Parent Allies Meeting Minutes

Please find the minutes from each Parent Allies meeting below.



February 7, 2018 Meeting

The meeting opened with Alison Simas introducing Claudia Barcomb, Director of Athletics and Afternoon Programs. Claudia introduced herself and told us about her past education and employment. Claudia has a fantastic past of attending Groton then continuing her education at Harvard University where she played both ice hockey and lacrosse. She was an assistant coach at Harvard University for five years and then a head coach at Kimball Union for eight years for ice hockey.

After a strong recruiting effort by former Director of Athletics and Afternoon Programs Roberta McLain, she left KUA to come to Governor’s. Claudia then addressed many questions about the athletics program. Questions were asked about the requirement of having students that have no interest in sports having to play on team sports. Claudia explained that Governor’s feels that what is gained by being part of a team and pushing yourself to try something new and different that might not be comfortable is a very important part of being at the school and that this requirement will most likely not change. In order to help with this, Governor’s offers the choice of many sports and many levels of these sports.

The question was raised about recruitment of athletes and the process in admissions. Claudia explained that they are very interested in the child, their academics, and the general fit of each child at Governor’s. Each coach can put in names of players that they are interested in and the hope is that when they are put into the admission pool it all works out, and sometimes it does. Due to Governor’s not offering athletic scholarships it can be, at times, hard to compete in some sports but Govs has no intention of changing admission criteria. Some people asked about adding new sports, strength and conditioning, and more room on teams. Claudia addressed this by saying they are always trying to come up with new innovative ideas but some are very challenging due to space limitations and funding. This does not mean changes will not occur but they will take much thought and consideration. Claudia did a fantastic job speaking with us and addressing the many concerns of parents.  

Allies Business: Stephanie Ginsberg reports our current balance in our account is $21,984.10. The sale of the necklaces has brought in approximately $1,700 this year. A big thank you was given to Terri Bashaw for running an excellent winter carnival on Saturday night. Dari Dee gave an update on the most recent PIN meeting she attended. Alison Simas encouraged anyone who was interested to sign up to chair a committee or grab a board position. She stated the Allies are always looking for new volunteers and new ideas.  

Announcements were made about Winter Family Weekend and March Break. The next Allies meeting is Wednesday, April 11 and our speaker will be Danielle Kingsbury, Director of Affective Education and Resident Nurse. Minutes taken by Alison Simas, Allies Chair          

January 10, 2018 Meeting

The meeting opened with Debbie Pike introducing Mike Moonves to the group. Mike retired from the Academy in 2009 after 40 years of service. Mike spoke about the annual golf tournament in his name that the Academy holds each fall. The event proceeds go to support the Michael A. Moonves endowed scholarship fund for financial aid. In the past, Allies members have volunteered at this fun event and he hopes that we will continue to do so as well as participate in it- anyone who enjoys playing golf. The day typically ends with a cocktail party and fabulous raffle gifts. The event will be held on September 17 at the Kernwood Country Club in Salem, MA. More details to come!

The second guest speaker this month was faculty member Marcus Soule. Marcus is a Physics and Engineering teacher in his third year at the Academy. Marcus gave us some insight to his becoming a teacher and his road to working at The Governor’s Academy. He is a strong believer in the project-based approach to learning. He enjoys guiding his students through difficult problems where they must “push through” to find solutions. Marcus is a leader in several ongoing projects at the Academy. He spoke to us about the Beehive project which began a few years ago on campus. The beehives are monitored fully by a group of students throughout the year. The students were most recently responsible for building a solar battery for the hive which aids in retrieval of data from the hive. The hive is producing honey as well, which has been gathered and sold on campus at different times during the year.

Marcus is also involved in the Robotics program on campus. This afternoon activity has become very popular and has grown over the last couple years. It now has two teams which have gone to competitions and done well.

A more recent project that Marcus oversees is the building of a campus greenhouse. The foundation has been built with students involved with the whole process. The walls are ready to be put up. This will be a wonderful space for projects and learning by many groups. 

Allies Business: 

Treasurer Stephanie Ginsberg gave her report and stated that the sale of necklaces and keychains has been successful and will continue throughout the year.

Terri Bashaw commented on the Winter Carnival which will take place on Saturday night, February 3 in the Rink from 7:00 - 10:00 p.m. This year it will have a Superbowl theme. Go Pats!

