We had a great week - though another short week here at UHS. We have a few updates as we get ready for midyear exams and the start of another semester, with information that will be relevant for both our current students and those who will be joining us next year.
COLLEGE NIGHT FOR JUNIORS
College Night for juniors and their parents on Wednesday, February 7 at 6:30 p.m. Paul Lynskey from the Blackstone Valley Education Foundation will be presenting on both admission and financial aid trends - those who attended last year’s event found this to be incredibly worthwhile, practical, and helpful.
The event will take place in the auditorium. We hope you can join us!
Speaking of college, our seniors have already been accepted to 66 colleges and universities! As seniors receive their acceptance letters, we are asking them to bring copies of letters so we can update the wall. They should also include these updates to Naviance.
GRADE 8 RECONFIGURATION UPDATE
We are continuing to move forward with the reconfiguration. This past week, Ms. DeMarco and Mr. Rubin met with several teachers to discuss possible moves for next year, as we consider options for core academics and elective courses. As part of that process, we are updating our Program of Studies to include grade 8 course offerings, update elective courses open to grade 8, and determine which courses will be grouped solely as grade 8.
Additionally, we have been continuing with the process of analyzing our physical space to make sure that we have all needs met. In general, we feel confident in our processes and know that the transition will proceed smoothly.
Mark your calendars, tentatively, for February 5 and February 12, which will be our grade 7 and grade 8 introductory nights, respectively. We will share more details in the coming days and weeks. These nights typically start at 6:30 and end around 8:30. We are hoping to have incoming student course selections input before February vacation, and we will be sending out some more information under separate cover in the next couple of weeks.
To help accommodate the rising grade 8, we have been consistent with a couple of our requests: a new guidance counselor and a world language teacher. We also are hoping to include a new engineering teacher to help support programming for the addition of 120+ students, considering that no other specialist teachers in the allied arts will be following grade 8 to UHS.
In our budget requests, we have some other additions for supplies and materials, but the biggest ticket item for next year will be our reaccreditation. Grade 7 and 8 families, in addition to our upperclassmen, will be learning more about that in the coming months.
One of the questions that has come up has obviously been the role of athletics and extracurricular activities. We will meet with the Class of 2023 (current grade 7) in the spring and fall, town-hall style, to get their feedback on what sort of events and activities they would like to see that are grade-level specific. However, for most of our activities, we plan on integrating the class, such as with yearbook, student council, and other clubs.
The athletic question has been on many people’s minds. While grade 8 will be part of the high school, we plan on integrating grade 8 into programs, some of which have already included that grade (i.e. soccer, tennis, track and field, golf). In some cases, this may allow us to expand into a third level, such as with basketball and baseball. In a sport like football, while the grade 8 students are at UHS, we are exploring options with the MIAA in terms of scheduling - specifically scheduling grades 6-8 into a middle school football schedule, with grades 9-12 participating in JV and varsity programs, but all programs housed through the high school. This would essentially mean no change to our current programming - with the understanding that we will not be able to sustain four teams (middle school, freshman, JV, varsity).
Midyear exams are approaching. Seniors with a grade above 90 are exempt if the course is ending. All students are obliged to participate in midyear exams if the course is a full-year course.
On the last day of exams, the buses will depart UHS at 9:30, before the “makeup” period. Please note that these are half days, to give students opportunity to prepare for exams.
Some parents have, in the past, shared concerns that teachers are still teaching “new material” in the days leading up to exams. We specifically have told the faculty that midyear exams - and the days leading up to them - should not be an excuse for the entire instructional process to stop. If students require support for review, teachers may build in time to do so, but, absent those requests, courses may continue.
Parents may see additional requests from teachers regarding missing work or assignments that are needed in order to come to the end of semester and meet course expectations. If you see these messages, assume positive intent, check iPass, and communicate with the teachers and counselors as the first line of defense.
Finally, we hope to release some exciting news about partnerships that UHS is expanding with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education in the coming weeks, which will augment opportunities for college and career placement. These goals have been part of the district’s agenda long before my arrival here, so bringing these pieces together through a strategic partnership with the Chamber of Commerce, partners in higher education, and opportunities for authentic learning really is exciting. We hope to be able to share this information more publicly and with explicit details in the coming weeks.
Thank you, as always, for the support.
Uxbridge High School