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Head of School Family Newsletter

Your Source for PHA 
School Updates
February 16, 2023 

Dear PHAmilies,

This past Tuesday marked the 100th day of school, and February vacation is now in clear sight. In this newsletter, check out ECC's 100th-day photos and the fun activities around Boston during vacation week. 
In this month of February, we acknowledge heart health as well as celebrate & illuminate our rich, relevant Black History. Throughout the school year, we provide meaningful Black History learning experiences, including a robust, culturally relevant curriculum. Check out the UE Black History Display and Black History achievements (trivia) below in the newsletter.

Did you know that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. attended an HBCU (Historically Black College or University)? Yes, Morehouse College. Undeniably, Dr. King was a prolific writer and speaker. While Dr. King’s words inspired us, it was his actions that led us. Upon our return to school from vacation week, we will call each child to action to lean in with a heart full of love and kindness for their classmates. During vacation week, we’d love for families to talk to their child(ren) about what kindness looks like, sounds like, and feels like in his/her/their classrooms and then practice these skills at home.  

Enjoy your vacation week, and we’ll see you on Monday, February 27. Fingers crossed for the arrival of spring with no SNOW!  To that end, we anticipate seeing the fruits of our collective actions of kindness, hard work, and discipline in spring -- the equation to success!

Have a safe and enjoyable February vacation!  
Angela F. Allen Ph.D.
Head of School / CEO
Family Announcements
Black History Month
celebrates the depths of Black history and achievements. 
  • In 1926, Carter G. Woodson established Negro History Week. The celebration highlighted Black Americans' history, lives, and contributions. In 1976, Negro History Week expanded to the month-long celebration we observe today.
  • Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) were established to provide higher education opportunities to Black Americans. Established in 1837, Cheyney University of Pennsylvania was the very first HBCU. Today, over 100 HBCUs exist. HBCUs, established before 1964, honor their mission to educate Black Americans. HBCUs teach Black history, recognize and honor Black American experiences, and uplift the rights of and needs within Black communities.
  • After graduating from Oberlin College in 1850 with a literary degree, Lucy Stanton became the first Black woman in America to earn a four-year college degree.
  • Hiram Rhodes Revels was sworn in as the first Black U.S. senator in 1870.
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. started as a freshman at Morehouse College at the young age of 15.
  • In 1908, after winning the 4 x 400 meter relay, John Taylor became the first African American to win gold in the Olympics. And in 1948, Alice Coachman became the first Black woman in the world to win an Olympic gold medal while competing in the high jump.
  • In 1940, Hattie McDaniel became the first Black person to win an Oscar, for her supporting role in Gone With the Wind. Twenty-four years later, Sidney Poitier became the first Black man to win an Oscar, for his leading role in Lilies of the Field.
  • In 1996, Sheryl Swoopes became the first player to sign with the WNBA, with the league debuting a year later.

PHA One of Only Four Schools in the State to Receive the AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award 

PHA has earned the 2022 College Board AP® Computer Science Female Diversity Award, for both Computer Science A (CSA) and Computer Science Principles (CSP).

PHA is one of only 61 schools in the entire country and four in Massachusetts to receive the award for both AP CSA and AP CSP.

This represents the fifth year in a row (and all years that the award has been given out) that PHA has been recognized for achieving high female representation and closing the gender gap in AP Computer Science. 

Mark Your Calendars!
  • Friday, February 17th: PK-12 Dress Down Day 
  • Monday, February 20th-Friday, February 24th: PHA will be closed for February break
  • Monday, February 27th: Schools Reopen 



PHA Family Central Website:

Join us at the UE campus for the Thrive School Markets on the third Tuesday of each month!! Mark your calendars for the 2023 Thrive School Market dates! 

Message from our Meals Program Director Michelle Doyle  

The Meals Team is excited to launch our "Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Program" at the Upper Elementary school this February. Thanks to funding from USDA and the MA Department of Education, PHA is now able to provide a FREE fresh fruit or vegetable snack to ALL students in our PreK-6th grade classes, twice a week.
Please make sure to ask your student what their favorite has been so far!

