Cardinal Notes

information and reflection about Joseph Case High School

Volume 12, No. 7 *** November 17, 2015

Volleyball in MIAA State Semi-Final Tournament

Joseph Case High School takes on West champion Frontier Regional High School in Division III state semi-final volleyball play on Wednesday, November 18 at Algonquin Regional High School in Northborough. Game begins at 5 p.m. The student fan bus is scheduled to leave Joseph Case High School at 3 p.m.

Academic Award Ceremony

Congratulations to the following seniors who were awarded last Thursday a 2015 John and Abigail Adams Scholarship for their MCAS success in ELA and math.

Jenna Anselmo

Kyle Berube

Jacob Biello

Emily Brown

Madison Carpenter

Alec Connell

Logan Constant

Matthew Dumont

Emma Fiore

Aidan Fitzsimons

Conor Halpin

Allison Jacome

Kevin Kochanek

Kailyn LeBlanc

Chad Looker

Emily Marques

Jordan Martin

Abigail McCracken

Jared Mendes

Lauren Michaud

Tyler Nadeau

Riley Nascimento

Cameron Paradiso

Timothy Paul

Shannon Rivers

Taylor Rivers

James Scholes

Emily Serdynski

Brooke Solaris

Richard Teasdale

Chloe Thomason

The scholarship is reflected in a voucher good for four years at select Massachusetts public colleges and universities. Students were also recognized for final honor roll status for one, two and three years. This annual event celebrates Swansea Public Schools pre-K through grade 12 and our partnership with the community and families.

Below, Coach Palladino is proud of all of the football players who received academic recognition at this annual event. (Photo courtesy of Anthony Palladino)

Big image

Parent-Teacher Conferences

The high school’s annual Parent-Teacher Conferences will take place Thursday, November 19 and Monday, November 23 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Teachers will be available to have brief conversations with families about student progress thus far in the year.

If a conversation is going to exceed five minutes, I would ask that the teacher and parent make an appointment to continue the conversation via phone so that all families get a chance to see teachers.

Families may come on either or both evenings. We will have Term I report cards as well as room assignments and maps available beginning at 6:15 p.m.

Advice to navigate the Parent-Teacher Conference

Here are my annual tips, adapted from The MASTER Teacher Corporation’s NorthStar for Principals, to help teachers before and during Parent-Teacher Conferences.

Before the Conference: Anticipate questions parents may ask:

• How’s my child doing? How does this progress compare with the other students?

• Is he/she performing up to potential? How does he/she get along with classmates?

• Why is there so much (little) homework? What’s my child learning this year? How can I help?

During the Conference:

• Greet parents warmly. You are the host and parents are your guests. Be friendly, competent, and receptive. Parents will mirror your actions and respond in the same way.

• Practice the OREO method of providing parents with constructive information about their child. Begin the conference with positive comments about the student. In the middle of the conference, share your concerns and goals for the student. End the conference with positive statements about the student. The OREO method lets parents know that you care about their child and will work with them to help their child achieve to the best of his/her capabilities.

• Show dated samples of the student’s work collected over a period of time, emphasizing progress or lack of it.

• Be wary about discussing the student’s ability to learn unless you are talking about the impact of his/her prior knowledge and not his/her innate intelligence. Emphasize the growth pattern and progress for each student; do not send the message that the student has limitations related to learning.

• Never talk about another student.

• Be a good listener. It’s important to give parents ample opportunity to ask questions and share concerns. The information they share may unlock the key to the child’s success.

• Demonstrate good listening skills by asking questions, clarifying, and summarizing parent comments.

• Be cautious but be confident. Parents expect teachers and principals to be experts in their field. Do not send the message that you do not know what to do. At the very least, reassure parents that you will consult with the appropriate resource persons.

• Be cautious giving criticism and advice. Sometimes the parent may share information relating to something in the child’s home that, if changed, could make a major difference in how well the child does in school. Be cautious. While it is appropriate to give advice with regard to school problems, suggestions, “what if’s,” or guidelines might be accepted more positively than “shoulds.”

• Don’t bring up bad habits if you can offer no suggestions for improvements. Spend time developing solutions. Try to develop a cooperative plan between you and the parents before the conference ends. This plan would include a clear understanding of what you will do and what the parent will do. It should also establish how progress will be communicated and how often.

• Do not label a child. Unless a child has been diagnosed with a specific disability, we have no authority to place any label on the student in the presence of a parent. However, you can describe behaviors (when and where), but watch your body language when doing this.

