Tuesday, March 27, 2018

End-of-Year Information: Final Exam Information & Schedule, Q5 Information & Schedule

Dear CCHS Community,

I write to follow up to Dr. Hunter’s communication last week regarding the end-of-year calendar and planning for Concord Carlisle High School. A large number of snow days necessitates adjustments to our schedule for June 2018. An overview calendar is available here.  Please note the adjustments to the final exam schedule and Q5 schedule.

Final assessments are organized by department as opposed to the traditional block model. For example, all students will complete their mathematics assessment at the same time as opposed to all students simultaneously completing their C block exam. Also, the Science Department Exam is scheduled on day two of the Science MCAS (June 8).  

Students participating in the science MCAS will not complete a traditional final assessment for their science class. Furthermore, if a student takes two courses in one department (e.g., the student takes two social studies classes), he/she should make arrangements with the classroom teacher to complete one of the exams during the conflict block (afternoon of June 7). Finally, students who are participating in school trips in June may need to work with their classroom teachers to reschedule final exams they will miss when traveling.  More information will be shared directly with students involved in these trips.

The original Q5 schedule outlined in September had contingencies for five snow days. With our current snow day count at seven days (fingers crossed), we need to make an adjustment. To account for snow days, MCAS Exams, and final exams, we decided the best course of action is two weeks and eight days of  Q5. This change affords a smooth exam schedule, takes into consideration MCAS Exams, and allows a complete Q5 experience.

A copy of the bell Q5 bell schedule can be found here. We are very excited for the end of the school year and eagerly anticipate the new Q5 initiative. Staff members have worked hard developing exciting opportunities for students while simultaneously working to engage students in the classroom each day. I want to thank Dr. Vela and the Q5 Committee for their word on this initiative. A special thank you to Laurie Fortunato and Brian Miller for their tireless efforts on this project. Lastly, I would be remiss if I did not thank the Parents Association and the Concord Education Fund for their generous support for our schools.

Please review the Q5 Attendance Guidelines.  We will share student Q5 schedules soon via Aspen. Please note, once schedules are released we are unable to make any changes for a number of reasons including, but not limited to, the complexity of the scheduling process and the need to "book" many of the experiences.

Looking forward to a wonderful spring ahead.


Michael J. Mastrullo

Friday, March 9, 2018

National Student Walkout Day

CCHS students are managing a range of emotions and are actively engaging in the national debate following the senseless tragedy in Florida. Students reached out to school administration and notified us of their intent to organize and participate in the National School Walkout on March 14th. On Monday, March 6th, students invited high school administrators along with the Superintendent, Dr. Laurie Hunter, School Resource Officer, Scott Camilleri, and several CCHS staff members to a presentation by members of the student body outlining their plan.  

Students presenting represented a broad range of political views, and we were impressed by their collective energy, and the collaborative intentions of students who are not aligned by political party, but unified in their desire to march against school violence, to show solidarity with their peers in Florida, and to have a common sense discussion about gun control. Regardless of their ideologies, they are unified in their desire to take part in the National Student Walkout. Further, students are creating a banner filled with positive messages for the students of Stoneham Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and a student-organized voter registration drive will be held during lunch periods. 

On March 14th, we are planning a regular day of school. Classes will dismiss as regularly scheduled, and students will head to Advisory just as they usually would. Students participating in the walkout will proceed to the designated area for the walkout, and students not participating will go to their Advisory.

To ensure the safety of all students and staff, community access to the campus during this time is not allowed. Both roadways leading to the campus will be blocked by police for the duration of the walkout, and members of the press will not have access to the campus during school hours. At the end of Advisory, students are expected to report to their regularly scheduled class.  Attendance will be taken in “C” block, and students late for class are responsible for the impact of their absence.  

As a school, we shoulder a portion of the educational responsibility assisting CCHS students in understanding the balance between free speech and assembly, as well as the difference between civil disobedience and school disruption. 

