Friday, November 10, 2017

November 10, 2017

Good morning and Happy Veteran's Day-

I am writing from Orlando where I am lucky enough to be spending this long weekend with 32 amazing Ashland High School students (and some pretty great chaperones) who are doing service work at Give Kids the World. I am so grateful to live in a country that allows us the freedom to learn through service to others. Thank you to all of the Veterans out there who have worked tirelessly and given of themselves for our freedom. I hope we are all able to spend some time reflecting on the meaning of Veteran's Day over the course of the weekend.

At Give Kids the World, an amazing place that houses kids with life-threatening illnesses and their families while they are having a wish granted, the AHS Make a Wish Club completed their first two of six service shifts. We served in the kitchen, helped run the carousel, acted as characters in the Winter Wonderland parade, and helped children create their star, a light that will live on forever. It was moving to watch the AHS students give of themselves, they worked so hard. I am looking forward to seeing the experiences the rest of the weekend brings them. They are learning so much!

As a reminder Term I closed last week.  Grades/Report cards will be available to students and parents through iStudent/iParent at 3pm on Tuesday, November 14.  If you wish to receive a hard copy of your child's report card please email the main office at and one will be printed and mailed. 

NEASC (New England Association of Schools and Colleges) Accreditation:
NEASC accreditation is a system of accountability that is ongoing, voluntary, and comprehensive in scope. It respects differences in institutional populations, missions, and cultures, and fosters institutional change grounded in the expertise of practicing educators. It is based on standards which are developed and regularly reviewed by the members and which define the characteristics of good schools and colleges.  Ashland High School will engage in the re-accreditation process in the spring of 2020.  

In preparation for the upcoming Self-Reflection Ashland High School will be completing as part of the NEASC Accreditation process, all students, families, and faculty will complete surveys designed to provide the school with important feedback on our work. We hope to learn more about what is working well for our students and identify areas for growth and improvement.

Parents, please take time to complete the attached survey and help provide us with valuable information:

We ask that every family complete one survey. You do not need to complete multiple surveys if you have more than one student in the school. 

Every student will have an opportunity to complete the survey during the school day during the week of November 20, 2017. If you are interested in reviewing the student survey, it will be available in main office during normal school hours. If you prefer that your student not complete the survey, please send a note to the main office with that request by Friday, November 17, 2017. 

As we continue the conversation on inclusion, diversity, and trust AHS will host it's first ever Challenge Day on Thursday, November 30.  Challenge Day is a day-long interactive program that provides teens and adults with tools to tear down walls of separation, and inspires them to live, study, and work in an encouraging environment of acceptance, love, and respect.  Using highly interactive and energetic activities, leaders guide the participants through a carefully designed exploration of the ways people separate from each other, and model tools for creating connection and building community.  This powerful day will include 100 students and 25 staff members.  The event is held during school hours in our gymAny student interested in being a part of this day should contact Ms. St. Coeur.   

Auditions for the AHSTS winter production of Pippin are Tuesday, December 5 at 3PM in the Chorus Room. Callbacks are Wednesday, December 6 at 3PM. Audition information and forms are located at

Clocker Cupboard! Ashland High School is proud to announce the establishment of the Clocker Cupboard.  The Clocker Cupboard will be an on site mini food pantry that will provide shelf staples, snacks and drinks for our students whose families may be experiencing a financial hardship impacting momentary access to food.  Access to the Clocker Cupboard will be done so with a level of discretion and confidentiality.  We have collaborated with the Ashland Food Pantry in establishing a foundation of food at this point. As we move forward, we will be looking for donations to ensure that the supply is maintained and any overstock will be donated to the Ashland food pantry.  Please feel free to send any donations throughout the year and we will be glad to add them to the cupboard.  All donations can be placed in the donation bin in the main office.   

If you are experiencing a moment in time and would benefit from a little extra, please have your student reach out to Jennifer Shiels, your child's guidance counselor or an administrator and we will ensure access to items of choice in the food pantry.  You are also more than willing to contact any one of us directly and we can prepare a bag for your child to come home with.  Unfortunately for security reasons on property, access to the Clocker Cupboard will be limited to staff and students.  If you are seeking a greater level of support, we encourage you to reach out to Cara Tirrell at Ashland Youth and Family Services at Phone: 508-881-0140 ext 3.  The Ashland Food Pantry hours are  MondayWednesday, and Thursday 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.

The YMCA will be sponsoring an Open Gym on MondayTuesday, and Wednesday of next week from 2:45 until 4:30 for any High School Student.  Contact Mr. Grimes for more information. 

Ashland Raises Healthy & Happy Kids:
Seven Phrases To Calm an Anxious Child
It happens to every child (and adult) in one form or another – anxiety. We would like to shield our children from life’s anxious moments, but navigating anxiety is a valuable life skill.  In the heat of the moment, try these simple phrases to help your children identify, accept, and work through their anxious moments.

  1. “Can you draw it?” Drawing, painting or doodling about an anxiety provides kids with an outlet for their feelings when they can’t use their words.
  2. “I love you. You are safe.”
  3. “Let’s count _____.”  Counting the number of people wearing hats, the number of tiles on the floor, or the number of kids in the room requires observation and thought, both of which detract from the anxiety your child is feeling.
  4. “I get scared/nervous/anxious sometimes too. It’s no fun.”   
  5. “If you gave your­­ feeling a color, what would it be?” Asking your child to say how they feel with a color, gives them a chance to think about how they feel relative to something simple. Follow up by asking why their feeling is that color.
  6. “Let’s have a debate.”  Older children especially love this exercise because they have permission to debate their parent. Have a point, counter-point style debate about the reasons for their anxiety. You may learn a lot about their reasoning in the process.  
  7. “Let me hold you.”  Physical contact provides a chance for your child to relax and feel safe.

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