Vaping Update

It has been over two years since we last addressed a concern we hear about a lot from parents/guardians, but also from news outlets: Vaping/E-Cigarettes.  Over the past few years, we have seen an uptick in the number of students who are vaping, but we have also learned a tremendous amount about the health risks that are associated with e-cigarettes.  I want to use this blog post to expand on some of the ideas shared in our blog from February 2018, which can be found here.

The Law 
I spoke with our School Resource Officer, Detective Keith Campbell, about some of his concerns regarding vaping.  He also took time to clarify some of the laws around vaping, particularly as it pertains to teen use.  As many of you know, earlier this fall Governor Charlie Baker placed a temporary ban on the sale of all nicotine and marijuana vaping products and devices.  This ban was in effect until December 2019.  In the interim, Massachusetts lawmakers enacted a law outlawing the saleof flavore…

A New Look For Summative Assessments

The end of the second marking term at AB historically marks the beginning of the mid-year exam week.  A mid-year exam, in theory, is a summative assessment designed to measure student's cumulative acquisition of knowledge and skills over the first half of the school year (roughly 18 weeks).

In past years, two summative exams of approximately ninety minutes in length were given each day over one week for every class students were enrolled in.   At the end of the school year, the high school also held a final exam week that operated similarly to the mid-year week but covered the second semester of material.  The combined mid-year and final exams accounted for 20% of each student's final grade.  The total time spent reviewing and administering mid-year and final exams accounted for 12 school days.

As we considered this year's trial of the Seven Drop One Bell Schedule, the topic of mid-year and final exam week was brought into the discussion.  Although overall instructional t…


It's that time of year when many of us think about what we are grateful for.  When I think of the things I am grateful for here at AB there are so many that come to mind.

Students Coming Together To Display Their Passions
I am grateful for the many positive ways students come together this time of year and celebrate their talents.

Proscenium Circus just put on a very successful production of Disney's Twice Charmed and Freaky Friday.  Both were magical:  The acting, the stage, the hair, the make-up, and the lighting.  My seven-year-old was as entranced as I was and has been talking about the dress formations in Twice Charmed and singing numbers from Freaky Friday ever since.

Cabaret and Science Family Night, which both occur on the same Friday every year, give our students a chance to show off and thrive as individuals and groups and to inspire the younger generation and leave the older generation in awe.  As a parent of young ones both events constantly leave me thinking how t…

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…