Welcome Back!

Welcome Back!

It's my pleasure to welcome back the communities of Acton and Boxborough to another school year.  As always it was a busy summer, as well as start to the year.  As we enter the third week of September, I feel like we are just beginning to establish a rhythm and regularity to our day; overall I am very pleased with our transition back.

Students officially returned on August 28th when we welcomed our ninth grade students to their first day of high school.  Ninth graders began the day in the auditorium where they were greeted by the Administration and entertained by several student performance groups.  Following the auditorium, students met in their advisories where they started the process of getting acquainted with their advisors.  Students then followed an abbreviated class schedule which included lunch and a meeting with their school counselor.  With the support of the PTSO, ninth graders finished the day at an ice cream social on the lower fields.

I want to take a…

Happy Summer

As this year comes to a close, I wanted to take a moment to highlight just a few of the bright spots of the 2018-2019 school year.
World Language Week offered students and others a variety of opportunities during the annual week celebrating languages.
The Artification of A-B, an effort led by the Fine Arts Department to display out artists' talents in several common areas throughout the high school through mural paintings and art displays.

At the 19th annual Community Service Awards Night in January, 760 students were recognized for completing 25 or more hours of volunteering -- over 76,000 hours in all.

The PACE Special Education Program ran a weekly coffee shop - Brew HaHa - for faculty in which students gained hands-on experience in food service, money-handling, and customer relations.
Teachers from across the school district led anti-bias workshops throughout the year based on the framework from Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity (SEED).  We will continue to use this model n…

A Week of Wellness

Last week ABRHS celebrated one of my favorite annual traditions: Wellness Week. A collaborative effort, with the Wellness Club and Physical Education and Health Departments at the helm, events were planned each day to promote balance, enjoyment and, of course, wellness. For me, warmer temperatures and sunnier days have been welcome features after what seemed a long and cold winter!

Much like the first day of school or New Year's Day, I welcome spring as an opportunity to recommit to wellness. It's a time to take stock of what routines and relationships promote healthy states and those that might present challenges to being our best selves. In thinking of our students, I hope that they were inspired by last week's theme and took a moment this vacation week to reflect on how they are feeling and set some personal goals for the final quarter of the school year.

As educators, we have many conversations with students about circumstances that impede their paths to wellness. Comm…

What Do Labels Do?

All too often we hear about different types of students:  high performing, struggling, honors, college- prep, college-bound, special education, English Language Learners.  Like any label, we use these labels to help us understand.  With benign intentions, we use labels to help us categorize our students.  However, I recently read an article from Education Week by Peter DeWitt entitled "Are Labels Preventing Students from Succeeding?" in which he asserts that these labels are in fact detrimental to student achievement and success. Dewitt raises the question, "Does the process of labeling students create a glass ceiling for those students?" In essence, when we label students "struggling" are we really limiting their chances of success by lowering the bar of expectation?  I often wonder this about our own ABRHS when we track students into different leveled courses.  Are students put into a box when they are labeled by the level course they take? There is ab…

Professional Learning Days - What do the teachers do on Professional Days?

In the second blog entry for the school year, we would like to share some recent work by the ABRHS Faculty.  On November 6th, the high school held its Professional Learning Day (PLD) for staff.  Professional learning happens in many forms; it can include outside classes and workshops, book groups, teacher observations, college and university classes, professional presentations and guest speakers.  Often times consultants and experts from a particular field of study may be brought to the school to meet with teachers.  Our most recent PLD we relied on our faculty to share their professional skills and knowledge with colleagues through a series of seventy-five-minute seminars.  Further, in this blog, I will share the list of teacher offerings; as you read through the list please reference the alignment with the three school improvement goals listed below:

School Improvement Goals
Goal 1:  School and Student Wellness
We will put our students' well-being at the center of teaching and l…

Off To A Good Start

In my opening day message to staff, I spoke of how excited I was to get the building up and running.  August is always a long month for me and I delight in our students return.  The start of the year is never perfect and never will be.  Operating a school with 1900 students and 200 faculty will always be filled with a level of unpredictability.  We are extremely fortunate to have great kids and great staff, but that doesn't mean that challenges don't arise on a daily basis.  Despite our daily challenges, the year seems overwhelmingly positive and I want to share with you some of the reasons why.

Ninth Grade Orientation Day
On September 4th the high school welcomed our ninth grade students to their first day of school.  The day was coordinated by our Counseling Department and included roughly one hundred upperclassmen known as "Student Ambassadors." Ninth grade students were welcomed in the auditorium by the Administration and Class Advisors.  Students were given a pre…

Welcome, Summer.

One of the many things about being in education is that there's a first day of school and a last day of school.  The opening and closing of the school year is always an exciting time and provides the unique opportunity for goal setting and reflection, a luxury not found in other professions.

With the end of the 2017-2018 academic year nearly upon us, I've spent some time looking back at this past year.

The crux of Mr. Dorey's opening day message to both students and staff encouraged all members of our school community to take care of one another, and I've been thinking about the many different shapes that can take and how I've observed people engaging in large and small acts of caring, supportive and kind behavior.  I've seen student clubs organizing hot chocolate service on cold mornings, random Post-It Notes decorating lockers with different messages of goodwill, students reaching out to trusted adults when concerned about friends, and even surprise tokens a…