Portledge Cares

Welcome to Portledge! Whether you’re new to the community or a returning student, I hope you all had restful and joyous summers. There’s been a lot happening on campus in your absence and we’re eagerly awaiting your arrival. As faculty and staff organize their classrooms and plan their teaching schedules, orientations, and field trips; and maintenance and grounds crews continue to beautify the campus for the upcoming school year, we’ve often had the same thought: we can’t wait for the students to arrive. Your arrival breathes life into this beautiful campus, and we’re eagerly anticipating seeing you all again very soon. 

As you know, at Portledge, the Pillars of “Kindness, Purpose, Honor, and Respect" guide daily life. These fundamental values are designed to help us all reflect on our inner selves, and they help us relate to others and how we understand and interact with the larger world. We want our students to succeed, but we also want them to enjoy their time here and to take pride in their community. These Pillars help create an environment where all students have the opportunity to succeed, thrive, and have fun every day at Portledge. 

Our theme for the upcoming school year has our Pillars embedded within them. They are self-care, care for others, and care for our surroundings. Portledge cares about you as students, as people, and as valued members of our community. 

Much of our lives are spent taking care of others. But here are some ways I’d love to see you take care of yourselves this coming year:
  • Be kind to yourself.
  • Visit with your Advisors and/or Deans and share your feelings. Don’t hold them in!
  • Prioritize sleep. 
  • Take advantage of our new schedule! Use conference time and free time to get extra help, and get ahead on reading and homework.
  • Join a club! Create your own club! Try a new sport!
  • Practice mindfulness by closing your eyes and sitting in one of our blue Adirondack chairs for a few minutes in the middle of the day. 
  • Live a purposeful life by making your days as efficient as possible, but still making time for friends and family. 
  • Meet with Ms. Heins or Dr. Morizio when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
  • Put away all screens and read a physical book for fun or write in a journal before bedtime.
Care for Others: 
At Portledge we strive to prepare our students to be powerful, creative, and global citizens. We prepare them to commit to a personal stake in our wider world. The first step towards that goal is to care for others within our community. I challenge you to do the following in the upcoming weeks and months:
  • Engage with a new student or introduce yourself to a new faculty member. 
  • Take joy in classmates’ and teammates’ successes.
  • Take time to help younger students with their academics or athletics.
  • Express gratitude to a classmate, teacher, and/or coach.
  • Stop into a former teacher's classroom just to say hi and talk about old times.
  • Call a sick classmate to see how they are feeling.
  • Thank your teacher after class and care for them by being honest about “how well the learning is going so that we can then plan the next steps in our teaching.” (Sherrington, 2019, p. 11)
Care for Our Surroundings: 
We are all so lucky to be at Portledge and to share this beautiful campus and community. Some of the faculty read Robin Wall Kimmerer’s book Braiding Sweetgrass this summer. In it, she talks about ways to care about a place that one is from and “to take care of the land as if our lives, both material and spiritual, depended on it.” (Kimmerer, 2013, p.9) But surroundings also mean caring for the traditions and rituals that make Portledge special and trying to find ways to give back to the surrounding community. I would love to see you all coordinate your classmates and lead in the following ways this year:
  • Help coordinate a fun event at Town Meeting.
  • Clean up after yourself at Commons and encourage others to do the same. 
  • Ask your advisor about our new community service program, the Community Partnership Experience, and find a way to participate early in the school year.
  • Organize a spirit event leading up to Blue/White day.
  • Push in your chair after leaving your desk or lunch table.
  • Come enjoy Founders Day with your classmates on October 1st!
  • Pick up trash on the ground even if it’s not yours and even if no one is looking.
  • Think of ways to further beautify our campus.
Organizational Psychologist Adam Grant says “Self-care is a valuable skill. Community care is a vital system. Instead of relying on a single source of support, form a network of givers. Lone helpers get overloaded quickly. Groups of helpers have each other's backs.” 

In the year ahead, we will all “have each other’s backs” and further develop such a “vital system.” If we practice self-care, care for others, and care for our surroundings, Portledge as a community, and all of us individually will emerge stronger than ever. 
This is your school. And it will always be so. 

Warmest regards,

Mr. D
Director of Middle & Upper School


List of 4 members.

  • Photo of Chris Disimile

    Chris Disimile 

    Director of Middle & Upper School
    (516) 750-3206
  • Photo of Francisco Lameiro

    Francisco Lameiro 

    Assistant Director of Upper School, Dean of Faculty
    (516) 750-3119
  • Photo of Susan Simon

    Susan Simon 

    Associate Director of Upper School / Registrar
    (516) 750-3204
  • Photo of Peggy Balsam

    Peggy Balsam 

    Attendance Officer / Assistant to Upper School Director
    (516) 750-3236

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