Parent Update: Jan. 11, 2018

Tobacco Use Rule to Change in 2018–19

Coming in the 2018–19 school year: the Student Life Committee (SLC) has voted to elevate tobacco use to a major school rule, with infractions likely to result in discipline probation and suspension.

The SLC is a faculty governance committee that consists of elected faculty as well as students who apply for a seat on this committee. They are responsible for reviewing significant student life policies and making changes they feel best support student life at NMH. For the last year, they have examined a change to the tobacco policy. While the use of e-cigarettes, vaporizers, and Juul pods is already considered a major rule violation, the use of tobacco has been a minor rule violation resulting in low-level discipline and medical intervention.

The SLC provided the following statistics:

• In 2011, 9.4 percent of NMH students reported smoking at least one cigarette in the past 30 days.

• In 2013, 7.4 percent of NMH students reported smoking at least one cigarette in the past 30 days.

• In 2017, 10.2 percent of NMH students reported smoking at least one cigarette in the past 30 days, and 17.9 percent reported smoking in the past year.

• Each day, 3,200 kids in the US try their first cigarette, and 2,100 become daily smokers.

• Nearly nine out of 10 cigarette smokers first tried smoking by age 18.

• Tobacco use is still the number one preventable cause of death/disease in the US.

• National use of e-cigs by high school students has increased by 9.8 percent since 2011.

• Effective September 1, 2015, Gill banned tobacco sales to those under 21 years of age.

At the most basic level, smoking is against the law for all of our students and as such should be classified as a major school rule violation. More importantly, though, our rules are in place to help students make good choices, keeping themselves and others safe. This rule change is likely to be most effective for those who are considering first-time use. Ten percent (or 65) of our students have smoked in the last 30 days. We believe that students will be more likely to make good choices when the stakes are higher.

This rule change will go into effect for the 2018–19 school year. In the meantime, we are reviewing our educational programs as well as our medical response options. The Core Team is also changing their policies to include referrals for nicotine in addition to alcohol and other drugs. Information is being presented to parents as well so that you can partner with us in sending the right messages about tobacco use and its dangers.

Please read this important letter from Sara Rourke, MD, which outlines her concerns about the use of tobacco on campus, specifically through the use of electronic devices.

NMH Celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

NMH is planning a full week of activities to celebrate the life and legacies of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Martha Neubert and Roberto Irurueta from the Office of Multicultural Affairs are working with the Student Diversity Committee to plan programming for Jan. 15–20. These 18 students are largely responsible for organizing and presenting daily events that connect to ongoing themes of the civil rights movement and social justice efforts today.

This year, Dr. Michael Eric Dyson — academic, author, and radio host — will speak at an all-school assembly Jan. 17, and the Camerata Baltimore gospel choir will hold a lively and rousing concert the evening of Jan. 18 in Memorial Chapel. A’Dorian Murray-Thomas ’12, founder of the nonprofit SHE Wins!, delivers the keynote address on Jan. 22.

The activities also go beyond the spoken word to encompass visual art. In coordination with Martin Luther King Jr. Week, artist Anne Mavor ’70 will be on campus with her exhibit I Am My White Ancestors: Claiming the Legacy of Oppression. Mavor’s work engages the community around important questions of understanding ancestral legacy, particularly regarding white racial identity and claiming racial histories accurately.

As writer Charles Johnson put it in a Life magazine article, “The life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. permeates — in ways great and small, direct and indirect — every facet of our social and political world. Although he was assassinated [50] years ago, his hypnotic voice and unique vision linger in the background of every conversation that touches upon race, the state of black America, and this nation’s multiracial future.”

The theme of this year’s Martin Luther King Jr. Week is “beloved community,” which highlights the heart of King’s radical hope for a truly just global society. We look forward to the week, as it represents NMH’s commitment to uphold King’s legacy while we work toward a more inclusive and equitable world.

View the poster and schedule.

Students' Art Fights AIDS in NYC

Artists in NMH’s AP Design course found out how powerful the lowly postcard can be by creating tiny artworks that will be sold to help fight HIV/AIDS. Read the news story.

STEM Physics Students Think Solar

For their final exam, students in NMH’s STEM Physics class presented workable plans for increasing the campus’s reliance on solar power and reducing electric energy use. Read the news story.


Winter Family Days will take place Friday, Feb. 2, and Saturday, Feb. 3. Registration and sign-ups for teacher conferences will open the week of Jan. 15, and you will receive an email with a registration link. View a preliminary schedule and tips for attending Family Days.

Creating a Culture of Dignity: NMH is proud to work with Rosalind Wiseman and Charlie Kuhn and their organization Cultures of Dignity. Read their welcome letter and learn more about our partnership. Future Parent Updates will have more information on this months-long project.

Talking Baseball in January: Months before opening day, fans and major-league professionals gather at NMH for the annual Dick Peller Hot Stove Night, a baseball roundtable. On Jan. 13 at 6:30 pm, Buster Olney ’82 (ESPN, NMH Athletics Hall of Fame) hosts a panel of baseball insiders. You can also view the event via livestream.

NMH Athletics: Some athletic teams were still competing while NMH was on break. Follow the NMH Athletics Facebook page to see athletic contest results and get updates on NMH alumni playing at the next level.

College Counseling: See the latest message from the college counseling office for juniors and their families.

Admission Volunteers Needed: Will you volunteer to contact parents of accepted students in March? This involves sharing your satisfaction about the experience your student is having at NMH and answering questions from prospective students’ parents. If you are interested, please contact Justine Brown.

Food, Fun, and Cultures: On Jan. 20, International Carnival will bring the NMH community together to celebrate the diverse cultures represented on our campus. Groups from 30 countries will prepare their favorite ethnic foods to serve to the NMH community during dinner.

Sugaring Over Spring Break: Students interested in working in the maple sugaring program to earn workjob credit over spring break must submit their applications by tomorrow, Jan. 12. Learn more here and plan to attend an information breakfast on Saturday of winter Family Days.

Survey of New-to-NMH Families: If you’re new to NMH this year, please expect an email with a survey asking about your experiences transitioning to NMH. Please set aside a few minutes to take this important survey.

Host Families Still Needed: Local NMH families are needed to host Uruguayan students visiting Feb. 7–March 1 for a language and cultural exchange. We are asking day families to consider hosting an exchange student. To express interest, please contact Bea Garcia.

Upcoming Events

1/13 Dick Peller Hot Stove Night (baseball roundtable)

1/14 Diversity and Human Relations Sunday at Memorial Chapel

1/15–1/20 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Week

1/19 Reception for Anne Mavor’s (’70) I Am My White Ancestors art exhibition

1/20 International Carnival

1/21 Learning Through Action Summit

1/22 Admission Class Visit Day

2/2–2/3 Winter Family Days

A bird's eye view