On the Move

Jessica Brown, 7th/8th Grade English teacher, has resigned her position effective December 10. We want to take this opportunity to thank her for her 5 years of service to our students. She has helped foster in them a love of good literature and an understanding of what it truly means to be a good middle school student and citizen. We wish Jessica, her husband and their new baby all the best in the future.

Our thanks also go out to Vanessa Wright who has been serving as our long-term sub for Ms. Brown while she was on maternity leave.  Ms. Wright has enjoyed getting to know our 7th and 8th grade students this first semester and will be continuing when needed as a substitute teacher on campus throughout the second semester.

Finally, we are very pleased to announce that we have hired Heather Bragg as our new Long-term Substitute for 7th and 8th grade English and Language Arts. Ms. Bragg has 9 years of experience teaching in various settings at both the middle and high school levels in  Chicago and the surrounding suburbs.  In addition to her teaching duties, Ms. Bragg will also serve as a Middle School advisor and we are excited about the various ways she will help our students.  She will officially start when we return from Winter Break, but will be spending some time in the classroom with Ms. Wright and our 7th/8th grade students before Break to help make the smoothest transition possible.

Read More about Staff Changes
National Volunteer Day

Sunday, December 5th is National Volunteer Day and is a great opportunity to say thank you to the Elgin Academy Parents Association and our many parent volunteers. We are grateful for everything our volunteers do to support our Elgin Academy community. It is through their work that many things are possible including Homecoming, Extravaganza, and the many classroom parties and activities. Please join us in saying thank you to our all volunteers.

Read More about National Volunteer Day

The annual Middle School Winter Party will return this year on December 17th, and we couldn't be more excited! We are in need of donations of festive food and drinks for the students to help make this year's party extra special. Please check the list of needs and sign up to donate an item. If you have any questions, please contact Jennifer Smayda at jennifer_smayda@hotmail.com or Ron Woodruff at ron.woodruff@sbcglobal.net.

Read More about Middle School Winter Party 

As some of our younger students are completing their COVID vaccinations, we want to remind all families to please submit a copy of your student's completed vaccine card. Elgin Academy is not requiring COVID vaccination. However, those who are fully vaccinated are not required by the health department to quarantine after a close contact exposure as long as they remain symptom-free. By having the card on file, we can quickly assess who will move to off-campus learning in the event of a positive case and who can continue learning in person. Please email a copy of your card to covidvaccine@elginacademy.org.

Read More about Vaccine Cards

EAPA is offering the Faculty & Staff Holiday Gift Program again this year for families who want to show their appreciation for the EA faculty and staff members during the holiday season. This program is optional. Families may support the faculty and staff any way they choose. 

Parents may indicate an amount they would like to give on the online form. All the contributions from families will be added together and then equally distributed to all of the EA faculty and staff based on full-time equivalence. EAPA will present each faculty and staff member with a combined monetary gift and a card noting each family that participated (amounts remain anonymous). 

The deadline to submit your gift is noon on Monday, December 13th. This is a firm deadline in order to be sure that everything is ready before winter break. If you have any questions, please contact the EAPA at holidaygift@elginacademy.org.

Read More about EAPA Faculty & Staff Holiday Gift Program

Thank you to everyone who supported the EAPA Winter Plant Sale. Orders will be available for pick-up on Thursday, December 2nd, from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the Sears Gallery building. A reminder that masks are required inside all school buildings. If you would like to volunteer to help with pick up, contact Rachel Zonts RachelZonts@yahoo.com.

Did you forget to order, or would you like to add an item to your pick-up? We have the following plants available:

  • Six 4 ½ inch poinsettias, white, $7 each
  • One 6 inch Christmas cactus, choose red or white, $13
  • Two 6 inch pine, $18 each

Contact Rachel Zonts RachelZonts@yahoo.com to reserve one of these extra plants, or stop by at pick up to see what is still available. 

Read More about Winter Plant Sale Pick-up - December 2nd
community updates

Thank you to the families who have provided copies of their student's vaccine cards. If you have not yet had a chance to turn in your student's card, please send a scanned image or a photo to covidvaccine@elginacademy.org. This information is necessary for us to determine when/if your student would need to quarantine after exposure to COVID. 