Campus Highlights

Early Childhood Campus 

This week, the EC campus is celebrating '100 days smarter' Spirit Week!
Tuesday, February 14th marked the official 100th day of school and to celebrate the milestone day, students and staff were encouraged to wear 100 items.   


Last Friday, February 10th, our PreK students took their first field trip of the year traveling on the MBTA!
The students rode the Green Line from Union Square to North Station and back as part of their learning about transportation and vehicles. 

Upper Elementary Campus

In honor of Black History month, the UE campus created a bulletin board which included photos of black leaders of the past, the present, and the future. In addition to sharing the pictures, student volunteers also shared what they want to be when they grow up!
Our students are our future!    

UE is hosting a School Wide Trivia for each Friday in February (3rd, 10th, 17th); the results of each week are announced on Monday mornings with the bragging rights for the winning team!

Middle School


Late last month, sixteen 8th graders attended the third Middle School Debate tournament of the year at Suffolk Law University.

Despite the cancellation of the first rounds due to unforeseen circumstances, many of the debaters arrived early on the sunny Saturday morning ready to compete in the remaining two rounds!
Congratulations team!

The team members below placed in the following categories:
1st place speaker: Emely
10th place team: Chesney and Sanskar
7th place team: Duncan and Alex
14th place speaker: Alex 

High School/Collegiate Institute

Last month, Dr. Ruth Farmery, Director of K-12 Computer Science, and the AP Computer Science students participated in PHA's 5th Annual AP Computer Science High School Hackathon at Microsoft in Cambridge.

Focusing on the theme of sustainability, students were tasked with choosing a UN Sustainable goal and subgoal and designing an app to educate or solve a problem in their community.

The first place team (pictured below with their prizes) created a game using p5.js that highlighted the importance of looking after our environment in terms of preserving green spaces, and the impact of deforestation. 

We are grateful to Microsoft for opening their space to us, and also to our fantastic mentors from Microsoft, Google, and Meta (and special guest mentors-PHA alums Sam Beckmann and Carlos Cruz) for lending their expertise to our students.


Last week, the AP Biology students traveled to Novartis in Cambridge for a hands-on field trip.

The students isolated their own DNA, and learned how to use micropipettes and centrifuges. They then prepared their samples for the PCR machine, and will run gel electrophoresis at their second visit in March!

The High School Debate Team competed in their final high school debate tournament of the year at Suffolk University Law School. The following high schoolers achieved awards: 

  • Sybille Delice was awarded 3rd place speaker in the junior varsity division
  • Presley Simelus was awarded 7th place in the varsity division
  • Bivan Prajapati won PHA's top speaker of the season by earning the most speaker points at each tournament
  • Helena De Almeida won PHA's legacy award; chosen by the coaches Allison Pao and Molly Dutton as a representative of PHA debate's values of sportsmanship, commitment, and leadership. 

The following 7 PHA high schoolers achieved the rank of "Engaged Debater," meaning they attended 20+ hours of official BDL events (not including practices!!):

  • Andres Hernandez Gomez
  • Bivan Prajapati
  • Djemica Bien-Aime
  • Helena De Almeida
  • Presley Simelus
  • Sybille Delice
  • Taygen R.
Drum roll please for Presley Simelus and Helena de Almeida who have qualified for the National Association for Urban Debate Leagues (NAUDL) National Championships in Dallas
Presley and Helena are one of two teams selected to represent the Boston Debate League at the national tournament in the spring!!

Athletics Update

The winter sports season is wrapping up as the teams are heading into the playoffs.

The girls varsity basketball team have advanced to the
 MCSAO championships!!! The game will be held this Saturday, February 18th 3:00 P.M. at Boston's Clark Athletic Center at UMass Boston. 
Click here to purchase tickets for the game. 

