The Virtual Pirate Ship

Spring 2020 Weekly Newsletter for Drake High School

2020-21 Course Selection- FINAL CALL!

In order to open next fall, we need all students to double check their course selection. Please go onto home access and check the classes students registered for in February. If any changes need to be made, please contact your counselor ASAP! Due to the uncertainty of our fall, we will not be able to make any changes in August, so this course selection check is FINAL. Thank you!

Ambiguity in a World of Planners- by Liz Seabury

Schools are the bedrock of American civilization. This is not a reference to the foundations of democratic ideals, development of a learned citizenry, or strong character building but rather the school year schedule. The tick-tock of our personal calendars revolve around school holidays, minimum days, and start/end times. Schools love to plan and we have no idea how to plan for fall. In this time of ambiguity, I am looking for the opportunity that must exist in the messiness of insecurity. I am a huge planner and enjoy the creativity of vision and purpose in what’s next. And I now must sit in the present…which I see as my opportunity, to live with what is in front of me and allow the planning to come when it can. I am struggling with this….so I turn to what I know:

  • School will start on August 19. (Some districts start in July that have year-round schedules. We do not. We start in August.)

  • Students will receive their schedules before school opens. (Usually the week prior.)

  • Classes will meet. It is unclear if they will be live, virtual or a unique hybrid of these two and we will have more information during summer about this.

  • We have amazing teachers and the learning will continue.

  • We have resilient students who are both improved and challenged in what they face.

  • We are a supportive and loving community who are in this together.


To all my planners out there....we will survive...maybe just a bit more unorganized than usual. I’m glad I am in good company.

Senior Scoop: Finding time to talk...

What’s up, seniors? This was THE moment in time when your thirteen (or more...) years of notes, classwork, studying and testing that you probably thought of as “the grind” and we educators called, well, your education, was to culminate into something between reflective gratitude and utter relief...and.. now there is a pandemic happening that’s eliminating so many of the graduation traditions you’ve earned. This is supposed to be the easy part! The good stuff! You should be cruising to the finish line with celebrations all around you. But instead there’s disappointment, isolation, rubber gloves and face masks. Oh, and family time...So. Much. Family time. This distance learning is wearing on everyone. It’s monotonous, hard to motivate and there’s some of you out there that may be worried about getting to the finish line. For others, fall college plans may have dramatically changed and it’s hard to not know what there is to look forward to.

So let’s change it up a bit. We’re starting a senior group to meet one hour each week. This will not be another Zoom classroom. It’s an opportunity to hear from you, and for you to hear from the collective class of 2020. To support each other in navigating these new terrains. The group will meet for four weeks. Each week will be a different topic focusing on your experience during this time with friends, family and school; how to plan for the future when the future is out of focus; and looking at how we can make meaning out of this.

We need each other even more than before the world turned upside down. You are the only ones who understand what this is like for your class. So come together. Talk about it. Broaden your support network from close friends to classmates. Support each other and move forward stronger because you did it together.

Dates of Group: 4 weeks: Week of 5/11-6/1.

Sign up by filling this form out: https://forms.gle/268BC7xsaDxkSkNm9 by Wednesday, May 6th. Once you sign up, we’ll be in touch with details and a zoom invite.

We hope to see you there,

The Wellness Team

AP Testing Updates by Nate Severin

If you are registered to take AP exams please be checking your emails from Nate and Total Registration regarding updates, exam day logistics, resources and online testing schedules. All students registered should have received an email from Total Registration regarding their new testing schedule and updates on how to cancel an exam for a full refund. If you did not receive this email, please check your spam/junk folder. If you are still unable to locate, please contact Nate through email at nseverin@tamdistrict.org.

Lastly, College Board has provided more information (sent to registered students in an email on Wednesday, 4/29) on testing guides, exam day checklists, and more. Please see links below:

2020 AP Testing Guide: The guide, designed for educators to walk their students through test day, provides information about:

  • The AP Exam e-ticket

  • Five steps to take before test day

  • Understanding the test day experience

  • Exam scores, credit, and placement

2020 AP Exam Day Checklist: Teachers should have their students complete this checklist for each exam they take and keep it next to them while testing.

Explainer Videos: New videos are available to give students quick, easily accessible information about their test day experience, what they need to do to prepare, exam security, and more. Explore the playlist.

Exam Demos and More!

AP Exam Demo: AP students should use the clickable exam demo to practice the different ways to submit their exam responses. The demo will help students confirm that their testing device will be able to access and run the online exam. If they can’t access the demo, the final slide of the Testing Guide can help them troubleshoot. The sample content in the demo will be the same for all users and isn't a practice exam. This link contains important information regarding the exam day experience, a testing demo, and submission guidelines.

Online AP Classes and Review Sessions prep week: The week before exams, online AP classes will focus on the exam day experience and sample exam questions.