Please note, if your student has COVID symptoms, we will still ask that the student leave, seek the advice of a physician, and may also require that the student be tested. This policy is for both vaccinated and unvaccinated students. Anyone with symptoms at any time will need to follow our protocols for testing. You can review all our policies and procedures on the Together on the Hilltop pages of our website.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Read More about COVID Symptoms, Testing, and Vaccine Cards

Every year at the beginning of school, both drop-off and pick-up may move a little slower than usual as we all learn the ropes. 

Please remember, that for Upper School and Middle School students drop-off begins at 7:45 a.m. at the corner of Academy and Kimball. For Early Childhood and Lower School students drop-off begins at 8:00 a.m. also at the corner of Academy and Kimball. 

All students are dismissed at 2:45 p.m. each day. For Middle School pick-up is on College Street and for Early Childhood and Lower School students pick-up is at the corner of Academy and Kimball. Upper School students may be picked up on Park Street, remain in Edwards Hall, or go to sports and other activities.

Read More about Student Pick-up and Drop-off Procedures

Due to the information that we have received from families regarding allergies, we are updating the Early Childhood, Lower, and Middle School portions of our Handbook to the following language. We appreciate your help in keeping all members of our community safe. Should you have any questions about this change, please contact Amy Criswell (Early Childhood & Lower School) or Doug Sept (Middle School).


Please be certain to inform the school if your child has ANY food allergies.

Some of our students may have life threatening allergies to peanut and tree nuts. Even contact with peanut or tree-nut products presents a threat. It is critical therefore that all peanut and tree-nut products are excluded from the snacks and lunches of all students in Early Childhood, the Lower School, and the Middle School.

Additionally, please note that there have also been some updates made to the Lower School Dress Code in the Lower School section of the handbook. Including that "all graphics and logos must be appropriate for school" and that "pajama pants or sweatpants" have been added to the list of clothing that is not acceptable for school. Please review the full Lower School Dress Code policy on page 44 of the handbook.

2021-2022 Student/Parent Handbook

Read More about Handbook Update - Food Allergies and LS Dress Code

The college application process can often be challenging, confusing and sometimes frightening for parents and students. In partnership with the Gail Borden Library, Dan Raffety, Director of College Counseling, will present two more seminars that will walk parents and students through the process. Mr. Raffety has helped hundreds of Elgin Academy students and parents navigate the college process successfully.

How to Complete the Applications and Write a Great Essay - Tuesday, October 12th, 6:30 - 7:30 p.m.

The dreaded application and essay! They don't have to be scary. In this seminar, Mr. Raffety will shed light on how to complete the college application step by step as well as provide useful tips and techniques for writing an essay that will impress and connect with college admissions representatives.

This event will be held virtual. Please register at this link.

Registration Link: https://attend.gailborden.info/event/5674280

We will also be hosting another presentation to finish out the series.

Choosing a College That Fits - Tuesday, April 5th, 6:30 - 7:30 p.m.

Does everyone dream of going to Harvard? Not really. There are over 4,000 colleges and universities in the United States alone. Mr. Raffety will address how you can determine the best fit college for your child. This presentation will provide insight on what to look for and how to narrow down the choices to find just the right fit for them.


Read More about Navigating the College Process Three-Part Seminar

The Elgin Academy Parent Association (EAPA) is seeking a few additional members for this year's leadership team. All current EA parents are members of EAPA, and we welcome both new and returning families to get involved. Available positions include President-Elect, Assistant Treasurer, Lower School Co-VP, Middle School Co-VP, Upper School Co-VP, Patrons of the Arts Co-Chair, and Athletic Booster Club Co-Chair. To learn more about these roles, visit the webpage or contact EAPA President Rachel Zonts at volunteer@elginacademy.org.

