Notes and Accolades – Faculty (Winter 2015)

Jim Albrecht, Director of Operations

Congratulations to Jim Albrecht on passing the requirements to become an American Kennel Club Judge for Briards and for Junior Showmanship.

Alumni Reunions

West Alumni Reunion 021East Alumni Reunion 014

East Alumni Reunion 019


West Alumni Reunion Laugh 2






On December 23, more than 200 Sturgis alumni returned to share their college and work experiences with current juniors and seniors at our annual Alumni Reunion. The tradition helps our current students imagine the opportunities that await them after Sturgis and allows alumni to reconnect with friends and faculty.

Cape Cod Five Educational Mini-Grants

Congratulations to the following faculty members who have received Cape Cod Five Educational Mini-Grants for 2015-16:

Daniela Milne, Librarian – East   $500 for Supporting Reading with Graphic Novels

Stacey Strong, Mathematics – East $200 Sturgis ROVer Aquatic Robotics Club

John Tecklenburg, Environmental Systems – West $500 Astronomy Club

Cape Cod Lighthouse Charter School

Congratulations to Cape Cod Lighthouse Charter School on your 20th anniversary! Cape Cod Times published the following article for the anniversary:  Cape Cod Lighthouse Charter School celebrates 20 years

Cape Cod Mushroom Club

Mushroom 1 Mushroom 2Sturgis French teachers Kristen Anthony and Carine Blanc recently took part in a walk at Shawme Crowell State Forest organized by the Cape Cod Mushroom Club (   The club sponsors regular walks throughout the year to help individuals learn more about mushrooms and their habitat while enjoying the great outdoors in a friendly social gathering. The club was founded to inspire a deeper understanding and respect for the ecosystems which support the biodiversity of life on Earth.

Photos: finding and then inspecting some honey mushrooms, and then posing with a big “Hen of the Woods.”


Mitchell Chester, MA Commissioner of Education


Mr. Chester visits Theory of Knowledge

Commissioner Chester Meets with Sturgis Faculty

Commissioner Chester Meets with Faculty

Mitchell Chester, the Commissioner of Education in MA, visited Sturgis West in mid- September as he wanted to learn more about the Sturgis IB for All experience. Following his visit, Commissioner Chester noted that he was quite impressed with the depth of the discussion in Matt Hodge’s Theory of Knowledge class and with the true impact that the IB can and does have on “all” students.

Dr. Chester later participated in the Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd) 2015 National Summit on Education Reform in Denver, Colorado, October 21-22.  During a panel discussion on PISA for Schools: How International Results Can Impact Local Students, Dr. Chester reflected on his experience at Sturgis. 

His comments about Sturgis occur approximately 1:05:2–1:10:10 in the following video:

Marca Daley, Theory of Knowledge – East

Whats on Your Plate

Whats on Your Plate?

What's on My Mind Senior Year

What’s on My Mind Senior Year?

TOK Seniors at East Campus began the year responding to the question, “What’s on your Plate?” …and then used the metaphor to create paper plates filled with their senior year obligations.   Class discussions focused on patterns, priorities and time management, with students realizing that they are ‘all in this together.’  In their 2nd week, seniors considered the TOK concept of international-mindedness and understanding different cultural perspectives on controversial issues.  Topics as diverse as International Whaling, Use of GMOs, Stem Cell Research, Renewable Energy, College Debt & Tuition Costs, Attitudes to Acceptable Attire, Gun Laws, Animal Poaching and Gender Issues in Sports were researched and presented taking into consideration different cultural assumptions, values,& justifications and considering the broader implications in our Global Society.

Photos:  preparing for the presentations with senior plates in the background, a sampling of plates, and making sense of your plate:  Maria Girardin took the different parts of the brain and what each controls and connected it to the items on her plate.

Katie Curran receives a gold star for turning in her EE

Katie Curran receives a gold star for turning in her EE

Extended Essay at East – Marca Daley, EE Coordinator

Seniors are in the final stages of researching and writing their IB extended essays, and one student has actually completed the process and received her EE star.  Katie Curran submitted her final formatted revision and completed the viva voce on Friday, Dec. 11th.   Congratulations, Katie!  ALL EE candidates should have their essays complete by January!   The long process is almost at an end!

