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2023-2024 Friday Letter


* Fri 15th: BSA Homecoming, 4-8 pm
Boys Vars Soccer vs. Maranatha Christian Academy @ BSA, 4:30 pm

* Sat 16th: Vars XC @ Leavenworth County Fairgrounds, 8 am
Girls Vars VBall @ Hiawatha HS, 9 am

* Sun 17th: 6th Grade Parents Meeting, 4-6 pm

* Mon 18th: Juniors @ KU Library
Girls MS VBall @ Southwest MS, 3:30 & 4:30 pm
Boys MS Soccer @ Cair Paravel Latin School (Sunflower Soccer Complex), 4 pm
Boys Vars Soccer @ Maur Hill Prep School, 4:30 pm

* Tue 19th: US Play Auditions, 3:30-5 pm
Boys MS Soccer @ Barstow School, 4:30 pm
Boys Vars Soccer vs. Heritage Christian Academy @ BSA, 4:30 pm
Girls MS VBall @ Maranatha Christian Academy: 6th grade 4:30, B-Team 5:30, A-Team 6:30 pm
Girls VBall vs. Maranatha Christian Academy @ BSA: JV 4:30 & Vars 5:30 pm

* Wed 20th: US Play Auditions, 3:30-5:30 pm
MS XC @ Tonganoxie HS, 3:30 pm
Girls MS VBall @ KC Christian HS: 6th grade 4:30, B-Team 5:30, A -Team 6:30 pm

* Thurs 21st: Boys MS Soccer vs. St. Paul's Episcopal Day @ BSA, 4:30 pm
Boys Vars Soccer @ Bishop Ward HS, 4:30 pm
Girls Vars VBall @ BSA, 5 & 7 pm

* Sat 23rd: Girls Vars VBall @ Olpe HS, 9 am

* Sun 24th: Bingo @ BSA, 2-4 pm

Dear Parents,

I hope many of you can come out for our Homecoming celebration and the varsity soccer game this afternoon.  If your child is not staying for the event, I encourage you to pick them up before 3:45 or wait until after 4:15 pm, as the parking lot will be "complicated" during those 30 minutes due to the golf cart parade.

Our athletes are having a great season.  A special shout-out to Xeva Oldridge on being named by Lawrence Journal-World as an Athlete of the Week!

Congratulations to our MIddle School actors on being cast in the fall theatre production.  Auditions for the Upper School production will occur this week on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon.

The senior class will be sponsoring a Bingo fundraiser on Sunday, September 24th from 2-4 pm.  The event is open to the Seabury community and friends of all ages, and you can RSVP here.  All proceeds will help fund the senior class trip to Anna Marie Island in April.  We hope you can attend, support our students, and take home some prizes--it will be great fun!

This year, we are providing specific instruction to Middle School students centered on three specific topics: digital citizenship, executive functioning skills, and social emotional development.  We call this the SPARK program, and it is designed to equip students with skills that we think are especially important for them right now and will be fundamental to successfully navigating adult life as they get older.  SPARK teachers meet with students on Friday afternoons during X Block.  I am attaching Mr. Whipple's most recent SPARK newsletter that went out to parents last week.  The guidance is relevant to parents of all of our students, from 6th to 12th grade.  Feel free to take a look--at least at the bottom of each section where you can find relevant guidance on these topics.

Regarding technology, I gently broached the subject of smartphones with students this week (and not for the first time).  I have said many times to students and parents that I think this technology can be an incredibly handy source for quick access to information and for convenience in communication.  I am not sure how we ever used to find locations with a written copy of instructions or an unfolded map spread in front of the steering wheel (which is something that most of our children will never experience).  However, I doubt any of us are oblivious to the problems that come with these devices, especially how they have impacted our brains and our behavior.  There are strong arguments to be made that unlimited or even significant screen time with these devices has created an expectation for too much immediacy in communication, diminished our mental "free time" to use imagination and simply clear our heads, trained us to engage in constant bouncing searches across apps and sites in hopes of an endorphin rush that is rarely satisfying enough to justify the investment of time, and, in general, diminished our capacity to simply be present in the moment--to others or to ourselves.

