Parent Letter March 22, 2017

posted Apr 14, 2017, 9:24 AM by Michael Motherway

Dear Parents and Guardians:


Perhaps like us, you both love and loathe cell phones.  For high schools, they can occasionally be useful in the classroom, but they can also be a tremendous distraction and a significant intrusion on teaching and learning.  With the serious work that goes on in NAHS classrooms, we saw the need this year to reset our school-wide practice around cell phone use.  It seemed unrealistic to revert to a school-wide ban, so we began a process with students to draft realistic and shared norms.  These norms would help faculty be consistent and purposeful with classroom use and would help students understand healthy use of personal electronic devices.  We also believed that the more student voice in the process, the more our students would own the changes.  Hence, our Student Council met many times to draft a policy revision, which gained faculty approval.  We are now piloting the new norms during Trimester 3.


I ask parents to take a look at the policy draft linked above.  First, you will see the great work of our NAHS Student Council.  We also welcome parent feedback since this is a draft plan.  Second, any support and reinforcement of our efforts at home would go a long way.  As you will read, the policy prioritizes face-to-face interaction and a productive learning environment by establishing boundaries for electronics use.  Our goals are for students to become smarter and more respectful cell phone users; to recognize boundaries around when and why they can or cannot use their electronics; and to experience classrooms where they do not instantly feel compelled to respond to a ‘ping.’  On that note, it is worth reminding parents that for most of the school day, students’ cell phones are stowed away.  Therefore, please do not expect an immediate student response to a parent communication.  We recognize that parents certainly may need to communicate with their students during the day, however - gentle reminder that the fewer parent texts or calls sent, the less distraction for learning.  And as always, in the event of a family emergency, you can call the NAHS main office, 978-794-1711 to ensure immediate contact with your child.


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A few other happenings at NAHS:


PowerSchool grades - Trimester 2 grades will be available the evening of Friday, March 24.  Reminder that NAHS teachers will update grades / assessments on PowerSchool approximately every 2 weeks.  


MCAS Exams - The annual state-required exams are upon us, and each is a graduation requirement.  Here are the dates: 3/21-23 English for all 10th graders; 5/16-17 Math for all 10th graders; 6/6-7 Biology for all 9th graders.  New students and some other students will also sit for these exams.


Course schedules 2017-2018 - We are doing all the internal work to prepare course schedules for the next school year.  Please see the attached helpful graphic that shows the next steps in the process.


SOS - Senior post-graduation party sponsored by parents.  Keep sending in your 12th graders’ permission forms.  About 1/3 of our seniors have turned in their forms so far, so thank you to those who have.  If your senior has not turned in the form, completed and signed by both student and parent, please have them do so at the April 5th Advisory.  Students received the forms in February, but blank forms and the collection box are in the main office.  We will also collect these forms in Advisory on April 5.


Town voting - On Tuesday, March 28.  Student parking will be partially restricted on this day.  Students are encouraged to carpool or get dropped off.


Early release - 1:15 p.m. release on Wednesday, March 29.


As always, thank you for supporting NAHS students and faculty in the many ways that you do.


Sincerely,


Deborah Holman

Interim NAHS Principal


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