The Big Blue Blast

October 25, 2019

Halloween: It's that time of the year again--Halloween. I know that our students are looking forward to the day and many would like to wear costumes to school on October 31. Students may wear costumes, however, students may not bring weapons (plastic swords, etc) or cover their faces. Please use your discretion in determining if your student's costume is appropriate and will not disrupt the school environment. Students wearing costumes that are determined to be inappropriate will be sent home to change.

Attendance: As the weather changes, we are beginning to see an increase in student tardies and absences. Please remember that any student who exceeds five unexcused absences in a class will earn a grade of 59 (regardless of the student's average in the course). Failing a course could lead to a loss of credit and impact a student's graduation. Should you have concerns about your student's attendance, please contact Mrs. Finn in the Main Office.

Picture re-takes: If your student is new to the district, or missed having their picture taken, they will be eligible to have their picture taken on Wednesday, October 30 during our picture re-take session.

Parent Conferences: On November 12, Swampscott High School will be hosting parent conferences in the afternoon from 1-4 PM and evening from 6-8 PM. On November 1, we will email home information for arranging a conference with your student's teachers.

SSS Grant Award: I am thrilled to report that Swampscott High School has been awarded a Safe and Supportive Schools Grant from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. As the DESE website explains: "this work (the grant) is intended to help districts ensure that each school creates a safe, positive, healthy and inclusive whole-school learning environment and makes effective use of a system for integrating services and aligning initiatives that promote students' behavioral health, including social and emotional learning, bullying prevention, trauma sensitivity, dropout prevention, truancy reduction, children's mental health, foster care and homeless youth education, inclusion of students with disabilities, positive behavioral approaches that reduce suspensions and expulsions, and other similar initiatives." For more information on this grant please check out the DESE grant page at:

Important Upcoming Dates

  • Picture re-takes: October 30

  • Q 1 Grades close: November 1

  • No School November 5 Professional Development Day

  • November 11 Veteran’s Day No School

  • Parent conferences November 12 (1-4 PM and 6-8 PM)

  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges Collaborative Conference Visit November 18 and 19

  • Red Cross Blood Drive November 21

  • Prospective student open house November 21 6-8 PM

  • November 27 Noon Dismissal

  • November 28 and 29 no school: Thanksgiving

Information from The Guidance Department


Admissions reps from over 75 colleges are coming to SHS to see YOU. The list of scheduled visits is on Naviance and posted in the Guidance suite. This is an awesome opportunity for you to meet with admissions officers from schools you are interested in, get to know more about the school, programs, campus organizations, etc. Perhaps the most crucial element to these visits is that the admissions officers who come are usually the ones who read and make decisions on your application. So, this is your chance to make a strong first impression, have your questions answered, and engage with the admissions team!!! See Mrs. Brown for a pass. Visits will take place in the guidance office.

10/28/19 9:00 AM

Wheaton College MA

10/28/19 10:30 AM

University of Connecticut

10/29/19 9:00 AM

Fitchburg State University

10/29/19 10:30 AM

Bennington College

10/30/19 9:00 AM

Western New England University

10/30/19 10:30 AM

Castleton University

10/31/19 9:00 AM

Endicott College

10/31/19 10:30 AM

Landmark College

11/1/19 9:00 AM

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts

11/1/19 10:30 AM

Hofstra University

Click here for complete list through November!

Students can register through Naviance, which is helpful because students get an automatic email reminder.

At this point, approximately 30% of our seniors have submitted at least one college application. November 1st is a big day for students, counselors, and teachers as everyone finalizes their application materials and clicks “submit.” It’s a very exciting time, but with that excitement comes a great deal of nervousness and worry.

Application status:

Something that tends to worry our students is the status of their applications. First, please remember that it is perfectly acceptable (and not at all uncommon) for application materials to be submitted right up through the day of the deadline. It does not make a difference to the admissions office one way or another if you submitted your application October 10th or October 31st. Your chances at admission are not decreased because you pushed submit on the day of the deadline. Furthermore, the deadlines are meant for the student application! UMASS Amherst even publishes on their site that supplemental materials will be accepted through 11/15 (e.g additional SAT scores or teacher recommendations). We mention this because we know that with some of you having already pushed “submit” on your application, you want the rest of your application to be complete. Try not to worry about this. Your teachers and counselors have until the actual deadline to submit. Remember that having any recommendation from a faculty member is a privilege. You should absolutely make the effort to write a follow up thank you note once the deadlines have passed. The faculty members more often than not have to write these letters on their personal time at home and to do a good job with these letters takes a tremendous amount of thoughtfulness and time.