I am neither anti-phone nor anti-technology.  (I have three devices on my office desk right now.)  And I think it would be a disservice to students to avoid teaching them how to incorporate technology successfully into their lives and work, which is one of the reasons we allow controlled and responsible use of phones and other devices during the day.  However, I think most of us sense that our technology is rewiring our brains and our behavior.  Looking around in public, it is rare for me to see someone waiting alone, simply lost in their own thoughts and without a device in their hands.

I try not to "lecture" students about these things or speak down to them but to speak from a place of shared experience.  I told them in morning meeting that the most important thing for me is that they try to listen to their instincts--to their gut feelings when they use their devices.  Just as most of us learn how habits with food, alcohol, sleep, or other life factors make us feel (and cause us to make decisions accordingly), we have the same capacity to make deliberate choices about our use of technology.  My two personal resolutions for the moment: 1.) stop looking at IMDB or my email while I am watching a movie at home and 2.) put away all devices while I am eating so I can enjoy my food and my thoughts.  Small steps towards being present and enjoying real life.  Baby steps.  What is fascinating is how my own brain resists.  All the more reason to push back and make these small healthy choices--and to be aware of how difficult these decisions are for children and how much they need our guidance and support in that process.

Have a good weekend,
Dr. Schawang


* Fri 8th: Senior Class Parent & Student Get-Together, 6 pm

* Sat 9th: Vars XC @ Wamego High School, 9 am

* Sun 10th: Spring Break France Trip Meeting, 3-4 pm

* Mon 11th: Boys MS Soccer @ KC Christian HS, 4:30 pm
Boys Vars Soccer @ Bonner Springs Senior HS, 4:30 pm
Girls MS VBall @ St. Paul's Episcopal Day School, 6th grade 4:30, A-Team 5:30, B-Team 6:30 pm
Girls Vars VBall @ Onaga HS, 5 & 6 pm

* Tue 12th: Girls VBall vs. Cair Paravel Latin School @ BSA, JV 4:30, Vars 5:30 pm
MS Play Auditions, 3:30-5 pm

* Wed 13th: MS XC @ Loose Park, 4:30 pm
MS Play Auditions, 3:30-5 pm

* Thurs 14th: Vars XC @ Wellsville HS, 5 pm
Boys Vars Soccer vs. Cair Paravel Latin School @ Sunflower Soccer Complex, 4 pm
Boys MS Soccer vs. Northland Christian Schools @ BSA, 4:30 pm
Girls VBall @ KC Christian HS, JV 4:30, Vars 5:30 pm
GIrls MS VBall vs. University Academy @ BSA, B-Team 5:30, A-Team 6:30, 6th grade 7:30 pm

* Fri 15th: BSA Homecoming, 4-8 pm
Boys Vars Soccer vs. Maranatha Christian Academy @ BSA, 4:30 pm

* Sat 16th: Vars XC @ Leavenworth County Fairgrounds, 8 am
Girls Vars VBall @ Horton/Hiawatha HS, 9 am

Dear Parents,

As indicated by the Week Ahead calendar, we are in the thick of athletics season.  Our theatre season also begins next week.  Auditions for the Middle School production will occur on Tuesday and Wednesday at 3:30 pm.  Upper School auditions will occur the following week.

Don't forget that we will have a Homecoming celebration next week in conjunction with the Varsity Soccer game against Maranatha.  All parents, students, alumni, and staff are invited to attend.  At 4 pm, we will launch our first annual Golf Cart Parade.  Every grade has been given a golf cart to decorate according to a specific theme, and the parade will occur in the parking lot and frontage road in front of the school.  Everyone who attends the soccer game will receive a ticket to vote on the float that they find least disturbing--err, I mean "best in show."  The winning grade will receive something fantastic for their class trip in the spring.  At 6:30 pm, following the game, we will host a carnival on the back patio with walking tacos and ice cream.  The event will finish by 8 pm.  I hope you can come out to support our athletes and have some fun!

