Friday, September 15, 2017

September 15, 2017

Good afternoon & happy Friday!

It was a busy and exciting first full week of school. I have loved seeing all of the creative learning happening across the building. Today my day started with local speaker and Brandeis Dean of Students, Jamele Adams, working with our peer leaders on love, inclusion, and trust. As we work towards creating an environment that is safe and supportive of all learners I encourage you to have family conversations about treating everyone with respect, despite our differences.

Just a reminder, there is no school next Thursday. Happy Rosh Hashanah to all those who celebrate.

School council:
The AHS School Council is a group mandated by the MA Department of Education to assist the principal in:
1. Adopting educational goals for the school that are consistent with local educational policies and statewide student performance standards.
2. Identifying the educational needs of students attending the school.
3. Reviewing the annual school building budget.
4. Formulating a school improvement plan.
For any school that contains grades nine to twelve, the council shall review the student handbook each spring to consider changes in disciplinary policy to take effect for the following school year. 

The council is made up of AHS administration, faculty, students and parents.  We are currently seeking nominations to fill 2 two-year parent spots as well as 2 two year student spots on the council.  If you are interested in running for a position or would like more information please let me know at kstcoeur@ashland.k12.ma.us.  Students are also encouraged to email me or come to the office for more information.

Elections for parents are held at Back-to-School Night and student elections will take place at lunch on the same day.   We will determine meeting days in the near future but most meetings are held at 4pm for approximately 90 minutes.  


Back to School Night!

The AHS Back to School Night is Thursday, September 28th from 5-6:30pm.  This evening is an opportunity for you to walk through your child's entire schedule, meet their teachers, and here about the course expectations & syllabus.  

News from Student Council:
On Sunday, September 24th, the Ashland High School Student Council will be running a fundraiser at Barnes and Noble.  For any purchase made with a voucher (good at any Barnes and Noble), the AHS Student Council will get a percent of the sale.

Throughout the day, members of the Student Council will be running some child-friendly events at the Framingham Barnes and Noble (where you can drop off your kids and enjoy some quite time to shop!)  From 11:30 - 12:30, they will be assisting children in creating, writing, and illustrating their own Golden Book.  Then from 12:30pm - 3:30pm, they be bringing some of their favorite children's board games to play with your children while you shop.  They will also be reading some of their favorite children's stories.

In addition, at 3pm local author and AHS guidance counselor Jenn McMahon will be reading selections from her recently published book Inish Clare. She'll also be signing copies and leading a discussion on the author's craft.


Vouchers are available on the AHS Student Council website at http://sites.google.com/site/stucoashland/ We will also have them available at the store from 11:30am - 4pm that day while we're running our events.

We are also super proud of 10th grader Eryn Flynn who will be doing her own author event at Barnes & Noble this coming Wednesday, September 20
https://stores.barnesandnoble.com/event/9780061890803-0
Stop by and see her at Ashland Day as well!


Please take a moment to review the Parent Flyers to check out what is going on around town.

Tips to Boost your (and your child’s) Mental Health
The beginning of the school year can be busy and tiring and overwhelming. Below are some tips to help your whole family relax and stay mentally healthy.
  1. Focus on gratitude and achievement. At dinner each night, have everyone say one thing they were grateful for today and one thing they achieved.
  2. Work your strengths. Do something you’re good at to build self-confidence, then tackle a tougher task. This can be especially helpful with homework.
  3. Do something creative. Creative expression and overall well-being are linked.
  4. Laugh every day! Laughter reduces anxiety.
  5. Go off the grid. Set aside time each day to put away electronics and spend time with friends or family without the interruption of texts and notifications.
  6. Move daily. Play tag with your kids, dance every night as a family, play a fun sport. Exercise/movement reduces levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) and increases endorphins (the body’s “feel good” chemicals).
  7. Write. Writing about upsetting experiences has been shown to reduce depression.
  8. Spend time with a furry friend. Time with animals lowers cortisol, and boosts oxytocin - which stimulates feelings of happiness.
  9. Try prepping your lunch and/or planning your outfits for the week. Planning ahead can give you a sense of control.
  10. Spend time in nature. We are lucky to have Ashland and Hopkinton State Parks close by. Research shows that being in nature can increase energy levels, reduce depression and boost well-being.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Convocation


Good afternoon and happy Friday!  

Today was one of my favorite (yet most exhausting days) of the year.  After shortened classes in the morning we enjoyed a whole school activity geared at teaching/reviewing our core values and expectations in all parts of the building and grounds. The entire student body was divided into mixed grade groups for ice breakers, games, and creating videos demonstrating the core values in action.  It has been fun to preview some of the videos this afternoon as the PBIS team reviews them to choose the best.  Our PBIS (Positive Behavior Interventions & Supports) team puts so much work into this great activity each year.  For the second year in a row the Peer Leaders ran the activities.  The demonstrated true leadership and school spirit.  It was fun to watch the students have a good time with the core values and           expectations while also thinking about what they really mean.