The law is relatively clear on the matter. In the Supreme Court’s landmark case, Tinker v. Des Moines the Court held that students have a constitutional right to freedom of speech while at school and on school grounds, and this freedom of speech right must be balanced against maintaining orderliness in the school environment. Employing these standards, the Court’s baseline provides schools with the latitude to regulate freedom of speech if it will likely result in a substantial disruption of the educational process; material interference with school activities; or invasion of the rights of others. 

Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas wrote the opinion on this case, and it features the often quoted phrase, “it can hardly be argued that either students or teachers shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.” 

Students are typically not allowed to walkout of school and protest without consequence.  This is a national event, however, with considerable momentum nationally and locally, and it is our intention to ensure it is done in an orderly and safe manner.  

Concord Carlisle High School is neither sanctioning nor endorsing the event. As you might imagine, I have received several emails from community members representing all sides of this issue. Some will conclude that allowing students to walkout without facing disciplinary measures is passive endorsement; however, hundreds of students are committed to participating and we are committed to ensuring it is a safe event for all involved. At the conclusion of Advisory, students are expected in their respective classes and the school day will continue to operate as planned.  

We insist that whether taking part in the walkout or going to Advisory, all students are expected to treat all of their classmates with respect, dignity, and to exercise their constitutional rights with proper decorum and respect. Students are not to be pressured to participate, and those attending are not to be derided for doing so. 

As I have said often, we need to wake up every day with the intention of contributing to the well being of others. This standard applies every day, and March 14th is no exception. We encourage you to discuss these matters with your child and hope you will contact us directly should you have any questions or concerns not addressed in this correspondence.


Michael J. Mastrullo

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Director of Athletics Hiring

As noted in previous blog posts, Mr. Barry Haley, Director of Athletics at CCHS, plans to retire after 11 years in the position. We are grateful for his years of dedicated service, and I look forward to working with him until his last day in August. The process of finding a replacement started in January, and I am thankful for the work of the committee members listed below. We had two finalists both of which were well-qualified for the position. 

I am happy to report that current METCO Director, Mr. Aaron Joncas, was offered the position and he accepted.  Mr. Joncas has spent the last nine years as the METCO Director for Concord Public Schools and Concord Carlisle High School.  He has done remarkable work in his current position, and just as Mr. Joncas has large shoes to fill replacing Mr. Haley, the next METCO Director will have large shoes to fill replacing Mr. Joncas. 

Previously, Mr. Joncas served as the Athletic Director for Belmont Day School and worked in admissions at The Fenn School. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with Mr. Joncas in his current capacity, and I am confident in his ability to not only fulfill all the requirements expected of the Director of Athletics but do to so at a high level. 

Below I have included the original job posting and several blog posts that featured information on the search and updates during the process. I want to once again thank all members of the interview committee listed below, and I applaud Mr. Brian Miller, Chair of the Committee, for managing the process with efficiency and professionalism.   

Please join me in congratulating Aaron on this exciting new chapter in his professional career.  

Lastly, we will post the METCO Director position in the near future.

CCHS Athletic Director Hiring Committee

Clayton Abrams
Athletic Trainer
Wayne Busa
Transportation Director
Scott Camilleri
School Resource Office
Maggie Dorr
Student, 2018
Jacob Dudley
Student, 2018
David Erenthal
Parent - Concord
Meg Howes
Parent - Carlisle
Kim Magee
Coach / Teacher
Cricket McCaffrey
Coach / Teacher
Brian Miller (Chair)
Assistant Principal
Ray Pavlik
Coach / Teacher
Luz Pujols
Parent - Boston
Josh Reed
Coach / Teacher
Mike Robichaud
Coach, Football Head Coach, Parent
Maureen Sullivan
Athletic Dept Assistant

Friday, March 2, 2018

Black History Month, Nordic Ski, Cultural Competency Committee, African American History & The Story of Concord

March dawns, and we slowly ease towards spring with a little extra evening sun as Day Light Savings arrives. March also delivers oscillating weather patterns where all four seasons are felt in a single week. It ushers in Women's History Month and brings to a close Black History Month. It is worth noting that 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the METCO program. When the program was instituted, the Civil Rights movement was at its peak; to the creators of the program and the first students who participated, I stand in awe of the courage and foresight of the program.

