Summer Greetings!

Dear Middle and Upper School Families,

Welcome to the 2016-17 school year! I trust you have had an enjoyable summer with plenty of unscheduled time as well as success staying cool and hydrated during this extended heat wave. For my own family, we just returned from our annual week in the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York, where we gathered with our four older children, grandchildren, cousins, nieces and nephews (14 in total) and experienced a slight reprieve from the Boston area heat (temperatures in the low 80’s versus the 90’s). Low-key and without a set schedule, our routine centered around swimming, fishing, tubing, hiking in the mountains, exploring by kayak the coastlines and small islands of the local lakes, and catching a few minutes of the Summer Olympics in the evenings.

As I begin my 20th year leading Derby’s Middle and Upper School programs, I continue to take great pride and satisfaction in how we have been extremely successful maintaining an academically challenging, developmentally appropriate daily program for our students in Grades 4-8. We have also constantly strived to infuse new elements and energy into our programs each year while at the same time staying true to both our School’s mission and motto, “Improve Both Mind and Heart.”

Please see the link to this letter and important information on the Back to School 2016 Resource Board. We’ve posted information about new faculty members, enhancements to the Middle/Upper School program, as well as updates to the dress code, upcoming important school dates, and information about the opening of school.

I believe a strong start to the new school year is critical for all students in the middle school years – so they can be organized and prepared (and enjoy the self-confidence that this brings) as they establish their daily routines after the long summer break. Please review the information carefully and let us know if you have any questions about our opening events, the first day of school or any other aspect of the Grade 4-8 program or schedule. In short, do not hesitate to contact me (; 781-749-0746, ext. 116) or Eileen McGee (; 781-749-0746, ext. 147) should you have any questions.

I look forward to seeing you on campus in a few weeks!

Best regards,

John B. Houghton
Associate Head of School
Head of Middle and Upper Schools

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The Magic of Field Day

Flags-ImageOne of the highlights each year for our Middle and Upper Schoolers is Field Day. A popular Derby tradition that started over sixty years ago, this event brings together Grades 4-8 for about four hours of outdoor games every May – as students with face paint, colorful banners, bright decorated team shirts and spiked hair have tremendous fun participating in a wide array of “track and field-type” events. The focus and emphasis of Field Day is on friendly competition and having fun. It is accurate to say that our oldest students pay somewhat close attention to records set years ago in events such as the hurdles or long jump; and that each spirit team hopes that they will garner the most points at the end of the events to be the winner. But when we all get to 1:00 pm, with an ice cream or popsicle in hand, and a slight sunburn if one hasn’t applied enough sunscreen, all of us in the Derby community feel just a little bit closer.

Here a brief history on Field Day, as well as some details you might be interested on this school tradition, particularly if you are a Grade 4 family or one new to Derby this year:

  • The first Field Day was held over sixty years ago in 1953, when the boys competed and the Darks spirit team won. Two years later, in 1955, the girls participated in Field Day, with the Toppers coming out “on top.” Of note, the winning spirit team and the name of their captain is recorded on a large, engraved wooden plaque located in the Lewis Dining Hall.
  • Derby had four spirit teams. The two teams for the boys are the Lights and Darks – named after the light and dark shades of blue represented in the Academy’s school colors. The girls also have two teams: the Derbies and Toppers. The name “Derbies” is derived, of course, from the School’s name. The name “Topper” was most likely chosen to cleverly match up with the term “Derbie”, as both are types of traditional hats.
  • Spirit teams are “all in the family,” so to speak. A third grader rising to Grade 4 with older siblings at Derby, past of present, will automatically be assigned to the same team. In addition, the Lights are paired with the Toppers and the Darks with the Derbies – in terms of affiliation. This means, for example, that if an older sister is a Topper and her younger brother is entering fourth grade, he will be a Light.
  • Captains, along with Assistant Captains, for each spirit team are chosen each fall by our eighth graders. These are some of the prized leadership positions our oldest students look forward to holding when they reach Grade 8 (along with being elected an officer of our Upper School Student Council, for example).
  • Here are this year’s Spirit Team leaders: Lights – Taalib Dibinga-Robinson (Captain) and Isaac Sadhwani (Assistant Captain); Darks – Jared Arevian (Captain) and Owen Forman (Assistant Captain); Derbies – Emma Bradley (Captain) and Lexi Dewire (Assistant Captain); Toppers – Kate Rowe (Captain) and Brony Jensen (Assistant Captain).
  • There is a wide variety of events for Field Day, most which our girls and boys both do, but there also some events that only one each gender competes in. Both girls and boys participate in the following: hurdles, 50 and 100 yard dash, cross country run, obstacle course, running or standing board jump, softball throw, sack race, and group shuttle runs with baton. In addition, the girls compete in the lacrosse run (Grades 4 and 5) or run and shoot (Grades 6-8), and the three-legged spoon ball carry. The boys have additional longer races of 250 and 400 yards.
  • Ribbons are awarded to students taking first, send or third place in their events.
  • The culminating event at the end of Field Day – which occurs around 12:45 pm – is the tug of war. Spirit teams match up against each other on the lower athletic field for this exciting, often nail-biting finale, with student and parent spectators, seated or standing on the hill, cheering on both sides.
  • Parents are very welcome to join us as spectators at Field Day! It is wonderful way to be part of community and watch your son or daughter participate in this fun Derby tradition. The first events begin around 9:00 a.m.
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The Growth Mindset, Effective Effort and Resiliency

(Helping students “fill their toolbox” at a critical time.)

Can students become smarter if they work harder? Do all students fully understand what hard work is? If a student puts in a strong effort on an assignment does it still mean he or she is “learning?” How can you teach all students to enjoy challenges?

These are all important questions for teachers as well as for many parents. From my viewpoint, they have a great deal to do with how successful students will be in school, particularly when they reach sixth or seventh grades – when academic work become more demanding, and preadolescents cannot just rely on old study habits, previous knowledge or strict memorization in the classroom.

A number of years ago, the entire Derby faculty took an intensive, research-based course called “The Skillful Teacher.” One of the significant takeaways from this class was the notion that intelligence is not fixed and that students, in almost every case, can be taught strategies and techniques to “work smart.” (This concept, called the “growth mindset,” is based upon the work of Dr. Carol Dweck, a leading educational psychologist and researcher in the United States.)

What does this look like for a middle school-aged child? The theory posits that students need to do more than just study hard (i.e., time on task completing homework) to be successful mastering challenging assignments and concepts. They must also work “effectively” to ensure that they are both learning and improving as students. For example, Dweck and other growth mindset proponents point to several characteristics as key to students to being able to work smart: resourcefulness (knowing where to go and whom to ask for help when stuck on an assignment); use of feedback (looking carefully at teacher comments on returned tests, essays and projects to know exactly what to fix next time); persistence (if a strategy for studying is not effective, trying different ones until you find one that works); and commitment (being determined to finish every academic task well and to one’s very best ability).

Let’s take this one step further: What does learning to “work smart” have to do with developing resiliency – a quality all parents want to see in our sons and daughters and all teachers want to see in their students? If a child, particularly at the middle school level, can fill his or her toolbox with different strategies such as persistence and resourcefulness, they will inevitably be, I believe, much more successful in school. They will know how to see any mistakes and struggles in their academic life as challenges to be overcome – by counting on what Dweck calls a “repertoire of approaches” to help them grow as effective learners. With this formula, it is hard to think that any student will not be successful in school – here at Derby (particularly in our older grades) and certainly in the future in secondary school and college.

(NOTE: On the topic of resiliency, please mark your calendars for Wednesday, April 20. Dr. Robert Brooks, a nationally and internationally known author and speaker, will be at Derby for an evening presentation for parents. His talk, titled “Raising Resilient Children,” will address the factors that help children become more resilient and deal more effectively with stress and pressure.)

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The Teacher’s Role in Developing Students of Excellent Character

One of the most important tasks we have as faculty members at Derby is to develop and nurture caring, respectful and empathetic students. Our school’s mission statement is very clear about this: We are charged with guiding students “…toward an awakening sense of personal responsibility in order to prepare them to make ethical and mindful contributions in an increasingly interdependent world.”

