Sunday, July 1, 2018

End of Year, Summer, & Start of School Information

The 2017-2018 school year was a success by any measure. I want to thank the community members for all their support including members of the PA and CEF; I want to thank all CCHS staff who work hard every day to make CCHS a welcoming and nurturing learning environment, and most importantly I want to thank all the students for making this profession demanding but extremely rewarding.

It is an honor to work in a profession with a mission to help young men and women prepare for a life filled with meaning and purpose. Empathic, compassionate, supportive, engaged, curious, and passion are virtues we hope to instill in students while striving for them ourselves. Wishing everyone a safe, restful, and relaxing summer filled with friends, family, laughs, perhaps a few tears, and lots of smiles.
An excerpt from Edward Whymper's book titled Scrambles Amongst the Alps in the Years 1860-69 seems like a fitting tribute to a fantastic school year and provides words of wisdom for the summer and beyond. "There have been joys too great to describe in words, and there have been griefs upon which I have not dared to dwell, and with these in my mind I say climb if you will, but remember that courage and strength are nought without prudence, and that a momentary negligence may destroy the happiness of a lifetime. Do nothing in haste; look well to each step......" Enjoy the summer.

Work Permits During the Summer
Work permit hours are 8:00am-2:00pm. NOTE: Due to reduced staff and more flexible hours over the summer, it is required to call or email to schedule processing your work permit to ensure that office personnel will be available. If no one is available, keep in mind that work permits can be obtained at any high school, students will just need ID that includes date of birth. Calling the school beforehand to explore other requirements is advised.
Follow these steps: 1. Obtain a job offer from an employer. Have them complete (and sign) the Promise of Employment form (parent/guardian must sign this form). 2. Fill out the Employment Permit Application which is available by clicking here or the CCHS Main Office. 3. Students between the ages of 14-15 need to get a physician’s signature. Students MUST be present to sign the work permit document. No exceptions under Massachusetts State law. Students can bring the application to the Main Office at CCHS where the official Work Permit is processed. No additional documentation is required for CCHS Students. If the student is not attending CCHS and ID that includes date of birth is mandatory. Summer Contact Information: Ms. McElroy email: Phone: 978-341-2937 Ms. Tessari email:, Phone: 978-341-2950 2018-2019 Student Schedules An updated schedule for the 2018-2019 academic year has been posted to your Aspen account. The schedule does not include teacher names or room locations. Later in the summer, we will post an updated schedule that includes this information. Summer Student Scheduling Appointments
Making summer scheduling appointments
Is there an error on your schedule?  Do you have the courses you need or want?  We are happy to help explore possibilities and make available adjustments with you this summer. 

Simply sign up for an appointment:

  • The URL to log on to make appointments is  (Notice that there is no "www" in this address and ends with .ca instead of .com)
  • If you have used the conference manager before, you don’t have to register, you are already in the database and your password is still usable.
  • Once you log in use the "Available Conference Sessions" dropdown menu and select “summer schedule help” and a day that works for you. Click on "SummerHelp Guidance" name and select "next." Finally, select any available time slot that works with your schedule. Once selected you are able to make comments. Please give us a brief explanation of your concern. 
  • If you have any troubles with making an appointment, please contact Michelle McElroy (

Posting of Q4 Report Cards
Final report cards for the 2017-2018 academic year are posted in Aspen. These report cards do not include grades for Q5. We will post these grades in the near future. Open / Off-campus for 2018-2019
Members of the class of 2019 and 2020 may be eligible for open and off-campus privileges. For more information, please review this letter. If you would like to give your son/daughter permission for this privilege, please complete the open and off campus form. This form must be completed by Sunday, August 20 for the information to be processed for the start of school. Here is a brief summary of important dates for next fall: Back to School Dates - Fall 2018

High School Early Release Days Next Year
Next year the high school has four early release days to work on very specific professional development offerings to improve our practice to support student learning and well-being.
Early Release Dates: 17 October, 12 December, 6 February, & 3 April.

