Sunday, January 29, 2017

Week of 1/23/17

Good afternoon and happy Friday!

Semester I is off and running.  Many students had schedule changes this past week.  A reminder that any student wishing to change a half year course should see their guidance counselor within the first 10 days of the semester.  The last day for Add/Drop is Friday, February 3.

Report card grades are available today in iStudent/iParent.  If you have any questions or notice any inaccuracies don't hesitate to reach out to the teacher or guidance counselor.

Right now I am excitedly waiting for our Chinese exchange students to arrive.  For the next three weeks we will have 7 students and 1 teacher from Beijing #4 School studying with us at
AHS.  We are thrilled for the opportunity to share our culture and education system.

This past week the Decisions at Every Turn "Stand" campaign joined us at all three lunches to explore student perspective on the new marijuana laws.  Students were asked to write their thoughts, concerns and questions on sticky notes and we posted them on a whiteboard.  Every student who contributed was entered into a raffle for a Hanto gift certificate and we had a winner at each lunch. Thank you to Decisions and Hanto for caring about the health and well being of our students.  It's great to work together to make sure our students are getting accurate information.

This Wednesday we will kick of Black History Month with a variety of activities.  I am exceptionally proud of the group of students who are working to provide daily quotes and songs by notable black artists.  

Financial Literacy course:
We are very excited to bring a new opportunity to students at Ashland High School.  Members of the Ashland community in conjunction with the Boston Bar Association are looking for interested upperclassman to participate in a Financial Literacy Program Entitled “Money 101”
This free course will meet for 4 sessions and include the real world topics of budgeting basics, credit and credit cards, buying a car, and possible consequences that are associated with poor money management.
If you are an interested 11th or 12th grader with study hall and/or after school availability please contact Mr. Massalski in the main office or e-mail  

On Monday, February 6th from 9:45-11:05, all 10th and 11th graders will be attending the Mykee Fowlin presentation.  Mykee has an engaging and moving presentation on the topic of stereotypes and inclusion.  If you would like to learn more, please visit  We are grateful to the PTO for supporting this speaker.

The AHS Class of 2018, 2019 and 2020 are participating in a fundraising competition now through Tuesday, February 7th. Students in 9th, 10th and 11th grade are competing to sell the most Classic Cookie products (including cookie dough, pretzel dough, candles and more!). The class that sells the most products will receive an increased percentage of profit to help pay for prom and senior week events! Additionally, there are $$ cash prizes for the top 5 sellers school wide and every student that sells at least 2 items will be entered into a class raffle for $50 cash! Please encourage students to participate in the fundraiser and support students by purchasing an item from any member of your favorite class! 


A message from the PTO:
Our apologies to anyone trying to reach us online - our web host was hit with a DDoS attack earlier this week which caused a ton of corrupt code in our database. We appreciate your patience and we hope to be back up and running next week. In the meantime, you can visit our web store at for Disney Raffle Tickets and Mindess Kindness Packages.  

Thank you for your continued support!  
Ashland PTO

ADL conference:
The Anti-Defamation League’s A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE® Institute announces that the 23rd Annual Youth Congress will be taking place on Thursday, March 30 at the Sheraton Boston Hotel.  This year’s program, entitled “There Is No ‘Them,’ Only Us,” will feature a keynote address by Khizr Khan, civil rights advocate and Gold Star parent.  Following his keynote presentation, participants will attend breakout sessions that are co-facilitated by experienced student peer leaders who participate in ADL’s Peer Training Program.  Any student interested in attending should email Ms. St. Coeur.

Please be sure to check out the Parent Flyers this week!

Ashland Raises Happy & Healthy Kids:

7 ways to create a safe environment for the truth

Lying can be a frustrating challenge for parents, but fortunately it’s one we can fix with a few adjustments to our parenting style. Let’s first take a look at why kids lie. One of the most obvious reasons for lying is to avoid punishment or an unpleasant outcome. Another reason is to avoid disappointing their their parents. And finally, kids always want a reaction, so they’ll tell outlandish stories to impress you or others.
Instead of doling out punishment for every fib, we want to make sure to create a safe environment for the truth. Below are seven ways to do that.
1. Be aware of how you respond to misbehavior in general. If your kids are worried about being punished or yelled at when they mess up, they won’t feel safe telling you the truth.
2. Allow your child to save face. Don’t give your child the opportunity to fib by asking questions to which you already know the answer. For example, instead of asking, "Did you finish your homework?" try, "What are your plans for finishing your homework?" If your child hasn’t completed his homework, he/she can save face by focusing on a plan of action rather than inventing a story.
3. Focus on the feeling. When your child is being dishonest, try to understand what made him feel that he couldn’t be honest with you. Instead of calling him out about the lie, try, "That sounds like a bit of a story to me. You must have felt afraid to tell me the truth. Let’s talk about that."
4. Acknowledge and appreciate honesty. Express encouragement when your kids tell the truth. "That must have been difficult for you to tell me what really happened. I admire your courage for telling the truth."
5. Celebrate mistakes. Think of mistakes as a way to learn to make better choices in the future. If kids know that you won’t be angry or disappointed when they mess up, they’ll be more likely to share honestly.
6. Reinforce unconditional love. Make sure your kids know that while you sometimes don’t like their behavior, there isn’t anything they could possibly do that would change your love for them.
7. Watch your white lies. Remember that young ears and eyes are always tuned in. Your words and actions set the example for acceptable behavior.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Week of 1/16/17

Good afternoon-

Tomorrow, Monday, January 23rd we start Semester II and the second half of our school year.  It is flying.

