Cohasset High School Newsletter
News and Happenings at Cohasset High School
March 19, 2021
On Wednesday night, School Committee voted to continue the exploration of a full return to school. As we have been at a three foot distance since September (the closest allowable), space continues to be an issue, particularly around serving lunch, which requires a six foot minimum distance. Our initial plan was designed to have students eat at home.
Since our initial survey, the Commissioner also announced that schools will be required to come back in full, for 5.5 hours in-person and that remote learning would not be recognized by the state as time on learning. The announcement did not set a date for high schools. Anticipating that this announcement will give very little turn around time and may be accompanied by further guidance, we shifted to recommend a phased approach.
Why the phased approach? First, incorporating lunch is more complicated than it sounds. We are able to maintain six foot spacing currently by spreading students over several areas in the cafeteria, gym and upper lobby. Increasing the number of students means either increasing the number of lunches or increasing the space.
If we increase the number of lunches there is a real possibility that we would have to run between 6-8 lunches across both schools, which could run from 10:30-2:00. We would also have to split periods at the high school, and because we have mixed grade level classes, students would not be able to eat with their entire grade like they do at the Middle School. You can’t for example, send the 10th graders out of chemistry for first lunch and the 11th graders for second.
Second, we also want to maintain as close to the current schedule as possible. Predictability and routine are crucial to managing change, and all of our changes to date have maintained the same academic schedule without changing students' courses. In order to serve lunch and maintain the schedule, we need to serve lunch in the gym. Because the desks currently used are moving back into classrooms, that means ordering 230 new tables and chairs. As many schools are in the same position, ordering new furniture takes time to be delivered and assembled.
A two week delay helps us manage that (and gives us the vacation week as well). It also allows us to keep our gym through the break for PE classes and things like volleyball, and it allows us to make adjustments to protocols that we might not have anticipated with everyone returning in full. Please see the Superintendent's full presentation below. A final vote will be held next Wednesday, 3/24/21.
Brian T. Scott
“A School's Journey in Healing”
The Value of Social and Emotional Returnby Tara Noyes, Assistant Principal
Friday, March 13, 2020 our world changed the course of education from road maps, to endless zoom meetings, to hybrid models. What we thought would be a two week COVID vacation turned into over a year of major overhaul in the educational world -- a world of continuous uncertainties, emotional ups and downs, major losses, helplessness, tears, isolation, fear, anxiety, stress, and anger.
Where do we go from here? That is a great question! As we return to a full time schedule we must recognize that these next few months are more than just “academic catch up and filling the gaps.” It is a time of healing and healing begins with Maslow's hierarchy of needs which have to be met before learning can occur. Consistent and stable environments, routine, nourishment, safety at home and in school, love and belonging, positive self-esteem and self-actualization.
Cohasset High School administration, teachers, and staff are committed to sharing in this healing process. Safety is our number one priority, reconnecting relationships, academic routines, and expectations. We ask parents to recognize that, “Things will not immediately go back to being exactly what they were before we left.” We will continue to make adjustments for the rest of the year and work with all students to succeed to the best of their abilities. We also look forward to our community having the same goals in mind.
Our students and teachers have experienced trauma on all different levels and this will take time to understand, process, and cope. Mental health services and support may be needed more than ever before and people should not be afraid or embarrassed to ask for help.
Our counselors emails and phone numbers are as follows:
Laura Struzziery - Guidance Department Lead Counselor firstname.lastname@example.org x2175
Allison Battista- School Counselor email@example.com x2182
Kevin McGowan - School Counselor firstname.lastname@example.org x2183
Leanne McCarthy - School Adjustment Counselor - email@example.com x 2122
Caitlin Stromberg - School Psychologist - firstname.lastname@example.org x2184
Ways we can help our teenagers heal in returning to full time status:
Rebuilding trust, regular check ins with them work on communication starters as we know teenagers can be difficult to open up. See link for excellent tips! Teenage - Parent Communication Skills
Continue to work on empathy and sympathy during these changing times.
Move forward with grief - allow grief to happen - versus just moving on and ignoring the past.
Teenagers need sleep, and lots of it! Try to help them cut back on video gaming, social media, staying up on devices throughout the night.
