Shadow-a-Student program gives teachers, administrators a insight into kids' school experience

Over the last month, teachers and administrators across Westwood participated in an initiative wherein we would 'shadow' a single student for an entire day to learn more about their school experience. More than ten teachers and administrators participated at the high school, and several high school staff - myself included - participated in shadowing at the middle and elementary schools.

In advance of the program, our teachers made some predictions about what they might observe, and we unpacked these predictions in discussing their observations this past week. The adults reported mild surprise about the pace of the day, noting that passing time goes quickly and that the cognitive shifts required to go from one content area to another every 47 minutes is challenging. Our visitors from outside the high school were particularly impressed with how inviting, orderly, and purposeful our public spaces are, noting that students are supportive of each other and that WHS is a friendly and supportive place to spend the day. And, most reported that the level of rigor in the classes was quite high, with students being challenged by teachers who delivered highly structured lessons.

We also followed up with the students who participated in shadow pairings, and they relished the chance to share their feedback on their everyday experience. A disproportionate amount of our pairings were with junior students, many of whom have challenging schedules and little down time. In processing their experience with us, they shared a clear sense that they are working hard each day to meet their various demands: staying on top of their classwork, completing their homework, participating in athletics, etc. They were happy to know that the teachers and administrators are interested in understanding more about their experience. 

The chance to gain a first-hand understanding of our kids' experience was a valuable one, and we are considering next steps, including a possible second round of shadowing with a broader selection of students

Site Council Updates

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 4/5/16 Meeting: 

  • Mr. Bevan provided an update on the status of the WPS budget, explaining that the WPS School Committee had approved the budget and that we have begun the process of hiring for 2016-2017
  • the group looked over an analysis Mr. Bevan conducted of the school improvement plans of ten area schools, identifying best practices he plans to employ in next year's school improvement plan. Namely, he plan on providing greater context to the purpose and design of the plan and deeper information about each goal area by providing framing around each area's current status at the start of the school year
  • the group discussed possible goals areas for 2016-2017, focusing heavily on the achievement of minority students, ways to improve parent communication, and how to communicate changes we made this year to our academic integrity policies and practices.

Planning ahead in the case of extended April Vacations

April breaks is coming up and we want to remind parents that if your child is going to miss days leading up to or coming out of vacation weeks, communicating with teachers is key to staying current with their classmates.

We ask students to let their teachers know if they plan to miss days of instruction before a break. So that they don't fall behind, students should plan to collect any work that they will miss and speak with the teacher to determine when to turn that work in.

2016 MCAS Testing Dates

Math: May 17 & 18
STE - Science: June 1 & 2

News From the Guidance Office

Information for Seniors:  
Seniors who wish to be considered for the Westwood Community Scholarships & Awards must submit their application by April 7th. The SAR (Student Aid Report) and financial portion of the application must be submitted to be considered for scholarships, but is not required for non-monetary awards.  

Information for Juniors:
As juniors prepare for spring SAT and ACT exams they are encouraged to access free
Test Prep, including the Khan Academy official SAT Practice website.

Parents are encouraged to submit the Parent Information Form to their child’s guidance counselor. Information provided on these forms is very helpful for writing students’ letters of recommendation. (Download the form as a Word Doc, or save a copy as a Google Doc.)

Juniors who are eligible for the Koplik scholarship next year received a letter and application outlining details. Applications are due May 1, 2017. The letter is sent out one year in advance to make families aware of additional requirements.

Information for Sophomores:
WHS will be offering the Practice ACT on Saturday, April 30th. The vast majority of our students take the ACT during the junior year and the Guidance Office recommends that all sophomores take this practice test. Please complete the
Practice ACT Registration Form and return to the Guidance Office by April 22nd.

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.  

News From the Nurse's Office

Grade 12: College Health forms:  Make sure your child sees Mrs. Poreda or Mrs. Galvin 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 affordable health care law allows children to be covered by their parent’s insurance until age 26Make 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 or Mrs. Galvin know.  If your child currently has an IHP, a new copy will be emailed home to you in May 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.
In the News: Opioid addiction and overdoses due to opioids and heroin have been dominating the news.  Our state and the CDC have been taking steps to end this problem.  Most addictions start when a student takes an opioid medication for pain relief following knee surgery or wisdom tooth extraction.  Opioids are medications such as Percocet, Vicodin, OxyContin, hydrocodone, Demerol, or oxycodone.  Carefully monitor your child’s use of these medications following surgery or tooth extraction.  Switch to Tylenol or Advil as soon as possible and try ice and elevation to assist with pain relief
. Click here for information about what you can do to lower your child’s chances of addiction.
Click here for more information about prescription drug abuse.
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. 
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.

