Dear Huskie Families,
Happy December! We have reached the end of Semester 1, and students are now engaging in three days of Final Exams. Our first semester saw the full return of many of the traditional activities that we have known and loved over the years. This return was met with much excitement and positivity from staff and students alike. The time certainly flew by fast. I would like to take this time to inform you of some of the plans for Semester 2 as we get ready for Winter Break. If time permits over the break, please speak with your student(s) about these things so they are prepared for the start of school which will be Monday, January 9. As always, you will see an intentional focus being placed on the development of community within our building coupled with a call for personal accountability to ensure every student has access to superior teaching and learning throughout the school day.
Valuing Instructional Time
Daily attendance matters. Students cannot access the full benefits of any curriculum when there are interruptions in the learning due to irregular attendance to class. These irregularities can result from absences, tardies and/or frequent requests to leave a class with a pass. We hold the expectation that all students will maximize their time in the instructional setting. As a result, periodic hall sweeps to assist with redirecting students who do not arrive to classes on time will return next semester. Families are reminded that 5 tardies = 1 unexcused absence and 6 unexcused absences, in any individual class period, may result in the loss of credit for that class. Absence/tardy notifications are sent daily by phone and email when your student misses or is tardy to a class.
Our students have been remarkable in meeting this new expectation since the beginning of school, and the maturity with which the vast majority of them have adjusted to the phone homes has been truly inspiring. Teachers are reporting better engagement, focus, and face-to-face interactions among their students, and students themselves are starting to appreciate the benefits of separating themselves from their devices while they are trying to learn (even if some are reluctant to admit it!). In short, it has been a tremendously positive development for the culture of our school. We have to keep that momentum going, especially as we consider that student phone usage will be on the increase during the break. We started to see some declines in compliance as we neared the end of this semester – students “forgetting” to store their phones, putting burner phones or empty cases in the phone homes, etc. But the District remains fully committed to this practice, and students need to be ready to comply on January 9th. It works best when everyone makes the effort! Thank you for your continued support of this important work.
Wearing the ID Card
Allow me to take this opportunity to clear up any confusion about why we are requiring the wearing of ID cards by students and adults while in the building. The safety and security of each person inside the building is our number one priority. Nearly 4,000 individuals enter our school each day. The visibility of the ID card is just one way for anyone to identify who is an authorized person to be in the space. Without it, we significantly lessen our ability to quickly identify a trespasser in the building. We recognize that no one procedure will completely eliminate the possibility of danger or is incorruptible; however, it is irresponsible to not do what we can to reduce the risks. Please reinforce with your student(s) the need to wear the ID throughout the school day. New ID cards for the semester will be issued to all students in Advisory by the end of January for semester 2.
Attending Advisory and Study Halls
Students are expected to attend every course printed on their school schedule. This includes Advisory and Study Halls. Attendance is taken in these supervised spaces. When students do not report to their assigned locations, it leads to major disturbances in the school. This expectation has been stated and repeated on numerous occasions. Beginning at the start of the new semester, students who accumulate 5 unexcused absences to either Advisory or Study Hall will lose access to attending/participating in extracurricular activities until such time that a consistent pattern of attending is established in these spaces.
Addressing Excessive Tardies
Semester 2 will see the return of hall sweeps during random periods to address students who are not in their classes when the tardy bell rings. Students who are stopped in a hall sweep will meet with the deans, who will help to explain what is happening. Students will be given a pass to get to class and will be marked tardy by the classroom teacher. In cases of chronic patterns of tardiness or class avoidance, a parent will be called.
Returning Semester 1 Books
Textbooks assigned for Semester 1 classes should be returned before 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, December 21.
Tutoring Extended Hours Continue Next Semester
Students are able to access after school tutoring until 7 p.m. every Monday - Thursday in the SRC 2nd floor.
The entire administration, faculty, and staff are looking forward to returning after the break for the continuation of a dynamic school year. We have every expectation that our students will return from the break renewed and refreshed, able to rejoin the learning environment with the notable citizenship, energy, and enthusiasm needed to successfully engage in the learning process. We are also eager to continue in partnership with you. Within every Huskie is the ability to show up as the best versions of themselves and we want to foster that within them. We wish you and your family the happiest of holiday seasons!
With an Abundance of Huskie Pride,
Lynda J. Parker