WHS developing innovative, immersive program for June 2018

WHS students will participate in a new, different kind of learning experience next June, one that my staff and I have been working on quietly for several months: for a five-day period after the seniors have graduated, students will participate in an immersive, all-day course on a topic that they may be passionate or curious about, taught by a WHS teacher who shares that same interest. Our objective is to offer students an opportunity to delve deeply into a new topic that interests them but that may not be something we are able to offer during our conventional 7-period school day. We anticipate that the format and design of the courses will allow students to engage in their learning something new without many of the demands of the regular school day and location.

While each J-Term course is unique, all courses will culminate in:
  • a final product or performance, and/or
  • a shared experience, and/or
  • a reflection upon what was learned
Though the courses we are considering vary greatly, many will be 'hands-on' and highly applicable to the real world. Some working titles for courses like these are: Basic Carpentry and Wiring, Top Chef Westwood, and Expression Through Songwriting and Music Production.

Other proposed courses are more academic: Exploring the Development of Truth from Socrates to Snapchat; Catan and Beyond: An Exploration of Strategy Games; and Film Directors: What Makes the Great Directors Stand Out.

Many proposed courses involve the outdoors: New England Summits: 6 peaks in 5 days; The Science of the Outdoors; and The Weather and Geology of New England.

We have spent several professional development sessions refining the overarching idea of J-term, and teachers continue to explore and develop course ideas. I look forward to keeping you updated as the program develops further. And, I am happy to hear your thoughts, as always:

Happy New Year!


Information from Guidance

Parent Talks
Guidance-Parent Talks offer parents the opportunity to meet with guidance counselors and discuss topics including the college application process, standardized testing and course selection. Guidance-Parent Talks are held in the Faculty Club from 8:00-9:00 a.m.  Future dates:
January 12th – for all parents
March 9th – for all parents 
Information for Seniors:  
Free assistance available for completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
FAFSA Day will run several days in January and February. FAFSA Day provides free assistance to students and families completing a FAFSA. This statewide program is administered by the Massachusetts Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators with the assistance of many community-based organizations. Visit
FAFSA Day for more information including dates and locations.
Midyear grades
On February 1st the Guidance Office will send transcripts with second term grades to all active colleges for all seniors. Midyear exam grades are not included on the transcript.
Information for Juniors:
Resources for College Planning
Parents and students are encouraged to visit the
Junior Page of the Guidance website for helpful links and resources.
Junior Workshops and Individual Meetings
Beginning the week after midyear exams, the Guidance Department will present the Junior Workshop during junior English classes. Students will receive detailed information regarding standardized testing, college and career searches, and the application process. Students will work with the web-based Naviance program to conduct a college search.
Registering for the SAT & ACT
Juniors are encouraged to
Register for the SAT and ACT now to ensure first choice test site location. The Guidance Department recommends that students register for the optional writing portion for both tests. Historically the colleges have been clear on their preference for the ACT plus Writing. What is not as clear is the college’s preference on the new optional essay portion of the SAT. In the interest of our students being certain of fulfilling requirements of all colleges on their final list, we recommend the essay at this time. (More information can be found on the SAT Essay College Policies Website.)
Both College Board and ACT require all students to upload a photo when registering for the test. A photo I.D. and admission ticket are required on the day of the test.  There will be no exceptions, even when students are taking the test at Westwood High School. Students without a photo I.D. and admission ticket with uploaded photo will not be allowed to take the test.
Wednesday, January 25th
1. College Planning Night, 7:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Juniors and their parents are encouraged to attend this informative presentation on the college planning process. Danielle Wells, Associate Director of Admission at Wellesley College, will present the college admissions perspective, and Guidance will give an overview of the process including researching colleges, developing a well-balanced list, and standardized testing procedures.
2. Financial Basics for Students and Parents, 8:00 to 9:00 p.m. *Newly scheduled event*
Optional second hour presentation: Needham Bank representative will cover the importance of talking to students before they graduate about proper banking habits and the concept of connected family finances through mobile apps and budgeting software. The Bank will also discuss what to look for when evaluating a student checking account and potentially using a HELOC as an alternative to a government student loan program.
February Vacation
February Vacation is a great time to begin visiting colleges. Visit college websites or call the Admission Office to make a reservation for a campus tour and information session.
Information for Sophomores:
College Planning Night, Wednesday, January 25th, 7 to 8:30 p.m.
Although the primary audience for College Planning Night is juniors and their parents, sophomores and their parents may attend to get important information on the changing college admission climate.
Information for Freshmen:
Ninth Grade Seminars
The third round of ninth grade seminars will be held in January. Topics include preparing for midyear exams and course selection.

