2021: Tidbits for Parents

The First Link Committee of the Deerfield Parents Network (DPN) has put together this list of “tidbits”—useful information that you’ll find helpful as your child gets ready to leave for school.

If you have questions or comments about the First Link program, feel free to contact Co-Chairs: Meaghan Chorske, Tracy Fauver, Stefanie Grosse, or Vanessa Willett.


  • The Deerfield faculty has been working hard to welcome our children back to school. Please click here to access the information for critical back-to-school details.
  • If you haven’t already, make travel arrangements and book hotel rooms as far in advance as you can for Family Weekend. Things do book up quickly. You can check on the school calendar to figure out the dates.
  • Please help your child be content with their housing assignment. It will work out even if they don’t get the dorm they wanted or are not placed with a close friend (they will make new friends in their dorms). Housing can be an adjustment. Make it easier for them by accepting whatever happens.
  • Input the following important phone numbers into your phone or planner. You never know when you might need them, and you don’t want to scramble at that time:
    • General Contact Information
      • Main Switchboard: 413-772-0241
      • Main Academy Fax: 413-772-1100
    • Your Child’s Advisor and Dorm Resident numbers are located on DAinfo
    • Non-emergency Issues: During the school day please email or telephone your child’s Class Dean at their office number listed below; after hours please contact the School Officer in Charge (SOC) at 413-772-9070
    • Dean of Students, Sam Bicknell at 413-774-1485
    • Associate Dean of Students, 11th and 12th Grade Dean: Kevin Kelly at 413-774-1457
    • Associate Dean of Students, 9th and 10th Grade Dean: Becca Melvoin at 413-774-1423
    • Assistant Head of School for Student Life, Amie Creagh at 413-774-1454
    • Emergency, Health and Safety Contacts
      • Security (24 hours): 413-772-9880
      • Security (office): 413-774-1558
      • Health Center: 413-774-1600
      • SOC (School Officer in Charge): 413-772-9070
      • Sexual Response Resource
  • Less is more in terms of what your son or daughter brings to school. Due to limited storage space, err on the side of bringing less than they think they need. Leave the winter clothes at home for now and bring them back for Winter Term. Here is the suggested packing list. As per one of the tidbits below, you can always ship anything they need.
  • Label your child’s clothing to help prevent laundry mishaps and headaches with lost or borrowed clothing. We recommend something like this stamp from the Grommet, Mabels Labels, and even a Sharpie work well.
  • Laundry – Your student has the option to sign up for weekly laundry service with E&R laundry, Swift Cleaners in Greenfield or they can do laundry themselves in their dorms. Many students opt for a laundry service because the service will launder coats, ties, dress shirts and blazers as well as the time savings having E&R’s weekly service.  Although many prefer to launder their own belongings in the dorm facilities. For those doing their own laundry, a refillable laundry card is available through the Finance Office, and students may purchase laundry cards when they arrive on campus. It’s up to you, but worth discussing before they head off to school.
  • Discuss communication with your child before they head off. Set expectations with your child regarding how often (and in what mode) you’ll communicate. (And don’t make it too frequent … remember they will be busy!) Sometimes a quick texting exchange is more feasible than a conversation. Just be content with whatever they are willing to give you!
  • Meet the proctors and teachers/faculty members on your child’s hall when you drop-off your student. They will be valuable resources to you as they live with your child.
  • Please hold off shipping to DA until the end of August. Shipping and Receiving is located in the garden level of the Chen Health and Wellness Center. Joe Garey makes sure that all your packages reach your student. Amazon delivers anything and everything to Deerfield, and it gets there quickly. You can also send boxes/packages the last week of August, and he will hold them for your student.
    • Student Mail/Packages-
      • Postal Mail: Student Name, PO Box 298, Deerfield, MA 01342
      • UPS/FedEx: Student Name, 7 Boyden Lane, Deerfield, MA 01342
  • Don’t be surprised at how your child handles the “goodbye moment” when you drop them off at school. Every child will respond differently—some will be upset, others will barely say goodbye and for some, it will be uneventful. Remember to give them space—boarding school is a stepping stone to self-confidence and independence for your child.  They are in good hands and the dorm residents and proctors are well equipped to help your child with the transition.
  • Understand that students are busy! Their schedule is packed with school, cocurricular, sit-down dinner, study hall, dorm feed and lights out. There is hardly a break and when they have a free moment, they are forming relationships with their new friends, doing homework, studying, getting involved with clubs, participating in school activities, going to mandatory meetings and lectures. In addition, they are having fun, so be patient with them.
  • Explore the Academy’s website and get to know the Academy better.
  • Explore DAInfo where you can see your child’s schedule, their teachers, their classmates, the family directory to communicate with other parents, etc. This is a password-protected site so make sure you remember your password. If ever your contact information has changed (address, email, phone, etc.), please do not delay in having it updated on DAINFO by emailing Alumni Records and letting them the new information.
  • Check out the Bulletin. This newsfeed can also be found under the Students drop-down tab at the top of this page. While it is primarily for students, it can give you a sense of daily happenings on campus.
  • Read the Deerfield Scroll, the student paper, published monthly. It offers terrific insights into what is happening on campus.
  • Consider creating a network of parents that live close by you for package deliveries or ride sharing. We know a group of parents from one area that emails their “network” to see if anyone is headed up when they need something brought up to their student or if they are looking for a ride-share or carpool. This is more efficient and less expensive than FEDEX—and you’ll have the chance to make new friends as well.
  • “Let go” of your child as much as you can. Encourage them to solve problems on their own as much as they are capable of doing and hold off on “picking up the phone” to solve it for them. Foster their independence. Encourage them to speak with their advisor for help or advice if they need.  You can also share relevant information with your child’s advisor, confidentially, that could help your child.
  • Remember that the staff are busy teaching, coaching, mentoring and caring for your child. No place is perfect, and everyone is doing the best for your child. If things don’t go your child’s way, let them handle any problems and to seek help at DA if needed. If necessary, go to your child’s advisor for any concerns you may have and need to discuss. Please always be respectful and ask your child to do the same.
  • Please rely on your First Link to answer any questions you may have now or during the school year. They are all current parents that remember what it’s like to be new to DA and are so excited to help you in any way they can over the year. Your student has their Green Key to help them, and you have your First Link. Please use them!

We hope you feel welcomed and well informed for the upcoming year at Deerfield Academy.  We are also here to help.

Your First Link Co-Chairs,

Meaghan Chorske P’22,’25
Tracy Fauver P’17,’22
Stefanie Grosse P’22,’22
Vanessa Willett P’23