Wednesday, October 31, 2018

A Note on The Tragic Events Last Week

I include an email sent to students and staff on Monday. We held a moment of silence and encouraged everyone to complete a random act of kindness. Although a small gesture, it is needed to counter a national discourse that often can be described as divisive, but more alarming are attempts to normalize rhetoric that is insulting, bigoted, racist, and anti-Semitic. Words are damaging enough, but there are frightful consequences when words turn into action. The Mayor of Pittsburgh characterized the events on Monday as, "the darkest day of Pittsburgh's history." Another sad and tragic day.  

Monday, 29 October

Dear Students & Staff,

We live in an era of endless tragic news reports.  With the consistent inundation of horrific news updates in our 24-hour news cycle, it is possible to become desensitized to the senseless killings. Last Wednesday a man tried to enter a predominately black church only to be thwarted by a locked door.  He shot and killed two innocent people in a Kroger's store in what appears to be a hate crime.  Prominent Democrats were targeted with explosives for their affiliation with a political party.  Saturday's shooting at a Synagogue in Pittsburgh claimed the lives of 11 people and injured six more including four police officers.  It goes without saying that all murder is horrible, but killing in a school or place of worship is an attack on all of us.  Places where innocent people gather as part of a community to learn, or places where people gather to promote peace and to worship together.  Members of the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh where attending a baby naming ceremony. 

Students and staff of color and Jewish students and staff may be dealing with emotions of fear and anxiety today.  We have witnessed a steady increase in hate crimes according to the Anti Defamation League.  The Charlottesville rally was alarming and eye-opening for many of us, and two hate crime-related murders in Kentucky and Pittsburgh occurred in less than a week.  Students, staff, and families are undoubtedly shaken by these events, and it serves as an unnerving reminder that life is fragile, that life is precious, that life can be taken in an instant, and evil exists in the world, and people want to do bodily harm and murder because of one's race, or political affiliation, or sexual orientation, or religious beliefs, or some other "we" vs. "they" category that devalues life and fails to recognize our collective humanity. 

We need to support each other in difficult times and encourage those impacted to get help and utilize systems of support both at school and outside of school.  We need to take care of each other and wake up every day with the intention of contributing to the well-being of others."  This mantra is important every day but desperately needed in times such as this.  

Following the Pledge of Allegiance tomorrow we will hold a moment of silence to honor those lost. I encourage everyone to stand against hate and complete a random act of kindness tomorrow. 

Friday, October 12, 2018

Ravin Nanda, YA Galley, Parent-Teacher Conferences, Early Release Information, & More

YA Galley Book Review Club
Some members of the CCHS YA Galley Book Review Club recently participated in two events, the Boston Teen Author Festival and a focus group at the Concord Free Public Library. 

These impressive students along with their endlessly talented adviser, Dr. Robin Cichetti,  who is the librarian and AP Capstone teacher at CC, provided feedback on the proposed design of the new spaces at the library. The dedicated teen space, programming ideas, and furnishings are going to be amazing!

Early Release
It is with great excitement that we are looking forward to our first early release day next Wednesday, October 17.  This professional development is the culmination of over 12 months of work spanning several committees. We are grateful to the members of these various committees and to the educators who have developed these professional learning opportunities.

We will have four early release days this year (October 17, 2018, December 12, 2018, February 6, 2019, & April 3, 2019).  A few logistical notes about these four days:
  • One these four Wednesday afternoons, students will be dismissed at 11:15 AM  
  • The full bell schedule for the week can be found here on the second tab
  • Busses will run immediately after school and then again during the normal late bus times
  • All sports will begin at their regular times

Tutors will be available in the Homework Club in room 308 from 11:15 - 2:45 pm to provide additional academic assistance.  We encourage all students to make use of this resource.

Educators will be exploring one of four paths during the early release professional development.
  • Path A - Special Education Report Recommendations & Implementation
  • Path B - Instructional Methods
  • Path C - Social Emotional Learning / Teen Mental Health
  • Path D - Interdisciplinary Work
If you are interested in learning more about these four paths, you can read a more details description here.

Once again I want to commend the CCHS staff early release path leaders (listed below) for their hard work and effort developing some impressive professional development for our staff.  

Ravin Nanda
Please check out this fantastic, unique performance by CCHS senior, Ravin Nanda.

By Owen Curtain
Ravin Nanda class of 2018 performed Patnam Subramanya Iyer's, "Raghuvamsa Sudha." on the Veena. He said, "I started playing the Veena when I was 7 years old after seeing it for the first time on a family vacation to India. I was so fascinated by how unique it seemed, and I’ve found that it keeps me connected to my roots." 