Financing a College Education

The school counselors hosted the senior class for an assembly on Thursday, December 17. The topic was Financing a College Education. Selecting a college is a major financial decision, so students were encouraged to have conversations with their families about the resources available for paying for college. Since student loans are a reality for the majority of students, we also discussed the terms and considerations for the most common student loans. Seniors and parents should keep in mind that the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) will be available after January 1, 2016. We recommend that families apply as early as possible after January 1 using best estimates about their 2015 income and taxes. In addition, students should be keeping track of financial aid deadlines and form requirements for each college to which they are applying, as missed financial aid deadlines will mean less financial aid in most cases.

Eric Hieser, Executive Director

Eric Hieser at Phillipines SummitEric Hieser was a keynote speaker at the First National Special Education Leadership Summit held November 25-27 in the Philippines. His presentation was entitled “Leading with a Global Perspective on Inclusive Education.” The conference was organized as a collaborative partnership by the office of Congressman Alfred Vargas in support of a shared advocacy for children with disabilities.

Summit seminars covered the following topics:

  • Philippines Special Education Issues
  • Leadership in Special Education
  • Components of Inclusive Schools
  • Programming to Meet the Diverse Needs of Students with Disabilities
  • Community Engagement Systems and Supports

Mr. Hieser was recently invited to participate on a panel of school leaders that focused on the topic of Deeper Learning at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.  He also spent two days in New York at the Clinton School for Writers and Artists as their IB consultant mentoring their application for IB authorization.


Holiday Stroll 1Hyannis Village Christmas Stroll

Sturgis students brought holiday spirit and cheer to festivities at the Hyannis Village Christmas Stroll on Main Street




IB Art, East, Xanthipi Abel:

IB Art 1IB Art 2IB seniors are busy creating artwork before the revisions, compiling and submissions begin. Students are expanding the breadth of their work and are experimenting with a new medium, oil paint. There is a student grade oil paint that works with a nontoxic, natural, and odorless turpinoid that is easily cleaned. For this painting students chose a subject matter that cohesively connects to their existing body of work; they are having fun exploring the richness, slow drying and multi-faceted aspects of working with oil paint.

Jean Burke 1Jean Burke 2IB seniors recently had the privileged to experience the work and technical skill of Jean Burke, a local Cape Cod watercolor artist. Jean visited our classroom demonstrating water techniques, discussing subject matter choices and answering student questions. Her work has been featured in a variety of art exhibits throughout the Cape, her work and life was featured in Woman’s Day Magazine. Her talents and artistic style have led to her work being commissioned by Chatham Bars Inn, Chatham Orpheum Theater and a variety of local establishments.

Alla Zbinovsky with IB Art Students

Alla Art 2

Technique for making Egg Tempura

IB Art seniors will soon be entering the phase of compiling their Art Investigation Workbook planning pages, editing their Comparative Study and writing their Curatorial Rational. Hence, this month marks the last of their studio work for IB submission purposes. One student whose family raises chickens expressed an interest in Alla Art 4learning the ancient technique of making egg tempera. Fortunately, former Sturgis English teacher Alla Zbinovsky is an egg tempera artist and studied with various masters in Russia. She provided a wonderful presentation, art history lesson and demonstration of how to make the medium for egg tempera paint by separating egg yolk from embryo sacks and using natural stones to grind colored pigments into the yolk. Students enjoyed learning this ancient technique and working with Ms. Zbinovsky on the start of their final piece. (Photos and text courtesy of Art teacher Xanthippi Abel)

IB Team, East and West:

We have just completed IB registration: 297 students at East and West will sit IB exams next May! Of these, 131 are attempting the IB Diploma, 69 are Course students and 97 are Juniors sitting an “Anticipated” exam.  132 students are writing an EE in one of 26 different subject. Interestingly, the % of students attempting the Diploma has remained fairly consistent at around 65%.
We just wrapped up a November exam session that we offered to a student who wished to retake his May 2015 IB exams so that he could improve his scores. Presently enrolled at UNH, and recently graduated from the Canadian International School in Bangalore, India, he stayed with Andrea Fleckles and her family while on Cape. He said he had never heard of Cape Cod, but cannot believe how beautiful it is and how incredibly kind Andrea and her family were to take him in.

