Cohasset High School Newsletter

News and Happenings at Cohasset High School

January 15, 2021


Dear Families,


I'm currently reading Dan Rather's What Unites Us, a timely read given the state of civil unrest we are both currently in and the unrest that we are anticipating with the upcoming inauguration. The book provides an interesting perspective from a journalist who has experienced and covered much of the 20th century first hand. While not pointedly partisan, you certainly get a sense of where he stands, which I share only because I believe it's important to acknowledge the perspective of any source, particularly in a high school environment.


Early on, Rather makes the distinction between patriotism, "a dialogue with your fellow citizens, and a larger world, about not only what you love about your country but how it can be improved" and nationalism, "a monologue in which you place your country in a position of moral and cultural supremacy over others."


I often wonder to what extent public schools in particular act as microcosms of the larger climate. We have certainly seen shifts in student behaviors and attitudes following significant national events and I fear, using Rather's observation, that while our goal is to promote the dialogue associated with patriotism, what I often see is a leaning towards the monologue of nationalism that he describes, driven by the fervor of the national climate at the moment, which limits student conversation and thus student growth.


We are in a unique place in history, and have the opportunity to model for students the dialogue that we hope to see engaged on a larger scale. Contrary to some recently shared opinions that schools should be neutral environments when it comes to political issues, we don't serve our students well by pretending that a strong divide doesn't exist, and students better than anyone can identify inauthenticity.


Rather than ignore it, we need to create safe spaces in which all opinions can be voiced and vetted and discussed. Through the exchange of ideas and respectful dialogue which allows for equal participation and which reserves quick judgement on either the platform or the person, we open the door to the possibility that students will reflect on their own belief system, critically examine their own positions, and form opinions that they can justify and that will ever evolve with their life experiences.


As the Institutional Climate and Inclusion Assessment shows, there is a lack of dialogue that exists within the walls of CHS, particularly as it relates to the sub groups identified in the ICIA. I don't believe the lack of dialogue is intentional. The challenge that we face as educators is creating safe spaces for all of our students, recognizing that there is limited diversity and wanting to attend to the emotional safety of all students.


And yet that conversation is so important.


I was recently shared a communication that went to our METCO families in response to the events of last Wednesday. These are the types personal experiences that are important for all of our students to consider.


Reflecting on the response to the insurrection in light of the response to protests made with regards to George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahrmaud Arbery, and others, METCO Director Ms. Aleisa Gittens-Carle asks,


Where was the show of force to shut down this blatant disregard for life, liberty and the tenants espoused in the Constitution? As much as yesterday highlighted the two Americas we currently live in, the one for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) and the one for whites, I still must have a hope, “that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed…that all men [and women] are created equal." (MLK, Jr. I Have a Dream Speech)


It is 2021 and we are still struggling to find equality, justice, and respect for others. We are still witnessing the mistreatment of our brothers and sisters, our sons, and daughters. When will this country get it together and recognize that racism is alive and well in the streets, in the most sacred buildings, and sadly, in the hearts of men and women who live in our communities?


Engaging our community in these questions is civic education at it's best. It will strengthen relationships, create habits of self-evaluation, and lead to growth. It seems a fitting reflection as we enter a weekend meant to celebrate and remember Martin Luther King, Jr. I will close with Ms. Aleisa's final reflection:


I am going to continue to be “the change, I wish to see,” by working with those who want to see a gentler, kinder, inclusive nation in which we live, breathe and work. The work is hard, the days are long, but the desire to see change for my children, your children, my grandchildren, and my students won’t let me just throw in the towel. I will hold fast to a quote by Stacey Abrams, “We can do this together, because while individually you have purpose, together we have power!”


Sincerely,



Brian T. Scott

Cultural Responsiveness Update

Please see a brief timeline of our work around cultural responsiveness as we work towards building an inclusive community.


August / September -- Completed district-wide training around cultural responsiveness and trauma-informed teaching.


October -- Results of the Institutional Climate and Inclusion Survey released to schools.


November -- Contracted with outside consultant to unpack findings of the ICIA Survey results.


December -- Conducted initial faculty and community member focus groups around issues pertaining to the major findings.


January -- Presented findings and plan to School Committee (https://zoom.us/rec/play/dQmS5-9s06D1xA92iSqpD_6sQ-ni7F87BjrpInoQCC1afYG470NF3C7EULag2WlxoNV0_kqXQV5t_R5f.9QkSPODLruXxygqP?continueMode=true). Conducted student Affinity Groups.


February -- Parent focus group sessions will be conducted. (If interested, please send your name, grade level(s) in which your children are currently enrolled, and email address to bscott@cohasetk12.org.)


March -- Larger student body focus groups will be conducted.


April / May -- Information will be synthesized and a draft plan created.


June -- Plan will be finalized for inclusion in the School Improvement Plan and District Strategic Plan.

Guidance News

Junior Parent Lunch Hour

CHS Guidance Counselors will be hosting a Junior Parent Lunch Hour on Tuesday, January 26th at 12:30 PM. This meeting will focus on the college admissions process. There will be a brief presentation and an opportunity for questions. Please see the zoom link below.


You are invited to a Zoom webinar.

When: Jan 26, 2021 12:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Topic: Junior Parent Lunch Hour

Please click the link below to join the webinar:

https://zoom.us/j/94331900130?pwd=RXlHMGdLVVpVVDNDWHJTQ0JOVjIvUT09

Passcode: 156817

Or iPhone one-tap :

US: +13017158592,,94331900130#,,,,*156817# or +13126266799,,94331900130#,,,,*156817#

Or Telephone:

Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):

US: +1 301 715 8592 or +1 312 626 6799 or +1 929 205 6099 or +1 253 215 8782 or +1 346 248 7799 or +1 669 900 6833

Webinar ID: 943 3190 0130

Passcode: 156817

International numbers available: https://zoom.us/u/adlQum7tov

Junior Workshops

Guidance Workshops for Juniors will take place Tuesday, January 19th through Friday, January 22nd during utility block. Workshops will cover preparations for the college admissions process.

