Welcome Back 2013-14

posted Aug 30, 2013, 4:10 PM by Ted Hall
August 23, 2013

Dear Students and Parents,

Welcome to the school year 2013-2014.  I hope you have had an enjoyable summer and are ready to return to school.  The first day of school is Tuesday, September 3rd.  We will begin classes that day with the expectation that all students will be ready for school work and prepared for class.  I am hopeful that you (students) have already completed summer reading and assignments. Just in case you haven’t quite finished, please be sure to get the work done next week so that you are prepared for the first day of school.  All summer reading assignments are found listed at: http://tinyurl.com/YHSSummer13.  Our school day will begin with advisor group at our usual time of 7:40 AM and finish at 2:25 PM.  As has been the practice in the past, on Wednesday mornings students have a late start so that teachers can meet for professional development and planning.  We will have a late start on Wednesday, September 4th, starting at 8:40 AM.

While the students were away, there was plenty of work going on at Yarmouth High School.  There have been a number of summer curriculum projects completed by teachers.  The custodial and maintenance staffs have been working to make sure that all parts of the school are “deep cleaned” and serviced so that we are ready for another year.  Probably the biggest change was the installation of several security measures which I will discuss later in this letter. 

We are very pleased to welcome the following new staff members:
  • Kate Pietropaoli will join us as an educational technician working with special education students;
  • Stephanie Joyce will join us as our new School Nutrition Director;
  • Karyn Garofoli will be working with the school in her role as the new Yarmouth Community Services Director;
  • Mr. William Michaud will join us as our new Interim Superintendent of Schools.

There are a few items of information on our website that I would like to highlight for you:
Please consult our website throughout the year for information about activities at the school.  

Here is some important information to know about our new security measures: 
  • We have installed a “buzz-in” system for entry into YHS during school hours at the two main entrances on West Elm and Portland Streets.  Anyone wishing to come into the school during school hours (between 7:50 AM and 2:25 PM) will need to be buzzed in by someone in the front office.  There is a camera where you can be identified before coming in.  Seniors with open campus privileges will be assigned a PIN number to be able to come into the back door only.  All visitors are required to come to the main office to sign in and get a visitor pass to wear.
  • On the advice of the Yarmouth Police Department, we have also installed cameras at both entrances that can be used, if needed, to investigate any breaches in security.  The intent of these cameras is to enhance safety and security, not to use as a student discipline tool. 
  • There will be a camera installed at the Turf Field as well to help us in preventing vandalism on our newly renovated field.
  • We will be spending time in advisor groups talking about the new security measures at YHS in an effort to make sure that students understand both how these measures operate and their intent. 
I remember the words of a school safety consultant who did an audit of our safety and security systems.  He said that the most important component of a safe school is the positive relationships among the students and adults.  We certainly want to maintain those positive relationships as we add systems that make our school less vulnerable to outside threats.

Here is some important information for the opening of school:
  • School will begin on Tuesday, September 3rd as a BLUE day. This will be a full school day, with advisor/advisee period starting promptly at 7:40 AM.  We will have advisor group lists and locations posted in the main hallways for any student who is not sure where to go.
  • Open House will be held on Thursday, September 19th at 6:30 PM.  Open house is an opportunity for parents to come in to meet with their son or daughter’s advisor and learn about the classes by going through an abbreviated student schedule.  We always have a good turnout that night and look forward to seeing parents.
  • Many of our students drive to school regularly.  We are asking all student drivers to provide a copy of their car registration information to keep on file.  This information will be kept in a confidential database that can be accessed by the front office staff in the event of a safety or security situation.  For example, if headlights are left on or there is a minor “fender bender,” we can quickly notify you or your son/daughter.  If your son or daughter plans to drive to school on the first day, please make sure that we get a copy of the registration.  We can make copies in the office.  A separate letter, from Mr. Ottow, will be sent to Seniors describing the protocols for our Senior Open Campus program.
  • This year, we are continuing the laptop computer program for all students in grades 9-12.  Students will be issued a “MacBook Air” computer during the first few days of school to use for the year.  Students will receive permission slips on the first day of school and we ask that these be returned to the advisors along with a $25 check for insurance prior to the distribution of computers.  We ask parents to spend some time with their sons and daughters reviewing the expectations for laptop use. This program will continue to help our students be able to use technology in many aspects of their school experience.  If you would like to get a jump start on this process, you can access my letter on the laptops at this link . To get to the form you need to sign, you can go to this link.
  • Once again, we are a part of the Virtual High School program (http://thevhscollaborative.org/).  This allows our students to take classes for credit online.  This program has a wonderful reputation for offering high quality classes online.  Any students who are interested in taking a class that we do not currently offer at Yarmouth High School are encouraged to see their guidance counselor in the opening days of school to see if this program is appropriate.  
  • Each year, we supply our volunteer coordinators with the names, phone numbers and emails of parents.  If you do NOT want your information shared, be sure to call the main office to let us know so that we can take your name off the list.
  • Parents, if you are interested in attending the School Committee meeting where I present the high school curriculum overview, including a discussion of our current Advanced Placement (AP) classes, that meeting will be held at 7:00 PM on Thursday, September 12 at the Log Cabin.
  • Finally, I want to make sure that you know the link to the sports schedules on “Schedule Star.”  To access team schedules please go to this link and look under Schedules to click on the drop down menus for the team name, level, and gender.

I am looking forward to seeing each of you in the coming weeks.  Please know that I would love to hear from you if you have questions, comments, or concerns.  Feel free to call the school or send me an email at ted_hall@yarmouthschools.org.

I am hopeful that students are excited about the coming school year.  A new school year gives us all an opportunity to try new courses, activities and habits of working.  The rhythm of the school year gives each of us a chance to begin again every September.


Ted Hall