News from the Upper School

Week of May 13
Week of May 13
Week of May 13

As I write this Friday note, my heart is filled with mixed emotions. There are so many things for which to be thankful - the least of which are our students and exceptional faculty! Today was bittersweet as Bobbie Jean Shepard, Susan Owens, and I attended our last Upper School assembly. Bobbie Jean and Susan - whose indelible footprints and contributions to SDS will leave lasting legacies -  have played key roles in countless students' lives. Both teachers embody the griffin spirit and are true masters of their craft. Bobbie Jean and Susan, your dedicated service to the students and the school is deeply appreciated. Best wishes in future endeavors.

Today, we marked the end of teacher appreciation week and the beginning of the end of another academic year. There was palpable energy and excitement as students hit the doors after our final day of regular classes. We ended our morning assembly with a final round of gratitude talks from Upper School students expressing their appreciation to teachers. Student leaders have shared thoughtful, sincere messages with faculty and staff all week. Parents, you would have been proud to see and hear those expressions of gratitude. Our students' courage, vulnerability, and maturity continually amaze me. I speak for all faculty and staff when I say how thankful we are for the love we experienced this week. The showering of food, gifts, and messages was truly remarkable!

Soaking up a little sunshine on the last day of classes...

Ahead, we continue with AP testing and add SDS finals to next week's docket. Students will certainly not go hungry - thank you to the parents who donated the plethora of exam snacks! We will send schedule reminders and testing locations out each day. 

Exam Reminders:

Morning exams begin at 9:00, but students can arrive early if needed. Students may enter the building as early as 7:30. Students arriving early should review material in Presnell.

Exams count for 20% of the semester grade (Q1 - 40%, Q2, 40%, Exam 20%).

SDS Exam Expectations

  • Students should arrive at least 15 minutes before their exam (8:45 or 12:45).

  • Exams are scheduled for two hours, but students may take up to three hours to complete their assessment. Students will not be released from an exam room earlier than 11:00 (morning exam) or 3:00 (afternoon exam). 

  • Students with two exams on the same day are not permitted to leave campus between exams. Lunch is available in the Dining Commons.

  • Students studying on campus should do so in Presnell or the library. 

  • The proctor will collect phones and smartwatches. Book bags should be left in a locker or outside the exam room. Students may bring a book to read if they finish early, but they may not have study materials with them during an exam.

  • Food is not permitted in exam rooms without a medical need. Water is allowed.

  • Relaxed dress is acceptable during exam week. Pajamas are not allowed.


AP Exam Reminders:

Students taking AP tests - 

  • Should arrive by 7:40 for morning exams and by 11:40 for afternoon exams. Please give yourself additional driving time during exam weeks

  • Must bring non-mechanical #2 pencils, blue/black pens to each exam, and a College Board-approved calculator that is fully charged or has new batteries. Having a replacement set of batteries on hand is also a good idea.

  • Before testing begins, students must turn off and submit cell phones, smart watches, or other smart devices. It's best to leave these items in a safe space outside the testing room.

  • If you receive accommodations and will be testing in a room different from the primary testing room, you will receive an email from Ms. Wesneski the night before with specific instructions.

  • If you ARE ILL OR HAVE AN EMERGENCY THAT WILL RESULT IN YOU BEING ABSENT from an exam, please get in touch with Mrs. Aiken ASAP so that the exam room is not waiting for you.

  • All study halls will be in the library for the remainder of the school year.

  • Please be very quiet in Presnell during the remainder of the testing period. Exams will be taking place in several rooms throughout each day.

As we reflect on all the hard work, dedication, and growth that has brought us here, we must also recap a few important reminders. 

• Field Night is Thursday, May 16, at 5:30. Students should report to Dorrance Plaza for an evening of food, fun, and competition!

• Tuesday, May 21, is Band Awards Night. The start time is 5:00 in Dent. 

• Wednesday, May 22, is Prom Night. The time is 7:00 - 10:00, and students must arrive no later than 7:45. Students who leave early will not be allowed to reenter. 

• Graduation rehearsal is at 11:00 am on Thursday, May 23. Seniors should report to the chorus room at the end of the Dent hallway. There is an alumni luncheon directly after.

• Thursday, May 23, Upper School Awards Night begins at 5:30 in Stone Gym. We ask that all juniors and seniors be in attendance.

• Graduation begins at 9:00 am on Friday, May 24, in the Senior Courtyard. Seniors should report to the chorus room at 7:50 am Friday morning. I recently sent a separate email to seniors and senior parents with specific instructions for graduation events. 

To close, on behalf of the Upper School faculty, I'd like to extend a huge THANK YOU to the Parents' Community for making us feel so special during Teacher Appreciation Week. The daily treats were such a creative display of care for the faculty and staff. Getting the students involved made things even more special!

Congratulations to the Class of 2024! We look forward to celebrating you in the days ahead.

Happy almost summer!


Monday, May 13, 2024 AP Calculus AB and BC   8:00 am
Monday, May 13, 2024 AP Pre-Calculus   12:00 am
Tuesday, May 14, 2024 AP English Language   8:00 am
Wednesday, May 15, 2024 AP French and AP World History   8:00 am
Wednesday, May 15, 2024 AP Computer Science   12:00 pm
Thursday, May 16, 2024 AP Spanish   8:00 am
Thursday, May 16, 2024 AP Biology   12:00 pm
Friday, May 17, 2024 AP Physics   8:00 am
Friday, May 17, 2024 AP Latin   12:00 pm
Monday, May 13, 2024 SDS Exams start    
Monday, May 13, 2024 A Block Exam   9:00 am
Monday, May 13, 2024 E block Exam   1:00 pm
Tuesday, May 14, 2024 B Block Exam   9:00 am
Tuesday, May 14, 2024 F Block Exam   1:00 pm
Wednesday, May 15, 2024 C Block Exam   9:00 am
Wednesday, May 15, 2024 G Block Exam   1:00 pm
Thursday, May 16, 2024 D Block Exam   9:00 am
Thursday, May 16, 2024 H Block Exam   1:00 pm
Thursday, May 16, 2024 US Field Night   5:30 - 8:00 pm
Friday, May 17, 2024 Make-up Exams/last day of school    
Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Band Awards Night

**Note slight time adjustment

Dent Gallery 5:00-6:30 pm
Wednesday, May 22, 2024 Prom - 10th - 12th grades only   7:00 pm
Thursday, May 23, 2024 Upper School Awards Night Mandatory - Juniors and Seniors in Stone Gym 5:30 - 7:30 pm
Friday, May 24, 2024 Graduation Senior Courtyard 9:00 am
Wednesday, August 14, 2024 First day of '24-'25 school year early dismissal  

College Counseling Corner

Week of May 13

Attention Juniors - who are almost SENIORS!

Please remember that we have two opportunities for you to attend College Boot Camp. They will be the same, so you do not have to attend both. Please email us and let us know which one you plan to attend.

Session 1: May 29th - 31st from 9 AM until 12 PM in the Parents' Community Seminar Room

Session 2: August 12th - 13th from 9 AM until 12 PM in the Parents' Community Seminar Room




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