To accomodate Homecoming festivities, please plan to pick up your child before 3:45 pm on Friday 15th unless students are going to stay for the events.  And if you want to attend the parade, you will need to be parked before 3:45 pm.  The parking lot will be closed off from 3:45 to 4:15 pm.

We were very excited to learn that our new 6th Grader Lily Weiss was one of a handful of young students to be selected to join the Sun-Maid's Board of Imagination, an elite group of children who will collaborate "to provide input and help make decisions about the company's innovations."  As part of this honor, Lily earns a scholarship, and Sun-Maid will be making a generous donation to Lily's school (that's us!) as well as providing us with a year's supply of healthy snacks.  Good job Lily and thank you!

By Student Senate decree, next week is the much-anticipated fall Spirit Week.  Expect your child to walk out the door in slightly "unusual" apparel.  Well...maybe not that different than usual based on what I see each morning on the front steps.  Here are the themes:
Monday: Barbenheimer
Tuesday: Adam Sandler
Wednesday: Tropical vs Winter
Thursday: Rhyme Without Reason
Friday: Seabury Spirit

I sent out a survey to parents, faculty, and students yesterday regarding holidays that families observe, and several parents told me that the Google form was not giving them permission to submit.  My apologies on that.  Sometimes the mysterious workings of everyday technology leads me to pointedly SMH moments.  I don't like frustrating people!  I think parents with Yahoo accounts were the ones hitting a wall, and I changed the document settings that might be the problem.  If you had trouble with the survey and want to try again, please feel free to do so here.  

Eutin, Germany is one of Lawrence's sister cities, and our students are periodically invited to participate in a student exchange program. Ken Albrecht is Chair of the Friends of Eutin (as well as being a former Seabury parent and board member), and he has let me know that 12 German students will be coming to Lawrence on September 22nd (staying until October 12th) and that they still need three host families.  If you would be interested in hosting at least one of these students (and they would attend Seabury classes during this time), please contact Stephen Arbeau at

We have had many students and staff out sick in these last few weeks, and there is some evidence that the new COVID strain is making its rounds.  I have had a few parents ask about the school's health policy, and I have created a one page document for easy reference (see the attachment).  We are obviously in a better place than we were at the start of the pandemic thanks to vaccinations and so many people having had COVID already.  Still, there are still many people who are at risk of significant health issues related to COVID or, indeed, the flu, and these illnesses can be very disruptive to work (for students and staff).  For that reason, I reminded students that they should stay home if they are feeling notably sick.  That doesn't mean a headache or a stray cough.  I think we all know when we have a true illness.  It is difficult to create policy that speaks to every situation, collection of symptoms, or specific illness, so I expect parents and students to be thoughtful and to simply use common sense.  Please remember that under no circumstances may a person be on campus with a fever, and they may not return to campus until 24 hours after the fever has abated without the aid of medication.

As much as I am grateful that we are no longer under a mask mandate, I think it is common courtesy for a person to wear a mask when they feel unwell and are around other people.  That is just being sensible.  Also, based on my considerable experience at school, antigen COVID tests often do not pick up the illness until several days into symptoms.  Please encourage your children to follow this basic step to protect the rest of the community--and to treat this no differently than covering their mouths when they cough.  We have masks available in the office for students should they ever need one.  Please don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.

Have a great weekend and enjoy the cooler weather!
Dr. Schawang


* Fri 1st: Picture Day
The Rave (Fall School Dance), 8-10 pm

* Mon 4th: Labor Day--NO SCHOOL

* Tue 5th: Girls MS VBall @ Cair Paravel Latin School: B-Team 4:30, A-Team 5:30 pm
Boys MS Soccer vs. Maranatha Christian Academy @ BSA, 5 pm
Girls Vars VBall @ Veritas Christian School, 5 & 7 pm

* Wed 6th: MS XC @ Haskell Indian Nations University, 3:30 pm

* Thurs 7th: Boys MS Soccer @ Heritage Christian Academy, 4:30 pm
Girls VBall @ Heritage Christian Academy: JV 4:30, Vars 5:30 pm
Boys Vars Soccer vs. KC Christian @ JCCC, 6:45 pm

* Sat 9th: Vars XC @ Wamego High School, 9 am

* Sun 10th: Spring Break Trip Meeting, 3-4 pm

Dear Parents,

I hope your children have a good time at the school dance tonight.  I know they really enjoy this event every year.  Please remember that students should be picked up by 10 pm (except student senators who will help with clean-up).