Provide healthy meals and snacks, sit down to dinner at least twice a week.
Keep family time light and fun; stay away from academic conversations during this time.
Allow for quite time and reflection - mediation, walks in the wood, outdoor activities, cooking together, arts, journaling
Work on patience while they might be struggling to figure out what the new normal is.
Encourage reading a book, magazines, comics, for fun.
Have your teenager create a list of things that are controllable in their lives and those that would be considered uncontrollable. This will help with clarity and organization of thoughts.
Play family board games indoors or outdoors, fire pit time.
On Friday, 3/12/21, the senior class gathered in the audirotium to announce end of the year plans and the following was sent to families. A slide show of the events is below.
Dear Seniors and Families of Seniors,
This morning, we met with the senior class as a whole to discuss the end of the year activities including prom and graduation. Attached is the slide show that outlines our events and we are thrilled to announce a much closer to normal end of the year than previously allowed. One year ago tomorrow we closed for what we thought was a 14 day hiatus to “stop the spread”. It was nice to mark the year anniversary with some masked smiles from the students.
Ms. Moriarty and Berkowitz have drafted at least four iterations of what the end of the year might look like. With the latest guidance ordering schools back in full (with continued restrictions), and with the state opening up more and more, we believe these events are feasible, although a change in state guidance could still impact what we do.
As new plans were being constructed, a few things guided how we had to proceed. First, we could not be guaranteed use of the Music Circus on the date originally agreed. The Music Circus has been more than accommodating but their own schedule and plans for reopening was not guaranteed to align with ours. That meant we had to look to having graduation on campus, which included renting staging, an expense we typically do not budget for. Working with the town to share resources between graduation and town meeting, we moved the graduation up to Friday, May 28th, at 5:00. More information will become available as the details are confirmed.
Second, we were able to secure a prom venue at Atlantica for Friday, May 21st, using their reopening guidelines. We are the only school I am aware of on the South Shore that is able to offer such an event because venues continue to be under strict capacity limits. Our size allows for the Atlantica to accommodate the entire senior class, renting the entire space, but no other guests, including other members of Cohasset High School. Because it is limited to just members of the Cohasset High School senior class, it will be considered a class event as opposed to a date event. More information about registration and ticket prices and sales is forthcoming.
We attempted to move prom as early as possible so as not to risk a quarantine situation impacting graduation. May 21st was the earliest we were able to move it because many students will be involved in AP testing through May 17th. There is still a very short window between the two events, and while we will take precautions to ensure a safe prom, we are asking students not to attend any post prom functions, sleepovers, or weekend trips for the sake of ensuring graduation. While protocols for contact tracing will be determined by our school and town nurses, we are not able to “pod” prom and thus limit who would be considered a close contact. It would likely be the entire senior class.
Finally, with the early graduation, students will be in school through May 28th and in class through May 26th. We will continue to have our events (like yearbook signing) during the school day but students will be expected to report to school.
My sincere thanks to Ms. Moriarty and Berkowitz for their diligent work in preparing an exciting end for our senior class. Please be on the lookout for more information as we continue to plan.
Brian T. Scott
Exceptional Females Featured
The Diversity Club asked teachers to recognize and highlight female students doing good in our community. This could be an interesting school project they completed, involvement in a club or organization doing good, or anything else! Members and teachers of the Diversity Club photographed them featured them on the Cohasset diversity Instagram page. (@diversityclubcohasset)
Bring Project Adventure to the Cohasset Middle/High School!
Can you help us become STRONGER THAN EVER? The CEF is raising money for a new Social Emotional Learning program called Project Adventure. Project Adventure combines an indoor Outward Bound style climbing and ropes course with a professional development program aimed at building stronger and healthier school communities. The funds we raise will be used to purchase the equipment as well as staff curriculum and training. All donations will go directly to the project and the CEF is matching every donation dollar for dollar up to $25,000!
This $50,000 grant will be used to purchase materials, equipment and installation that include an indoor climbing wall and multi-swing to begin the transition from traditional PE classes to more student-centered challenges. Your kids will learn resiliency and confidence working in groups and individually on various challenges. And what a great way to better involve students that aren't as interested in traditional sports or PE! We thank you in advance for considering a donation. This grant will not only up-level our schools, it will be available to the broader community to use as well!
