Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Open House Tonight, 9/13 at CCHS

Open House
Just a friendly reminder that this evening is Open House at CCHS.  Parents of first-year-students are invited to a presentation from 6:00 to 6:45.  All parents are invited back for the evening presentation that begins at 7:00pm.  Immediately after the presentation, parents/guardians will follow their child's schedule.  

Students spent time in advisory today preparing a schedule for parents/guardians to bring with them tomorrow evening.  Please arrive with the schedule in hand.  We look forward to seeing you tomorrow evening.  

Evening Schedule 

Friday, September 7, 2018

School Rankings, Homework & Religious Holiday Policy, Freshmen Dance, Open House, & More

Please read below for information on school rankings, Homework Practices & Expectations, School Committee Religious Policy information, Open House, Freshmen Dance, and More.

Open House
Please join us for Open House on September 13th.  9th Grade parents are welcome to arrive at 6:00 for a presentation specifically for freshmen parents, and all parents are welcome to attend at 7:00pm.  We look forward to seeing you soon!

School Rankings
There are numerous national and local publications utilizing different metrics to rank public high schools across the state and country.  They measure variables ranging from standardized test scores, teacher-to-student ratio, number of Advanced Placement courses and school resources and funding. 

I will refrain from getting too deep into the details; partly because ranking public schools is a difficult undertaking once you move beyond standardized test scores. Although important, I can say with certainty that MCAS results, Advanced Placement scores, SAT, ACT, and a small sampling of other standardized tests are not the only measure of a school's success. Regardless of metrics employed, you will find CCHS ranks near the top of all lists when measured solely on academic performance; however, our best qualities are not easily measured.

As I have stated previously, we are never perfect and ahead lay countless hours of work to improve, but there is no doubt that CCHS is a high achieving academic institution that excels in many areas, and it is a fantastic place to come to school and work each and every day.  We are all so very lucky to have the opportunity to do so.  

Top Public High Schools In Eastern MA: Boston Magazine Article

Homework Practices & School Committee Religious Holiday Policy
We know that academic progress is important and that our students work hard for their achievements.  We also believe that everyone needs playtime, downtime, and family time every day. We include our homework practices, the School Committee developed religious holiday policy, and helpful tips for starting the school year.  

Determining how long an assignment will take for students to complete will vary greatly based on the student's learning style and strengths, as well as personal circumstances that may vary on a daily basis. However, we feel it is important to share these homework practices and expectations so all stakeholders have a clear understanding of the school's expectations surrounding homework.

It is important students do not have distractions during the time allotted for school work at night, so we recommend talking with your child about potential distractions and removing their phone and other electronics not needed to complete their work.

The hallmark of this school is relationships between students and staff so we encourage the student body to communicate with teachers if the homework load or practices are outside of the guidelines listed.  Further, we encourage staff to frequently “check-in” with students to determine the length of time needed to complete a homework assignment, and we encourage staff to allow students to begin homework in class when the lesson allows extra time.  Lastly, we encourage students and parents to talk with their teachers and the respective Department Chairs to discuss the homework policy. Please contact the guidance counselor if you would like to discuss your child’s well-being or academic program. Leslie Knight, Brian Miller, and I are resources as well.

We include a few parent resources from our partners at Challenge Success.

Top Ten Back-to-School Tips to Help Your Child Thrive

Freshmen Dance

We are excited for the freshmen only dance tonight. We want it to be a fun, safe, and enjoyable experience for all involved. To that end, it is preferred that students do not bring bags, backpacks, or jackets. If a student needs to bring one of these items it will need to be "checked" at the door and held until the end of the dance. If a student must access one of these items during the dance it will be done under the supervision of school personnel.  

Also, the long-standing practice of utilizing a portable breath test upon entry to the dance will take place and students will be chosen at random by high school personnel.  

Special Education Parent Coffee

Members of the Special Education Department held a parent coffee to outline the new special education model being implemented this year.  This new model follows a year of collaboration between CCHS staff, parents, students, and consultants from WestEd.  One goal was to create conditions were additional specialized instruction can take place during the school day with student skills and the IEP driving the process.  There are four cohort models with varied specialized instruction depending on student goals, strengths, and areas in need of improvement.  For example, one of the four cohorts has a focus on Writing, Reading, and Academic Processes (WRAP).  We are excited about the changes and feel it will better support our students.  

Parking Update
As of September 7th, all student parking spots on campus have been distributed to 222 seniors - who purchased a spot prior to the August 19 deadline.  These students were emailed their random spot assignments on Monday, August 27.  After working through the first week of school, we identified a few more spots for students.  Through this morning, 11 more seniors requested spots and this has maxed out our 233 student spots on campus. Eleven students who were on the Beede Loop Road were chosen through a random draw to move into the main lot and the students who purchased spots after the initial deadline were assigned the spots in the Beede Loop Road.

The next step for seniors with a parking spot is to obtain their parking sticker from Mark Hernandez.  Mr. Hernandez will be in the parking lot before school, during all lunch blocks, and after school next week.  

