Cardinal Notes

information and reflection about Joseph Case High School

Volume 13, No. 1 *** August 18, 2016 *** SUMMER EDITION

The following is a digital version of the August Parent and Family Newsletter mailed to your home. The digital version does not include Student Information Form, Emergency Notification Information, Handbook Acknowledgement, Release of Student Information, and School Lunch Program info. These forms can be found at under From the Principal's Desk.

Dear Case families:

I read a lot of books this summer. Some for pleasure; some professionally; some because my children at home had to read them for school. Sometime this spring I came across two references in separate books I was reading to William Makepeace Thackeray’s 1848 novel Vanity Fair. I knew little about it, so, after some minor research, I bought a used copy of it from Amazon. Dealing with English society during the Napoleonic era, I vowed to read at least one chapter each day. It’s a great story with lots of colorful characters, yet early on in the book, a small passage resonated with me enough to want to save it and share with you in my first newsletter:

The world is a looking-glass, and gives back to every man the reflection of his own face. Frown at it, and it will in turn look sourly upon you; laugh at it and with it, and it is a jolly kind companion; and so let all young persons take their choice.


Joseph Case High School is a place that prioritizes relationships. Teachers will take the time to get to know their students in the first days of classes so that the work ahead is collaborative, profound and joyful. All stake holders need to make a conscious decision to approach this new school year with positivity, embracing the possibilities that our partnership brings each day.

Over the summer, the campus continued to be upgraded with aggressive turf management improvements, the installation of a separate HVAC component in the new Learning Commons, the repainting of the gymnasium, new carpet on the second floor, and a state-of-the art projector system in the auditorium. Our thanks to Superintendent John Robidoux and Director of Finance and Technology Randi Arruda for their diligence and determination to give our students and staff these wonderful upgrades.

For the second consecutive summer, Advanced Placement teachers in math, science, English and computer science went back to Bridgewater State University through our partnership with Mass Insight Education. Also, for the second year, all students who enroll in AP classes in these disciplines will attend three Saturday morning experiences during the school year, with the chance to take part in a mock exam and receive feedback prior to the actual national assessment in May.

• English: Oct. 15, Jan. 21, April 8

• Math: Jan. 7, March 25, April 1

• Computer Science: Jan. 7, March 25, (TBD)

• Science: December 17, February 11, March 17 (FRI)

Courses will have additional incentives built-in for these Saturday classes. AP contracts will be submitted to guidance by the end of September.

Summer Reading

I selected Emily St. John-Mandel’s Station Eleven to be our school-wide summer book for three reasons. Young adults are attracted to dystopian fiction. Look at the popularity in The Hunger Games trilogy and subsequent movie franchise. After last summer’s non-fiction Zeitoun, I wanted to balance our selection with a fictional account. Second, I wanted our community to recognize what we take for granted every day. From the most basic necessity to how tech consumes our work and play, what would we do if it all disappeared rapidly? Finally, I really love how the arts – even in the most dire of times – continues to uplift and provide relief.

Every Case High teacher again volunteered to read Station Eleven over the summer. Please note that Friday, September 16 will be dedicated in every class at the high school to some activity that incorporates or complements some element of Station Eleven.

After three wildly successful pilot years, the school-wide title and cross-curricular follow-up reflects the high school’s dedication to innovation, collaboration and interdisciplinary learning. As your building lead learner, it is thrilling to witness our students experience a novel from seven different perspectives in one day making the journey vibrant and robust. Congratulations to all who make this an authentic, meaningful experience for children.

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The Cardinal Notes continues this school year as the principal’s blog to deliver news and updates to the Case faculty and families. The Cardinal Notes – now in its 12th year — is published more than 20 times during the school year to provide you with current information, initiatives and celebration of our school’s successes.

Any parent or guardian can receive Cardinal Notes via email by submitting an email address to The Cardinal Notes continues to provide families with a perspective of public education in our quest for greater transparency. Please include your student’s name and anticipated year of graduation.

August Newsletter

This newsletter will be the only scheduled document to be mailed traditionally to Case families this year. All other information will be emailed. Information is also posted to the school’s website ( and on Twitter @josephcasehs. This specific mailing is also published in blog format and emailed to families.

If you are unable to access a computer or smart phone for these electronic mailings, please contact the high school guidance department at 508-675-0568. Paper mailings can be facilitated, but must be requested annually so that our database remains current. Non-custodial parents should also make annual written requests to the guidance office so that the school remains current on pertinent legal agreements.

Student Information

Forms were mailed for families to verify and update student contact information. This information is crucial to the school so that we have accurate phone numbers and addresses to reach you, especially in the case of an emergency.

