Monday, October 31, 2016

Report Cards & Nov. 1 "If Only" Opioid Presentation for Parents

Report Cards
As noted in my previous blog, quarter one ended on Friday, October 28th. Grades will post in the parent portal on Tuesday, November 8th at 4:00pm.

"If Only" Opioid Presentation at CCHS
Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2017,  7 PM - 8:15 PM
Parents of Students in Grades 6 - 12

For those who enjoy watching really talented former Red Sox players and coaches compete in the World Series, the presentation will end at 8:15.

As you understand from the media, our nation is currently in the midst of an opioid epidemic. The film, “If Only,” was created to raise awareness of this problem by the Millenium Health and the Wahlberg Youth Foundation, with help from the Recovery Center of America and was filmed in a local Massachusetts town that has been heavily impacted by the prescription drug abuse epidemic. At 32 minutes long, the film depicts how the decision to experiment with prescription drugs has lasting and profound consequences for two teens. More information about the film can be found at For more detailed information, please review the event flyer.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Principal's Blog: Caroline Cuoco, Japan Delegation, Student Newspaper & More

Today marks the end of quarter one.  Difficult to comprehend, but freshmen, sophomores, and juniors have completed twenty-five percent, a full one-fourth, of their 2016-2017 school year.  As the adage goes: "The days are long but the years are short."  

Even harder to grasp, our student leaders, the great senior class, has completed more than eighty-percent of their high school experience.  I want to thank the senior class for providing the necessary student leadership that helps make this school so special.  Keep up the good work.  

Attempting to capture all the incredible accomplishments and highlights from the first quarter would prove difficult; however, two special events that occurred yesterday offer a fitting end to a successful first quarter of school. 

Director of Bands and Orchestra, David Gresko, led a truly spectacular Fall Concert last evening.  If you were to draw the curtain to disguise the age of the performers, one would be left to believe they were attending a professional performance.  

Yesterday our community welcomed a delegation from Japan led by their Principal, Nahira Hiroshi.  We are hosting students and adults from Concord's sister city of Nanae, Hokkaido, Japan for the next week. They will be staying with homestay families right here in our community. 

Clearly articulated and captured in our core values is the understanding that we are not only preparing our students from Boston, Carlisle, and Concord to meet high levels of academic and personal achievement, but we are also preparing them to be conscientious and productive contributors in a complex global society. 

At CCHS, we are developing future leaders, and it is not hyperbole to suggest that the future peace and prosperity of the great countries of Japan and the United States will rest on our ability to solve problems that are truly global in scale.  We are happy to do our part.  The twenty-year exchange between Nanae and CCHS serves as a model of cross-cultural collaboration and partnership.

As a high-performing culture, we aim to maintain the momentum of quarter one and build upon the successes and great work that has commenced. We look forward to your input, participation, and support as we work together to achieve our goals.

Sophie Fisher & Brenna Robillard

Doctors Without Borders Field Trip
By Caroline Cuoco, Class of 2018

On Tuesday, October 18, four sections of International Issues classes (approximately 80 students) went on a field trip to Boston to see the temporary outdoor exhibit called Forced From Home. The exhibit was produced by Doctors Without Borders and involved the organization’s association with the worldwide refugee crisis. 

At the beginning of the exhibit, everyone was given a card with an identity. You could be either a refugee or an internally displaced person. I was assigned a Syrian refugee. The trip consisted of many stations that brought us through the displacement “process.” We had to pick five things to bring with us and get on a boat (which was on land) in an effort to encourage us to think more carefully about forced migration. As we were put in the place of a refugee at these stations, we learned about what they have to go through and how much their life changes. Other stations consisted of what kind of help and care Doctors Without Borders provides for refugees, e.g.,  food, shelter, medical care, water; all the basic necessities for survival. 

Ms. Carr & Ms. McCabe's Class
The field trip was very enlightening and informative, helping students get a better understanding of the refugee crisis. Some students said that “[they] thought that it gave students a different approach to learning because there were a lot visuals and the stations can help students learn in different ways.” Prior to the trip, I wasn’t that interested in learning about refugees and didn’t realize how big of an issue it is. The exhibit turned out to be extremely intriguing and made me excited to talk about it more in class.