Please note, this will not impact the state mandated 990 instructional hours.  

Summer Sports Dates For all back to sports dates, please visit the Athletic Department:
Please remember to review the entire calendar on the district website:
For specific high school events, please visit the CCHS website calendar:

Student Parking

Please review this letter from Superintendent Dr. Laurie Hunter. All seniors requesting a parking spot will be entered into a lottery.  In order to enter the lottery, you need to purchase a parking permit and complete the required information on  If you are not assigned a parking spot, your purchase will be refunded.  In order to be entered into the lottery, you must complete the purchase of your permit in MySchoolBucks by Sunday, August 19 at 11:59pm.

The School Committee is trying to ascertain how many parking spots are needed.  In an effort to capture that data, a survey went to juniors and seniors; the survey can be found by clicking here.  The Survey will close on July 4th.

Transportation schedule
The bus schedule will be posted on the transportation website in early August:

Boys Lacrosse

The last remaining CCHS spring sports team lost a close game to Reading in the Division 2 State Finals held at Boston University this past weekend.  Congratulations on a fantastic season.  

Congratulations to CCHS Boston Herald All-Scholastic Award Winners

Gabrielle Shieh (Golf)
Henry Nelson (Lacrosse)
Fallon Vaughn (Lacrosse)
Payton Vaughn (Lacrosse)
Virginia Ryan (Softball)
Maggie Dorr (Tennis)

Guys & Dolls Award
Congratulations to the CCHS Pit Orchestra for their Met Award for “Best Student Orchestra” from the Massachusetts Educational Theater Guild

Monday, June 25, 2018

Q5 Final Post

It is not hyperbole to suggest that the final eight days of the school year were awe-inspiring. It was the culmination of 18-months of preparation and watching it come together.  The quality, depth, and variety of courses to choose from offered something for all students. Q5 was a collaborative effort involving students, CCHS staff, community members, the transportation department, and Central Office personnel. Of course, like so many initiatives in our schools, without the generous support of the CEF and the PA, none of this amazing experience would be possible, so thank you.

CCHS rising senior Princeton Chang made an amazing Q5 video. Please check it out.

We are still analyzing educator and student feedback, but a few initial statistics worth highlighting.

Over 85% of students agreed or strongly agreed with the following statements:
I enjoyed this Q5 course
I was actively engaged in this Q5 course

83.7% of students stated that they would recommend Q5 to a student at another school.

My personal favorite response, 87.8% of students stated that they made a new connection during Q5 (either student or teacher)

Add it all up and we can say with confidence that we achieved the mission of Q5:

"An immersive learning experience leveraging the curiosity, knowledge, and passions of students and faculty to foster complex thinking, creativity, communication, and collaboration. Q5 complements our academic program and seeks to inspire students and faculty to pursue shared interests and ideas."

Below you will find some highlights from week 2 of Q5. If you want to see even more pictures, please or you can review previous blog posts.

Classical Mythology Through art and Literature
Course Leaders: Ms. Pooler and Ms. Haycock

Greta Kroegen, Leeda Ayati  and Sarah Long examine a 5th century Greek red-figure vase portraying the myth of Diana and Actaeon

Course Description:
Students will read excerpts from texts to learn the fundamentals of classical myths and discuss the ways in which these myths provide a window into the cultural values of Greece and Rome. Students will take two field trips to visit the MFA and the Gardner Museum to explore the ways in which artists and writers throughout the ages have represented these myths and consider why these myths have exerted such an enduring influence on western art and literature. Students will take advantage of the nature surrounding our school for short walks which will complement our mythological readings.  

Plein Air Painting and Picnics
Course Leaders: Ms. Dunn and Mr. Pickman

A studio art course based on drawing and painting the landscape from observation and direct interpretation. Techniques include, impressionism, expressionism, abstraction, and experimental projects. All levels of ability are invited to participate, no studio experience required. This course will be locally based and daily agendas will include walks to aesthetically significant sites in the area, art making as well as visits by professional landscape artists. This course also features daily, gourmet, healthful and delicious picnics organized by the members of our painting group.

