Parent Allies Meeting Minutes

Please find the minutes from each Parent Allies meeting below.



September 12, 2018 Meeting

Welcome comments: Debbie Pike, Allies co-president 

Allies Board Introduction: Debbie Pike, Carolyn McInnis, Susan Spaulding, Kristin Barrett, Terri Bashaw, and Stephanie Ginsberg

Speaker: Dr. Peter H. Quimby ’85, P’14, eighth year as Head of School

Dr. Quimby shared the welcome remarks that he gave to staff and faculty prior to the start of school.

In addition he stated that the Capital campaign received 15.2 million in donations last year with the overall total at 42 million. There are three years left in the campaign with the goal of reaching 75 million in donations.

Last year there were 1,008 applications for admission for the school which is the most ever in a single year. We are dedicated to attract and yield the most qualified applicants and have hired a marketing firm out of NY to assist with marketing and branding. We want to convey what it means to be a member of the Governor's community.

Our dining hall is the only school in New England with a 3-star rating from the Green Restaurant Organization. We are continuing to strive to be environmentally responsible.

Our classrooms in the science department are performing hands on field work. Our vision for the whole department is that we will focus on two themes - water and sustainability. Our math department for the past two years has piloted the reverse classroom. We will continue to focus on computer science. Our language department has been reorganizing the curriculum and expanding immersion opportunities. Our art department continues to be successful year after year as seen by the number of students that win National and Boston Globe Scholastic awards in ceramics, photography and art portfolios as well as writing. Our English and History departments are helping students understand parts of the world, discover truths, and engage in civil discussions on various topics.

Our faculty have begun to start the process of what comes next after the 7 Essential Skills, embedding them and now reflecting and expanding upon them. We most importantly are training our student leaders for tomorrow.

Update on the Student Center: Approximately half of the money has been raised but we still need 2 million more by the end of the year. The center will go from 9,000 sq. ft to 14,000 sq. ft. There will be an enclosed courtyard, a grill open on the weekends in the evenings, locker and shower facilities for day students. 

Deb Pike spoke about the Colby Davis necklace fundraiser for the Allies. They are a great gift for students, alumni, and parents. The income from these sales go directly to the programs that the Allies provide for students.

Director of Human Resources Yvonne Abenante has requested that all volunteers get CORI / SORI checks. You may print these off from the Parent Portal.

Amy Swiniarski discussed the Moonves Golf Tournament. Volunteers are needed to help out. Amy stated that she and Jane Piatelli are available to be a support and resource for families.

Watch for class parent gatherings coming up in the next few weeks. They will be listed in the Governor’s Call.

The Junior class parents have a chat app. If you would like more information contact Greice Zaffari. 

Next meeting: October 3, 2018 at 10:00 am in the Mansion House. The Guest Speaker will be Elaine White, Academic Dean & Assistant Head of School

October 3, 2018 Meeting

Welcome comments: Debbie Pike Allies Co-President

Guest speaker: Elaine White, Academic Dean and Assistant Head of School

Elaine had just returned from morning Chapel where the Academy students, typically seniors, speak once a week to share something personal, humorous or emotional with the rest of the student body.

Elaine also discussed the upcoming family weekend and the role of the adults on campus. She stated that the teachers and faculty are here to provide support to the students and parents. She encouraged all that had not signed up on “Pick a Time” to schedule with their child’s teachers (ten minute meeting). If you need longer than ten minutes she suggested to follow up later in the day if time allowed or the following week. Academic warnings will be posted on October 5, 2018 at 4:00 p.m. on the Parent Portal. If your child has a C+ or lower in a class you will be notified. If you or your child feel that they need more support, their first line of defense should be the teacher during common free time or X block. The Learning Center is also available 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. as well as two evenings per week. In addition, Maud Hamovit is there two evenings a week and Mr. Quigley has his own writing lab two nights a week, one period a day, and by appointment. Math help is available on Mondays and Wednesdays as well. She stressed that seeking different teachers for extra help is also a good option.