He is accompanied by Acton - Boxborough student Raghav Jayakrishna who played the Mridangam. Video of his performance and the performances of may other CCHS students can be found on the Colonial Sound Youtube Channel. Watch him now!

Jocotoco Biodiversity Video

Check out the highlights from a trip our students, along with CCHS math teachers Sara Kiesselbach and Sandy Haupt, participated in last year. A Biodiversity/Biostatistics trip is planned for June '19.

Jocotoco Video

Parent-Teacher Conferences
Parent-teacher conferences are scheduled for Thursday, November 8th from 2:00 - 8:30pm. They provide an opportunity for parents to connect on an individual basis with some of their child’s teachers.  Signups will open next Wednesday, October 17 at 8:00 PM. We will be sending out more information about the sign-up early next week.

Trip Information
We held a trip fair on Wednesday, 10 October.  During this time, students and families had an opportunity to explore the variety of domestic and international learning experiences we are offering. This slide deck outlines many of the trips.

We are still in the process of finalizing the trip details (dates, costs, application, etc.) and will be in touch in the coming week with this information.

Center for Parents & Teachers
By Sally Quinn Reed

Starting the Conversation:
Presented by Jon Cohan, CADC

Two-part program held on Thursday evenings, October 18th and 25th – 7:30 PM to 9 PM Location: Ripley Administration Building 120 Meriam Road, Concord (park in back and enter through doors off the back lot) 

Fee: Your payment of $40 for both sessions supports the ongoing work of our nonprofit. No one will be turned away if not able to pay the fee (just contact us at and type “October 18th workshop” in the subject line). 

Pre-registration is required – seats are limited! Please go to

Student PR Team
We assembled a fantastic student-led PR team that aims to cover all things CCHS.  Their first assignment was Kicks for Cancer, and I include a few of their videos below. CCHS students Ellen Su, Grace Jennings, Ted Sweeney, and Gabby Shih make a fantastic team, and we look forward to showcasing their coverage throughout the year.  In addition to the videos below, I have included some pictures they snapped while covering engineering and biology labs and CCHS senior Ravin Nanda making music.  

The best opportunity to see their work is to follow us on Instagram and Facebook.

Kicks for Cancer Video Via Instagram

Kicks for Cancer Video Via Facebook

More Kicks for Cancer Video Clips

CCHS Roof Camera and Lightning Alerting System 
By Ned Roos
Some of you may not be aware of the handy equipment we have on our roof in addition to heating/cooling machinery and WIQH's radio tower.  As part of our weather station system under the auspices of the Science Department, we also have a steerable video camera and a system to warn us if there's a lightning strike in the area!

What can you use the camera for in addition to looking at the weather?   

You can check traffic in the parking lot (at least most of it):

You can watch a game

You can catch a glimpse of Kicks for Cancer Soccer (only one day in September, though)

You can view roof conditions...for ice, snow, and birds

Also on the roof, but separate from the camera, the Outdoor Alerting System illuminates a strobe light and sounds a warning horn when lightning strikes are detected within 8 miles of our location. The system can be configured to be active all the time or only during certain hours.  At the moment, we have it running during the school day into early evening on weekdays, and from early in the morning until evening on weekends to cover the normal activity schedule on our fields.

The lightning alerting system can also send emails or text messages when it's activated.  So coaches and the Athletic Directors can receive personal messages when there's a risk to our staff and student-athletes.  

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Kicks for Cancer, Student PR Team, & Trip Presentations

The school year has a certain rhythm to it with discernible mile markers along the way. Holidays, the beginning and end of sports seasons,  concerts, progress reports, theater productions, the end of a quarter or semester, prom, graduation for seniors, Q5 for underclassmen, etc. Countless stops, both large and small, greet us along our school-year journey. We have a few signature events; none of which are bigger, or more important, than Kicks for Cancer.  It is a true community-wide event with contributions, both large and small, from hundreds of individuals.

Soccer coach and integral part of the Kicks-for-Cancer Team, Ray Pavlik added this about KFC: "This has turned into an amazing community event that would not be possible without the efforts of the hundreds of volunteers who helped chaperone the dance, man the ticket and information booths and cheer on the runners.  Whether you danced, cheered, played, ran or volunteered, you made a difference." Assistant Coach Steve Wells marveled at what at KFC has become.  "It is such an amazing event that brings the community together for a great cause." 