Choral Concert
By Deb Smith
You are cordially invited to the first Choral Concert of the school year!  
The CCHS Music Department proudly presents: The Fall Choral Concert
Come show your support for these dedicated and talented students!

When: Thursday, November 3

Where: CCHS Auditorium 

Who: Featuring Combined Chorus, Select Choir, Men's Chorus and The Melodies

Free Admission!

Delegation from Japan Update!
By David Nurenberg

The student delegation spent all three lunch blocks (that's almost 2 1/2 hours straight) running origami and tea ceremony workshops in the cafeteria, that were constantly well attended by CC students. They still had the energy at the end of the day make a presentation to Scifi Club about high school life in Japan. All of this, jetlagged no less!


Mr. Nahira, the Principal of Nanae High School, exchange speeches and gifts with Mr. Mastrullo at a special administrative luncheon, also attended by officials from both Concord and Nanae.  Three teachers -Vicky Moskowitz, Melissa Carr, and Nora Mendoza - welcomed Mr. Nahira in to their classrooms to teach lessons on Japanese poetry, and to hold a "Q&A" session with students about Japanese schools.

This morning the Nanae students worked with Ned Roos and Sophia Karr'17 to produce their own radio show, which not only went on the air but was also livestreamed to the internet. The Japanese students' parents could listen along!

Food Donations Needed For Project 351 Fight to End Hunger
By Lisle Allen and Gretchen Carr, Class of 2020

Project 351 is a nonprofit community service organization which includes 351 towns. We were chosen as eighth-grade ambassadors to lead community service projects in Concord and Carlisle. Now, as freshman, we are running a food drive in a mission to end hunger. Together, along with over 200 towns across the commonwealth, we are partnering with local food pantries to help restock the shelves in time for the holidays with donations. Our service project will be taking place from November through mid-December.

We would love it if you could donate canned and nonperishable food to our service project! The donation boxes will be set up in various locations around the Concord Carlisle High School, Concord Middle Schools, and the Carlisle Public Schools. (There will be more sites to donate to as well.) If you or your child are interested in our project, or you have any questions please contact us at or There will be more detailed information to come. 

Student Newspaper
Check out the latest stories from the CCHS student newspaper,  The Voice.  

Blood Drive at CCHS
This Saturday, October 29th the Student Senate will be hosting a Red Cross blood drive from 8:30 to 1:30 in the Maroon Gym at CCHS! Anybody over the age of 16 may be eligible to give blood, and their donation would be greatly appreciated. Walk-ins are welcome

Check out this CCHS Colonial Sound video on the upcoming blood drive.  

"If Only" Opioid Presentation at CCHS
Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2017,  7 PM - 8:30 PM
Parents of Students in Grades 6 - 12

Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2017
School Day Viewing and Discussion for CCHS students only
Concord Carlisle High School Theater

As you understand from the media, our nation is currently in the midst of an opioid epidemic. The film, “If Only,” was created to raise awareness of this problem by the Millenium Health and the Wahlberg Youth Foundation, with help from the Recovery Center of America and was filmed in a local Massachusetts town that has been heavily impacted by the prescription drug abuse epidemic. At 32 minutes long, the film depicts how the decision to experiment with prescription drugs has lasting and profound consequences for two teens. More information about the film can be found at For more detailed information, please review the event flyer.

Additional Information & Links

Visit our Facebook Page!
Follow me on Twitter!
Follow Brian Miller on Twitter!

SelfControl App
SelfControl is a free and open-source application for Mac OS X that lets you block your own access to distracting websites, your mail servers, or anything else on the Internet. Just set a period of time to block for, add sites to your blacklist, and click "Start." Until that timer expires, you will be unable to access those sites--even if you restart your computer or delete the application.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Fall Concert: Thursday, October 27th at 7PM

Please join us for the CCHS Band and Orchestra's first concert of the year! The Fall Concert will be on Thursday, October 27th at 7pm, in the auditorium. The program will feature the CCHS Orchestra, Jazz A, Repertory Band and Concert Band. We will also be raffling off 2 (two) fantastic seats for theDecember 4th Patriots game vs. the Rams. 7th-row seats! Admission is free and all are welcome! 