After the all-school activity the entire student body headed to the gym for our annual Convocation, a pep rally of sorts where the seniors receive the key to the school.  The Class of 2018 showed their spirit and encouraged the other classes to make the most of their time in high school.  Class president, Jess DeBenedictis, encouraged the student body to "clock out" of school by finding a fun activity to get involved in.  Come to the football game, go to the dance, enjoy hall decorating.





 The seniors took their "fire truck" picture, always a favorite!

 

All in all it was a day of fun and with a lot of learning about values and expectations built in!

Progress report windows for iStudent and iParent are now open and will remain open at all times expect immediately preceding report cards.  Students and parents are able to access grades, attendance, schedule, etc. Students should be starting to settle into classes and making sure they are in the right place for their ability. Teachers are obligated to update grades at least every two weeks so please be patient if you do not see grades entered.  As a reminder, the add/drop period for semester 1 ends next Thursday, September 14.


Picture Day is next Wednesday, September 13.  Picture forms can be picked up in the main office.


Back to School Night!
The AHS Back to School Night is Thursday, September 28th from 5-6:30pm.  This evening is an opportunity for you to walk through your child's entire schedule, meet their teachers, and here about the course expectations & syllabus.  


Student drivers must have their parking permits by next Friday, September 15.  Parking forms can be picked up in the main office.  The forms, along with a copy of the car registration and student license, must be turned in with the payment.  If you or your student need a payment plan please see one of the Deans.  We are happy to work out weekly payments if needed.  

If your student rides the bus remember that only items that students can hold on their laps are allowed on the bus.  Excluded items are large musical instruments, large sports equipment and bags, and large projects.  Parents must transport these items themselves.



Exciting news from the Ashland Public Library!
 31 AHS students registered for the summer reading program and read 48,667 minutes!  That is amazing and I was excited to hear one student sharing how many minutes she had done and that she had won a prize.  Nice to hear kids talking about the fun of summer reading!

Please take a moment to review the Parent Flyers to check out what is going on around town.

Friday, September 1, 2017

#1st2Days

We had a great first couple of days at AHS!  It has been fantastic having the energy of the students back in the building.  We started the year focusing on relationships and Ms. Carreiro, Ms. Lachapelle and I had a great time letting students know they were ready and we were glad they were back on Wednesday morning.  I am a firm believer in building relationships first and enjoyed seeing the many activities around the building where classes got to know each other while also learning (the variety of BINGO games were my favorites!) Teachers were creative, excited, and thoughtful.

At the beginning of August I welcomed the new AHS staff in our back to school letter.  I'd like to "reintroduce" them and welcome them to the Ashland High School family:
Erin Lachapelle joins us as the new Dean of Students.  She is the Dean for the 10th & 12th grades.
Shafiya Finger is our new School Psychologist.  She will work with students on IEP's who need social/emotional support but she is a resource for all.  We wish Heather Smith Canney the best as she moves on to a new position.
We are excited to welcome Terri Henry who has taught for APS for many years.  She is joining us as a computer science/technology teacher.
Stephen McKeon is taking over the reigns of the Academic Foundations classroom.  His predecessor, Erin Cameron, has moved to a new role in the special education department.
Mary Nemeth joins us as the music teacher.  She will teach Chorus, guitar, and new Musical Theater class.
Maureen Wiencek joins us as our new full-time nurse (she worked for us two days a week for the past couple of years) and Erin Gaiero will be the new part-time addition to the nursing team.
We also have two enthusiastic ESP's, Kathleen Siplas and Justin Ventola, joining the special education department.
We are thrilled to welcome all of these professionals to the Ashland community and know they share our passion for helping all kids succeed.

Next week we will continue establishing our expectations for all students.  Wednesday we will meet with all classes to review important information and updates.  We do ask that you spend time as a family reviewing the AHS Student Handbook then sign off.  Friday is our Convocation Day.  We will do a fun all school activity planned by the PBIS team and run by the Peer Leaders to review our core values and behavior expectations.  It is a fun day of building connections and kicking the year off in a positive manner which culminates in the Class of 2018 the key to the school.

We were surprised at the number of students in the building on Wednesday at 7am despite our new start time.  They were super excited to get back to learning!  As a reminder, students should plan to arrive at AHS no earlier than 7:45am. The building will not be accessible and students will remain in the back lobby/cafeteria until 8:10am unless they are there for a club/activity meeting.  Breakfast will be served at 7:45am.

