MRHS Parent Newsletter




The P.E. / Health Wellness department will be offering the following guest speakers and activities during the second semester. Any parents or guardians not wishing to have their son or daughter participate in these presentations or field trips should contact Mr. Orzech P.E. / Health Department Chairperson via email at or by phone at 596-9011 ext. 6167.

  • Freshman P.E. / Health classes will be receiving a 2 week health program during the second semester called “Lifeskills Promoting Health and Personal Development”. Topics will include: The Value of Good Health, Decision Making for Health, Risk-Taking and Substance Abuse, The Media and Health, Managing Stress and other Emotions, Family Communication and Healthy Relationships and “Lifelines: A Suicide Prevention Program” which includes relevant facts and warning signs of suicide, recognizing and responding to troubled peers, intervention and help-seeking when suicidal behavior is recognized, identifying and knowing how to seek resources and helpful adults.
  • Postural (Scoliosis) Screening will be performed by freshman Physical Education teacher’s during second semester.
  • All second semester freshman classes will be participating in the American Heart Association CPR in Schools Training. By the end of class, all students will be able to perform hands-only CPR.
  • All second semester sophomores will participate in a 4 class Career Readiness Workshop. They will learn how to fill out job applications, create a resume, learn interview skills and participate in a mock interview.
  • School Resource Officer Dan Menard will be working with the sophomore classes presenting Alcohol and Drug Awareness classes during second semester.
  • The sophomores and juniors will receive a series of 5-7 classes in human sexuality during the second semester. Discussion topics include: the reproductive system anatomy and physiology review, sexually transmitted infections, effective communication and prevention of STI’s, gender identity, sexual orientation, healthy interpersonal relationships and HIV/AIDS. An HIV positive person will also speak to students about this disease.
  • The junior and senior students will have an opportunity to participate in our Physical Education Bowling Unit. This will occur during second semester with dates set up by individual Physical Education teachers. Students will have an opportunity to bowl at Shaker Bowl in East Longmeadow during Physical Education classes. The cost is $7.00 for each bowling trip which includes (bowling, shoe rental and transportation). The classes will have an opportunity to bowl 2-3 times.
  • The seniors will have an opportunity for a field trip to Empower Leadership and Adventure Center in Middletown, CT. The day will include zip lining through the upper forest canopy, traveling across sky bridges, cargo net climb and tree elements. The trip will occur in May with dates TBD. The cost of the trip is $55.00 per student which includes round trip transportation and admission to the center. The students will depart Minnechaug at 7:00 a.m. and return by 2:05 p.m.

Dear Parents/Guardians of Semester Two or Alternating Day Health/PE Students,

Your child is being asked to participate in the 2019 High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) which is scheduled to take place April 1-10, 2019. (Note: This pertains only to students who are scheduled for Semester Two or Alternating Day Health/PE.)

Since 1995, the YRBS has been administered to HWRSD students in grades 7-12 to improve our school health education programs, and to identify areas of needed support services and available resources for our students and communities. The survey generates data that give us a broad understanding of youth risk factors (particularly related to substance abuse, behavioral health, and bullying/violence), and enables us to better understand and help educate our students and their families about emerging health issues and concerns. The YRBS also provides indicators that help evaluate progress being made in our various prevention efforts, including programs supported by our current Drug Free Communities and School Climate Transformations grants. Although the survey is based on the Massachusetts Youth Risk Behavior Survey, it is annually reviewed and customized to our local needs.

Format: The survey is multiple-choice and computer-based. It is administered in a supervised computer lab during the Health/PE block, and typically takes about 30 minutes to complete. There are no interviews, physical tests, or exams involved. Participation is voluntary and anonymous: no names or personal identifiers are used or reported. The survey asks about nicotine (including e-cigarettes/ vaping products), alcohol and other drug use activity and attitudes, behaviors associated with depression, intentional and unintentional injuries; and general health. For high school students, behaviors related to self-harm, suicide, sexual behavior and dating violence are included. To better align with the District’s school safety priorities, questions pertaining to internet safety, bullying and harassment, and emotional safety are included for all students, grades 7-12.

Survey Administration and Results: This year’s survey will be administered between April 1-10 during Semester Two or Alternating Day Health/PE. Data on key measures are analyzed in the aggregate and compared to previous years’ results, and reported via community education programs throughout the year. Valid results depend on high participation rates among our students, but participation is totally voluntary.

Non-Participation: Interested parents/guardians are invited to review the 2019 survey in advance using the survey link on the HWRSD website that will be available on February 25, and are also strongly encouraged to use this as an opportunity to discuss these important topics with their students at home. If you do NOT want your child to participate in the survey, complete the non-participation form below and return this entire page to the Guidance Office by Friday, March 22, 2019. (You do not need to return the form to allow participation.)