Attention Freshmen Parents: Freshmen Only Student Survey

The importance of successful school transitions cannot be overstated. Whether transitioning from elementary school to middle school, from middle school to high school, or from high school to post-graduate opportunities, it is imperative that we educate and engage students in the process.  We aim to make these potentially anxiety-producing, pivotal moments in their lives seamless.  We are committed to making all students feel safe, welcome, and connected at CCHS.  

This is the impetus behind taking part in the anonymous survey conducted by a graduate student at a local university.  Please review the letter from graduate student Robert Serino, which provides detailed information about the survey including instructions on how to opt-out.  To be clear, no class time will be sacrificed as the survey will be conducted during advisory.  Lastly, if you wish to preview the survey please follow the link provided.  Survey Link

Dear Freshman Parent/ Guardian:

Hello, my name is Robert Serino and I am a graduate student at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. Currently, I am working on my dissertation under the direction of Prof. Jill Lohmeier, Ph.D. I am also a teacher, coach, and advisor at Masconomet Regional High School in Topsfield, Ma.  I have been teaching freshman students at Masco for many years and I am extremely passionate about programs and services that support students during their first year of high school. Thus, for my dissertation project, I am researching school advisory programs to determine their effect on school connectedness for transitioning freshman students.

In an effort to ensure that all freshman students are having a positive transition to high school, Concord Carlisle administration, teachers and support staff work diligently to plan events and programs that support their academic, social, and emotional development. The goal of these programs is to ensure that all incoming freshmen are engaged in and adjusting positively to the Concord Carlisle High School Community.

In an effort to determine how each freshman student is adjusting to the new school setting and with the support of the high school principal, Mr. Michael Mastrullo, I will be administering a brief survey to freshmen to measure their engagement and connectedness to their school, teachers, and peers. The survey consists of questions that will allow freshman students to choose answers from a 5-point rating scale ranging from (1), “not at all true”, to (5), “completely true”. Examples of questions include, “I attend most school-sponsored events” or “If I had a problem, I would go to a teacher for help”. (A complete copy of the survey is available for your review if you send an e-mail to my address below). The completion of the survey by freshman students will help me with my dissertation project on school connectedness during the first year of high school. In the survey, I am hoping to gather information that will help high schools across the state better ease the sometimes difficult transition to high school for all freshman students. More specifically, the data will be used and shared to help high school principals improve their advisory programs to ensure that they are successful initiatives for supporting transitioning freshman students.

The survey will take place in English classes or during school advisory periods next week. The same survey will be given in May in order to see how freshman students’ opinions and thoughts have changed over the course of the year. The survey can be completed on a student’s cell phone, but paper copies and/or laptops will also be available for any student who does not have a phone or does not wish to use their phone to complete the survey. The survey will also ask students to agree /disagree with several statements related to their feelings regarding the transition to Concord Carlisle High School. The survey will be anonymous, completely voluntary, and will take only 10 to 15 minutes to complete. All students that participate in the survey will be entered into a lottery to win a $25 gift certificate to Chipotle. Students who do not participate in the survey will still be allowed to use their phone during survey administration and will still be entered into the lottery for the gift card.

This survey will be administered again at the end of the school year to gain an understanding of how students’ opinions have changed over the course of their first year of high school. Therefore, at the end of the survey there are three questions that will help match each student’s survey to the one they will complete in the future. Please note: This will NOT identify any student specifically, but will just allow their answers on this current survey to be compared to their answers on the survey that they will ideally complete in May.

If you prefer that your son/daughter NOT participate in the survey, please email me, (researcher) or, (dissertation advisor) by Wednesday, November 2nd.  The decision to not participate in the survey will not affect any student’s grades. For more information, you may also call (978)-887-2323 ext. 1222.

