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New Teachers Join CHS
It is exciting to see the sunrise before school begins in the morning again. It is a sure sign that spring is around the corner. I am not just writing today as an ambassador for groundhogs everywhere :-). I am proud to introduce a couple of new teachers to the CHS community. Mr. Keith Moyer began in the Career and Technology Education Department at CHS this week. He is an outstanding educator who is joining us after many years of successful service in the Meriden Public Schools. He is looking forward to teaching the video production courses and building on our strong technology tradition. Mr. Moyer is replacing the position vacated when Mrs. Ludwig left for a middle school position.
Mr. Kevin Faggella will be facilitating the Math Lab for the remainder of the year. If you remember, we initially hired Ms. Youman for that position in December, but shifted her to Ms. Quinlan's schedule when Ms. Quinlan resigned. Ms. Youman will continue to teach Ms. Quinlan's schedule and Mr. Faggella will complete the year in the math lab. Mr. Faggella is a 2013 graduate of Quinnipiac University and will be joining us in mid-March after he fulfills his contractual obligation to New Fairfield High School. He possesses a proven track record of being able to connect with students and teaching math through a variety of strategies until his students reach understanding. Both teachers will be outstanding additions to our faculty and I hope you will join me in welcoming them.
Cheshire High School
Cheshire Performance Standards
Defining Expectations and Critical Skills for Success(Posted 2/8/16)
It was almost 10 years ago when Cheshire High School began creating the Cheshire Performance Standards. The standards were designed to define expectations for students on critical skills for post-secondary success. Educators across the district recognized the profound relevance of these standards and began to systematically integrate them into work from kindergarten through graduation. Unfortunately there was a period of several years where substantial changes driven by new mandates sidetracked progress on the integration of the performance standards. That is until now.
Last year, teachers were asked to start the year by defining the skills and attributes that they wanted all of our graduates to possess upon graduation. There were a broad range of responses including responses like confidence to attack new problems, interpersonal skills, global awareness, communication skills, access and analyze information before forming an opinion, problem solving, and the capacity to adaptability. The interesting part of the exercise was that nearly every single response fit into the Cheshire Performance Standards. When we boiled the list of hundreds down to 25 of the most common responses they were all represented within the Cheshire Performance Standards.
What is perhaps more interesting is that I recently sat with a group of 15 students representing all four grade levels at Cheshire High School. I handed them the list of the 25 critical skills and attributes for graduation that our teachers created and asked them to select their top three. When tabulating the top three choices of our students all but three of the attributes were represented. Interestingly the three that were not selected by the students were research skills, interact with text to support claims, and college level literacy and numeracy. They indicated that they felt those were either redundant to another item on the list or took for granted that our graduates would already possess that skill.
Essentially, there is strong agreement between the skills and attributes that our students would like to possess and our teachers believe they should upon graduation. That underscores the importance of the Cheshire Performance Standards. The Cheshire Performance Standards are Collaborative/Cooperative Worker, Community Contributor, Complex Thinker, Effective Communicator/Producer, Knowledgeable Person, Self-Directed Learner, and Skilled Information Processor.
Having had the opportunity to observe countless hours of instruction at CHS I can tell you that the instruction on developing the skills embedded in the performance standards is happening all of the time. What is not present is a common language around these skills. Nor is there feedback to students or parents about performance. This is the emphasis of our work this year. Each month we are introducing a new performance standard for our students. Each teacher has been asked to emphasize that standard in the classroom and provide student feedback. We are currently piloting our assessment rubric and a method for recording performance in powerschool. It is our goal that we are able to fully adopt performance standards reporting next year. These skills are too important to leave to assumptions.
We send out the performance standard of the month to parents through email. Please take a moment to review that standard. I am certain that you will find a clear connection between each standard and your adult life and work. Take a moment to discuss this with your son or daughter. Seeing your application of these standards will support their understanding of the relevance of the work they are doing. It is important that we partner with our parents to support the growth of our students and we appreciate your support.
For more information on the Cheshire performance standards please visit the Cheshire High School website.