If you have questions about survey administration at MRHS, please call Nicole Smith, Associate Principal, at 596-9011. For additional questions about the survey, contact Dr. Gina Kahn at 566-5060 ext. 12. Thank you for your cooperation.


2019 High School (Semester Two and Alternating Day Health/PE)

YRBS Non-Participation Form


I have read the above description of the 2019 MRHS Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) and have determined that my child _______________, Grade _____, School MRHS, will not complete the 2019 High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey.

__________ ____________________ ____________________

Date---------- Signature --------------- Relationship to Child


Important notes for winter & spring athletes and their parents –

Please visit our new website!, click on schools, click on Minnechaug and we are located under Programs and Activities. Please notify us if you would like something posted on our athletics page! All important registration information, links to schedules, etc… is on that page.

New Locker Room Procedures:

Please note that PE teachers will be locking to team rooms/locker rooms when they leave after school. ONLY coaches will be unlocking the rooms. Athletes are to change and get out of the locker rooms promptly. There will be no more hanging out in the locker rooms waiting for practice. Athletes can utilize the IRC after school and community lobby.

Winter Athletes

Sports locks - On the last day of the winter season, you are to turn your sports lock into your coach, along with your home and away uniforms, and any other equipment issued by the Minnechaug athletic department. Your cooperation with this important task will be greatly appreciated. Any student-athlete who does not comply with this procedure within three days of the end of his/her respective season will be billed for all outstanding equipment. ALL SPORTS LOCKERS WILL BE CLEANED OUT 1 WEEK AFTER THE SEASON ENDS.


Spring Athletes

Physical Examination: According to the MIAA (Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association) policy, all students must pass a physical examination within 13 months of the start of each season. If a physical is set to expire during a season, the athlete MUST provide a updated physical by the expiration date or that athlete becomes ineligible immediately! (this is a new rule change) Physical examinations must be performed by a duly registered physician, physician’s assistant, or nurse practitioner. Each student must receive written permission from a doctor before he/she participates in a varsity, junior varsity, or freshman sport.

Please visit our website for more detailed information for registration. Deadlines are approaching!


THE AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION CELEBRATES GO RED FOR WOMEN EVERY FEBRUARY. This month we would like to share the Signs & Symptoms of Heart Attack and Stroke. 911 should be called immediately for any of these:

Signs and Symptoms of Heart Attack:

· Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. It lasts more than a few minutes or goes away and comes back.

· Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.

· Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.

· Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.

· As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.

Signs and Symptoms of Stroke:

· Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body

· Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding

· Sudden trouble seeing or blurred vision in one or both eyes

· Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination

· Sudden severe headache with no known cause

For more information visit

FEBRUARY IS ALSO DONOR AWARENESS MONTH and we encourage you to discuss checking the “yes” box when your child applies for a driver’s license. Did you know:

· Your donated cornea can restore sight to 2 people

· Your donated organs can save up to 8 lives

· Your donated tissue (such as skin and bone) can heal the lives of 75 people

To register online as a Donor, go to and more information is available at . Thanks for considering organ and tissue donation.

COLD, ALLERGY, AND FLU MEDICATIONS are not available in the Health Office at school. They must be taken at home. In all cases, we recommend good hydration, nutrition, and rest. We request you keep students home if they have a temperature of 100 degrees or higher, and until they are fever-free without fever-reducing medication for 24 hours. Remind your kids about good handwashing, please. We appreciate your help in our efforts to keep students and staff at Minnechaug as healthy as possible!

HEALTH SCREENING: Height, weight, vision, and hearing screening will be completed in February for those 10th grade students with second semester PE. 9th grade students will be screened in PE for scoliosis. We will mail home referral letters for any screenings that fall outside the normal range. ALL results are confidential. If you do not want your child screened, please contact the school nurses at 279-3815.



The Foreign Language Department will be celebrating Foreign Language Week from March 4-8. The Minnechaug community will celebrate the week by participating in activities and viewing displays that honor and celebrate the differences in people around the world and promote understanding of other cultures. Students currently taking a foreign language will do special activities in their classes to celebrate the week. The week will culminate with our International Food Celebration on Friday, March 10. All foreign language classes are invited to participate in this event which is held in the school cafeteria. Foreign language students will be asked to bring in an ethnic food to share with the group. We are seeking guest speakers who are willing to share a cultural experience with our students. If you are interested, please contact

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Congratulations to SIX of our Minnechaug musicians who have been accepted to the 2019 Massachusetts All-State band and chorus! They will rehearse for two days at the Boston World Trade Center and then take part in the all-state concert on Saturday, March 2nd on the famous original stage of Boston’s Symphony Hall, home to the Boston Symphony Orchestra. The students representing MRHS are: Andrew Aguilar, french horn; Liz Blask, tuba; Logan Mitchell, flute; Charmaine Liu, alto; Anna O’Keefe, soprano; and Julia O’Keefe, soprano.