Latin, West and East, Caroline Lee and Robert Albis

On December 3rd, over 120 IB Latin students from both campuses traveled to Boston University for the annual Classics Day sponsored by the Massachusetts Junior Classical League.  In addition to meeting Latin students from all over the state, Sturgis students attended seminars given by Boston area college faculty. Topics ran from traditional studies of authors such as Horace to more innovative studies such as an examination of disability and impairment in the ancient world.  Many students came away with topics they would like to pursue for their Internal Assessment research projects.

MCAS Results Among the Top in MA

Sturgis East and West grade 10 students (who are currently in grade 11) once again ranked among the top schools in MA on their 2015 MCAS tests. Sturgis students tied for #1 out of 290 school districts in English Language Arts, tied for #15 in Math, and tied for #12 in Science. In addition, the Sturgis Student Growth Percentiles (a value added statistic) were significantly higher than average, the highest that Sturgis has ever achieved. Congratulations to the current grade 11 students and parents in addition to their faculty who helped achieve such exemplary results.

Paul Marble, Associate Director

Associate Director/Principal, Paul Marble, has led Equity and Excellence workshops for the IB in Georgia, California, and Texas. He also  led a two-day workshop in Rochester, NY regarding increasing access to the IB Diploma Program and diversifying IB cohorts.

East DSC_0541Mini College Fairs

West IMG_5433Mini College Fairs were held at Sturgis East & West during lunch in late October. College Fairs provide an excellent opportunity for students to explore the many college options that exist and to find the best college fit to suit their needs and interests.


Pies2 003Nickerson Holiday Pies

Sturgis faculty were able to pick up the holiday pies they ordered just in time for Thanksgiving. Abigail Nickerson and her mom, Cheryll Nickerson, cooked up this sweet idea as a fundraiser for the Sturgis Surf Club trip to Costa Rica in February. The Nickerson family is well known around Sturgis for their amazing baked goods.


North Star Academy

In early September, Sturgis West and East hosted a two-day visit from a school leader from North Star Academy, a high-performing charter school in Newark, NJ as they are quite interested in developing an IB Diploma Programme. Sturgis also hosted a visit from the Principal of the American School of Rio de Janeiro as he was seeking strategies for transforming his school into an IB school.

Once on This Island

CastCongratulations to the cast, crew, and pit orchestra of Once on This Island for presenting four great performances at Mashpee High School last weekend. Many thanks to all who came and supported STAGE Left and Right and gave us a standing ovation!


Stay tuned for more details about the Winter One-Acts at each campus: Still Life with Iris at Sturgis East, directed by Diana Young, and The Love of Three Oranges at Sturgis West, directed by Michele Colley!

For more information, see Sturgis Theatre: A Retrospective

Parent-Teacher Conference Day

Students and parents were encouraged to come to the East and West campuses on Parent-Teacher Conference Day on Monday, November 23 from 12:30-4:00 p.m. or from 5:00-7:00 p.m Students and parents were able to have 10-minute meetings with each of the student’s teachers during the times noted above. This day provides a very important time for sharing information about student progress and suggestions for future growth and improvement. Of course, parents are welcome to attend even if their student is not available to participate.

Philanthropy DayPhilanthropy Day on Cape Cod

Each year, the Planned Giving Council of Cape Cod invites students from each Cape high school to attend Philanthropy Day on Cape Cod. Thanks to a scholarship established by a local philanthropist, students are invited to attend round-tables, seminars and lunch. ‪#‎PhilanthropyDay‪#‎capecodgiving

Pete Sampou – Science – East

NOAA Group 4Sturgis East’s NOAA  BWET science program which is coordinated through Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve is starting its last year of outside funding. Our Seniors were out in the field on 1 October investigating studies/concerns close to home in this Capstone Science-in-the-field Project.  Some of the overarching questions that teams of 5 students (each team having a senior in each of the 4 IB science courses, Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Environmental Science and Society) are:

  1. What will we (Cape Cod) do when sea level rises this century? What is the range of expected rises? How would a gradual sea level rise compare with an extreme weather event?
  2. Animal and Plant species are being transported around the globe on purpose and as unintended “hitchhikers”. What evidence, what kind of consequences is this having on the Waquoit Bay (or another Cape) watershed? Are humans messing up ecosystem functioning? What are potential stewardship solutions?
  3. Global Climate is changing and this change will accelerate in your lifetime, related in part to rising [CO2]atm  and feedback mechanisms within the global carbon cycle What effects might this have on the Waquoit Bay (WB) watershed and coastal environment? What kinds of adaptation, remediation, and/or stewardship projects might lessen the detrimental effects?
  4. The increase in human population on Cape Cod (and within WB watershed) over the last 60 years has had a direct link to coastal eutrophication and other localized pollution concerns. Identify a specific problem (nutrient or toxin related), investigate the causes, consequences, costs to communities and the potential solutions
  5. You should realize that land use has changed dramatically on Cape Cod and within the WB watershed. Investigate and document Past and Present conditions, then predict the condition of the watershed (or some place in the watershed) 50  to 100 years from now.

As citizens of the 21st century, we (students especially) must address tough questions similar to those above and adopt an increasingly sustainable lifestyle that meshes with existing resources here on Cape Cod.

Shaw’s Supermarkets and Star Market “We Love Our Schools” campaign

Star Market DonationSturgis West Principal Jenn Kirk, Assistant Director Paul Marble and members of the student government received a $400 donation from Jorge Gonzalez, Store Director of Hyannis Star Market. The donation is part of Shaw’s Supermarkets and Star Market “We Love Our Schools” campaign. In keeping with a tradition dating back more than 150 years of serving New England communities, all 155 New England stores will adopt two area schools, each of which will receive a $400 donation. Sturgis greatly appreciates the support of Shaw’s Supermarkets and Star Market!

Mona LisaRobin Singer, Math – West

Integrated Math 9 at West started the year by studying the golden rectangle and the spiritual nature of mathematics. Students were introduced to the constant PHI (1.618) which shows up in many diverse places, in art, architecture, and nature.

Southeast District Music Ensembles

Ten Sturgis students auditioned and were accepted into the Southeast District Music Ensembles. Congratulations to Hannah Allen, Ethan Bailey, David Girardin, Maria Girardin, Cecelia Kane, Rebecca Leduc, Ian Morris, Christian Muxica, Catherine Palmer and Chris Parkin.

In addition, Juliana Bertrand and Mikey Richard participated in the “Cape Cod Choral Consortium”, alongside high school students from various Cape high schools. Together, they performed with the Cape Cod Symphony for their annual “Young People’s Concert” for over one thousand Cape elementary and middle school students. Pieces included American standards such as “This Little Light of Mine” and “Simple Gifts” and challenging repertoire by American composers such as Charles Ives’ “Circus Band” and Aaron Copland’s “Zion’s Walls”.

Special Education, East, Danielle Massey:

Danielle Massey and Lee Moynihan, resource room teachers, took a group of juniors and seniors to tour Lasell College in Newton on Tuesday, November 17. The students toured the campus, had lunch, met with admissions, and had a discussion with the support services department. This trip allows the students to have a more open discussion about resources available to them and their needs.

Spirit Week



Sturgis’ annual spirit week was held during the week of October 26-30 this year. Each day students were asked to dress up in a different themed outfit to earn points for their class. The week ended with class hall decorating and the class color field day events on the town green. Check out the following youtube video made by Sturgis junior Aidan Andrews. While it is bit skewed towards the junior class, it gives a great overview of what this awesome week is all about!

Junior Aidan Andrews captures the spirit of Spirit Week in his video: Sturgis East Color Wars 2015

Stacey Strong, Mathematics – East

Congratulations to Stacey Strong and Sturgis ROVers for being awarded a Cape Cod Five Educational Mini-Grant for $ 200 toward the Sturgis ROVer Aquatic Robotics Club. The Sturgis ROV’ers are extremely grateful for the Cape Cod 5 grant, Sturgis Parents Association’s donation of funding to buy the materials to build this year’s and next year’s robot and the donation of pool time from the Hyannis Resort and Conference Center.