Bus drop off & pick up has gone relatively well, with immense improvements over the two days.  A couple of buses were late Wednesday and Thursday, which happens every year as they work out the kinks, but students were assured they were not marked tardy,  Parent drop off is in the back of the building until 8:20am.  After the start of the school day ALL students and visitors must enter the building through the front doors and check in with the front office.

The late bus will pick up students wishing to stay after school at 3:45pm.  Students should be out front waiting for the bus.  The late bus runs Monday through Thursday.

Student parking is at the side of the building with the solar panels.  Students can not park in any of the other lots.  Buses for athletics will be pulling into the back lot each day at approximately 2:45pm so anyone parking there could be blocked in.  Students must have their parking pass purchased by Friday, September 15.  Forms can be found in the main office and students should bring a copy of their license & registration with the application and payment.  The front office can not make copies but there is a copier in the library.

After school help is available on a daily basis.  Teachers are available by appointment and each department has a designated day each week when teachers will be available for drop-in assistance. Teachers will share information about their individual availability with their classes.


Auditions for the AHSTS fall production of Museum are Tuesday, September 5th at 3PM in the theater. Callbacks are Wednesday, September 6th at 3PM. No preparation is required for auditions. Audition information and forms are located at ahsts.com.

Please take a moment to review the Parent Flyers to check out what is going on around town.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Welcome back!

August 29, 2017

The AHS faculty & staff has had a great couple of days getting ready and we can't wait to welcome students back to the building tomorrow.  We will be focused on getting to know students and building relationships for the first few days.

Make sure to follow me (@kstcoeur), Mrs. Carreiro (@ClockerDean), Mrs. Lachapelle (@MrsELachapelle), and Mr. Grimes (@ClockerAD) to see updates of the great things happening around the school.

Students who are being driven to school should be dropped off in the back of the building.  Drop off time for high school students is 7:45am and the cafeteria opens for breakfast at that time.  All students must remain in the cafeteria/lobby area until the first bell at 8:10am.  We will remind them of this expectation at class meetings next week.  Tomorrow, students will be directed to their homerooms get a paper copy of their schedule when the first bell rings.  Homerooms lists will be posted for 9th grade students and there will be lots of Peer Mentors on hand to help out!

Student drivers will have until September 15 to get their parking pass.  Information on how to obtain a pass is in the front office.

If you have any questions about your student's schedule please don't hesitate to reach out to their guidance counselor.  Students have 10 school days to make any changes to their schedule.  We especially encourage new students to use that time to evaluate placement and make sure they are in classes that are the best fit.

I hope everyone has a wonderful evening and I look forward to seeing our kids in the morning!


Thursday, August 10, 2017

Here comes the 2017-2018 school year!


August 10, 2017


Good evening! Below is the Back to School letter but I want to share a few adjustments. While schedules were opened in iStudent/iParent today the new student schedules have not been mailed. We are still waiting for the completion of some state reporting and hope to be able to print them tomorrow. If you have iParent access you can view the schedule by clicking on the school year drop down menu and changing it to 2017-2018.


Dear Students, Parents, and Guardians:
I hope this letter finds you well and enjoying the summer.  It is hard to believe it is almost over and we are gearing up for the 2017-2018 school year.  I hope your summer has brought plenty of time to relax and enjoy time with family and friends.  Every year brings some changes in our staffing and I would like to take the opportunity to make you aware of the few changes here at the high school.  


We are very excited to welcome the following new staff:
  • Ms. Erin Lachapelle, Dean of Students (Classes of 2018 and 2020)
  • Mr. Stephen McKeon, Academic Foundations
  • Ms. Mary Nemeth, Music/Chorus
  • Ms. Robin Wilson, Education Support Professional
  • TBD, School Psychologist
Internally, we are excited to announce that Ms. Erin Cameron has moved from Academic Foundations to filling a vacant special education teaching position.  


Ms. Lachapelle, our new Dean, joins us after 11 years as a science teacher for Grafton High School where she taught Biology, Anatomy and Oceanography.  She has a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Stonehill College and a Master’s in Secondary Education from Fitchburg State University.  Ms. Lachapelle also completed her administrative licensuschre program while working for Grafton Public Schools.  Ms. Lachapelle is student-focused, collaborative, and an enthusiastic leader.  We are excited to welcome her to the AHS leadership team.  
Schedules for 2017-2018 for all new students will be sent in the next couple of days, I will share when they are actually mailed.  If you do not receive a schedule please call the AHS main office to request one.  All students, grades 10-12, can view their schedules through iStudent.  Any current AHS student who does not recall how to access iStudent can email Linda Chaney to have their account reset. (Members of the Class of 2021 will receive their iStudent log-in information at the beginning of the school year but can see their schedules through iParent.)  It is important to note that the schedules are not 100% finalized and there will be some changes as we try to balance out class sizes and meet the needs of all students.  The guidance staff and administration have been working tirelessly this summer to produce the best schedule for the greatest amount of students.  Any blank space in the schedule indicates a potential study period.  Study periods are being developed as needed and will be reflected by the first day of school.  If you have not already done so, please visit our website https://ipass.imgsoftware.com/school/ashland/pamregister.html and sign-up for iParent.  
Our guidance staff will return to the office on August 22.  If you would like to set up a meeting with your counselor regarding schedule changes, we will be offering 15 minute appointments from 8:30 – 11:45, and 12:30-1:30 on August 22, 24, and 25.  On August 23 counselors will be available from 11:30-3:00.  You may call the high school main office at 508-881-0177 to arrange an appointment.