Order your Green Years Yearbook TODAY!

The 2016 Green Years Yearbook is now available to purchase online


Don't miss you chance to order your yearbook today!
Parents consider placing a personalized ad recognizing your graduate in this year's Yearbook. Show them how proud you are with this lasting gift before you send them off to tackle the world.

WHS 2nd Annual Job Fair

Monday, April 11th
1:30 - 3pm

WHS will be hosting its 2nd Annual Job Fair. This year businesses include Hale Reservation, Wegmans, Roche Bros., The Paper Store, and more! Stop by the Cafeteria if are looking for a job and want to learn more about these businesses. 

Conversation with Barent Walsh, Ph.D.

Westwood Public Schools 
with generous support from 

IAM Strong Foundation

Non-suicidal Self-injury in Adolescents

April 26, 2015
Westwood High School Little Theater

Barent Walsh, received his Ph.D. from Boston College. He has written extensively and presented internationally on the topic of self-destructive behavior. He is the author of the book, Treating Self-Injury: A Practical Guide 2nd edition, Guilford Press, (2012) and two other books on self-harm. As the Executive Director of The Bridge in Worcester, MA., Dr. Walsh oversees 46 programs including supported housing and residential treatment for children, adolescents, and adults with mental illness, developmental disabilities, and/or complex family problems. The Bridge also provides services for homeless individuals and gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender youth. Dr. Walsh is intensively trained in DBT and Cognitive Restructuring for PTSD.
*photo and bio courtesy of The Bridge

Age of Opportunity Book Group

Math SAT Prep

The math department will be running 2 one hour long SAT information sessions for students who will be taking the new SAT in May. The sessions will include information about the new SAT as well as some strategies for taking the test.  The sessions will be held at 7:00pm on Wednesday, April 13th and Thursday, April 14th in Room A224 (the same information will be covered in each session).  

If you are interested please contact Mrs. Mehigan or Mrs. Ferguson and include which session you will be attending.

Prom 2016 Information

It is almost that time of year again… PROM! Your Prom Committee is giving this year’s Prom a masquerade twist, and it looks really awesome so far - let me know if you’d like to help out!

Date: Friday, May 20th, 2016
Lake Pearl Luciano's (Wrentham, MA)
Time: 6-11pm (dinner served at 7pm)
Price: $70 & signed WHS Prom Consent Form (tix sold the week after April Break ONLY!)

ALL Juniors and Seniors who attend WHS (and have not exceeded the absence limit or do not owe detentions at the time of Prom) are invited! It is a chance for the upperclassmen to spend some time together and dance the night away - consider going with a group of friends/classmates! If ordering transportation (limo, bus, trolley), remember to make a plan about leaving Prom, because if someone in your group wants to leave earlier than you do, it will ruin it for the rest of the group (this gets really stressful each year with big groups). You are paying a lot of $$ to go, so stay and have fun :) Once you leave, you cannot return.

Tickets are $70 and will be sold the week AFTER April Break, Tuesday-Friday 4/26-4/29. This will be the ONLY time you can purchase a ticket.

Dinner will be served at 7pm, followed by an ice cream sundae bar. When you purchase your ticket in April, you can alert us if you have a food allergy/restriction or are a vegetarian/vegan and we will provide you with a meal you can eat.

This is a WHS event, but if you wish to bring a friend from another school, you will need to have the “visitor form” filled out and signed by both an administrator from his/her school and an administrator from WHS before you can even buy a ticket. This process takes a while - I would begin ASAP. (See Ms. Testa's email for the forms). All guests need to be under 20 years old. If your friend is a WHS grad, just have him/her complete the WHS form.

If ordering a TUX, please consider renting from Men’s Wearhouse in the Dedham Plaza - mention that you attend WHS! They will donate $5 per rented tux towards our prom, this could go towards getting a 2nd photo booth so there are no lines!

In order to attend Prom, you must:

  • have NOT exceeded the absence limit

  • have made up ALL detentions by the time of Prom

  • have no owed library books

  • be present in school Friday 5/20 until at least 11am

  • have a signed WHS Student Prom Form & $70 at time of ticket purchase

  • be ready to have a great time with friends!