As anyone who has worked with or parented middle school-aged children knows, this can be a challenging job on most days – as boys and girls reach adolescence and enter a stage in their growth that is full of uncertainty, stress and tremendous cognitive, social, emotional and physical change. So how do we, as educators, teach young adolescents to be individuals of good character, particularly in grades six to eight, when these changes are at their peak and, at times, being nice, respectful and inclusive of others can be the furthest thought from a child’s mind (as they attempt to figure out and handle the changes that they are personally experiencing)?

As our students go through this period, the Middle and Upper School teachers use an extremely valuable set of tenets called Responsibilities and Rights to help us guide students as they interact with one another and as they make daily choices as members of the Derby Community. One or more of the five principles in this “code for social behavior” may be applied, in my view, to just about every instance of when a student makes a poor decision on our campus. The plain language of our Responsibilities and Rights also provides excellent learning opportunities for Middle and Upper Schoolers, as well as valuable teachable moments for our faculty. You will notice that the first tenet is centered on the term “respect” and the last one on the notion of always doing one’s “personal best.” The fact these two are the bookends for the code is done on purpose, given their power to influence students in their character development.

As Joe Perry, our Head of School, mentioned in his State of the School Address last week, academic and social/personal growth go hand in hand when we think about teaching and raising children to be successful as both learners and healthy, contributing members of a school community. To me, you really cannot pull the two apart when discussing adolescents; their ability to experience success in the classroom is closely tied to how they feel about themselves, their place in their community, their relationships with both peers and adults, and the degree to which they feel respected by others in their school, especially the adults.

Julie Baron, a social worker, adolescent therapist and former middle school counselor, recently summed this up well in a blog she wrote recently for the educational website, Edutopia. She notes,

“We know that adolescents are acutely aware of when adults are treating them with respect and when they aren’t. We also know that engagement leads to successful academic outcomes and a greater sense of well-being for both the student and educator. If (students) are more likely to engage with adults who respect them, it’s safe to say that respect is essential to student learning.

When adolescents describe the ways in which they experience respect, they report that they want to feel challenged by being pushed beyond their comfort zone. They want adults to hold the bar high for them. They feel respected when adults listen and respond to them without judgment, and accept their beliefs and values, however different from their own. And when adults are responsive to their intellectual, physical, social, and emotional needs, adolescents feel this as genuine concern for their welfare, which in turn makes them feel valued.”

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High Ropes

By Avery O’Connor ’16 — When we first started talking about the Sargent Center, all I could think about was the ropes course. I am so scared of heights, and I kept telling my parents I didn’t want to do it. The idea of challenge by choice gave me a perfect way out. My mom said I should at least try. So that’s what I decided to do. The day of the climb my stomach was in knots. I remember sitting at breakfast having no appetite.
After breakfast we headed to a big room, where we first met our counselors. We got our helmets and harnesses on and headed to the training center. Once we got there, they told us how to clip ourselves in to feel secure. I still did not think this was going to be fun or safe.

Once we were ready, we went to the actual course. The wires and ropes petrified me. I watched Chris, one of the counselors, go up. He made it look so easy, but I knew it wouldn’t be for me. I got in line with the rest of my peers. The girls in front of me were asking to get down—I knew I was probably going to do the same. I climbed up the log to get to the first stand. I think that had to be the worst part, because I kept on getting tangled in the ropes and pulley system. Someone was in front of me on the stand, so I had to wait behind the tree, on a very slim piece of wood, many feet off the ground before it was my turn. Finally, I was up. I decided to go the easiest route because I didn’t want to be up high for too long. I grabbed a carabiner and asked for a clip-in, then a safety check. There was a safety knot above me, which I had to raise higher because I’m tall. I didn’t know it then, but Medic Mike, the camp medic, was telling me to lean up against the tree so I could push the knot higher to make it more secure. This worked great at the time, because if I fell, I wouldn’t fall to my death; I would just float in the air.

