Dear Parents and Guardians,
Not only were we hit by some unfamiliar white stuff on Friday, we face another flurry of events the week before the February vacation.
District 2 Honors Concerts - The accolades continue to accumulate for our students involved in the visual and performing arts! We would like to offer our congratulations to the District Two Honors Jazz Choir Singers: Eli Anderson, Wyatt Bates, Aaron Dustin, Karl Munroe, Ben Palmer, Nick Prato, and Vicky Williams. These students will be participating in the MMEA District 2 Honors Jazz Choir April 11 and 12 at Fryeburg Academy. The concert will be at Fryeburg Academy on April 12 at 7:00 pm.
Coffee Chat - Thursday February 11 at 6 pm. I look forward to hearing from you regarding not only the second half of the school year, but also your thoughts on the upcoming school year.
Laptop Collection - A reminder to parents and students that we will collect laptops from all students over the February vacation. As no homework is assigned over break, this is a good time to “unplug,” relax, and possibly enjoy some winter conditions. All computers will be collected on Friday, February 12th at the end of the day. If a student is leaving early for vacation, they need to let the office and the computer lab know. If students have work to make up, guidance will be open on Tuesday (2/16) and Wednesday (2/17) from 9:00 am - 2:00 pm. Students should sign up here or in the computer lab prior to vacation if they would like to
Playoffs - It’s that time of year to support our athletic teams who are starting their playoff runs this week. The WMC Indoor Track Championships were moved to Monday February 8th at 5:30 pm at USM. Our Alpine teams will be hitting the slopes for the WMC Championships at Shawnee Peak on Monday as well. Boys’ basketball will hold their playoff game on Saturday, February 13th at 10:30 am in the EXPO, and after an eleven-year drought, girls’ basketball will be heading to playoffs, also playing in the EXPO on Tuesday, February 16th at 10:30 am. Athletic Director Susan Robbins will be posting more information regarding all of our winter teams’ championship events later this week for our swim, and hockey fans.
Dear Parents and Guardians,
During the first half of the year, there have been many moments where I have been incredibly amazed and proud of our students and staff. Friday afternoon’s Unified Basketball game was yet another one of those times, and I’d like to share the words of one of our community members who wrote, “it was one of the best sporting events I have ever attended.” To watch our students work together was truly inspiring, and I would encourage you to attend these games which define the very best of sportsmanship.
As we now begin the second half of the year, it should come as no surprise that there are many upcoming events during the month of February. This Friday at 7pm, the Outing Club is hosting the Maine Outdoor Film Festival in the YPAC - A fun-filled night full of outdoor films and prizes. Doors will open at 6:30, with a cost of $8 for students and $10 for adults. Please see the attached flyer for more information.
Our juniors will also begin their Public Policy Presentations this week. Volunteers are needed! These students have been researching issues for several weeks and will present their findings and recommendations to panels of students, faculty, and community members. Panelists are not asked to grade students, but have an opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback. The presence and participation of community members help make this a rich, authentic learning experience for our students. The presentations are happening during the following dates/times:
If you are willing and able to participate please sign up at this link. If you have questions, contact email@example.com. There will be another opportunity for community members to volunteer to listen to public policy presentations this May.
Next week, we will hold another parent meeting/coffee chat on Thursday February 11 at 6 pm. I very much look forward to hearing from you regarding not only the second half of the school year, but also your thoughts on the upcoming school year. With February vacation two weeks away, parents are reminded that all students will be turning in their laptops on Friday, February 12th.
Finally, in February we will embark on our search for the next assistant principal at Yarmouth High School. I would like to invite parents to participate in this search process, as we plan to hold interviews the week of March 14th. Please let me know if you would be interested in serving on the search committee.
Dear Parents and Guardians,
The week back from vacation provided yet another illustration of our incredible students and experiences at YHS. On Thursday, we were held spellbound listening to the inspiring performances of Natalie Bourassa, Hannah Grant, Nick Prato, Sage Watterson, Isabelle Murray, Ella Werner, Amanda Dettman, and Lucy Alexander during the Poetry Out Loud competition. This year’s competition was judged by several renowned poets from the Telling Room, and I would like to thank Anne Tommaso and Marita O’Neill for their work to create this event, now in its fifth year. Ella Werner and Isabelle Murray took first and second runner-up awards respectively, and I’d like to recognize Amanda Dettman who won this year’s competition. Amanda certainly demonstrates our district’s values of perseverance, who finally took top honors after finishing as a runner-up for the past two years.
This weekend provided another example of perseverance by our girls’ varsity basketball team, who beat the 7-1 Falcons with great passing and a tenacious defense that held off a last minute surge by Freeport. I’d like to congratulate all of our teams who, in typical Clipper fashion, played with great heart and character. We also had a noteworthy individual performance, as Anneka Murrin set the new school record in the 800 meter race at this weekend’s WMC track meet. Finally, our very own Franz-Peter Jerosch will compete in the U.S. National Figure Skating Championships to be held January 15-24, 2016 in St. Paul, Minnesota.
I’d like to end this note with a few reminders. First, there is no school next Monday, 1/18 as we will enjoy a three day weekend to honor Dr. Martin Luther King. Finally, a reminder to parents of sophomores and juniors to start planning for the upcoming Career Exploration Program. This link provides some helpful information and can also be found on our website. Our students will also be working extensively with their advisors to prepare for this program.
Dear Parents and Guardians,
Greetings and Happy New Year! With snow finally on the ground, there is no question that another busy and exciting winter is upon us. January is an important time at Yarmouth High School for several reasons. First, the end of semester is close at hand, as grades close on Friday, January 29th. Second, we begin to prepare for many important traditions that make Yarmouth such a special place. Our freshman will soon participate in the Power of One project, our sophomores and juniors will partake in the Career Exploration Program in March, and it’s not too early to begin preparations for our seniors’ graduation this June. Graduation coordinator Julie Hutchinson will be sending out information to parents of seniors very soon.
In February, we will also begin the hiring process for an assistant principal, and I would like to extend my gratitude to Bob Strong who has done a wonderful job serving our staff and students. I will be sharing more information at the end of this month as I hope to include parents as part of our search committee. Please take the time to review the following information regarding our Career Exploration Program that pertains to upcoming events for your son or daughter.
Grades 10-11 Career Exploration Program - For those of you with 10th or 11th graders, we will be kicking off our preparations for this year's Career Exploration Program at an upcoming assembly. On Tuesday, January 5th, all sophomores and juniors will be introduced to this year's Career Exploration Program, a three-day job shadow experience that occurs in the spring (on Wednesday, March 16 through Friday, March 18, there are no classes for sophomores and juniors as students will be provided time to visit various businesses or workplaces). Students will be working with you and their advisors to find a good placement for this job shadow opportunity.
As the program unfolds, you will be hearing more from your son or daughter's advisor. We have all of the information about CEP on our website under the Student Handbook link, or you can go directly to the CEP site at this link. We hope you will find this information helpful to you and your child.
All the best,
Dear Parents and Guardians,
With another weekend of fifty degree temperatures, it seems strange to write about snow days, but I would like to remind everyone that parents will receive a district-wide notice from Superintendent Dolloff for school cancellations or delays. I would also encourage families to utilize a “back-up plan” through the local news stations. Details and more information can be found here: information for Storm closings.
There are some important events this week, but also several celebrations as we prepare for the upcoming December vacation. As we are now midway through the second quarter, Progress Reports will be completed by the end of the day on December 15th. I encourage you to get together with your son or daughter to review grades and check for any missing assignments. Please be in touch with the teachers if you have any questions.
A reminder that there is no late start this Wednesday as we will hold our Advisor Holiday Breakfasts on December 16. Each year, many advisory groups get together for breakfast on the Wednesday morning before the December break. Your student’s advisor will provide you with details regarding the time and location of breakfast.
We will end the week with our Semi-Formal Winter Dance, on December 18th, from 7 to 10 pm. Tickets are $10, and a reminder that we will be administering breathalyzer tests for all students as they come into school dances. Our school committee worked with us to create a policy for breathalyzer use, which you can find at this link. Students will be tested in a private area not in sight of other students coming into the dance. The rest of the dance guidelines can be found at this link. Please be in touch if you have any questions. Should students wish to bring a guest from another district, a guest permission form must be filled out and turned into the main office by the end of the week.
As we prepare for the December vacation, I’d also like to share some important information. First, there is no homework or laptops over break. For several years, Yarmouth High School has followed a practice of not assigning homework over vacations, as students deserve a break from the rich and challenging coursework they experience during the school year. Vacations also represent precious time for families, which is another reason why we collect laptops from students over the breaks. Students will be turning in their laptops on Tuesday, December 22nd.
Senior Laptop privileges - During the winter holiday break, however, some seniors often need to use their computers for college and financial aid applications. As we have done in the past, seniors will be allowed to keep their laptops for the December vacation, and as expected, will be responsible for the care of their computer (seniors, of course, may also choose to leave their laptop at YHS where they will be secured in our computer lab)
We will be offering two days over vacation for students in grades 9-11 to use laptops for make-up work. The office will be open on Wednesday, December 23rd from 9:00 am - 2:00 pm, and Wednesday December 30th from 9 am - 2 pm. Students must sign up and plan on staying in the office.
On a final note, over vacation the Lost & Found will be donated to charity. Please ask your students to check, and double check, the lost the found table located outside the main office. After classes on Tuesday the 22nd, we will be collecting any unclaimed items and donating them to a local organization.
Dear Parents and Guardians,
I hope that you were able to find time to relax and enjoy time with family during the Thanksgiving Break, with a quick note of appreciation to the parents and students who baked pies for the entire Yarmouth faculty. It has been a wonderful time of giving, as our advisory groups put together nineteen holiday dinners for families last week under the direction of Margi Moran.
With less than four weeks until the December Break, it is also a busy time of year, and I would like to share the many important upcoming events as we return to school:
The following week is just as busy! Here is a list of events for the week of December 7th.
On a final note, many of our students recently attended the Body Worlds exhibit at the Portland Science Center, thanks to funding from the Yarmouth Educational Foundation. 120 sophomore biology students explored the human bodies and anatomical structures on display. As they walked through the different parts of the exhibit, many students were able to make connections to their own lives in what they saw. “Something I found really interesting was the whole bodies that were put in interesting positions...My favorite body was the soccer player. It was cool to see what my body is doing when I kick a soccer ball and how all the muscles work.” Still others saw the beauty in the human form stripped down for us to see in many different ways. “The exhibit was the perfect mix between art and science! I was able to see all the important organs, skeletal structure, muscles, ligaments, and blood vesicles while staying interested in the art of it all.”
Not only did our own student’s comments demonstrate the importance of learning outside the classroom, it was nice to get feedback from another educator at Foxcroft Academy, who sent me the following in an email: “Earlier today I went through the Body World exhibit at the same time as a group of students from Yarmouth High School. I was impressed with their respectful manners, inquisitive conversations and level of maturity. This group was a positive representation of their school and community.”
I couldn’t agree more. Best regards,
Dear Parents, Guardians, and Members of the Yarmouth Community,
I would like to begin by expressing how proud I am of Yarmouth. We faced a difficult scenario this weekend, but in true Clipper fashion, found a way to overcome any obstacles set in our way.
There is an incredible diversity of excellence in Yarmouth. Our students excel not just in the classroom, but in every aspect of their lives. This weekend was no exception. As a first time ticket holder to a YPAC performance, my family was blown away to see a Broadway-esque performance by our Playmakers. It was breath-taking to see our students shine on the stage in what could only be described as a simply outstanding performance of Shrek.
Our community is fortunate to have such an incredible venue that fosters the arts, and I would like to thank Betsy Puelle and the Friends of Playmakers for their tremendous efforts to put together yet another exceptional performance, but also for their assistance to work through the additional hurdles of this weekend.
What makes this weekend even more noteworthy is that we were also hosting a regional football championship at the same time. Very few communities are able to so successfully and amazingly support education, the arts, athletics, and a host of other co-curricular activities. After yet another successful weekend, our football team hopes to follow the footsteps of our girls’ cross country program and boys’ soccer with another state championship this Saturday.
Anyone in theater can attest to the monumental amount of work that goes on behind the scenes. Susan Robbins, Bruce Bickford, Friends of Playmakers, the Yarmouth Police Department, Yarmouth Community Services, Yarmouth Football Boosters, and Yarmouth Public Works need to be recognized for their work and efforts to put together and safely coordinate the events of this weekend.