We are so excited about this grant! Will you help us bring an amazing opportunity to the Cohasset Middle/High School (as well as the entire community?!)
Thank you for your consideration.
The Cohasset Education Foundation + Our Students!
Grade 11 ELA -- May 20-21
Grade 11 Math -- May 24-25
Grade 10 ELA -- May 26-27
Grade 10 Math -- June 2-3
Grade 9 STE -- June 8-9
2021-2022 Scheduling Information
Please note that the course selection process for high school is officially kicking off! Some important items to note:
- Teacher course/level recommendations are now available in Aspen to review for current grades 9 through 11. Recommendations for current grade 8 students will be available at a later date and we will communicate additional information once they are posted.
- Counselors will first meet with students in groups according to the schedule below. Students will draft selections during this meeting but will have a set timeframe afterwards when they can make changes. This will allow for the opportunity to speak with teachers/guidance and have discussions at home.
- Students will be given a set of detailed instructions during the group meetings. These instructions will also be posted on the guidance section of the high school website under “course scheduling.”
- Course selection is NOT first come first served; however, students must submit selections by the grade-level specific deadline. Submissions/changes made after the deadline cannot be considered until after the master schedule is finalized.
- Students will be provided with an online waiver form should they choose to request a course that is a higher level than the teacher recommended.
Please note that the master schedule is built based on student requests, therefore, it is incredibly important that students are thoughtful regarding course selections up front. While we always do our best to accommodate changes after the fact, it will be based on space/availability.
Course Selection Meeting Schedule:
March 8 - Grade 9 Cohort A
March 9 - Grade 11 Cohort A
March 11 - Grade 9 Cohort B
March 12 - Grade 11 Cohort B
The week of March 15th will be reserved for communications/individual meetings for grades 9 and 11.
March 22 - Grade 8 Cohort A
March 23 - Grade 10 Cohort A
March 25 - Grade 8 Cohort B
March 26 - Grade 10 Cohort B
The week of March 29th will be reserved for communications/individual meetings for grades 8 and 10.
Please feel free to reach out to your student’s guidance counselor with questions at any point during this process.
CHS Guidance Department
8th Grade Curriculum Night Video
Don’t Ask Your Favorite Teacher for a College Letter of Recommendation
by Kevin McGowan, School Counselor
Grit! It’s become a buzzword over the past decade. In her 2013 Ted Talk, Angela Duckworth introduced it to our mainstream conscience, and it is seemingly here to stay. Educational researchers began studying the topic, books were written, podcasts produced, and the best of the best from all walks of life began crediting it for their successes. It is a key variable that can have a huge impact on the learning outcomes of students. What does this mean when it comes to the college application process? You guessed it; colleges want to accept students with grit! How then, do college admissions representatives identify a variable that is not easily quantified?
Letters of recommendation have always played a role in the application equation for colleges. Now, with almost all colleges being test optional, they are even more significant. The most competitive schools are dissecting every aspect of the application, trying to find standouts from highly competitive applicant pools.
With grade inflation and students being more motivated than ever, admissions representatives are faced with a tall task as they work through the thousands of applications. In an MIT guide for “How to Write Good Letters of Recommendation” they specifically state “Has the applicant ever experienced disappointment or failure? If so, how did they react?”. It is the answer to this type of question that all admissions representatives are seeking.
High School Juniors who are considering which teacher to ask for a letter of recommendation should not simply ask their favorite teacher. They should consider a teacher of a class they struggled in yet persevered to achieve a grade they are proud of (even if not their highest one). Teachers are passionate about students who go above and beyond when it does not come easily to them. The student who stays after multiple days a week, sends emails with clarifying questions, and masters the content despite struggling are remembered well beyond their time in a class.
Teachers are looking for opportunities to talk about these students, they take pride in being a part of their journey. These are the teachers who will write the strongest letters of recommendation. In closing, don’t ask your favorite teacher for a letter of recommendation, ask the teacher who saw you overcome and excel in the face of your biggest academic challenge.