Then it was time to take my first step. Once I did, I was shaking so much my legs felt like Jell-O. I took a second step and started to regain my balance. On the third step… I fell. I just dangled in the air with the harness digging into my body. I could hear Mrs. Olsen cheering me on and telling me to keep going. I got back up on the wire and continued to walk across it. Once I got to the last two steps, I felt accomplished. I realized then I was only halfway there, and I felt the nerves come back into my body.

There was one more wire to cross with dangling ropes to grab onto. I started to walk, hoping it would be easier. I got to the first rope and fell. Medic Mike encouraged me to pull myself along instead of getting back up and walking across. I held on to the rope with one hand and pulled myself along with the other holding on to the wire. At first it was easy, and then my arms started to get tired. Once I finally reached the end, I struggled to get on the platform where I needed to walk across the bridge toward the zip line. There were seven people waiting for me on this platform, and barely any room for me to land. Once again, I didn’t feel safe, but I knew I had gotten through the hardest part. Harry Quillen helped me up and I just sat on a tiny corner of the platform. Natasha, one of the Sargent Center counselors, let me go before all the boys because she wanted to make room for my classmate Peyton, who was coming right behind me. I walked across the Shrek Bridge to the tall ladder that would lead me to the victory zip line. I finished going up the ladder and was clipped onto the tree. The platform that I stood on was wide and had several people on it. I looked out at the zip line  as a rush of excitement came over me. Finally, I would have the joy that pushed me to the end.

When it was my turn, I clipped in as my peers cheered. Once they shouted “Zip away!” I jumped off the platform and went flying across. It was the coolest thing I had ever felt. It was an amazing way to end such an exhausting and scary experience. I felt so proud. I realized this adventure was more than overcoming my fear of heights. It gave me confidence and taught me that I should always try new things and push myself. The Sargent Center was a great trip that made me feel strong, lifted my spirits and taught me things about myself and my peers. I’m so happy I did it.

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Into the Woods: Making Connections and Building Confidence Early in the School Year

Taking advantage of perfect fall weather, the five grades in our Middle and Upper Schools, along with their advisors, went off campus this week and last to their outdoor education or leadership trips. Our eighth graders, as the emerging school leaders for the upcoming year, spent three days and two nights in New Hampshire at Boston University’s Sargent Center. Yesterday, Grade 7 was at the Hale Reservation in Westwood for the day, Grades 5 and 6 at Camp Wing in Duxbury, and Grade 4 just a few miles from campus at World’s End in Hingham. There were a variety of age-appropriate, carefully planned activities for each grade at their particular location–from group games and low ropes initiatives for the younger students, to more rigorous high ropes challenges for our Upper Schoolers. Although the activities were varied, the experiences for students at each grade level shared similar overarching goals.

By taking students off campus early in the school year and offering them opportunities to stretch themselves outside of the classroom, we attempt to achieve two things. First, we hope to foster healthy social growth for individual students and for the entire grade as a peer group. In addition, a major goal of our Outdoor Education program is to help new students make a smooth social transition to Derby, as they develop friendships and find their place in a new peer group.

We believe there are other important, tangible benefits from our program. For students, we expect them to return to campus with the following: a greater sense of respect for others; more self-confidence; improved problem solving, teamwork and leadership skills; and a clearer sense of their role in their class (e.g., social responsibility).

For the 37 Middle and Upper School advisors attending the trips, they return with a wealth of information and valuable insights for the upcoming school year. Teachers garner a better knowledge of individual students in the grade level they advise, as well as a greater understanding of the “group dynamic” on both the girls’ and boys’ side. We also gather ideas on how to solve social problems should they arise in the future—both as classroom instructors and as advisors for that particular grade.

I often field the question as to why we schedule these trips so early in the school year – when we are also working diligently to help students establish their daily academic routines. The answer lies in the fact that middle school age children, by nature, are very social beings, and that the best learning takes place when they feel connected and confident within their peer group. The activities each student participates in when he or she attends their outdoor education trip help them develop important collaboration skills that translate well to our classrooms. If a Middle or Upper Schooler can hone their teamwork and leadership skills in these settings, generally they are quite successful when asked to work with peers on an IPC or history project, a science lab or a design thinking project in the Healey Innovation Center.In summary, these outdoor experiences provide an excellent springboard for success in both the academic and social arenas for our Grade 4–8 students.

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In spite of yesterday’s heat, it was a tremendously successful Derby Day. The Middle and Upper School Faculty are very proud of our Grades 4-8, particularly their excellent participation, demeanor and focus during the concert, processional and commencement exercises at New North Church (our Upper Schoolers). Also, what a wonderful way to end the school year by spotlighting our students’ musical, academic and citizenship talents at these events. Well done, everyone!

Here are some closing thoughts to pass along as we head off for the summer:

  • Congratulations and best of luck to the Class of 2015 as you move on to your next schools. You are a very special group of 41 young adults whom I have greatly enjoyed having as our oldest students this year at Derby. I applaud your leadership and maturity, and I very much enjoyed your caring personality as an entire grade and as individuals, both in and outside of our classrooms. I look forward to hearing about your upcoming accomplishments in secondary school, and I encourage you join us next fall at Thanksgiving time for the “Turkey Day Alumni Reunion” on November 23. Mark your calendars!
  • Over the next twelve weeks of vacation, it is important for all returning students to read as much as possible (every day for at least 30 minutes!) and to regularly work on both your IXL math and IXL language arts skills. (Note: Our English Department will be sending you a letter shortly about this new English/Language Arts IXL component that we have added this summer. The log-in will be the same as the math log-in.) Also, students, please consider keeping your writing skills “sharp” by maintaining a journal or by writing stories about your summer activities.
  • Thank you, parents, for your continued support of Derby’s mission and the Faculty’s dedicated, tireless work with your sons and daughters. The “middle school years” require considerable patience and teamwork on the part of all the adults—teachers, advisors, coaches and parents–who are involved in the life of a 9–14 year old. It is this consistent cooperation and regular communication that enables us, collectively, to successfully guide children of this age through the “tricky, unpredictable waters” of adolescence.
  • Next year’s classroom supply lists for all grades, as well as information about the iPad program for Grades 6-8, will be available by early August. Current Grade 5 families moving up to Grade 6 in the fall: Should you have any questions about the iPad program (e.g., the model/specifications of which iPads to purchase), please email me, and I will be happy to provide you with this information.
  • To the handful of grade 4-7 students not returning to Derby in September, your teachers, classmates and I will miss you in our community next fall but hope you will always feel welcomed to come back and visit us.

Have a relaxing, enjoyable summer!
Best regards,

John B. Houghton
Associate Head of School

Head of Middle and Upper Schools

Looking Ahead…

  • Saturday, June 13: SSAT for Grade 7 at Derby (arrive by 8:30 am)
  • Week of June 22: Semester 2/final reports, grades and advisor summaries available to view on-line. (You will receive an email notifying you of this.)
  • Thursday, September 10: Opening Day of school for the 2015-16 academic year. First Chapel at 10:15 am.
  • Wednesday, September 16 – Friday, September 18: 8th Grade Orientation and Leadership Program at Sargent Center, NH
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Endings and Beginnings

Last weekend, for me, was one of those times in one’s life when you have an opportunity to participate in back-to back, highly meaningful family events – occasions that are quite emotional and mark important rites of passage for close family members. More specifically, on Saturday afternoon, I watched the youngest of my four children, Christian, graduate from twelfth grade at Hingham High School. The following morning – about 16 hours later – I attended the baptism of my fourth grandchild, Connor, at a church near Harvard Square. Two very contrasting events, for certain.

Over the next few days, as we continue to move through our traditional events honoring the eighth grade class and soon-to-be graduates (Athletic Appreciation Night, Upper School Dinner-Dance, Last Chapel and Derby Day Commencement), the notion of “endings” and “beginnings” is very much on my mind. Our eighth graders will be finishing their Derby careers – eleven of them as “lifers” after ten years with us – and taking the next step in their young adult lives by starting secondary school in September. Many will be sad to leave Derby, their friends, teachers, coaches and advisors – even if they have only attended the Academy since seventh grade. Some, on the other hand, will be forward-looking, reflective and outwardly a bit stoic, quietly excited – as they should be – to take the next step that entering ninth grade in a new school represents. Suffice it say, “Derby Day Week” brings a mixture of emotions for our eighth graders and their parents (not unlike what I was experiencing just last weekend as both a parent and grandparent). Grade 8 Parents: The good news is that one week removed from such major family events, I can tell you the dominant feeling/emotion is one of tremendous pride and celebration.

On the subject of Derby Day Week, the attached document (click here to view details on Derby Day Week) should give you all the essential information you need for June 8-11, particularly for arrival and dismissal times on those days. If you do have questions about any aspect of next week’s events, please do not hesitate to email me.

A Special Note to Eighth Grade Families: I want to spotlight several important details as we approach Last Chapel and Derby Day.

  • Last Chapel Luncheon – Although this luncheon is only for eighth graders and their parents, please remember that we provide arrangements for food and child care/supervision for younger sibling. Please contact Jami Gregory ( in our Advancement Office should you have questions about this.
  • Handicap access for family members: Please let me know (at should you need handicap access for our Last Chapel ceremony (Larson Hall), the Last Chapel Luncheon (Lewis Dining Hall), the Derby Concert (McKelvey Gym), or Commencement (New North Church).
  • Grade 8 Class Photo at 8:20 am on June 11: We need to take this photograph at 8:20 am SHARP that morning, so parents, please make certain your eighth grader is at the McKelvey Gym at that time. Thank you.

Summer Tutoring Recommendations: Should you be interested in the names of Derby teachers who tutor in specific subject areas (e.g., math or writing) over the summer, please email Karen Malloy, our Director of Support Services, at

Looking Ahead

Monday, June 8:
• 1:05 pm dismissal for Grades 4-8
• Upper School Final Exams (Gr. 7 Foreign Language; Gr. 8 Math, followed by Gr.  8 Foreign Language)

Tuesday, June 9:
• 1:05 pm dismissal for Grades 4-8
• Upper School Dinner-Dance, Lewis Dining Hall, 6:00-9:00 pm

Wednesday, June 10: Last Chapel, 10:30 am, Larson Hall

Thursday, June 11: Derby Day Concert (9:00 am. McKelvey Gym) and Commencement (11:00 am, New North Church)

Week of June 22: Final reports available on Derby website. (You will receive a pushpage from our Communications Office notifying you of this.)

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Important Details for Families As We Approach Derby Day Week

The last week of our school year is referred to on our campus as Derby Day Week. Leading up to these special, celebratory few days in June – when the richest of our School’s traditions are on display – there are a number of important details we all must pay attention to. Here are the top nine entries I suggest you make on your calendar and/or “To Do List:”

  1. Clothing – Make sure to purchase or find the appropriate clothes for Last Chapel and Derby Day. See description on the “Year End Details” link at the end of this blog entry.
  2. Buses – If your child rides a bus (Duxbury/Marshfield, Hingham, or Boston), please refer to this schedule about the last day for bus transportation: End of Year Bus Schedule.
  3. Last “Regular” Day of the Year – Remember that next Monday is the last normal school day of the year (with a 4:00 pm dismissal for most, and a 3:15 pm option for Grades 4 and 5).
  4. Dismissals next week: We have a 3:15 pm dismissal next Tuesday, June 2 – Thursday, June 4 for all grades in the School.

If your child is in Grades 6-8, they have the option to go home at 2:35 pm. However, the Front Office must have a parent email or note in hand by 10:00 am giving permission for this, and the student must sign out in front of Sarah Derby Hall at 2:35 pm before leaving campus. (A quiet study hall in homerooms is available for any sixth through eighth grader who needs to stay on campus these three days until 3:15 pm.)