School portals, the applications, and the human element:

When you apply to a school, you will (more often than not) be given access to a school specific portal that details everything in your application and will show you when elements of the application are complete. We want to remind you that although much of this application process is electronic, there is a human component.

Once a college receives your application, someone in the admissions office has to actually download the forms from several different places. They collate the student application along with the school profile, counselor recommendation, teacher recommendations, and some accompanying forms. It takes a human being to physically “check off” when all of the pieces have been downloaded and physically seen by someone in the admissions office.

We mention this because you will see on Naviance when your counselor’s and teacher’s materials have been submitted to the college and yet, you very well might see on your student portal that these items have not yet been received…. and you are left in panic. So, we want to reassure you that when Naviance is showing you that materials have been submitted, they have in fact been submitted, but it could be that the college has not yet processed all of the documents on their end.

It’s not even 11/1 yet and we are getting some of these questions about EA/ED applications that are due next week. We strongly recommend that you give the colleges a couple of weeks to process your application once the deadlines have passed. As an applicant, you are always more than welcome to contact the admissions offices to confirm your application status, but we recommend giving them some time to process.

From this point forward, all communication to admissions offices should come from the student, not the parent….(financial aid not included).

As always, if you have questions or concerns about this process, please come see your counselor or follow up directly with the admissions office.


As we continue through senior year and college planning, some of the most important deadlines to meet will be the financial aid ones. We understand that a large focus is on the college application and meeting those varying deadlines, but it’s CRITICAL that all financial aid forms are submitted on time in order for you and your family to be eligible for the most amount of aid---that can either be merit aid or need-based aid. Many schools have two different “piles”---on-time submitted financial aid applications and late submitted financial aid apps, and they can be treated differently.

There are three major financial aid deadlines and they usually vary!!! There are institutional, state, and federal deadlines. Our point- don’t miss any of them. Some are even as early as today 11/1. Please do remember that after you submit the forms, you can ALWAYS reach out to the Financial Aid office and offer corrections, revisions, or discuss changes in financial circumstances.

Furthermore, some schools will determine how much merit aid to give based on need (one more reason to file that FAFSA!). Some won’t. However, we do not want you to be a position where schools are considering giving you fewer dollars because of missed deadlines.

There are two major financial aid forms, the FAFSA and the CSS Profile.

FAFSA: The FAFSA stands for the FREE APPLICATION for FEDERAL STUDENT AID. All schools accept the FAFSA. This is a fairly straightforward form based on income.

FAFSA DAY (Click here for upcoming events, locations, and registration)

FREE Financial Aid Help for students and families

The CSS Profile: Only required by some schools, mostly private schools. This is a much more intensive and involved application and can take much more of your time and resources to complete. Unlike the FAFSA, this form asks about home equity, assets, and is interested to know all types of income for the student and parent(s)/guardians.


Most schools will send out financial aid award letters close to the time of the admissions decision letters. Some schools, very few, will send both at the same time. However, most schools aim to get them out around two weeks after the admissions decision is released. This timing can be affected by the winter holiday schedule as well. Should you have any concerns however, definitely call the individual school’s financial aid office! As with the admissions process,

Please feel free to contact your counselor with questions about the financial aid process. Although we are certainly not experts in the financial planning field, we can certainly provide support around the application process, the financial aid glossary of terms and what they all mean, and to help you decipher a financial aid award letter.

Follow us on Twitter

Principal Dennis Kohut @swampkohut

Assistant Principal Colleen Cull-Finn @cullfinnshs

Dean of Students Chris Norkun @cnorkunshs

Swampscott High School Guidance Department @SHSguidancedpt

Swampscott High School Athletics @sportsbigblue

Superintendent Pamela Angelakis @sps01907

Kohut's Corner - E3 - October 23, 2019