Stacey Strong and Cecilia Kane

The Sturgis ROV’ers competed at the Regional Sea Perch competition at New Bedford High school on December 12. Students Carolyn Bailey, Sophie Beauregard, Selena Davis, Madeline Heino, Riley Jakusik, and Cece Kane worked tirelessly during many lunches in East’s basement to construct an aquatic robot. On weekends they practiced maneuvering it to complete under-water challenges. These six young women learned to work with various tools–a soldering iron, a power drill, and a PVC cutter– but more importantly, they learned how the engineering cycle of “design- build- test- improve” works. (And… how challenging it can be!)

sea perch dec 21 2015 group with captain bercaw (1)The team looks forward to further exploring the marine robotics industry by inviting guest speakers from the Nautilus, SEA, Boston Dynamics, and Hydroid to Sturgis next semester. If anyone in the Sturgis community has a contact they would like to provide, we would welcome the connection. Please contact Coach Stacey Strong at

The Sturgis ROV’ers are extremely grateful for the donation of pool time from the Hyannis Resort and Conference Center, and also for SPA’s donation of funding to buy the materials to build this year’s and next year’s robot. The team eagerly awaits the next aquatic challenge! DIVE DEEP!


Sturgis Enrollment Period Update

Sturgis is currently in the middle of its annual enrollment period that the school employs to seek applicants in grades 9 & 10 for the upcoming 2016-17 school year. The deadline for submitting applications will be January 8, 2016. At this midpoint of the enrollment period, applications submitted for grade 9 are about 30% higher than last year when Sturgis received 583 for a total of 212 places in the Sturgis West and East grade 9 classes. Due to a change in the state law regarding charter school waiting lists, Sturgis also has had more than 80 applications for grade 10 from those students and families seek-ing to replace any current grade 9 students who withdraw from the school during the period of February–August 2016.

Sturgis family is growing by leaps and bounds


Fiona Louise Botsford

Nolan Lon Arledge

Nolan Lon Arledge

We are celebrating the births of not one, but two faculty babies born yesterday: Nolan Lon Arledge was born at 5:15 am and Fiona Louise Botsford was born at 5:55 pm. Their moms are Sturgis alumnae Anna Heick Botsford (Class of 2002) and Jenna Stewart Arledge (Class of 2004). Ms. Botsford teaches Theatre and serves as Lead Teacher for the Visual and Performing Arts Department at Sturgis West. Ms. Arledge is the Nurse at West and serves on the Wellness Committee. Congratulations to the Arledge and Botsford families!


Sturgis Featured in Tower Foundation Annual Highlights

Sturgis was recently featured in The Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation 2014 Annual Highlights report. See page 11 for the article about Sturgis: “High Expectations Result in High Achievement for Students with Learning Disabilities.” We greatly appreciate the support of the Tower Foundation in funding a 3-year learning disabilities grant for Sturgis: Increasing the Capacity for Cape Cod and Island Schools to Support Inclusive Classrooms for Students Who Learn Differently.

SPA recently gave $25,000 to support Sturgis efforts

SPA recently gave $25,000 to support Sturgis efforts

Sturgis Parents Association

On November 23, during Parent Teacher conferences, Sturgis faculty were treated to a delicious homemade Italian dinner by the Sturgis Parents Association. We greatly appreciate the thoughtfulness of all the parents who contributed to the “best Parent Teacher dinner ever!”

Annual Boxwood Night

Boxwood 2The Sturgis Parents Association recently hosted their Annual Boxwood Night.

Boxwood 1Parents from both East and West campuses were invited to decorate tabletop boxwood trees in celebration of the holiday season. Everyone had a fantastic time and all of the trees turned out beautifully.

Photos and text courtesy of Bridget Bressette. Originally published in Sturgis StormWatch:

Sturgis Wellness Program featured in Barnstable Patriot

Today’s education column of The Barnstable Patriot features: Life Lessons: Sturgis wellness class teaches students life skills.

Wellness – Diane Kovanda, East
WellnessStudents are learning about developing good habits for lifelong wellness – managing stress,  getting enough sleep, how the immune system works and how to do a few simple things to strengthen the immune system. Last week we explored how parts of the brain work, how stress affects the brain, and how to relax so we can learn and retain information better. We have lots of physical activity balanced with learning relaxation – including (pic) this mindful walk to the beach on some of the great weather days we have been having.