The study is being conducted for partial fulfillment of a doctoral degree under the direction of Professor Jill Lohmeier (Ph.D.). In addition, the study has received approval from the UMass Lowell Institutional Review Board (IRB), which reviews and approves research studies involving human subject participants.


Robert Serino
Graduate Student

University of Massachusetts, Lowell

Friday, October 21, 2016

Challenge Success, Davison Floyd, Student Newspaper & More

Challenge Success
As a school, we are steadfast in our quest for continuous improvement. Accompanying that strong desire is a vigorous pursuit of school goals. Our School Improvement Plan highlights four very specific goals: Mastering course standards, utilizing student work to drive targeted innovations, developing a culture of sustainability, and continuing to foster an inclusive, mindful, positive, and compassionate school culture that promotes growth and well-being for all.

The last goal succinctly articulates the impetus for partnering with the Challenge Success program. Through the gracious generosity of the Concord Education Fund, the partnership with Challenge Success and Stanford University was forged last year.  This partnership and the resulting noble work will continue for the remainder of this year and beyond.  

I have included the vision statement developed by the CCHS Challenge Success Committee, and a letter from Assistant Principal and committee chair, Colleen Meaney, on behalf of the committee.  The letter provides a comprehensive picture of where we are and where we are heading.  

CCHS Challenge Success Vision Statement
Concord Carlisle High School is a community united in support of students’ engagement and well-being.
We consciously commit
  • To spark curiosity and excitement for the journey of the high school experience
  • To encourage balance, personal growth, and academic excellence
  • To value student voice as a respectful and compassionate community
  • To foster a community that actively challenges and redefines success to support students’ individual well-being

Dear Concord-Carlisle High School Community,  

Lessening student stress and deepening students’ engagement are at the heart of our work with Challenge Success of Stanford University.  Challenge Success, “provide[s] schools and families with the information and strategies they need to create a more balanced and academically fulfilling life for their kids. ...Effective change happens when all stakeholders— administrators, faculty, parents, counselors, and students—come together to identify problems and work on solutions.”

Our new partnership with Challenge Success comes from three places:  

(1) a recommendation from last year’s Homework Committee whose work resulted in a number of essential practices for teachers, as well as whole-school recommendations going forward,

(2) the very positive response to our speaker, Julie Lythcott-Haims, who surfaced a number of areas of students’ stress and who talked with parents about How to Raise a Successful Adult.  Ted talk link here  

(3) feedback from the Parent Survey highlighting student stress, the impacts of homework, extracurriculars, and more.   

Last spring, CCHS surveyed students to determine where we might best anchor our partnership with Challenge Success.  Based on students’ reporting of high-level stress/difficulties, three focal areas sprung to the top:  extra-curriculars, homework, and student engagement.  

Our Challenge Success Steering Group developed action items in each of these areas that strike at root causes of stress and serve to make a positive difference for students.  For example:
  • coaches will begin practices at 2:45 whenever possible to allow students to address academic needs immediately after school (winter athletics will be our trickiest time)
  • teachers will provide access to a Google calendar for students in every course; Thanksgiving, December, February, and April vacations are homework free—with no assessments scheduled until Thursday of the week following; no assessment days and coordinated assessment days at the end of quarters
  • training/time is being provided to teachers for more interdisciplinary and project-based approaches to learning.   

What Challenge Success provides us is a detailed analysis of our survey data, including qualitative feedback on open-ended responses, a robust catalog of actions that other schools across the United States (including Dover-Sherborn and Acton-Boxborough) have taken in similar areas of focus, and coaching on implementation, follow-through, and further evaluation over time.  Data from Challenge Success’s work with other high schools over the last ten years shows that academic achievement remains high while they partner with schools to strengthen students’ “ability to be independent, adaptable, ethical, and engaged critical thinkers,” and “foster learners who are healthy, motivated, and prepared for the wide variety of tasks they will face as adults.”  Click here for a presentation given to the School Committee with more information.