Again, I am Cheshire High School Principal Jeff Solan and I thank you for joining me for this month’s Principal’s Message.
Connecting to Authentic Experiences
The Performance Standards Committee presented at the high school PTO meeting last week. We provided a brief overview of the pilot roll-out of the CHS Performance Standards, explained the initiative with the Performance Standards developmental rating form (see attached) and discussed ways that the community can help. The success of our efforts around developing graduates who meet these standards is grounded in the support of staff, students, parents and the community. Our goal is to assess and give authentic feedback to students that will help them continue to find success beyond high school. Please ask your son/daughter about the Community Contributor and Skilled Information Processor standards. Establish a conversation about their aspirations beyond high school and how these 21st Century skills can help them attain those goals. Sharing how these standards are reflected in your life are also great entry points for conversation. Helping students see how these standards connect to authentic experiences helps them see the relevance in their work at school.
Each month, the Performance Standards Committee, administrators, along with the faculty will introduce one Performance Standard to our students in order to create a common language as well as a comfort with the developmental rating process. This introduction will take place in a designated Monday Advisory period. This month we will focus on the Skilled Information Processor Standard.
We fully welcome parent and student participation in this process. If you feel you would like to be a part of the Cheshire High Performance Standards Committee, please contact Matt Guida at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Math Lab and Performance Standards
Cheshire High School is getting an early jump on some resolutions for the new year. Our long time Math Lab coach, Mr. Ferrelli retired a couple of months back and since that time we have been fortunate to have a long term substitute holding down the reigns. As of late last week however we have officially hired Ms. Elizabeth Youman as a full time replacement. Ms. Youman is a certified math teacher and was previously teaching at Naugatuck High School. She brings outstanding experience particularly in the area of remediation. We are fortunate to have her join our team.
The Cheshire Performance Standards reflect the skills and attributes that allow for success as an adult. Cheshire High School (CHS) faculty have been working over the past couple of years to create a process to embed and evaluate these critical skills for success. These efforts at CHS are designed to build upon the experiences most of our students encountered at the elementary and middle school level within the Cheshire Public Schools. Earlier this month, Cheshire High School teachers began using a rubric (see attached) to assess 21st century skills that reflect our seven Performance Standards. While students will receive feedback on their work, it will not yet be available in PowerSchool. It is our goal to provide teachers with practice and information throughout the remainder of this school year and officially roll out student feedback in PowerSchool next year. As we solicit student, parent, and teacher feedback the attached rubric may change as well.
Each month, the Performance Standards Committee, administrators, along with the faculty will introduce one Performance Standard to our students in order to create common language as well as a comfort with the process. This introduction will take place in a designated Advisory period. This month we are focusing on Community Contributor standard. Please ask your son/daughter their thoughts, ideas, and experiences so we move the conversation beyond the classroom.
Our goal is to assess and give authentic feedback to students that will help them meet the demands of the world. This is an endeavor that involves all stakeholders. If you feel you would like to be a part of the Cheshire High School Performance Standards Committee, please contact Matt Guida at email@example.com. Mr. Guida will also be presenting more information at our PTO meeting at in the CHS Library. We hope to see you there.
On behalf of everyone at Cheshire High School, I want to wish everyone a wonderful holiday season and a happy New Year. Thank you again for all of your support.
It Has Been a Fabulous Fall at CHS
There is much to be thankful for as we enter Thanksgiving week at Cheshire High School. Our Field Hockey team competed admirably landing as runner-up in the Connecticut State Championship this past ! We produced another Broadway caliber performance in our fall play, Much Ado About Nothing. Our students have demonstrated exceptional patriotism and service by honoring over 100 service members and their families on Veterans Day. We raked over 50 yards of their leaves for senior citizens this past weekend and donated 70 pints of blood to the Red Cross. If I were to list every charitable act that our students have participated in this fall my email would need an intermission. We are grateful that our students are in a position to be able to give of themselves to support those in need. We are grateful that our parents and teachers instill a commitment to service. We are grateful of the incredible teachers, coaches, and advisors we have who give of their time, talent, and energy to allow our students and community to benefit from these experiences!
