information and reflection about Joseph Case High School
Volume 12, No. 2 *** September 11, 2015
Opening of School Observations
One hundred and thirty young adults entered Joseph Case High School on September 1 as its Class of 2019. Freshmen were greeted by the entire faculty and staff in the auditorium before going into advisories for the seventh year in a row, beginning their high school experience in small learning communities. To date, Joseph Case High School’s numbers are down about 20 students from last year, with a population to date of 521.
The high school welcomed only four new teachers and two paraprofessionals to the building: Melissa Radevicz (math), Thomas Harris (math), Sarah Cookson (science), and Thomas Whalen (video/English). Radevicz is a 2011 graduate of Joseph Case High School and recent graduate of Bridgewater State University. Complementing our paraprofessional staff are David Ulmschneider and Nicole Henrique.
The school year began with traditional class assemblies to review high school expectations and address new policies. A traditional Open House is scheduled for Thursday evening, September 10, allowing students and families a full week before the end of the drop/add period. Principal McCann proclaimed school year 2015-16 is a Year of Kindness. Success at Joseph Case High School will result if students are present, mindful, kind, industrious and part of the community.
Superintendent of Schools Bob Monteiro oversaw major summer projects that improve our school within and around the high school campus. The first major project completed over the summer was the construction of an additional road – Cardinal Way – enabling vehicles to enter and exit the campus’ east side directly. The first days of school were uneventful as vehicles entered and exited the campus freely both in the morning and afternoon while drivers became familiar with new protocols about exiting the school.
A second major renovation occurred in the building with the library transforming into a collaborative learning commons with flexible seating and a vibrant addition of technology to the space. McCann will host a parent information meeting to kick-off Open House in the Learning Commons during September 10’s Open House, beginning at 6 p.m.
After intensive professional development this summer, Advance Placement (AP) courses offerings increased at Joseph Case High School for junior and senior students. We now offer AP English Language/Composition and AP Statistics in addition to AP English Lit/Composition, AP History, AP Calculus, AP Computer Science, AP Physics, AP Chemistry and AP Biology.
This partnership with Mass Insight Education allows us to broaden the scope of AP offerings while employing strategies to allow more students to have a college experience while in high school. We will celebrate the expansion of the AP courses on Wednesday, September 16 with a morning assembly that will reveal incentives to attending Saturday classes.
Maintaining their dedication to the distinct needs of our Swansea youth are our two alternative education programs. After graduating four students last year, the CACE program presently has nine students, while the ARCH program is in its third year of an expanded scope and sequence to better serve the needs of its older students. Lead teacher David Singletary and paraprofessional Carol McConnell continue to coordinate the efforts of this transitional component of ARCH. We are utilizing teachers from the general comprehensive high school to provide an additional level of academic instruction. Mark Fairchild teaches computer science one period in the CACE program while Amy Hubbard is scheduled with ARCH students for one period of music each day.
The high school continues to offer a variety of non-traditional programs for the success of its students:
- The fourth year of Cardinal Prep, a transitional program for at-risk ninth graders who historically struggled with traditional success in school as well as attendance concerns in some cases. The program combines smaller classes with online learning through Edgenuity to provide individualized instruction in technology and study skills. This year it is under the facilitation of guidance counselor Anthony Palladino. New this year: Students have the opportunity to fulfill their fine arts requirement through a Music History course taught by music teacher Amy Hubbard.
- A full complement of students (25) who take Virtual High School (VHS), an on-line program for students and staff interested in courses and curricula areas not offered onsite at Joseph Case High School
- Saturday School continues for both credit recovery for students and as an alternative to suspension.
- Year Eight of an Advisory Program for all student members of our school community in four grades, including the CACE and ARCH programs.
- Chartwells Food Service continues in the cafeteria after two successful pilot years.
Students may engage technology in all high school venues for educational activities. A powerful Wi-Fi system enables students to utilize secure public data rather than consume their private plans. Cell phone restrictions have been minimized and only include situations like local and statewide testing situations and specific scenarios at the discretion of the teacher. Assistant Principal Costa announced a new beverage policy as well that allows students more hydration without compromising the safety and integrity of specific academic areas, like computers and science labs.
Principal McCann encourages all members of the Case teaching community to continue to celebrate Joseph Case High School through social media by using a common hashtag: #casepride. We are committed to integrating appropriate social media in and out of class to communicate with all stakeholders in a 21st century venue. Please follow us on Twitter: @josephcasehs, @CaseSports and @case_guidance.
Reminder: School Council
The first School Council meeting is scheduled for September 24 at 6 p.m. in the library.
As required by Massachusetts General Law, the School Council is comprised of parents, teachers, administrators, students and community members.
Four parent members are a vital part of the council. Kim O’Donoghue and Trish LePage currently represent families in grades 11 and 12.
The school council needs parent representation for grades 9 and 10. Please email me if you are interested in learning more. Letters of inquiry can be submitted through the close of the school day on September 11. In case of more than one parent seeking a specific class representation, parents and families will be able to vote during November's P-T conferences.
The calendar of meetings will be an agenda item at the September 24 school council meeting.
Faculty school council members include Karen Fisher, Christopher Kenyon and Anthony Palladino. The community representative is Janice Partridge. School Council meetings are open to the public.
Open House Gratitude
Thank you for joining me in the new Learning Commons last evening for or annual Open House. I hope that 2015-2016 is a Year of Kindness at Joseph Case High School and that our public high school in Swansea is a place where children feel comfortable about who they are and are empowered to have learning experiences to get them to where they want to be. I am excited about making 2015-2016 the best school year that Joseph Case High School has had to date. Like the new roads and revitalized library, we are a pathway to your child’s success and happiness.
We do what other places can only dream of.
Brian McCann, Principal