We have been planning Homecoming 2023 in conjunction with the boys varsity soccer game on Friday, September 15, and we hope you will plan to join us for this fun school wide event!  Starting at 4 pm, we will host our first annual Golf Cart Float Parade on the frontage road, featuring golf carts decorated exquisitely by each grade of students.  Our varsity soccer team will take on Maranatha, and at halftime we will announce which grade will win first place and a prize that is appropriately fantastic.  Carnival fun and food will directly follow the soccer game on the back patio!  Mark your calendars now for a great time!

Spring is a long way away, but we are already planning the next Spring Break International Trip.  This year, the destination is France.  Madam Buckner will be hosting an informational meeting with students on the 10th.

As you have probably heard me say previously, one of many negative outcomes from the pandemic was a diminishment in parent socialization.  During the school year, we host events (curriculum night, convocation, games, performances, and even the relaxed dinner or drinks on Mass St. during the winter formal) where parents have the opportunity to come together and strengthen relationships.  In my experience, children benefit significantly from having not only an engaged but also a close-knit parent community.  To help achieve this outcome, class captains from each grade will be organizing a grade level meeting sometime in the fall.  Once you hear from your class captain, I hope you will put the date on your calendar and plan to attend.  It would be helpful to have at least one if not both parents attending their respective gathering.  And, more than anything, I hope you have fun!

Have a great Labor Day weekend, and we will see the students on Tuesday!
Dr. Schawang


* Sat 26th: Girls Vars VBall Tournament @ McLouth, 9 am

* Sun 27th: Senior Retreat, 5-9 pm

* Mon 28th: Boys Vars Soccer vs. St. Mary's Academy @ BSA, 5 pm

* Tue 29th: Girls Vars VBall @ Marais Des Cygnes Valley HS, 5 pm

* Thurs 31st: Vars XC @ Wyandotte County Park, 4 pm
Boys Soccer vs. Northeast Kansas Homeschool Athletic @ BSA: Vars 4:30, MS 6 pm
Girls MS VBall vs. Summit Christian Academy @ BSA: B-Team 5:30, A-Team 6:30 pm

* Fri 1st: Picture Day
The Rave (Fall School Dance), 8-10 pm

Dear Parents,

Thank you for taking time out of your busy week to attend Curriculum Night yesterday.  It is always great to see parents in our hallways.  I hope you were impressed with the course offerings that your children will be enjoying this year.

As the Week Ahead calendar reflects, our athletes enter into competition next week.  They have been working hard these last few weeks, including cross-country runners and soccer players who have had some very early mornings to stay ahead of the heat.  I admire the work ethic of these young athletes, and I encourage you to come out when possible to see and support them in action.

School pictures for all students will be taken on Friday next week.  Because we use senior pictures for graduation purposes, seniors need to wear a dark jacket, a white dress shirt, and a tie or a nice black dress or blouse.  Consult the attached flyer from Jostens--especially the warning that your children not wear green, as the green screen the photographers use will otherwise turn your children into floating heads.  (That actually sounds quite amusing until you have to live with those yearbook photos....)

Our Student Senate will host a Back-to-School dance for all students next Friday from 8 to 10 pm.  There is a $5.00 entrance fee, and the funds raised will underwrite student events like Palooza and Winter Formal.  Students may bring one guest but will be responsible for that guest's behavior.  We will need several parent chaperones to help out that evening.  If interested, please email Mr. Whipple at  The dance will be held in the commons area of the school.  I always feel the need to instruct our new parents that our school dances are not the clumsy, unfortunate adolescent mating rituals you may remember from your youth.  Try to picture a collection of sugar-injected students bouncing up and down for several hours...that is a Seabury dance.  Our dance code of conduct form is attached as well as the guest form.  I hope the kids have a good time.

