First Quarter Update – November 2015

Dear Members of the Archmere Community:

We began our new school year with much excitement and energy. Here is an overview of the activity that took place over the first quarter of the new fiscal year as it relates to the goals of the 2012 Strategic Plan for Archmere.


Mission

Peter Pearson, artist, completed the creation of the Archmere crosses – one for the Oratory and a larger one to be used for liturgies and services in the theatre. The crosses were blessed at the opening school Mass on September 14, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, and the anniversary of the first day of school for Archmere when it opened in 1932. Individual donors have underwritten the creation of both crosses.

The Archmere cross will be unique to Archmere, depicting the history of the school and its Norbertine roots to Holland using the symbolism of the Tree of Life and the coats of arms of the Abbeys that are a part of a chain that lead to the founding of Archmere.

Father John Zagarella, O.Praem., is leading a 12-day Heritage Pilgrimage Tour, June 13-25, 2016. The tentative itinerary includes a visit to the tomb of Saint Norbert in Prague, visits to Norbertine abbeys in Austria and Germany, and a stay in the Norbertine Generalate in Rome.

The Patio continues to be renovated and re-engaged in the daily life of the school. Over the summer, plaster repairs were made to several rooms and hallways that had been damaged by water leaks from the roof, which has also been repaired. The back terrace railing has been reinforced and repaired. The lounge in the basement continues to undergo renovation to become a seminar/meeting room space.

We have received a gift of a 1923 Cartier 31-piece sterling silver tea service from Marie and John Ferguson. Mrs. Ferguson is the sister of alumni, William ’44, John ’47, and Richard ’49 Berl. Their mother and father were friends of John and Helena Raskob, and as a wedding gift, the Raskob’s gave them the silver tea service. We plan to display the tea service in the Patio.

We are in the process of receiving a gift of a historic pipe organ that will refurbish the organ in the music room of the Patio. Another donor, affiliated with the Dickinson Organ Society, has offered his services and procured the pro bono services of other members of the Society to install the organ. This second donor has made a gift of his Harley-Davidson motorcycle to the Academy, in the hopes that it will be sold or auctioned, with the proceeds going to the organ installation project.

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Academic Excellence

We began the school year with 135 freshman. We have had considerable interest in the Academy, so much so that we have been unable to accept a number of students in our waiting pool this year. The freshman class’ average test score is 116, consistent with last year’s class average.

The Middle States Reaccreditation Process is on target with preparations being made for the site visit from March 15-18, 2016.

We initiated two programs this academic year that help us review school climate and social behavior. The first is a program developed by the MMI Group, an organization devoted to keeping students safe online. The MMI Group provides TrueCare (www.SafeStudentsOnline.com), a program that helps parents monitor their children’s social media use. Parents will have the option to synchronize their social media accounts with their children’s accounts. The software program sends an alert to parents if there are any inappropriate words, phrases, or images that might appear in their children’s social media. While this will be optional for parents to activate, it will be provided and encouraged by Archmere for all student families, to help prevent situations from escalating. The second initiative is a program sponsored by the Harvard Graduate School of Education, entitled “Making Caring Common.” The program involves surveying parents, students, and staff in participating schools and sharing the data with school leadership around perceptions of school climate and culture. The surveys are scheduled to be conducted online from October 1 to 31, 2015, with data returned to the schools about a month later.

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Teachers & Staff

We welcome several new staff to Archmere who have replaced staff members who have not returned: Mr. Michael Buccio, facilities staff member; Mrs. Erin Coomes – part-time admissions assistant; Mrs. Kathy Knox, part-time Comprehensive Campaign manager; Mr. William Panagokos, campus minister; Mrs. Regina Reidenberg ’91, history teacher substitute for Mrs. Kristen Pombo who is on maternity leave; Ms. Tara Rodack, history teacher.

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Alumni Engagement

The Alumni Council continues to provide good leadership to the association in developing and presenting events and programs throughout the year for alumni. Elections for Council membership were held and the new president elected is John Nowaczyk ’87, who is also a parent of a current Sophomore.

Plans are developed to focus on engaging younger alumni in attending events and in philanthropy.

The 2015-16 school year marks the 40th anniversary of coeducation at Archmere, and the Council will be presenting programming to specifically celebrate the alumnae of Archmere.

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Financial Sustainability

We are engaged in a comprehensive campaign to raise $12.5 million – $8.5 million for renovations to Saint Norbert Hall, $2.5 million for endowment, and $1.5 for the Archmere fund over the next two consecutive years, based on a feasibility study of our constituency conducted last year.

Other capital projects continue to be completed, including the enlargement of the exit to Manor Avenue from campus to accommodate school buses that have been parking along Manor Avenue. The number of buses in the afternoons make turning out of the campus difficult because of limited sight lines.

The 2014-15 fiscal year has been another effective fund raising year for Archmere, thanks to the support of so many benefactors and volunteers and the organizational approach and follow through of our capable staff.

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