Senior Holiday Breakfast

Special thanks to Ms. Moriarty, Ms. Berkowitz, Ms. Haraden and our cafeteria staff for hosting our senior holiday breakfast.

Pulsera

Congratulations to the Spanish Club, who raised $855 for the Pulsera Project, a nonprofit organization that educates, empowers, and connects Central American artists with students in more than 3,000 U.S. schools through the sale of colorful handwoven bracelets, or "pulseras" in Spanish. 171 pulseras were sold. To put that in perspective, $855 is enough to provide fair trade employment for artists for 5 months.


From the Pulsera Project:

Under normal times, the funds from your sale would simply be added into our ongoing operations and investments. That represents fair trade employment for about 200 artists and their families, not to mention investments in other developmentally-minded organizations to further education, healthcare, and opportunity in Central America. However, COVID has severely disrupted our programs, mostly because our sole source of income is through US school sales and those have been largely shut down.


Cohasset is one of only 48 schools to host a sale since March, and while that might seem like a relatively large number, during a “normal” year we would have had somewhere between 500-700 sales during that same time. Needless to say, the generosity of your students and school community and your investment in bringing the project to Cohasset has been critical to helping us survive 2020, as we had to cut back on most programs and furlough our staff (myself included). Thanks to you and your student’s efforts (and those in 47 other schools) we have been able to hire back some of our Nicaraguan staff and have been using excess funds to help other organizations we’ve partnered with that have been negatively impacted by the pandemic. Many of our partners get a considerable amount of their funds through volunteers traveling to Guatemala and Nicaragua, and with international travel virtually nonexistent it has been a struggle for survival for many organizations. Sales like Cohasset’s enable us to help those organizations keep staff employed and operational.


To sum up, the money you and your students raised will be used as soon as possible to help keep our many partner organizations afloat and functioning (more information about those partners here). Though it may not seem as illustrious as building a new school or starting a new program, I really can’t stress how crucial your sale was for the future of many organizations, including the Pulsera Project. Many NGOs have been completely wiped out due to the pandemic, and we are extremely fortunate to have had as much support as we have that we can not only keep our own doors open, but those of other great organizations that similarly seek to create a more just and colorful world.


I’m sorry for my lengthy response, but I really wanted to drive home how crucial even the smallest sale is right now and how much we appreciate your efforts. Please let me know if you have any more questions, and thank you so much for coloring the world!

Hockey Team Serves the Elderly

Special thanks to the hockey team, who before the return to school filled gift bags and loaded meals in vehicles for delivery to elderly people on the South Shore, veterans at the Brockton VA, and others spending the Holidays alone. Excellent Job!

The CHS Diversity and LGBTQ clubs are hosting a fantastic display of social justice books in the Skipper Cafe all week!

Co-Curricular Spotlight - The Strategic Gaming Club

The Strategic Games Club, playing Paradox Interactive's Hearts of Iron IV, witnessed a strange alternate history scenario of World War II. Beginning with Germany's premature declaration of war against France in 1936, French forces swiftly conquered much of Germany and Italy before the Axis Powers petitioned for peace. In the meantime, the United States was embroiled in the Second American Civil war, with the Constitutionalist faction in Boston taking up arms against the Loyalist factions of Tallahassee and Honolulu. Elsewhere, Portugal was busy re-colonizing Brazil while Great Britain fought for new territories in Japan.


In the end, the sleeping giant of the Soviet Union broke onto the world stage in the late 1940's and enveloped all of Europe under the authority and influence of the Comintern. Student participants were pleased to see their strategic decisions lead to tangible results, and everyone learned more about the historical period along the way. Seemingly a smash hit, the Hearts of Iron IV campaign has already been renewed for the next playthrough, with students acting out the roles of a new set of nations.

CSCR Partnership

This fall, using a generous grant provided by the CEF, students partnered with the Cohasset Center for Student Coastal Research to engage in a course called Water and Woods -- A Hike, A Bike, and A “What’s it Like?” Exploration of your Neighborhood. Using Geographical Information Systems Platforms, students were joined by five teachers, CSCR affiliates and community members to explore the local environment through the lens of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.


Students explored a variety of topics, including mapping individual awareness of climate change, experiences of diversity among high school faculty, confidence in our political system, global pollution, the use of GIS in small busness, and caring for Cohasset's natural resources. Special thanks to the CEF and Jack Buckley at CSCR.

Our Safe Home
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Wednesday Cohort Rotation

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Yearbook Cover taken by Senior Joyce Li

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New CMHS Library Resources Available

  • A brand new elibrary with over 20,000 titles (including audiobooks and books in Spanish)!

Substance Use Support

The Scituate FACTS Coalition is offering virtual psycho-educational support groups to middle school and high school students from the South Shore at no cost, remotely during the 2020-21 school year. Groups are facilitated by a Student Assistance Program Specialist from Caron Treatment Centers. Parent/guardian permission required.


Groups Offered:


- Kids of Promise®: for students impacted by the substance use disorder of a loved one (8 weeks)

- Virtually CONNECTed: for students trying to reduce or quit the use of nicotine (5 weeks)

- Marijuana Intervention and Support: for students trying to reduce or quit use of marijuana (8 weeks)

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