The MHS Community Update

January 9, 2020

Middletown is an educational community committed to providing academic, civic, and social tools essential for the future success of our students.

Principal's Report

Hello Everyone!


I hope that you all had a wonderful holiday season.


As the new year gets underway, I think it's important to take a breath and acknowledge how far we've come as a school community since the beginning of this pandemic. While the challenges still persists, I truly believe that there is a light at the end of the tunnel that is getting brighter by the day. Our students and families continue to do a remarkable job of staying afloat amidst the most complex circumstances.


Please continue to persevere. I can assure you that I will do everything in my power to ensure that our Islanders receive the best educational experience possible in the waning months of pandemic education.


Thank you all for your suggestions, critiques, feedback, and support and please... keep the communication coming!


Have a wonderful January everyone.

Yours in partnership,


Jeff Heath

Dr. Heath's Dashboard

In the spirit of transparency and personal accountability, I plan on sharing monthly updates to each of these initiatives so that we all can share in the various successes and shortcomings that each of these categories will surely experience throughout the school year, So without further ado, here are my 5 primary focal points for the 2020-2021 school year and some related updates :


1) Monitor and creatively consider ways to increase reading, writing, and math proficiency across disciplines (UPDATE).


  • Collaborating with Ms. Linda Leonard to get the "Beyond the Bell" credit recovery program up and running for SY 2020-2021
  • Engaged in planning and discussion with our Humanities Chair and Senior Capstone guru, Mr. Chris Richards, on creative ways to involve all MHS faculty in providing feedback, grading, and revisions to senior projects


2) Enhance the MHS brand across a variety of mediums including social media, building-based documents, the school website, social media, and traditional/non-traditional programming (UPDATE).


  • Continuing to make a concentrated effort to post regularly across our district Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube social media platforms (see links below to follow).
  • We continue to add to the NEW MHS website every week to help improve communication and streamline the sharing of important resources
  • Working with the MHS guidance department to update our school profile which is shared with every college student apply to. This document is meant to highlight the many strengths of MHS



3) Establish and begin wok on a 3-year, rotating Curriculum, Instruction, Assessment (CIA) Curriculum cycle to improve the continuity and outcomes associated with MHS instructional; practices (UPDATE).


  • Working towards finalizing a Program of Studies presentation for 1/21 that will in part, track which of our building's core competencies are addressed in each MHS course
  • Work to finalize room renovations associated with our Computer Science For RI (CS4RI) grant are underway. Soon we will have an updated, technology-rich computer science lab added to our computer and technology hallway... exciting updates are on the horizon!


4) Assist Mr. Soares and Mr. Clancey in decreasing the number of "serious" disciplinary infractions in comparison to SY 2019-2020 (UPDATE).


  • I am happy to report that we are seeing next to no "serious" disciplinary infractions thus far at MHS. This is due to a myriad of factors including a smaller student population in the building from day to day, vigilant efforts by Dean Clancey, Asst. Principal Soares, and our amazing support staff, and COVID-related social-emotional considerations.



5) Increase the number and diversity of enrichment opportunities for all students (UPDATE).


  • Recently discussed the potential for partnering with a "sister school" with the district superintendent. One of the many aspirational goals associated with this project would be to help our students to forge relationships and engage in discourse with students from diverse communities around the state. More to come here...

Social Media Reminders

To begin the year, the district is making a big push to increase our communications via social media. Please be sure to follow, retweet, like, and recommend our district social media accounts to anyone who is interested in following along with the countless successes of the Islander Community. #JointheWave

MHS to Return to 50/50 Hybrid Learning Program Beginning This Upcoming Tuesday, 1/12

After participating in our Limited In-Person Program for the past few weeks, the Middletown Public Schools Administrative Team has decided to follow suit with our East Bay neighbors and revert back to a 50/50 Hybrid Learning Schedule beginning on Tuesday 1/12. An email was sent out Friday afternoon outlining the details of this plan. If you did not receive this email or simply missed it, please see a PDF copy here: Plan for MHS Return 1/12


Additionally, there are have been many questions as to how it was decided which students would be approved for which model of learning (Full distance, 50/50 Hybrid In-Person, 4-days a week in-person) during this period. Please feel free to reach out to me directly at jheath@mpsri.net with any questions or concerns. Thank you all for your interest, advocacy, and collaboration!

REMINDER: PSAT/NMSQT Date for Participating Juniors is Scheduled for January 26

REMINDER! Juniors who signed up for the PSAT National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) will be taking this exam in school on Tuesday, January 26. This exam is slightly different than the PSAT students routinely take during their Sophomore year as this version of the PSAT qualifies students for a national scholarship program. Top performers across the country in this program annually earn thousands of dollars in scholarship money for post-secondary endeavors. This is the first year that MHS will be participating in this testing session and we have well over 50+ students registered from our Junior class!