Read More about Join the EAPA Leadership Team

It is our pleasure to announce that Leah Culbertson is joining the Elgin Academy community as our new 2nd grade teacher. Leah holds a degree in Elementary Education from Northern Illinois University. She has taught Kindergarten through 5th grade students in an ESL program and is very excited to work with our 2nd grade students this year. During the interview process, Ms. Culbertson’s warm and caring nature impressed us, along with her passion for understanding her students' academic and social/emotional needs. She shares Elgin Academy’s commitment to ‘take learning personally’. Ms. Culbertson is excited to be a part of the Elgin Academy community.

Read More about Leah Culbertson - 2nd Grade Teacher
On the Move

We are pleased to celebrate with Jessica Brown the upcoming arrival of her first child. As a result, Ms. Brown is planning to take maternity leave from the beginning of the school year until mid-December. During that time, Ms. Vanessa Wright will be teaching Ms. Brown’s classes: 7th-grade English, 8th-grade English, and 8th-grade Language Arts. She will also be serving as an advisor for Ms. Brown’s 7th-grade advisory.

Ms. Wright comes to us with seventeen years of teaching experience in the Arlington Heights school district.  She has taught 6th, 7th, and 8th grade English Language Arts, social studies, executive functioning, and social-emotional learning.  Additionally, she has experience as a reading specialist.  Since Ms. Wright’s time in Arlington Heights, she successfully completed a long-term maternity leave substitute position in the Barrington school district.  She has been collaborating with Ms. Brown in anticipation of leading her classes for the majority of the first semester, so we anticipate a seamless academic experience for our students.  We are excited to welcome Ms. Wright’s expertise to our campus and know that Ms. Brown’s students will be in good hands during this first semester

Read More about Jessica Brown Maternity Leave & Welcome to Vanessa Wright
Magnus Heath logo

For the 2021-2022 school year, we will continue to use Magnus Health to manage our daily COVID-19 screening assessment of students, faculty, and staff each morning prior to arriving on campus. Returning families and new families who participated in the summer program, your Magnus account is still active. Families who are new to EA this fall please follow the attached instructions to set up your account. Magnus Health Instructions

Read More about 2021-2022 Magnus Health Account
21-22 school year forms

Students who are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine may voluntarily report their COVID-19 vaccination status. In order for Elgin Academy to know that your student is vaccinated against COVID-19, please email a copy of their COVID-19 vaccine card to covidvaccine@elginacademy.org. If you do not submit a card, we will assume your student is not vaccinated against COVID-19. A student’s COVID-19 vaccination status will be considered when applying quarantine guidelines as determined by the Illinois Department of Public Health. Please refer to our Back to School on the Hilltop document for more information.

Read More about Student COVID-19 Vaccination Status

We are excitedly looking forward to the first day(s) of school and can’t wait to see our faculty, staff, students, and families back on campus. We are so grateful for how the community worked in support of one another to make it possible for us to be together last year and know that we can do the same this year. We are sharing our Back to School on the Hilltop document with you that outlines our COVID policies and procedures to begin the year. We will be continually evaluating guidance that we receive from the state and local health departments and we will adapt as needed. Thank you in advance for your flexibility and patience as we move through the year.

Back to School on the Hilltop

Read More about Back to School on the Hilltop
21-22 school year forms

For the 2021-2021 school year each student must have a signed Elgin Academy waiver and a signed COVID-19 waiver on file prior to the first day of school. Students who are participating in fall athletics need to submit this form by the first day of practice. Please print and sign both waivers then mail, or scan and email, the waivers to your child's divisional assistant.  

Please note - that if you have already signed the waivers for the summer program you will still need to submit a new waiver for the 2021-2022 school year.

Parents must sign and return both waivers below: 

Waiver of Liability and Hold Harmless Agreement and Covid-19 Policy of Elgin Academy 

Elgin Academy Waiver and Release


Read More about Elgin Academy Required Waivers
21-22 school year forms

After not being able to offer our Extended Day program last school year, we are pleased to bring it back to campus this year. Please click "read more" for a description of the programs that are available in each division to begin the school year. As the year progresses, we hope to add further enrichment activities and will communicate updates when more options become available.

