Spring presentations to target critical school issues: parent session on teen anxiety, drug/alcohol session for students

The Westwood High School PTO has generously agreed to fund two key speaker presentations this Spring, one aimed at parents and another aimed at students. 

Here are the key details about both presentations:

  • FOR PARENTS: "Anxious Kids, Anxious Parents: Strategies to Stop the Worry Cycle", presented by Lynn Lyons
    • When: May 11, 2015 6:30 to 8:00 p.m.
    • Where: WHS Little Theater
    • Overview: In this workshop, parents and educators will learn how to identify patterns in families that increase anxious behavior, as well as the common pitfalls that trap parents, educators, and therapists in the worry cycle. Ms. Lyons will explain effective, concrete, and often counterintuitive steps for both parents and children that help families develop anxiety-busting skills.
    • About the presenter: Lynn Lyons, LICSW has been a psychotherapist for over 23 years and specializes in the treatment of anxious children and their parents, with a special interest in interrupting the generational patterns of anxiety in families. She is the coauthor with Reid Wilson, Ph.D, of Anxious Kids, Anxious Parents: 7 Ways to Stop the Worry Cycle and Raise Courageous and Independent Children and the companion book Playing with Anxiety: Casey’s Guide for Teens and Kids
  • FOR STUDENTS: "Peer Pressure, Risk-taking and Traffic Safety", presented by Cara Filler
    • When: May 13, 2015 9:00-10:00,10:00-11:00 a.m.(split assembly)
    • Where: WHS Auditorium
    • Overview: Drawing from an immense personal tragedy in her own life, watching her identical twin sister die in a car crash the day after their 18th birthday, Cara's delivers inspiring presentations focused on dealing with peer pressure, being a role model, avoiding negative risks such as drugs and alcohol and being unique. Using humor and touching stories, Cara captivates her audience and delivers a message of positivity. 
    • About the presenter: For the last 18 years, Cara has shared her powerful positive leadership and prevention programs with more than 2 million people in 5 countries. She has become one of the most sought after female motivational speakers in her field. She empowers students, teachers, parents and complete strangers to make everyday choices count. She comes to Westwood on the high recommendations of neighboring communities like Wayland and Belmont.

I look forward to seeing parents at the Lynn Lyons presentation and to sharing with you any helpful tips or takeaways from Cara's visit.



News from the Guidance Office 

Seniors are encouraged to apply for the Westwood Community Scholarships & Awards. Applications are available on-line and are due April 9th.  There are several other scholarship applications available in the Guidance Office including the Sports Hall of Fame, Joanne Hadalski Student Council (formerly Sheehan), Westwood Friends of Performing Arts and Celestial Masonic Lodge Scholarships.  Seniors should check Naviance for additional scholarship opportunities.
Koplik Certificate of Mastery
Seniors who are eligible for the Stanley Z. Koplik Certificate of Mastery Scholarship must submit their applications by May 1st.  Additional test requirements (SAT Subject Test and/or AP exam) apply. Please contact your child’s guidance counselor for eligibility details.
Juniors who are eligible for the Koplik scholarship next year received a letter and application outlining details. Applications are due May 1, 2016. The letter is sent out one year in advance to make families aware of additional requirements.
Boston National College Fair
For students who were unable to attend the TEC College Fair in March, or for those who did attend and would like to meet with even more college representatives, the Boston National College Fair may be a good option. The Fair will be held on April 9th & 10th at the Boston Convention Center. Over 350 colleges will be represented. More information can be found
Upcoming Standardized Test Dates
Juniors should register for the ACT and/or SAT on-line as soon as possible to ensure that they will take the test close to home. 

  • Students can register for the ACT on
    • June 13th at other area high schools (registration deadline of May 8th)
  • Students can register for the SAT and/or SAT Subject Tests on
    • May 2nd at Westwood High School
    • June 6th at other area high schools (registration deadline of May 8th)
Freshmen and sophomores who plan on taking an SAT Subject Test may register for the June 6th date and take the exam at an area high school.
Tenth Grade Workshops
Guidance counselors presented two-day Career Workshops in the tenth grade Wellness classes.  Students were given an overview of college major and career options, completed a personality and career interest inventory, and researched career options.  We encourage you to review these results with your child to generate a good discussion about future planning. 
Course Selection for 2015-2016 School Year
The course selection process for students is complete.  Course confirmation letters were posted on Aspen.  The High School’s Master Schedule will be built over the next several months and students will receive their schedules in August.

