Cohasset High School Newsletter

News and Happenings at Cohasset High School

October 30, 2020

Dear Families,

In the late 90s I worked in Boston for PwC before ultimately leaving to get into teaching. It was a good job but it required a lot of travel, mostly interstate. For those locations that were drivable, I kept a map book in my trunk. I loved the map book, a two-inch thick spiral-bound navigation system. This, of course, was before GPS and really even before cell phones were widely available.

The map book is of course obsolete, as several travel apps exist on personal devices which allow for a variety of travel options. You are rerouted if traffic is detected, are alerted to potential speed traps, and can avoid tolls if you wish. Most of us don't think twice about getting from point A to point B. It has become the norm, even if sometimes people disagree with the route taken.

Imagine if you were travelling across country for some important purpose, using the GPS in your phone, and suddenly there was a major disaster and the internet was unavailable. Determined to press on you stop and collaborate with other travelers who can help navigate both the local and interstate highways. You continue on, but at a less efficient pace. You are aware of this but it's unavoidable. You make several mistakes and are nervous that you might not make it the entire way in time. And yet your passengers are relying on your driving to get there so you press on.

Unable to rely on normal conditions you're forced to rely on each other - both those in your car and those who can share advice about ways that have worked and mistakes to avoid. That feedback is critical if you are going to reach your destination.

A good co-pilot can make a tremendous difference if the feedback is constructive.

"We want to go south but 93 South turns into 95 North so watch out for that."

"We're going too fast. I'm having trouble keeping up with the turns."

"We're going to slow. We can make up some time here."

"We're running out of gas. We should stop."

Constructive feedback gives us a second set of eyes and real time information that allows us to adjust course. The partnership is collaborative which psychologically eases the stress we feel and makes us a more efficient unit and increases our chances of getting where we want to go. Feedback serves a purpose.

Contrast that with diatribe. Rightly frustrated passengers whose comments serve no purpose towards accomplishing the goal but instead want to know when we're going to get there, venting that the whole experience is unacceptable and pathetic and disgraceful and they won't stand for it, berating the driver instead of acknowledging the circumstances.

The difference between dialogue and diatribe is critical towards creating a climate in which anyone can be successful. Never before in our country's history has there been less civil discourse. We can't fall into that trap.

Teachers are driving right now, and they need and want feedback and good co-pilots. Student and family experiences with the hybrid model are widely variable because students and courses and living situations are widely variable.

We want to know whether individual workloads are too much or too little, whether the assessment strategies are working for your student or not, whether a student is more attuned to synchronous or asynchronous learning, and whether and when we need to stop and get gas. We want students and families to reach out to teachers, and we want teachers to reach out to students.

This is going to be a long journey. How effectively and efficiently we reach our goals will in part be determined by our ability to share honest, construcive feedback.


Brian T. Scott

A Note about Remote

Now that we have settled in to remote learning to a certain extent, we are starting to see some misunderstandings around when and under what conditions a student can partake remotely. Remote learning offers some flexibility that we were not able to offer when totally in-person. A student who is hospitalized, for example, would have a difficult time in years' past keeping up with academics. In a virtual learning model, progressing academically is much more robust. It also provides a safety measure for students who are sick to stay home and learn virtually as their physician evaluates the cause of the illness. These are important measures in the current environment.

What we have started to see, however, are misunderstandings around the extent of flexibility that students have around remote learning. Students are expected to be in school during their assigned days and should only be participating from home if they have been asked to stay home for COVID-19 reasons. If you suspect COVID-19 exposure or are experiencing symptoms, you must call the school and leave a message on the attendance line. Our nurse will follow up with a phone call.

While we appreicate students trying to keep up with schoolwork, it is not an option to be virtually present because the family wants to leave early for a ski weekend, or extend that weekend into a Monday. It isn't an option to take a vacation and log in from the beach, or to just decide that the student would rather be working from home.

In a hybrid model, teachers are essentially preparing two parallel instructional methods. These methods are not typically synchronous so while it does give us a structure for moving some students back and forth between in-person and remote, the lessons are not designed to have students pick and choose which method they would prefer.

Students who are experiencing symptoms or believe that they have been exposed should contact the main office and the nurse as well as teachers, and we will determine whether learning virtually during an in-person day is considered an absence.


