ConVal High School Happenings - November 20, 2020

Message from Principal McKillop

Good Afternoon, Cougar Nation!

This week concluded our last full week together before we transition to our segmented calendar. Next week we will have two days of learning before our Thanksgiving break. We will resume learning remotely as a community on November 30.

Superintendent Saunders recently shared that students and staff in our district are taking the #ConValCommunityPledge to stay healthy over the holiday by pledging to adhere to the three W's: wash your hands, wear your mask, and watch your distance. You can watch the brief clip by clicking here.

I was fortunate to spend the last week visiting classes, meeting with students, and engaging in conversations with members of our school community. I continue to be impressed by the level of dedication witnessed by so many as we continue to support all of our students. Since next week is a two-day week, there will not be a newsletter sent. I will, however, send out an email that includes a presentation about our remote learning transition.

I wish you all a very happy and healthy Thanksgiving. I am truly thankful to have joined a community so vested in supporting students on a daily basis.

With Gratitude,


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Upcoming Important Dates:

  • November 25-27, 2020 - Thanksgiving Break
  • November 30, 2020 - Transition to the remote portion of the segmented calendar
  • December 2, 2020 - Picture Retake Day (see below)

December 2: Lifetouch Photos and Picture Retake Day

The Lifetouch student photos have arrived!

We will distribute photos to our Gold Cohort students on Monday and Tuesday of next week. For our Blue Cohort and Remote Only students, photos may be picked up at the side window to the left of the main entrance, on Monday, November 23, and Tuesday, November 24, from 8 am to 3 pm and then again during the following week from 8 am to 3 pm. If these times do not work for you, please contact our main office at (603) 924-3869.

Lifetouch will be on campus for picture retakes on December 2.

Photos will continue to be taken outside and we ask that students needing a retake adhere to the following schedule:

  • 8:00 am - 10:00 am - Blue Cohort and Remote Students Designated Blue (Antrim, Bennington, Francestown, Hancock, and Greenfield)
  • 10:15 am - 12:15 pm - Gold Cohort and Remote Students Designated Gold (Dublin, Peterborough, Sharon, Temple)
For further details and scheduling, please call Steve Bartsch, Dean of Students, at 924-3869 ext. 3002 or email him at sbartsch@conval.edu.
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Material Pick Up:

If you have been contacted by one (or more) of your teachers and informed that you will need additional materials during our segmented calendar, please come to the school to retrieve items at one of the times listed below:

  • Monday, November 23, 2020 - 8 am to 3 pm
  • Tuesday, November 24, 2020 - 8 am to 3 pm
  • Monday - Friday, November 30 - December 4, 2020 - 8am to 3pm

When you arrive, please ring the bell by the window on the left prior to the main entrance. Please give your name, your teacher's name, and the item you were told to pick up.

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Counseling Information:

Q1 Grades

The portal reopens Friday, November 20, to view quarter 1 grades. To access grades, log into the portal at https://ps.conval.edu/public/. Students can access their portal with their access ID and password. Parent account login information is the opposite of this (the student password is the parent access ID, and the student access ID is the parent account password). Q1 grades will be visible on the main page after logging in. If you have any difficulty accessing your account, please reach out to our registrar, Stacy Whitaker, at 924-4120.

Military Opt-Out

Per our district policy, military recruiters and institutions of higher learning have access to some student directory information (names, address, telephone number) unless an adult student or parent of a minor student opts out and requests that information not be provided without prior written consent. If you would like to opt out, please communicate this directly to Stacy Whitaker by email at swhitaker@conval.edu or call the school counseling office at 924-4120.


A reminder to seniors that the Counseling Department posts information about scholarships as we receive information about them to the Scholarships section on Naviance.

Please be sure to log into Naviance periodically to review available scholarships. Note that this is for outside scholarships that we hear about, information about the local scholarship process will be forthcoming with applications for local scholarships occurring in April. Other great resources for scholarships are the NH Charitable Foundation website (https://www.nhcf.org/how-can-we-help-you/apply-for-a-scholarship/) and students in the past have used websites like cappex.com and fastweb.com as well.

English Class: Self-Reflection For The Month Of November

During a recent English class at ConVal, Mr. Glenn Hammett shared Robert Frost's popular poem My November Guest and paired its discussion with the Guns N' Roses classic "November Rain." Released in 1992, GNR's "November Rain" is the oldest video ever to be streamed a billion times on YouTube.

After a class debrief regarding the November theme, the class went on a nature walk where they were given time to write on any topic they desired.

One person in the class produced this poem:

Temperatures fall, driving me into familiar enclosures

Escape is possible yet opportunities appear

Reflections of time passed with warmer memories

Preparations for hard times solidify

I have been here before

Life is like the seasons, a cycle of rebirth, growth, reflection, and struggles

Biology Class: Crayfish Dissection Lab

Ms. Muncy's Biology class, which is made up mostly of sophomores and juniors, were led remotely through a lab that involved the dissection of a crayfish. The aim was for students to work independently or in pairs in order to achieve a greater understanding of the invertebrate through hands-on dissection and exploration of crustacean anatomy.

With Chromebook cameras trained on the lab trays, Ms. Muncy guided students through all the parts of the lab which started with the examination of the exoskeleton of the crayfish and progressed through the use of straight and bent teasing needles to identify other external structures of the crayfish and finally the use of dissecting scissors to lay bare and identify the specimen's internal organs.

To document their progress, students took photos with their smartphones before turning in their lab reports.

AP Biology Class: Bacterial Transformation Lab

Students in Dr. Moira Milne’s AP Biology class participated in a lab on bacterial transformation.

“The students will acquire the tools to transform E. coli bacteria to express new genetic information using a plasmid system,” Milne explained in her introductory lecture. “They will then apply mathematical routines to determine transformation efficiency.”

The lab takes a green fluorescent protein (GFP) that was originally isolated from the luminescent jellyfish Aequorea victoria and inserts it into a safe strain of E. coli bacteria (the non-pathogenic HB101-K12 strain) using pGlo plasmid.

pGlo also incorporates a special gene regulation system which can be used to control expression of the fluorescent protein in the transformed cells. The gene can easily be switched on in transformed cells by adding the sugar arabinose to the nutrient medium.

When successful, the bacterial colonies light up when exposed to ultraviolet light (see the last picture in the series below, taken by students in the Blue Cohort lab).

ATC Photography Class

Digital Photo II students have been experimenting with lenses as they learn more about choosing the correct equipment to render the images they want. Students in these pictures are working with the “holy trinity” of lenses — the 16-35mm wide angle, the 24-70mm standard, and the 70-200mm telephoto zoom lenses — to better understand how the perspective offered by different lenses affects an object and the resulting image.

ATC Firefighting Class

Students in Firefighting I had the opportunity to participate in a side-by-side controlled burn with the NH Fire Marshal’s Office on Wednesday, November 19 in Concord. Students observed first-hand a live burn exhibit that demonstrated the importance of fire sprinklers, especially during the holiday season. The burn was featured that evening on WMUR during the nightly news.

The students also met and had a Q&A session with NH State Fire Marshal Paul Parisi, District Chief Danielle Cole, District Chief Adam Fanjoy, Investigator Matt Wilmot, and accelerant K9 “Anthem.” Anthem was then run through some training exercises in detecting ignitable liquids.

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Photos for the Principal

Fletcher Maggs (photo on the left) and Emily Donovan (photo on the right) recently each presented Ms. McKillop with a photograph they took in their digital photography class when their cohort was in session. Ms. McKillop is excited to have these framed for her office and is looking forward to displaying student work!

ATC Teacher To Present At National Conference

Congratulations to ConVal CTE teacher Sarah Grossi who has been selected to be a presenter at the Career Tech Virtual Vision 2020 Conference.

The conference will be held from November 30 to December 4 and is organized by the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE).

Grossi will give two presentations — “Student Teaching: Embedding Practicum Work into your Education Program” and “CTE for Everyone: Creating a Classroom Culture that Encourages Differentiation.”