Student Council Raises Money for Westwood Community Chest

Prior to the December holidays, Student Council members raised $200 for the Westwood Community Chest by selling candy canes during the lunch blocks.  On March 8, Student Council members were proud to present a check to Attorney Neil Sherring, WCC president.  According to their website, “The Westwood Community Chest (WCC) assists residents by paying bills for basic needs such as housing, clothing, school supplies or essential utilities. WCC also helps families by sending kids to summer camps and providing other resources to enable Westwood residents to get back on track.”  The Student Council is proud to be “neighbors helping neighbors”.

Encounters with the Arts was a Great Success with Record Turnout!

 Check out this video Of Encounters with the Arts that was posted on WesCAT. (Westwood Community Access TV).

Congratulations to the Mock Trial Team on a Great Season!

Once again, the WHS Mock Trial team did an outstanding job preparing for and competing at three competitions with teams from across the region. The team was presented with a case on Medical Negligence, and sifted through affidavits and evidence to ultimately defend both sides, the victim and the doctor. Special thank you to our attorney-coach, Jodi Petrucelli, for her invaluable help preparing for the trials!

Congratulations, Model UN!

This weekend 20 WHS students to a weekend simulation of the United Nations hosted by Boston College at the Westin Copley.  For the better part of three straight days they worked in committees with over 700 students from all over to resolve historical, current and futuristic crises while playing their assigned role.  In each of these, our students distinguished themselves for by their impressive knowledge of current and historical events, public speaking, and negotiation. 

In particular, Keyon Rostamnezhad ('16) earned the Outstanding Delegate Award for his role on Team Persia of the Peloponnesian War.  

Please congratulate all the students (listed below) on a job well done when you see them.
Student YOG Position Committee
Cimbal, Annabel 2018 Kuwait General Assembly
Doherty, Owen 2017 Portugal Interpol 
Duffy, Owen 2018 Burkina Faso Economic and Social Committee
Goodrich, Jacqi 2016 Kuwait UNESCO
Haney, Alex 2017 Cambodia Interpol 
Keith, Thomas 2016 Cambodia Interpol 
Kreinsen, Jessie 2016 Eurymedon Delian League - Peloponnesian Wars
Kukunova, Nastia 2016 Cambodia UNESCO
Marcus, Allison 2018 Portugal Interpol 
Padamsee, Afraz 2017 Burkina Faso Interpol 
Rostamnezhad, Keyon 2016 Ravant Persia - Peloponnesian Wars
Schultz, Jayson 2017 Portugal General Assembly
Muzzi, Jessica 2019 Kuwait Interpol 
Tian, Michael 2016 Mizuno Tadakiyo Tokugawa Shogunate
Vaccaro, Jamie 2017 Cambodia General Assembly
Walsh, Aidan 2017 Kuwait Interpol 
Xiao, Michael 2016 Bill Ernest Disney Board of Directors
Yessaillian, Andrea 2017 Portugal Economic and Social Committee
Buckle, Olivia 2016 EPA Rep CIA
Rahimi, Ida 2017 Burkina Faso Interpol 

AP Biology Students Get The Opportunity to See Science in Action at MIT

On March 24, AP Biology students visited the Biology Department at MIT for an immersive look into life as a biologist. The day started with a hands-on lab where students observed both the proper and improper development of fruit flies, roundworms, zebrafish, frog tadpoles, plants, and planaria. They even got to pet some mice! The day continued with some genetics problem solving using virtual fruit fly crosses and a pizza lunch with scientists. The day ended with lab tours and a cow eye dissection. It was an incredible opportunity to see science in action and all students left with an increased appreciation and understanding of how biology is used outside of the classroom.

A Westwood Tenacity Team Took 1st Place

On Saturday, April 2,  Westwood METCO students joined by two resident students competed against 36 other school districts in the Tenacity Challenge.  Tenacity is an academic competition with four categories: English, social studies, art and a math and science quiz bowl. The competition was tough! There were 350 really smart kids participating. We had two teams -  Team Swoosh and Team Prophecy Ryders.  Team Swoosh took second place in the math and science competition and Team Prophecy Ryders took first place in the same category.  Team Swoosh quiz bowl members were Janiah Jamison, Peter Firmin and Gio Remy.  Team Prophecy Ryders were Alison Okeke, Olivia Okeke and Deborah Getachew.    

