Resiliency Stressed at PA Meeting

Rana Chudnofsky

Rana Chudnofsky speaks during a PA meeting on Tuesday, October 25, 2016.

Don’t forget to breath!

Rana Chudnofsky, M.Ed., director of Resilient Youth Programming at the Benson-Henry Institute’s Resilient Schools Program, led a workshop in mindfulness and stress reduction techniques with parents and administration during the second Parents Association meeting of the year on Tuesday, October 25.

Faculty at Derby Academy recently participated in the Benson-Henry Institute’s Resilient Schools Program, a research-based program that helps faculty and students gain control of stressors, thereby reducing student stress, teacher burnout, and promoting a positive school climate.

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Upcoming D Team Service Dates

The Derby Team (D Team) is a collaborative effort between Derby Academy Administration and the Parent’s Association to increase involvement in community service among the student body.

The first D Team upper school event at Father Bill’s, a homeless shelter in Quincy servicing both men and women, is fast approaching!  During this visit the students will prepare and serve dinner to the residents of the shelter. Student volunteers who are not able to attend the visit are needed to bake dessert which will be served with the meal.  This is a unique opportunity to have direct contact with the residents and hopefully will have a lasting impact on both the providers and recipients of the service.

The first two event dates at Father Bill’s are:
Friday, October 7, 2016
Friday, November 4, 2016 

Seventh and eighth grade parents, please look for the forthcoming email(s) with information and a link to sign up for this event.  Dates fill up quickly so don’t hesitate if your child is interested in participating.  Please contact Lara Thompson at or 978-618-8597 with any questions.
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PA Announces Slate for ’16-’17 School Year

The Derby Academy Parents Association has announced it’s slate for the 2016-2017 School Year. Thank you to all the members who help make a difference in the students’ lives – your support of the school continues to enrich all that Derby has to offer. We’re excited to see what the coming year will bring!

Parents Association 2016-2017

Executive Team
President: Lori Cashman
Vice President: Naz deLaar
Secretary: Bette Ferris
Treasurer: Gia Ramza

Grade Representatives
Pre-K: Demi Isenstadt & Lizzy Kass
K: Kate Cetrulo & Alexis Sartori
Grade 1: Lauren Frazier & Donna Ryan
Grade 2: Kate Holmgren & Joell Bianchi
Grade 3: Rebecca Glynn & Suzanne Norris
Grade 4: Caroline Counselman & EC Tregoe
Grade 5: Kristen Maxwell & Sonja Kelly
Grade 6: Patty McInerney & Lisa Fitzgibbons
Grade 7: Deb Weiner & Kathy Bergers
Grade 8: Jenny Barrett & Tory Dolan

Athletics (Girls): OPEN
Athletics (Boys): Anne Marie Mullen, Deb Farley
D Team: Lara Thompson, Kate Caulfield, Maura Harold, Kim Waugh
Derby Store: Kristen Maxwell, Jennifer Walsh
Faculty Cards/Fund: Therese Adams
Faculty Luncheon: Nancy Schreer, Lisa Fitzgibbons, Tara Anne
Green Team: Lauren Cressman, Pam Sharpe, Christina Farren
Library Liason: Susan Saliba, Deb Hayes
New Family Coordinator: Rebecca Synnestvedt
Photo Day: Donna Ryan
PIN: Anita Mraz, Lauren Frazier
Talent Show: Kelly Arevian, Sue Daniello, Di Garrity
Upper School Semi: Rebecca Behenna, Helen Hayes, Andria Clancy
Winter Faculty Event: Lori Cashman, Kristen Maxwell
Winter Getaway: Pam Marshman and Karrie Holovacs

Fall Fair
Co–Chairs: Lindsey Merrill, Kim Millian, Kate Finnerty
Raffle: Christiane Fabrizio
Art Tent: Rebecca Glynn & Tanya Stevens
Staffing: Gina Griffin
Food: Colleen Hernandez
Games: Liz Burns
Advertising: Brooke Bartletta, Deb Hayes

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Derby Experience Day

Seeing is believing! Before the Thanksgiving break, on Thursday, November 19, Derby hosted a new program where parents could have a “Derby Classroom Experience.” For two hours that morning we could visit a number of classrooms at each grade level. The only stipulation was that we couldn’t visit our own child’s classroom, as that program will be another morning early in the new year. Not to worry, there was plenty to see! Because our family joined Derby last year, we’re still learning about the school.  It was a great opportunity for me to see the teachers and students in action. Our kids have had a good experience so far, and I wanted to see for myself what it was like and what the future holds.