We have a new email address for anyone needing to reach the main office secretaries.  Please add ahsmainoffice@ashland.k12.ma.us to your email list.


My weekly newsletter can be found on the main AHS webpage, under my name.  All announcements and information is linked to one page so that you can access information easily. Check it out at http://ahsprincipalsnews.blogspot.com/


Key Dates:


  • Freshman and New Student Orientation- Wednesday, August 23 from 4-6pm.  We will have a barbecue and fun activities so please plan to attend to get to know the school community.  This event is for students only.  
  • The Student Leadership Summit will be on Friday, August 25 from 9am-12pm.  This annual event is a chance for all students interested in helping to build a positive school culture and set goals and expectations for a great school year.  All captains and students in club and activity leadership positions are expected to attend.  Please RSVP to Mrs. Chaney at lchaney@ashland.k12.ma.us or 508-881-0177 to confirm attendance.


  • First day of classes will be Wednesday, August 30, 2016.  Don’t forget our new start time is 8:20am.  The first bell will ring at 8:10am.  Students are expected to remain in the back lobby/cafeteria until that time unless they have made arrangements to meet with a teacher.  The building will be open and the cafeteria will begin serving breakfast at 7:50am.  


  • There are no classes on Friday, September 1 and Monday, September 4, 2017 in honor of Labor Day.  


Finally, Mr. Caira, Principal of the Mindess School, is looking for students to help unpack, label, and deliver textbooks. A great opportunity to earn community service! Contact him at mcaira@ashland.k12.ma.us or call the Mindess at 881-0194 if you want to help out.

Enjoy the last couple of weeks of summer and we look forward to seeing you soon!


Sincerely,


Kelley St. Coeur

Principal




Thursday, June 22, 2017

Last day of school

Good afternoon & happy last day of school!

It is so hard to believe the 2016-2017 school year has come to an end. It was both a wonderful & challenging year and I am grateful to have the opportunity to work in such an amazing community.  I hope you all have a restful summer and we look forward to seeing you in August!  The school times schedule shared by Superintendent Adams is available here.

Term 4 and Final grades are now open in iStudent and  iParent.  GPA & decile rank will be available in the next few days once we check for accuracy.  Members of the Classes of 2018 and 2019 will now have access to that information.  

Guidance counselors are available until June 28.  Please call or email to schedule an appointment.

Summer hours for the building are 8am-2:45pm.  It's always best to call or email first to make sure someone is here if you need assistance.

I will be out of the building enjoying some professional development and family time for the month of July.  We will get back in the swing of things in early August.  Schedules will be mailed to 9th grade students and available on iStudent for all others sometime after the first week of August.  Stay tuned for a date!



Peer Leader program:
The mission of the Peer Leadership-Freshman Advisory program is to help students with the transition from middle school to high school.  The goal of the program is to establish a foundation for success in meeting the school-wide academic, social, and civic expectations set forth in AHS’s mission statement.  Junior & senior leaders will work with 9th grade students to introduce them to the core values and culture of AHS and in doing so encourage positive decision making.  Students will give up one study hall or wellness class a cycle to join a 9th grade wellness class and lead transition activities. Peer leaders will also support the entire school community in Positive Behavior Support Team initiatives. Current Peer Leaders do not need to reapply. Interested students should complete a application and return it to Ms. St. Coeur ASAP via email.



The National Honor Society is looking for recent grads to donate their blue gowns.  We especially need the smaller sizes (heights below 5'9").  There is a box in the main office where they may be dropped off over the summer.


Foundation for MetroWest is now recruiting high school students for its fall Youth in Philanthropy (YIP) programs in Natick and Sudbury, and we would love to have Ashland High students participate. 

YIP (informational flyer attached) is a free leadership program now in its 20th year of teaching local youth about the needs and assets of our community; students do not have to have any experience with community service or be from either Natick or Sudbury to join. Over the course of 17 sessions, participants will work as a team to award $10,000 in grants to youth-serving nonprofits.

·         YIP Natick will meet Thursdays from 7-8:30pm starting Sept. 14
·         YIP Sudbury will meet Tuesdays from 7-8:30pm starting Sept. 19
·         The deadline to apply is August 25