The Pinnacle

December 2017

Paul Keller's Corner - A Sense of Belonging

If the phrase “A Sense of Belonging” sounds familiar to you, it is likely a result of seeing an ad for Norman Howard on your mobile device or computer. It is so hard to take something as meaningful and sacred as Norman Howard and encapsulate it in a single phrase, but “A Sense of Belonging” comes close. We have students from such a wide geographic area and a great deal of diversity in thought. However, we find that when our students first join our school, most of them do not feel connected to being a member of a school community. At Norman Howard everyone belongs.


How does this happen? First, on the simplest level, we know all of our students by name. Each morning, they are greeted at the door by Mrs. Hodges or Ms. Murray. Not only do we know them by name, but we know a great deal about them. It always impresses me to hear how up-to-date our staff is on the students’ lives. On a typical Monday you can hear kids updating faculty on karate tournaments, family trips, or the latest news on a new family puppy. Large public schools simply cannot replicate this and certainly not on this level for every student. Ms. French-Weston has started a board that acknowledges “Random Acts of Kindness”. The next time you visit, please take a few moments to look at the board right outside of the kitchen to see not only the kind things our students have done, but also the close-knit community that takes the time to notice and celebrate these wonderful deeds.


What does having “A Sense of Belonging” in school ultimately lead to for our students? For many, it is the first time that they have felt understood as learners or as people. It leads to improved grades and tangible academic success. Most importantly in my eyes, it boosts self-confidence and self-esteem. Most parents seek us out as they try to solve academic and learning problems, yet it seems that having “A Sense of Belonging” is the first milestone that students have at Norman Howard on their way to tremendous successes.

Welcome Suzanne!

Please help us welcome Suzanne Cashmere, M.S., CF-SLP/TSSLD, to our Speech-Language Department.


A native of Penfield, Suzanne spent a year as a foreign exchange student attending high school in Lyon, France. She attended the University of Vermont for her undergraduate studies and majored in French language and literature. From there, she taught English as a Second Language at a large high school in the city of Bourg-en-Bresse, about 45 minutes northeast of Lyon. After returning to Rochester she earned a Master’s Degree in Speech-Language Pathology at Nazareth College. Her school-based clinical and professional experiences include The Language and Literacy Clinic at Nazareth, Holy Cross School, The School of the Holy Childhood, and Livonia Central School District. Suzanne has recently become engaged, and together (when they are not making wedding plans) they enjoy traveling, watching movies, cooking, crossword puzzles, and spending time with friends and family.


“My sincerest wishes for a warm holiday season and I look forward to connecting with parents and guardians soon! If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact me at scashmere@normanhoward.org.”

Welcome Diane!

We’d also like to welcome Diane Williams to our Physical Education Department.


Diane joins us with a wealth of experience in high school and college physical education. She has also taught wellness classes, was a Recreation therapist and Chemical Dependency counselor for teenagers at Parkridge Hospital and has served as the Women’s Basketball Head Coach at Nazareth College and the Rochester Institute of Technology.


She’s married with 2 boys and officiates high school and college basketball games in her spare time.


Diane shared, “Over the past 10 years I've known many people who have worked at the Norman Howard School and they describe it as a warm, caring environment in which the students really feel like part of a family. That was one of the many things that drew me to NHS. I look forward to working with your children and being a part of the NHS community. If you have any questions please contact me at dwilliams@normanhoward.org.”

6th Annual Middle School Cocoa House

Friday, Dec. 22nd, 9:30am

275 Pinnacle Road

Rochester, NY

Please join the middle school students as they share their poetic brilliance with the Norman Howard School community. Poetry readings will take place in the NHS theater followed by treats and hot cocoa in Rooms 221 & 222. We hope you can join us!

*Cocoa will be provided. If you wish to send in a sweet treat please email cgraziano@normanhoward.org, lvallone@normanhoward.org or lrader@normanhoward.org. Thank you!

NHS Regents Week

Monday, Jan. 22nd 2018 at 8am to Thursday, Jan. 25th 2018 at 4pm

275 Pinnacle Road

Rochester, NY

NYS Regents Examinations will be administered Monday, January 22 - Thursday, January 25th.

Students is grades 5-8 are in session all week, Monday - Friday.

Students in grade 9 are in session Tuesday - Friday. (No school for 9th graders on Monday, January 22.)

Students in grades 10 - 12 attend Monday - Thursday, by exam schedule only. All 10th - 12th graders have school on Friday, January 26th.

NHS Winter Family Picnic

Saturday, Jan. 27th 2018 at 12-3pm

Mendon Ponds Park (East Lodge), Pittsford, NY, United States

Snow or no snow...please join us! Bring sleds, games and a dish to pass.

Sponsored by the NHS Parent Association

Questions: Email medennis131@gmail.com

A big THANK YOU to the Parent Association and ALL of the parents who contributed to the "Cookie Drive!" It was such a nice idea and much appreciated....thank you!



Happy Holidays from all of us at NHS!