  • Always feel like you can drop in, email, or call regarding your child.
  • In response to questions: Elaine explained that homework is not posted for parents because they feel that students need to be responsible for their work. All teachers are required to post homework for the week ahead of time. There should be no surprises on Sunday night.
  • Dorm time study halls are as follows: 9th graders until 10:00 p.m., 10th graders until 10:30 p.m., and 11the and 12th graders until 11:00 p.m.

Business Meeting

Treasurers report - $17,000

Colby Davis fundraiser continues- all proceeds go directly to the Allies Account.

Library Book sale - We need three more volunteers. The sale takes place on Grandparents day, Parents weekend and Cardinal and White Day.

PIN Meeting: The last meeting was on “Anxiety in Teens.” 25 % of teens have anxiety, 80% of that number are not being treated. The meeting went over how to recognize signs, and some helpful tips.

Haunted Hallway Donations: Looking for volunteers for the filling of candy bags for the kids as well as donations of candy. There will be a cauldron in Phillips to put your candy donations. The event will take place on Halloween day- Wednesday, October 31.

Parent Pot Lucks:

October 6 - Sophomore Class at the Fahey’s

October 20 - Senior Class at the Preece’s

November 3- Junior Class at the Flammia’s

November 10- 9th grade Class at the Farrell’s

Next Allies meeting: Wednesday November 7. Speakers will be Learning Specialist Brigitta Allen and English Department Chair Karen Gold discussing Community Service.

November 7, 2018 Meeting

Welcome comments: Debbie Pike

Guest speaker: Brigitta Allen, Learning Specialist and Karen Gold, English Department Chair

Student Dani Aftandilian spoke about Ozzie’s Kids. This is a program in which the Governor’s Academy community - advisory groups, parents, teachers, and individual families sponsor children from the Haverhill area who might not otherwise receive any gifts during the holiday season. Ozzie is a retired Haverhill police officer who initiated this program many years ago for underprivileged families and over the past couple of years, The Governor’s Academy has become the number one sponsor. Last year we had 100 children that we helped. If you become a sponsor we ask that you give five gifts plus a winter coat. The jacket must be unwrapped and we ask that the remainder of the gifts are wrapped with a label on them identifying the number of the child that you have committed to. Please no gifts that require batteries or electronics.

Karen Gold - English Department Chair, Community Service

All students are required to fulfill 100 hours of community service by the time they graduate. There are many opportunities on campus such as Ozzie’s Kids, Special Olympics, Relay for Life, and Red Cross blood drives. Other opportunities do come up and are mentioned at morning meetings. The Academy also has a strong connection with The Boys and Girls Club in Salisbury.

Brigitta Allen, Learning Specialist

  • Brigitta is available Monday through Thursday nights for tutoring in the library. The tutoring is often strategy based. It is on a first come, first served basis. Students need to advocate for themselves. Ninth and tenth graders often visit just to do work.
  • Peer tutors are also available during PA block and evenings for all subjects and all languages. Bill Quigley also offers a writing lab for support that students can schedule 30 minute blocks specifically with him.
  • Betty Paszko is our math specialist and she is available Monday and Wednesday 6:00 -7:30 p.m. as well as Wednesday from 12:30 -1:30 p.m. and Thursday and Friday during PA block.
  • Supervised study halls occur Sunday through Thursday. It is capped at 15 students per quarter and meets in the library.
  • Learning labs meet with Belle Struck, Art Department Chair for art in Kaiser or in Wilkie for music.
  • Brigitta also discussed peer tutor requirements. Being a head peer tutor is considered a leadership role - the position requires a lot of time to schedule and receive emails from students. They then match the student with appropriate tutors. To become a peer tutor, a student must apply and get a teacher recommendation. Head peer tutors are selected by a separate application and recommendation process.

Treasurer Report:

The purpose of the Allies is not to fund raise but to provide events and education to enhance our community. With that said we have approximately $17,000 on hand and will continue with our Colby Davis (custom made for the Academy) necklace and keychain sales all year. They make great holiday gifts. 

Library Book Sale:

Patti Cohen reported that $650 was raised over Cardinal and White day for the library. Two volunteers are needed for Grandfriends Day in April.

Haunted Hallway:

Thank you to Joye Preece for her many years of organizing the Haunted Hallway. This was Joye’s last year but the tradition will continue next year so please consider volunteering. This is one of the most fun events that occurs on campus.