We are grateful to the Concord Education Fund for supporting this partnership with Challenge Success.  Email with any questions.   We are excited to be doing this important work on behalf of students.  Stay tuned for more.  


Colleen L. Meaney, Assistant Principal
Committee Chair

Committee Members:
Michael Mastrullo
Brian Miller
Hanna Bruno
Amy Byron
Jennifer Clarke
Katie Goldrick
Michael Goodwin
Barry Haley
Sarah Hart
Kristen Herbert
Aaron Joncas
Lisa Koski
Ann Little
Polly Meyer
Madeleine Pooler
Mike Robichaud
Jeannette Sheahan
Patricia Worth

Davison Floyd

Wheeler Exchange
I want to congratulate Davison Floyd of the class of 2018, who emerged after a competitive application process to be the first recipient of the brand new William Wheeler Exchange program. Davison will travel to our sister community of Nanae, Hokkaido, Japan for the month of July, live with a host family, and attend classes at our sister school (the Japanese school year extends into July). Upon his return, he will educate the rest of the community about his experience in two formal presentations. In September, Nanae High School will send a student to have the reciprocal experience with us here at CC.

It is time again for the annual visit of town officials, teachers, students and citizens from our sister community of Nanae, Hokkaido, Japan. Concord has a 120+ year connection with Hokkaido, dating back to when a Concordian named William Wheeler traveled there as an agricultural and urban planning consultant during the Meji Restoration. The modern Concord/Nanae and CCHS/Nanae HS relationship started by CCHS retired guidance counselor Dr. Tom Curtin, has been in place since the 1990s.

The 2016 delegation is composed of 8 adults and 8 students, all of whom will be staying with host families in Concord and Carlisle.

A special thanks to CCHS teacher, David Nurenberg; his tireless effort not only allows the program to run with organization, spirit, and enthusiasm, but it also serves as a model of cross-cultural connection and collaboration.

Student Newspaper

Read the Voice! Fall Haunted Frenzy, Men's Soccer, Going Green, Pundits and Comedians, and More!

Come to the College Help Sessions
Need help with college apps? Got a question on the FERPA matching? Just need a quick question answered on any college related subject?

Every TUESDAY: College Help Sessions for Seniors-Class of 2017 All seniors are welcome to drop in to work with CCHS counselors regarding any college questions. Located in the Student Support Suite, 2nd floor in room 231. Every Tuesday during D, E, and F blocks. Bring your laptops!

CCHS Food Drive
The Student Government is holding a Food Drive for Open Table Food Pantry and The Red Cross Food Pantry of Boston. As an Advisory group, we will be working together to bring in cans for next week. The Advisory group that brings in the most cans will be rewarded in the following week! Please bring in any canned foods, this can include soups, fruits, or tuna. Please do not bring anything perishable.

Superintendent Search
Parents are encouraged to participate in the public process regarding the search for the Superintendent of Schools by attending upcoming public forums scheduled for:

November 14th 7:00-8:30pm in the Concord-Carlisle High School Auditorium
November 15th 10:00-11:30am in Ripley Building Conference Room 4

For more information on the search process and the forums go to

End-of-Quarter Assessments
One of the outcomes of the homework group was the coordination of major assessments at the end of the quarter and before major vacations.  This move is to help reduce student stress and spread the work out over the entire week. Next week is the last week of Q1 (hard to believe) so each department has two assigned assessment days:

An Evening of Mindfulness for Parents
Where: Willard Elementary School
When: November 2nd
Time: 7:00

Mindfulness has been transforming lives, for centuries. It’s not about clearing our minds, although it brings clarity. It’s not about blissing out, though practice creates contentment. And it’s not about stress reduction, though it can significantly reduce stress.

Unplug for an evening of mindfulness with like-hearted, like-minded others. Come learn what mindfulness is and isn’t, a bit about practice and why this ancient tradition still thrives today. 
Event Flyer

Interesting Information & Links

FAFSA Changes

Bill Seeks to Fund 250 Million Obama Computer Science Initiative
(Thanks, Anthony)

Computer Science is Changing Everything