A monthly e-newsletter to keep you connected to your District
a NOTE from the superintendent...
In line with our Strategic Plan's focus on health and wellness, my wish for 2020 is that everyone enjoys a happy and healthy New Year. Since we all know that we still need to do our part to make that wish a reality, this year's holiday homework assignment highlight is a learner-centered twist on a popular theme... Eat, Drink, and Be Merry.
Holiday Recess Homework Assignment
- EAT: A healthy and balanced diet provides the nutrients needed for proper brain development and growth resulting in greater focus, enhanced memory and substantially improves overall learning. We can help our children by modeling healthy choices when buying and serving food.
- DRINK: In addition to the physical benefits of drinking water, proper hydration is also linked to improved energy levels, cognitive function, and mood. Sugary drinks actually exacerbates dehydration, so to assist our children, encourage them to consume water every day.
- BE MERRY: Happiness is directly associated with the motivation to learn and the release of dopamine and serotonin has positive effects on the brain's ability to problem solve, make connections, and memorize information. Therefore, the best thing we can do to support this endeavor is to smile and laugh ... ALOT!
On behalf of the Board of Education and all the administrators of the Westwood Regional School District, we want to wish our entire community a wonderful holiday season.
Grade 8 Transition COnfirmed
At the December 19 meeting of the Board of Education, the Superintendent confirmed that the current and continued progress on the Middle School expansion project will allow the district to transition Grade 8 to WRMS in September 2020. Therefore, plans will proceed through the remainder of the year to budget, staff and prepare for the students currently in Grade 7 to remain at WRMS next year! At the January 16, 2020, Board of Education meeting, the administration will present the proposed plans for September followed community presentations shortly thereafter.
Westwood Regional School District has partnered with the national nonprofit, YouthTruth, to help us hear feedback from our parents, staff, and students about what we are doing well, and how we can improve.
From January 21 to January 31, the YouthTruth Family survey will be open and we want to hear from you! Once the survey is open, we will send out an email with the link to the survey and any additional details. The survey takes about 15 minutes and your anonymous response will be combined with responses from other parents/guardians throughout the district. Thank you in advance for your feedback! It is a gift that helps us continually improve.
TECHNOLOGY & LEARNING
4-Cs ... what do they look like?
In the September 2017 edition of the Cardinal Connection, we introduced our endeavor to study and incorporate 21st Century Skills of collaboration, creativity, communication, and critical thinking (a.k.a. the 4 Cs) throughout all grade levels and content areas. Since then, we have invested human, fiscal, and technological resources to provide the tools and professional development necessary to effectively and responsibly integrate technology into teaching and learning. Take a look at the video to see and hear a sampling of experiences in our district.
WWRSD 1:1 Initiative UPDATE
It's been over a year and three months and the 1:1 Chromebook initiative has been an amazing success. Currently, all of the students enrolled at the Jr/Sr High School and WRMS have a Chromebook assigned to them. The students have quickly recognized the benefits of the 1:1 initiative. Said ninth-grader Erin Morrison, “Having access to a take-home Chromebook has allowed me easier access to all of my schoolwork, especially when traveling or being absent from school. Almost all the assignments I need are always accessible so I could do them at any time. Also, having a chromebook has lessened the number of books I carry around with me during the day.” Students have 24-hour access to all of their school material, teachers have access to student’s work and both can communicate and collaborate on an assignment outside of school hours. High School students also have the ability of keeping their Chromebooks throughout the summer in order to complete all summer assignments; this will ensure that all summer work is completed in a timely manner.
At the high school, the program is very convenient for all. Principal Frank Connelly recognizes that has been a benefit to the High School. Connelly states “The program is running smoothly, I’m impressed with the uptick in lessons that center on technology. The entire tech department has made the transition a smooth one and the helpdesk has worked with the students in a seamless fashion.” Moreover, teachers have embraced the initiative as more and more teachers are assigning technology-based assignments. Teachers and administrators rave about the program, administrators agree that overall the program has been wonderful, all students have taken ownership of the device. “I believe the Chromebooks have been effective. They allow students to stay organized and keep all class materials in their Google Drive as opposed to having to carry binders for every class. The Chromebooks also gives students access to class material when they are at home are out sick,” said Ryan McGuirk, 10th-grade teacher of English.
At WRMS, the 1:1 initiative has been equally successful. In the future, Shelly Laforgia, principal at WRMS expects things to get even better with the initiative. “I look forward to Google Chrome offering more educational applications and for lessons to become more technology-based, and for rigor to increase,” said Laforgia. “Also I am looking forward to Google keeping pace with its competitors and offering more educational products.” The success of the 1:1 initiative could not have gone as smoothly if it were not for the tireless efforts of the district Technology Department. Michael Rightmire, the District Technology Coordinator stated, “ students use their Chromebooks often and teachers continue to create more and more digital lessons that take advantage of technology available.” Chromebook procedures and other information can be found on the Westwood Regional School District's 1:1 Portal: https://sites.google.com/wwrsd.org/1-to-1/.
december MEETING highlights
The December 19 Board of Education meeting featured updates, performances, and recognitions.
To begin the meeting, the Superintendent's report included an update on the Middle School Expansion project including the confirmation that we are planning to official transition the 8th Grade to the Westwood Regional Middle School. The Westwood Regional High School Chamber Singers performed seasonal favorites in the spirit of the holiday.
Awards and Recognitions: Middle and High School students' for the month of October, recognition of Board of Education members for their dedicated years of service to the District, as well as student artwork showcasing the artistic creativity among some of our High School Graphic Design classes.
Click HERE to view all the agenda documents for the meeting).
UPCOMING MEETINGS: January 2, 2020 at 7 PM - Annual Organizational Meeting & January 16 at 7:30 PM - Regular Public Meeting
STUDENT ARTWORK ON DISPLAY
Westwood Regional Jr./Sr. High School Introduction to Digital Arts students, under the direction of Ariel Rudin: Nicholas Alefanti (9), Tobias Ballester (10), Luke Burns (9), Jamie Carbone (9), Anthony Constantinides (11), Yianni Constantinides (9), Samantha Deigan (9), Jake Grinkovitch (9), Dasia Jones (10), Chiara Krebs (11), Christopher LoPiccolo (9), Jimin Park (9), Jason Proot (12), Angelyna Rodriguez (9), Aidan Rothbart (10), Nicholas Sandiford (9), Kirk Simeonidis (9), Conner Sklavounos (9).
STUDENTS OF THE MONTH
Middle School: Zachary Risbud (gr 6) & Bryce Hallgren (gr 7)
Jr/Sr High School: Ashley Molina (gr 8) & Jaira Mejia (gr 11)
JR/SR HIGH SCHOOL CHAMBER SINGERS
Members of the Chamber Singers from the Jr./Sr. High School performed a variety of holiday favorites, under the direction of Mr. Joseph Fritz
RETIRING SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS
Trustee of the Board of Education, recognized for his nine years of dedicated service to the Westwood Regional School District
Trustee of the Board of Education, recognized for his three years of dedicated service to the Westwood Regional School District
RECENTLY ADOPTED POLICIES
The following Board policies were approved:
- P&R 2431.4 - Prevention and Treatment of Sports-Related Concussions and Head Injuries (M)
- P 7481 - Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS also known as drones)
MARK YOUR CALENDARS
2019-2020 School Calendar
- 23-31: District Closed
- 1: District Closed
- 2: Board of Education Annual Organizational Meeting
- 16: Board of Education Regular Public Meeting
- 20: Schools Closed for Students (Staff PD)