After the Conference

• Schedule any follow-up meetings to which you and the parent have agreed and complete any follow-up actions to which you committed. The surest way to lose credibility with parents is to not follow through with the plan of action for improvement. No excuses.

Important Dates

Some upcoming dates:
  • November 19 - Parent-Teacher Conferences, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
  • November 20 - Homecoming Dance. 7-10 p.m.
  • November 23 - Parent-Teacher Conferences, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
  • November 25 - High School releases at 11 a.m.
  • December 2 - Financial Aid Night, Somerset-Berkley Regional High School, 6:30 p.m.
  • December 10 - 8th Grade Night at Joseph Case High School, 6 p.m.
  • December 11 - Case Theater: The Man Who Came to Dinner, 7:30 p.m.
  • December 12 - Case Theater: The Man Who Came to Dinner, 7:30 p.m.
  • December 17 - High School Holiday Music Concert, 7 p.m.
  • December 18 - Term II Progress reports issues electronically

REMINDER: Spirit Week Activities

One of the highlights of each school year comes annually in mid-November when Joseph Case High School highlights its school pride with theme days and events that lead up to Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 18 – Black Out Day (Wear all black)

  • 1 point per article of clothing – 5 points max

Thursday, November 19 – Throwback Thursday (Wear clothes of previous decades)

  • 5, 3, or 1 points – based on judge’s discretion

Friday, November 20 – Pajama Day (Wear your favorite pajamas)

  • 5, 3, or 1 points – based on judge’s discretion

Monday, November 23 – America Day (Show your Patriotism)

  • 5, 3, or 1 points – based on judge’s discretion

Tuesday, November 24 – Character Day (Dress like your favorite character)

  • 5, 3, or 1 points – based on judge’s discretion

RESCHEDULED TO Tuesday, November 24 – Powder Puff Football Game

  • Game at Cardinal Stadium beginning at 6:30 p.m. Tickets ($5) sold at the gate.

Wednesday, November 25 – Maroon and Gold Day

REMINDER: Spirit Week - Food Drive

The food drive is a traditional class competition that ultimately benefits Swansea families. Each class will have its own food bins in the library. All proceeds from this food drive will go directly to our local community.

Event begins on Wednesday, November 18 and concludes Friday, November 20.

  • Any non-listed canned food items are worth 1 point.
  • Each gift card is worth 1 point per dollar (example: $5 gift card is worth 5 points)
  • Each of the following item is worth 10 points:


Trail Mix
Parmalat Milk (Lasts without refrigeration)
Snack foods
Canned Fruit

Microwave Soups
Chef Boyardee Meals
Barilla Italian Entrees

Minute Ready to Serve Rice
Uncle Ben's Ready-to-Microwave Rice
Hormel Sandwich Makers
Hormel Compleats
Velveeta Mac and Cheese

Microwaveable Dinners

REMINDER: Spirit Week - Penny Wars

Each class gets its own container for this event which will be placed in front of the office during the Spirit Week event. All proceeds from this will go directly to our local community. Event begins Monday, November 23 and concludes Tuesday, November 24.

Each penny is worth 1 point.

Points are deducted for the following reasons:

  • A nickel is used (minus 5 points)
  • A dime is used (minus 10 points)
  • A quarter is used (minus 25 points)
  • A dollar is used (minus 100 points per dollar)

Spirit Week reflections

It is a lot of fun to be a high school principal during Spirit Week -- if you're doing it right.

By giving students voice in how the different days are designated and how the Pep Rally will be delivered next Wednesday creates ownership in this week by our most important stakeholders.

Spirit Week strengthens school culture, creates healthy competition for good charitable causes, and gets us to look at ourselves from a "not-too-serious" point of view.

The interactions that students and teachers have in the week prior to Thanksgiving help to build soft skills, like communication, human relations, presenting, negotiating and team building. Some consider these skills a complement to hard skills, which refer to a person's knowledge base and occupational skills. Spirit Week helps develop Emotional Intelligence: being aware that emotions can drive our behavior and impact people (positively and negatively), and learning how to manage those emotions – both our own and others – especially when we are under pressure.

There's no state test or national exam that can help measure these. Let's continue to give students opportunities to hone these type of skills that may prove as beneficial to a successful future as mastery in a plethora of academic areas.

To celebrate Throwback Thursday, I even found some old Boston College-circa 1982 wear. I'll be the one in the button-down shirt, upturned collar on the polo, LL Bean-type sweater and duck boots. My wife is mortified!



(My thanks to the following websites for helping me define and share some aforementioned terms:,, and