Debbie Pike reported on the upcoming winter break. It begins after classes on Friday, January 26.  Classes resume on Wednesday, January 31.  Boarders must return to the dorms by Tuesday, January 30 at 9:00 p.m.

Winter Family Weekend is February 16-19. Parents/guardians may attend classes with their students on Friday, January 16.  A full schedule of events is posted on the website, here.

The next Allies meeting will be held on Wednesday, February 7. The speaker for the meeting will be Claudia Barcomb. She is the new Director of Athletics and Afternoon Programs.

Minutes taken and submitted by: Debbie Pike

December 6, 2017 Meeting

Laurie Quimby welcomed the Allies group and introduced the Dining Service Staff. These talented chefs provided a lovely cooking and baking demonstration for the group. The meeting was well attended.

Alison Simas, Allies Chair, conducted the business portion of the meeting. She provided a reminder that exam survival kits would be assembled Friday, December 6 and volunteers are welcome to help. The Candlelight service will be held Sunday, December 10 in the Chapel with a formal dinner to follow in the dining hall.

The next Allies meeting will be held January, 10 at 10:00 a.m. in Mansion House. The guest speaker will be Marcus Soule, Physics and Engineering teacher.

Submitted by Kim Glendon, Allies Secretary

November 8, 2017 Meeting

Alison Simas, Allies Chair, introduced students organizing the Ozzie’s Kids annual holiday gift fundraiser for those at risk in our greater community. If families would like to help, you will be given a child’s name and age in order to provide a new coat and five additional gifts. Please see the Governor’s Call for more information.

Alison then introduced Jed Wartman, Dean of Students. Jed began his presentation with comments regarding the recent power outage. He was grateful boarding students had homes to go to by the second evening of the outage. The Govs community pulled together to help one another during a crisis.

This is Jed’s second year at the Academy. He was motivated to make the switch from higher education to a secondary school in order to help make this important journey with kids. He discussed the importance of expressing care for the students – if kids feel cared for and supported, they will grow and learn more. The Dean’s Office helps to connect the many ways in in which the school cares for the students. They also help engage the students in various aspects of Academy life. There is a strategic plan for students at Govs. It is a four-year plan regarding what kids should be learning in and out of the classroom. There is a clear vision for student life – encouraging kids to make community contributions and providing opportunities for students to reflect on who they are. Some specifics of the four-year plan include: For 9th grade, students should be working on their own self-awareness, asking questions, the art of curiosity and finding their own voice. For 10th grade, students continue growing in all of the above areas while deepening self-awareness. They start to expand now that they are comfortable. Hope is that they “push that horizon.” For 11th grade, includes all of the above in addition to getting in some leadership work. Asking students at this point, “what do you care enough about to lead?” Finally, 12th grade focuses on integrity. What is the best version of each student, and how will they bring this best version into the next phase?

Jed discussed the positive changes to the school’s opening this fall which was a direct response to meeting the needs of all 9th grade students. The advising program now has a specific agenda for Friday advisory group. Jed also mentioned some “inside scoop” about a software program the Academy is exploring to streamline the documentation of short absences by students. Jed took questions from several parents. Two students are in need of a home for Thanksgiving. Parents may reach out to Jed if they are able to accommodate. In closing, Jed indicated he always welcomes feedback from parents about what the school can do better.

Treasurer Stephanie Ginsberg gave the Treasurer’s report and stated the Colby Davis necklace and key chain fundraiser has been very profitable. There is currently an ending balance of $20,053.

Alison concluded the meeting with a discussion of business items: offered a thank you to all those who supported Cardinal and White Day, helped with Halloween candy bags, and made donations to the Allies fund. Alison gave a brief summary of the PIN meeting she attended with Carolyn McInnis. The next PIN meeting is on November 17 at Dana Hall. Exam Survival Kits will be assembled on Friday, December 8 – volunteers are welcome. Please contact Debbie Pike or Michelle Mullen if you can help. The next Allies meeting will be held on Wednesday, December 6 at 10:00 a.m. David Alonzi will provide his annual cooking demonstration.

