Dear Parents and Friends of SHHS:
It's hard to imagine that the first marking period is almost over! Ms. Lori Gramolini, our Speech and Language Pathologist, is enjoying her maternity leave and Maureen Disalvo will be her sub until February 28th. Welcome Ms. Disalvo!
We've had a very productive, action filled Fall at SHHS. Students kept us busy with academic achievements, sports successes, concerts and shows, and a genuine concern for humanity. I really love being here with such a passionate, competent staff and such bright, kind, and caring young adults. I'd like to extend an invitation to all of our families to attend any student events or school functions. While offering support for our students, you will see firsthand our tremendous Tiger Pride. Our off-site evacuation drill to Plains School on October 17th was a huge success. While any disaster will be chaotic, the more we practice various scenarios, the better prepared and calmer we will be.
Seniors held their traditional Halloween parade on Tuesday, October 31. The costumes were inventive and fun. At the same time, the seniors showed underclassmen how to be respectful of others. We all enjoyed the enthusiasm of the senior class and thank them for a job well done.
MCAS scores are being mailed home within the next week. I am very proud of our students and faculty- we improved our math, English and science scores across the board. In fact, 90% of our 10th graders scored proficient or higher in math, which is 8% higher than the previous year! 95% of students were proficient or advanced in ELA (2% increase from last year) and 87% in science (9% increase from last year).
John Canavan-Gosselin has been named a Commended Student in the 2018 National Merit Scholarship Program. 34,000 students have been identified as Commended Students because they placed among the top scorers of more than 1.6 million students in the 2016 PSAT’s. We are so proud of you!
We hope that parents, guardians and students are pleased with the PowerSchool portal, which allows the viewer to see attendance and grades. Report cards will be issued November 8th, and will finally include ratings for our learning expectations. These ratings are in comparison to students in similarly leveled courses in the same grade, sharing common expectations.
As you may have heard from your students, we are cracking down on the cellphone policy in order to avoid classroom distractions, texting, and teen drama during class time. Students are only allowed to use their phones before and after school, in between class periods and at lunch. It is student cell phone use during class time and in the halls during class periods that is prohibited. We have noticed a drastic improvement in student behavior, as well as increased verbal communication!
We received our NEASC reaccreditation report, which can be viewed in its entirety on our website, late this summer. The committee gave us glowing reviews and was impressed with SHHS and our school community, especially: use of restorative practices; innovative learning (Integrated courses, Edgenuity online courses, interdisciplinary courses, dual enrollment); use of Research for Better Teaching, administrative presence in halls; passionate staff; clean facility; partnerships with colleges and businesses; and our collaborative, constructive support of our School Committee. Recommendations include developing a process to ensure instructional practices are consistent with our mission; formalizing a process to analyze student assessment data; increasing Common Planning Time for teachers; developing a plan for more input in the decision-making process; and aligning our curriculum, instruction, and assessments with our core values. The next step in the ongoing NEASC process is to write a two year report that is due in October 2018 addressing the 11 recommendations that we need to implement or address.
As a district we are busy working on our budget for FY 19. Dr. Young is in the process of reviewing proposed budgets from principals and central office administration in preparation for the district budget to be presented to the school committee for review. As a district we have enjoyed support from the Town of South Hadley but recognize that economic conditions in the country and in Massachusetts continue to be a struggle.
We are working collaboratively with the South Hadley Police Department to bring Distractology to our school during the week of November 27th. This innovative and effective program teaches inexperienced drivers about the dangers of distracted driving, especially texting while driving. Students will get individualized instruction and learning experience behind the wheel of a driving simulator.
The Health and Wellness Advisory and the South Hadley Fire Department have graciously offered to teach CPR to all of our seniors. As they go off into the workplace and on to college, we hope this valuable experience stays with them and becomes a SHHS annual event. A big thank you to Eileen Garvey for organizing this.
November Students of the Month:
November Faculty of the Month:
If you have any questions, concerns or suggestions, please know that I am always willing to listen. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 538-5063 ext. 3701. Please follow SHHS on Twitter @DianaBonneville.
The staff and I wish each of you and your families a wonderful Thanksgiving, good food, and most importantly, time with loved ones. Some of our fondest memories come from these family events. Enjoy!
Dr. Diana Bonneville