful to the local families who will provide hospitality to our student athletes while they remain in the area. During this break, we wish you and your children the opportunity to reflect and relax together. Regardless of whether you and your family will be gathering at home or traveling, we wish you all a safe and joyful holiday season.

Phillips Academy has gotten into the holiday spirit in a big way. Before Thanksgiving, Samuel Phillips Hall was festooned with lights for the Hindu celebration Divali. Then, last week, the orchestra, jazz ensemble and handbell choir graced All-School Meeting with music of the season. This past Sunday our chaplains hosted Lessons and Carols and collected $2,400 for the American Red Cross, to benefit victims of Hurricane Sandy. At right, is a scene from our biggest holiday extravaganza. Students and faculty, as well as staff and faculty children, staged a spectacular performance of the Nutcracker. What a wonderfully talented and generous group of people study, work and live here!

Student Nutcracker performance

In Touch with…

Dr. Amy Patel, MD, Medical Director Isham Health Center

The most common reason for a visit to Isham Health Center is for evaluation and treatment of common infections. Most of these infections are due to viruses, including the common cold, the flu virus, or a gastrointestinal infection. Prevention is the first line of defense against these infections. As we head into a well-deserved December break, I want to share some tips on maintaining health and wellness at Andover. Here is how Isham can help your child have a healthy winter term:

Influenza vaccine: Please sign the consent form and direct your child to Isham to get the flu shot. The flu season may run into May, so it’s not too late to get the vaccine.

Sharing water bottles, cups, utensils – avoid! Infectious mononucleosis (“mono”) is easily spread by sharing saliva from an infected individual. Mono symptoms can last several weeks and an antibiotic will not help symptoms improve faster since it is caused by a virus. If your child has been exposed to mono, or if your child has symptoms (fever, sore throat, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes), Isham can perform an evaluation and may recommend lab tests if indicated to confirm the diagnosis.

Hand hygiene: A good rule of thumb is to wash your hands, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, every time you think of it. This is especially true before eating, and after hand-to-hand contact such as a high-five or a handshake. Wash your hands for 20 seconds (sing happy birthday twice). Also, cough and sneeze into a tissue or your elbow, not your hand.

Antibiotics are rarely helpful with “colds”: Exceptions include streptococcal pharyngitis (“strep throat”), some ear infections (many are viral), or bacterial sinusitis (which would not be likely until at least 7-10 days of symptoms). Overuse of antibiotics can be harmful individually (by predisposing to infections such as clostridium difficile) and to the population (by increasing bacterial resistance).

Medications: Isham stocks many common over-the-counter medications that can be given to your child in the appropriate setting after an evaluation. We discourage students from using medications without guidance from a health professional because we have found that they may be used inappropriately. Your child may see one of our nurses for an initial evaluation and treatment. This may include an exam, rapid testing for strep throat or the flu, over-the-counter medications, education on supportive care such as rest or hydration, and/or consultation with Isham’s nurse practitioner or physician.

Please share these tips with your child over winter break. We will reinforce this message with the students during winter term.

Niswarth 2013

Next summer a group of students and teachers will travel to India to participate in Phillips Academy’s Niswarth program. Niswarth, a Hindi word for “Non Sibi,” will take place from June 19 to July 11 in Mumbai and Ahmedabad, India. Guided by the Mahatma Gandhi’s quote, “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” the Niswarth curriculum builds a kind of understanding that connects scholarship, community engagement, deep reflection and action. Visit Niswarth online to learn more.

Commitment to the Niswarth program extends beyond the three-week program in India. Students are required to meet six times in the spring term, create an academic project during the summer related to their fieldwork in India, and present the program to the Andover community during the 2013-14 academic year.

The application for the program is available on the Parent Portal and is due by January 14, 2013. Faculty members Raj Mundra ( and Catherine Tousignant ( will lead the program; please feel free to contact them if you have questions about the program or the application.

Message from the Dean of Students

Wishing you all a happy and healthy holiday season. We are looking forward to welcoming students back to campus on Wednesday, January 2. Dorms will open at 8 a.m.

Message from the Comptroller’s Office

By now you should have received your fall tuition statement. Payments were due in full on December 1. If you did not receive your statement, or have any questions, please e-mail as soon as possible. Include the student’s name, ID number and your billing address in your email so that the office can check its records and send you a replacement bill. As a reminder, our new online portal is available to make payments. Simply go to the Phillips Academy website and click Quicklinks at the top of the site and select Comptroller. The links for Online Domestic Payments and International Payments are located on the Comptrollers Office page or in the navigation to the left. If you have any questions, please contact Ann Pimentel at or 978-749-4504.

Please keep in mind that the Comptroller’s Office will close for the holidays beginning Monday December 24, 2012, and will reopen Tuesday, January 2, 2013. Students whose accounts have not been paid in full will not be able to access their schedules online and will not be cleared for registration. Also, to avoid delays at the Andover Bookstore, please make sure that your child’s BlueCard is adequately funded prior to his/her return on January 3.

News from the PSPA

Volunteers are needed for the 2013 Summer Opportunities Fair, on January 20 (the same weekend as the College Counseling weekend for uppers!) Help set up, clean up, greet visitors and provide general assistance during the event. You can sign up on the PSPA website for a two-hour shift between 9:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.

Recordings of the PSPA’s fall meetings are now available online. Use the password “PAparent” to watch the following:

Oct. 23 – Dr. James Maas, Sleep Expert

Oct. 26 – Parents’ Weekend: Parent to Parent Forum

Nov. 8 – Academic Support & Student Life at PA

Visiting Campus? Rental home available to benefit PSPA! Visit the PSPA website for more information.

Upcoming Events

Friday, December 7

Messiah Benefit Concert, 7:30 p.m. in the Cochran Chapel. This concert will support the American Red Cross and Neighbors in Need Food Pantry. General admission is $5; for students and seniors, admission is a non-perishable food donation. Additional food donations appreciated.

Sunday, January 20

The 23rd annual Summer Opportunities Fair, sponsored by the PSPA. Admission is free. Representatives from approximately 90 local, national and international programs will be available to talk with interested students and their families. This unique fair offers a wide range of programs that focus on academic enrichment, language study, community service, camps, sports, arts, research, internships, outdoor adventure and international travel for middle and high school students. All profits from the fair (from vendor fees) directly benefit PA student activities throughout the school year.

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