April 2016- Parent Update

Dear Parents and Students,

We are now fully into spring and closer to the remaining months of school. I wanted to take this opportunity to update you on exciting news at the high school and remind you of a few dates. First and foremost, I want to thank all parents who continue to take time out of their busy schedules to join me for Principal Breakfasts to share their thoughts and feedback. I have thoroughly enjoyed your company and your insights. I would also like to recognize the current board members of my PTSA, who have worked diligently to ensure NHS students and staff are celebrated and well cared for throughout the year! Thank you Maggie Conway, Alpana Dholakia, Angela Thill, and Rachelle Kahn (students still talk about the bagels during testing days).


As you know, our school had our accreditation this year with a visit by members of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) in the fall. We have just received word that our school’s ongoing regional accreditation status was approved by the commission. The NEASC commission highlighted commendations for our school that included the following:

  • Palpable sense of pride, respect, and caring between and among staff members and students, as well as a safe, positive, respectful and supportive culture
  • Extensive array of academic and extracurricular offerings to meet the needs and interests of our students
  • Use of instructional practices that engage students as active and self-directed learners
  • Strong community, business, and higher education partnerships that provide extensive, authentic and real world opportunities
  • Consistent, systematic, instructional leadership by the Principal based on core values, beliefs, and graduation expectations
  • Immaculate, safe facility that supports teaching and learning

A full report of their commendations and recommendations will be accessible to all members of the community on our website in the next few days. Our website is located at http://newtown.nhs.schooldesk.net/

XQ Challenge

A team of staff members took up the nationwide challenge set forth by Laurene Powell Jobs to “reimagine” the high school of the future. Only 5 schools will win the challenge and ultimately receive both expert and financial support of 10 million dollars each over a five year period. Over 700 teams across the nation submitted applications after input from students, staff, and community members, but only 348 schools are moving on to the next “develop” phase in the competition. The Newtown High School design team was one of those lucky schools who will be advancing forward in the competition, but there is more work ahead! Our design, Newtown High School of Inquiry and Innovative Design, builds on the areas we are most proud and want to expand, including business and entrepreneurships, language and literacy, science and technology, and performing arts. We will update you as we continue on in this challenge.

Safety and Security

Throughout the year, we have worked hard to continue to improve our safety measures, including ensuring appropriate visitor check in, security and staff visibility throughout the building, and student accountability for behaviors. As we did last year, we will be conducting a routine drug search in the weeks ahead in collaboration with local authorities using police dogs. Please continue to have conversations with your children around policies and school expectations related to the use of and distribution of illegal substances.


Friday, April 29thSenior Prom. A separate letter regarding the upcoming prom was previously sent out. This date was selected early on to secure The Waterview in Monroe, CT, (a much closer ride for our students), and we anticipate all students will have an outstanding evening. Seniors are already buzzing about this!

Saturday, June 11thGraduation – our graduation date (based on availability at WESTCONN and other factors) was secured. Information was sent out via our PTSA newsletter and the date placed on our website under news and announcements weeks ago. Like last year, all students will receive 6 tickets, which is based on the ability of the facility to accommodate our students, families, and faculty members.

I hope everyone continues to enjoy the weekend.


Lorrie Rodrigue

Dr. Lorrie Rodrigue