Headmaster’s Welcome Letter to Parents

Dear Parents,


I want to wish you and your family a very warm welcome to the York Prep community for the 2010-2011 school year. All of us look forward to working with your children and you in a year of great success and growth.


This is York Prep’s 42nd year, and we continue to be blessed by our wonderful faculty and administration, who have remained stable for many years. The administration continues unchanged as it has since we moved to our “new” building in 1997. Mr. Chris Durnford, our Principal, runs the program and supervises the faculty. In his 41st year at York, Dr. Robert Reese is Head of our Psychological Services. In her 41st year at York, Mrs. Robin Stark, Dean of the High School, is in charge of the social and educational development of members of the High School. Ms. Joyce Perley, Dean of the Middle School (6th through 8th grades) has similar responsibilities for members of the Middle School. In her 42nd year at York (like myself), my wife, Jayme Stewart, with her associate, Janet Rooney, runs our College Guidance program.


I am happy to report that the student population has slightly grown this year and that we have added two more full-time faculty positions. This year, Ms. Wendy Jin, who taught Mandarin part time last year, will be a full-time member of the faculty teaching Mandarin to students from all grades. It was through her efforts that we had a very successful trip to China for our students and some of their parents in June. They visited Shanghai (for the World Expo), Beijing and Xian. We look forward to offering a similar trip next June.


York Prep accomplished and, indeed, substantially exceeded its goal of offering over a million dollars of scholarship aid for this coming school year. I want to thank all of you (on behalf of both the School and our wonderfully talented scholarship students) who graciously contributed to our Foundation. Your response to my end-of-year letter was very generous and enabled us to continue our mission of ensuring that we have a diverse student population that reflects the society in which we live.


We are proud to offer a wide range of clubs and activities and are always ready to begin new programs based on student interest. A sports calendar for each of the three seasons is posted on our website and on Edline. The student directory will be available to you at our Parents’ Curriculum and Welcome Day on Saturday, October 2, which starts at 10:00 a.m. and goes until 1:30 p.m. At that time you will meet your children’s teachers and get to hear what their curriculum will be this year and, of course, meet the other parents in your child’s classes. I am particularly grateful to our Parents Association led by Mrs. Sharon Holder-Brown and Mrs. Tonya Lee, with their faculty liaison, Ms. Lisa Smith, for their invaluable preparation for this event.


Perhaps the most important of the fall parent events is the first set of Parent-Teacher Conferences on November 11 and 12. Of course, by then you will have been able to review each week’s Edline reports (on Fridays) from the teachers.


This Edline program, accessed from our website (https://yorkprep.org/wordpress1) on the lower left-hand corner of the home page, is one of the most important tools in our parent-school communication process. For new parents, I cannot stress enough the critical value of this program. It enables you to follow every aspect of your children’s progress on a weekly basis.


New parents receive their individual activation codes and instructions from Mr. Richard Abba, our Director of Technology, on how to set up your Edline account. He and Mrs. Alicia Weschler, our Faculty Technology Coordinator, are available to help you if you have any difficulties with Edline. If you are a parent of a returning student and have any difficulties with your Edline account, or if you are a new parent and, similarly, are facing difficulties, please call Mrs. Weschler at the school.


Feel free to call me at any time about Edline, since I am a staunch advocate of the program. Last year, every parent used this program. It is a boon to effective parenting. Our Technology Department conducts an Edline demonstration and is available to answer any questions at virtually all the parent events listed in our calendar.


As well as offering Mandarin to our students, we have added Asian Studies (focusing on Chinese and Indian history) to our curricula. College guidance was successfully taught last year in 12th grade and this year will be added as a regular class for the 11th grade starting in the second semester. The computers in the main computer room are new as are many around the school.


On our roof, as many of you know, we now have five flourishing bee hives and an organic garden, and we look forward to presenting our students with a jar of York Prep honey. We are extending our “Banana Splits” support group for children who have experienced loss and dislocation due to parent separation for whatever reason. Finally, I want to remind you that our library is open until 5:30 p.m. for students who wish to start their homework in a quiet surrounding immediately after school (a strategy that studies have shown is very productive).


Woody Allen said that “80% of life is showing up.” But for students in secondary school, that percentage would ideally be 100%. Getting your children to school every day by 8:30 a.m. (including Field Day) shows them the priority you place on their education, as well as giving them the vital continuity of information.


On behalf of the entire school staff, again let me welcome you to the 2010-2011 year. I am excited about working with your children and thank you for trusting us with their education. York Prep is a place of joyful learning, and I hope that your child finds enormous satisfaction and growth with us this coming year.


Yours sincerely,



Ronald P. Stewart