The 2018 rendition was historic on several levels. Starting with the Pink Dance on Friday night, Sticks for Cancer and Kicks for Cancer on Saturday, and the newly added Mighty Moose 5K on Sunday, (Mighty Moose Video) we raised over 115,000 dollars to help support ovarian research at Dana Farber under the direction of Dr. Ursula Matulonis. 

It is amazing to think the money we raised will be used to help with a new early detection system that is hoping to move forward and gain FDA approval.  Our Contributions will help to speed up that process, and potentially save lives.  

Meri-Sue Nuzum, Chairperson for KFC, had this to say about Kicks. "I am sending out this simple, deeply heartfelt thank you to ALL the volunteers, teams, and supporters of Kicks for Cancer 2018.  The 12th annual KFC was an amazing weekend of fantastic weather, incredible sporting events, joyous celebrations of life and awe-inspiring tributes to those we love who battle cancer. It was an extraordinary community event."  

Below I include detailed information about Dr. Ursula Matulonis and more about the research under her direction along with two Boston Globe articles honoring Jenna Swaim and Ash Baird.

PDF Version: Ash Baird & Jenna Hoge Swain 

Dr. Ursula Matulonis Bio

Ursula A. Matulonis, MD is Chief, Division of Gynecologic Oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Her research focuses on targeted therapies for gynecologic malignancies, with a specific interest in the genetic changes in ovarian cancer and how that can lead to rationale targeted drug selection. Dr. Matulonis is the Principal Investigator of several clinical trials and translational studies for ovarian cancer. Dr. Matulonis is a Co-PI on an ovarian cancer SPORE project entitled “Identification of Oncogenic Mutations in Ovarian Cancer,” and a Co-PI on the project “Genetic relationships between breast and ovarian cancer” that is funded by the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. She is also a past recipient of a DF/HCC Ovarian Cancer SPORE Developmental Grant entitled “Genetic Fingerprinting of Ovarian Cancer.” 

Dr. Matulonis serves on the National Comprehensive Cancer Network Ovarian Cancer Recommendation and Guideline Committee for both ovarian cancer and for the treatment of anemia, the Gynecologic Oncology Group Quality of Life Committee, a member of The Cancer Genome Atlas Project (TCGA) Endometrial Analysis Working Group, and is Medical Director and Board Member for the non-profit organization Ovations for the Cure. She is a recipient of the Dennis Thompson Compassionate Care Scholar award, the Lee Nadler “Extra Mile” Award, and was named one of Boston’s Best Physicians in Medical Oncology by Boston Magazine numerous times. She serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

After receiving her MD from Albany Medical College, she completed an internship and residency at the University of Pittsburgh, followed by a medical oncology fellowship at Dana-Farber.

Clinical Trials in Gynecologic Malignancies
The Medical Gynecologic Oncology Program serves as the infrastructure for clinical and translational research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Our research involves testing novel drugs and biologics in newly diagnosed as well as recurrent gynecologic tumors: ovarian, endometrial, cervical, vaginal, and vulvar cancers. A list of ongoing clinical trials is available via our website. Our integrated team of medical oncologists, gynecologic oncology surgeons, radiation oncologists, gynecologic oncology pathologists, clinical research team, and basic science researchers are immersed in a number of translational projects. Examples of ongoing projects include the expression profiling and genotyping of ovarian cancer and the study of circulating tumor cells in ovarian cancer. 

Thank you to the Kicks for Cancer sponsors who so generously gave for a great cause.  

CCHS Trip Presentation Evening Reminder
By Laurie Fortunato
Families and students are invited to the annual CCHS Trip Presentation tonight, Wednesday, October 10th, from 6-7:00pm in the Learning Commons.  This event will showcase all of the trips that CCHS teachers are offering in the coming year as well as some running next year.  We hope you will join us to learn about the exciting opportunities for students and gather information to help with your planning.

Student PR Team
We assembled a fantastic student-led PR team that aims to cover all things CCHS.  Their first assignment was Kicks for Cancer, and I include a few of their videos below. CCHS students Ellen Su, Grace Jennings, Ted Sweeney, and Gabby Shih make a fantastic team, and we look forward to showcasing their coverage throughout the year.  In addition to the videos below, I have included some pictures they snapped while covering engineering and biology labs and CCHS senior Ravin Nanda making music.  

The best opportunity to see their work is to follow us on Instagram and Facebook.

Kicks for Cancer Video Via Instagram

Kicks for Cancer Video Via Facebook

More Kicks for Cancer Video Clips