SKHS Back to School Newsletter

Robert Mezzanotte, August 2018

From the desk of Mr. Mezzanotte...

Greetings to our SKHS community! Summer is beginning to wind down. It has been a busy summer for our team at SKHS but we have also been able to enjoy the nice weather and quality time with family and friends. I cannot say enough about the work of our summer staff. We have had a busier summer than usual, with the implementation of a new block schedule this fall, and I am extremely thankful for the work of our assistant principals, Shivali Finkelstein and Agnes Pelopida, our Director of School Counseling, Barbara Crudale, and our administrative assistants Maggie Randall and Kathy Noon. Their work has been truly outstanding. Our dedicated custodians and maintenance workers have also been hard at work preparing our school for the arrival of our students. I am extremely proud of their work and I think our students will see the results of their efforts.

We are very excited to launch several new initiatives this year- including a new block schedule and new career pathways. The purpose of this newsletter is to update our community on these initiatives, as well as communicate important information regarding back to school. If you have any questions please email me at Enjoy!

New Student Laptop Distribution and Parent Orientation

On Tuesday, August 28th South Kingstown High School will be inviting all of our grade 9 and new transfer students to attend our Laptop Distribution and Parent Orientation Night. In order to make the event more organized, we are asking all students with last names A-L to report at 5:00 pm and all students with last names M-Z to report at 6:00 pm. If family schedules require that they report at a different time than the assigned last name that is ok, but we would appreciate if families could try to adhere to the schedule to ensure efficiency.

The goals for the event are as follows:

  • All new students will receive their laptops and protective cases
  • All new students and parents will be made aware of our expectations for care of the device
  • Parents/guardians will hear a message from school administration, our 9th grade dean of students, our Parent-Teacher Group and our Prevention Coalition Coordinators

In the interest of saving time, we are asking parents and students to print and sign the laptop user agreement and bringing it to this event. The user agreement is location on page 13 of the 1-1 Laptop Student Handbook, linked HERE.

Please note that a parent/guardian and student must sign the user agreement in order to receive a laptop. If you are unable to attend our event on the 28th, you may report to the guidance office with your child at 7:30 on the first day of school, September 4th, where you will be able to obtain the laptop. This is a change from a prior email, where I stated that parents would report to the Hazard Building. That is no longer the case.

If you have any further questions please email me at

The First Day of School- September 4th

Last year, for the first time in many years, SKHS welcomed all new students ONLY on the first day of school at 7:30 am. This practice was very successful, as our new students reported that having a few hours alone in the building allowed them to become more comfortable in their new surroundings. We are, therefore, continuing this practice this year. The schedule for the first day of school is as follows:

  • Grade 9 and new transfer students will report to school at 7:30 and go directly to the auditorium for an assembly
  • After the assembly the school will provide all new students with a complimentary breakfast
  • Students will then report to the gymnasium, where they will locate their advisory room number and proceed to their advisory room, as escorted by the assigned student mentors
  • They will spend some time in their advisory getting to know each other, reviewing our "How to Survive Freshman Year" pamphlet, filling in their schedule and checking their locker combination
  • Following this, they will be given a tour of the school by their assigned student mentors
  • After the tour they will reconvene in their advisory rooms
  • All returning students in grades 10-12 will report to school at 10:45 am and go directly to their period 3 class

New Block Schedule

We are excited to implement our new block schedule for the 2018-2019 school year. From a student's perspective, the biggest differences will be that they will have an additional class, and the learning blocks will meet less frequently but for a longer length of time. As an additional option for students, we have added Personalized Learning Time, which students may choose in lieu of an extra elective. This option will give students additional time during the school day to pursue their academic and/or career goals. We feel that the benefits of this new schedule are that it will better support our goals of student personalization, as well as being more conducive to managing student stress and anxiety. The new schedule will take some getting used to, but I am confident that it will be a very popular alternative compared to past schedules.

Please note that each Wednesday teachers have common planning time from 7:30 to 8:15 and students do not need to report until 8:15. Students who arrive to school early on Wednesdays will report to either the library, cafeteria, gymnasium or test make-up room.

Click HERE for a visual representation of the new schedule.

Career Pathways

We are extremely proud and excited to launch our new career pathway programs this year! The new pathways reflect months of hard work on the part of our teachers, counselors, support staff and administration. We are thrilled to begin this new phase at SKHS.

