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 email@example.com 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,
Dear Parents and Guardians,
With the first month of school almost complete, I wanted to make you aware of several key events that highlight the end of September.
First, YHS will hold its annual Open House on Wednesday evening, September 30th, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. You are also invited to an informal welcome of the new administration at YHS in the YPAC from 6:15-6:25. At 6:30, please report to your child’s advisory group to receive important information. Following advisory, you will then follow an abbreviated schedule which will provide you with the opportunity to meet your student’s teachers. This is a terrific event to celebrate the start of a new school year. The Advanced Art classes will be holding a bake sale to help raise funds for their annual trip to New York City. Students will have a table outside the cafeteria, selling both baked goods and water. Thank you for supporting our artists!
Athletic Director Susan Robbins and a dedicated group of our students have been steadfastly working together to plan a tremendous schedule of Homecoming events that will begin on October 1st. On Thursday, our field hockey team will host games against York followed by an evening bonfire at 7 pm at Winslow Field. The bonfire will be chaperoned by high school staff, but please note that this event is for high school students only; middle school students will not be allowed. On Friday October 2nd, after an alumni reception at 6 pm, our football team will host Wells under the lights. Festivities will culminate on Saturday as our soccer teams will highlight a double header event against nearby rival Falmouth, with matches beginning at 4 pm and 6 pm. These three days of events will conclude with a Homecoming dance in the cafeteria from 8 to 10 pm.
For the last four years, we instituted mandatory 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 type of breathalyzer that we use is one where the student does NOT have to put their mouth directly on it. Instead, the student blows into a funnel a few inches away. 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.
Finally, I’d like to rekindle another tradition of holding “Coffee Chat” parent meetings at the high school. Our first meeting will be held Thursday, October 8th from 6:00-6:45 pm in the high school library. Looking forward to seeing you soon at the many upcoming events here at the high school.
Dear Students and Parents,
With the first week under our belts, I’m pleased to announce that the HS Clipper ship will finally be sailing with a full crew. As our long-time physical education teacher Don Simms will be out until November, we have been fortunate to hire a long-term substitute to take his place. Kevin Eppler will join us on Monday after recently moving from Arizona where he has taught physical education for the last seventeen years,.
It is not too early to mark your calendars for Open House, on September 30th. This is an important evening that provides parents the opportunity to meet with teachers. Within the next few weeks, you will be receiving an email from your child's advisor with more details.
I would also like to make you aware of some changes regarding the End of the First Quarter. After the close of grades on Friday, November 6th, there are many important events the following week. On Monday, November 9th and Tuesday, November 10th we will hold our Learning Area Parent Teacher Conferences. These provide you with the opportunity to meet with your child’s teachers and discuss his or her progress during the first quarter.
Finally, I have attached information regarding YCAN - Yarmouth Cares About Neighbors. There are many important programs and resources that demonstrate our community’s commitment to helping others in need.
It has been a tremendous week at Yarmouth High School. I would like to thank the entire staff for their professionalism and support to maintain the focus on academics and learning that define Yarmouth High School. Many schools would not be able to hit the ground running when confronted with the transitions we have faced the past month. Mr. Strong and I have been able to visit many classrooms this week, and have been tremendously impressed by the level of instruction and student engagement throughout our school.
August 20, 2015
Dear Students and Parents,
Words alone cannot begin to express my excitement over the approaching school year. Across the district, there is a tremendous amount of effort during the summer months to ensure that our students will be able to hit the ground running, or as I am quickly learning, hit the seas sailing. I would like to thank maintenance director Bruce Bickford and his entire staff for working exceptionally hard to prepare the high school facilities for the start of the school year. I would also like to introduce Kristina O’Brien as our new guidance secretary who has done a tremendous job working with students throughout the summer. We will also be hiring a new technology/STEM teacher whom I hope to introduce to you soon.
In addition to welcoming these new staff members, our school and community will face another transition in leadership as Josh Ottow has recently taken a position as the principal of Mt. Ararat Middle School. Mr. Ottow has served as the assistant principal for four years at the high school, establishing many relationships with staff and students. Mr. Ottow furthermore implemented and developed Youth Court at YHS, which created a foundation for restorative justice not only in our community, but for many other Cumberland County schools as well. His presence will be missed, as we wish him luck on his next endeavors. The high school leadership team will begin the search process for candidates next week. I will be working closely with guidance and staff to help students and parents with this transition as we prepare for the upcoming school year. As always, we will seek the best candidates capable of leading Yarmouth in its commitment to excellence and its dedication to our students.
Classes begin on . I would ask that students and parents review the summer reading and assignments to make sure that students have fulfilled their academic responsibilities. All summer reading assignments are found listed at this link on our YHS home page (http://yhs.yarmouthschools.org/). Please note the following important information regarding the start of school:
In addition to the information above, there are a few more items on our website that I would like to highlight:
I am looking forward to seeing each of you in the coming weeks, and would love to hear from you if you have questions, comments, or concerns. Please feel free to call the school or send me an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dear YHS Parents,
As we finish out this school year, I want to provide you with some information that might be of interest to you. I believe this will be my last "YHS Update" for you as I end my time at YHS.
I hope you and your family have a wonderful summer. I know I am looking forward to a great Maine summer!
Ted Hall, Principal
June 8, 2015
Dear Friend of the Yarmouth Schools:
I am pleased to share with you the following announcement regarding our search for the next principal of Yarmouth High School.
The Yarmouth School Committee on Monday morning announced the hiring of Mr. Eric P. Klein to the position of Principal at Yarmouth High School. Mr. Klein is currently the principal at Gray-NewGloucester High School, where he has been a member of the administrative team since 2010. The search committee spent considerable time vetting candidates from as far away as South Carolina before enthusiastically supporting Mr. Klein’s candidacy. Through several rounds of interviews and reference checks, along with a site visit, it became clear that Eric is the right person at the right time for Yarmouth High School. He is an intelligent, articulate, and passionate educator who loves teaching and has been active as a teacher-leader, an advisor, and a coach. His well-rounded background fits perfectly with the balance that we seek to provide through a diverse array of academic and co-curricular offerings at YHS.
Mr. Klein is a native of New York and a graduate of Hamilton College. While an undergraduate student at Hamilton, he also spent time studying at Oxford University in the United Kingdom. Mr. Klein has a master’s degree in Teaching from the University of Rochester and is currently completing a second master’s degree in Educational Leadership at Saint Joseph’s College. Prior to moving to Gray-New Gloucester, Mr. Klein was a teacher of English at Scarborough High School for eight years and at Bonny Eagle High School for four years.
“I am very excited at the prospect of serving as the next principal of Yarmouth High School,” said Klein. “Having the opportunity to work in a community that demonstrates such an unwavering commitment to the education of its students will be rewarding and challenging at the same time. I’ve been impressed by Yarmouth High School's willingness to continually reflect and refine its educational practices to improve learning opportunities for students.”
Mr. Klein will replace Ted Hall, who has been Yarmouth’s high school principal for ten years and is retiring on . “Following Ted is an incredibly humbling experience,” said Klein. “In addition to serving as a mentor to many aspiring young administrators, including myself, he is recognized by many in the profession as one of the finest educational leaders of the past decade. The work he has done in Yarmouth to create a truly collaborative learning environment is something I will honor from my first day on the job.”
Yarmouth’s search committee was comprised of teachers, administrators, parents, students, and school committee members. Walter Conrad and Meredith Hawkins, both juniors at YHS, were two of ten students who served on the interview team. “Mr. Klein's passion showed through from the moment we met him,” said Walter. “He is obviously excited about his work, and he seems like the type of principal that would do anything to support his students.” Meredith echoed those sentiments, saying, “Mr. Klein is clearly passionate about his job as an administrator and has a high regard for high school students in general. I admire his dedication to both his work and his life philosophy that seems to revolve around helping students reach their maximum potential.”
Mr. Klein will begin his work in Yarmouth on. I am sure he will receive the same warm welcome I was provided upon my arrival in the district a year ago, and I look forward to introducing him throughout the district.
Andrew Dolloff, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Schools