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

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