The Northern Friday Message

November 5, 2021


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Good afternoon Northern,

This has certainly been a week for us all. Fortunately, it has ended peacefully without any disruption to the school day. During my 20+ years of working in DPS, dealing with rumors of “planned” violence none of them have ever panned out. It doesn’t mean we do not take them seriously, we do, they just never seem to materialize. Most of the time they are based on whispers, half-heard, and then spread incorrectly to others, who repeat it until we end up like we did today, extra officers, high absenteeism, and everyone home safely.

Northern is like every other high school in Durham and across the country. 99.5% of the students who are enrolled are here for the right reasons and want to be safe. They quietly share with an adult that things are going to happen and most of the time we are able to intervene before it does. However, teenagers being the impulsive dimpled darlings that they are, sometimes do not allow us the chance and words turn into action and we have a fight. Fights are generally broken up before any serious injuries occur by adults but frequently by other students. Students, who want what we all want, a safe school.

Prior to Covid Northern benefitted from two incredible programs that led to us having the fewest issues like this. One was our Peer Group Connection, where upperclassmen spent dedicated time with underclassmen groups and led them through a variety of activities and skill-building that minimized issues. The other was our Peer Mediation program. Again, upperclassmen students went through training and co-led mediation sessions with students who had disputes. PGC was a casualty of scheduling issues but we hope to bring it back. And our Peer Mediation is restarting its training as our upperclassmen were all freshmen and sophomores when we were last in person.

The other factor is that sometimes when students violate the student code of conduct, there are criminal charges that could be associated with that. This didn’t mean that the student ended up in jail but frequently it meant they or their families would receive court-ordered services that helped a family in a variety of ways. Currently, our DA is hesitant to take any SRO related charges, hindering some families from the help they need.

What can you do as parents? Speak with your child about how to act when/if an incident occurs. Many of them can be seen filming and then sharing the aftermath on social media and the disruption looks to you as parents as if it is worse than it really was. Talk to them about reporting any issues of concern to our Say Something App. It is a free anonymous app that allows students to share concerns about their peers or even themselves that gets sent to administrators and some counselors. Or they can simply tell an adult what they have seen or heard here at school.

My number one priority is the safety and well-being of each student and staff member. I can tell you that in my conversations and text threads with the other high school principals in Durham and those I know elsewhere, we have all experienced an uptick in these behaviors upon our return to school. Know that getting Northern back to where we were pre-pandemic in terms of climate and safety is our goal. And if that means some students are no longer Knights, that’s ok. Only the best are meant to be Knights.

Thank you for your commitment to Northern.



Please continue to review the Parent/Student Handbook to refamiliarize yourself with student expectations.

Students may also view the administration's Student Expectation Presentation here.


Please see our regular bell schedule here.


To check the status of your transportation route click here.

To track your bus, download the here comes the bus app, using these instructions.


Parents, please make sure you are signed up for Parent Porta. Get started here.


As we continue to address the many ways the pandemic is affecting our communities and our everyday lives, we want you to be well informed that some key items needed for our school nutrition program are in short supply. Schools across the country are facing supply chain shortages caused by limited supplies, delayed shipments, manufacturer issues and a shortage of truck drivers in the country.

Our School Nutrition program is currently experiencing shortages of some staple food items (juice, cereal, pizza products, and chicken among other items) and supplies, such as plastic cutlery, trays/serving containers. We want to inform you that because of this, the menus for breakfast, lunch, and afterschool snacks may be subject to change without notice. Due to strict food safety regulations, our School Nutrition program is unable to accept food donations.

We continue to work with vendors to source needed products and seek alternative solutions. Above all else, we want you to be assured that all students will continue to be offered nutritious and well-balanced meals. We will continue to ensure that food item substitutions meet the nutritional and caloric standards, per state and federal regulations.

If you have any questions regarding this, please contact our Director of School Nutrition, James Keaten, at or (919) 560-3657.

Thank you for your support and patience. Please know that our staff is in constant contact with state consultants about the food/supply shortage issues.

James Keaten, Director – School Nutrition Services

Durham Public Schools

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INDOOR TRACK TRYOUTS: Monday, Nov. 8th at 4:15pm.

See Coach Wilson for more information.


Adult and Student Season and Year long sports passes are available for purchase on



Durham Public Schools, in partnership with MAKO Medical, will begin providing weekly COVID-19 testing at school to help identify possible COVID-19 infections among students even if they’re not showing any symptoms. Research has shown such testing can reduce the spread by 50%, especially in large settings such as schools.

The testing is a simple swab of the nose and not the test that tickles the brain. This is the same test families can administer from home or at local testing sites.

This is a voluntary testing process, so a parent or guardian must register their student to participate. The link to register is here (paper copy found here) as well as a letter sent home with your student. All testing information and results will remain confidential.

Click here to see the DPS Covid-19 Flowchart

Click here to see "A-Z: DPS COVID-19 PREVENTATIVE MEASURES FOR 2021-22"

Click here to complete the DPS Face Covering Accommodation Form

Click here to view the Covid-19 Data Dashboard. (updated weekly)

Free COVID Testing Sites-See the attached flyers for some of the free testing sites in Durham with whom DPS has partnered.


Career Conversations – Business & Public Administration

November 16th from 10:45-11:30am

Learn about what it takes to launch and run a business, and what it’s like to manage services for residents of Durham as a City or County employee. Students and teachers must register in advance through Xello under the “3-2-1 Future Ready: Career Conversations or Guest Speaker” lesson or use this link:

Are you interested in taking a practice test for the SAT or ACT? - StudyPoint is offering FREE practice test events, and since they do so virtually, you can take the practice test from your home. Students who participate will also receive a free score analysis that breaks down how you did by section, question type, and content area so you can get a sense of where you might want to do some review prior to the real thing.

They run multiple practice tests each week. If you're interested you can view available dates and register for a test at


Northern’s student services department is currently in the process of considering candidates for nomination to prestigious state university scholarships. Please see below for descriptions of these scholarships, and if interested, email or meet with Mr. Anderson ASAP!


Make an appointment to see Mr. Anderson (or just walk in!):

Check out this spreadsheet for a list of scholarship databases to conduct individualized searches as well as a long list of scholarships to explore.

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