We have many exciting events this week and in the near future that I wanted to share. They are outlined below. I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. Go Rams!
CHS Celebrates Veteran's Day
A Cheshire High School education is about much more than transcripts. It is the sum of experiences designed to make our students prepared to be healthy and productive adults. One key element of that effort is to inculcate a sense of responsibility to be community contributors. We are very proud that we were able to honor over 100 veterans and active service members at Cheshire High School today. Students were welcome to invite veterans to breakfast prior to a special ceremony. Even though the weather drove us inside, we were able to stream live video to the classrooms of our assembly. The presentation was highlighted by patriotic performances from our Ram Band and VIP choir, moving speeches from students, and the deeply personal gratitude expressed by Board of Education Chairman and U.S. Marine, Gerry Brittingham. What made the day more special was the fact that it was almost entirely
On Friday, we will continue to honor veterans at our home football game versus Sheehan High School of Wallingford. There will be a special entrance of both teams and veterans that you will not want to miss. We are also excited that the McDermott family has allowed us to borrow their incredibly large American flag for the ceremony. The special events will begin at approximately 6:40 pm so please arrive early. We are also excited to recognize our Cheshire High School Young Democrats club at halftime. This summer, Senator Chris Murphy presented them with an honor from the High School Young Democrats of America. Our chapter was named the top local high school chapter in America! Just when you thought Friday couldn't get bigger, we are also happy to welcome Cheshire Police Officer Rob Regan and his new K-9 partner Roko to their first CHS event this Friday. They completed their training late this summer and Roko is now ready for the big lights of Cheshire Football.
Finally, on Monday, November 16th, all Cheshire High School students will be taking the developmental assets survey Dr. Florio described in the attached letter that was sent to you in the end of October. I am glad that we are following many districts in Connecticut and across the United States who have used this survey to gather valuable feedback from students. Once returned to us, we look forward to using that information to even better support all of the children of Cheshire. If you have any questions about the survey you may contact either resource below.
Thank you and we look forward to seeing you on Friday.
CHS Student Gmail Accounts Active on October 1
On , students will be provided access to their Google email accounts (Gmail). This functionality will be turned on for all students in grades 7-12. We are excited about this opportunity as an instructional interface with Google Classroom. Students will now be able to receive reminders and be able to communicate with each other and their teacher. The email accounts for grades 7 through 11 will only be allowed to email people in the cheshire.k12.ct.us domain. Students will not be able to receive email messages from anyone from outside of that domain either. Given the engagement that our Seniors have with post-secondary education, employment, and volunteer opportunities we will provide them access to sending and receiving emails outside of the cheshire.k12.ct.us domain.
As is the case for our faculty and staff users, these accounts are not totally private and bound by the Responsible Use Policy of the Cheshire Public Schools. The first email that all of our students will receive is an overview of proper email etiquette and responsible use. We believe that access to this mode of communication will not only enhance the educational experience for our students, but help teach them the vital skill of appropriate communication in the digital age.
The Cheshire Rams varsity football team will be hosting West Haven High School atnight. There was much to be proud of last Friday night as our student athletes competed on the field and our student body turned out in droves to support their peers. Unfortunately, the number of students packed into the two sections traditionally occupied by students far exceeded the capacity. Moreover, the exuberance and competitive nature of our students got to the point that it was embarrassing. While not all students were engaging in inappropriate behavior such as booing the other school's band or tossing items onto the field there were enough to be disappointed by the group. The sheer number of students packed into the area made navigating and monitoring the crowd difficult if not impossible for our administrative team and law enforcement. We are making some changes to ensure the safety and civility of our students. All patrons will receive a stamp on their hand upon entry to the game. Students will be checked for the stamp as they enter the "student section". There is a capacity (approximately 250 people) to the student section as determined in conjunction with the Cheshire Fire Department. Students will permitted in the area on a first come, first serve basis. I hate to enforce these conditions, but the situation toward the end of the game last week became unsafe. Thank you in advance for your understanding and cooperation.