Included in the mailed information packet is parent/family acknowledgement of the student handbook that will be issued to your child on the first days of school. The handbook is available electronically online on the high school’s website. This is also an opportunity to document relatives that your child may be released to in the case of an emergency.

Also, the high school will not release your child to any neighbor, relative or sibling in an emergency without your prior written consent. See details under Student Dismissal Protocol.

If you change addresses or phone numbers at any time during the school year, please contact the school immediately.

Opening of School Procedure

The fall term of the 2016-2017 begins on Tuesday, August 30. All ninth grade students will report to the school by 7:30 a.m. Freshmen should be at the bus stop at least 10 minutes earlier on the first day of school.

All sophomores, juniors and seniors will report to school by 10 a.m. Students in grades 10-12 who take the bus should be at their bus stops by 9:20 a.m.

Student Schedules

The school portal will not be open to teachers, students or families until Monday, August 29. You may use your child’s user name and password from last school year to access information.

Students will have access to a draft paper version of their schedule beginning Wednesday, August 24. The high school will be open from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. Students can submit their updated, three-page student information packet in return for a draft schedule. Only completed, signed packets will be accepted.

Finalized freshmen schedules will be distributed during orientation on August 30. Students in grades 10-12 should pick up a copy of their latest schedule on Tuesday, August 30 between 9:15-9:45 a.m. in the following locations:

  • sophomores - library
  • juniors - cafeteria
  • seniors - in front of gym

Guidance Counselors

Through September 2, this bulleted timeline will be followed for student access to guidance:

· August 25, 26, 29: Students may see a counselor on first come, first-served basis for intervals not exceeding 15 minutes. Students who are new to the district and are registering for school will have priority during this three-day period.

· August 30: seniors only 8:30 a.m. until 1:45 p.m.; no appointment necessary.

· August 31 and September 1: seniors, juniors and sophomores; see guidance secretary for appointment.

· September 2: freshmen; see guidance secretary for appointment.

Course Drop/Add Protocol

Students may drop/add a course at Joseph Case High School through Friday, September 16. If students begin a new course after the start of school, they are responsible for all work from the beginning of the academic year.

Please keep in mind that one change to a student’s schedule can alter the entire schedule. Students will need the signature of the teacher, department chair and a parent/guardian to initiate the drop/add process.

Level changes will be reviewed beginning October 31. All changes in academic levels will begin the first week of Term II. The final deadline for level changes is November 14.

Please note that if a level change does take place at the end of Term I, the student’s transcript will reflect a grade for Term I in that specific course. Extreme situations may necessitate WP (withdraw pass) or WF (withdraw fail) on a student’s transcript if a term is not completed in accordance with these protocols.

Student Advisories

Now in its ninth year, our advisory/personalization program is regularly held during the entire school year under the following four-year philosophy: Grade 9 - orientation, grade 10 - exploration, grade 11 - preparation, and grade 12 - application. Freshmen will have their first advisory experience on the opening day of school. One of the tenets of the program is for your child to have the same building professional over a four-year period to guide your student’s Case High experience. The advisory is one venue the high school uses to roll out information to students in small groups and using the time to strengthen digital citizenship and other soft skills.

Chartwells School Lunch Program

Chartwells School Dining Services will continue school lunch and breakfast for its third year in Swansea. A letter of introduction and free/reduced lunch applications are included in this newsletter. The cost of student school lunch is still $2.85. Gail Oliveira is our Chartwells liaison. Specific questions can be forwarded to her at 508-646-4401.

Free and reduced lunch applications are also available via the school’s website: Click under Departments for school lunch information. Monthly menus are online as well.

Both the main office and guidance have free/reduced lunch applications for your convenience. The last day to carry over the prior school year’s eligibility for the 2016-2017 school year is October 13, 2016. If you have more than one child in the Swansea school system, only one comprehensive application is needed.

Student Handbook

The Joseph Case High School Student Agenda Book is disseminated to each student on or about the first day of school. Each agenda book contains the Joseph Case High School Student Handbook approved by the school committee in the spring of 2016. Students sign for these books documenting receipt of a handbook.

Parents have additional access to this handbook via the high school’s website on www.swansea Check Informational Items within the From the Principal’s Desk link.

Important information will be reviewed with all students during opening of school assemblies for each class. It is strongly suggested that parents and families read through the handbook together. The handbook contains all rules, regulations and requirements regarding students at Joseph Case High School.

Graduation requirements are included. Incoming freshmen must understand that credits must be earned before officially moving to the next grade level.