News From the Nurse's Office

Grade 9:  Important!!  All grade 9 students are required to provide written documentation of a current physical exam done by their health care provider.  The physical must be turned in by February 1, 2017 and must be dated February 1, 2016 or later.  Please turn in the physical as soon as possible. If you don’t have health insurance, you can visit or call the school nurse for information.  If you have a physical scheduled after February 1, 2017 please let the school nurse know.  Also call if you are unsure if you turned in a physical exam for your child.

Grade 9: All grade 9 students had a postural screening done in December.  You were notified if your child needed further evaluation from a specialist.  If your child needed further evaluation, please let the nurses know the result.
Grade 12: Check your graduating student’s health insurance now to make sure they are covered out of state if they plan to attend college outside of Massachusetts.  You may have to make adjustments in your type of insurance.  Children are covered by their parent’s health insurance up to age 26.  Now is a great time to look into health insurance so your child won’t run into coverage issues.
Grade 12: Now is a good time to book a physical exam for your child heading off to college next year.  Students can’t register for classes unless they have a new physical exam and current immunizations.  Try to make the appointment for late April or May when your child knows what college they will be attending.  Some colleges require that you use their own form for the examination. 
How much do you know about drugs and E cigarettes? Take this
interactive quiz to find out. You may learn something you can discuss with your child. 
Smoking Cessation Class:  A free smoking cessation class is offered by the American Cancer society  Freshstart Program.  Call 781-278-6022 for information or to register. 
Smoking cessation Apps for a Smart Phone: Some free smoking cessations apps for your phone are available in the App store.  Check these out to make a positive change in your life.  If your child smokes encourage them to try a class or a free app. 
What is your New Year Resolution? Instead of a resolution, try to pick one guiding word for the year and work on that.  What is a guiding word?
Click here to find out.  I think my word will be acceptance.
What do I do? Is your child having surgery?  Do they have an issue that prevents them from walking up the stairs? Do they need to take medicine during the school day?  If you have any questions about any issues your child may have, please call or email the school nurse.  You can also check the
web site in the health office section for forms or answers to questions. 
If your child has any health concerns or you have any questions, please call Mrs. Poreda at ext. 3353 or Mrs. Galvin at ext. 3350. Email: or

Site Council Update

The WHS Site Council is an advisory group to the principal. The group is comprised of teachers, staff, students, parents, and community members. Specifically, the group provides input on the principal's School Improvement Plan (SIP), meeting each month to receive updates on initiatives related to the SIP. 

Summary of the 1/3/17 Meeting: 

  • The group welcomed two new members: Makenzie Draper (‘18) and Cameron Valentine (‘18).

  • The group revisited the topic of J-Term, an immersive learning experience currently in development.

    • Course titles were reviewed and the group selected favorites. The discussion continued to include what the group hopes students will gain from the experience.  

    • The group also presented questions about that Sean will bring up with faculty.

  • Sean reported there are preliminary discussions taking place about changing start times for WPS. Site Council may be involved as the details unfold.

  • Sean reported out the updates to our school-wide goals as outlined in the School Improvement Plan.

From the Desk of Joanna Bengel - School Social Worker

Celebrate MLK Day by Volunteering!
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, "Life's most persistent and urgent question is: 'What are you doing for others?'"  For many across the country, MLK Day is a day ON, not a day OFF!  For more information about service opportunities for children and families in the area, please click on the following links: 

Dance Marathon 2016 Was A Huge Success!

The Senior Independent Project Program students would like to thank the entire community for their involvement in the 2nd annual Dance Marathon - a fundraiser for the Miracle Families of Boston Children’s Hospital. The event, held on December 13th,  was extremely successful with 383 participants. WHS exceeded its goal and was able to donate over $31,000 to BCH, our local Miracle Network Hospital. The SIPP students researched, planned and executed the entire event - and it was quite impressive!
SIPP would like to personally thank all of the faculty, staff, parents and students who attended the event, without you, it never would have been possible! Check out the
article in the Hometown Weekly! Here are a few excerpts from 3 SIPP students:
Brett Iarrobino said: “‘SIPP’ stands for Senior Independent Project Program and each senior takes an individual project, but at the beginning of the year, we all come together to create Dance Marathon.”

Lizzy Casavant said: “We start at the beginning of the year, and we collect donations and we talk to people and we develop the skills that we need to develop our projects later on. We also wanted to do the community give back piece We have committees in each class - we have food, entertainment - so everyone can kind of do their part.”

Caroline Barrett added: “I think it’s just important that all of the money goes to the kids rather than the hospital, everything is for the kids."

News From Student Coalition

Senior Brett Iarrobino, member of the Student Coalition and Social Justice Club
Recently, WHS Amnesty International, the Gay Straight Alliance, the Social Justice Club, and Let's Talk About Race student groups have begun collaborating on a school wide project.  The student led coalition will combine  Amnesty International's “The America I believe In” campaign with nationwide efforts to create community statements of solidarity declaring continued dedication to tolerance and acceptance. The Student Coalition, dubbed by members as the “Equity Coalition”, looks to give WHS students a forum to voice their beliefs on what they believe America stands for.  The hope of this campaign is for students and the community to see the dedication and commitment WHS has for tolerance and acceptance.