On the fourth day of Q5, students pitched their own teen movies.

Teens in Film and On Television
Course Leader: Ms. Sutter

Course Description:
Hollywood has long looked to the teenager for its most dramatic storylines -- the teenager as the rebel, the romantic, the outcast or the icon.  In this course, we will watch movies and television shows about teenagers from several different decades, including Rebel Without a Cause (1955), American Graffiti (1973), The Breakfast Club (1985), Freaks and Geeks (1999-200), Glee (2009-2015), and a contemporary film or show of the group's choice.  We will discuss the role of the teenager in pop culture, the reality as young people experience it today, and the gap between the two.  On the last day, we'll vote on which Hollywood teenager comes closest to embodying the truth and try to predict the premise of the next teen film or television show to become a breakaway success.

Chinese Arts and Crafts Workshop: Zodiac Animals Course Leader: Mr. Feng

Course Description A workshop will be held to review Chinese arts and crafts pertaining to Chinese zodiac animal of the year and/or the years of the participating students. Students will learn to create art and craft pieces by observing teacher demonstration of selected arts and crafts techniques such as paper cutting, Chinese painting, wood burning, soapstone carving and engraving, as well as clay modeling (We can concentrate on two media only in each Q5 session. We will try out paper cutting and wood burning in 2018). It will be a first-hand exposure to Chinese culture and hands-on experience to arts and crafts creation.
This Isn’t your Grandmother’s Mahjong Course Leader: Ms. Mahoney

Course Description
Mahjong is the popular Chinese game of strategy that originated in the Qing Dynasty. Today, it is one of the most popular games played throughout Asia and the rest of the world with many variations. In this course, you will learn to play the traditional and most popular version. Mahjong is a fast-paced game (don't worry, we'll start slow!) that will keep you on your toes. Mahjong has even been shown to improve cognitive ability in patients with dementia. The game is played using 144 tiles (like dominoes) in different suits (like cards) with Chinese numbers and characters. You will learn these characters and a few Chinese terms needed to play. Be prepared to bring your A game to defeat your competitors!

Bio Bites: The Art and Science of Food Course Leaders: Ms. Guiney and Ms. Rusilas

This course will explore the scientific principles involved in cooking and baking. This will be a hands-on course involving lots of cooking! Possible topics include investigating what causes bread to rise, investigating fermentation & brining by making pickles, creating a delicious cookie recipe, exploring flavorful spices and much more! Expect to cook something everyday and to go on a local field trip!

Thoreau’s Paddle 
Course Leaders: Mr. Goodwin, Mr. Nichol, Mr. Savage

Participants will explore the canoe trips of Henry David Thoreau along the Concord, Sudbury and Assabet Rivers.  We will canoe daily with journals and maps to compare the rivers and landscape of today with that of Thoreau's time.  We will reference Thoreau's written work and that of other naturalists who have retraced his trips on the water.   Students will learn essential canoeing skills and practice paddling flat water and the swift moving current of the Assabet.

Students busy prepping their pieces and doing some light repairs.

Trash to Treasure
Course Leaders: Ms. Omobono, Ms. Ravalese

In this course students will learn how to take old and essentially "worthless" pieces of wood furniture and transform them into something beautiful and functional.  Students will learn about refinishing and consignment while visiting a local business, and then students will then be able to try it themselves by choosing one piece of furniture to refinish over the duration of the course.  Students will begin by sanding, cleaning and prepping the furniture, then move on to painting, staining, or a combination of the two, and finally end with sealing the recreated furniture.  The course will end with a “flea market flip” presentation to share their new pieces!