Finally, I would like to thank everyone who went the extra mile (hopefully not literally) to support our students on Saturday. This doesn’t just happen on a busy weekend in November, this happens every day in our classrooms and in our community. As I spend more and more time with the students and staff at YHS, I am amazed to learn more and more about our incredible students.
As I conclude this note, there are - as always - some important notes regarding upcoming events. First, school picture retakes are scheduled for this Thursday, November 19th. Next, for the third year in a row, parent Brenda Whitney has volunteered to organize a staff appreciation event entitled "Saying Thanks with Pies." On Tuesday, November 24th, we would like to be able to give every YHS staff member a pie to take home for the Thanksgiving vacation. Parents and students may sign up at this link (http://vols.pt/KdnD7W) called "Volunteer Spot" to help reach the goal of 70+ pies which translates into one pie for each person working at YHS to take home for Thanksgiving.
This also provides students with an opportunity to earn community service for up to 2 pies for a maximum of 2 hours/per pie. Students must take the initiative to sign up themselves, make and deliver the pie, as well as have a note on their pie(s) and personally sign in as they deliver it to get credit. Parents should feel free to either purchase or make a pie. If you are busy, but would still like to help, you may donate money and Brenda will do the shopping for you. Thank you for helping make this a successful staff appreciation event. If you have any questions, please contact Brenda Whitney at firstname.lastname@example.org or 847-4120.
With the end of the first quarter two weeks away, I’d like to share information with you regarding the cornerstone assessments that have become a foundational aspect of our students’ learning and assessment. Last year, Mr. Hall sent a letter which provided an overview of these assessments. I’ve included this information, as it is especially important for our 9th grade students and parents:
“For many years, our teachers have worked collaboratively so that students who take the same course with different teachers are taught the same material and assessed using common assessments that are tied directly to the standards of the course. We identified the concept of cornerstone assessments as a way of knowing that students have demonstrated their understanding and application of learning expectations.
Cornerstones are assessments designed by Yarmouth High School teachers that connect directly to the learning area expectations and the school-wide expectations. Every full-year course at Yarmouth High School will have between three to five cornerstones. Semester classes will have between one to three cornerstones. Students will need to pass all of the cornerstones in a course with a grade of 80 or above in order to pass the course. Students who do not reach that grade on the first try will have multiple opportunities to meet the required score.”
This summer, we spent a great deal of time reflecting upon best practices and revising assessments in order to improve student learning. Based on our review of cornerstone assessments, one thing was clear: students who demonstrated the greatest success and learning were those who took the opportunity to promptly retake or redo their cornerstone assessments.
New Change: As the end of the first quarter draws near, we will be implementing an additional expectation to cornerstone assessments. Students who do not successfully complete their cornerstone assessments with the benchmark score of 80 will receive an incomplete for the quarter. As soon as students have retaken their assessment and successfully demonstrated proficiency with a score of 80 or above, the incomplete marker will be removed from their grade report.
This mark of an incomplete will provide feedback to students and parents that the cornerstone needs to be completed within a reasonable and prompt timeframe of two weeks. Our goal is to help students be successful and prevent situations where students are scrambling to complete cornerstone assessments in May that were not successfully finished in September. It is also important to note that this will not change our eligibility policy.
During the next two weeks, it is important for your child to take care of all their academic responsibilities, and I would encourage you to review PowerSchool to review your student’s progress. Parent-Teacher Conferences will be held on Monday November 9th and Tuesday November 10th. If your son or daughter's last name begins with A-K, conferences will be held from 3:30-6:30 pm on Monday, November 9. Those with last names starting with L-Z will have conferences on Tuesday, November 10 from 3:30-6:30 pm. These conferences provide quick updates (about 5 minutes) with the teachers. Most teachers will be in the gym or the cafeteria, with a few in their classrooms. As always, our student ambassadors will be there to help you find your way. Please feel free to contact me with questions and concerns.
I’d like to preface this note by stating that when I took the helm of the YHS flagship in July, it was not my intention to send you weekly emails. At the same time, this has been an exceptionally busy fall, and I want to ensure that you are aware of the many important events here at the high school in the next few weeks as November (and if this morning is any indication, cold weather) quickly approaches.
Flu Vaccination - If you would like your child to receive a flu vaccination at the high school on Tuesday, November 3rd, please download the attachments and bring the signed permission forms to the school nurse as soon as possible.
YHS Playmakers “Shrek The Musical”
YHS Athletics - For fall sports, playoff are here. Please check the website or Twitter for the many upcoming events and contests as our fall athletes begin postseason play. Believe it or not, it is also time to prepare for many of our winter sports. Winter Sports Information Night will be held on Monday, November 2nd @ 6 pm - Please plan to attend if your son or daughter is planning to participate in a winter sport and meet with coaches about the upcoming season. Locations for each team are posted at both entrances to the school. Girls Ice Hockey Information Night will be held on Monday, October 26th @ 6pm in the Flex Room - The girls ice hockey season starts earlier than other sports seasons and hold their information night a few weeks before the rest of the winter sports.
Student Dismissals - We certainly understand that there are times when students need to be dismissed early from school for appointments. In order to limit the potential disruptions to classrooms and student learning, we follow a slightly different process at YHS. Parents need to contact the office to dismiss their student one of three ways:
Students should let their teacher know at the beginning of class that they need to be dismissed and tell them at what time the dismissal should take place. Whenever possible, office staff tries not to call classrooms to dismiss students as these phone calls are disruptive to learning.
Students should excuse themselves at the appropriate time and come directly to the office. Students are not permitted to leave the building without checking out at the main office. The office staff will confirm that we have permission from a parent so that the student can leave.
If a student is returning to school before the end of the day, they should always check in at the office, get a pass and go to their next class.
When a student is unaware of the appointment and is dismissed, the office staff will make every effort to contact that student and get the message to them. There are times, however, when it is difficult to reach a student on short notice (e.g. the student is canoeing on the Royal River in Mr. Smith’s Health Science class).
Senior Yearbook Deadlines - On a final note, parents of seniors have a few deadlines approaching. November 2 is the date for senior parent ads and December 2 is the date when senior photos and senior baby pictures are due. This link will provide parents with detailed information.
Dear Students, Parents, and Guardians,
As we turn the page on the month of September, there’s no coincidence that the leaves have also begun to turn as we look ahead to the month of October. It is important to note that we will reach the midpoint of the first quarter this week. evening, a progress report will be available on PowerSchool. Teachers have posted comments about your child’s work this year that can be accessed with the following link. Please take the time to review this information, as it is important to not only start off the school year on a positive note, but also to develop strong work habits for the rest of the year.
evening, we will be holding our monthly Coffee Chat at in the high school library. At last week’s open house, I mentioned the importance of collaborative leadership and shared decision making at Yarmouth High School. This first meeting will provide us with the chance to share ideas and concerns as we begin to discuss how the high school will continue its tradition of excellence. It will also help us consider how we will meet the goals of the district’s strategic plan. Perhaps most importantly, it will give us the opportunity to sit and chat.
The Columbus Day Weekend is quickly approaching, and I’d like to remind you that students will not have school on nor . , all staff in the district will be attending professional development workshops as we work to implement the new teacher and staff evaluation system required of all school across the state.
Another reminder that next week, we will NOT have a late arrival schedule for all students in grades 9-11. On , all 9th grade students will be participating in a Geology field trip to Portland Head Light and will report to the YPAC auditorium at . All 10th and 11th grade students will be participating in PSAT Exams, and will report to their testing rooms at . Please note that these students will be testing until .
There are two other major events during this month. First, October is National Substance Abuse Prevention Month. I have attached a letter from Casco Bay CAN (Create Awareness Now) with information regarding key steps families can take to help address this important issue. Finally, the high school will participate in its NEASC accreditation visit on . In order to maintain accreditation with colleges and universities, high schools must submit comprehensive reports and open up their doors to a team of educators every ten years. At the conclusion of this visit, the high school will be provided with a list of recommendations and commendations that will help us chart the course of the high school in years to come.
A busy month! As always, I am looking forward to working with students, staff, and parents to meet these challenges. Best regards,