May 8th SAT @ Cohasset
College Admissions Night
Each year, we hold a live college admissions panel at CHS for juniors and their parents/guardians. It is one of our most favorite nights of the year and is incredibly informative. Due to restrictions around Covid, we have partnered with Hanover High School to offer this annual College Admissions Panel as a virtual event.
The event will take place on March 31st at 6:30pm and will feature Admissions Officers from Providence College, UC San Diego, Bridgewater State University, Bates College, Quinnipiac University and UMass Amherst. The event will provide general guidance and a variety of perspectives on the admissions process so you do not need to be interested in these specific colleges in order to attend.
Registration is required via the form below and additional details will be sent closer to the date. AS OF NOW ONLY CURRENT JUNIORS MAY REGISTER. WE ARE LOOKING INTO WHETHER IT WILL BE RECORDED. Please note that multiple South Shore communities will be in attendance and space is limited so you must register as soon as possible via this link:
Junior Parent Lunch Hour Recording
National High School Model United Nations Conference March 5-8
Our students participating in the National High School Model UN Conference had a rewarding few days of virtual diplomacy. The conference provided our students with opportunities to research and discuss current international issues with students from around the world, allowing them the opportunity to learn from a variety of perspectives. They practiced public speaking, consensus building, and diplomacy simulating delegations representing Greece and El Salvador.
A special recognition should go out to Will Loughlin and Ethan Maxwell who received acknowledgement for their outstanding work in committee and were asked to speak to the entire conference. This is an honor and a first for Cohasset students.
March is Disability Awareness month. In recognition Cohasset Buddies will build awareness by
- Submitting a different disability awareness fact for the announcements each day
- Making posters about different disabilities and hang them around the building, and
- Having a Wear Purple day for Epilepsy awareness on 3/23 for Cohort A and 3/26 for Cohort B
CHS Spirit Gear Available
Mindful mornings are up and running! Each Wednesday, Ms. Berkowitz Bock leads a mindful moment at 8 am on Wednesdays for students. She offers the meditation via Zoom, but if you are in person that day, you can come to her room! Email Ms. Berkowitz Bock at email@example.com for the code to participate!
Cultural Responsiveness Update
Please see a brief timeline of our work around cultural responsiveness as we work towards building an inclusive community.
August / September -- Completed district-wide training around cultural responsiveness and trauma-informed teaching.
October -- Results of the Institutional Climate and Inclusion Survey released to schools.
November -- Contracted with outside consultant to unpack findings of the ICIA Survey results.
December -- Conducted initial faculty and community member focus groups around issues pertaining to the major findings.
January -- Presented findings and plan to School Committee (https://zoom.us/rec/play/dQmS5-9s06D1xA92iSqpD_6sQ-ni7F87BjrpInoQCC1afYG470NF3C7EULag2WlxoNV0_kqXQV5t_R5f.9QkSPODLruXxygqP?continueMode=true).
Conducted student Affinity Groups.
February -- Parent focus group sessions completed.
March -- Larger student body focus groups completed.
April / May -- Information will be synthesized and a draft plan created.
June -- Plan will be finalized for inclusion in the School Improvement Plan and District Strategic Plan.
Put a Pin in It
Dates to remember:
- March 22 - Grade 8 Cohort A
- March 23 - Grade 10 Cohort A
- March 25 - Grade 8 Cohort B
- March 26 - Grade 10 Cohort B
- 3/23 (A) and 3/26/21 (B) -- Wear Purple day for Epilepsy awareness (ALL SCHOOL)
3/31/21 - Hypnotist; 6:30, CHS Gymnasium -- (SENIORS ONLY)
- 4/5/21 - Spirit Week (ALL SCHOOL)
- 4/14/21 - Senior Excursion to Pinz (during the school day) (SENIORS ONLY)
- 5/21/21 - Prom @ Atlantica
- 5/26/21 - Seniors Last Day of Class
- 5/27/21 - Senior Celebration (Milliken Field)
- 5/28/21 - Graduation, 5:00, Alumni Field
Grade 11 ELA -- May 20-21
- Grade 11 Math -- May 24-25
- Grade 10 ELA -- May 26-27
- Grade 10 Math -- June 2-3
- Grade 9 STE -- June 8-9