Students will start the day tomorrow with a brief homeroom to receive their new schedules.  All half-year courses will change starting tomorrow.

Tomorrow starts our course selection process for the 2017-2018 school year.
Course selection process/timeline:
Teachers will make course recommendations from January 23- February 3. During this time teachers will have conversations with students and make their recommendations in iPass.

Students approve the recommended courses and choose up to 6 electives from February 6-17. Students can start exploring courses & electives by reviewing the Program of Studies which is found on the AHS website.

Parents will approve their student's choices from February 27- March 10. I will send instructions on this process as we get closer to this date.

News from our English Language Learner teachers:
Adult English Language Classes will begin Tuesday, January 24, 2017 from 7:00-8:30 p.m. in the Ashland Middle School Library. Contact Mary-Lou DeStefano at  with any questions

Português-As aulas de inglês para adultos terão início na terça-feira, 24 de janeiro de 2017, das
7:00-8: 30 p.m., na Ashland Middle School Library. Entre em contato com Mary-Lou DeStefano em com quaisquer perguntas

Espanol-Las clases de inglés para adultos comenzarán el martes 24 de enero de 2017 de 7:00- 8:30p.m. en la Ashland Middle School Library. Póngase en contacto con Mary-Lou DeStefano en cualquier pregunta

See the Parent Flyers section for more local happenings!

Go Pats!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Week of 1/9/17

Good afternoon-

Today we began our daily announcements with a reminder of why we have this three day weekend: 

On Monday, as you enjoy your day, please don't forget why you have the day off.  We remember those brave citizens who defied the conventions of a racist culture to stand for their dignity as people, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who inspired them to do so without violence, and whose words still have meaning today: "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."

Semester I classes have officially come to an end and we are ready to start exams on Tuesday.  

Here is the link to the Exam Schedule.

Grades will close next Friday and report cards will be available the following Friday, January 27 at 2pm.  

During mid-terms students only have to attend when they have an test (or other teacher requirement) scheduled but please note, the bus schedule runs on its normal times.  Sandwiches will be available for lunch in the cafeteria.  

Thanks to the PBIS team and teacher volunteers we will again have Stress Buster activities happening around school from 7:30-8:20am.  Here is the schedule:

The course selection process for the 2017-2018 school year will start on January 23rd with teachers making their recommendations.  If you have not signed up for an iParent account yet please do that now so you can approve teacher recommendations and student elective selections when it comes time.
The Program of Studies will be available on the AHS website next Wednesday for any students wishing to start exploring elective options. 

Here is the course recommendation timeline (for all students currently in Grade 9-11):
Teachers make recommendations- January 23-February 3
Students choose electives and approve teacher recommendations- February 6- February 17
Parents approve course selections- February 27- March 10
Parent/Teacher conferences- March 2 (all families wishing to override a course recommendation are encouraged to make an appointment for this evening)

We are very excited to welcome Ms. Christina Marshall to the History department on January 23/beginning 2nd semester.  Ms. Marshall is a certified history teacher who completed her field study hours with in the Fall of 2015.  She will be teaching a Modern American History as well as some electives.  This position is one of the positions restored by School Committee in October and we are grateful for their support of our need to decrease class size and offer more electives so that students are fully scheduled and have enriching opportunities.  Ms. Marshall will be a great addition to our faculty.

Chinese Exchange Program:  We are in need of a few 10th grade students willing to host Chinese students during the school day when they are here from January 28- February 17.  Interested students should email or see Ms. St. Coeur.  

Parents of seniors!  Graduation is coming, please check iParent to make sure your son/daughter's full name is spelled correctly.  Notify Linda Chaney at if you see anything misspelled or missing.

The Ashland High School Site Council meeting scheduled for Wednesday, January 18 has been moved to the following week, January 25 at 4pm.  All are welcome to join us!

The Make A Wish Club presented at School Committee this week and shared their experience volunteering at Give Kids The World, a resort for children and families who are Wish recipients.  It was a moving and memorable trip and the students were excited to share this slide show as well as talk about the impact the trip had on their lives. Make a Wish Club trip presentation
(all pictures of Wish students are taken from the Give Kids the World website as volunteers are not permitted to photograph guests.)

News from StuCo:
During midterm exams, the Student Council will be providing snacks during the 15 minute break, both outside the library and upstairs at the top of the main stairwell.  
Tuesday they'll be handing out goldfish crackers, Wednesday they'll be handing out pretzels and apple juice, and Thursday they'll be handing out Smartfood popcorn and apple juice (while they last.)   
Students are invited to stop by either table and pick up a snack as they leave their first exam and get ready for their second.  

