JANUARY 15, 2023

As we observe Martin Luther King, Jr. Day tomorrow, the Masterman HSA recognizes all those who have worked and are working to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion in our school, and who give their time, energy, and passion to the greater good. Serving our community is an excellent way of honoring MLK’s legacy.

There are also many wonderful volunteer opportunities across the city tomorrow. The Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Day of Service is the oldest and largest King Day event in the nation, with a comprehensive website listing partner organizations that are looking for volunteers. It is not too late to join many of them!

Recap of Tuesday's HSA General Meeting

Our sincere thanks to everyone who attended or tried to attend Tuesday evening’s HSA meeting, and we apologize to everyone who could not participate due to limited Zoom capacity. We are working to resolve that issue before future meetings.

We have shared on the HSA website the following items from that meeting:

  • The Masterman Report Draft Executive Summary. We expect the full report to be shared with the community by the end of January.
  • The Mid-Year Data Report provided by the administration (already shared in the last newsletter).
  • Treasurer Report
  • Club Grant recipients for Round 1 of the competitive grant process. Congratulations to our club leaders and sponsors!
  • Presentation on the lottery process made by Ms. Marcus in the 8th grade breakout room.
  • Detailed (draft) minutes of the meeting: to be posted by end of day Monday, please check back!

We invite you to share your thoughts or opinions on these issues with the HSA board via this feedback form (also linked on the website).



This meeting is being organized jointly with Masterman administration and SAC to discuss the vision and mission of the school. In this discussion, we are moving beyond what is happening at Masterman now to what we want the future to look like. We value everyone’s active participation, recognizing that parents, teachers, administrators, and community members all have distinct viewpoints that we need to represent. 


Mar 7 | 7:30 pm | Zoom

April 11 | 7:30 pm | Zoom

May 9 | 7:30 pm | Zoom

School Selection Process Update

Initial lottery results are now scheduled to be released to families by January 31, according to this article in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

This is a late-breaking development. Results had been due to be released this past Friday, January 13, and as late as Tuesday, at the time of the HSA meeting, the District had not officially announced a change. However, sharp-eyed parents pointed out that the information on the SDP website had changed without fanfare.

Although the article does not cite a direct explanation for the delay, it quotes a District spokesperson as saying that at the time of writing officials had reviewed almost all of the 1000 eligibility appeals it had received, and that they were performing “test runs” of the system.

The HSA will do our best to share updates and provide fora for families to discuss the process as it unfolds.


Parent Coffee Chats on Zoom

8th Grade Coffee Chats

Monday, January 16, 12:00 pm


Friday, January 20, 5:00 pm

For families to share updates and discuss the high school selection process


6th Grade Coffee Chat 

Thursday, January 19, 8:00 pm

To talk about grade-wide concerns and build community

Meeting ID: 867 3318 2683 Passcode: 818986

One tap mobile +16469313860,,86733182683#,,,,*818986# US

Join a Coffee Chat on Zoom

In-Person Events (More Details to Come!)

9th Grade Parent Mixer

Friday, January 27, in the evening at Masterman

6th Grade Family Social

Friday, March 24, after school at Masterman

Save the Date for the Spring Auction

Saturday, March 18, at Rodeph Shalom, 615 N Broad St.

Volunteers needed!


Other Important Dates

Monday, January 16: NO SCHOOL, Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Wednesday, January 18: SAC (School Advisory Council) Meeting, 6:00 pm on Zoom

Friday, January 20: HALF DAY, teacher professional development

Wednesday–Friday, February 1–3: HALF DAYS, parent-teacher conferences



The HSA is coordinating with the middle school and high school deans to facilitate adding guardians to students’ Google Classroom accounts.

This is a great way to stay informed about your child's activities and opportunities at school. Once you are entered in the system as a guardian, you can choose to receive a daily or weekly summary of posts to the Google Classroom feeds for each subject your child is enrolled in, as well as grade-wide announcements about events, activities, and other things you need to know. Once you are added, it stays in place from year to year throughout your child’s time at Masterman.

What you need to do:

  1. Enter basic info—child’s full name, grade, advisory, and student ID, as well as the guardian’s name and email—in THIS GOOGLE FORM. (FYI: This form is hosted by Dean Gilken, not the HSA. The HSA is merely helping to facilitate the process, not collecting this data itself.)
  2. Help spread the word! We hope every guardian who wants access will be able to find out about this initiative. So please forward, text, share on Facebook. Teachers, please tell your kids to tell their parents!

The sooner you submit your info, the sooner you can get access. In the final week of January, the school will begin entering guardian emails on a rolling basis and we will send you instructions for completing the process and choosing your settings.


Middle School Music Excellence

Congratulations to the 37 middle school students who made All-City middle school band and orchestra, many winning principal chairs including Concertmaster! They will begin rehearsals this February and perform a concert at the Kimmel Center in March.

Athletics Committee: Join Us!

We are looking for parents to join the Athletics Committee! We are seeking a parent rep from each Masterman sport. This is a new committee - but the general goals are to share knowledge, improve communication, fundraise for sports needs, celebrate our student achievements, and advocate for student athletes. Please consider joining. Email your name, student name, grade, and sport to


ICYMI: Middle School Basketball Is Underway

Girls and Boys Basketball tryouts for Middle school students (grades 6-8) were hosted Friday, January 6. Students were notified through google classroom. If your student was unable to attend the tryout, please feel free to reach out to the coach.

Boys Basketball: Ms. Tomlinson -

Girls Basketball: Ms. Jones -

Go to a High School Game or Meet

We are halfway through the High School Winter Sports season. Don't forget to come out and cheer on your favorite Blue Dragons! Click through for the schedules.