News from the Nurse's Office 

Grade 12: College Health forms:  Make sure your child sees Mrs. Poreda as soon as possible if your child needs help filling out a college health information form or needs information about immunizations.  Your child will not be able to register for or attend college classes without all necessary health and immunization information.  The nurse’s office is closed in the summer so don’t wait!!
Health Insurance:  It is mandatory in our state to have health insurance.  The health Connector is an independent state agency that helps you find the right health insurance plan.  The web site is:  The new health care law allows children to be covered by their parent’s insurance until age 26.  Make sure your insurance will cover your child if they attend college or work out of state.  Some insurance only covers in a set network.
Individual Health Care Plans:  If you have a graduating senior with an IHP and would like a copy for the college health center, let Mrs. Poreda know.  If your child currently has an IHP, a new copy will be emailed home in May to you and will need to be filled out and returned by the first day of school in September.
Smoking Cessation: Norwood Hospital offers a free 4 week program to stop smoking.  It is facilitated by a Freshstart® American Cancer Society instructor.  Call 781-278-6022 for information and to register. This program is for parents and students.  There are also many smoking cessation apps for your smart phone.  Check out the app store.
Get Addictive Drugs Out of Your Medicine Cabinet:  Drug abuse in teens often starts in the medicine cabinet at home or at a friend’s house.  If you have medication you are no longer using, you can bring the medication to the Westwood Police Department and dispose of it in the container in the lobby.  You put the medication in the container yourself and no questions are asked!  This is a great way to keep prescription drugs out of the hands of teenagers. 
Learn more about the drug drop off program.
Tree Pollen season starts around March 15th and lasts until the end of June.  Allergic rhinitis (runny nose) is commonly seen during this time.
Suspect Seasonal Allergies if your child has:
1.A prolonged cold lasting more than 14-18 days in the spring.
2.Itchy red eyes with little discharge.
3.A strong family history of allergies.
4.Prolonged sneezing or an early morning cough with a sore throat.
See your child’s health care provider for treatment options!

If you have any questions or comments about your child’s health, please call Mrs. Poreda at ext. 3353.

Attention 10th Grade Parents: NEW MCAS TESTING DATES

Due to the many days we've lost to snow, the DESE has allowed schools to postpone MCAS testing to allow for more instructional time. We have decided to move our MCAS dates to the following: 
Math: May 19 & 20
Science: June 8 & 9


Please help us make the Class of 2015 All Night Grad Party even more special!

We need your help in collecting photos of your senior to use as a key part of the decorations. 

We have TWO different picture requests: 
  1. Face Only - we are trying to get EVERY senior in the class!
  2. Group Pictures of SENIORS at school activities other than doing things such as sports, the play, or robotics where we have photos taken by Mr. Mao already. Pictures should be from this school year. 
We have created a photo collection web applet to help us keep track of all the photo submissions. It renames and stores all the pictures on the secure WHS drive. Please follow the link below to get to the photo submission applet where you will see more instructions.

The picture submission deadline is April 30. 

If you have any questions, please contact the ANGP photo team at:


Congratulations, Boys Hockey!

Green Years Yearbook News

Order your 2015 Yearbook TODAY!
Parents, consider recognizing your graduate with a personalized ad in this year's Yearbook. Show them how proud you are with this lasting gift before you send them off to tackle the world. 
Now everyone can be a contributing photographer to this year's Yearbook. Just download ReplayIt and start clicking! 

WHS Photos Available for Download

Mr. Mao has created a website which allows a free download of all photos. If you enjoy these photos, please consider making a donation to the Westwood Community Scholarship Fund (or another scholarship).
Funds can be mailed to:
Westwood Community Scholarship Fund
c/o Westwood High School
200 Nahatan Street
Westwood, MA 02090

Encounters with the Arts

The 21st Annual Encounters with the Arts was a huge success this year with a record turnout of families and staff attending. The art and music showcased was outstanding, Visitors really enjoyed the wide variety of "hands on experiences" in the activated areas. Ceramics students reached their goal of $1,000 from the sale of their bowls which will be donated to the Boston Food Bank. 

Tri-M at Encounter with the Arts

Thursday, March 26 was Encounters with the Arts at Westwood High School!  If you missed it, that’s really too bad because the whole school’s Art and Performing Arts Departments were out in full force.  This annual event includes dazzling displays from the visual arts classes, memorable clips from video production classes, and lively performances from drama classes and all of the school’s musical ensembles.  On top of it all, the event always benefits (at least) one worthy cause: members of Westwood’s chapter of the Tri-M Music Honors Society raised funds for Compassionate Care ALS hospice care through their sale of CD’s compiled from Westwood musicians; Tri-M members also supported the Greater Boston Food Bank by selling ice cream.  (Yum!  Never forget to have your ice cream at Encounters!)  See you next year!
by Greg Campion, Tri-M Historian

seventeen - a new play by Colin Burke

Come see "seventeen" on April 16th at 7pm!

It's a play about trying to figure out who you are while trying not to fail your classes. You won't want to miss the special, one-night-only event here @ WHS!

Find us on Twitter @seventeenplay or Instagram @seventeen_play! 

Film Screening: Miss Representation

Tuesday, May 19TH
7:00 - 9:00 PM
Little Theater
Described by viewers as “an inspiring call to action,” “thought-provoking, and “time changing,” Miss Representation, written and directed by Jennifer Siebel Newsom, was premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, aired on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), and has been viewed by more than one million people world-wide.
This film exposes the influence of mainstream media in facilitating stereotypes and beliefs about women that contribute to their under-representation in positions of power and continue to promote body dissatisfaction in women of all ages.
Following the screening, audience members will be invited to join a lively discussion led by Westwood High School 11th grade students who have been studying the topic of the myths and realities of gender in American Society, and view their social action research projects on display in the main lobby. 

Westwood Model UN at BC High Conference - March 7

On Saturday, March 7, the Westwood High School Model United Nations Club set out for Boston for the 27th Annual BC High Model UN conference.  Following an early morning breakfast and the opening ceremonies, the 500 student delegates from schools around New England reported to their committees to begin debate.  The delegates took on various pressing issues from around the world in an attempt to find a solution and draw a conclusion.  The students engaged in discussion on wide range of topics, from the 2024 International Olympic Committee to the 2000 Bush/Gore Presidential Election.  Other delegates participated in simulations to create resolutions to the current problems in Ukraine and Russia, or to improve the status of women around the world.

The Westwood Delegates actively participated in many different committees, and were all successful in their endeavors.  A special congratulations to two Westwood delegates, Michael Tian and Jimmy Friedeborn, who earned the “Distinguished Delegate” awards for exhibiting excellent participation and skill within their committees.
Good luck to the club as they travel to New Hampshire on April 10th for their next conference at Dartmouth College!

Written by Meredith Brodsky (Class of 2016)

IAM Strong 5K

The First Annual IAM Strong 5k Run/Walk will take place on Sunday, May 3rd at 9:30 am at Flahive Field in Westwood.  Please to go for more information and to pre-register by April 11th.  The IAM Strong Foundation is an organization working to shatter the stigma associated with teen mental health issues.  Please join us on May 3rd as we come together to raise awareness and end the silence. 

A New Creative Writing Contest - Write this Minute!

This year students have an exciting opportunity to compete in a new creative writing contest called Write This Minute. This new contest between Westwood and Medfield High Schools is calling for students to submit their poetry and/or prose (fiction). Student winners will receive cash prizes from a judging panel comprised of volunteers from both communities. The deadline for this contest is Friday, May 1, 2015. Students are strongly encouraged to submit. The contest is an occasion for students to have their work recognized and celebrated across the community.
Submissions will be collected on the contest website:
Students can check out the website for more details, and students can see Ms. Bafumi with any questions.

NHS Raises Over 1K to Benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society

National Honor Society students Ethiopia Getachew, Millicent Jiang, and Kristen Cuccoli spearheaded an extremely successful Pennies for Patients Fundraiser.  From March 16th through April 3rd, WHS students contributed over $1000 in spare change to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Spanish Exchange Students in Westwood

Twenty Spanish students are visiting from Villa-Real, Spain and staying with host families in Westwood. Students arrived on March 27th and attended a full day of classes (complete with a welcome breakfast of Spot! bagels in the cafe) on March 31st. Over the course of their visit, students will attend classes and do a variety of tourist activities, including a visit to Fenway Park, a walk on the Freedom Trail, a tour of Harvard, and a day at the Wrentham Outlets. If you see them around town, be sure to say ¡hola!