Inspired by Colin Burke's  (Class of 015) "Don't Say Westwood” campaign, the Coalition plans to launch a similar set-up during lunches the week of January 9th, with a camera booth set up in the auditorium lobby.  Coalition members made their own signs and photographs to post on our Instagram, @theamericaibelieveinww and will be used to inspire students to write their own statement. As a Coalition, students will use the messages gathered to provide the language for Westwood High School’s own Statement of Solidarity.  In addition to the creation of this statement, the Social Justice Club will be making a short film with some of the images featured.

News From Athletics

Just as the winter season is approaching the midway mark, we are already looking forward to the spring season.  Spring registration for high school and middle school athletics runs February 1-March 1.  Please consult the ATHLETICS WEBSITE for further details.

All athletes must also maintain a valid physical on file with the school nurse at all times.  Physicals are valid for 13 months from the date of the physical.  Athletic fees are not due until teams are formed but must be paid before the first contest
Academics in Action
This section of the newsletter highlights activities happening in the classroom

Holiday Fun in the Foreign Language Department

Ms. Aykanian's Latin I students created an amazing Vīlla Rōmāna Zingiberis, a gingerbread Roman House, as a culmination of our unit on how the ancient Romans lived. The vīlla included a compluvium (the opening in the roof to let in light and rain), an impluvium (the interior pool in the atrium that collected rainwater for the household), a beautiful multi-colored Mosaic, a peristylium with a piscīna (fishpond) filled with mini Swedish fish and two gummy bear statues! A shout out to Megan Benbow for getting the class organized on Day 1 of construction. And gratias plurimas to Devin Bell, Natalie Demaio and Roisin O'Keefe who came up with the idea for the project, which will no doubt be part of the Latin I curriculum for years to come!
French 2 Students Make Holiday Cards
Joyeux Noël! Bonne fête de Hanoucca! During the last class before winter break, students in Mme Aykanian's French 2 class had fun making Hanukkah and Christmas cards for their Francophone friends and family members. 

Green Years Yearbook Now ON SALE

The 2017 Green Years Yearbook is now on sale.
Don't forget the easy and free way your Amazon purchases can benefit the PTO: through the Amazon Smile program, the WHS PTO receives 0.5% of the price of your eligible Amazon Smile purchases.

All you have to do is begin your Amazon shopping by clicking HERE. It's free for you, but the funds add up to help the PTO support our school programs.

Peer Tutoring is Now Available

National Honor Society students are now available for tutoring in Guidance. Please see this SCHEDULE for details. 

WHS Photos for Scholarships

Please feel free to download the images on this website for free. I donate my time to take the photos because I enjoy photography and watching sports. If you enjoy these photos, please consider making a donation to the Westwood Community Scholarship Fund (or another scholarship at WHS).

Thank you.
M. Mao.

Important Dates to Keep in Mind

  • January 11: Early Release
  • January 16: Martin Luther King Day (School closed)
  • February 1: Early Release
  • February 15: Early Release
  • February 20 - 24: February Vacation
  • March 1: Early Release
  • March 15: Early Release
  • March 21 - 23: MCAS English Language Arts
  • March 22: TEC College Fair
  • March 24: Prom Fashion Show
  • March 29: Early Release
  • April 12: Early Release
  • April 14: Good Friday (School closed)
  • April 17 - 21: Spring Vacation 
  • April 26: Early Release
  • May 10: Early Release
  • May 11: PTO Ice Cream Social
  • May 17 & 18: MCAS Math
  • May 19: Prom
  • May 24: Early Release
  • June 5 & 6: MCAS Science
  • June 12 - 15: Final Exams

Reports to Parents

Updated: 9/30/16
TERM 1 (44 days)
Last day of term: November 4
  • Progress Reports available to students: October 5
  • Report Cards available to students: November 14
TERM 2 (44 days)
Last day of term: January 13
*Midyear Exams: 1/17, 1/18, 1/19. 1/20
  • Progress Reports available to students: December 11
  • Report Cards available to students: January 27
TERM 3 (45 days)
Last day of term: March 31
  • Progress Reports available to students: February 28
  • Report Cards available to students: April 7
TERM 4 (47 days)
Last day of term: June 9
* Final Exams: 6/12, 6/13, 6/14, 6/15
  • Progress Reports available to students: May 14
  • Report Cards available to students: June 19

Important Dates for Seniors

Last day of senior classes: May 23
Senior Exams: May 24 - 26
Final Report Cards available to students: May 30
Senior Week: May 30-June 2

Class Day:  June 2, 4:00 pm
Graduation:  June 4, 2:00 pm

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list


This email was sent to <<Email Address>>
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences
Westwood High School · 200 Nahatan Street · Westwood, MA 02090 · USA

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp