by Isabella Combs, communications and marketing intern
From November 8–10, 2018, the Performing Arts Center’s stage was graced with The Red Velvet Cake War. Presented by the Landmark Drama Department under the direction of Nate Effinger and Technical Director Andy Knox, the play was a hit among actors and audience members alike.
This play was the first to have a selected cast, which resulted into a group of hardworking and passionate performers that put on an entertaining, enjoyable, and articulate show. About three cousins Gaynelle, Jimmy, and Peaches out to make the best red velvet cake in order to save Gaynelle’s house from their aunt, even in the face of a tornado, crazy psychologist, and hopeless hunt for a man.
“It was fun and it was cool to spend time with the cast.” —Nellie Maxwell (Peaches, one of the three leads)
“The Landmark Theater Department did an excellent job on the production, it was very entertaining to watch, and everyone involved did a fantastic job.” —Annie Abate (audience member)
By the Numbers
Hundreds of parents and guardians descended on the High School and Elementary•Middle School campuses for fall Parents' Days. Take a look at these facts and stats about the event-packed days.
October 18 and 19
Number of visitors who attended: 510
Number of conferences: 2,529
Sporting events: Boys varsity soccer, girls varsity soccer, varsity golf, varsity volleyball, JV volleyball
Art events: Performing Arts Parents' Day Showcase
Reception at Headmaster Bob Broudo's home
"I had many conversations with parents, new and veteran, which made me feel exceedingly proud to work at a school like ours," said Bill Barrett, head of the High School. "Based on these conversations, it was clear that the effort everyone has put forth since August has not gone unnoticed by our parents."
Althea Sargeant, Beverly Carpenter, and Cal Zelenka worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make sure all events ran smoothly.
November 8 and 9
Number of families who attended: 164
Number of conferences: 978
Classes observed: 310
Events and activities: Displays of student portfolios, student goals, and work created in electives, "Snappy Chat" presentation about social media by Tara Joly-Lowdermilk and Laura Polvinen, and more.
"I had several chances to simply walk down a column of conferences in the gym and glance at the parents' expressions as they met with you all," said Rob Kahn, head of the Elementary•Middle School. "It was clearly a great day for them, knowing that the engaged and knowledgeable professional across the table was instructing their child on a daily basis."
Coordination and meticulous organization by Tara Joly-Lowdermilk, Deb Blanchard, and Sarah Turnbull made Parents' Day a success.
On both campuses, recognition and appreciation goes to Daniel Sebens, Loren Meicher, and all facilities staff and groundskeepers for preparing the campus to look great and keeping all the visitors safe during arrival, parking, and dismissal times.
Landmark students juggle many responsibilities each day: school, homework, sports, arts, community service, and often long commutes. Each year, 10 seniors add another time-consuming commitment to their schedules that requires travel, public speaking, and sharing personal stories. That role is being a Student Advocate.
The Advocates, led by faculty members Jason Mansfield, Dan Ahearn, and Ashley Hubacz, deliver presentations to graduate and undergraduate education students at local colleges and universities, as well as to students, teachers, and administrators at elementary and middle schools. They talk about how having a learning difference affects them in school, at work, and in other aspects of life. These personal accounts are honest, powerful, and eye-opening.
Since 1995, dozens of Advocates have shared their stories, given advice, answered questions, and enlightened many. In addition to influencing future teachers and students, the Advocates leave the program with well-honed public-speaking—and some teaching—skills.
The Advocates Know What Works
The presentations include a video featuring Landmark students, personal stories, interactive exercises, and questions and answers. The Advocates also share what teaching and learning strategies work best for them and how aspiring teachers can incorporate these tools into their classrooms. Examples include Landmark's Six Teaching Principles, such as presenting information in varied ways, making lessons active and kinesthetic, using templates, encouraging self-advocacy, and more.
Partway through their presentation, an Advocate asks an audience member to read a few pre-selected sentences aloud. The person reading aloud clearly struggles with the text and often displays signs of embarrassment or shame. That is the point. Out of these difficult first-hand experiences comes empathy and compassion.
- Michael B.
- Isabella C.
- Baylah C.
- Merryl G.
- Samuel L.
- Piper N.
- Pedro S.
- Thomas S.
- Patrick S.
- Alexia Z.
On November 4, 77 bleary-eyed teenagers and eight teachers woke at dawn and made their way to the cafeteria for some early morning grub: cereal, bagels, and coffee—sustenance to fuel them for a day of volunteering at the Massachusetts Special Olympics State Soccer Tournament at the Governor's Academy in Byfield. The students were assigned a particular team, and they spent the day with that team, cheering them on during games, getting lunches for them, and hanging out with them between games. The acted as buddies to the team members and helpers for the coaches. Each student was engaged, attentive, and responsible to their teams and coaches. A common sentiment was shared, "That was fun! Can't wait 'til next year."
"There is no other activity during the school year for which our students volunteer in such large numbers—not to mention the sacrifice of precious Sunday morning slumber," said Rev. Bill Ferguson, who organized the trip.
The International Dyslexia Association (IDA) and the Learning Disabilities Association of America (LDA), organizations with long histories of serving individuals with LD, have partnered to combat misperceptions that lead to stigmatization and unfulfilled potential in individuals with learning disabilities. Through their collaboration, the groups will build awareness about the nature of learning disabilities and highlight the urgent need for early identification, appropriate remediation, and life-long support for students with learning disabilities so they have the opportunity to become productive and valuable members of our community.
"Pervasive myths and misconceptions interfere with efforts to support and meet the needs of all students and prepare them to become productive members of our workforce," said Jennifer Topple, board chair of the IDA.
Groups Jointly Publish White Paper about Learning Disabilities
Landmark School Headmaster Bob Broudo, a former member of the LDA board, was instrumental in bringing the two organizations together to share resources and advocate for the 2.3 million students in K–12 public schools who are classified as having a learning disability. The IDA and LDA jointly published a white paper to address the misunderstandings about the nature of learning disabilities and the life-long benefit of effective educational interventions. Broudo contributed to the paper.
"The IDA and LDA have been pioneering leaders in the fields of dyslexia and learning disabilities, working toward the same goals of equity in education for all learners," said Broudo. "Together, they present a stronger and more far-reaching platform for creating greater awareness and educational change.”
IDA and LDA recognize that in the absence of accurate and early identification and intervention, individuals with learning disabilities are at grave risk of never accessing their full academic, creative, and career potential. The untapped potential of individuals with learning disabilities is not simply a matter of personal tragedy. Under-serving this significant population has negative economic and society implications.
Beth McGaw, president of LDA explained, "As family, friends, neighbors, employers, and fellow citizens we can help all students, including those with learning disabilities, achieve their potential and lead fulfilling, productive lives.”
Like true Vikings, the Landmark community braved the wet weather to celebrate a great Homecoming day on October 13, 2018!
- More than 200 runners ran, walked, and sloshed through the scenic 5K.
- Participants cuddled rabbits, chickens, and pigs at the petting zoo, while the brave enjoyed pony rides. One over zealous goat tried to join the runners in the 5K!
- Carnival treats were enjoyed by all. It's never too early to indulge in cotton candy!
- More than 60 alumni and faculty reconnected at the 20+ Year Alumni Reunion.
Congratulations to our 5K Road Race winners:
- Overall Male: Dan O'Flynn of Ipswich: 16:42
- Overall Female: Emma Mushnick of Beverly: 20:21 (High School faculty)
- Overall Male Landmark Student: Ryan Shea '20: 17:38
- Overall Female Landmark Student: Olivia Moran '20: 22:48
Thank you to our generous sponsors:
The Anastasia-Murphy Family
The Buddenhagen Family
Brookwood Landscape and Stonework
Hawaiian Jim’s Shave Ice & Company
Jennifer Graham JGPT
Phil Richard Insurance
Todd's Sporting Goods
Jeffrey Gladney ‘06, Alumni Council Member
Taylor F. Patten ‘07, Alumni Council Member
The Torres Family
CHAPMAN'S Greenhouse, Florist, Garden Center & Gift Shop
New England Running Company
Homecoming 2018 Photo Gallery
Photo thanks to Communication Interns (Lydia Jackson, Greta Wright, Isabella Combs) and Saturday School Photography Class (Ms. Graves, Jariah Nolasco, Lily Martin)
20+ Year Alumni Reunion Photo Gallery
Landmark School is pleased to celebrate Dyslexia Awareness Month for the second year running. October has been designated by several organizations, including the International Dyslexia Association (IDA), as a time to focus efforts on raising awareness of this common and often-overlooked learning disability.
Decoding Dyslexia, Made by Dyslexia, and many others are joining forces with us to get the word out, build momentum, and elevate the conversation about what parents, educators, and legislators can do to meet the needs of these bright and curious individuals.
Here are some statistics from the IDA that may surprise you:
- Dyslexia is a language-based learning disability that is neurological in origin.
- Approximately 15%-20% of the population has a language-based learning disability.
- 74% of children who are poor readers in third grade remain poor readers in the ninth grade and into adulthood.