Spanish Club News

Buen provecho!  Spanish Club members gathered last month for a culinary celebration of the Spanish-speaking world. The event called "Sabor del club de español", or "Taste of Spanish Club" was organized by club members who researched and prepared typical dishes from a variety of countries in the Spanish-speaking world including Spain, Mexico, and Uruguay.  Each student or group of students explained the preparation process and the ingredients used to the rest of the club members, and of course everyone was eager to sample each dish!  A variety of appetizers and desserts were enjoyed, including tortilla española (Spanish egg and potato omelette), guacamole, empanadas de manzana (mini apple tarts), alfajores negros (Uruguyan cookies), pastisetas (Mexican cookies), and churros with chocolate.  Prizes were awarded for the tastiest, most attractive, and most creative dishes.  

Mastering the Art of French Cooking in French 5/AP

What do Julia Child, the Roman lyric poet Horace, and Ms. Aykanian’s French 5/AP students have in common? Well, they all put into practice what Horace called “utile dulci,” the useful (i.e. instructive) and the agreable (it delights), in a bake-off where each team had to come up with an original recipe for a French-inspired dessert that was esthetically pleasing, tasted good, and integrated the class motto “One class, one language, one heart”: Une classe, une langue, un coeur. The competition was close, but our guest judges Dean Davenport and Principal Bevan awarded the first prize to the creators of the “Gâteau drapeau,” a multi-layered cake made of blue, white and red crêpes and cream, topped with a chocolate heart. One might say, in a twist on Horace, that this project was ultimately about the utiledolce”!
The chefs with their artistic—and delicious—culinary creations 
Guest judges Madame Davenport and Monsieur Bevan with Master Chefs Radha Mastandrea, Grégoire Campion & Jimmy Friedeborn (Team member Meredith Gee not in picture)

WHS Students Traveling to Rochefort, France During April Vacation

KellyAnne Leone, Brigitte Farah, Natalie Mansson, Jess Walsh, Maisie Lake, Jacqi Goodrich (back row)
Greg Campion, Ben Dubiner, Alexa Zonderman, Leona Lo
On April 17, 2015, the above students will be traveling to Rochefort, France as part of the first-ever Westwood High French Exchange with the Lycée Merleau-Ponty. Accompanied by teacher chaperones Mme Aykanian and Monsieur Jibson, they will attend classes at the high school, discover the Poitou-Charentes region, and participate in festivities related to the departure of the French tall ship the Hermione the day after our arrival, on April 18th. (See the youtube video below on the various stages of the construction of this modern-day replica!)
The ten students will stay be staying in the families of their French pen pals, whom they have gotten to know over the past five months through letters, social media, and Skype conversations.
Everyone is very excited, and a bit nervous, about the adventures that await us! If you happen to see any of the intrepid travelers above, be sure to wish them a Bon voyage! And if you have any pet clichés and stereotypes that Americans have about France and the French, be sure to share those, too. The students will be using them during their first ice-breaker!
The construction of the Hermione:

Freshman Digital Initiative

As technology continues to play an increasingly important role in our school and in our students’ lives, educators at Westwood and across the country have been grappling with how to best provide students with the skills they need to succeed in a digital world. Here at Westwood High School, parents, faculty, administrators, and students have been asking for technology-related training on topics like growing a positive digital footprint, responsibly engaging with technology, and becoming model digital citizens. Westwood High School’s instructional technology faculty have been working hard to develop a strategy and program that will help our students succeed in tackling these issues. To this end, we’re proud to announce the roll out of our Freshman Digital Citizenship Initiative, a 6-session seminar series that every freshman will take part in during the next two months. All sessions take place entirely within Freshman study halls and therefore do not require any students to miss any of their regularly scheduled classes.

The content of the initiative, much of which is modeled after the work done by the nonprofit Common Sense Media, focuses on five major areas: 

  • Digital Life - Students discuss the role that technology plays in their lives, explore time management & distractibility in the context of digital media, and reflect on the positive and negative impact technology can have on themselves and on society.
  • An Online Code of Ethics - Students explore the concept of online ethics as it applies to respecting the privacy of others and oneself, treating others in a kind and respectful manner, and keeping negative material offline.
  • A Positive Footprint - Students learn how to present an authentic and positive image of themselves online and consider the challenges and benefits of maintaining a positive digital footprint.
  • Copyrights & Copywrongs - Students identify the legal and ethical considerations to be made when using the creative work of others, learn about their rights and responsibilities as both a creator and consumer of content, and engage in critical thinking and ethical decision making surrounding the use of creative works.
  • Collaboration & Communication - Students discuss and experience what meaningful collaboration entails in the context of shared documents and online group work.
The WHS instructional technology faculty will be evaluating the impact of the Freshman Digital Citizenship Initiative on an ongoing basis in order to ensure that the program is effective. If you have any thoughts, questions, or concerns about the initiative, please contact technology director Steve Ouellette at

In cased you missed it: A look at "Encounters with the Arts"

Dominican Republic Service Learning Trip

Over February break 14 Westwood High juniors and seniors took part in the school's first international service-learning trip. The students travelled to Jarabacoa, a remote section of the Dominican Republic to work at an environmental school.  The school's mission is to educate the people of the D.R. to be more environmentally responsible and to better utilize the country's natural resources. The students' service projects included building a trail at the environmental school and working with the local community on a waste disposal initiative. The group even had the chance to visit a local school and connect with its students during an impromptu volleyball game. 
Students learned much about themselves and the realities of the world around them. Common themes discussed during nightly reflection activities were an appreciation for the advantages and luxuries that life in Westwood provides, and the deep satisfaction they felt at being able to help make the world a better place. 
Since they've been back, the students have been sharing the amazing and meaningful experiences they had in the D.R. and encouraging their peers to challenge themselves similarly. Westwood High is excited to start planning for its 2nd service-learning trip in 2016!

2015-16 Bus Registration: March 1 - June 30

IMPORTANT CHANGE – Bus Stickers will no longer be issued to Middle and High School Students.  At the end of August, families will be notified via email what Bus # their child(ren) have been assigned to and Bus Routes will be posted on the District Web Site and in the local newspaper.
The annual bus fee for 2015-2016 will be $180.00 per student.  The annual family cap will remain at $450.00 for all students in grades K-12.

Online Bus Registration
If you are interested in Bus Transportation for your child, please visit the Westwood Public Schools’ website at and click on, Bus Transportation on the main page.  After reading the FAQ’s, you can Register and pay online for Transportation. To guarantee a seat on the bus, registration and payment must be received by the June 30th deadline.
Parents will need their child’s Student ID # (except for Kindergarten) which can be found on elementary school lunch invoices, middle school lunch cards, report cards or high school ID cards.  Please make sure to enter the grade your child will be entering next September.

If you have any questions regarding bus registration, please email or call the business office 781-326-7500, x1343.
All Registrations and Payments are due by June 30th.

Heath Petracca
Director of Business & Finance

Call to Families of All Westwood High Students

Would you like to host a French student in October 2015? If so, or if you would like more details about what hosting entails, please contact Ms. Aykanian at

Hosting a French student is open to everyone in the community, whether or not your child studies French.

Host families will be provided with some support from the Westwood French Exchange, as well as the opportunity for your child to receive a free pass to visit a replica of France’s first tall ship the Hermione, which will be in Boston this July. To find out more about the Hermione tall ship project and its connection to the U.S. and Rochefort, France, see

Westwood Ties & Bowties For Sale

The WHS Student Council is selling forest green polyester ties with the word "WESTWOOD" written repeatedly in a diagonal in white to create a striped effect. The ties sell for $25.00 each with 10% of every sale being donated to the Westwood Community Chest, a local organization that helps Westwood families in need. Checks may be written to Westwood High School and delivered to Paula Lawless at the high school.  Thank you in advance for supporting the WHS Student Council.


National Honor Society Now Offers Peer Tutoring

Feeling Overwhelmed? 
We're here to help!

Peer tutoring offered all blocks in the Guidance Department. Drop in to the Guidance Office to see which NHS students are available.

Important Dates to Keep in Mind

  • April 15: Early Release
  • April 20-24: Spring Vacation
  • May 4-8: Teacher Appreciation Week
  • May 6: Early Release
  • May 20: Early Release
  • May 25: Memorial Day (School closed)
  • June 17: Last Day of School

Reports to Parents

TERM 3 (46 days):    Last day of term:  April 7
Portal opens to view Progress Reports:  March 6

Portal opens to view Report Cards:  April 15*

TERM 4 (40 days):    Last day of term: June 17
Portal opens to view Progress Reports:  May 8
    *Final Exams: 6/12, 6/15, 6/16, & 6/17
Portal opens to view Report Cards: June 19

* Note: this date was pushed out due to snow days

Important Dates for Seniors

May 26: Last day of senior classes
May 27-29: Senior Exams
May 29: Grades due 
June 1: Grades finalized 
June 5: Class Day, 4:00pm
June 7: Graduation, 2:00 pm
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