Medfield Challenge Success Year 1 update

Dear Parents,

Since the spring of 2018, Medfield has partnered with Challenge Success, a program out of Stanford with this mission statement:  Challenge Success partners with schools, families, and communities to embrace a broad definition of success and to implement research-based strategies that promote student well-being and engagement with learning.  This program is designed to support and provide resources to our student and parent community.  The Challenge Success team in Medfield has been working to identify and develop strategies to meet the social/emotional needs of our students.  We have outlined highlights of this work:

  • Jon Kleiman, the Challenge Success School Program Director, visited Medfield in the spring of 2019.  Jon worked with the high school faculty, and shared data from the student survey, as well as strategies we can all use to help support our students. 
  • All students in grades 6-12 completed the Challenge Success student survey.  The Executive Summaries from this data are here…
  • At Medfield High School, programming updates include a change in the midyear exam format and incorporation of studies as an elective for students.  The school is currently exploring aspects of a master schedule that support many of the Challenge Success principles.
  • Over the past year, various activities for high school students have included an all-school assembly and Stress Tree advisory activity designed to provide an opportunity for students to provide feedback regarding the various challenges they have in maintaining balance in their lives.
  • The advisory program in grades 6-12 has focused on Challenge Success initiatives identified from the survey.  Staff and students spent professional development time this past summer to revise the programs at both schools. 
  • The Medfield Challenge Success Parent Group presented several events including the Well-Balanced Student K-8 and a district-wide book talk: Doing School: How We Are Creating a Generation of Stressed-Out, Materialistic, and Miseducated Students by Denise Pope.
  • The Challenge Success working team has increased in size which now includes district and building administrators, four high school students, four parents (representing both elementary and secondary schools) and four teachers.  This team has partnered with the district-wide SEL taskforce. 

We encourage all community members to access the Medfield Challenge Success website for helpful updates and resources throughout the school year.  We hope you will attend the upcoming parent event, Help Your Young Athlete Win the Race:  Finding Balance in Youth Sports on Monday, October 28.

Finally, we want to thank our community members for supporting this work, especially the Medfield Coalition for Public Education (MCPE), the Medfield High School PTO and the Blake Middle School PTO.   

Sincerely, 

Medfield Challenge Success Team

Welcome Back

September 2019

Dear Students/Families:

Hopefully this post finds you off on a good start to the school year.  The beginning of school always brings excitement and energy as our students and staff settle into the structure that our schedule provides.  I want to thank our teachers and our administrative and custodial staff for all their work in preparing for another successful opening.

In what has become a tradition at Medfield HS, our Student Council and approximately 40 Senior Ambassadors welcomed our freshmen class on Day 1.  With our staggered opening, we were able to dedicate all of our attention to the Class of 2023.  In our morning orientation sessions our freshmen toured the building, attended Advisory, set up their Google classroom, attended a Student Council presentation and met with each administrator in small groups.  I want to thank our staff and upperclassmen for all their help with our new students.

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This year, we will continue to focus on supporting the social/emotional needs of all our students.  The Medfield HS Challenge Success working group, as well as the district-wide Social/Emotional Task Force will look at best practices and whenever possible, provide resources for all of our community members.  In October, Dover-Sherborn High School will host, The Well-Balanced Student.  Medfield parents are welcomed to attend!  Please click here for more information.  For those of you new to Medfield, please check out our Challenge Success website which contains information regarding resources and upcoming events.

Similar to many surrounding towns, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) has elevated the Town of Medfield’s risk for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) to the critical stage. The DPH has released this statement for Medfield.  As a result, all outdoor school activities including sports, will need to conclude by 6:30pm until otherwise noted.  For sports scheduling updates, please follow Medfield HS Athletic Director Eric Scott’s Twitter feed, @MedfieldAD.

IMPORTANT UPCOMING DATES

  • September 26 – Medfield HS Open House, 6:30pm
  • September 30 – No School, Rosh Hashanah
  • October 3 – College Financial Aid presentation, 6:00pm

Medfield HS students making a difference

March 2018

Dear Students and Families:

Happy spring! I hope you are enjoying the recent warmer temperatures.  These un-welcomed March snowstorms made for a long winter and like many of you, I am very much looking forward to being able to partake in some exciting outdoor activities.  

Despite the dreary winter months, I am always impressed at the level of community engagement and support many of our students demonstrate.  The notion of being a positive and contributing member of a community is important. Two years ago, we inducted MHS alum Uzo Aduba (‘99) into the Medfield HS Hall of Excellence.  Uzo’s success on Broadway and in film has been impressive, but even more impressive, is the work she has done around the world by bringing awareness to Human Rights issues, promoting young women, and being a staunch advocate for the LGBTQ community.  Uzo has indeed been a positive and contributing member of her community.