Principal, Cheshire High School
Welcome Back to the 2015-16 School Year!
The faculty, staff, and administration have been working throughout the summer to make sure that our students have a wonderful experience this year. In the life of a school, summer is a time for rebirth. Cheshire High School has identified multiple goals to assist our students, staff, and families in helping us reach our mission of the enhancement of student understanding.
We are continuing to focus on promoting learning opportunities that are project-based and authentic, and we recognize that authentic learning require both tools and time. To that end, our incoming freshmen will be the first class to experience the 1:1 Initiative. Each member of the class of 2019 will receive a Chromebook, and teachers and school leaders are collaborating on the best practices to maximize effectiveness of this technology for communication, learning, and creation. Making strides in these areas will only help enrich the tremendous reputation we hold dear.
From the Superintendent, Dr. Greg Florio
Dear Cheshire Parents/Guardians:
I hope you have had a great summer, but the countdown is on! , the first day of school, is fast approaching.
Our school system looks forward to welcoming our students back for the 2015/16 school year. Our staff continues to work on preparing our schools for the opening. While no major projects took place this summer, there are quite a few smaller projects wrapping up as August winds down. Our buildings will be ready, our staff is excited about a new year, and the buses will roll.
We are excited to announce that many of the paper letters and paper forms previously sent home will now be available to view and complete electronically. Instead of signing paper forms and returning them to the school, parents can simply complete a Universal Signing Agreement online - quickly and easily. We hope that the efficiency of using online documents and the new Universal Signature Agreement will be an improvement. The materials included in the Agreement include the following mandated forms:
The link to the Universal Signing Agreement is located on the Cheshire Public Schools district website: www.cheshire.k12.ct.us. Click on First Day Back to School Documents and submit one Agreement for each of your children attending Cheshire Public Schools. Also on the website, you can find links to other important information such as school accident insurance, PowerSchool instructions and School Calendars (Paper documents are available upon request from your child's school or Central Office.)
I hope you join me in my excitement as a new school year starts!
Greg J. Florio, Ed.D.
Final Exam Schedule & Important Year End Responsibilities
Dear Parents and Students:
Final exams at Cheshire High School will be held according to the following schedule:
Monday through Thursday school begins at 7:30 a.m., and students will be dismissed at 11:45 a.m. The first exam each day is from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. and the second exam, from 9:45 to 11:45 a.m.
Students must be present only for exams and may leave early or come to school late if they have only one exam on a particular day. Bus transportation will be provided before school and to return students home at 11:45 a.m. after the second exam. The cafeteria will be open for students who arrive early for an exam and need a place to study or wait for a bus.
If your child misses an exam due to illness, arrangements to take the exam(s) should be made with the teacher(s). You must call the attendance office at 250-2514 by 8:00 a.m. on the day of the exam to report an absence. Students with unverified absences or who skip an exam will not be permitted to take make-up exams. Encourage your child to give these exams the proper attention by allowing sufficient opportunity for study and preparation and getting enough rest.
Students must return all books and other property belonging to the school before leaving for summer vacation. They should leave their locks secured on their lockers and leave the door in the open position. If they prefer, students may bring the locks home and bring them back at the start of the school year.
It is critical that we have updated contact information for your family. You must verify your personal and emergency information on PowerSchool insuring the accuracy of numbers and emails in case of an emergency and for the distribution of report cards. PowerSchool will not be accessible in July and August, so it is important to do this in June.
Thank you for your attention to this information, and please feel free to call us if you have any questions about the final exam schedule, year-end responsibilities, or entering information in PowerSchool.
Use of E-Cigs Causes Restricted Access to Bathrooms
Dear CHS Parent,
As I indicated in a note I sent home at the end of March, we are concerned about the growing National trend of increased use of E-Cigarettes among adolescents.