Enjoy the long weekend and time reconnecting with your family if you are able.

Please check out the Parent Flyers for information of what's going on around town.

Ashland Raises Healthy  & Happy Kids:

  1. Block off time to study outside of class - Just like scheduling sports and activities, schedule study/homework time.
  2. Use your peers - Work with classmates to better absorb material and learn to work together on projects.
  3. Get organized - Use a planner/calendar.
  4. Get enough sleep
  5. Eliminate distractions  - Disconnect from social media when studying and put phones/computers/tablets away unless needed for studying.
  6. Eat right and stay active
  7. Stop Procrastinating

Friday, January 6, 2017

Happy New Year 2017!

Happy New Year to all AHS families!

We have successfully finished the first week of 2017 and are quickly getting ready for the half-way mark: mid-term's. Our last full week of first semester is next week. If you son/daughter needs help planning and organizing for exams please encourage them to seek out teachers and guidance staff next week. Here is the link to the Exam Schedule.

Students only have to attend when they have an exam scheduled.  A reminder the first session does not start until 8:30am.  We will have Stress Buster activities happening around school from 7:30-8:20am.  As of now we will have open gym, a board/room games room, several rooms with meditation and mandalas, and a therapy dog will be joining us for at least one morning!

While mid-term's are happening we get right into the 8th grade transition process.  We look forward to welcoming AMS, charter, private and other families of 8th grade students to our Transition Information Night on Wednesday, January 18 at 7pm in the AHS auditorium.  Any 8th grade student from Ashland is invited to join us at the Step-up Day on Thursday, January 19 at noon.  Call the guidance office for more information if you need information.  

Please join the Ashland athletic department and Decisions at Every Turn next Thursday, January 12 for an important discussion on Student-Athletes and Marijuana.  We are all hoping to work together to make sure teens understand the risks associated with substance use and the realities of the changes in the laws.

Run out as soon as you can to get your copy of the Gift of Failure by Jessica Lahey so you can join Superintendent Adams for his Community Book Read in March.    It's a great read with many helpful hints and reminders about the importance of letting children learn from mistakes and failures.    

Please make sure to check out all of the events happening around town in Parent Flyers.

I had a couple of great opportunities for students come across my desk this week that I wanted to share.

Dedham High School will be hosting the first meeting of the Ralph F. Browne Chapter of Blacks in Government Communications Academy Training. This program provides students in grades 9-12 in training related to public speaking and leadership skills.  Students should let Ms. St. Coeur know if they are interested.

The Foundation for MetroWest’s Youth in Philanthropy (YIP) programwhich starts in Sudbury on Tuesday, January 24. is seeking students.  YIP is a free, 17-week extracurricular program for high school students that offers an introduction to various forms of philanthropy and community involvement. YIP opens students’ eyes to what is around them by exposing them to the needs that exist in our community, reading real grant applications that come in to the Foundation for MetroWest, and ultimately working as a team to award $10,000 in grants to local youth-serving nonprofits. They would love to have Ashland High School students participate. This is a great opportunity for students to find their “niche” and build engagement in our community. A flyer is attached and the deadline to apply is Tuesday, January 17.

Ashland Raises Healthy & Happy Kids
Address Them Properly
Use the name they want to be called. Unless they tell you otherwise, call them Mr. or Ms., followed by their last name. If they want you to call them by their first name, honor their request.

Shake Hands

If you are meeting this person for the first time or if you haven't seen him or her in a while, shake hands. This is such a simple yet friendly gesture that lets the person know you have manners, and you're not afraid to use them.

Speak Clearly and Without Slang

Your friends might understand mumblings filled with the latest slang, but don't expect someone much older than you to get what you are trying to say.

Make Eye Contact and Smile
When approaching or greeting your elders, always make eye contact. This shows that you acknowledge their presence. A warm smile from you can make this person's otherwise dreary day much brighter.

Offer Assistance

When an elderly person approaches an entrance to a building, hold the door and allow him or her to go first. Offer to reach something on a high or low shelf in a store or at home. Be aware of any disability the person may have and help according to what he or she needs. Any kind or generous thing you do to make their lives easier will be appreciated.

Give Your Time and Attention

Most people who are older than you will appreciate having your attention in blocks of time. Enjoy a conversation about a topic you have in common. Sit down with a grandparent or other elderly person and show that you care. Play a board game or watch a movie together. Feel free to ask questions about their experience, and then listen.

Show Your Love
If the elderly person is a grandparent, aunt, uncle, or related to you in any way, show that you love him or her. Offer a hug and say something affectionate. Ask questions about your ancestors and offer to put together a photo album or scrapbook with mementos. You'll be amazed by how enriching the experience can be, and you'll most likely learn something new about your family.

Show Good Manners
Most of your elders were taught proper etiquette when they were children, and they deserve good manners from you in return. Always say, "Please," and "Thank you." They need to know that the generations following them are civil enough to carry on