A parent or guardian must return the student information form that documents acknowledgement of all policies in the student handbook, including the Computer/Internet Use application.

Health Class Update

All freshmen at Joseph Case High School will be enrolled in Freshmen Academy this fall.

This new course satisfies the state’s health, wellness and phys ed requirement by focusing on organizational skills, responsible decision-making, tolerance, and an understanding of the connection between freedom and responsibility. The class also focuses on many components of Google Apps for Education, a powerful suite of digital tools that will help your student be successful in high school and beyond.

Freshmen Academy is co-taught by the high school’s media specialist Kristine Lucca. The class utilizes the learning commons and technological resources to enhance research projects.

In accordance with the Parental Notification Law (M.G. L. Chapter 71, Section 32A), this notice informs families that the Health Curriculum at Joseph Case High School does include human sexuality education.

It is your right to review any portion of the program with which you are uncomfortable through written notification to Brian McCann, the high school’s principal.

Students will be given information in the first days of class regarding course requirements, expectations and topics covered as well as a breakdown of the grading system being used.

Please be sure to ask your child to share this information with you.

Jeffrey Hetu is the high school’s Grade 9 health/phys ed teacher, with Andrew Crisafulli as our system-wide Director of Health and Physical Education. They can be emailed, respectively, at or

High School's Attendance Policy

Massachusetts state law (M.G.L. Chapter 76, sections 1 and 2) requires regular attendance at school. Any student who has accumulated seven absences in a six-month period is subject to action by the school. This includes disciplinary or legal action, parent conferences with the administration, guidance counselor, school nurse, and/or the supervisor of attendance. Swansea Public Schools identifies this six-month period as the first day of school through Term II, and the first day of Term III through the last day of school. Joseph Case High School will allow up to six unexcused absences each semester with a loss of academic credit in the specific term when the seventh unexcused absence occurs.

Students Who Are Tardy to School

Students who arrive to their first period class after 7:35 a.m. are considered tardy for school. Students are allowed only four (4) tardies to school each semster. Detention is assigned on the fifth unexcused tardy, with additional consequences resulting on each subsequent tardy. The high school’s administration continues to be committed to aggressive enforcement of tardiness and truancy. Excessive tardiness may result in court intervention, loss of high school parking privileges, or appropriate disciplinary action by the high school, including Saturday School.

Incentives To Be in School on Time

Any student who comes to school tardy after Period 1 and fails to check in at the office will be considered absent for that day. All students must check in at the office if they come into school after Period 1. If a student is late more than five (5) minutes in any class, it will be considered a class absence. The tardy student can do the class work or make up the worked missed. If work is made up the student does not receive a “0” for the day. On the 5th – 7th unexcused tardy the student will receive an office detention. On the 8th and 9th unexcused tardy the student’s parents/guardians will be notified and the penalty will be Saturday School. A tenth unexcused tardy will result in one (1) day of in-school suspension. This policy pertains to each semester.

Reminder: Student Drop-Off / Pick-Up

MORNING: Cars may enter the high school’s campus through two roads on the east and west sides of the campus. Students may be dropped off in the front or rear of the building PLease do not stop on Cardnal Way to drop off students. Buses use School Street in the morning before and after drop-off. State law prohibits passing a school bus with its red lights blinking.

AFTERNOON: Please be advised that the front of the school’s circular driveway will be closed to traffic during school days from 2 p.m. until 2:30 p.m. Parents who need to pick up students during this 30-minute time frame should make arrangements to meet their child in the faculty parking lot on the east side of the school. Parents can access this parking area by taking a right after the School Street speed bump.

Please do not park in front of the high school prior to the end of school.

During dismissal, parents and students who need to travel west on Milford Road toward Target and the Swansea Mall must use Cardinal Way which allows for a right turn only onto Milford Road. We have provided fifteen parking spaces in the rear of the building on a first-come, first-served basis in Lot #3 beginning at 2 p.m. for families who are picking up children and will exit the school via the new road going west on Milford Road.

Parents and students who will need to exit left onto Milford Road and travel east toward the Swansea Dam must exit the High School via School Street during dismissal time.

Please be aware that parking on School Street or Cardinal Way is not permitted. We also ask that you respect all crosswalks and speed limits on these roads.

Thank you for your patience and cooperation in securing safety for our children as they leave school.