For more information on the assessment, please take a look at this helpful PSAT/NMSQT Student Guide.


For more information on the National Merit Scholarship program, please click here.

UPDATE: MHS Asymptomatic (PCR) COVID-19 Testing Scheduled for this Upcoming Wednesday 1/13

This past Thursday Middletown High was offered an exciting opportunity to host a FREE Asymptomatic (PCR) COVID-19 Testing Clinic. On Wednesday, January 13, all MHS students, faculty, and staff are eligible to participate receive a FREE Asymptomatic COVID-19 test. The tests will be administered by the Rhode Island Department of Health in the high school gymnasium from 8:30 - 1:00pm. Students, faculty, and staff who are interested in participating in the event should click the link provided below and fill out the attached permission slip.


Please note that in order to be eligible to participate your permission slip must be signed and digitally submitted no later than Monday, 1/11.


Anyone who is set to attend school in-person on Wednesday, January 13 and wishes to be tested will be methodically called to the gymnasium for participation throughout the day. Students, faculty, and staff who are not in the building (i.e. remote and distance learners/teachers), may report to the high school anytime between 8:30 - 1:00pm to receive their test.


Remote and distance participants are asked to park in the side student parking lot and enter the building through "J Door" (the side entry closest to the music rooms and the gymnasium). Town workers as well as volunteers will be able to help usher the flow of foot traffic and steer people in the right direction. Registration for all participants will be occurring throughout the day in the gym lobby.



To view the email sent out early Friday morning with more information as well as the permission slip required for participation, please see the following link: MHS Asymptomatic (PCR) COVID-19 Testing Clinic, January 1/13

Looking for Access to Your Learner's Information/Grades?

Are you looking to update your contact information? How about looking to access your student's grades? Curious if your student has any recent disciplinary infractions or attendance hiccups? All of these items and more can be accessed via the parent portal of our student information system, PowerSchool. To create a PowerSchool account, please put in a request for a login name and password with our district technology department. The link to make this request can be found here. Click on "IT Help Desk" and follow the associated prompts to get your information.

Update: MHS Midterm Exams Waived for this Year

After much consideration and debate, it was decided this past week that amidst the uncertainties of COVID and related situations, MHS will be forgoing midterm exams for this school year. Many factors led to this decision including:


- Lack of ability to deliver special education accommodations to students as needed within the current schedule

- A slowed curricular pace for semester 1 due to limited meeting opportunities

- Reports from families, students, and community members about abnormally high levels of stress being observed amongst students


This shift means that the normal "Final grade" weight associate with mid terms will be absorbed into the other 4 quarters (or 2 quarters for semester 1 courses). For more information please contact building administration directly at either jheath@mpsri.net or dsoares@mpsri.net.

Winter Athletics Set to Begin Next Week

The time has finally come! Our Winter Athletic Season is set to begin this upcoming Monday, 1/11. On this date, conditioning and practices will begin for our winter athletes with interscholastic competition set to begin on 1/19. For more information on winter sports, please reach out our athletic director, Mrs. Karen Massaro at, kamassaro@mpsri.net.


If you're interested in seeing the most up-to-date, detailed guidance from the Rhode Island Interscholastic League (RIIL) on this topic, please click here.

#IslanderPRIDE Highlights from December/January

Important Events

1/12- MHS Alumni (Virtual) Student Panel, Sponsored by MHS Guidance

1/13- FREE MHS Asymptomatic (PCR) COVID-19 Testing Clinic

1/18- Martin Luther King Jr. Day (No School)

Late January- Career and Technical Education (CTE) Virtual Information Night; Dates TBD

1/25- Faculty Professional Development Day (All students to learn asynchronously from home)

2/5- Close of Quarter 2

Want to learn more about our school and our guiding principles? Check out these resources...

Book: Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men (Kimmel, M. 2008)

Famed gender researcher, Michael Kimmel's most well-known book. Guyland explores many of the cultural myths, rights of passage, misconceptions, and social stigmas associate with masculinity and its effect on teenage (white) males. A quick read that I would suggest to any parent of a high school student as both a cautionary tale and an informative window into the cultural variables that influence many of our middle-class teenage boys.

Dr. Heath's Video of the Month

In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (1/18), the following video is actually a recording of my favorite podcast, Revisionist History. Published by Pushkin Industries and famed author, Malcolm Gladwell, if you are a podcast lover i would HIGHLY RECOMMEND this series. In 5 seasons of listening I've rarely been disappointed. This episode takes an interesting approach to considering one of our countries biggest educational victories: the desegregation of schools. In this episode Gladwell takes a close look at the events that took place leading up to and slightly after desegregation and asks the question... did we get it wrong? At just over 30 minutes long, I promise you that it's worth the listen.


Duration: 32m 25s
Revisionist History by Malcolm Gladwell Ep Miss Buchanan's Period of Adjustment 31 minutes on Jun 28