A week or two at summer music camp can make a world of difference in your child’s social development as well as give them the opportunity to explore deeper layers of music making and understanding. The music department has several brochures and flyers for camps in New England and around the country, give a call if you’re interested and in the meantime check out these long-standing programs:

UNH Summer Youth Music School:

Litchfield Jazz Camp:

Camp Encore-Coda:


Minnechaug will be hosting the Springfield Youth orchestras on Sunday, February 10th while they hold morning rehearsals followed by a concert in our auditorium beginning at 2pm. Students interested in working that day as hosts/department representatives please let Ms. Reidy know. The public is invited to this performance!


Come out and support the music program on Wednesday, March 13TH at Pizzeria Uno’s on Boston Road across from the Eastfield Mall. Using coupons supplied by string & band members, pay your bill for dine-in OR take out, and Uno’s will still donate up to 20% to the Minnechaug instrumental music program!


Band Director, strings teacher and Fine Arts chairperson Margaret Reidy has been chosen to receive the MMEA 2019 “Distinguished Service Award”. The award is presented annually to one person in recognition of exceptional support and outstanding accomplishments towards the advancement of music education in the schools of Massachusetts, both public and private. This award can be given to any MMEA member, living or deceased, active or retired, K-college level who qualifies under the following criteria:

1. Is or has been employed by a public or private school or college in Massachusetts for a minimum of 15 years

2. Has demonstrated effectiveness in teaching young people through music and the ability to inspire positive attitudes among students, the school, and the community

3. Has demonstrated leadership in educational innovation

4. Has demonstrated concern for the total music program

5. Has recognized the necessity for continued professional growth

6. Has demonstrated a concern for music education by active involvement in local, district, state, regional, or national professional organizations

7. Has been previously honored with the Lowell Mason Award



A National College Fair will be held at the Big E on Monday, April 8 from 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. This is a wonderful FREE opportunity for students to meet representatives from two and four year colleges and the military to obtain information from them. It is never too early to start thinking about post graduation plans. This is a great place to start!


Course selections will take place during March.


Financial Aid Presentation for seniors and Parents by the Massachusetts Education Finance Authority

“Paying the College Bill Seminar” Once you have received your acceptance letters, the next step is to choose a college and figure out how to pay for it. The Financial Aid Presentation is Thursday, April 10, 2019 at 6:30 in the Minnechaug Auditorium. All college bound students and parents are encouraged to attend.

Seniors should continue to check on Naviance and the Counseling Center for College Scholarship Applications. Seniors should also update Naviance on their college application decisions.

Seniors will participate in a Credit for Life Fair on April 2. This is a great opportunity for students to learn about budgeting and managing money, skills they will need in life!

Juniors will be meeting with their Guidance Counselors in March to review the college search and application process.

Advanced Placement Night

There will be an AP Night on Tuesday, March 5 from 6:30 – 7:30 in the auditorium, for students in all grades, who are interested in learning about AP classes. Come check out our new AP offerings for next year.

Career-Technical Education Program

The Career-Technical Education Program, CTEC, continues to be an option for our current freshmen and sophomore students through the Lower Pioneer Valley Education Collaborative. If interested, students should review the options in the Program of Studies and then speak with their guidance counselor. The website for CTEC is


Please stop in the Counseling Center and check the Counseling Center page on the MRHS website for information on numerous summer programs that are offered by colleges throughout the country.


Career Internships

Second semester Interns began working at their jobsites on January 23. During the next few weeks, they will be identifying their challenges and setting goals for the semester.

Winter Weather – At the orientation meeting, all interns were given a memo about driving expectations when roads are slippery. Please go over this with your student.


Dr. Potee – Understanding Teen Brain and Risk Taking – Community Talk

Thursday, February 28th at Minnechaug (6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.)

Adults of all ages, and youth, (grades 7 – 12) accompanied by an adult, are encouraged to attend. RSVP to before February 20th. Visit the Community Resource Expo, (6:30 – 7:00 p.m.) and bring along your Rx Meds for proper disposal at the Drop-off bin, before the 7:00 p.m. talk by Dr. Ruth Potee. Q & A will follow the presentation.

Participants of our 2017 program, wrote these comments about Dr. Potee, on their evaluations:

“I would have listened to Dr. Potee all night. Great presentation. Would love to hear from her again."

“The info on the impact of substances (particularly marijuana and its potency) is invaluable.”

​ ​“Excellent program. All parents of high school and middle school children should be required to attend. Good for grandparents, too.”

​ ​“Info about development of brain very useful”

​ ​“Dr. Potee is an excellent, easy to listen to, engaging down to earth speaker… “

Mark your calendars and plan to attend!