Read More about 2021-2022 Elgin Academy Extended Day
On the Move

Elizabeth Cooper-Mullin is joining Elgin Academy as the newest member of our Upper School Social Studies department. This fall she will be teaching World Cultures I, US History and AP Psychology. Elizabeth taught most recently at St. Andrew’s Epsicopal School in Potomac, Maryland.  Prior to that, she taught for several years at Pingree School in Massachusetts.  Elizabeth holds a BA in American History from Connecticut College and an MA from Columbia University.  We are excited by the independent school teaching and advising experience that Ms. Cooper-Mullin will bring to our campus.  Please be sure to welcome her to our community as school begins in a few weeks.

We are pleased to announce that Michelle Matalone will be joining us as our new Kindergarten teacher for the 2021-2022 school year. Michelle comes to us from St. Petronille School in Glen Ellyn, where she taught Kindergarten for 6 years. Her collective lower school teaching experience spans more than a decade. Michelle holds a BA in Communications from Western Illinois University and a Master of Arts in Elementary Education from the University of Phoenix. Throughout the interview process, Ms. Matalone impressed us with her high level of instructional knowledge and keen understanding of the needs of early elementary learners. She is excited to be a part of the Elgin Academy community and cannot wait to welcome her Kindergarten students on the first day of school. Please join us in welcoming Michelle Matalone to our community.

In addition to welcoming Elizabeth and Michelle, we look forward to introducing our 2nd grade teacher once all screenings are completed.

Read More about On The Move
21-22 school year forms

Lower School (PS-4) and Middle School (5-8) supply lists for the 21-22 school year are now available. Upper School students do not have supply lists. The US teachers will let students know the first week of classes if they need any special materials.

Read More about 2021-2022 Supply Lists
On the Move

We are pleased to announce that Amy Brodkorb will be joining us as an Upper School math teacher for the 2021-22 school year. Amy holds a B.S. degree in Mathematics and Secondary Education from Northern Illinois University and an M.A. in Educational Administration from Governors State University. Most recently Ms. Brodkorb has been an Assistant Principal of STEM at School District U-46, and she also has over 15 years of experience teaching math at various public high schools in Northern Illinois. Amy is really looking forward to getting back in the classroom and is very excited about all the unique opportunities that teaching students in this environment offers. She is eager to be a part of our independent school community.

After 14 years of service to Elgin Academy and its students, Marie Cinquemani Thomas will be leaving us at the close of this school year. During her tenure here Ms. CT has taught music in both the Middle and Upper Schools and has directed the Middle and Upper School Choirs and Encore in scores of memorable concerts and performances. She has been the musical director for all the Upper School Musical Theatre performances during that time as well. In addition, she has been an Upper School advisor and has served as the Coordinator for the senior independent study Hilltop Program. Over the years Marie has used her connections in the local music world to provide countless opportunities for our young singers to perform with area professional musicians, and her ability to design thematic concerts that engage the whole school community has been a hallmark of her time here. We will miss her and wish her all the best on the next leg of her professional journey.

Brian Wrightson, who is currently finishing his first year as our part-time Lower/Middle School music teacher, will take on a full-time position as EA's PS-12 Music Teacher/Director for the 2021-22 school year. Brian holds a B.S. degree from Elmhurst College and a Master's degree in Music Education from VanderCook College of Music. Mr. Wrightson has been very successful with our younger students during a year that has been particularly difficult for the teaching of the performing arts. Next year he will expand his role on campus as the director of the music program for the whole school, allowing him to draw on his considerable experience with older students as well. He has served as both a vocal and instrumental music teacher and director in various elementary, middle, and high school settings in both Wisconsin and Illinois. In addition, Brian has worked as a private music instructor and is an arranger, composer, and lyricist.

Read More about On The Move
On the Move

In last week's letter describing the excellent work of our SEL Team, we inadvertently left out Katie Kruse's name. Katie is our Director of International Studies, and she plays a vital role in both the support of our international population and the crucial developmental work of our SEL Team. Thank you, Katie, for all your advocacy for students and their health and wellbeing.

