Wednesday, December 6, 2017

UHS: Water Issue and Building Closure

Good afternoon,


Unfortunately, there was a water main break in the center of town today that has compromised the water supply to Uxbridge High School. Without water in restrooms or facilities here we are unable to run our athletic practices or any extracurricular activities. Basketball practices for the afternoon are in the process of being rescheduled to another site, and other after-school practices, rehearsals, etc. have been canceled. We are closing the building as of 2:45 p.m.

We anticipate the problem being resolved soon and will be in touch with any details as they arise.

Thank you for your cooperation and understanding.


Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Google Classroom Hack

Good afternoon,

Earlier this afternoon, we became aware of a damaging, profane, and inappropriate text that was posted to Google Classroom. Working swiftly, Mr. DiMeglio, our assistant principal, was able to collaborate with our technology team to identify its origin and confirm that a student had, in fact, "hacked" Google Classroom and posted the message, which served to undermine the teacher, the community, and our core values as a whole. Indeed, beyond the violation of the acceptable use policy, actions like this underscore the need for us to be vigilant with student behaviors, as the post was then saved and shared on various social media platforms, causing an inappropriate chain reaction and disrupting school as a whole.

We assure you that we are aware of the situation, know that it was not, in fact, the work of a teacher, and was the unfortunate decision of a student with whom we will be working in terms of consequences. When situations like this violate our collective trust, they are dealt with swiftly and with an appropriate response. If there were to be a positive, it is that all those with whom we dealt regarding this situation were honest and frank in their admission of wrongdoing.

If you hear any scuttlebutt, please redirect and assure the students and colleagues that this was, in fact, the nefarious work of a single student and that the authorities are now involved. Your assistance in reminding students that they must follow appropriate guidelines and procedures, be it online or otherwise, is appreciated.

Thank you for your continued support.

Sincerely yours,

Michael Rubin, Principal

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

A Time for Thanks

When I was a teacher, coach, and assistant principal at Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School, I had the privilege of working with a social studies teacher and football coach, Hall of Famer Dave Driscoll, who would be charged with concluding our annual Thanksgiving pep rally with a rousing cheer for our school, reminding everyone that Thanksgiving is the "best day of the year." There were many reasons why I agreed with his sentiments - be it the football, the food, or the family, there were so many aspects of the day that resonated personally with many of us in the room (for some of us, it was all three).

Thanksgiving has always been about family and gratitude to me - even in the days when I was a small kid being hauled off to the Malden-Medford football game, rooting against the Mustangs as a tiny Golden Tornado, wearing our gold and blue, and then heading home for a great meal, time with the family, and, of course, a nap. Not much changed for most of us in the stands, and these were traditions that united generations, whether it was my late grandfather telling his annual story of getting into the Thanksgiving game between Chelsea and Everett in 1943 and promptly fumbling a kickoff, to the shoulder-to-shoulder packing of the stands to accommodate thousands at Pearl Street or Hormel Stadium in what always seemed to be the coldest day of the season. People walked around wishing each other a "Happy Thanksgiving," and, inevitably, people would share stories of their families, happy times over the past year, and what was happening at college, for those more recent alumni. Those who weren't at a game were home or traveling to family - there was a connectedness of family that seemed to transcend the result. In fact, though I went to every game for about 20 years, I can barely remember who won most of them.

As I've gotten older, and my tradition has moved from the gold and blue of MHS to green and gold to blue and white and now to black and orange, the themes of the day have not changed, nor has the message of gratitude escaped me.

We spend a lot of time at UHS asking of our students, our staff, our parents, and our community. We try to extend our appreciation in different ways, knowing full well that whenever the next time for a request comes up, people step up. In times of need, people help each other out - it's just what we do and how we do. We use words like "thank you" an awful lot, and we use them as words not just to say, but as part of the fiber of our core values.

So as we face successes and victories, uncertainty and disagreement, I am thankful for the conversations, the dialogue, and the open-mindedness with which most people approach our unique circumstances. I am appreciative of a hard-working, committed, and genuine faculty and staff that focuses daily on the best interests of students;  administrator colleagues who help guide through challenges and provide regular counsel through the not-so-easy times; the students and parents who push me to act in the best interests of school and community every single day - even when they don't necessarily think that is the goal and when things seem to be running counter to their individual wants; and, finally, a family that tolerates the long hours of the schedule that we put in to make sure that UHS runs smoothly and that the ship is always on course.

From our entire UHS family, we wish everyone a happy, healthy Thanksgiving holiday. May we all reflect with gratitude on the opportunities we have behind us, within us, and before us.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Weekly News and Notes

As we turn the corner into November, we thank everyone for their patience this week, having already experienced a weather cancellation and a disruption to our normal routine! We do have a few updates this week with some happenings from UHS.

GUIDANCE

Thanks to everyone who attended the Financial Aid Night on Wednesday. If families were unable to attend, we did send resources and the presentation home earlier this week, and we hope that parents will take an opportunity to contact Mr. Barry or Ms. Smith if questions arise.
Speaking of Ms. Smith, she will be with us until the holiday break in December, as Ms. Hampton remains out on her maternity leave. We mention counselors at the start of this update, as we head to the end of the first quarter and families will no doubt be looking for support in terms of college applications, post-secondary planning, or fixing any grading concerns that come up at the end of a quarter.
Finally, the next several weeks will see our counselors working in class with underclassmen, so be on the lookout for some of those resources and updates.

