1st Day of School Newsletter 2023
Welcome to the Bobcat Bulletin!
Message from the Principal
Dear SWHS Families,
Welcome to the first issue of the Bobcat Bulletin for the 2023-24 school year. Returning SWHS families will recall that the Bobcat Bulletin is periodically sent to parents/guardians--it contains information, updates, and/or announcements on a variety of topics. This newsletter will supplement periodic high school communications. For your convenience, these newsletters will also be available on the SWHS website and posted on social media.
This issue is dedicated as a "first day of school" edition. It contains several important topics that our students will be learning more about during the first few days of school. I hope the information is helpful for families.
This issue contains information on the following topics:
- Open House: Save the Date!
- Portrait of a Graduate
- Important Academic Updates
- Personal Responsibility
- September Add/Drop Window
- Reporting Absences For Your Child
- Chromebook Insurance & Optional Student Accident Insurance
- Meet the Newest Faculty & Staff to Join Bobcat Nation!
Portrait of a Graduate
South Windsor Public Schools promotes an engaging and dynamic culture of learning that prepares students to achieve their own individual excellence. Within an emotionally safe environment, educators will foster students' academic, social and personal growth. Our students will demonstrate a learner's mindset, resilience, social consciousness, and empowerment in an ever-changing global society. South Windsor graduates are:
- Socially Conscious
During the school year, teachers will be incorporating the Portrait of a Graduate attributes in the courses they teach. For an extended look at each of the four attributes, PLEASE CLICK HERE.
Important Academic Updates
The "80/20 Gradebook": For several years, schools throughout the nation have been exploring ways to ensure grades most accurately represent a student’s understanding of the knowledge and skills associated with their respective courses. With that goal in mind, some schools have adopted a streamlined gradebook approach similar to the 80/20 approach utilized by SWHS. At SWHS, the 80% category is for "Assessments" and the 20% category is for “Learner Tasks.” Assessments can include a variety of things including tests, quizzes, projects, essays, lab reports, and other culminating assessments. The "Learner Tasks" can include homework, classwork, and other assignments.
As we begin our third year with this style of gradebook, I remain happy to report that the overall academic performance of students has either remained the same or, in some instances, improved when compared to the grade averages from previous years. I applaud our teachers for all the work they have done and our students for their continued commitment to excel.
Reflect, Review, Retake: This practice began last school year and afforded students the opportunity to retake some assignments/assessments in many of their courses. The purpose of this practice is to enhance the understanding of skills and concepts for our students. Entering our second year, there have been some updates to Reflect, Review, & Retake. Please know that the these opportunities may be limited and will require our students to complete certain steps in order to be eligible for a retake opportunity. Teachers will be providing specifics on how this practice will look in their classes depending on the course, course level, and/or by department.
A high-quality education requires a variety of ingredients including hard work by teachers and a strong commitment by students to be engaged learners. The environment and conduct of all members of the school community are just as critical. The following are items we ask our families for continued partnership with in order to best support students:
ACCEPTANCE: Regardless of race, creed, background, or beliefs the South Windsor High School community is committed to being a place where everyone, whether a student or staff member, is to be accepted as part of a warm and welcoming environment.
ATTENDANCE: Student success in schools is strongly correlated to consistent attendance. Unless under the weather, we encourage our students to attend school consistently. The attendance policy is located in our Student Handbook and was also summarized in a communication to families sent on Thursday, August 10.
TIMELINESS: At 7:00 am the traffic around the high school builds up due to the combination of buses, student drivers, staff members arriving to work, and families choosing to drop off their student. To ensure students arriving to their first period class on time, I ask all drivers to leave their homes a few minutes earlier so our students are in their classes by 7:25 a.m.
CELL PHONES: Though we live in a digital age, it is important to emphasize the importance of time and place regarding cell phone use. The majority of our teachers plan lessons and activities requiring students to use their Chromebooks which reduces/eliminates the need to access cell phones during instructional time. I respectfully ask all parents/guardians to partner with the school in reinforcing this message with their children so that our students’ attention can be focused on classroom lessons and activities.
RESPECT FOR PROPERTY: Our school is maintained and cleaned with the intent of providing the best possible environment for our students to learn. We ask that all facility structures, physical property, and the property of others be respected by all members of the school community. We further ask our students to secure their belongings in hallway, PE, and/or team lockers by using a lock.
September Add/Drop Window
Course changes (ex: dropping a class, and/or adding another - not necessarily in the same subject): These can fluidly occur within the first 10 school days of the course. Students and families should communicate and work closely with their school counselor to discuss the situation. School counselors will work to identify solutions and/or changes to best support the student. It should be noted that one schedule change can often necessitate another schedule change. After the 10th school day of the course, all changes must be approved through an administrative process/review and may result in a W/F on the transcript.
Level Changes (ex: Honors to CP, AP to Honors, etc.): These can fluidly occur within the month of September. Students and families should communicate and work closely with their school counselor to discuss the situation. School counselors will work to identify solutions and/or changes to best support the student. It should be noted that one schedule change can often necessitate another schedule change.
In October and beyond, leveled course changes must be approved through an administrative process/review. If approved, this type of change would only occur at the close of the current marking period, and all earned grades in current and previous marking periods would remain on the student’s record. When a change in schedule occurs, grades earned during initial enrollment will stay on the student’s academic record and will be transferred to the new course added.
Chromebook Insurance & Student Accident Insurance
Chromebook Insurance: South Windsor Public Schools offers insurance for school-issued Chromebooks at the cost of $26. Insurance coverage is for one year and expires on August 23, 2024. For more information and to purchase insurance, please CLICK HERE.
Student Accident Insurance: South Windsor Public Schools is offering families the opportunity to purchase optional student accident insurance for their child. For more information please CLICK HERE.