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Important Back-to-School announcements

Dear students and families,

I hope you have found your summers relaxing and rejuvenating so far! It’s hard to believe its August already, as we’ve had some busy and productive weeks here at the school gearing up for 2019-2020.
Every summer I set aside some time to read Teacher Man, by Frank McCourt, and every summer I find a passage that really resonates with me and gets me inspired for the coming school year. Here is this year’s:
 
Adolescents don’t always want to be set afloat on seas on speculation and uncertainty. It satisfies them to know that Tirana is the capital of Albania. They don’t like it when Mr. McCourt says, Why was Hamlet mean to his mother, or why didn’t he kill the king when he had the chance? It’s all right to go round and round discussing this, but you’d like to know the answer before the bell rings. He’s asking questions, causing confusion, and you know the warning bell is about to ring and you get this feeling in your gut, Come on, come on, what’s the answer? And he keeps saying, What do you think? What do you think? And the bell rings and you’re out in the hallway knowing nothing…just once, you wish McCourt had the answer to something, but no, he just throws everything back at you. Maybe that’s how they do it in Ireland, but somebody should tell him this is America and we like answers here. Or maybe he doesn’t have the answers himself and that’s why he throws everything back to the class.
 
My best days as a principal are the ones where I get to be in classes with students and see them afloat on that sea of speculation and uncertainty because that’s where deep thinking and learning happens. I can’t wait to have our classrooms once again filled with questioning, exploration, debate, and discussion when school starts on August 28th. Students and families will be able to log in to PowerSchool beginning August 19th to view their schedules and begin imagining what they’ll learn during the coming year.
 
As many of you know, as of July 1st, Tom Pompei has left NHS for a position at Holy Cross High School. While he will be greatly missed, I’m so excited that Brian Mariano has taken on the dean of students role. His experience with the high school will provide for a seamless transition, and I can’t wait for him to bring his warm energy and tireless commitment to our students to this role. In addition Brian’s transition, we will be welcoming nine new teachers to our faculty this year, and can’t wait for the students to meet them.
 
With this letter, I’d like to highlight three important changes to be aware of as we move towards the first day of school. The first is a small change to our bell schedule; beginning this year, students will no longer have regularly scheduled homerooms. While there may be some days (such as the first day of school) that we might run a special homeroom schedule, this means that typically your first class every day will start right at 7:30, so please make every effort to be at school on time. Daily announcements will happen during flex time. Speaking of flex time, the second change that students should be aware of is that they will have the ability to schedule their flex times this year using a service that the school has purchased; students will receive instruction on how to do this during the first week of school. Finally, we are so excited to be able to offer free breakfast and lunch to all students this year, regardless of financial need. Students will notice a new breakfast kiosk in the gym lobby that provides a second location to grab food before school and a new “grab and go” station in the cafeteria that will serve additional options during lunch waves. Parents, this means that you will not need to complete an application for your student to receive breakfast or lunch this year.
 
Please note that on the first day of school this year, we will run a special schedule with all eight periods that includes an extended homeroom to distribute important paperwork. Our regular block schedule will begin on the second day of school, and students will meet in their advisories for the first seven school days of the year.
Chromebooks will be distributed within the first two weeks of school.
 
I have included some other important reminders for the start of the year below. As always, a complete description of all policies and procedures can be found in the NHS student handbook, which can be found on our website as well as in the agenda planner your student will receive on the first day of school. I am so excited to see everyone on August 28th! If you have any questions or concerns before the year begins, please don’t hesitate to give me a call or send an email.
 
Best,
John Harris
Principal
 

Grade Policy

The minimum passing grade is 70.

Dress Code:

All students should be dressed and groomed in a neat, modest, safe and appropriate manner. Shoes must be worn at all times. Torn, tattered clothing that exposes skin will not be allowed. The following items do not support the educational environment, may cause safety issues, and are not allowed:
  • shorts or skirts more than five inches above the knees
  • low cut or midriff tops that expose cleavage or stomach area
  • “A” shirts/muscle shirts, halter tops/dresses or strapless tops/dresses
  • spaghetti straps, tank tops with straps less than 2” wide
  • low slung pants; pants should sit at the natural waistline
  • any top, pant, short or shirt that exposes undergarments or is see-through
  • clothing which prints vulgarities, promotes illegal activity, displays pictures or words or printed website links that advertise or imply drugs, alcohol or weapons, or displays discriminatory words or gestures
  • slippers, pajama tops or bottoms, leotards, leggings, or tights that substitute for pants
  • coats and all forms of outerwear, including outerwear vests, during the school day
  • scarves, gloves, sunglasses during the school day
  • hats, hoods, headbands during the school day
  • pants or shirts with tears/holes that expose skin
  • chains, belts with ornaments or jewelry that can injure another person
  • any clothing or items worn or displayed that denote gang association are prohibited; including but
    not limited to beads, bandanas, and jewelry
  • costumes of any kind; even for Halloween