Thanksgiving Break:

Break begins mid-day on Friday, November 16 and classes resume on Tuesday November 27.

PIN Meeting:

The next meeting is November 30 at Milton Academy. The topic is addictive technology and begins at 9:30 a.m.

Exam Kits:

Exam week is December 10 - 14. We will shop for the kits on Thursday, December 6. All are welcome to help put the kits together on the back of the dining hall on Friday, December 7 from 9:00 a.m. and they will be distributed after that around lunch time.

Next Allies meeting: The next Allies Meeting will take place December 5 when David Alonzi, Director of Auxiliary Services will perform a cooking demonstration with his head chef and pastry chef. Come learn some new appetizers and desserts for the holidays!

December 5, 2018 Meeting

Welcome comments: Debbie Pike

Guest speakers: Pastry chef Jessica Seguin and Head Chef Chuck Nishan

Annual Holiday Meeting 
Chuck instructed all in attendance on how to make a savory bread pudding with caramelized onions, peppers, prosciutto, spinach, roasted red peppers, and cheese. All were able to taste test his creation.

Jessica, who normally prepares 40 dozen cookies, 20 loaves of banana bread, and 12 dozen muffins a day demonstrated how to prepare and decorate a Yule Log. Again, lucky attendees were able to taste test her delicious creation.

Business meeting:
*Friday, December 7: exam kits will be prepared in the dining hall at 9:00 a.m.
*Saturday, December 8: the Holiday Concert in the Wilkie Center will begin at 7:30 p.m.
*Sunday, December 9: the Candlelight Service in the chapel begins at 4:30 p.m. followed by the holiday feast in the dining hall.
* The school store will be open on Sunday with cookies and cocoa.
* Winter break will begin on Friday, December 14 at 1:00 p.m. and boarders will need to return on January 2, 2019 by 9:00 p.m.

The next meeting will be January 9, 2019 with guest speaker Lisa Borgatti, AP Environmental Science teacher.

January 9, 2019 Meeting

Welcome comments: Debbie Pike

Guest speaker: Lisa Borgatti, Science Teacher

  • Lisa Borgatti has taught Chemistry, Biology, and Environmental Science at the Academy. She is a coach for soccer, lacrosse, and indoor track and a dorm parent for Nannie B. Her background has included working at a chemistry lab, as well as being a teacher at Phillips Andover, the Pike School and finally at Govs where she hopes to stay "forever". She is raising her children on campus and enjoying the boundless opportunities to follow her passion in environmental science, imparting her wisdom on to the next generation.
  • Lisa described multiple environmental endeavors that she and the students have been participating in. Some of these tasks and accomplishments have include not only students preparing for and succeeding at the AP exam but also students making their own bread from wheat they planted and harvested, to making colorful paint with sustainably sourced ingredients, raising chicks from eggs, and designing and building a greenhouse with sustainable methods. She and her students are involved with the Mill River Restoration project, the Govs garden which includes a faculty plot as well as a portion that is solely for the school that was able to produce vegetables that were used in the dining hall for the first four weeks of school this year. She plans on a reduction rivalry competition this year to reduce electricity and hopes to have the AP Environmental Class produce bio fuel in the Spring of 2019 for on-campus use.
  • Lisa has an incredible amount of energy and passion regarding the students, the Govs community and environmental science. She discussed many topics and initiatives including the future classrooms designated to be on the Parker River. 

Allies Business:
* Necklace sales are ongoing and will continue to be sold.
* First semester ends Friday January 25. Students have no school on January 28.
* Parents Weekend is February 15 - 18th. Parents attend classes on the 15th. No school on the 18th.
* The winter musical Little Shop Of Horrors is February 15 and 16.
* The dance show is February 22 and 23.
* Next Meeting will be February 6, 2019 when the College Counseling Department will be the guest speakers.

February 6, 2019 Meeting

Welcome comments: Debbie Pike

Guest speakers: Associate Directors of College Counseling Julia Kobus and Heather Shows

College Counseling meets with all students at the Academy beginning in their first year at the school.