Proud METCO Director, Sheryl

Advanced Ceramics Students' Work To Be Shown at Ubuntu Arts Exhibit

A large collaborative hanging sculpture entitled In/Equality Basin, made by Advanced Ceramics students in the spring of last year, will be exhibited in the upcoming Ubuntu Arts exhibit at Wheelock College. The work addresses issues of equality and inequality in the historical struggle for social justice in our country and will be one of a number of collaborative artworks made by youth in the greater Boston area. The exhibit will also include several works by current Advanced Ceramics students. The exhibit opening is April 12th, from 5-8 pm.
BioBuilder Club Presented Their Design That Detects Peanut Allergens in Food
On March 17, the BioBuilderClub, which utilizes authentic tools and approaches to engineering biology, finished a very successful 1st year in Cambridge, MA. Ten BioBuilderClub teams from across the world gathered at the Final Assembly to share the projects they have been working on. Westwood's team did a fantastic job presenting their design for a yeast-based system to detect peanut allergens in food. They will head to the Museum of Science's Synthetic Biology Day on April 8 to present their project and to learn more about the applications of engineering biology research.
Tri-M Update
Tri-M Update
by Gigi Cianciarulo

On Tuesday, March 22, Westwood High School hosted our annual Encounters With the Arts event. The night showcased work from both the visual and performing arts departments. In partnership with Project Empty Bowls, the ceramics classes raised over $900 for the Greater Boston Food Bank. With purchase of one the the hand-made ceramic bowls, a ticket for a bowl of ice cream was given to those who chose to donate to the cause.

Additionally, the Tri-M CD was launched. The CD features several recorded performances from some of the performing groups at Westwood High as well as solo performances from WHS students, and teachers from the Prodigy Program. Over $200 was raised for the Gitameit Music Center, to be donated later on in the year in an effort to help purchase instruments and supplies for the students.  

CD’s will be available for purchase at lunch from April 11-15 and at the Pops concert on Thursday, April 28th at 7PM in the Westwood High School Auditorium. The Pops concert will feature all of the performing groups as the final performance of the school year.

Contact Ms. Cote or Carley Stebbins with any questions.

Raise Funds for WHS PTO By Shopping at Amazon
The next time you shop on Amazon - including on Amazon Prime - you are able to raise funds for the WHS PTO at no added cost to you. Simply begin your shopping at the Westwood PTO page, and Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases.

School Store, The Westside, Now Takes Online Orders

Make sure you get all your holiday shopping done at The Westside. You can now place orders online at Featured_Products.html. Also, don't forget to come in and get a gift card that can be used both online and in store, and watch out for our holiday sale coming soon!

You can also get to the Westside's online ordering site by going under the "Quick Links" menu on the High School Website


WHS Photos for Scholarships

Please feel free to download the images on this website for free. Mr. Mao donates his time to take the photos because he enjoys 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).

To  those who donated to a scholarship fund last year, THANK YOU!

Peer Tutoring is Now Available

National Honor Society students are now available for tutoring. See the Guidance Department for details. 

Important Dates to Keep in Mind

  • April 13: Early Release
  • April 18 - 22: April Vacation
  • April 27: Early Release
  • May 2 - 12: AP Exams
  • May 4: X Block Schedule/Assembly
  • May 11: Early Release
  • May 12: PTO Ice Cream Social
  • May 12: NHS Induction
  • May 17 & 18: MCAS Math
  • May 30: No School (Memorial Day)

Reports to Parents

TERM 1 (44 days):    Last day of term:  November 6
Portal opens to view Progress Reports: October 6
Portal opens to view Report Cards: November 13

TERM 2 (43 days):    Last day of term:  January 15            
Portal opens to view Progress Reports:  December 15
    *Midyear Exams:  1/19, 1/20, 1/21, & 1/22
Portal opens to view Report Cards:  January 29

TERM 3 (42 days):    Last day of term:  April 1
Portal opens to view Progress Reports:  March 1
Portal opens to view Report Cards:  April 8

TERM 4 (
51 days):    Last day of term: June 15
Portal opens to view Progress Reports:  May 17
    *Final Exams:  
6/16, 6/17, 6/20, & 6/21
Portal opens to view Report Cards: June 23

Important Dates for Seniors

Last day of senior classes: May 24
Senior Exams: May 25-27
Senior Week: May 31-June 3   

Class Day:  June 3  – 4:00 pm
Graduation:  June 5  – 2:00 pm

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