Boys Basketball (Varsity)

Boys Basketball (JV)

Girls Basketball (Varsity)

Boys Swimming

Girls Swimming

New at Masterman: Squash!

US squash is partnering with the School District of Philadelphia to start a PPL Squash League and Masterman has a boys’ and girls’ team. With donor support, US Squash has provided everything: racquets, sneakers, goggles, uniform shirts, a beautiful facility, and excellent instruction from Sakora Miller, Senior Manager of Community Squash Programming.

As it's our inaugural season, Masterman teams are first scheduled to play JV teams. As we win against JV teams, we will schedule against Varsity. So far, the boys are 2-0 and girls are 0-1. They are set to play St Joes Prep, Friends Select, Lower Merion, and Squash Smarts; Parkway, Girls High, Bieber, and SLA are working on forming teams.

Student Voices

Don't miss the latest issue of Voices, Masterman's HS student (online) newspaper.


Eyes on College

Huge thanks to parent Elaine Shenk and counselor Heather Marcus, who compiled a grade-by-grade guide to college preparation. It includes a summary of what to keep an eye on—and what not to sweat over!—each year, along with links to helpful resources.

Also note this upcoming event for HS students from the College Board BigFuture program:

Five Tips to Manage Stress as You Plan Your Future 

Wednesday, January 25, 7–7:45 pm

Dr. Laurie Santos, the professor of Yale’s popular course on happiness will answer live questions and give five tips to help make students' lives a little less stressful.

Mental Health Corner

Dr. Delaney Ruston, a family doctor, is also the producer of two documentaries: "Screenagers" and "Next Chapter." Her website has a page of useful resources on developing resilience in schools, including tips for parents, students, and teachers.

Recognize a School Counselor Who Has Made a Difference

National School Counseling Week 2023 is February 6–10, 2023, to focus public attention on the unique contribution of school counselors within U.S. school systems. The 2023 theme is School Counselors: Helping Students Dream Big.

This year they are asking students to share how their school counselors help them to dream big! Students can submit information about their school counselor via this link.

Rep Your Profession at Career Day

The Masterman HS chapter of the National Honor Society is bringing back Career Day. NHS students are looking for parents, friends of parents, and alumni who would be able to represent their profession by running a workshop.

Career Day will take place at Masterman on February 24, 10:45am–2:05pm. Each presenter will speak to rotating groups of students, for about 25 minutes at a time. Consider telling students about how you chose your career, your accomplishments, and how they can possibly pursue your career. There will be technology and assistance available to project Powerpoint presentations or any other digital information.

Willing to help out? Please email Ms. Solomon at 

Reminder: NHS Tutoring Always Available!

Students in all grades can drop in as needed for help from Masterman HS student members of the National Honor Society during these hours:

Mondays, 7:30am – 8:15am in Room 214 (for everyone)

Tuesdays, 8th Period in Room 312 (for HS students)

Wednesdays, 8th Period in Room 305 (for 5th- and 6th-grade students)

Thursdays, 8th Period in Room 312 (for 7th- and 8th-grade students)

This is a free resource for everyone! If you have any questions please contact the HS Dean, Mr. Gilken, at

In the Community

Wednesdays at Bentley is a monthly series of moderated discussions of topics in the news, presented by the Center for Civil Discourse at Pennoni Honors College at Drexel University, with an overarching goal to inspire and prepare our students, faculty and community to act as agents of unity for our divided nation.


January 18: Is Abandoning Our Screens the Key to Happiness?

Screen time has long been discussed as a factor in mental health: doom scrolling, obsessing over likes, and feeling constantly on call. ... Would you consider abandoning connectivity for the pursuit of something better? Is becoming anti-tech the key to more happiness? Is there a privilege in being able to drop the screens? Turn off your cell phones with us, as we talk more about mental health discourse and screen time. 


February 8: Should We Retire Football’s Number before the Super Bowl?

For decades, the NFL has come under criticism for its safety protocols and some have challenged that sport itself is unsafe. High-profile cases have lead people to question whether football as a sport and pastime, is worth risking the life and wellness of the humans who play it. Are injuries like this the risks athletes assume when they decide to go pro? Are there more adjustments to be made? Should we retire football? Come join us in the huddle as we draw up plays about football and safety.


March 8: Squeezing the University Budget

Between the cost of attending college and a dwindling (traditional) college-aged population, and doubt of a university education’s value, universities are struggling to attract and retain students. In response, administrators cut budgets, departments, and jobs that often effect the student experience — their access to classes, mentors, and opportunities. Does a university education still have value or is the diploma becoming less and less worth the paper it’s printed on? Crunch some numbers with us as we discuss value, priorities, and education. 

All three events will be hosted in a hybrid fashion—in person at Bentley Hall, 2nd Floor, 3301 Arch Street, or on Zoom, 6:00–7:00 pm.

-Submitted by a Masterman parent


Spread the Word

Do you have news or announcements that you want to share with the school community? Is there information you'd like to see featured here?


Connect others with the HSA by forwarding this email or sharing this link to subscribe to the newsletter!


There are many ways to give to the Masterman community. Here are a few.


Donations fund the many programs and initiatives of the HSA that support our school, teachers, families, and students. Whether you are able to give $5 or $500, your gift is meaningful, and signals your commitment to our community.


Want to give direct support to specific teachers or your child’s classroom? Masterman teachers have updated their Amazon Wish Lists with the items they need to supplement the HSA’s Teacher Grant program.


Get your Masterman-branded hoodies, hats, tees, and athletic wear--and support the HSA.

And don't forget to become a member of the HSA today!


We need each other.

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