I’d Rather Be Reading
Course Leader: Ms. Cicchetti

Student featured above toured the Concord Free Public Library and met with Special Collections Curator, Leslie Perrin. They were able to see original surveys by Thoreau, and his final journal.

Passionate readers are never without a book! What they often lack is time to read. Students will have the opportunity to create a weeklong reading goal, learn good yoga stretches for readers, create strategies for lifelong reading, and will have time to disappear into a book, of course!

Monday, June 18, 2018

Week 1 Q5 Recap: What a week!

As we wrap up the first week of Q5, the energy in the building is amazing. With so many great moments during the first week, it is hard to capture them all, but we are sharing a small glimpse below and we eagerly anticipate week 2.

If you would like to see first hand more pictures from the week, we encourage you to check out  A big thank you to Princeton Chang for creating and maintaining the website which allows us to showcase the great work during Q5.

Community Service
Lead by Mr. Lonergan, Mr. Hoblitzelle, Mr. Parato
Students will volunteer at the Yawkey Club of Roxbury (Boys and Girls Club of Boston) for community service involving local youth and various projects as they arise.  The hope is that we have a mix of Boston, Carlisle and Concord students signed up.

The two different groups of community service project culminated their week by visiting the various locations.

One of today’s groups served at Pine Street Inn, a shelter for homeless guests offering meals, beds, healthcare services and job training.  Our CC group prepared meals for the 2500 guests coming today alone. We are proud of the work we did!

The second group of students visit Waltham Community Farm where they cleaned the Learning Center before a summer of projects and activities at the Waltham Community Farm. Over 400 vegetable shares go out each week.

I am sharing a note sent by one of the trip leaders Mike Parato.


On behalf of the 75 students and 8 teachers that have been working tirelessly (yet joyfully) for the past 2 days, I wanted to share with you some of our adventures.

This project began last year when faculty and METCO students were looking for a way to celebrate the important role that our Boston students play in the community and culture of CCHS and the surrounding communities. Students suggested we find a way to give back to the neighborhoods that our METCO students come from, and we hit the ground running with proposals.  What took form over the next 8 months was a collaborative and eclectic collection of service projects ranging from food insecurity to assisting the elderly.  

On Wednesday after a brief meet and greet at CCHS, we set forth on a busing adventure into Boston where kids volunteered at 4 different venues - some of which you may be familiar with: Cradles to Crayons, Roxbury Boys and Girls Club, Community Servings and the Greater Boston Food Bank.  I will leave it to you to ask your student which of these great opportunities they partook in and ask them what their experience was like - inquire, engage and inspire!

Thursday found us back at Roxbury Boys and Girls Club, in addition to new projects with Zelma Lacey House Assisted Living in Charlestown, The Charlestown Mother's Club and Waltham Community Farms.  Again, inquire, engage and BE inspired by asking your student about their experiences!

Many roles and responsibilities have been filled in the past two days.  We have tried to remind the students that some forms of community service are directly impacting people, while other forms are upstream and the fruits of your labor take time to travel downstream to their intended beneficiaries.  We believe they have embraced this ethos and have performed each task with great effort, pride and humility. 

Check out our experience, and the many other Q5 offerings:

Thank you to the students on this project!
Mike Parato & The Q5 Staff

Get Out and See Art
Lead by Mr. Lindner, Ms. Moskowitz, Mr. Gooder
Students will take field trips to different museums and galleries each day. Destinations may include: The DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park, the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), the Harvard Art Museums, the MIT Museum, the Peabody Essex Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, and various galleries on Newbury Street and in the South End.  Students will start each day with an introduction to a specific art medium (ie sculpture, painting, photography, digital art) and to a specific era of art history (ie art of the ancient world, Renaissance painting, contemporary art, installation, graffiti, etc). Discussions will take place in the galleries. The goal is for students to gain an appreciation for what’s happening in the art world, learn how to look at and talk about all kinds of art, and experience the many great museums and galleries in the Greater Boston area.
During today’s visit to the Museum of Fine arts, the art served to inspire more art in our students.  

