Today is our official "homecoming" at WHS! The festivities began right after school with a Homecoming Festival sponsored by our Student Council. Students enjoyed free pizza, cider, and cookies while listening to music and socializing with friends. A variety of clubs sponsored outdoor games, raffles, and Warrior Super Fan T-Shirt sales. It was a great event! Congratulations and thank you to the Student Council. Tonight is a the big homecoming football game versus Melrose; we will all be there to cheer on the football team, dance team, cheerleaders and band!
Our newly selected "Diversity Leaders" participated in a second full-day workshop with a professional trainer from the Boston Anti-Defamation League's "World of Difference" institute. WHS Diversity Leader program is one in which juniors and seniors are nominated and selected to become leaders and facilitators of a peer education program in our school. Their
mission is to build a culture of acceptance, a norm where “put-downs” and harassment
are unacceptable behaviors within our community. The student leaders work to dispel
stereotypes and call their peers’ attention to discriminatory language and bullying behavior. This student leadership initiative continues to have a tremendously positive influence on the culture of our school.
This year's new leaders from the junior class, pictured below, are: Courtney Sullivan, Brian Dickey, Brianna Collard, Joe Hurton, Emily Hammond, Nicole Galli, Tyler Strauss, Daniella Iannuzzi, and Grace Fanikos. They join the second-year seniors to round out our full complement of Diversity Leaders.
The Technology Integration class is in full swing at Wakefield High School! The students are working hard solving problems, sharing solutions and teaching tips to teachers and students around the building. Room 1230, or "The Technology Connection" as it is now known, is coming together with computer kiosks for one-to-one lessons, a work area for fixing hardware, and even a front desk. The students even have professional lanyards with Technology Connection ID cards to wear when they are on duty and moving about the school assisting faculty. Mr. Martin and Mr. Gosselin have done an incredible job developing this new and exciting program at WHS. They are proud of their student IT team and look forward to leading professional development for our teachers in the upcoming months.
Students in Honors Biology participated in the Amgen-Bruce Wallace biotechnology program. The program provides high school Biology students with a hands-on opportunity to perform biotechnology techniques currently used in research and industry. Students in the Honors Biology classes were able to learn about genetics and DNA by performing real-life laboratory techniques, including gel electrophoresis and PCR. The program also provided students with an introduction to biotechnology career opportunities, connecting students with potential professional paths in the field of science. Wakefield students Akash Altman, Elizabeth Germino and Sara Custodio with their teacher Ms. Becky Lamarre agreed to have their pictures taken for the newest program training manual.
Five WHS students interned with Representative Paul Brodeur at the State House this summer, including graduates Ryan Janscy, Olivia McCaffrey, and seniors Maggie Scanlon, Maggie Gourville, and Ben Spicer. The students were first introduced to Representative Brodeur through our Junior Job Shadow day, and that experience led to this extraordinary internship opportunity over the summer. Rep. Brodeur sent me a note to let me know that these students were "incredible". I couldn't agree more. Maggie, Maggie, & Ben:
Today we welcome students and teachers from Basel, Switzerland as part of our Cultural Exchange Program. Fifteen Swiss students join fifteen WHS students for the next few weeks, living in the host families' homes, participating in school, and traveling to see historical and cultural sites in and around Boston. Our Cultural Exchange Coordinators, Social Studies teachers Mr. Moody and Ms. Guttadauro, are commended for their extensive work in coordinating this wonderful educational opportunity for our students. In this photo, Swiss and American students meet to discuss the details of their first day.