Like other local schools, we are a part of that National trend. We have taken significant steps to increase consequences for those in possession of these devises and to educate students around the medical uncertainty or risks of use. While we have made progress we are attempting to fully eradicate E-Cigarette use. Students who bring these devices to school tend to attempt to use them in the lavatories, much to the frustration of the vast majority of students who do not use them.
Beginning tomorrow, we will be restricting access to certain bathrooms and directing students to a bathroom that is available. The open bathrooms will require students to sign in and out. While we hate to restrict access for the majority of students who are doing the right thing, we also want to be able to guarantee them an appropriate environment to use the lavatory. We hope that this is a relatively short lived intervention, but believe it is the best way to ensure a safe and healthy environment for our students.
Parent Forum: What Is My Teenager Thinking?
Cheshire Public Schools will be holding a parent forum titled What Is My Teenager Thinking? #CrackingTheCode. The forum will be held on Tuesday, March 10, 2015 from 5:30pm to 6:30pm at Cheshire High School in Thorp Auditorium. It will feature presentations by Jeff Solan, Cheshire High School Principal; Chris Brown, Director of Pupil Personnel Services; Jennifer Darcy, School Social Worker; Dr. Tracy Hodes, School Psychologist; and Vanessa Montorsi, Cheshire High School Department Chair for School Counseling. The topics of the forum will include, Typical Teenage Development, When To Be Concerned About Your Teen, and Resources and Services to Support Your Teen. There will also be information booths from community agencies that provide supportive services for adolescents and their families.
You can register for the event online at or at https://sites.google.com/a/cheshire.k12.ct.us/2015-parent-forum-what-is-my-teenager-thinking/
Registration is not required ahead of time, but it will help us to know how many attendees we should expect for this event. Those who preregister will be entered into a drawing to win door prizes such as a gift a $50 certificate to Vespucci's, $20 gift certificate to Pops Pizza and some CHS apparel!
We look forward to seeing you on the 10th!
Updated Midterm Schedule
Dear Parents and Guardians:
Re: Revised Midterm Exam Schedule
Due to the inclement weather Midterm exams at Cheshire High School will be held according to the following schedule:
On these four days school will begin at the regular starting time, 7:30 a.m., and students will be dismissed at 11:45 a.m. The first exam each day will be held from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. and the second exam, from 9:45 to 11:45 a.m. No lunch will be served.
Students must be present only for exams and may leave early or come to school late if they have only one exam on a particular day. Bus transportation, however will be provided only before school and to return students home at 11:45 a.m. The cafeteria will be available for any student who must wait for transportation, who arrives early for an exam, or who needs a place to study.
In the event that your student is ill for one exam or more, arrangements to take the exam(s) should be made with the teacher(s). Please call the attendance office at 250-2514 by 8:00 a.m. on the day of the exam to report an absence. Make-up exams are not permitted for students who elect to skip an exam or for those without a verified absence. If inclement weather causes a cancellation of school, the exam schedule will be moved forward one day. Should we have a delayed opening of 90 minutes, the first exam will begin at 9:00 a.m. and end at 11:00 a.m., and the second exam will occur from 12:00 to 2:00 p.m. Students should bring a lunch as no lunch will be served. However, the Commons and cafeteria will be open from 11:00-12:00 as a place for students to eat.
Please encourage your student to give these exams the proper attention. This includes allowing sufficient opportunity for study and preparation, getting enough rest, and for returning all related books and property to teachers in courses which end at the semester.
Thank you for your attention to this information, and please feel free to call us if you have any questions about the mid-term exam schedule.
In the Event of Inclement Weather Monday, January 12th
Dear Parents and CHS community:
Tomorrow's forecast looks like it has the potential to impact school. In the event of a cancellation of school, we will push back midterms from a Tuesday start to Wednesday. That would mean that the last day of midterms would fall on Tuesday, January 20th (there is no school on Monday, January 19th in observation of Martin Luther King Day). Tuesday, January 13th would be a "C" Day and the last regular day of the second marking period/first semester.
In the event that school is delayed by 90 minutes tomorrow we will proceed with exams as originally scheduled. Tomorrow is a "B" day on our schedule.