A reminder to please check the Aspen parent portal for progress on student grades. Teachers should be reaching out with concerns for students who are struggling.


VHS will be hosting a webinar on Wednesday, November 4th at 4pm to provide strategies to help parents and guardians support their students and get a better understanding of how VHS Learning classes work. Click the link below to register:

In addition, please see their guide on how best to help students. These strategies can be applied universally.

A Message from SEPAC

SEPAC (Special Education Parent Advisory Council) aims to promote child-focused, inclusive learning environments for all students. The council also works to support parents of students on IEPs and liaison with district and school administration to maintain open dialogue and transparency. SEPAC holds regular meetings with Barabar Cerwonka, Director of Student Services and plans to host two virtual parent-only coffees this year to offer parents time and space to talk and share issues, concerns, and ideas. The first virtual parent-only coffee will be Tuesday, November 17th at 10am. Keep a look-out for the flyer with the zoom link! Email us at to ask questions, become more directly involved, or just say hello. We'd like to wish everyone a great year and extend a big thank you to all of the teachers, staff, administrators, parents, caregivers, and siblings for their ongoing and tireless efforts to keep our kids engaged and learning.

Spirit Weeks

The Student Council will be holding spirit weeks throughout the month of October. Spirit days will be every Tuesday for Cohort A and every Friday for Cohort B with the exception of the October 20th PD day. On Wednesday, all students and faculty are encouraged to wear pick for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Themes are as follows (NOTE: costume masks are not acceptible masks; please come prepared):

Senior spirit days
1) Early 2000s*
2) 80’s workout
3) Superheros vs Disney princesses
4) Pirates vs Mermaids

Underclass spirit days
1) Scholar vs Baller
2) USA
3) Western
4) Grade specific - Classes will be polled via StuCo Google classrooms and a decision will be posted next week.

Safety Update: Portable Air Cleaners (PACs) Coming to Classrooms

The Cohasset Public Schools has secured funding for the acquisition of approximately 170 Portable Air Cleaners (PACs) for use in various learning spaces throughout the district. We have ordered these PACs in anticipation of the winter months and in an effort to mitigate any potential air quality concerns within the buildings.

In support of this purchase, the district cites the following considerations:

· PACs can simulate a higher Air Change per Hour (ACH)

· PACs can improve air quality

· PACs can be used to reduce airborne contaminants

Thank you to the Cohasset Teachers Association (CTA) and the Town of Cohasset for their collaboration regarding this important safety initiative.

New Online Meal Ordering System

Dear Cohasset Families,

We are happy to announce our new online meals ordering system. This will allow parents/guardians to order student meals for both the days that students are in school and the days they are remote learners.

Meals are available for order Monday-Friday for all students at no charge currently. Meals must be ordered before 8:00 am for that day. We encourage those who wish to order meals to set up accounts now to start using the system.

All parents/guardians must set up an account before ordering meals. The website for this is

After you have set up your account, to order meals, simply go to the district website, and click on the menu tab at the top of the page (next to the calendar tab is a fork and knife and reads “Menu”). This will bring you to the nutrition site.

  • Click on menus at the top, and then select your students’ school. (Joseph Osgood and Deer Hill have the same menu).
  • Once the menu is open, click the online ordering button.
  • Please choose the pick-up location for the student:

  1. For the days students are in school, select “cafeteria”
  2. For the days they are remote, select “remote pick-up”

  • Meal pick-up for remote learners all grades is at Cohasset Middle/High School, behind the building at the loading dock, Monday-Friday from 12:00-1:00.

Please click this link to access a few instructional videos to get started with online ordering. If you have any questions please contact Marilyn Haraden at or 781-383-6107.

Substance Use Support

The Scituate FACTS Coalition is offering virtual psycho-educational support groups to middle school and high school students from the South Shore at no cost, remotely during the 2020-21 school year. Groups are facilitated by a Student Assistance Program Specialist from Caron Treatment Centers. Parent/guardian permission required.

Groups Offered:

- Kids of Promise®: for students impacted by the substance use disorder of a loved one (8 weeks)

- Virtually CONNECTed: for students trying to reduce or quit the use of nicotine (5 weeks)

- Marijuana Intervention and Support: for students trying to reduce or quit use of marijuana (8 weeks)

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