Over the past several months, I have been inspired by the efforts of many of our students who in addition to fulfilling their academic responsibilities, have taken it upon themselves to make a difference.  One of the more active clubs at Medfield HS is Best Buddies. Nearly 50 students participate weekly in after school activities including gym time, art, and music. Co-Advisor Russ Becker said, “The best thing about what our students are doing is building genuine relationships and making sure all students feel that they are a part of our community.”  This club has participated in 5K runs, the Polar Bear Plunge on Cape Cod and most recently, the Special Olympics held last week in Medway.

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Last weekend, Medfield HS seniors Chloe Rogan and Lucy Nealon hosted the 2018 Massachusetts Miss Amazing pageant.  There is a considerable amount of time needed to plan and organize this event. The mere idea of two high school seniors hosting a pageant to a packed house of over 500 people is quite impressive.

In March, senior Jack Morrill was named the 2018 Medfield Foundation Youth Volunteer of the year. Jack’s volunteer efforts include working at the Medfield Food Pantry, volunteering (on his day off of school!) at Medfield’s Digital Learning Day, helping out at the Millis Library book sale, volunteering at junior football camps, and at the aforementioned Miss Amazing Pageant, and he is a church youth leader & youth basketball coach.  Medfield HS assistant football coach Brian Gavaghan stated, “Jack is hard-working, and can commit to causes bigger than himself.” Well done, Jack!

Recently, a group of MHS students across all grade levels formed to create the RENEW project (Rebuilding the Environment Necessary for Emotional Wellness). This student-led initiative aims to improve the emotional well-being of students across the high school. The students plan to address problems with stress and emotional wellness, with the end goal being to promote the culture of emotional wellness throughout the school community. The focus of RENEW is to ensure that the high school experience is better socially and emotionally for everyone.  There are currently nine students involved with others no doubt on the way. These students are posting resource sheets and positive affirmations around the school which are the first building blocks of a foundation of what we hope will be a successful and fulfilling project. Big thanks to Dave Worthley and Russ Becker for supporting this movement.

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There have been many other causes that students have supported this year.   I am proud of their efforts in being positive and contributing members of the Medfield HS community.

Fall wrap-up

November 2017

Dear Medfield HS:

I hope this blog post finds you enjoying the fall weather and excitedly preparing for Thanksgiving.  As we head into this extended weekend, I want to take this opportunity to share highlights from this past month at Medfield HS.

Our students’ many talents were on full display during the fall.  We know they work hard and take their studies seriously, and those results are often reflected in academic recognition for our learning community.  However, we are just as proud of their work beyond the school day.  As I’ve mentioned often, the experiences that we can provide our students after school, are just as important as what we have to offer from 7:40-2:07. With that, I want to congratulate the Medfield HS Theatre Society for a great performance of The Snow Queen.  Under the guidance of our new theater director, Andrea McCoy, our students shined on stage.  With the support of our stage crew, the entire production was impressive…take a bow, students!drama 9.jpeg

Our student-athletes turned in another stellar season.  Girls and boys soccer, girls volleyball and football all qualified for the state tournament.  Our girls soccer team won the Tri-Valley League title and advanced to the sectional semi-finals.  Our girls volleyball team went deep in the playoffs before losing in the sectional finals to eventual state champion Westboro, and our football team put together one of its best seasons under Coach Ormberg.  The football team qualified for the state playoffs and have an 8-2 record with one game remaining against rival Dover-Sherborn on Thursday morning at MHS, 10am.  This morning, the seniors from both teams got together for the annual Sportsmanship Breakfast…big thanks to DS for hosting.IMG_0069.jpgIn addition to an outstanding record, the Warrior football team was named winner of the TVL Sportsmanship Award.  Congrats and #WarriorPride!

Our teachers continue to work hard to ensure that we are providing an exciting learning environment for our students.  Recently at a faculty meeting, we spent time reflecting on various ways many have incorporated the ideas discussed in George Couros’ book, The Innovator’s Mindset.  Some of these ideas include:

  • Flipped classroom (social studies)
  • Project based learning activities (social studies, art, English)
  • Social/Emotional Learning website (guidance)
  • Digitally sharing of information (math)
  • Piloting a student book club (English)

Although we still have plenty of work to do, these and other ideas remind us of all that has been done to move our instruction forward.  The high school leadership team will continue to look for ways to provide our teachers with time to collaborate and share.IMG_0036.jpg

On behalf of the staff at Medfield HS, I want to wish you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving.