Both of the varsity basketball teams have also qualified for the MIAA state tournament which will begin the week of February 27, 2023, following vacation week. Congratulations to all of our basketball teams on a successful season!



The spring sports season which includes boys and girls track, girls softball, and boys volleyball will begin on Monday, March 20th. All students registered to participate will receive an email with tryout information in early March. 

The registration link can be found here. 

PHA Announcements
Apply for the 2023-24 School Year

We are excited to announce that DESE is once again allowing PHA to enroll students who reside in Medford.

PHA is accepting applications for grades PreK to 9 for the 2023-2024 School Year.
Learn more and apply!
Application Deadline is February 28th and the First Lottery is March 1st.

NOTE: Families with children currently enrolled at PHA must submit an application for siblings.


 Enrichment Opportunities


STEAM Saturday for Grades K-8:
STEAM Saturday is starting soon!  Classes offered will cover topics including Roblox, Engineering, Battle Bots, Cooking, and more. Winter STEAM Saturday will take place on Saturday, March 4th, March 11th, March 18th, and March 25th between the hours of 9 AM and 12 PM at our High School campus (54 Essex St).  Registration will open on Friday, February 17th at 6:30 pm. Details will be sent via email, through Remind, and through Seesaw. For more information, please contact Kim Le at!

After School Workshops at Novartis Labs:
CELL at Novartis (22 Windsor Street, Cambridge MA 02139) is opening up some after school workshops on Wednesday half days in March! Designed for high school students, these workshops will introduce students to hands-on technical skills, valuable professional skills, and career pathways in biomedical research. 

Wednesday, March 1st from 2-4 pm: Bench Basis (Biotech for Beginners) - students will gain hands-on experience working in biotech tools and equipment in the lab

Wednesday, March 8th from 2-4 pm: Scientist Spotlight (Career Conversations) - students will hear from Novartis scientists about their experience and current work

Wednesday, March 15th from 2-4 pm: Resume 101 (Build a Resume) - students will see examples and hear feedback about how to build a strong resume. 
Register HERE! 

Invest in Girls Program for High School Girls:
Want to learn more about personal finance? This program will teach students about creating a budget, credit cards, investing, interest rates, taxes, and more! Students will connect with industry professionals and go on field trips to local businesses and organizations. They will also attend a panel discussion about managing their personal budgets in college!

Students can sign up here!  Reach out to Kim Le at if you have any questions. 


                        Family Hike: Play in the Cold
               at the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University!

                Sunday, February 19, 1:00pm-2:30pm

Families need nature at all time of the year! If it snows, attendees will make snowpeole, snow angels, and more! If there's no snow, there will be games that are great for young and old alike!
Following the program, families will be invited to go inside the Visitor Center for cocoa and cookies. 
    Advance sign up is required. Meet in front of the Hunnewell Building at
125 Arbor Way  

                          The Friends of the Pubic Garden 

  is offering free skating Sunday, February 19th on the Boston Common's Frog Pond.
The event, in partnership with the Skating Club of Boston, will feature free skating sessions that include free gear rentals while supplies last. 

Complimentary cookies and hot chocolate will also be available for the day. Additionally, Frog Pond Freddie will make be making an appearance on the ice.

Winter Wonders at the Waterworks Museum in Boston

Get ready to explore ice and snow at the Waterworks Museum! Little engineers will make different snowflake shapes out of pipe cleaners, then try using geometric shapes to create snowflakes.

Kids will learn about how salt alters the freezing point of water first-hand at our water tables, and take a closer look at the water cycle as you make a Lifecycle of a Snowman spinner.

Thursday, February  23, 2023
 2450 Beacon Street, Boston
Drop in between 11:00am to 3:00pm 
Ages: 4 - 10
    Please reserve FREE tickets in advance

 Boston Children's Museum  
Sundays 1:30-4:30
PM admission is only $1 per person; sponsored by TJX Companies

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