Read Principal Rouse's Letter about Changes to the Late-Arrival Day, First-Semester Exams Schedule, and Cell-Phone Policy

July 27, 2012

Dear OPRF High School Families,

I hope you have had an enjoyable summer! As you begin to make back-to-school preparations, I want to let you know about several important changes for this year.

New Late-Arrival Day
For the 2012-2013 school year, we no longer will have late-arrival Mondays. Instead, we will have a new late-arrival schedule on the following designated Wednesdays:

September 12 and 26
October 3, 17, and 31
November 7 and 14
December 5
January 16 and 30
February 6, 20, and 27
March 6 and 20
April 3 and 17
May 1 and 22

The arrival/start time on these dates are as follows:
Arrival time: 9:35 a.m.
First period begins: 9:45 a.m.

We understand that this is a significant change for our families, so I want to explain to you the reasons behind it. The new schedule is the result of an improved model of professional development for our faculty. The late-arrival time will be used for working in Teacher Collaboration Teams (TCTs), which comprise colleagues who teach the same course. TCTs focus on enhancing teaching and learning by establishing common learning targets and assessments for students across all sections of our core academic courses. The late-arrival days also allow faculty to participate in one of five year-long professional development learning strands, including a new Racial Equity strand, to further our racial-equity work throughout the District.

Switching from 30 late-start Mondays to 18 late-start Wednesdays consolidates the time for collaboration and allows for more meaningful, productive work by our faculty—which in turn helps teachers better support the varied needs of students. The overall impact on instructional time for the year is a decrease of two hours total compared to last school year.

The new late-start schedule is an opportunity to expand support for students through our “Making the Most of Wednesdays” options, which include:
• Access to the computer lab
• Opportunities to clear detentions
• Access to Study Table
• Alternatives to suspension programming
• Group meetings
• Literacy support
• Participation in forums run by the Principal’s office
• Motivational Mentoring

In developing the new schedule, we sought the input of a variety of stakeholders, including parent groups, the School Board, and the faculty. Based on their feedback and concerns, we significantly altered the original proposal to create the current late-arrival Wednesdays plan, which received consensus from the Board of Education.

To help you get used to the new schedule, we will make sure families are sent reminders well in advance of late-arrival Wednesdays.

Revised cell-phone policy
This summer, the School Board is in the process of approving Board of Education Policy 5152 – Electronic Devices Policy, which allows the use of cell phones, MP3 players, and other mobile electronic devices in designated areas during the school day. Acceptable use of these devices is limited to non-instructional time, which is defined as in the hallways during passing periods and in the cafeteria during lunch periods. Although the use of electronic devices during instructional time will be at the discretion of the classroom teacher, it should be noted that they will be prohibited during tests or quizzes. Failure to follow the directives of the classroom teacher or staff member will result in disciplinary action. Cell phones must always be kept on vibrate or silent.

The complete policy is included in the Student Handbook, and I urge you to review the policy with your student.

Final exams before Winter Break
Families and students have long told us that it is difficult for students to fully relax and decompress over Winter Break when they have final exams looming upon their return. In response, we have moved first-semester final exams to the Wednesday through Friday just prior to Winter Break, on December 19, 20, and 21, 2012. Classes will resume, and second semester begins, on Tuesday, January 8, 2013. Overall, second semester will have a few more days of instructional time than first semester. We hope that this change will allow students to return for second semester feeling renewed and ready to fully reengage in their coursework and activities.

We are looking forward to seeing you soon, and hope you enjoy the remainder of your summer!

Sincerely,

Nathaniel L. Rouse
Principal