Sturgis West Ensemble Sings for Barnstable Town Council

West Singers perform for Town CouncilMembers of the Sturgis West Choir were invited to sing for the December 17 regular meeting of the Barnstable Town Council at Barnstable Town Hall. The ensemble, led by Sturgis West Choir Director Nhung Truong, performed a variety of holiday songs for the councilors and received a very strong expression of appreciation from the town leaders and those in the audience. Thanks go to Nhung Truong and the Sturgis West choir ensem-ble for contributing to the spirit of the season for the community.

Support Sturgis 2015-16 Annual AppealSupport Sturgis Annual Appeal!

Have you supported the Sturgis Annual Appeal yet? If not, this is a perfect time to support our efforts at Sturgis.It is not the amount you give that matters, it’s your action that counts!

Donations can be made by check to: William Sturgis Friends of Education Foundation, PO Box 2012, Hyannis, MA 02601

Donations can also be made by credit card through the Donate button on the Sturgis homepage:

Patrick Todoroff, Glass Graphics Studio

Todoroff West Window

“Imposing Order” – Glasswork by Patrick Todoroff

Many thanks to Patrick Todoroff (husband of Rachel Todoroff and father of three Sturgis alumni) for donating a beautiful stained glass window to Sturgis West Library. The piece is titled “Imposing Order.”

Gretchen Buntschuh Memorial Windows

Patrick also donated the Gretchen Buntschuh Memorial Windows to Sturgis East Library in 2010 to honor Gretchen, former Sturgis English teacher and Assistant Director who passed away in February 2010. The piece includes zinc, lead, and foil wrap construction using antique and architectural glass, glass nuggets and antique cast rondels.

“The Layers” a poem by Stanley Kunitz, former Poet Laureate and Cape Cod resident is etched in the glass (used with permission).

Dimensions: Each panel measures 36″ x 36″. The entire piece stretches over nine feet.

Patrick designs custom stained glass windows. To learn more about his work, see: Glass Graphics Studio

Susan Voigt, Special Education – East

In early November, Susan Voigt led a workshop in Atlanta, GA entitled Creating Inclusive Classrooms: Access for All Students in the IB Diploma Programme.

Group 4 West GroupTonja Weimer, Science – West

Friday September 18, West Grade 12 participated in the Group 4 Field trip which took place this year at Grey’s Beach.  It was a beautiful day and a beautiful sight watching all the seniors collaborating in groups utilizing the experience and knowledge gained on past science trips and in the IB classes. Upon return, student met in assigned rooms to discuss, analyze, and conclude on their findings.  Next week, during lunch, each of the 20 groups will present their group’s project.





Theatre and S.T.A.G.E. (Sturgis Theatre Arts Guild of Entertainers), West and East, Anna Botsford and Diana Young:

CastThe East and West production of Once on This Island was a complete success this weekend at Mashpee High School!  The cast, crew and pit orchestra of over 60 students worked together to create a piece of beautiful, magical theatre.  After a long 2.5 months of acting, singing and dancing rehearsals, all of their hard work paid off in this final weekend production.  Reviews from audience members include:

Group PointingBob and I thoroughly enjoyed a most wonderful treat this afternoon. . .Once on this Island!  Please offer my warmest congratulations to all the crew on a spectacular production and performance. Congratulations and well done! ( Jolanda Ferguson)

The show was excellent and my guests really enjoyed it. It was a treat for all of us. Thanks for your generosity and for all the effort that went into making a great production. ( Rachel Todoroff)


TOK 2, East and West, Christine McDowell, Lynn Kelley, Matt Hodge:

Students at both campuses will soon be choosing their essay title to write their externally assessed TOK essay.  The IB releases six choices and the students must choose one of the six prompts to write their 1600 word essay.  Some of the choices this year include:

  • “Knowledge within a discipline develops according to the principles of natural selection. “ How useful is this metaphor?
  • In knowledge there is always a trade-off between accuracy and simplicity.” Evaluate this statements in relation to two areas of knowledge.
  • To what extent do the concepts that we use shape the conclusions that we reach?
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