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NaugatuckHigh School

Welcome back to school

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 2018-2019.

As many of you know, as of July 1st, Jan Saam has retired from the Naugatuck Public Schools after 37 years of service to Naugatuck’s students. While she will be greatly missed, she and I have collaborated closely during my transition into the principal’s role to continue ensuring that each and every student at Naugatuck High School can become the Vision of the Graduate. As I have moved out of the associate principal role, Ms. Kristina Wallace, our new associate principal, has been hard at work integrating herself as a member of our faculty, administrative team, and community. In addition, seven new teachers will be joining our faculty. While I’m confident that these staffing changes will continue to move our school forward in a positive direction, I’m also thankful for the incredibly strong community of administrators and educators returning to NHS and for the Vision of the Graduate which anchors our work.

With this letter, I’d like to highlight some important changes to be aware of as we move towards the first day of school on August 27th . To begin, we’re very excited to begin providing a Chromebook to every student for the academic year. These devices have been in use by students and teachers at NHS for several years, and our 1-to-1 initiative will ensure that each student has access to this technology in every class and at home. Students will be issued a Chromebook, charger, and case during the first week of school that they will be responsible for throughout the year; the equipment will be returned each summer for maintenance and repairs. On the first day of school, students will come home with detailed policies and procedures surrounding their Chromebooks as well as a parent agreement – please keep an eye out for this paperwork.

Providing each student with a Chromebook allows us to implement another change related to our technology policies; this year, we will be enforcing an “away for the day” policy for smartphones and personal devices. Last spring, a committee of teachers, counselors, social workers, and administrators worked to review a growing body of research showing the detrimental outcomes that smartphones and social media tend to have on learning, and drafted the following policy in order to better protect our students from these effects:
 
All personal electronic devices must remain off and out of sight between 7:30 AM and 2:00 PM, including during passing times and study halls. Student lunch waves are the exception to this rule. 
First offense: Students may pick up their device from the dean's office/security after 2:00 PM; parents will be notified of the offense.
Second offense: Parents may pick up the device after 2:00 PM.
Third and subsequent offenses will require parents to pick up the device and may result in in-school
suspensions or other appropriate consequences at the discretion of the administration.

I have developed a separate document which has been sent with this letter to more fully outline our rationale for this change, the research that supports it, and to address what I anticipate will be some frequently asked questions about this new policy.

A third change this year will be to our daily bell schedule. In order to facilitate classrooms where students are deeply engaged in thinking about meaningful, authentic problems, collaborating with peers to explore content, and building relationships with teachers, we are shifting to a “block” schedule. Students will once again be able to enroll in 8 periods; 4 periods will meet each day for 81 minutes, meaning a student will have a given class every other day. The complete bell schedule has been included with this letter.

Finally, Naugatuck High School has revised its attendance policy to align better with other schools in the district. For the 2018-2019 school year, a student’s first nine absences can be excused with parental notification; for subsequent absences, we will require appropriate documentation (outlined in the student handbook) to excuse absences. This year NHS will continue our automated attendance call system. PowerSchool will automatically call every parent/guardian at approximately 10:00 a.m. if students were not in homeroom. We believe it is very important for students to be in school every day, and we want to be sure parents/guardians are aware when the student is not present. We certainly understand that emergencies and illnesses arise, but we also want to make sure you are notified for safety reasons if your child is not here. PowerSchool will also make a second call at approximately 6:00 p.m.

In addition to these changes, I have included some other important reminders 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.


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 10, 2018. 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 10th 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.


Naugatuck High School
Reporting Schedule 2018-2019*

Marking Period Start Date Grades Close Final Marking Term Grade Due
1 (44 days)
Parent conferences 10/18-10/20
8/27/18 10/26/18 11/2/18
2 (43 days) 10/29/18 1/11/19 1/18/19
3 (44 days)
Parent conferences 3/21-3/23
1/14/19 3/19/19 3/26/19
4 (43 days) 3/20/19 5/24/19  
Final exams (6 days) 5/28/19 6/4/19  6/4/19
   
Final Examination Policy: 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.
 

Important Dates

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 22 – Orientation for transfer students
  • August 27 – First day of school for students
  • September 20 – Open House at NHS; early dismissal for students
  • October 10 – PSAT Testing for all grade 9, 10 & 11 students
  • October 17-19 – Parent Conferences; early dismissal for students
  • November 6 – No School – Teacher Professional Development
  • November 12 – 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. Please also bookmark our student newspaper and follow us on Facebook  and Twitter to receive notifications and news from across the district.

I am beyond excited for the year to begin! I hope the rest of your summers are filled with laughter, sunshine, and time with family. See you all on August 27th!

Best,
John Harris
Principal
Naugatuck High School