  1. Dismissal during Derby Day Week – We will have a 1:10 dismissal on both Monday, June 8 and Tuesday, June 9 for the entire school (PK-Grade 8).
  2. Upper School Dinner-Dance – This is a three hour event in the Lewis Dining Hall, June 9, 6:00 – 9:00 pm. Dress is the same as for Last Chapel.
  3. Arrival Times on Last Chapel and Derby Day – On Last Chapel day (Wednesday, June 10) and Derby Day (June 11), most students should arrive at 10:00 am and 8:30 am, respectively. However, if your child is in one of the choruses, he/she may be asked to arrive earlier for a special rehearsal. See the attached schedule below.
  4. Grade 8 Families on Derby Day – a) The class photo is taken promptly at 8:20 am in the McKelvey Gym. Please be on time! b) If you need special arrangements for handicapped access into New North Church for the graduation ceremony, please email John Houghton; c) All family members and special guests are invited to the reception at Old Derby Academy following the graduation ceremony.
  5. Wish for good weather on Derby Day!

Bit and Pieces….

Congratulations to all the musicians, dancers and artists who performed last night, or whose works were displayed, at Middle and Upper School Arts Night. Also, thank you to the members of the Art and Music Departments for their hard work and inspiration provided to our students throughout the year!

Upper School Final Exams: Friday, June 5: Grade 7 exam – Pre-Algebra (9;00-10:30 am); Grade 8 exam – Physical Science (9:00-10:30 am).   Monday, June 8: Grade 7 exam – Foreign Language (9:00-10:30 am); Grade 8 – Algebra (9:00-10:30 am), followed by Foreign Language (11:00 am-12:30 pm).

Summer Tutoring Recommendations:       Should you be interested in the names of Derby teachers who tutor in specific subject areas (e.g., math or writing) over the summer, please email Karen Malloy, our Director of Support Services, at

The Derby Day Clothes Exchange:    The clothes exchange has been an enormously successful, helpful sharing of community resources over the past few years. Please consider bringing in white pants, dresses and shirts, along with blue blazers and dress shoes – to swap for a different size or simply donate for another family. For more information, be sure to read the box in the DEN.

Looking Ahead:

Monday, June 1: Beginning of “Exam Review Week” for Upper Schoolers
and Spring Athletic Assembly, 2:30-4:00 pm, Larson Hall
Wednesday, June 3: Grade 8 Athletic Appreciation Dessert, 6:45 pm, Roy Campus Center
Thursday, June 4: Admission Open House (“Curriculum Showcase”) for prospective Grade 6 and 7 students and families, 4:00-6:00 pm, Healey Innovation Center
Friday, June 5:  Beginning of exams and/or final projects for Grades 6-8 and
Upper School Final Exams (Gr. 7 Math, Gr. 8 Science)
Monday, June 8: Upper School Final Exams (Gr. 7 Foreign Language; Gr. 8 Math, followed by Gr.  8 Foreign Language)
Tuesday, June 9: Upper School Dinner-Dance, Lewis Dining Hall, 6:00-9:00 pm
Wednesday, June 10: Last Chapel, 10:30 am, Larson Hall
Thursday, June 11: Derby Day Concert (9:00 am. McKelvey Gym) and Commencement (11:00 am, New North Church)

End of Year Details, including June 10/11 arrival times & attire

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Dr. Clifford V. Smith, a former college chancellor and president of the General Electric Foundation, wrote the following about the importance of the arts in schools: “We want young people who can do more than add up a string of numbers and write a coherent sentence. They must be able to solve problems, communicate ideas and be sensitive to the world around them. Participation in the arts is one of the best ways to develop these abilities.”

Next Thursday evening, please join us in the Roy Campus Center, 6:30-9:00 pm, as we celebrate the creativity and talents of our Middle and Upper Schoolers in the visual, applied and performing arts. Our program begins in Lewis Dining Hall, where you can stroll among displays of works done by our students in visual arts classes (painting, drawing, etc.) as well as applied arts courses (shop, sewing, digital photography, glass mosaics and 3-D sculpture).