There are many opportunities for parents to become involved at WHS and one of the most impacting ways is to participate in School Council. The School Council meets one Wednesday per month (usually late afternoon or evening) as an advisory group to the Principal. The Student Council is comprised of faculty, parent, and student representatives - usually a committee of about 10 - and we look at important school issues together, work on the School Improvement Plan, and take part in the process of building annual budget requests. I have openings for 2 - 3 parent representatives as well as 2 - 3 students. If you have interest in joining the School Council this year, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today marks the 12th anniversary of the terror attacks of September 11. It is hard to believe that our students, ages 14 - 18, were very young children at the time of this event and hold scant memories of that day. We took time during homeroom to reflect on the historical context of 9/11 and its meaning to us today. I would like to thank the Social Studies department for providing us with a summary of events and a beautiful poem that is cherished by our students, both fitting for the occasion and in keeping with our school's core values. We began with a moment of silence to remember the victims and heroes of 9/11. Students Gianna Tringale and Matt Hoenig provided the historical setting, information, and acts of bravery that define our memory of that day. They recounted the story of the courageous men and women of our armed forces who rallied to defend and continue to defend our nation, and how we as Americans emerged from the chaos of that day exhibiting our strength, resilience, hope, and unity as a nation. Student Carly Buckley concluded the reflection by reading this poem by Cheryl Sawyer, Professor at the University of Houston Clear Lake. Carley then led the school in a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.
As the soot and dirt and ash rained down,
We became one color.
As we carried each other down the stairs of the burning building,
We became one class.
As we lit candles of waiting and hope,
We became one generation.
As the firefighters and police officers fought their way into the inferno,
We became one gender.
As we fell to our knees in prayer for strength,
We became one faith.
As we gave our blood in lines a mile long,
We became one body.
As we mourned together the great loss,
We became one soul.
As we retell with pride of the sacrifice of heroes,
This morning we held class meetings for the Senior Class of 2014 and the Junior Class of 2015 in our theater. We bring each class together to set academic goals for the school year, talk about what is new & exciting in our school, and focus on the leadership that they will provide in shaping our school community. Pictured here are the Senior Class Officers talking with their peers about upcoming fundraising activities and Senior Class events. Tomorrow we will meet with the Sophomore Class of 2016 and the Freshmen Class of 2017.
Friday, September 6 is a teacher professional development day in the Wakefield Public Schools. WHS teachers will work with Galvin faculty at the high school today with a goal of developing effective and sustainable "Professional Learning Communities" in our schools, a term in education used to describe a school culture in which educators are committed to working collaboratively to ensure a high level of learning and achievement for all students. Professional Learning Communities focus on the study and analysis of student work and test data to respond to student's specific needs and to raise student achievement. The concept of Professional Learning Communities was developed by educational research/practitioners Richard DuFour, Rebecca DuFour, and Robert Eaker. Professional trainers from DuFour's Solution Tree will join us to lead this work today.
A few parents have called or emailed in the last 24 hours, asking for clarification on what school supplies will be supplied by the high school, and what supplies should be purchased by students. I hope this helps: The school provides textbooks, instructional materials, and supplies intended for use and re-use over a period of years. Students are asked to purchase consumable supplies - pencils/pens, notebooks, binders - as long as the request is reasonable. We offer supplies at school for items that are expensive (like calculators, cameras, musical instruments) that students can rent for a minimal fee or borrow for free when there is financial need. With the increase we received in our supply budget for 2013-14, the high school purchased technology supplies for the Bring Your Own Device wireless technology pilot program, to ensure that every student in the pilot group is able to participate, even if they are not able to afford a tablet or laptop to bring to school. Eventually the Bring Your Own Device wireless technology program will expand to the whole school, and we will continue to provide supplies to those with financial need. Students will not be penalized for not having supplies. Please just let the teacher know if a student cannot afford materials and we will provide them. Please don't hesitate to call or email me if you have any questions.
The opening of school went smoothly and our students were outstanding: lots of smiles and enthusiasm all the way around! Our older students demonstrated leadership and kindness as they helped new students find their way. I want to thank our Diversity Leaders for creating colorful signs and posting them all around the school, pointing new students (and faculty!) in the right direction to find their classes. All of our student leaders do such a great job in setting the tone for our school culture as a place that is accepting and safe. In speaking with our freshmen class at their orientation last week, I told them that they will find the culture of our school to be respectful and caring; it certainly felt that way today.