IDs:

Students, teachers, and staff must have their IDs on their person in the school. IDs are issued in grade 9 and are valid until graduation. Pictures for students entering grades 9 will be taken free of charge in September, and IDs will be handed-out about ten days later. Students who lose their IDs can order replacements in the main office for a $5 replacement fee. Student IDs will also get you free admittance into any home sporting event. The ID must be presented at the gate. There will be no exceptions to this rule. Without the ID, students will have to pay the ticket price for admittance. IDs are also used at dances and proms to gain admittance.

Fall Testing:

Again this year, all students in grades 9, 10 and 11 will take the PSAT and/or SAT free of charge. The administration are dates are set by College Board and the State Department of Education. This year the fall testing date is October 16, 2019. During this administration grade 9 students will take the PSAT8/9 and students in grades 10 & 11 will take the PSAT.
Here are the advantages to administering these tests:
  • Juniors can be eligible for designation as a Merit Scholar which leads to scholarship assistance
  • Sophomores and Freshmen get a “preview” of what the SAT experience will entail
  • All grades get access to free on-line SAT prep and tutorials through “My College Board” to prepare for the SAT
  • All students will get a detailed report of areas of strengths and weaknesses with their test booklet returned so they can review item by item
  • A plan for teachers to use the item analysis and review of tests will be made so that the students and teachers use this as part of formative assessment data
  • NHS gets a free detailed report of the aggregate of skills and deficit areas so that we can make a comparison to our curriculum in order to analyze for gaps in instruction.
  • October 16th will be an early release day. Therefore, students in grades 9, 10, and 11 will come to school for the usual start time. Students in grade 12 are encouraged to use this day as an excused absence for college visits.

Electronic Reporting:

Now that all student information is on PowerSchool and grades, attendance, and behavior are always current, NHS no longer mails progress reports or report cards home. If you do not know your PowerSchool user name and password, please contact the counseling office. If you still would like to receive paper copies or do not have access to the Internet, please contact the main office and request that report cards be sent home and you will be placed on our mailing list. The dates for the end of quarters will be posted on our website. They are also here for your reference.
 

Reporting Schedule 2019-2020

 
Marking Period Start Date Grades Close Final Marking Term Grade Due
1 (44 days)
Parent conferences 10/16-10/18
8/28/19 10/29/19 11/4/19
2 (43 days) 10/30/19 1/15/20 1/21/20
3 (44 days)
Parent conferences 3/21-3/23
1/16/20 3/19/20 3/26/19
4 (43)days 3/20/20 5/29/20  
Finals (6 days) 6/1/20-6/8/20  6/1/20-6/8/20  6/8/20

Final Examination Policy:

At a teacher’s discretion, any student with a cumulative grade average of 95% or higher may be given an exemption from the final examination. The grade average is computed from the first, second, third & fourth quarters. If a student chooses the exemption, the final grade entered will be the computed average. There is no exemption option for final exams given in semester-based courses. Any final exams for semester one courses will be given during the regular school hours in the last few days of the semester.
 
*Dates listed are tentative and are subject to change due to school cancellations.
 
I would also like to highlight some important dates for the high school that will be coming up during the
first few months of the school year:
  • August 21 – Orientation for new students (9 AM – 12 PM) and families (5:30 PM – 6:30 PM)
  • August 28 – First day of school for students
  • September 19 – Open House at NHS; early dismissal for students
  • October 16 – PSAT Testing for all grade 9, 10 & 11 students
  • October 16-19 – Parent Conferences; early dismissal for students
  • November 5 – No School – Teacher Professional Development
  • November 11 – No School – Veteran’s Day
Please note that this year school will be in session on Columbus Day, and that there will be no school on
the day before Thanksgiving.
 
The full calendar is on our website and you are encouraged to check the web site often for important announcements and information. Our student newspaper is also full of news from around the school:
NHS Greyhound.