OES Upper School Voice Newsletter

Upper School Hours for the 2021-22 School Year

  • 8:25 a.m.–3:10 p.m. Week 1 and Week 2 (Except Wednesday)
  • 9:10 a.m.–3:10 p.m. Week 1 Wednesdays
  • 8:35 a.m.–3:10 p.m. Week 2 Wednesdays
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A Message from the Division Head

by Sarah Grenert-Funk

Note from US Head

When I was playing lacrosse in college and we were struggling through a particularly challenging practice, when we were bent over on the sidelines thinking we couldn’t continue, or when we were behind in a game, my coach would look at us squarely in the eyes and say two words: back pocket. It meant we all had something else we could reach for (in our back pockets) to get us through. Even if there might not be much left, it could get us through the next five minutes, it could get us over the next obstacle, it could get us the next goal.
So for the past two weeks I have said those two words like a mantra: back pocket, back pocket, back pocket. In days and weeks like these, we all need to reach into our collective back pockets to get us through. And just like on my team, while we were reaching deep into those back pockets to find motivation or energy or a second wind for ourselves, we were also reaching into them for one another.
We all have a long way to go and much collective work to do. Whatever we have left to reach for, let’s use it for ourselves and for one another.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service: On Monday we have a day off to celebrate the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Consider using the time to work in the service of others. Here are some local opportunities.
Assessment Week is Coming Up January 24-27


  • Assessments are 9:00-11:00 and 1:00-3:00. Monday through Wednesday.
  • On Thursday we have one assessment at 9:00-11:00. 
  • Make-up assessments are held Thursday afternoon if needed. 


  • With parent permission, students may arrive late or leave early when they have open blocks, and they may go off campus for lunch. Please complete this form to give your child permission to leave campus for lunch. 
  • Please complete attendance in Veracross to let us know when your child will be off campus - if they will arrive late or leave early due to open blocks. 

Learning Support Opportunities:

  • There will be spaces set aside on campus for quiet study during assessment week. 
  • Teachers will be available for check-ins.
  • Maego and Miki are offering wellness opportunities throughout the week and lots of snacks to keep brains and bodies fueled. 
  • Upper School Building Hours
  • Students are welcome to arrive at 7:30 AM 
  • The Library closes at 4:00 PM
  • The Upper School buildings close at 5:00 PM - if your child needs to stay later, they should contact the Upper School office to make arrangements. 
  • Thanks for understanding we need to know when students are in the building. 

Semi-Formal: We are postponing the semi-formal originally scheduled for mid-February. We’re looking into other options for social events as soon as it is prudent to do so. 

Testing Moving Forward: We will be testing every Upper School student during their open blocks on Mondays and Tuesdays. Your child will receive an email with a window of time to go to the Athletic Center for their screening. We will communicate with you if your child tests positive, but otherwise no news is good news. Contact tracing will continue as well. 

Lowering the Density in the Dining Hall: Beyond limiting seating in the dining hall, we are looking at more ways to reduce density when eating indoors. 

  • Eating outdoors is the best option. We have multiple tents with tables and chairs. New bark chips are going in to improve conditions in the wet weather. 
  • 11th and 12th graders are allowed to leave campus for lunch. We ask them to continue to practice safe Covid protocols even when off campus, including masking when not eating, eating outside wherever possible, and if driving with others, opening windows in the car. 
  • We are opening some classrooms to groups of students. Information has been sent directly to them. 

Mask wearing remains critical. Please make sure students are wearing their masks properly. We highly recommend double masking with a surgical mask underneath a cloth mask, or wearing an N95 or equivalent. 

Chapel Update: Starting next week, we will attend Chapel remotely

William Temple House Donations: Kara Tambellini’s Senior Literary Journalism class is partnering with William Temple House to collect donations. Items needed include: 

  • 2-4 person tents (gently-used welcome)
  • Sleeping bags (gently-used welcome)
  • Adult jackets (gently-used welcome)
  • Sleeping mats
  • Flashlights / headlamps
  • Adult underwear 
  • Gloves, hats, and socks
  • Emergency mylar blankets
  • Hand warmers
  • Shoes and Boots

Important Dates 

January 17: Martin Luther King Jr Day- NO SCHOOL
January 18, 7-8:15 pm: 9th and 10th grade Parent College Night. Zoom meeting.
January 24: State of the School Parent Sessions. This week there will be multiple morning and evening sessions for parents who wish to attend. Zoom link will be provided at a later date.
January 24-27: Assessment Week
January 28: Teacher Work Day- NO SCHOOL

Jelly Rec: Book Recommendations from US Librarian Erika Jelinek
The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi

The Interdependency is a collection of worlds scattered across the far reaches of space, reachable only via The Flow, a space/time anomaly that allows ships to travel impossible distances in a short(er) period of time. No one world can sustain itself without the others, and so no single world can subsist without The Flow. Unfortunately, it appears to be collapsing (hence the title), potentially leaving the scattered worlds of the Interdependency isolated without the ability to survive. The Collapsing Empire follows three characters - the Empress of the Interdependency, a Flow physicist, and a space merchant - as they try to figure out just what is happening to the Flow before their entire society collapses. I know this synopsis makes it sound like Hard Science Fiction, and it kind of is, but it's mostly a rip-roaring space opera with punchy characters and some of the most satisfying GOTCHA moments I've ever read.