I applaud the town of Concord for being one of the founding members of the METCO program.  We are so very proud of our participation in the Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunities program; the students from Concord, Carlisle, and Boston are all the better for it.

We are fortunate in that as a school system we lack little; however, we lack diversity as our racial makeup is not reflective of our nation's diversity.  In the 2016 national census data, African Americans represent the largest ethnic minority, amounting to an estimated 12.7% of the population. Hispanic and Latino Americans amount to 17.8% of the total U.S. population, making up the largest ethnic minority and white, non-Hispanic or Latino population make up 61.3% of the nation's total.  The Department of Education shows the following racial data at CCHS.

The district is augmenting efforts to increase the diversity of our schools with the understanding that there are limits to increasing the diversity of the student body. Continued efforts endure at the district level to employ a staff more reflective of the nation's racial diversity.  Many of these efforts are not new; however, under the guidance of our esteemed Human Resources Director, Kelly McCausland we are making conscious, deliberate efforts to increase the diversity of our staff.

I am a proud member of the Concord Cultural Competency Committee, and recently we completed an exercise where we identified barriers to hiring a more diverse staff. Identifying the barriers allow us to formulate a plan to mitigate these factors. Developing much-needed antidotes to outflank these barriers so our staff is more representative of our student body is a good start. Also, I include additional information about the work undertaken by that Committee. Further, I include information on K-12 curriculum initiatives aimed at highlighting African American History and the story of Concord. There is also a piece by our METCO Director, Aaron Joncas highlighting METCO at 50.

Lastly, a hearty congratulations to our Nordic Ski Team for capturing their first title since 1983 in impressive fashion.  Another round of applause is due to David Gresko and students in our orchestra for their selection to perform at the MMEA Conference; a prestigious and exclusive invitation. Lastly, I am including an announcement made to students the other day regarding the recent tragic events in Florida.   

By Aaron Joncas
METCO is a state-funded, voluntary desegregation program that began in Massachusetts in 1966. It currently operates in thirty-one cities and towns in Greater Boston and seven in Greater Springfield. Concord-Carlisle welcomed its first students in September of 1967, and our program is home today to 141 students in grades K-12 from neighborhoods throughout Boston.

Our METCO Program enjoyed a busy weekend. Earlier this year, CCHS teacher Hanna Bruno and I took 24 students to Project Adventure in Beverly for a day of ropes course challenges to kickoff POWER (Positive Opportunities With Engaging Relationships), our mentor program for Boston students. In POWER, 11th and 12th-grade students are matched with 9th-grade students to provide guidance and positive peer support. The upperclassmen develop leadership skills while the freshmen are able to lean on their student mentors during the transition to high school. It was a rewarding day for all of us!

In the fall the CCHS and Concord Public Schools communities came together at CCHS to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of METCO in Concord with an outdoor picnic. Over 100 current and former students and their families joined teachers and staff on a beautiful afternoon. We are planning to invite more alumni back to campus this year to share their experiences with students in honor of this special anniversary.

Our gratitude to the CCHS Parents Association for generously funding the picnic provided by Trail's End Cafe. A group of teachers and staff were also instrumental in making the day a success!

On April 13th we are excited to offer a professional showing of Thurgood. Thurgood Marshall 
was an American lawyer, serving as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Marshall was the Court's 96th justice and its first African-American justice.

Keep an eye out for upcoming news about other events commemorating METCO this year!