This morning was different than the overview provided at Back-to-School Night in the fall. It provided me with a deeper understanding as class was in session. It was real-time. I wanted to see as much as possible, so I visited six classrooms and felt comfortable slipping in and out, sometimes for only 15 minutes. Some teachers came over to give a brief overview of what they were doing if the students were working independently, and others carried on with their lessons without interruption. What I liked best was that the students in the fifth to eighth grade classes I visited were engaged. They were not just present. They were engaged by raising their hands, giving their opinions, playing games in Spanish, working out tough math problems together on the whiteboard, and debating aspects of the Civil War. The teachers listened, guided, questioned, and made the students feel like their thoughts and ideas mattered. The classrooms were interactive, not the old “I lecture; you listen” approach of the past.

I also enjoyed putting a face and a personality to the names of the teachers my kids have been telling me about.  If you weren’t sure what the program was, or didn’t have time to attend, please keep it in mind on Wednesday, April 6, 2016. It was well worth it!

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The Power of Engagement

Power-of-Engagement-Blog-ImageDo you see volunteering as a chore, or a pleasure? Do you see it as time well spent, or a drag on your time? Or perhaps you don’t think twice, as you know volunteering your time and talents to be a wonderful way to get engaged in the world around you, a simple way to enrich your life and your character. We certainly hope our school-age children don’t hesitate to help when asked. They are an active troupe of volunteers learning the power of their own engagement every day—when they pick up a friend’s dropped pencil, assist a friend with a math problem, offer a kind word to a friend who is hurt, or escort a friend to the nurse. These are all examples of children sharing their time, their talents and their compassion with others.

Engagement offers us insight and understanding. In her blog last year, Debbie Callahan cited an old Chinese proverb: “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.” For the volunteers penning this blog, it is the act of doing at Derby that has enriched our experience as parents and allowed us to appreciate the important role that Derby plays in the lives of our children. There is great reward in knowing that we will never regret spending this time here on campus. We have all heard from friends whose children have graduated that we will look back at our Derby years as the “sweet spot” in our lives. Not only do we get to witness, up close, the magic of our children’s growth, we are also rewarded by the gift of friendship that this type of engagement provides. Even simple planning meetings combine a sprinkle of work with lots of laughs and camaraderie.

Giving your time to Derby can take on many forms—a great idea, an act of support, an hour in the library, hosting a new family or helping Admissions at an event. If your instinct is to think “That is not for me,” consider, if you will, what we tell our Derby students each day. We ask them to step outside their comfort zone, to take a risk, to try something new. We can never underestimate how important it is for us to model this behavior for our children. This weekend, let’s reflect on how we contribute to our Derby community as parents and let’s celebrate our efforts and our contributions. Thank you for all you do. And…let’s keep up the good work!

This blog was collaboratively written by Parents Association Presidents of the past and present (Kathy Sherbrooke, Kristen Maxwell, Lori Cashman and Deb Hayes).

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On behalf of the Derby Academy Parents Association, we would like to take this opportunity to welcome new and returning families to Derby Academy. We hope that, like us, you will find that your parent experience at Derby is greatly enriched through opportunities offered by the PA to get involved and make meaningful connections with parents beyond those in your own child’s grade level.

Led by parents, the Derby PA is dedicated to fostering greater communication, offering opportunities for parents to come together, and supporting the efforts of faculty, staff and administration to enrich the positive learning environment for our children. We encourage you to join us in our efforts and find a couple hours of your time this year to volunteer and support our Derby community. Our hope is that every parent has an opportunity to participate regardless of schedule constraints and interests!

Please plan to attend our first meeting on Tuesday, September 15, at 8:20 a.m. in the dining hall. We are excited about our agenda: in addition to PA business, we will also hear from Trustee President, Maureen Pace, and Head of School, Joe Perry, as well as many Faculty Heads to discuss their school year plans. All parents are welcome and encouraged to attend—hope to see you all there!

Please feel free to call or e-mail if you have any questions. We are happy to meet with any parent to discuss opportunities to get engaged and we are also constantly trying to think ‘outside the box’ for new programming and community events so we would love to hear from you. In the meantime, check out our online form for current volunteer opportunities. Joining a committee or offering support for an event is a great way to meet other parents and interact with our talented faculty. It is often these volunteer activities that serve as a foundation for a new friendship or a source of inspiration and renewed enthusiasm for all that Derby offers.

Lori Cashman, President
Deb Hayes, Vice President
Gia Ramza, Treasurer
Bette Ferris, Secretary

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