Read More about SEL Team Update
On the Move
After 14 years of dedicated service to Elgin Academy, Elizabeth Stemn, our 2nd grade teacher, will be saying good-bye at the close of this school year. Ms. Stemn and her family will be moving to sunny South Carolina where she has a position as a teacher at Christian Academy of Myrtle Beach, a K-12 college prep independent school.  Mrs. Stemn began her tenure on our campus with 8 years as a 2nd grade teacher.  Her family then moved to Minnesota, but after a five-year hiatus she found her way back to us --  this time as our Kindergarten teacher. She has come full circle on her Elgin Academy journey teaching 2nd grade again this year.  We will miss her contagious enthusiasm and the deep care for students that is always in evidence in her classroom.
Bob Camosy, one of our Upper School Social Studies teachers, will also be leaving us at the end of this year.  Mr. Camosy is completing his second year at EA. In addition to teaching US History, World Cultures I and AP Psychology, he has been a valuable member of our basketball coaching staff and has served as an Upper School advisor. We thank him for his service and wish him well in his future endeavors
Searches for both of these positions are underway.  We will keep you updated via this section of EA News and Notes.
Read More about On The Move

We are proud to introduce our new Social Emotional Learning (SEL) team led by Helen Elayan, Director of Personalized Learning and School Counselor. The team includes faculty from all divisions. Thank you to Heather Cannon, Linley Collins, Janet Hughes, Bud Mathieu, Sam O’Connor-Divelbiss, and Rick Williams for their good work. Recently, they developed a vision statement for SEL that will guide the continued development and implementation of our program from Early Childhood through Upper School:

Our Elgin Academy community will provide a holistic approach to student wellness in and out of the classroom by developing social emotional skills that empower our students to become empathetic, self-aware, and resilient individuals who are ready to lead themselves and others in becoming resourceful members of society.

Read More about Social Emotional Learning Team
On the Move

The Faculty Innovation Team, a cross-divisional group which began its work last year to help facilitate our move to remote learning, is continuing its innovative work as we plan our exciting future. The team's latest project is to lead divisional faculty meetings regarding homework and assessment. This is an especially important topic now as we move from this year's trimester schedule to a new, rotating schedule with very different and exciting features. Thanks to Courtney Boborci, Jessica Brown, Bob Camosy, Susie Howe, Jamie Lau, Mariam Nasser and Doug Sept for their consistent guidance and good work in the last year. And welcome to our newest team member, Amy Criswell, our new Early Childhood and Lower School Director, who is joining our meetings when possible as she finishes her job in Colorado and prepares to join us this summer.  You can look forward to hearing more about their work this summer. 

Read More about The Faculty Innovation Team
On the Move

At the end of this school year we will be saying goodbye to Rebekah Moe and Heather Cannon.

Ms. Moe has taught at Elgin Academy for the last three years and brought the love of math to many Upper School students. During her tenure she has taught AP Calculus, Statistics, Algebra 2 and Honors Algebra 2 and has served as an Upper School advisor as well as a valuable member of our coaching staff.

Ms. Cannon has been at Elgin Academy for thirteen years and over her tenure has taught French in all three divisions to grade levels ranging from kindergarten through French IV/V.  This year she also instructed Upper School students in Child Development. She has served as a Middle School advisor, led the Garden Club and taught many Exploratories including teaching students the joys of French cooking.

We wish them both much success in their future endeavors.

At the start of next year, we will welcome back a familiar face, Carolyn Dunoon who previously taught Upper School French. Ms. Dunoon will be filling Ms. Cannon's role by teaching the Middle and Upper School French students. Welcome back, Ms. Dunoon!

Read More about Rebekah Moe, Heather Cannon & Carolyn Dunoon
Upper School

In advance of the Learning Plan Conferences this week, the Upper School published its 2021-2022 Upper School Program Guide. This booklet provides a comprehensive overview of the Upper School program that includes graduation requirements, special programs, course descriptions, a college counseling timeline, and athletic and co-curricular opportunities. We welcome you to review this annually-updated document.

Read More about 2021-2022 Upper School Program Guide