Friday Letter

December 14, 2018

Dear Parents,

I look forward to seeing you at Lessons & Carols tonight.  Remember that the event is at the First United Methodist Church (946 Vermont). 

As you know, final (or "midterm") exams for the semester will occur on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, of next week.  In those few instances where students do not have an in-class final exam, they are welcome to study quietly at tables set up in the commons.  (Your students should know if they have a final in a particular class, but I have attached a list of all finals with room numbers for your convenience.)  We expect students will be picked up at the completion of the finals periods, and no lunch will be served.

As always, I encourage students to maintain an effective study environment when preparing for finals--namely shutting off phones and avoiding online distractions.  I encourage you to check in on them (especially younger students) to see HOW they study, which is just as important as the duration of their work.  (And distracted studying is less effective and always takes longer.)  They also should get appropriate sleep the night before exams (as their brains do a lot of work while they are snoozing).  Hopefully, this will be a good opportunity for students to wrap their arms around their course material and see the "big picture."

In faculty meeting on Tuesday, the staff talked about an article in the Atlantic on the benefits of "Good Goofing-Off."  For students as well as adults, it is useful to take periodic breaks from work to engage in activities where the brain appears to be taking a rest while actually information is being processed at a different level.  If students want to take a brief break from studying to shoot some baskets, noodle around at the piano, listen to some music, or go for a walk, that time might be beneficial in a lot of ways.  (I encourage adults to find similar ways to make their work life more productive.)

Every year, Ms. Barbour has her 6th graders participate in NaNoWriMo (National Writing Month Project), each of them writing an entire novel!  I love to walk by Ms. Barbour's classroom and see all of our youngest authors hard at work.  The students will have an Author's Reception at Signs of Life on Massachusetts on Monday night.  Congratulations to our novelists!

The Winter Formal is Thursday night at the Eldridge Hotel.  This is the premiere student event of the year.  As I noted every year, the students are more comfortable when parents are not "parked" in the lobby, but I hope you will be able to get a look at the finery when you drop off and pick up the kids (and many parents congregate in the Jayhawker for a drink or a late dinner, and I think others will be at Global Cafe).  Just don't try to out-dress the students.  If you have any questions about the Formal, please feel free to contact Mr. Gollier at

This will be the final Friday Letter of 2018.  (Did I just hear a "hurrah"?)  I hope your families have a wonderful and festive holiday season.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Yours respectfully,

Dr. Schawang