Submitted by Kim Glendon, Allies Secretary

October 4, 2017 Meeting

Allies president, Alison Simas introduced Elaine White, Academic Dean. Elaine discussed the upcoming Fall Weekend. She indicated the kids are settling in and academics have started. She extended an invitation for parents to reach out to the Academic Office at any any time. She also mentioned parents are welcome to reach out to teachers and advisors as well if there are any concerns. Academic warnings will be released on Friday, October 6. Students are encouraged to reach out to the learning center for any/all extra help. Math help is available Sunday through Friday, both day and night. There are special six week independent seminars on campus; Amazon Effect this fall and How to Craft Legislation this winter.

The Academic Office encourages kids to look outside academics to find their interests. Elaine discussed how they try to match boarding students with dorm parents for advisory assignments. The first year is simply a best guess and a hopeful match. However students should feel free to change second year if they feel someone else is a better match. The school strives to get kids as much interaction with adults as possible – it’s a journey together with faculty, kids, and parents. The Catalyst program was also discussed – it is mostly for juniors. There will be an all school email sent out regarding opportunities and February interviews. Lastly, Elaine discussed community service. Service should be kid driven and students keep track of their own hours. Some examples include: Special Olympics and Diabetes Walk. Service is done during the summer and over holidays. Possibly, there will be a Relay for Life in the spring.

Jane Piatelli spoke about the Campaign Launch Event – With True Courage on Saturday, October 21 in the field house. Parents are encouraged to register.

Allies Treasurer reported an ending balance of $19,278.25.

Allies business items included: book sale during Family Weekend – volunteers are needed. Cardinal & White Day is on Saturday, October 7. There will be athletic events, open rehearsals, and a performance. The Allies will have a table to sell Colby Davis necklaces.

A sign-up Genius has been sent out seeking volunteers for Halloween activities. The junior parent party is scheduled for November 18 at the Alibrandi home. The first year parent party is scheduled for November 11 at the Nadeau home. Lorri Hayes presented for Special Olympics as sponsors are needed. Please watch for an email with the details.

The next meeting will be held Wednesday, November 8 at 10:00 a.m. in Mansion House. Jed Wartman will be the guest speaker.

Minutes were taken by Alison Simas, Allies president and submitted by Kim Glendon, Allies Secretary 

September 13, 2017 Meeting

Alison Simas, Allies Chair, opened the first Allies meeting of the school year. Alison gave an explanation of the Allies’ purpose. All are welcomed to participate. There are always numerous volunteer opportunities. Alison proceeded to introduce Dr. Peter Quimby.

Dr. Quimby welcomed the group and highlighted important aspects of the Allies role at the Academy. He discussed the relevance of this partnership and thanked the group for the many ways in which the Allies support the students. Dr. Quimby discussed how all new students were brought back to school on the same day this year. His sense from all those involved is that this new change went well for the students. He also highlighted that we are in the leadership phase of the capital campaign. The big launch event is October 21, 2017, and we’ll continue to hear more elements of the campaign. Dr. Quimby discussed that there have been various curricular expansions. Parents then had an opportunity to ask questions.

An introduction of Allies officers and committee chairs was given by Alison. Each committee chair offered a brief explanation of their committee role. Committees include: PIN Coordinator, Haunted Hallway, Exam Survival Kits, Winter Carnival, Communication, Admissions Volunteer Program, Parents of the Arts, and Library Table.

Amy Swiniarski, Director of Alumni Relations, spoke about the annual upcoming Mooves Golf Tournament. This tournament raises scholarship money for students. It will be held on Monday, September 25, 2017. Volunteers are needed.

Jane Piatelli, Director of Parent Programs, echoed Dr. Quimby thank you to the Parent Allies group. She specifically thanked the group of parent volunteers who wrote notes to new families before the start of the school year. She also thanked Laurie Quimby for graciously opening her home for the remaining Allies meetings. Jane welcomes parent volunteers for help with the Governor’s Fund.

Alison conducted the business portion of the meeting. She thanked the Luff family for hosting the senior parent party. The junior class party will be held at the Alibrandi home on November 4. The sophomore class party will be held at the Zaffari on September 29. The freshman class party will be held at the Nadeau home either late October or early November. Volunteer sign-up sheets were displayed – there are many opportunities to volunteer. Specifically, many volunteers are needed for the Haunted Hallway on October 31. Help is also needed to fill the candy bags on October 30. Fall family weekend is on October 6 and 7.

Next Allies meeting is on Wednesday, October 4 at 10:00 a.m. at the Mansion House. Elaine White, Academic Dean, will be the guest speaker.

Submitted by:

Kim Glendon, Allies Secretary

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