This month we are sharing news, information, and insights through our blog and social media to bring greater awareness of this learning disability to our followers. A sampling of what we're sharing includes a five-part blog series called What is a Language-Based Learning Disability, news about Sally and Bennett Shaywitz—leaders in the field, articles about students and entrepreneurs with dyslexia, inspirational messages, and much more.
Dozens of students, faculty, and staff participated in Ally Day at the High School on October 11. Student and faculty members of the Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) handed out "safe space stickers" and encouraged community members to sign the Ally Pledge, which states:
I believe that all students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity or expression deserve to feel safe and supported. That means I pledge to:
- Not use anti-LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) language or slurs.
- Intervene, if I safely can, in situations where students are being harassed, or tell an adult
- Support efforts to end bullying and harassment
- Encourage others to be Allies
"Ally Day is a day where we can show pride in and support for the uniqueness of ourselves, our peers, and our community. On this day, we show our support for the LGBTQIA+ community, whether you are an ally within or outside of the community," said Anna H., co-president of the GSA. "It is a great reminder that we should stand together and support each other on our many paths to success."
To Abigail G., Ally Day is an opportunity to "express confidence in my sexuality and help my friends also feel more confident in their sexuality."
Cultivating a Community of Acceptance
As bullying has become an issue of national concern, we feel proud that Landmark has steadily worked to create a community that strives for acceptance, not just tolerance. Many of our students know what it is like to be left out or mistreated in the classroom, and can understand what it can feel like to be ostracized in a community. We hope that events like Ally Day will give needed attention to the struggles of the LGBTQ community, as well as provide a moment to be aware of and grateful for Landmark's supportive environment.
Ally Day is inspired by Ally Week, a student-led program during which LGBTQ K–12 students and educators lead a conversation on what they need from their allies in school. It is sponsored by GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network). Showing our support is especially important now, as rates of bullying and harassment increase for students who identify as LGBTQIA+, and these students are four times more likely to attempt suicide.
More than a dozen Landmark High School students volunteered at the 15th Annual Vettes to Vets Day on September 30 to support veterans at the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital in Bedford, Mass.
The task was different than in years past. Instead of working directly with the veterans, students processed thousands of donated items for the hospital before they were loaded onto the truck for delivery. Landmark Chaplain Bill Ferguson and teacher Danielle Phillips joined the students on the trip.
"It’s always grounding to interface with those who have served our country. It keeps things in perspective that these people put themselves in harm’s way on our behalf," said Ferguson. "One can’t help but feel a sense of indebtedness. The kids, our amazing, cheerful, willing-to-help-out kids: they were awesome as usual."
Program Has Raised Nearly $500,000 for Veterans
The Corvette parade has grown from 25 cars in 2003 to more than 680 vehicles in 2018. Since Vettes to Vets began in 2003, more than $480,000 has been raised in monetary and non-monetary donations. Funds have been used to rebuild the hospital’s greenhouse, maintain an education center for veterans with free Internet and computer training, build a new hospice unit, and purchase a wheelchair van for recreational outings for patients.
When one thinks about the atmosphere at Landmark School, "community" and "collaboration" are among the first words that come to mind. Both were on full display at the High School campus during Leonardo Day, a school-wide multi-disciplinary event held on October 4.
Teachers and students participated in more than 20 hands-on activities throughout the day that celebrated, reflected on, and mirrored the life and work of Italian polymath Leonardo da Vinci. Da Vinci, the definitive Renaissance man studied—and in most cases gained renown in—painting, sculpting, architecture, science, math, engineering, anatomy, geology, astronomy, botany, writing, history, and cartography.
Curiosity, Imagination, Ingenuity
Da Vinci led a life of curiosity, imagination, and ingenuity, and those traits were incorporated into each program. The activities included:
- building a bridge with just wood, PVC tubes, and string
- crafting water shoes to walk on water
- creating a camera obscura
- observing mathematical beauty in nature
- baking bread and making cheese and butter
- dissecting a sheep's eye
- making a cam hammer
Organizing such an ambitious event required skills on par with Leonardo himself. Ben DiFrancesco conceived of the idea in the fall of 2017. It took a full year of planning to bring his plan to life.
"Leonardo Day resulted from my research into collaboration and cross-curricular planning as part of my mentorship program," DiFrancesco said. "I was inspired by other faculty who already reach across subjects to do creative things—Bill Chamberlain, Doug Walker, Adam Craig, Brigid Houlihan, and Andrea Meade. STEAM is a constant buzzword in the educational community and this presented itself as a perfect opportunity to showcase its value."