For the upcoming year, we are offering pathways in the following areas:

  • Computer Science
  • Allied Health (CNA/EMT licensure options)
  • Studio Art
  • Carpentry
  • Biomedical
  • Business Finance

Enrollment in a pathway offers the following benefits for students:

  • priority status for acceptance in elective courses that align with their chosen pathway
  • opportunities to earn college credit and/or career/industry credentialing while still in high school
  • a 3-course (minimum) sequence that aligns to a specific area of student interest
  • embedded opportunities for hands-on, work-based learning that is connected to the identified area of interest
  • opportunities to take part in internships and/or Senior Projects that are aligned to specific areas of interest

If you are interested in learning more, please click HERE or contact your child's counselor.

SKHS Vision for Student Learning

We are excited continue working on advancing our school vision. You may click HERE to access a presentation that outlines our vision. The four primary areas of focus for achieving our vision are as follows:

  • Student-Centered Learning- ensuring that students are at the center of the learning every day, in every class
  • Flexible Supports for Student-Centered Learning- ensuring that our support systems are designed with flexibility to ensure equity and and is supportive of the individual goals of each student
  • Family and Community Engagement- ensuring that families and community organizations are essential partners
  • Healthy Learning Culture- ensuring that our learning culture is supportive of the healthy growth and development of each student

New Staff at SKHS

We are thrilled to welcome the following new staff members to our SKHS family this year:

  • Kate Bubrick- math teacher
  • Alexandra Braga- math teacher
  • Mary Ellen Coppage- fine arts teacher
  • Patricia Dewey Giarusso- administrative assistant
  • Christine Giroux- nurse office secretary
  • Michael Lobdell- science teacher
  • Cynthia Notarianni- school nurse
  • Dr. Agnes Pelopida, Assistant Principal for Humanities
  • Stacy Zamperini- PE/Health teacher

Fall Important Dates

Here are some important dates to remember for this fall:

  • September 4th- First Day for Students
  • September date TBA- Club/Activity Fair during school day
  • September 12th- District Professional Development (No School for students)
  • September 13th- School Picture Day
  • September 14th- Go For Gold Day (to support identified worthy charity)
  • September 19th- No School (Yom Kippur)
  • September 29th- Fall Clean Up Day
  • October 3rd- Financial Aid Night
  • October 4th- Parent Open House Night
  • October 6th- Outdoor Movie Night
  • October 8th- No School (Columbus Day)
  • October 13th- Sadie's Football Game and Dance

Please click HERE for the school website, which contains additional information.

Opportunities to Get Involved

We welcome parent involvement and encourage all parents to help make our school even better! Here are some opportunities for you to get involved:

  • Parent-Teacher Group (PTG)- This group meets Wednesday evenings once per month. The purpose of the group is to discuss school-related matters. Each month, we post an agenda and we welcome input from parents about matters that are important to them.
  • School Improvement Team (SIT)- This group consists of teachers, administrators, parents and students. We typically focus on identifying a specific area of improvement, studying it, and developing action plans and goals. The SIT meets once per month on Wednesdays from 2:15-3:15.
  • South Kingstown Alumni Association (SKAA)- This group meets monthly, typically on Mondays after school, to discuss alumni-related matters. Our group is currently planning the first-ever SKHS Hall of Fame Banquet in November.

If you are interested in joining any of these groups, please email me at


SKHS is committed to ensuring open communication with families. We try to communicate extensively regarding important information and upcoming events. The best way to ensure that you are up-to-date on SKHS information is to receive emails through our listserv. If you are not receiving these emails, please contact Mrs. Margaret Randall at or by phone at 401-360-1004 and she can register your email in our system. If you would prefer to receive copies of information by mail, please notify Mrs. Randall.

It is also recommended that you visit our school website and our district Facebook page for school updates and information. Also the Rhode Island Interscholastic League website is a great resource for athletic schedules and information.

If you are on twitter we recommend following @rmezzanotte and @TerryT9Lynch for news and updates from the principal and athletic director, respectively. Also follow #umatteratsk for updates on all the fabulous things our students and staff do throughout the year.

You can always email me at with any questions. I try to respond to emails within 24 hours if at all possible.

I am thrilled to start a new year of learning at our awesome high school! Enjoy the rest of your summer and I look forward to working together on behalf of all of our students here at SKHS! Enjoy some videos courtesy of some of our current and former students about adjusting to life at SKHS.

Advice for New Students

Advice for 9th Graders 2017 (1)

How to Open Your Locker

How To Open Your Locker (1)

Learning a New Language

Learning a New Language