Competitive athletics begin!

September 2023

Dr. Sally Mingarelli

Head of School, EF Academy Pasadena

Dear Families,

Today is the first day of classes of Year 2 at EF Academy Pasadena.

The students and faculty are eager to get to work! 

With 18 new faculty members, growing our total faculty to 33 people, we are using all of our classroom buildings this school year. Today students are studying STEAM classes in Blackwell Hall, Humanities & World Languages in Strong Hall, and Arts and Physical Education in Robinson Center. Students will enjoy moving around campus more throughout their days this year and discovering the unique feel of the classroom spaces in each building.

We had a wonderful time welcoming new and returning students and families to campus on Arrival Days last week on Tuesday and Wednesday. We have 106 new students this year across grades 9 through 12!  Our new students join 90 returning students for a lively community of 196 students this fall. We have grown too large to host our community meetings on the 2nd  floor of Cena Dining Hall and we have to use the bleachers in Robinson Center to fit all of our students, faculty, and staff.  I am loving what this growth will mean for our co-curricular programming, as adding more talented and dedicated students and adults to our community means greater opportunities in sports, the arts, and academic extracurriculars like Model United Nations and robotics! With this growth we are also able to offer a more robust set of course offerings. In Year 2 we have added 30 brand new or reimagined courses to our catalog compared to our Year 1 offerings.

After our two Arrival Days last week, we enjoyed five Welcome Days together.  On Thursday there were Welcome Days activities for both students and families. Our families in attendance had the opportunity to hear about our vision for academics and student life programming, and then had the chance to connect with their student’s teachers, advisor, University and Academic Counselor (UAC), and house parent. It was a great day, culminating in our annual faculty, staff, and family barbecue on the quad.  

On Friday our students participated in Academic onboarding and had the opportunity to select their co-curriculars for Season 1 at our clubs and athletics fair. On Saturday, Sunday, and Monday there were a number of on-campus events and off-campus excursions to help students get to know our campus, our community, and our city!  With an ice cream truck, bouncy houses, a glow in the dark pool party, and s’mores in the fire pits, our students enjoyed spending time together and getting to know new friends on our magnificent campus.

Our off campus excursions included grade level trips with students and advisors to local and Los Angeles landmarks like the Griffith Observatory, Huntington Gardens, and downtown Los Angeles.  And, of course, daily shopping excursions were available to Target and the Americana at Brand, one of L.A.’s favorite shopping destinations.

We are so very excited to be in Year 2!  In our final family newsletter of last school year, we described some of the Year 2 initiatives and programs about which we were most excited.  When that newsletter was written, we were still in the planning stages for all of those initiatives and now we have fully begun implementation. We will have so much exciting news to share with families this year!

You can anticipate receiving a monthly family newsletter near the beginning of each month. In these newsletters you will always hear a bit from me, and then a section written by a featured author. We aim to shine a spotlight on a particular program or area of the school so that families can feel close to the work we are doing each day with your children. In this newsletter, our featured author is Justin Clapp, our Athletics Director. Please enjoy hearing his insights below as we launch our first season of competitive athletics with CIF, the California Interscholastic Federation.

In closing, I want to thank you all for entrusting us to nurture and educate your children. I am beyond impressed by the curiosity, kindness, and courage of our international student body. They are going to accomplish great things together this year!

All of our activities

Justin Clapp

Athletics Director, EF Academy Pasadena

There are three different seasons of competitive sports, with specific sport offerings in each season. A student is able to participate in a single sport in each season:

With the introduction of competitive athletics, EF Academy's athletic rosters may not be able to accommodate all students who are interested. This year, we will be offering a single team in each sport competing at the highest level (Varsity). For students who are interested in one of these sports, yet unable to be offered a roster spot due to size limitations, we will provide opportunities for recreational or intramural access to the sport. In some instances, students may also be able to help assist with the coordination of the athletic team throughout the season, allowing them to stay closely connected with the sport and continue to be valuable members of the team. 
It is important for our students and families to also understand that being CIF members, we are governed by the same rules as all other high schools in the state of California. Part of these rules include meeting various athletic eligibility requirements, especially regarding transfer students; in some instances, students may have restrictions placed on their ability to compete in games in particular sports for a period of time or even a whole season. We are reviewing CIF documents as they are submitted and will promptly communicate athletic eligibility statuses as they are determined.  As with students who may be cut from team rosters, any ineligible student athletes will still have access to recreational and intramural offerings this year.
Early this fall we will assess student interest in additional competitive sports beyond those for which we are launching varsity teams this year. While we are looking specifically at Tennis, Golf, Girls Soccer, Baseball, and Cheer/Dance, demonstrated student interest will inform potential intramural sport club offerings for the Winter and/or Spring seasons this year.
Next year, we will certainly expand our CIF sport offerings. Where there is demonstrated student interest, we will add a second competitive level (Junior Varsity) to accommodate a greater number of students within the sport program. Furthermore, we will analyze our sport club offerings from this year to determine if they are ready to field a competitive team as soon as next year. 
We are so excited to host our first CIF Girls Volleyball game in Robinson Center against Waverly School on Sept 13 at 7:00pm. I can't wait to sit amongst our EF Academy community, filling our Robinson Gymnasium bleachers, supporting and uplifting our student-athletes as they represent our school in the athletic arena.  With 29 day students and a larger number of local boarders this year, we invite families in the area to join us for home and away games.  The full schedule of fall competitions is linked here.   For our families who are far away, we will be collaborating with students and faculty from our new media lab to record and post games so that you can celebrate your student’s hard work on the court or field, even from afar.

Looking forward to a great year ahead! 

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