Cultural Competency Committee


1) To design and implement professional development on cultural competency for all preK - 12 educators (for cultural competency PDPs) for the 2018-2019 school year, including: opening faculty day; in-service day in January; and end of the school year institute; (sub-committee - Professional Learning Council

2) To support and encourage the inclusion of multiple perspectives in the CPS and CCHS curriculum; (sub-committees - curriculum committees)

3) To encourage and support the hiring of more educators who are people of color and/or from backgrounds different than those dominant in Concord; (sub-committee needed)
Cultural Competency Committee Staff Recruitment Strategies 1) Expedite hiring process 2) Develop pipeline w/ UMass Lowell, UMass Boston and other local schools via student teachers 3) Attend recruitment fairs - have interview team at fairs 4) Talk with department chairs about how some hiring practices may disadvantage candidates of color 5) Tap into METCO, Inc. to network for candidates 6) Create paid internships 7) Actively reach out to broader applicant pool 8) Recruit candidates from other diverse cities other than Boston (Lowell, Framingham, etc.) 9) Find and partner with an organization who specializes in recruiting people of color

METCO at 50 Event
By Aaron Joncas
On Wednesday, Dec. 13, the school held an all-school assembly to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of METCO at CCHS. The highlight of the assembly was a panel of speakers made up of students, alumni and teachers, including Rasheedah Clayton '96, Ryan Ruiz '11, Jaeden Scott-Massey '18, Alex Hamel '18, Social Studies teacher Chris Gauthier '94 and Health and Fitness/METCO teacher Hanna Bruno.

Student and faculty feedback about the assembly was overwhelmingly positive. The first segment featured a short video clip detailing the daily routines of METCO students followed by an interactive pop quiz for students to gauge their understanding of the program. With some foundational knowledge in place, the focus shifted to the panel.

Ms. Clayton, who is the METCO Director in the Natick Public Schools, shared the transformation she experienced at CCHS and credited Martha Hammer, her former teachers and former guidance counselor with consistently encouraging her while she was a student. Mr. Ruiz, who attended Colby College upon graduation from CCHS, encouraged students to forge relationships with each other across racial lines. Jaeden and Alex, seniors from Boston and Concord respectively, spoke eloquently about the increased racial understanding they acquired via pursuing common goals as members of the football team. Mr. Gauthier researched the impact of school integration for his dissertation and framed the role white students can play in improving school climate for all. Ms. Bruno has wonderful relationships with students and prodded them to overcome apprehension and take the first step in welcoming peers of different races to their social circles.

I am incredibly grateful to the school community for the respect it demonstrated during the presentations. Students in the audience asked thoughtful questions, listened attentively and continued the discussion in advisory groups following the assembly. Now the school's leadership team will determine ways to continue this important work at CCHS - stay tuned!

African American History and the Story of Concord  
Under the leadership of Kristen Herbert, our fantastic Director of Teaching and Learning, both Concord Public Schools and Concord Carlisle High Shool have developed great programming and curriculum across both districts. Below I included a brief synopsis provided by Kristen that consists of some of the work that spans K-12.

"A group of Concord and Concord Carlisle teachers have been working to develop curriculum and resources around Concord’s African American and Abolitionist Movement history. The goal is to incorporate the African American history throughout the curriculum rather than setting it aside as a separate unit or reserving it for Black History Month. The current work, supported by the district and the Concord Ed Fund, is outlined below:
2nd grade: An interactive map of the Underground Railroad in Concord has been created using Google Earth. The interactive map will supplement the African American history lessons that were implemented in the 2015-2016 school year. In the 2017-2018 school year, the K-5 Social Studies Consultant will be piloting a new lesson African-Americans Who Lived in Concord Long Ago in every Grade 2 classroom. In addition, the Concord Museum will be presenting a pilot program African-Americans and Abolitionists in Concord in every Grade 2 classroom. 5th grade: The focus of the social studies curriculum is on the Revolutionary War period. Written resources have been created on enslaved soldiers in the Revolutionary War. Resources have been compiled with a focus on the language of freedom and the disparity between the call for political freedom and the existence of slavery in the colonies, including in the town of Concord. There are also three lessons examining slavery in the North. One lesson is focused on the North in general. The second looks at what life was like for enslaved people in Concord using biographical sketches. The third lesson looks at the end of slavery in Massachusetts and the life of emancipated black people in Concord. 8th grade: Lessons have been developed on names and identity as well as examining how slavery was permeated life in Massachusetts. In addition to looking at Dr. John Cumings and what he was able to accomplish because he had slaves, an inquiry-based lesson on why the New England elite freed their slaves. A station activity has been created on the Abolitionist movement, including Frank Sanborn and Elizabeth Peabody. The Concord Museum has created a trunk of artifacts program from the Abolitionist Movement. High School: There are several entry points for expanding local African American history at CCHS. Lessons on the transatlantic slave trade have been created in 9th grade World Cultures. For US History, a reading has been developed on ‘The American Revolution, Slavery, and Historical Memory.” Also for US History, a lesson about Ellen Garrison has been created for the Civil Rights unit. For the 19th Century US History elective, an abolitionist tour of Concord has been created. Finally, the Rivers and Revolutions program has been able to more extensively incorporate African American history. Students spend a day looking at the African American residents of Walden Woods and they have a lesson around Ellen Garrison and the Robbins House as well as the abolitionist history of Concord. Resources: The goal is to take these curriculum resources as well as extensive written information about Concord’s African American history and build it into a web-based resource available for teachers, students, and the community at large."