Madden Laboratory: Exploring Advanced NFL Football Tactics and the rise of eSports in Modern Culture
Lead by Mr. Bodenrader
This camp will be run like any other sports camp, with a daily schedule that will include 1) individual skills sessions, 2) learning and implementing offensive and defensive concepts. In addition, throughout the week we will 1) watch game film showing professional Madden players in tournament play, 2) learn about how to build the best Madden Ultimate Team, 3) go "behind the scenes" to learn about how the game was made, and 4) discuss the rise and significance of Esports in modern culture & visit a game design company.

Championship Monday!!!!  Advanced finalists Aiden and Drew matchup in what turned out to be the game of the week.   Here is the moment where Drew sent the game into overtime with a last-second field goal. Drew eventually went on to with 37-31.  In our rookie division, Erik defeated Andrew in a low scoring slugfest - final score 14-7.

Creative Writing
Lead by: Ms. Lee-Dubon
Students will experiment with writing their own poetry, fiction, personal non-fiction, plays, screenplays, or any form of creative writing they would like to do. The instructor will provide prompts, some structured reading and writing of poetry, short fiction, and nonfiction, and then students will create their own projects.  They will workshop their writing with peers and the instructors.  The goal is to produce a small body of creative writing or a completed project.

Inspiration at work in Q5 Creative Writing: (left to right) Vaughan Supple, Cara Fritz, Cory Sanderson, Peter Blau, Michelle Weng, and Sienna Manning.  (Photo by Katie Guarnaccia.)

Know Thyself And Others Through Personality Tests
By Isabeau McKenna
This course was extremely interesting and fun at the same time, allowing students to discover more about themselves while incorporating enjoyable activities throughout every lesson. Participants take the Myers Briggs and the Enneagram during this course, with both providing in-depth analyses that are intriguing and surprising. Students are given the opportunity to relate with others who have the same personality types to compare some of their life experiences in relation to their personality traits. In between educational segments of each day are therapeutic breaks, such as watching The Office, coloring, going outside, and having snacks!

The Horror Story
By Isabeau McKenna
This course is definitely not for the faint of heart, as it includes watching, reading, and talking about all things horror! Movies like The Others, Let The Right One In, The Descent, The Conjuring, and Get Out are options to watch during this course. Famous movie clips, short stories, and discussions take place between movies, allowing for students to ruminate on what makes things truly horrifying. This course is a lot of fun, while also providing the opportunity for students to learn about the horror genre and hopefully discover new favorite movies or stories. 

Nonviolence, Activism & The Human Struggle For Justice 
Lead by Dr. Nurenberg
In this course, students examine theory and case studies of nonviolent action both historical and present, and examine how those principles might apply to the causes they believe in.

Caption for photos:  All of the photos are of students making their presentations about nonviolent conflicts they personally chose to research,  analyze and educate the rest of the class about. 

The Mindful Way to Less Stress and More Happiness
Lead by Ms. Slocum
Curious about mindfulness?  Wondering what the hype's all about?  Wanna see if it really can reduce stress and anxiety and make you 10% happier? This course will offer an extensive exploration of mindfulness and meditation. You will learn about and try out a broad range of mindfulness practices and hear about the science and research behind its benefits.  But it won't all be just sittin' around! We'll get moving on a few days, do some brief reading and journal writing, check out some useful apps, and more -- all to get after this thing called mindfulness, put it into practice now and give you the tools to practice it on your own later should you want to!  You'll be happy you did!

Learn to Sew: Dress a Girl Around the World
Lead by Ms. Picard

Students will learn to sew with a machine:  parts of the machine, threading the machine, and sewing straight and zigzag stitches.  Students will cut a pattern,  sew the pattern pieces together, and finish the edges to complete a garment. Students will be given the choice of making a dress for the Hope for Women International Organization "Dress a Girl Around the World" campaign or can choose to work on a project of their choice.