Senior Privilege

In an attempt to alleviate traffic congestion at the start and conclusion of each school day, all seniors who are scheduled for directed study in either time slot one or seven on any given school day have the option of arriving late or leaving early. Seniors will not be penalized for any tardy to school before 8:20 a.m. on a day when they have study time slot one. Students who accrue ten unexcused (10) tardies in a semester or receive a suspension from school may have this privilege revoked for the remainder of the semester. Seniors must be academically eligible in order to have Senior Privilege. Parents or guardians will be required to sign a Senior Privilege permission form indicating an understanding and acceptance of the aforementioned privilege.

Bring Your Identification to be a High School Visitor

Joseph Case High School continues to utilize the software, School Gate Guardian, to document all visitors to the high school. Any visitor to the high school will have to present formal identification, such as a driver’s license, to process a visitor’s pass.

Student Dismissals

Parents and families are reminded of the school policy that is part of your child’s handbook regarding dismissals of students by phone. The policy states, “Students should not be dismissed by phone except in cases of extreme emergency.”

Student dismissals are not excused unless documentation is provided to the school within the parameters established in the student handbook. As well, parents and families must be the guardians of defining an emergency situation. Dismissing a child from school in order to go for lunch is not an emergency.

If a child is dismissed, he or she should only return to school with appropriate medical or legal documentation explaining the absence.

By having the high school work together with families, we can be proactive in avoiding accidents or injury that may result from unnecessary travel to and from school within the school day.

All dismissals will be in writing. You must present valid identification to pick up a student at school.

Since the school is legally responsible for the safety of children during the school day, each Joseph Case High School student, parent and guardian will observe the following procedures to validate requests for early dismissal:

Dismissal by Parent Note


All Joseph Case High students – regardless of age – wishing to be dismissed from school must have a note from a parent or legal guardian stating the reason for dismissal, the time of dismissal, and phone number where a parent or guardian may be reached. The high school administration recognizes its obligation to keep parents and families informed as to students’ attendance, academic progress, and disciplinary status. All dismissal requests should be presented in the main office prior to 7:45 a.m. on the day of dismissal.

Office Staff will:

• verify the dismissal request by contacting the parent or guardian of record.

• inform the principal or assistant principal if the request is not validated.

• document the dismissal for attendance accountability.

Dismissal by Walk-in


Children of estranged parents will be released only upon the request of the parent or guardian whom the court holds directly responsible for the child and who is the parent or guardian listed on the school record.

Office Staff will:

• attain written documentation of the dismissal for school’s accountability.

• verify the identity of the individual making the request.

• check the student’s parent/guardian contact record.

• inform the principal or assistant principal if the request cannot be validated.

• inform the student (only after verification or administrator approval) of the dismissal.

Bullying / Harassment Law

In accordance with the legislation, “An Act Relative to Bullying in Schools - Chapter 92 of the Acts of 2010,” the administration and faculty of Swansea Public Schools will continue its anti-bullying / harassment prevention and intervention plan. The administration and faculty shall respond promptly and consistently to such discrimination and/or harassment when they have knowledge of its occurrence.

The students of Swansea Public Schools shall be provided with a safe, nurturing educational environment and will not be denied the “advantages and privileges” of a safe school. The goal of our anti-bullying / harassment plan is to effectively alter the culture and climate in our schools as well as change the attitudes of the adults and students thereby making bullying behaviors socially unacceptable. Please contact Assistant Principal Chris Costa if you have bullying or harassment concerns or consider using the high school’s hotline number: 508-675-7483.

No Smoking on School Grounds

A reminder that in accordance with state and federal laws, there is no smoking at any time on school grounds. This includes athletic and extra-curricular events. Mr. Costa will review this policy with all Case students at the beginning of the year and will define the school’s boundaries.

General Rule: Massachusetts requires that all public schools through high school prohibit smoking within school buildings, on school grounds, and on school buses. MGL c. 71, §§2A, 37H; c. 90, §7B(10). A federal law bans smoking in kindergarten, elementary, secondary educational or library services to children under the age of 18 years when federal funds are used in the school. 20 U.S.C. §6083(a).

Dress Code

The primary responsibility for appropriate dress lies with the student and his/her parents or guardians. However, in the interest of maintaining the required school climate essential to meaningful teaching and learning, the principal may ban dress that is inappropriate due to health, safety and/or disruption to the educational process. Student dress should encourage healthy lifestyles and decision-making. Partner with us so that your child is attired for school success, rather than the beach!