Grades 9 and 10: students meet in groups. Initial counseling focuses on the student’s goals, and introductions to college counseling staff so that all are aware of the resources at Govs. Course selections are discussed as well as summer activities.

Grade 11: students all have individual meetings. There are six meetings in small groups as well for the Junior College Search Seminar. The junior year consists of counseling on aptitude tests, strengths and weaknesses, individual meetings, and mock admissions events. All junior students attend a college fair at Merrimack College, bussing is provided however day students may drive themselves. Parents are also welcome.

Grade 12: students upon arrival back on campus should be well on their way with visits and the common application. This fall 84% of students applied Early Action or Early Admission. February 1 was the last deadline for applications. There have been ongoing interviews by the colleges both alumni and staff on campus throughout the year.

What is the Junior College Seminar?

It is a process in which we try to have students define success and expand upon their ideas. We delve into self-awareness so that they can determine what is right for themselves that will support them, challenge them and allow them to grow. We emphasize that each student’s search is unique and will be different than their friends and classmates. We go over stress management.

Students should contact Julia Kobus in College Counseling regarding scholarship information.

Tidbits from meeting questions:

How many applications per student?

Ideally 10 -12

When are most college acceptances sent out?

Mid to end of March

Deadline to accept?

May 1, however it is mid-May for those on the waitlist.

Financial Aid?

Some schools are need-blind while others are need-aware.

If you have two kids that will be in college at the same time, you may want to apply the first year if you are going to need help later.

What do you do if you are waitlisted?

The student should write a letter of continued interest. The college counselor will be behind the scenes advocating for those students with their contacts at the schools.

What is better- demonstrated interest vs interview?

A lot of schools have stopped doing interviews all together.

What if your child has repeated a year and are being recruited?

NCAA eligibility requirements are four years so they may look at 9th-11th year grades if the student repeated their 11th grade year. They would also probably look at grade 12 English.


PIN Meeting - March 1, 2019 at BB&N. The speaker is Dr. Stuart Albon, topic is Collaborative Problem Solving. Meeting begins at 9:30 am.

Winter Family Weekend: February 15-16.

March Break: Begins Friday May 8 midday

Mass Heartbeat Program: February 7, 2019 on campus. The program provides non-invasive heart screenings for students at a cost of $35.

No meeting in March. April meeting is on the 10th and the guest speaker is Jed Wartman - Dean of Students.

April 10, 2019 Meeting

Welcome comments: Debbie Pike

Guest speakers: Dean of Students Jed Wartman, Associate Dean of Students Mike Lefebvre, Director of Affective Education Danielle Kingsbury, and Director of Student Activities & Ninth Grade Dean Faith Kagwa

Jed began the discussion by talking about the recent Accepted Student Days that were held. He added that this time of year has great optimism and possibilities on campus as a new academy president was elected - Adeliza '19, new dorm proctors are being selected as well as orientation leaders. He reviewed successful new endeavors from this year as well as challenges from the year.

Discussion ensued with all of the deans and parents present regarding demands placed on students in this day and age and our roles to assist our children with the pressures placed upon them. Conversation continued regarding choices and consequences regarding societal pressures such as vaping and social media on campus.

Allies Business:
Betsy Farrell who is on the Governor’s Golf Committee highlighted the upcoming tournament on September 16 at Kernwood Country Club in Salem, MA. This tournament is held each year in support of the Michael A. Moonves Endowed Scholarship Fund for Financial Aid. Golfers and volunteers are needed for this fun event. There are fantastic prizes to be won at the tournament as well. Alumni, parents, and friends are all welcome.

Relay for Life will be held this weekend at the track and will end at 1:00 a.m. Please plan to pick up your student if he/she is a day student at that time or if they have a junior operating license and are unable to drive home at that hour. The Cookie Monstah truck will be there providing gourmet ice cream sandwiches and there will be grilling going on as well. Please come to support this cause.

Grandparents and Grandfriends Day is April 26, 2019. A table will be set up for Library Book sponsors on this day by the Allies. Governor’s necklaces and pendants will also be available for purchase.

Senior Skip Day - seniors head to Fenway Park for the baseball game on Marathon Monday.

Volunteer positions are available for the Allies for next year.

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