ACADEMICS

First quarter grades do close on Monday, and report cards will be posted. In addition to grades, teachers will report on student progress toward meeting schoolwide learning expectations. Those rubrics can be found online, and they are frequently measured against specific assignments by teachers. If parents see that students are “not yet meeting” or are “approaching” these standards, these become good conversation starters with teachers, as “meeting” and “exceeding” standards within the context of the class or department are measured backwards from the ideal traits of our graduates. We hope that these comments provide you with more context about the habits of learning than the “old” report card comments, of which many of you are familiar (i.e. “prepared well for class,” “cooperative,” and “could improve with more effort”).

ATHLETICS

Congratulations to our field hockey and cheerleading teams, which concluded their “competition” seasons this past week, the field hockey team taking Lunenburg to double overtime before falling 1-0 and the cheerleading team having a strong showing at the SWCL championships last weekend. Our boys soccer team advanced past Montachuset Regional Tech with a 2-1 win on Friday and will face Holy Name on Monday at 2:00; the girls soccer team visits Tahanto on Tuesday at 2:30. Finally, our football team narrowly missed the playoff round of Division 5 based on power rankings, but improved to 6-3 with a win over a very strong Oxford team on Friday. A reminder that we do host Northbridge in the annual Thanksgiving rivalry game, and information about ticket sales will be forthcoming. Finally, our cross country teams will compete in the divisional championship this week, having captured championships at the SWCL meet last year - the boys capping an undefeated season, and the girls surging past Grafton!
Winter registration has opened. Please make sure that student-athletes are registered through FamilyID.
Unfortunately, girls basketball coach Ed Healey had to resign this week due to family reasons. We thank Coach Healey for his hard work with our Spartans over the past two seasons, and an immediate search for his replacement has commenced. Interested candidates can forward cover letter, resume, and references to Mr. Calarese.

MCAS, AP, SAT Results

We recently posted and sent MCAS results to parents of students who took the MCAS last year. We are pleased with many of our MCAS results, and we have seen significant growth in some areas of the SAT. In the coming weeks, we will be articulating plans for the integration of additional college-level courses at UHS, and we are also researching ways that we can expand innovation andcareer pathways, based on the work that our school team completed on our recent trip to Nashville Public Schools, while working with the One8 Foundation and our higher education partners.

Finally, we thank you for patience with Monday’s cancellation. We know that cancellations and delays can wreak havoc with family schedules. In that spirit, just remember that there is no school on Friday, November 10 in observance of Veterans’ Day.

Have a great weekend,

Michael Rubin, Principal

Friday, October 27, 2017

Weekly News and Notes

Instead of the cursory update this week regarding "updates" and "events," I wanted to include a couple of notes that should make community members very proud. I hope you will take a minute to read this week's message.

Often times, communities like ours become places where it is easy to hear the rancor and discontent of a few people, and let that drown out the good. This week, we were able to enjoy so much of what makes Uxbridge a great place, and we share some of the reasons why our student-body and community can be such a source of pride.

I was able to speak with several students this week and receive a couple of emails from parents, regarding college acceptances and scholarship awards that have rolled in. For educators PK-12, and certainly for parents, the joy that comes in seeing that letter (or, as it is now, the update on the online application portal) is validating, exciting, and invigorating. It speaks to a process that started with first steps, sounds, and letters, and it marks the first step of a new experience and a life that is ready to soar. It is October - which means that we not only have many successes left to achieve this year and many more moments like these, but also can start feeling good about the process and the work so many of us do in support of the students.

At the same time, our school is simply buzzing with action. Walking through dozens of classes this week, our observations are of classes engaged in learning, with students solving problems, teachers structuring inquiry-based activities, and the learning happening in diverse ways. The vision many people would have had for the building, where disruptive behaviors are minimal, where educators are working to their fullest capacity, where our core values and learning expectations can be seen on display at any given moment - is starting to come to fruition. We know the results will come, and we are seeing improvements in many areas, all of which have significant impact on achievement.

Finally, today we hosted a building study team from Wahconah Regional High School and the Central Berkshire Regional School District, which is looking at UHS as a model school as it starts its feasability study. We know that UHS was not built in a day, that programs and facilities ought to be married in excellence, and that we have a place that should be a source of pride for anyone who lives in this town or calls UHS his or her alma mater. The remarks from people as they left today was that our school left them "inspired," that the "students are awesome," that "people are really happy and good to each other here," and, most importantly, that we "have a great place."

Buildings are brick and mortar and wires. Schools are about people. We have the makings of a strong culture here, where the lessons, the students, the activity, and the buzz are all worthy of the community's investment and trust. I will walk out of UHS today feeling validated in the work we are doing, proud of a staff that is shifting its mindset and enhancing the skills of students, and grateful for a student body that is pushing itself toward new standards, every single day.


MEFA Financial Aid Night

MEFA Financial Aid Night will be held on Wednesday, November 1, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Parents/guardians of seniors should attend.

Senior Play
The Senior Play, The Curious Savage, will be held on Thursday, November 2, beginning at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $3 for students and senior citizens, $5 for adults.

Football Can Drive
The football team is collecting canned goods for donation to the local food pantry. Please bring items for donation - there is a box in the main foyer of the building.

Finally, many thanks to our booster club parents, for their creation of signs for our senior student-athletes, who wrap up regular season play here at home this week. Playoff brackets will be posted next week, so stay tuned for updates of postseason play!