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Message from the Head of Upper School

Message from the Head of Upper School

It’s been a wonderful year, Panthers! Please see the letter below for end-of-year reflections and preliminary information about fall.

Dear Families,

It is hard to believe that my first year at PDS is already wrapping up, and yet, in some ways, I feel like this place is home and I have been here for years! Thank you all for welcoming me and helping me and my family to navigate PDS and find our place here. 

This time of year is full of celebrations of all kinds: on the fields, in the classrooms, and in our extra-curricular spaces. We had our awards ceremony where we were able to recognize excellence in our seniors. A special moment of that assembly included honoring Carlos Cara, who is retiring after 42 excellent years of service, with the naming of the Biology Award. This was one of many goodbyes that we will say, most importantly to our seniors and many of their parents and families. Next week, we look forward to the senior baccalaureate dinner and commencement, where we honor all of our graduating seniors as they move into their next stages. I am so proud of this graduating class and grateful to have them be my first to shepherd across the stage.  

This morning, I hosted the final Parents Association meeting, which included some notes on where the division is headed and time for community. I look forward to continued monthly touchpoints for US families and a strong partnership with the PA. For our rising 9-12 grade families, please see some preliminary back-to-school information below and in the newsletter, and stay tuned for more comprehensive information in August.

Course Information and Summer Reading
Schedules are posted to Veracross in early August, indicating which of their choices are confirmed. Upon receiving their official schedules in early August, rising 11th and 12th graders should begin their summer reading for their courses. Rising 9th and 10th graders may begin their summer reading which will be posted shortly.

2024-2025 Class Deans & Advisor Requests
I am excited to announce next year's dean team! They have already been getting to know your students, and I am looking forward to formally introducing you to them in August. 

  • 9th grade: Abid Shakoor
  • 10th grade: Eric Schnepf
  • 11th grade: Jean Castellano
  • 12th grade: Tomasz Rzeczycki

Advisor change request forms have been posted to Schoology and are due TODAY. Please confirm with your students that they completed this step if you think that they would like to change.

Health Office Information
Effective July 1, 2024, the State of New Jersey has issued a new Preparticipation Physical Examination Medical Eligibility Form. All students whose physical examinations are completed on or after July 1, 2024, must have their provider complete the updated form. The Magnus Health Portal will open in July for the 2024-25 academic year. Please note that all forms are due August 1. All Upper School students, regardless of participation in school sports, are required to complete these forms.

What’s Coming Up!
In early August, you will receive a comprehensive back-to-school guide that includes schedules, summer reading, new faculty bios, meal plan registration and the 2024-2025 student and family handbook. Also stay tuned for a late summer Zoom event where we share an overview of the year ahead, handbook highlights, and the ‘nuts and bolts’ of Veracross, calendars, attendance and more! 

If you have any questions over the summer, please reach out! Wishing you and your family a wonderful, restful break!


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