We will then move into Larson Hall to enjoy performances by our dance and music ensembles. These include the Grade 6 Dance Workshop, Upper School Tap Dance elective, Middle and Upper School Bands, Middle School String Ensemble, and Grade 6 World Percussion Group.

All 4th through 8th grade families are invited (and please bring younger and older siblings)!


Summer Tutoring Recommendations  Should you be interested in the names of Derby teachers who tutor in specific subject areas (e.g. math or writing) over the summer, please email Karen Malloy, our Director of Support Services, at

The Derby Day Clothing Swap    This clothes exchange has been an enormously successful, helpful sharing of community resources over the past few years. Please consider bringing in white pants, dresses and shirts, along with blue blazers and dress shoes – to swap for a different size or simply donate for another family. See the DEN for more information about collection and swap times and dates.


Looking Ahead

Tuesday, May 26: Grade 3 Invention Convention, Lewis Dining Hall
Wednesday, May 27: Bake sale to benefit Outreach
Thursday, May 28: Arts Night for Grades 4-8, 6:30 – 9 pm, Lewis Dining Hall
Friday, May 29: Arts Morning for Grades 1-3, 8:15 -9:30 am, Lewis Dining Hall
Friday, May 29: Instrumental Program Recital, 2:00 pm, Larson Hall
Friday, May 29: Upper School Mystery Bus
Monday, June 1: Beginning of “Exam Review Week” for Upper Schoolers
Spring Athletic Assembly, 2:30-4:00 pm, Larson Hall
Wednesday, June 3: Grade 8 Athletic Appreciation Night, 6:45 pm, Roy Campus Center
Thursday, June 4: Admission Open House (“Curriculum Showcase”) for prospective Grade 6 and 7 students and families, 4:00-6:00 pm, Healey Innovation Center
Friday, June 5: Upper School Final Exams
Monday, June 8: Upper School Final Exams
Tuesday, June 9: Upper School Dinner-Dance, Lewis Dining Hall, 6:00-9:00 pm
Wednesday, June 10: Last Chapel, 10:30 am, Larson Hall
Thursday, June 11: Derby Day Concert (9:00 am. McKelvey Gym) and Commencement (11:00 am, New North Church)


End of Year Schedule Overview for Grades 4-8

Dismissal Times (beginning Tuesday, June 2)

During the first week of June we shift to a special schedule with different afternoon dismissal times. Here is a brief overview of this schedule:

  • Tuesday, June 2-Thursday, June 4: 3:15 pm dismissal*
  • Friday, June 5, Monday, June 8 and Tuesday, June 9: 1:10 pm dismissal*
  • Wednesday, June 10: Last Chapel, 10:30 am. Special schedule forthcoming.
  • Thursday, June 11: Derby Day Concert (9:00 am) and Commencement (11:00 am). Special schedule forthcoming.

*Our Primary and Lower Schools will also be dismissed at this time on these days.


Upper School Final Exams: Friday, June 5: Grade 7 exam – Pre-Algebra; Grade 8 exam – Physical Science.   Monday, June 8: Grade 7 exam – Foreign Language; Grade 8 – Algebra, followed by Foreign Language. Note: All exams are 90 minutes long.

Last Chapel and Derby Day Dress Code

  • Dress code for girls and boys for Last Chapel and Upper School Dinner-Dance:
    • Girls wear dresses, or a dress skirt with an appropriate top, and proper footwear (no sneakers or flip-flops).
    • Boys must wear coats and ties, long dress pants, with appropriate footwear with socks (no sneakers or flip-flops)
  • Dress code for girls and boys for Derby Day:
    • Girls wear white dresses, (strapless dresses and spaghetti straps are not permitted), with appropriate shoes (see above).
    • Boys wear white shirts, white pants, dark blue jackets, ties and proper shoes (see above) with socks. Derby Academy neckties are not required but are available at the school store.
  • A special note to girls and their parents: Please be certain that the clothes worn at Last Chapel and Derby Day conform to our dress code. More specifically, skirts and dresses should be no higher than three inches from the middle of the knee, tops and necklines should be appropriate, and strapless dresses or dresses with spaghetti straps should not be worn for either event.
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