Nordic Ski
On Tuesday evening, under bright lights but less than ideal sloppy course conditions complete with 50-degree weather, the Concord-Carlisle Regional boys accomplished their season-long goal at Berkshire East Ski Resort in Charlemont,

With junior Henry Johnstone setting the pace with a 48-second victory, the Patriots (26 points) pulled away from defending champion Mt. Greylock (48) and Acton-Boxborough (95) for the program’s first championship since 1983.

Congratulations to all coaches and athletes for the impressive Nordic Teams Sweep at the Mass Bay West League Champioship, and the  Nine MBW All-Stars selections. 

By Jeff Campbell
The CC Boys and Girls Nordic Ski teams closed out the regular season the way they began it, with another win -- their sixth consecutive in Mass Bay West competition. "This is the first time in many years that both teams have gone undefeated in the league", said CC head coach Jeff Campbell, in his 5th year leading the team. "They are a talented group with remarkable depth, and we couldn't be prouder of them..." he said. The teams face their final and most important challenge at the MIAA State Championships to be held Feb 27th at Notchview Reservation where last year the Boys were runner-ups and the Girls finished 4th. Before States, however, the team will have some fun at the Weston Sprints (Tues, 2/13) where music and costumes take center stage. This event draws skiers from both Eastern Mass leagues and is co-hosted by the CCHS and Lincoln-Sudbury coaches under the direction this year of CC coach Whipp Parker.

In the league finale, on Tuesday Feb 6th, CC Boys placed five in the top eleven to earn 474 points ahead of runners up Winchester (423) and Westford Academy (422). Finishing one second apart out front on the 7.6 kilometer course, juniors Alex Burt and Henry Johnstone went 1-2 in 21:10 and 21:11. They were followed by co-captain Will Meehan in 8th (22:58), Julian Henry in 9th (22:59), and Will Parker in 11th (23:12). Also placing in the top 25 were Miles Kissinger at 15th in 24:16, co-captain James Grant at 18th in 24:57, Kyle Bonenfant at 20th in 25:12, Nate Smith at 21st in 25:17, and Caleb Cramer at 24th in 25:50. CC's Asa Szegvari finished in 33rd (27:07), John Troast was 52nd in 30:21, Ryan Igo was 63rd in 32:24, Jeffery Liao was 69th in 34:41, and Miles Inman came in 72nd in 36:11.