In order to obtain your parking spot, seniors will need:
Current Driver’s License
Current Car Registration

Once confirmed, Mr. Hernandez will issue a parking sticker to a Class of 2019 student.  If a student is unable to provide these two documents, the parking spot will be revoked.

Any student who has not picked up their parking sticker by Friday, September 14 will have their parking spot revoked, their purchase price refunded, and they will not be eligible to park on campus. If there are any spots that fall into this category, they will be used for a potential lottery for juniors.  If you have any questions please reach out to Mark Hernandez.

Parking spaces are for students assigned to the spot. Selling or leasing parking spaces is strictly prohibited. 

Thank you all as we continue to work through the parking challenges on the Concord Carlisle Campus.  I remind all families that there are special Town Meetings in both Concord October 1st and Carlisle on October 2nd. where the potential development of the CCHS Campus will be discussed and that might include additional parking. I encourage you to participate.

Steve Lane: CCHS Teacher, Coach, New Dad and Author 
By Steve Lane
On Wednesday, September 12th, my first book, No Sanctuary, will be published by the University Press of New England. Needless to say, I am very excited. No Sanctuary tells the story of the teachers and students who created the first programs to support LGBTQ youth in schools. Their work started slowly, but in a relatively short period, they helped launch an educational revolution: what began with a few schools in the Boston area became the framework for state law in Massachusetts, which became a model for schools across the nation.

I am doubly excited for the forum I am moderating at the Concord Public Library on September 12th at 7pm. Four of the people I write about in the book – Arthur Lipkin, a former teacher at Cambridge Rindge & Latin; Robert Parlin, a teacher at Newton South; Sharon Tentarelli, a former student at Phillips Andover Academy; and Donald McNemar, former head of school at Phillips Andover – will talk about their work and participate in an audience Q & A. This will be a fascinating discussion – not often do you get to hear firsthand from true historymakers.

Whatever progress we have made toward creating a more tolerant and just society, it is vital that we not take that progress for granted, that we not assume progress is inevitable. It is quite daunting to look at the problems we face in this world; every now and then, we need a message of hope to help us see again the path toward a better future. I believe that these four individuals can offer such a message – they are a living, breathing lesson about the power of schools – really, the power of all of us in the school community – to change the world.

For more information about the forum, please visit the Concord Public Library events page.

Monday, September 3, 2018

First Week of School, Freshmen Orientation, Back-to-School Night, & Character Day

By any measure, the first week of school was a great success. The quiet hallways of July and August were replaced with the energy and enthusiasm of students and staff. CCHS staff returned happy and excited after spending the summer months recharging and preparing for the upcoming school year.  It was a welcome change to the summer routine as we greeted our nearly 1300 students from Carlisle, Boston, Concord and other parts of the country and the world.  

We had a successful freshmen orientation program that is not possible without the hard work and effort of CCHS teachers, Hanna Bruno & Jenna Lashley, along with student and staff leaders. These individuals donate their time and energy to ensure a smooth and fruitful transition for all new students. This day serves as a microcosm of all things that make CCHS a great place. Teams of people working together to make others feel welcome and part of our community.

Assistant Principals Brian Miller, Leslie Knight and I met with students during the opening day assemblies and talked about the importance of creating a positive school culture where all student and staff contributions are valued.  It is incumbent upon us all contribute to a positive school culture, and we must willfully wake up every day with the intention of contributing to the well-being of others.  The first day of school brings hope and excitement. The gift of time as the entire year and all it has to offer lay before us.  

During our presentation, we shared a video to highlight our participation in an upcoming character day in September. CCHS along with thousands of other schools will take a portion of a school day to discuss the importance of character and character development. We plan to utilize our Advisory program for this initiative. I am sharing the short video for your review.  It is worth your time.  

We incorporated some words of wisdom into our presentation from war hero and Senator, John McCain. Fast forward to 33:28 and listen through 34:30 of the shared podcast. It corresponds with the Student Presentation Slides 53-61.
We asked students to think about how the words apply to them and their impact on CCHS, their community, and beyond.

Back-to-School Night
Please join us for our Back-to-School Night on September 13th. There will be a presentation for parents of our first-year students at 6pm and a presentation for all parents at 7pm. Parents will follow the schedule of their son/daughter immediately following the presentations.

Freshmen Orientation
By Hanna Bruno
The Freshman class of 2022 started the school year with an orientation led by 40 enthusiastic student leaders. The goal of the day was to develop a sense of community and pride in the freshmen class, encourage incoming students to meet new members of their class, allow freshmen students to connect with upperclassmen who can serve as valuable mentors, guides, resources, friends, and support, and familiarize freshmen students with the CCHS campus and their own schedule. The day is all part of a larger effort to help with the transition to high school.  The intent of the day was to create a spirited introduction to high school, that was upbeat, informative, and fun.

Students started the day with a festive dance party welcome and brief assembly. Students took part in a scavenger hunt throughout the building, followed their schedules, and met teachers, staff, and administrators. Students participated in cooperative games within their advisory groups led by adults with varying roles in the school community. A special thank you to the amazing student leaders and all who helped make the day run smoothly.

On behalf of all members of CCHS, I want to extend a sincere welcome to the class of 2022.