VHS Newsletter

January 2022

From the Principal, Dr. Tobon

Viking Families and Friends,

Welcome to January! I hope you were able to spend some time with your loved ones and find some time for rest and relaxation over Winter Break.

The second semester is well underway and with that is the start of a busy season around the schoolhouse. Parents and guardians should have received an announcement via Canvas regarding scheduling materials for the 2022-23 academic year being disbursed to students on January 3rd. Counselors began holding individual scheduling meetings with juniors on January 10th. Sophomores will begin their individual meetings on January 31st and freshman on February 21st. Please take a few moments to discuss your student’s course selections with them and review their diploma selection (Core 40, Core 40 with Academic Honors, or Core 40 with Technical Honors).

Based on student interest, we continue to grow our Project Lead the Way (PLTW) computer science program. Additionally, we are able to provide more opportunities for students to explore lifetime sports as well as continue to pursue their love of Latin. In December, the courses listed below were approved to be taught at VHS. I advise you and/or your student to reach out to your student’s counselor with any questions.

  • Elective PE: Lap Swim and Water Activities

  • Latin IV

  • Introduction to Computer Science - PLTW Computer Science Essentials

  • Principles of Computing - PLTW AP Computer Science Principles

  • Topics in Computer Science - PLTW Cybersecurity (This course may be of interest for those students looking into a career in Health Sciences, Business, Engineering, or Computer Science.)

Our teachers have had two professional development days since my last communication and our instructional coaches have been crucial in creating and facilitating growth opportunities for our teachers. During these sessions teachers explored how to effectively use data in the classroom. Interpreting and organizing data based on both whole group and individual needs helps teachers plan to provide the right level of rigor needed for a lesson or an activity.

Additionally, teachers continued on their journey to Challenge All Learners with Alternative Assessments. They learned about Role, Audience, Format, Topic (RAFT). RAFT is a writing strategy that helps students understand their role as writers, the audience they will address, the varied formats of writing, and the topic they will be writing about. Our educators also learned about Hexagonal Thinking. Hexagonal thinking is an instructional strategy where students end up creating a web of connections from course content.

Beginning with the Class of 2023, the SAT exam will be the new Indiana Statewide Accountability Assessment; therefore, in December, our English, Math, Science, Social Studies, and World Language departments conducted an SAT analysis and curricular comparison. Gone are the days of the SAT being solely based on English and math. Today, the non-fiction texts include passages from various areas including science and social studies. Working in teams, teachers began to look more closely at learning objectives to see how well they align with those demonstrated on the SAT. The goal was to identify any possible gaps in skill development and mitigate them.

Although things are not back to pre-Covid conditions, it has been nice to see some events still taking place. I hope you had the opportunity to attend one or all our events. Our musicians did a phenomenal job both at the Salute to Veterans concert, which was the first live concert in over a year, as well as This Is Our Story. Our students did an incredible job performing the musical “Ranked” as well. This year also provided the opportunity to recognize those that excelled athletically or as a coach during their time at VHS. The Athletic Department successfully added 13 inductees to the Hall of Fame.

The 2021 graduation rates were recently released by the State and Valparaiso High School had a graduation rate of 95.26%. Congratulations! Your parental support and involvement truly make the difference in helping students graduate. The last year and a half have been a challenge to say the least, but our teachers and staff continue to go above and beyond for our students. Regardless of the obstacles put before us, I hope that we could all agree that our students have to be ready for life after high school. I believe that if we, the school, home, and community, continue to work together, we can help our students achieve this goal.

Finally, Valparaiso Community Schools will be conducting a survey next week, January 24th-28th, asking for feedback regarding special education services and programming within our district. In order to continue to help our students reach their full potential, several stakeholder groups are being asked to participate in the survey. Please consider taking 10-20 minutes of your time to complete the survey via a computer or smartphone.

Thank you for continuing to support our students, teachers, and staff.

What's Happening at VHS!

Feb 12th Winter Formal

Feb 18th Midwinter Break/No School/Weather Makeup Day

Feb 21st No School/President's Day

Feb 25th, 26th, 27th Mocha Madness

Mar 21st-25th Spring Break

Apr 2nd ACT

Apr 8th 1/2 day for Students/Staff Development PM

Apr 11th No School/Weather Make-up Day

Please see the VHS Calendar for more events!

VHS Winter Formal

The VHS Key Club is excited to announce that the Winter Formal dance, "Magical Garden," will be held here in the VHS cafeteria on Saturday, Feb 12 from 7-10 pm! Tickets will be $14 and will only be sold online from Feb 1 - Feb 10 at this link: https://www.vancoevents.com/BAQY . All students in grades 9-12 are welcome to attend. Guest passes are available on Canvas announcements to print or in the Assistant Principal’s Office AND ARE DUE BY MONDAY, FEB 7 at 2:30pm. Proceeds from the dance will go to benefit Riley's Children's Hospital. See Mrs. Fields or Ms. Albers for more information.

VHS Piano Keyboarding Class

The Piano Keyboarding Classes ended the semester preparing for their end-of-term recital, which takes place at the end of each semester in the VHS Auditorium. The Piano Classes are open to students in grade 9-12. All students are welcome to join this class (even if they have never played the piano before)! Students in the VHS Piano Classes range from beginning to advanced-level pianists! If you are interested in more information, contact Mr. Riegle in GD202 or at ariegle@valpo.k12.in.us.

Club Spotlight: Art Club

The Art Club allows students to learn about various types of art, complete individual and group projects and meet new people with similar interests. Outside of school, the Art Club takes an annual field trip to a Chicago art museum and does a fundraising event with face painting at the Popcorn Festival. The Art Club meets twice monthly and is open to all VHS students. Any questions? See Mr. Juestel in YL109 or email him at rjuestel@valpo.k12.in.us.

Staff Spotlight

Will Barber

I have been teaching at VHS for 6.5 years. I teach Intro to 2D Art, Digital Design 1 & 2, AP 2D, 3D, and Drawing, and lastly IB Visual Arts SL & HL. I am also the sponsor of the Gender/Sexuality Alliance (G.S.A.) This is the first teaching job I've ever had and one of the things I like most about being a part of VHS is how much I've learned about myself as a person. Being at VHS has challenged me and pushed me to be more assertive as well as to be more open in ways no other job has done before. I've also enjoyed working with and getting to know my fellow teachers and experiencing things I never thought would happen. A fun fact about me is that I've never been outside the U.S.A. and I'm excited about finally getting the chance to go with the Art and Architecture Tour here at VHS!

VCS Return To Learn Plan

Click here for the VCS Return To Learn Plan!

Click here for Frequently Asked Questions

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