Principal's Newsletter

April 16, 2021

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Mandatory Student Covid-19 Pooled Testing

COVID-19 pooled testing is mandatory for all students who are learning in-person. In order for your student to return to full in-person learning on Monday, April 26th, you must complete a consent form for testing. This is a requirement for return, and families who choose not to participate are welcome to continue their learning through our live streaming options from home. Students will come to the main entrance and be funneled through 4 lines to expedite testing.


COVID-19 universal surveillance pooled testing will be completed once a week on Mondays with a non-invasive anterior nasal swab testing protocol. Fully remote student athletes must still be tested, which will also take place on Mondays. All students who will be returning to full 5-day in-person instruction will be required to fill out the “Commitment to In-Person Learning, COVID Protocols, and Consent for Pooled Testing” form prior to returning to school. This additional safety measure is fully supported by the Watertown Health Department.


It is important to note that testing, combined with vaccinations, contact tracing, and isolation, helps control the spread of COVID-19 in Massachusetts. The availability of in-person instruction and the District's in-person health and safety implementation guidelines will be determined and continually assessed using up-to-date data and guidelines provided by the Watertown Health Department, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).


For more information about pool testing, please refer to the following information video.


**If you or a member of your household has tested positive for COVID-19 or is in the process of being tested due to exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, please keep your child home and contact the school nurse.

COVID Testing: How to Nasal Swab

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Student Schedule on Monday, April 26, 2021

Below is the revised student bell schedule for Monday, April 26, 2021, when students are back in the building full time.
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B BLOCK IS 72 MINUTES:

  • The extra 20 minutes is to accommodate:


C BLOCK IS 96 MINUTES:

  • 64 minutes of class and 32 minutes for lunch

  • 3 (32 minute lunches)


A, E, F and G BLOCKS are 47 MINUTES:

  • (5 minutes shorter to allow for 20 minutes extra to B block)

WHS COVID Protocols Handbook

We have updated the WHS COVID Protocols Handbook for the start of full in person learning on Monday, April 26, 2021. Please check the WHS Website for the most up to date COVID handbook, next week.

Graduation Ceremony

We will be having an in-person graduation for students on June 4, 2021 at 6:00pm. Details about graduation are forthcoming, but we are working to maximize the number of guests while following state guidelines. The graduation will take place at Victory Field with a student rehearsal the morning of.

School Reopening Q&A Video

If you missed the School Reopening Q&A session with Principal Giacobozzi on Tuesday, March 30, you can view the video recording here. If you have still not notified the school of your student's learning model choice for after April 26th, please email brian.brewer@watertown.k12.ma.us. If you filled out either the district survey or the survey in my latest newsletter, your choice has been recorded and no action is necessary.

WHS Guidance Update

Please review the WHS Guidance Newsletter with important information about:


  • Course Selection
  • Virtual College Rep Visits
  • Scholarships and Financial Aid Resources
  • WCF Summer Internship Program

PE, Health & Wellness Update

Check out the PE, Health & Wellness April Newsletter here!

16 Year Olds & Up: Eligible for Covid Vaccine on April 19th

Individuals who are 16 years old and older are eligible for the Pfizer vaccine on April 19, 2021. You will need to preregister for the vaccine using this website.

MCAS Spring 2021

Important information about the MCAS for students in the classes of 2022 and 2023:

Achieving a passing score on the English, Math, and Science MCAS is one of many requirements for earning a Watertown High School diploma. Due to the emergency closure last spring, students in the Class of 2022 were unable to take the MCAS in English and Math and will need to take the exam this school year. The Class of 2023 is also required to take the exam this school year as previously planned.


In accordance with the guidance from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, we have scheduled test dates for these two exams during the testing window in May. Below are the dates for the English and Math MCAS:


ELA: Tuesday, May 4 & Wednesday, May 5

Math: Wednesday, May 19 & Thursday, May 20


All students in grades 10 and 11 are expected to participate in the testing administration in-person at Watertown High School. Testing will take place in person ONLY. Fully remote students are expected to participate in person on these days. If you are not comfortable with your student participating in in-person testing, please reach out to your student’s guidance counselor to discuss options. We will continue to follow our health and safety protocols and will only be allowing 10th and 11th grade students into the building on these test days. All other students will be fully remote.