In the Girls race Feb 6th, CC finished with 467 points, well ahead of AB in 2nd (418), Winchester in 3rd (413), and Westford Academy in 4th (395). The race was a blur of maroon and gold uniforms as CC earned nine of the top twenty spots. The scoring was led once again by junior Phoebe Meyerson in 3rd place overall (26:10), followed close behind by frosh Ella Nichol in 5th (26:53). Completing the scoring for CC were: frosh Ellie Sablak in 9th (27:17), co-captain Liviya Kovacevic in 10th (27:25), and frosh Jasmine Paris in 11th (28:34).  Hallie Nelson finished in 12th (28:40), co-captain Sarah Hutchinson was 15th in 29:13 - her best race yet, Sofia Congram was 18th (29:54), then Iris Bergman was 20th (30:26) in her best race yet. Also skiing for CC was Vera Sablak in 28th (31:04), Whitney Orloff in 87th and Aly Milando in 96th.

With the league races complete, the following nine CC skiers were named Mass Bay West League All-Stars for finishing in the top ten in the league (taking best 5 of 6 races).  For the Boys, congratulations to: Alex Burt, Henry Johnstone, Ayden Nichol, William Meehan, and Julian Henry. For the Girls, congratulations to: Phoebe Meyerson, Ella Nichol, Liviya Kovacevic, and Ellie Sablak.
With junior Henry Johnstone setting the pace with a 48-second victory, the Patriots (26 points) pulled awovacevic. It was Ella's and Ellie's first State meet.
The Boys were 2nd last year in a close contest with Mt Greylock and determined to challenge for the title this year. They won big yesterday, placing 4 scorers in the top16, 3 in the top 5. We won with 26 points ahead of Greylock with 48 and Acton Boxborough at 95 pts. Junior Henry Johnstone won overall in the race of his life, followed by juniors Ayden Nichol in 4th, by Alex Burt in 5th, and senior co captain Will Meehan in 16th. Four of yesterday's top five return next year. It was CC's first win at State's since 1983. For the Boys, icing on the cake of an undefeated season. But this was absolutely a total team win, celebrated by everyone on the team-- boys and girls, who practice, travel, prepare, and celebrate as one team. This year's captains deserve enormous credit for a great season: Liviya Kovacevic, Sarah Hutchinson, James Grant, and Will Meehan. Twelve skiers will be continuing on and skiing in post season events in March.

Nordic Team in Boston Globe

Features Ayden, Alex, Henry, Phoebe, and Ella — and the great season they’ve had skiing for the Concord-Carlisle HS Nordic team:


Top Honors David Gresko and the CCHS orchestra performed at the 2018 MMEA All-State Conference yesterday. We are proud to be the only high school orchestra selected to play. A tremendous honor for Mr. Gresko and our students and we are incredibly proud. Congratulations to Mr. Gresko and our talented CCHS students. I have included pictures below captured by CCHS parent Richard Pasley

Announcement to Students on 2/28
I am including the announcement made over the loud speaker yethis week so you are aware of what was said in regards to the tragic events in Florida.

"Students and staff at Stoneham Douglas high school in Parkland Fl return to school today. One can only imagine how difficult a task that must be. In honor of the 17 victims of this senseless act of violence, and in showing solidarity with our peers in Florida we will hold a 17 second moment of silence. You will often here me talk about the need to take care of each other. We need to take care of each other both emotionally and physically. With 1400 unique individuals in the building it is easy to highlight our differences. It is also important, particularly in times of tragedy, to remember what we share in common. One common denominator is we are all part of the CCHS community. It is our collective responsibility to take care of each other. To treat each other with kindness. Safety and security is a collective responsibility we all share. I encourage you to seek help if you are having difficulty coping with the recent events in Florida. Further, if you have a concern about school safety immediately tell an adult. Although difficult to remember in times like this our schools and our country are safe places. However, safety is relative and , each pause after a tragedy broadens are awareness that in a free society there are daily risks. Each senseless act of violence makes us consider forbidden haunts. Let’s make sure the recent events and the discussion regarding 2nd Amendment rights serve to unite us and not divide us. Lastly, momentum is gathering for volunteer participation in the national walkout scheduled for mid March. We are meeting with a group of students and staff after school on Monday to plan. Details forthcoming. In honor of our peers in parkland I encourage everyone to complete a random act of kindness today. Have a good day."