Kaylin Dillon (Class of '06) has been the President of our Alumni Association for six years, and I want to thank her for her service to our school.  As she steps down from that role, Ashley Zeller (Class of '06) will be our new Alumni President.  I am looking forward to working with Ashley in the coming years!

I mentioned to our students yesterday that part of being a human being (and a thoughtful one) is awareness of those around us.  One of the simplest demonstrations of that awareness is being aware of people behind us as we enter a building or a classroom.  Visitors to Seabury often comment with a certain degree of wonder at how our students hold open doors for others, a very distinctive Seabury trait.  I trust they are doing so out in the world as well--including for you!

Have a good weekend and, hopefully, some cooler weather!
Dr. Schawang


* Sun 20th: New Parent Orientation, 4-5:30 pm
Optional Schoology orientation session for ALL parents, 3:30-4 pm

* Thurs 24th: Curriculum Night, 7-9 pm  (Optional parent mixer @ 6:30 pm)

* Fri 25th: Senior Retreat, 5-9 pm

* Sat 26th: Girls Vars VBall Tournament @ McLouth, 9 am

Dear Parents,

I know you get a lot of emails, so the Friday Letter is one method I use to reduce some of the glut of communication.  I will assume that all parents will read these letters each week, as information here may not be repeated elsewhere.  To create ease in reading, I bold-face the topics in each paragraph.  On occasion, I will have a topic to discuss.

On Sunday, we will host our New Parent Orientation in the Commons from 4-5:30 pm.  New families, I hope that you can have at least one parent in attendance.  After a presentation from me, we will use an open house format with various tables so you can focus on getting the information you need.  Parents who already have children at Seabury (in addition to a new student) do not need to attend, but you are welcome!

Prior to the New Parent Orientation, we will host a Schoology orientation from 3:30-4 pm for all parents (new and veteran) who would appreciate a tutorial session on our academic management platform.  This is also an opportunity to ask any questions.  Thanks to our 7th grade English teacher Jenny Simpson for running the presentation.

Thursday evening is Curriculum Night. This will be your opportunity to follow your student’s schedule, meet their teachers, and learn about course work.  Parents often tell me this is one of the most important experiences of the year, and my favorite comment from parents is always the same: “I wish I had these classes when I was in school.”  We will also have an optional parent mixer at 6:30 pm on that evening, giving you time to have an adult beverage and wander the hallways.  I hope you can attend.  I will send more info next week prior to the event.

Kansas summer heat will be back next week.  To protect our athletes, we are temporarily rescheduling these Middle School practices:
Mon 21:
XC: 7-8 pm
Tue 22:
Soccer: 6:45-7:45 am
Wed 23:
XC: 6:45-7:45 am
Soccer: 6:45-7:45 am
Thurs 24:
Soccer: 7-8 pm
Fri 25:
XC: 7-7:45 am

We have implemented a new weekly academic schedule, which involves the usual 8-period day (typically on Monday) followed by a rotation of four 75-minute block classes on Tuesday-Friday.  We have been wanting to renovate the former schedule for many years in order to capitalize on its strengths and remove its limitations, and after two years of development and a successful pilot week last year, we have rolled out a schedule that accomplishes all of our goals.  Yesterday afternoon, I surveyed students at the lunch table and in the hallways about the schedule, and they seemed unanimously enthusiastic ( much as I can expect from a student about an academic schedule).  In the future, when we have altered weeks with fewer than five days of classes (Labor Day weekend is on the horizon), I will indicate in the Week Ahead which days will be 8-period and which will be 4-period.  Since students receive the Friday Letter (and no doubt read every word of it), they will be able to plan accordingly.

I hope your children can get some rest over the weekend.  Next week is the first full week back, and that is when the adrenaline wears off, and we have to adapt to a new rhythm...and some ridiculous heat.

Yours respectfully,
Dr. Schawang

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