Helpful Information to Reduce Spread of Sickness
Each fall we are reminded that the cold and flu season will soon be upon us. The information listed below highlights some strategies which will hopefully reduce the likelihood that you or your loved ones get sick. I would remind parents again that we ask that if your child has a fever that they remain home and not return until they have been fever free without the aid of medication for 24 hours. We ask that our employees do the same. Your cooperation will help us maintain a healthy school environment.
Use Common Steps to Avoid Colds and Flu this Season
We are entering cold and flu season this school year and Cheshire Public Schools would like to remind you of steps that can be taken to prevent the spread of viruses among our students and in the community.
We have consulted with our Medical Advisor and with our local public health authority, Chesprocott Health District, to recommend the following suggestions.
· Good hand washing is the best way to prevent catching a cold, flu or respiratory virus.
o Wash hands using soap and warm water and work up a lather for at least 20 seconds.
o Wash your hands before eating or drinking.
o Wash your hands after blowing your nose if you already have a cold to prevent spreading germs to others.
· Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
· Avoid hugging, kissing and sharing drinks, food, cups or utensils with people who are sick.
· Be sure to disinfect surfaces that people frequently touch such as door knobs, light switches, remote controls, telephones, etc., especially if someone in your home is ill.
· If your child is ill with a cold or flu and is having difficulty breathing or if symptoms seem to be getting worse, be sure to contact our primary health care provider for medical advice.
Safety at Drop Off and at Sporting EventsFor those of you who drop off students in the morning, I would ask that you do not let your student out of the car until the vehicle has reached the entry in front of the building. Students exiting the vehicle prior to that point can create an unsafe situation for them and other drivers and ultimately saves very little time. We appreciate your cooperation.
Morning Drop Off
Football Game Ettiquette
Attending night football games is an American rite of passage. The school spirit embodied by the sound of the band, the school colors, and supportive community is uplifting. It is disappointing when even one student makes the poor decision to mare the events with alcohol or smoking.
All of our students have the right attend school or events like this free from smoking or alcohol. We have worked closely with the Cheshire Police Department, Cheshire Fire Department, and the Cheshire High School Athletic Department to review our current practices to further ensure the safety and security of our environment at sporting events. We have put some new steps in place to ensure that all of our students reflect the best in spirit, pride, and carry themselves in a manner reflective of one of the top 500 high schools in America!
Our next home game is this Friday, October 3rd against Sheehan High School. We hope to see everyone there!
In Case of Emergency
I send out a special message through our student newspaper, The Rampage at the beginning of each week. Cheshire High School students work closely with their faculty advisor, Sue Coco to maintain a contemporary website and publish regular hardcopies just like other media outlets. They also break news and information through their Twitter handle @chsrampage. I would encourage you to join them. I also tweet news and information through the @cheshirehigh handle. While I was initially skeptical of twitter it is a great way to learn interesting information about those you follow without being bombarded with annoying emails or texts.
Friday, September 12th was the first time that Cheshire High School has had to engage in an authentic lock down. The experience provided some lessons for us as a school and a district. Our administration, maintenance staff, and hall monitors plan to meet with the Cheshire Police next week to debrief on the incident and make plans for improvement. Communication is one area that I feel we would handle differently going forward. While those of us at CHS realized that the incident that occurred on Friday was safely resolved that message was not received by all in spite of our immediate email. In the future we will be making a Code Red automated phone call to parents as soon as the building is secured after an unscheduled lock down. That being said, I believe it is important to train for lock down as if it were an authentic emergency. We will continue hold lock down drills without announcing them in advance in the same way we train for fire drills to ensure that we develop an automatic and efficient response to either potentially threatening situation. I will be sure that when we do practice our response that we are clear when we initiate the drill to clearly indicate to everyone in the building that it is indeed only a drill.
It is very important that all of your information is updated in Powerschool so that you can ensure receipt of critical information in the event of an emergency. I have attached instructions on how to ensure that your information is accurate. Thank you for your support and cooperation as we strive to ensure that we have effective communication with our students and families.