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Message from the principal re: 1/25 and 1/26

Good afternoon students and families,

On Friday night, I sent you a message discussing the need for time, space, and support to heal over the coming weeks, and this weekend has been one of listening - to students, to parents, and to our teachers - about what our students need immediately beginning on Monday. The overwhelming message I received was that this week, our students need to be able to connect with their adult allies in the building and to have those allies truly listen to them about their experiences, traumas, and needs as we seek to heal and rebuild.

To that end, NHS will run a modified schedule tomorrow and Tuesday. At 7:30, students will report to advisory as usual for attendance and to hear a message from me, and then until 9:30, we will have an open campus so that students (both in person and online) can connect with, and be heard by, their trusted adults in the building. We will have specific spaces for our black students facilitated by black teachers, spaces for students to express themselves through writing, art, or music, spaces for quiet reflection, a space for students to speak directly to myself and the Superintendent, and spaces for students to just be heard by their teachers. A complete list of options and locations will be shared with students in advisory. All of our usual social distancing protocols for COVID will remain in place, and we will run this schedule for two days so that in-person students on each day have the chance to connect. I have told our staff that the most important role of adults tomorrow morning is to listen to students tell us what they need to begin healing, and to validate the emotions they’re feeling right now. We will begin academic classes at 9:30, but will continue to have spaces available with teachers and counselors throughout the day for any students who need it.

Our bell schedule tomorrow will be as follows; DL classes will be shortened so that teachers can convene for a faculty meeting to discuss themes that students have shared throughout the day.
Students report to advisory 7:30
Open campus 7:40 - 9:30
Period 1 9:35 - 10:15
Period 3 10:20 - 11:00
Period 5 11:05 - 11:45
Period 7 11:50 - 12:30
Dismissal 12:30
DL 1 12:30 - 1:00
DL 3 1:00 - 1:30

Tomorrow and Tuesday, we will listen to what our students need to begin healing. Please know that these two days represent just the beginning of our response - both to the specific incident on Friday, and the ongoing racial inequities that exist at Naugatuck High School. As always, I am available to talk on the phone or connect via email; the Superintendent and I are working on plans for a community forum in the coming days as well.


John Harris