Standards of dress for students shall comply with the following guidelines:

  1. Attire must not interfere with the educational process or the rights of others to secure an appropriate education. (examples: see-through garments, low-cut blouses, clothing combination which allows an exposed midriff, beach tank tops, shorts or micro mini-skirts with a revealing hemline, strapless tops, spaghetti straps, backless tops, low-cut pants that display the top of the buttocks, exposed underwear)
  2. Attire should not be destructive of, or damaging to, any person or property (examples: cleats, steel-toed boots, chains)
  3. Attire or jewelry with offensive / profane symbols, language or pictures is not to be worn. (examples: T-shirts with nude caricatures, T-shirts with 4-letter word messages or sexual innuendo)
  4. Attire or jewelry with pictures or logos that promote or advertise alcohol, drugs, or tobacco is not to be worn. (examples: shirts with beer bottle pictures, chains with marijuana medallions)
  5. Any clothing or apparel item that a student wears to identify with a particular gang is not to be worn. (example: red shirts with red bandanas)
  6. Headwear is prohibited. Hats should be removed when entering the building and stored in a locker. (examples: hats, hoods, bandanas, visors)

The administration is authorized to send offending students home to change their clothing if such clothing is determined by the principal or designee to be inappropriate for educational purposes. Only the principal or designee may allow for dress code exceptions.

Main Office Hours

The main office at Joseph Case High School is open from 7 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. A high school administrator is routinely available until 3:45 p.m. Please call for an appointment if you have an administrative need.

Important Fall Release dates for Faculty and Stduetns

Please mark your calendars with the following fall release time dates for faculty at Joseph Case High School:

September 8: In-Service Day – No School for Students

September 27: Accreditation Late Start Day (10 a.m.)

October 5: Accreditation Early Release Day (12:37 p.m.)

November 8: In-Service Day – No School for Students

College Fair / Financial Aid Night

Mark your calendars as well for the following informational events:

• College Fair, Somerset-Berkley Regional High School, October 5, 6-8 p.m.

• Financial Aid Night, Somerset-Berkley Regional High School, November 2, 6:30 p.m.

School Council

The first School Council meeting is scheduled for September 27 at 6 p.m. in the main office conference room.

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. Charlene Orton, Eleanor Deschenes, and Trish LePage currently represent families in 9, 11 and 12.

The school council needs one parent representative for grades 9/10. 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 9.

The calendar of meetings is part of the school calendar on pages 8 and 9 of this newsletter.

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

School Website / Parent-Student Portal

Swansea Public Schools’ website is a resource for school email addresses, district calendars, school schedules, and other up-to-date information. You can also access the high school’s link through this webpage. Check us out at: The parent-student portal for access to student information, schedules, attendance, conduct and grades can be accessed through this website.

Residency / School Choice

If any family moves within the town of Swansea during the school year, the guidance office needs proof of residency. Contact Mrs. Cronin at 508-675-0568 for more information about the required documentation. Swansea has become a school choice district that accepts non-Swansea students. Contact the Office of the Superintendent for more information on school choice.

Legal Reminders

Swansea Public Schools strives to provide a safe, respectful, and supportive learning environment in which all students can thrive and succeed in its schools. Swansea Public Schools prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, gender identity or expression, religion, national origin, or sexual orientation and ensures that all students have equal rights of access and equal enjoyment of the opportunities, advantages, privileges and courses of study. Massachusetts General Law, M.G.L. Chapter 119, Sec. 51A, identifies all school officials/employees as mandated reporters who are legally obligated to contact the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (DCF) if they suspect the neglect or abuse of a child under the age of eighteen.

Tentative Last Day

The Swansea School Committee established that the tentative last day of school for the 2016-2017 school year is Wednesday, June 14. This does not include any snow day. The school calendar includes five additional snow days that could move the school’s final day up to June 21. Please do not schedule a family summer vacation for next year before June 21. The final week of school is crucial to your child’s school success with the administration of summative assessments and final projects.

Joeph Case High Athletics

Athletic Director Andrew Crisafulli maintains an active Athletics link on the left side of the high school’s webpage. This comprehensive link contains most of the information you need regarding fall athletics, starts of fall practices, as well as important documents for the student-athlete. You can also follow all Case High athletics on Twitter @casesports. All fall athletes must register online before they can participate in pre-season practices. Information on sports registration is available as well on the school’s athletics website.


Mark your calendar for 6 p.m. on Wednesday, September 14 in the auditorium for my annual pre-Open House address to Case families. I am hoping it will be the best 30 minutes of your week as I share with you my joy and passion for the possibilities at Joseph Case High School. Like I read last month in Thackeray’s Vanity Fair, “Never lose a chance of saying a kind word....An acorn costs nothing; but it may sprout into a prodigious bit of lumber.”

Here’s to building relationships this year. Cheers!

Brian McCann, Principal

Twitter: @josephcasehs @casehighprinc