Students must bring their Watertown Public Schools issued Chromebook on testing day to take the test. If there is a conflict on any testing date (ex: AP exam, doctor’s appointment, etc.), the Guidance department will work with your student to arrange a makeup exam (typically the day following the 2nd day of testing, dates to be determined).


This administration may qualify students for the Stanley Z. Koplik Certificate of Master and/or John and Abigail Adams Scholarship, as well as meet the graduation requirement. More information about these awards can be found here.


Students in the 11th grade who do not earn a passing score will have 2 additional opportunities to take the test (Fall 2021, Spring 2022). Students in the 10th grade who do not earn a passing score will have 4 additional opportunities to take the test (Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Spring 2023).


Science:

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has determined that students in the classes of 2022 and 2023 who have been awarded credit in a relevant subject area (Physics, Biology, or Chemistry) will have demonstrated competency in Science and will NOT need to take the Science MCAS.


We are confident that students are well-prepared for these upcoming administrations; despite the pandemic, students and teachers have worked incredibly hard to ensure that essential content is mastered. Should you have questions about the test content, please contact Dr. Susanne Dunn, 8-12 ELA curriculum coordinator, or Mr. Daniel Wulf, 8-12 math coordinator. If you have questions about the test administrations, please reach out to your student’s guidance counselor.


Details of how tests will be administered, given COVID guidelines and other considerations, will be shared as testing dates approach.

Equity Team Announcement

I have formed a WHS Equity Team composed of faculty members that represent and celebrate our diverse student body. This group of 12 amazing staff members will meet regularly to discuss issues of equity as they pertain to WHS and the community at large. We are excited for this group to plan educational events, advise on WHS and district policy, and most importantly, advocate on behalf of and listen to our students to ensure that nobody ever feels marginalized in their student experience.


Please welcome the following team members:


  • Bianca Jones - School Nurse
  • Caitrin Zellers - Special Educator/History
  • Fabian Rivera - School Counselor
  • Ian Ward - Special Educator/English
  • Ingrid Wolfson - Community Partner
  • James Buck - History Teacher
  • Joel Giacobozzi - Principal
  • John Bresnihan - Social Worker
  • Kacie Kirkpatrick - Special Educator/Theater Teacher
  • Laura Licuanan - Speech and Language
  • Pat Ferdinand - Instructional Assistant/Head Coach
  • Sadye Vogel - Special Educator/English
  • Sean Morris - Special Educator/Math/GSA Advisor


We have already begun the work, and look forward to continuing!

WPS Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging Webpage

Our new webpage on WPS (currently under construction): WPS Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging


This section of our website highlights earlier, ongoing, and upcoming work across the Watertown Public Schools in Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEI & B). These are central tenets in the academic, behavioral, and social-emotional support of our students and staff. All of our work supports our WPS District Strategic Initiative - To engage all WPS faculty and staff in embracing anti-bias and inclusive practices that promote equity and ensure all students feel valued and supported in their learning. We will be adding items to it throughout the spring at Watertown High School, for Black History Month and beyond.

Weekly Covid Pool Testing

Thank you to all who have signed up for weekly Covid pool testing thus far. Testing is the best way of keeping everyone safe. Please use this form to sign up.


Only positive pools and close contacts will be alerted as soon as possible with the weekly testing results. If you do not receive an update 24-48 hours after your child participates in pool testing, it means their pool tested negative. If your student's pool tests positive, it is highly recommended that family members quarantine until individual test results are available (usually within 24 hours).


Testing takes place in the main lobby as students arrive to school. During school, lunch, and after school the testing location is in the hallway by the gymnasium.


For more detailed information on the testing, click here.