Opening Days- Principal’s Reflection

August 30, 2015

 

Dear NHS Students and Parents,

 

While I have had many Opening Days in my career as a high school administrator, our first two days of school this year were exemplary. High school students were excited to be back, and our freshman students made the transition with the help of caring faculty and student Link Crew members. While we experienced some technology issues that were out of our control, we worked through these and are looking forward to a productive and positive year with our students.

As I mentioned to students during our opening day assemblies, our goal is to continue to develop and sustain a respectful school environment. I wanted to take a moment to commend our students for their demonstrated maturity, responsibility, and overall behavior. I watched upperclassmen helping freshman meander the building, students moving from place to place in an orderly fashion, and students showing their respect for staff and each other throughout the day. During our assemblies, students in all grade levels were presented with an overview of our school expectations and the focus on attendance. Attendance is going to be critical this year, especially as we adhere to more stringent State of Connecticut guidelines regarding absenteeism and tardiness. As parents, you can help us. Please continue to ensure that your son or daughter arrives on or before 7:15 a.m., which is when the first bell rings. This will ensure that they are able to get to class and in their seats by 7:20 a.m.

Our Open House is scheduled for Thursday, September 17th. However, it is important to know that this is not the only time parents can meet or communicate with teachers. If you cannot make Open House, please feel free to reach out to your son or daughter’s teachers at any time throughout the year. In addition, our school counselors can provide information or help in arranging meetings with teachers, if necessary.

This year, I will continue to host Principal Breakfasts each month. Most of these meetings center on a variety of educational topics and current school issues of interest to the community. Details about these events will be flagged on our school calendar and reminders will be sent inviting parents. Most importantly, our breakfasts are a way to get to know each other over coffee and treats (courtesy of our cafeteria). During the year, other evening events for parents will be scheduled as well as opportunities to talk, listen, and make improvements in the best interest of all high school students.

On another note, we started our year with the news that Newtown High School was ranked in Newsweek among the top 500 schools across the country (#308) and one of only 15 top high schools ranked in the State of Connecticut. These rankings are based on student scores and participation rates on SATs, AP exams, graduation rates, college enrollment percentages, and other related information about our student learners. While we are certainly proud of this, our work must continue to focus on a safe, positive, and rigorous learning environment that motivates students and addresses their individual interests, abilities, and future goals. Your ongoing support as parents is what can take us from very good to OUTSTANDING in the years to come.

I look forward to working with you once again.

Lorrie Rodrigue

Dr. Lorrie Rodrigue

Principal

Welcome Back

August 2015

Dear NHS Students and Parents:

It is hard to believe we are closing in on the final weeks of this beautiful summer vacation. Whether you spent time relaxing at home, sitting by the shore, or exploring interesting places, I hope the moments spent with family and friends was enjoyable. We are anticipating a positive and productive school year, which will begin for all students on Thursday, August 27th.

We are always excited to welcome students back to Newtown High School and to support the transition for our freshman students. A freshman orientation, sponsored by our Link Crew, will be held on Wednesday, August 19th.

This year, there are several new pieces of information to share with you:

  • School begins promptly at 7:20 a.m. Advisory periods will occur each morning from 7:20 a.m. – 7:30 a.m. These are a part of the regular school day and are used to make meaningful connections with students, disseminate school-wide information, as well as engage students in activities related to our Safe School Climate and Culture goals. ALL students are expected to be present as attendance will be taken.
  • Professional Learning Community (PLC) days will occur throughout the year, which is a time for students to gain valuable study time, work independently in computer labs and the media center for research, meet with counselors, or complete tests or quizzes due to absences. During PLC days, all students are expected to arrive on time, and classes will begin directly following the study period. A schedule for these days is located on our website, as well as a full disclosure of the purpose of this initiative.
  • Newtown High School will be going through its accreditation through New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). A site visit by the NEASC team will take place October 4-7. Accreditation is important to the community-at-large, as it allows for a self-evaluation of the quality of our high school programs and recommendations for future improvements.
  • Opening Day Assemblies will be held for students in all grades to welcome students back to school, provide an overview of the daily schedule, and review school and district expectations. Assemblies will take place on August 27th (freshman and seniors) and 28th (sophomores and juniors).

Our staff and administration have worked diligently throughout the summer to prepare for the new school year. The portal will be open on August 14th to give students a chance to review their schedule of classes. Please note that counselors have been available to discuss concerns on Wednesdays only throughout the summer, but they will return full time on August 17th.

Continue to enjoy the remaining days of summer and we look forward to seeing you on opening day!

Sincerely,

 

Dr. Lorrie Rodrigue
Principal, Newtown High School