Thanks for a great start Medfield!

September 2017

Dear Medfield HS Community:

It’s hard to believe we’ve reached the 3-week mark in the 2017-2018 school year.  We had a great opening and we’re now well into semester I.  As our learning community is settling into the school year, I want to highlight a few items with the hope of keeping you up to speed with what’s happening at Medfield HS.

I want to take this opportunity to thank our teachers for their preparation and our students for their patience as we worked through a few Google and Aspen bugs during the first few days.  As we’ve stated many times, technology can make us remarkably efficient and it can also be the bane of our existence.  Fortunately, our tech support has been incredibly helpful…kudos to them!

As we do each year, we welcomed our freshmen on the first day with an opening assembly.  It’s always exciting to see the new faces, some confident, some perhaps not so much.  I’m always amazed at how quickly our freshmen are able to become familiar with their new surroundings.  Their transition comes with the help of many at Medfield HS. Big thanks to the Medfield High School student council officers (aka the “Welcoming Committee”), for sharing their enthusiasm and school spirit, and thanks to the 80 senior ambassadors who helped show the freshmen around.  As always, we are looking to make this transition even better so please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any feedback.

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We opened the school year with the always popular senior cruise which for many years, took place in the spring.  Several years ago we moved it to the fall, as we found the spring to be a very busy time for the seniors and their families.  This change has been well-received and in fact, has created a nice bonding activity for the seniors.  This year’s 3-hour cruise of the Boston Harbor aboard the Spirit of Boston ended in spectacular fashion as we were all able to enjoy a fireworks show…big thanks to whoever ordered that one up!

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Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve enjoyed visits to the classrooms.  It’s always on my to-do list, however the nature of my job often derails me from getting to do what I enjoy most, watching students who are engaged and excited about learning.  I’m determined to make more classroom visits this year!  Last week, I spent time with our journalism students (big thanks to Ms. Broks for the invite).  We talked about the many challenges that exist for journalists in this volatile political climate.  The roles of journalists have changed and our students are aware of the many characteristics that represent good journalism.  I am looking forward to seeing what they produce this year.  Also this week, some of our students took a Google Expedition in their social studies classes.  Our students went on a virtual tour of the 9/11 Museum located in New York City.  Google has done a terrific job of creating virtual field trips that allow students the opportunity to experience various landmarks around the world…all in a 360 degree environment  (Click here for more about Google Expeditions.)  Big thanks to Mrs. Lohan, Mrs. Emerson and our technology guru Mr. Sonnenberg, for sharing with our students.

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This year, I’m excited to cover a senior advisory. These seniors have been together for the past 3 years, so I get to play the role of the new guy on the block.  During our first meeting, I had the students share their responses about, “What I’m looking forward to most this year?” and “What makes me nervous about this year?”  The students are all looking forward to their many end-of-the year senior activities.  To nobody’s surprise, the overwhelming response to what makes them nervous is the college application/acceptance process that seniors will go through this fall (we will talk more about that throughout the year.)  What was the highlight you ask? Of course, it was the obligatory first advisory of the year photo!

 

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Finally, athletics at Medfield HS are well underway. Please make sure to swing by the gymnasium as the floor has a new look.  This summer, the floor was repainted with a slightly different color scheme…as you can see below, it looks fantastic!  I want to wish all of our fall teams much success including soccer, cross country, field hockey, football, girls volleyball and golf.  Make sure to follow Medfield Athletic Director Eric Scott’s Twitter feed at @MedfieldAD.  

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Don’t forget to check our weekly newsflash that is emailed every Monday and as always, I’ll continue to post highlights and other info on my Twitter feed @MedfieldHS.

Thanks for a great start Medfield!

 

Welcome Back Medfield!

Dear Families:

I hope this letter finds you enjoying these last few days of the summer.  Next week, classes will resume at Medfield High School and we are looking forward to another exciting school year.  The first day of school is Wednesday, August 30th.  Please note that on the first day of school, freshmen are scheduled to report to the Medfield HS auditorium by 7:40am.  All sophomores, juniors and seniors are scheduled to report to their first period class by 10:00am.  There will be TWO bus runs that morning to accommodate these start times.  We will then have a full day on Thursday, August 31st and an early release day (11:10am) on Friday, September 1st.  Student schedules will be available on Aspen later this week, please be on the lookout for an email from the guidance department.

Over the summer, our custodians and maintenance team have been busy preparing for the school year.  As you know, much of their work takes place in non-air conditioned spaces throughout the building during the hot summer days.  This week, they will be putting the finishing touches on the building.  Please make sure to give Mr. Keith Vogel and his team a big shout out when you return…the school looks great!

