Welcome Letter - 8/20/2015

posted Aug 29, 2015, 9:20 AM by Jennifer Lainey

      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 Tuesday September 8th.  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:

  • First Day of School - Classes will begin on Tuesday, September 8th as a BLUE day. This will be a full regular 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 students who are not sure where to go.  

  • Wednesday Late Start Workshop Days - Just a reminder that every Wednesday morning, students arrive to school at 8:40 which allows teachers to meet for professional development training. This will start on Wednesday, September 9th.  

  • Open House will be held on Wednesday, September 30th 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.  

  • Portland Arts and Technology High School (PATHS) - For those students who are attending PATHS this year, those classes also start on the first day of school.  We will send more detailed information to PATHS students in a separate letter.

  • Student Driving Privileges - Since 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.  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.  A separate letter has already been sent to seniors describing the protocols for our Senior Open Campus program.

  • Student Laptops - We are continuing the laptop computer program for all students in grades 9-12, and 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.  Please spend time with your sons and daughters to review the expectations for laptop use. This program will continue to help our students use technology in many aspects of their learning.  If you would like to get a jump-start on this process, please review the letter on the laptops at this link: Parent Letter for the Laptop Rollout. To access the form that requires your signature, please go to this link:  Form to be sent in to advisors.

  • Online Classes - Once again, we are a part of the Virtual High School program (http://thevhscollaborative.org/).  This program has a wonderful reputation for offering high quality classes.  Students who are interested in taking a class that is not currently offered at Yarmouth High School should see their guidance counselor in the opening days of school to see if this online program is appropriate.  

  • Sports - Sports schedules can be found 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.  

  • Fall Activities - I cannot overemphasize the importance of getting involved in the tremendous number of activities, performances, and clubs for our students.   Please access this link for a comprehensive list of the many activities at YHS.  

In addition to the information above, there are a few more items on our website that I would like to highlight:

  • Our “Student Handbook” can be found at this link from the YHS home page.   This site contains the school’s protocols and policies for how we operate as a school community.  We ask parents to review this with their child before the start of school.   

  • 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 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.

  • Each year, we supply our class advisors with the names, phone numbers and emails of parents.  If you do NOT want your information shared, be sure to call the Main Office.

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: eric_klein@yarmouthschools.org.



Eric Klein