Welcome Back 2014-2015

posted Aug 25, 2014, 9:00 AM by Ted Hall

Yarmouth High School

286 W. Elm Street, Yarmouth, ME 04096


Empowering all students to lead fulfilling lives in a changing world.

Main Office - (207) 846-5535     Guidance - (207) 846-3731

August 25, 2014

Dear Students and Parents,

Welcome to the 2014-2015 school year.  I hope you have had an enjoyable summer and are ready to return to school.  The first day of school is Tuesday, September 2nd.  We will begin classes 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 this week so that you are prepared for the first day of school.  All summer reading assignments are found listed at this link on our YHS home page (http://yhs.yarmouthschools.org/).  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 3rd, 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.  Much of that summer curriculum work was focused on planning for the implementation of “Cornerstone Assessments” in all of our courses.  These cornerstones will be tied directly to each of the school-wide and learning area graduation expectations.  I will provide a much more detailed email with specific information about this exciting process in the first week of school.  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.  

We are very pleased to welcome the following new staff members:

  • Andrew Dolloff has joined us as our new superintendent.

  • Brian Kim will be a new English teacher.

  • Sarah Hirschfeld will be a new science teacher.

  • Chris MacWhinnie will be a new technology education teacher.

  • Derek Burow will be a new special education teacher.

  • Amy Ashley will be our new athletic secretary.

  • Chelsea Harlow and Nathan Peterson will be new educational technicians working with special education students.

  • Blair Currier is our new Director of School Nutrition

There are a few items of information on our website that I would like to highlight for you:

  • We have updated many of the links on our “Student Handbook” page which you can find at this link from the YHS home page.   Hopefully, this will help you to find the information you need.

  • You can also see each day’s announcements on our home page if you want to stay up to date with what is going on at YHS.

  • Every year, we need to notify parents about our pest management policy.  You can find the exact policy at: http://tinyurl.com/yhspestmgt

  • If you need to access information about the school lunch program, go to: http://tinyurl.com/YarNutrition.

  • Our school calendar can be found at: http://yhs.yarmouthschools.org/calend.  If you are someone who uses “Google Calendars,” you can subscribe to this calendar by going to the bottom right side of the calendar where you will find a link to the directions.

Please consult our website throughout the year for information about activities at the school.  

Here is a reminder about the Yarmouth High School security measures:

  • Last year, we 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 8:00 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.

  • We have 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 is also a camera installed at the Turf Field to help us in preventing vandalism on our newly renovated field.

  • 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 2nd 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 18th 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, has already been 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: Parent Letter for the Laptop Rollout. To get to the form you need to sign, you can go to this link:  Form to be sent in to advisors.

  • 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.

  • 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.  The rhythm of the school year gives each of us a chance to begin again every September and provides us with the opportunity to try new courses, activities, and habits of working.


Ted Hall