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!

Medfield High School Italy trip…days 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

Here is a quick synopsis from the second half of our trip.  We were unable to access wifi in Rome and Sorrento so I’ve included the blog entires from those days…

Day 6 – Rome…Roma was fantastico! We were very excited to get up early (6:30am) and head into the ancient city.  Our first stop was the Colosseum.  Completed in 80 AD, this stadium was the center of the Roman Empire.  Despite the destruction over the years (mainly earthquakes and pollution), it didn’t take much to imagine what it looked liked 2,000 years ago.  We had a guided tour of the Colosseum starting in the upper level and eventually making our way down to the floor.

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Next stop, the Forum, located across the street from the Colosseum.

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From here, half of our students went on the Roman Catacombs excursion and the rest of us took a walking tour of Rome, eventually ending up at the Pantheon.  Built just years after the Colosseum, the Pantheon is an active church and an architectural masterpiece.  Our photo students had a blast shooting from inside the building.

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Our night ended with dinner and an evening tour of Rome.

Day 7 – The Vatican…We were lucky to be part of the Papal Audience.  Standing 300 or so yards from Pope Francis, we were able to experience this service which takes place on Wednesdays in St. Peter’s Square. There were 10,000-15,000 people in attendance.

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After the service, we stopped at the Vatican gift shop then it was on to lunch.  The afternoon tour included the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s basilica.  The Sistine Chapel is Michelangelo’s masterpiece and our AP Art History students have spent a great deal of time studying his work.  No photos allowed in the chapel so our students simply took it all in…pictures couldn’t do it justice anyhow.

Last stop before dinner was St. Peter’s basilica.  Known as the most famous of the four basilicas in Rome, this church is impressive in its size and design.  We enjoyed our guided tour.

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Dinner on Wednesday night? Pizza!  Need I say more?

Day 8 – On the road to Pompeii – We left our hotel in Rome and headed south to the ancient city of Pompeii.  When Mt. Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD, this once thriving city along the Amalfi Coast simply disappeared.  Now almost fully excavated, it provides an unbelievable setting for what Pompeii looked like 2,000 years ago.  With Mt. Vesuvius in the background, we walked the original stone streets and entered homes and other buildings…simply breathtaking!

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After Pompeii, we made a quick stop in the little town of Sorrento before heading to our hotel located on the cliffs of the Mediterranean Sea.

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Tomorrow, we’re off to the island of Capri then back to Rome…it will be our last full day in Italy.

Day 9 – Our last full day was spent on the island of Capri.  We took a 20 minute ferry to the island which provided the most beautiful views we had all week.  Once we reached the island, we boarded a smaller boat for a private tour.

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Day 10 – Early morning wake-up call (5:45am), breakfast then it was off to the Da Vinci International Airport.  Our flight was on time and we landed at Logan Airport at 8:00pm.

What a great trip!  Our students were fantastic and enjoyed the many historical sites and works of art in Florence, Orvieto, Rome, Pompeii, Sorrento and Capri.  Add in the delicious food and it’s fair to say this trip was a resounding success and one we’ll likely offer again. Big thanks to our chaperones, Anna Lall, Meg Drew, Heather Gonzalez, Jessica Safer, Kate Jones and Chris Faust.  I appreciate their willingness to spend time away from their own families.

On a personal note, it was wonderful for me to experience this trip with my son, Nick. He loved every minute and it will be memory he’ll always have.  I want to sincerely thank our students and teachers for being so welcoming…you all truly made this a special trip for him. Grazie & ciao!!

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Medfield High School Italy trip…day 5

After several days in Florence, we packed up and headed south for Rome.  First stop today was a visit to the town of Orvieto.  This town set high above the cliffs in southwestern Umbria, was once conquered by Julius Caesar and later fell under papal control.  The town is now home to approximately 20,000 residents.  We had the opportunity to have lunch in Orvieto and spend several hours exploring this beautiful hilltop city.

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The Cathedral of Orvieto was an amazing structure built in the 1500’s.

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Tomorrow, we’ll explore ancient Rome.

Medfield High School Italy trip, day 4

Our last day in Florence was fantastic.  We started our day at the world famous Galleria Uffizi home of Botticelli’s Birth of Venus and Michelangelo’s Holy Family among others.  The students enjoyed time in this three story collection of treasured art work.DSC00520.jpgDSC00519.jpg

After lunch, we walked across the bridge to the Pitti Palace, the former palace once owned by the Medici family.  The palace was also used at different times by Napoleon and King Victor Emmanuel III.  There is a beautiful garden on the grounds which provides an incredible view of Florence.DSC00545.jpgDSC00557.jpg

Dinner was once again unbelievable, pasta, beef, roasted potatoes and dessert.  The restaurant, Osteria dei Baroncelli was located right off of della Signoria Plaza.  After dinner, we had some time in the square where the kids played hackey sack (a regular occurrence for many of the boys) and of course, more dessert!DSC00580.jpgDSC00586.jpg

Tomorrow, we head south to Rome with a stop in the town of Orvieto.

Medfield High School Italy trip…day 3

 

We enjoyed our first full day in Florence.  Wake up call at 7am, breakfast at the hotel at 7:45, then off for a walking tour of historic Florence.  We saw il Duomo, the Baptistery of St. Giovanni then walked down to the Arno River.DSC00489 (1).jpg

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DSC00495.jpgThe highlight of the morning was the visit to the leather and jewelry store.  We saw a demonstration of local craftsmanship and the students got to witness the details that go into this skill/craft/art.  The visit included a fashion show where yours truly had the opportunity to participate (pictured here with Allie Newlon).DSC00504.jpg

After lunch, we had the opportunity to visit the L’ Accademia Gallery, home to Michelangelo’s famous statue of David.

DSC00506.jpgThe day was capped off with another traditional Italian meal at Casa Toscana, located in the historic district.  Tomorrow brings another full day in Florence.