Many teachers have been working hard this summer on various projects and curriculum initiatives.  This work is important as it allows our staff opportunities to spend time creating and refining units of study.  This summer, all staff members read the book, The Innovator’s Mindset, by George Couros.   George explains, “if we want innovative students, we will need innovative educators.” I’m proud of the work our teachers have done this summer and I applaud their efforts in embracing a mindset of learning and growth.  

There are a number of teachers that will be new to our learning community.  Please join me in welcoming the following:

-Brian Ake (Special Education)

-Linnea Borjestedt (Wellness)

-Mary Boiardi (ACCESS teacher, maternity leave coverage for Ms. Borchard)

-Justin Coffey (Physics)

-Michael Cotter (Social Studies)

-Karey Curley (Special Education Team Chair)

-Maura Fitzgerald (Main Office Secretary)

-Marlo Franco (Special Education)

-Sara Higger (Art)

-Matthew Holms (Latin)

-Ali McEvoy (English, maternity leave coverage for Mrs. Farrahar)

-Kristen Thibault (Wellness)

-Xuguang Zhang (Mandarin)

At Medfield HS, we will continue to use various methods of communication.  All-school emails will always be used to deliver timely and important items.  If your email address has changed since last year, please make sure to update that information in Aspen as soon as possible.  Newsflashes will be sent out each week (usually Mondays once school begins).  Other information can be found on our website at www.medfield.net and I will continue to post highlights of our learning community on Twitter, @MedfieldHS.

All juniors and seniors will be issued a Chromebook to be used for the school year.  These devices will be distributed to juniors on August 24th (12:30-2:30) and August 28th (1:30-3:30). Seniors can pick up their Chromebooks on August 25th (12:30-2:30) and August 29th (12:30-2:30).  Pick up will take place in the Medfield HS library.  If you have any questions, please contact our Instructional Technology Specialist, Neal Sonnenberg at nsonnenberg@email.medfield.net.

SAVE THE DATE – The Medfield HS Open House will take place on Wednesday, September 27th.  We will send out more detailed information as we get closer to that date.

We are looking forward to another fantastic school year.  As always, please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

Welcome back Medfield!

 

A November message to Medfield HS

Dear Students, Parents and Faculty of Medfield High School:

I hope this letter finds you well and excited for the upcoming Thanksgiving break.  It’s a great time to take a breath, escape work, and spend time with family and friends.  The time away also provides an opportunity for all of us to reflect on how fortunate we are to study and work in such a vibrant learning community.  Our students work very hard and their efforts should never be overlooked.  Perhaps during this Thanksgiving break, we should make sure to give them the opportunity to share their dreams and optimistic thoughts.  Our young adults are indeed the most valuable resources we have and it’s important that we listen to their perspectives and points of view.   It’s a reminder that all opinions do matter.

Here at Medfield HS, the discussions we’ve had with students regarding this past presidential election have extended beyond our Social Studies classrooms.  It’s clear that our students appeared aware of the policies that shaped each of the candidates (perhaps more aware than ever before).  It was also evident that the results of this past election struck a chord with many.  As is sometimes the case, teachers are challenged with events that take place outside of the school and certainly this past election provided moments when we had to check our own political beliefs at the door.  As a staff, we’ve had many discussions regarding our roles as this campaign began to enter its final stages over the past few months.  We challenged our students to take the time to become well-informed before forming opinions, which has become difficult in this age of social media where information posted is not always accurate.  We will continue to emphasize how important it is to listen respectfully to others who may have differing views – something that was not always evident throughout the presidential campaign.  Over the past two weeks, there have been reports of incidences involving hateful comments in schools across the country and in neighboring communities.  In our discussions with students, we’ve reminded them that comments that demean, insult or threaten individuals or groups of people, no matter their race, gender, religious beliefs or sexual orientation, will not be tolerated.  I know you will join us in standing up to such divisive behavior.  As we move forward, I share the words of Winston Churchill who once wrote, “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”  At Medfield HS, we will continue to hold our core values close to heart. Those values include Respect, Honesty and Integrity.

Tomorrow we will hold our annual pep rally.  This event will highlight school spirit and provide our students the opportunity to demonstrate their Warrior pride.  This year’s theme is Community, and many student groups and special guests will be well-represented. I want to offer a big thank you to our Student Council for all their hard work in preparing for this event.

As a staff, we’ve decided that this weekend will be a No Homework weekend (AP classes are excluded). I do hope this short break provides an opportunity to relax and recharge as we head into December.  I want to sincerely wish you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving, and for those of you traveling, please do so safely.

Happy Thanksgiving Medfield!