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Letter from the Principal, Mr. Elkington 9-19-12

posted Sep 19, 2012, 3:35 AM by Massabesic highschool

September 19, 2012


Dear Parents, Guardians, and Students:            


The 2012-2013 School - Year is now in full swing with classes, activities and athletic events filling hours of each day and weekend. We have had an excellent beginning to our school year! Thanks go to both our students and staff for these positive efforts! It is my pleasure to share the following updates and celebrations with you:


Important Dates:

-       9-24-12            - 9-29- 12            Homecoming Week

-       9-27-12                                    Progress Reports handed out in Advisory

-       9-27-12                                    MHS Open House 6:00 -7:45 PM

-       9-28-12                                    NEACAC College Fair at UNH

-       9-28-12                                    MHS Fall Activities Rally 12:30 PM

-       9-29-12                                    Homecoming Dance 7:00 – 10:00 PM

-       10-4-12                                    Early Release Day

-       10-5-12                                    Staff Workshop Day (No School)

-       10-8-12                                    Columbus Day (No School)

-       10-11-12                        Fall Parent-Teacher Conf. (2:15 – 6:00 PM)

-       10-17-12                        PSATs for Sophomores & Juniors (Blocks 1-3)


MHS Open House - Is on Thursday, September 27th from 6:00 – 7:45 PM. We welcome and encourage parents and guardians of all MHS Students to take this opportunity to follow your son or daughter’s abbreviated schedule, starting with Advisory so as to:


- Meet your son/daughter’s teachers            - Discover what they will be learning

- Learn the expectations for each class            - Develop communication between home and school

- Explore Naviance (our career and college exploration and system) with our Guidance Dept.


Please bring your son/daughter’s schedule to follow during our open house.  NJROTC students will be available to direct you to classrooms and to answer questions throughout the evening. If you do not have your son or daughter’s schedule with you, please come to the MHS Café in the West Building between 5:30 and 5:50 to receive a printout of their schedule. Hope to see you!


We have great kids at MHS! Students who deserve recognition from the end of the 2011-2012 School Year:


2012 ALL-STATE Music: Elijah Bragg, Aria Tonini, Sarah Connelly, Angela Alcock, James Hill, Brian Gooze, Kyle Hanson, John Secunde, Emma Faith and Amanda Raymond. Super job!


"Speak Out" Contest winners: 1st Place $150 - Sequoia Booth, 2nd Place $100 - Mariah Arral

 3rd Place $50 - Olivia Bradley! Great job!


Congratulations go to - Baxter Parent, Zachary Traver and Peter McCoy for Dirigo Boys State! 


Last May the Massabesic PTC put on a Teacher’s Appreciation Brunch - That was very much appreciated by the staff of MHS. Special thanks goes to the following sponsors:


Above and Beyond Catering - Sanford, Alfred Country Store, Always and Forever Florist - Waterboro, Hannaford Supermarket - Waterboro, Lakeside Market - Waterboro, Panera Bread - Biddeford, Poland Spring - Hollis, Subway - Waterboro, The Milk Room – Waterboro and the moms and dads who generously donated as well!


Did you know that - MHS has a voluntary Community Service Honors Program? This voluntary program honors students who complete 100 or more hours of voluntary community service work at not-for-profit establishments and who turn in documentation for this work to our guidance office at MHS. For more information please refer to the MHS website under the guidance department/community service section. A few high lights of this information is as follows: Hours must be completed during the student's high school years, students are encouraged to keep copies of the hours they complete, parents may not sign off on their own children's hours, for the 2012-2013 school year, hours from previous years will be honored until the end of trimester one; at that time, the expectation is that hours must be turned in within four months of the date of completion. The Class of 2012 documented over 11,000 hours! Our communities need this number to grow!


Student absences and calling home – To better support parents and guardians knowing if their son or daughter hasn’t arrived at MHS parents and guardians receive a call after BLK 1, by 9:00 AM when your son or daughter is not present for BLK 1. This means that parents and guardians will receive two calls per day when their son or daughter is absent as we also make an evening call. We can only use one number in our system so please let us know if you want calls to go to your cell or home number. Please call or email us ASAP to let us know if you want a different number. Our system is presently down and we hope it will be up and working next week. Thanks!


Medical Appointments and Excused & Unexcused Absences - If a student has a medical appointment and is tardy, dismissed and/or out for the school day we must have documentation from their medical office or else it will be unexcused. Thanks for your attention to this!


Parent/Guardian Teacher Conferences – Are coming up on Thursday, October 11th from 2:15 – 6:00 PM. Students will be receiving a form next week to bring to you to fill out if you want a conference with a specific teacher. Your son or daughter is supposed to bring the form back and sign you up for a conference time with the teachers selected and then bring the form back to you.


Project Graduation – Started a new phase last year with a brand-new process and set of volunteers. We recruited individuals from both the junior & senior classes to help as we feel that Project Grad. does not begin and end with any one class; it's an ongoing event that ultimately benefits all our students at some point. Last year, by working together we started to help ensure that not only the Class of 2012 would benefit, but that all MHS Graduating Classes going forward will enjoy a fun, chemical free celebration of their high school years.


The first events for the Class of 2013 Project Graduation are in the works and need volunteers.

-       Raffle - Rob Gronkowski picture: Tickets are ready to be printed and sold.

-       November Scrap-Booking Event: Has 17 early registrations so far! 


Our people are off and rolling! If you are able to help or know others who would, please come to our committee’s first meeting on Tuesday, September 25 6:00 PM in the MHS Library. All Junior and Senior parents/guardians are welcome. Agenda: Introductions, introduce program, identify volunteers for the first fundraisers, review last year’s success and brainstorm future fundraisers.


Please check out – The Massabesic High School Website. We encourage all to use our website for important information and celebrations! https://sites.google.com/a/rsu57.org/massabesic/


Class Dues – Are coming in slowly for the Class of 2013 and the Class of 2014. We know that our economy is slow and that many members in our communities have to tighten their belts every month. With this understanding payment plans for class dues can be set up and should be started with the advisors of the class so that each student and family can start to fulfill this obligation. Students and families can’t wait too long before they start to pay an amount each month to their class that will get them over the top. Starting a payment plan of $10.00 a month can happen! Please either talk with your son or daughter’s class advisor or have your son or daughter talk to their advisor ASAP! Advisors for the Class of 2013 are Mrs. Pellegrino and Mr. Dalton and for the Class of 2014 are Mrs. Penny and Mr. Hazen. Thanks!


MHS does not expect homework anymore? This is NOT true! Teachers at MHS still give homework or “practice” as we now like to refer to it, but it is counted and graded differently as follows:

1.)   Homework, what we are now referring to as “practice,” will still be given, but will not be factored into each student’s numeric TRIMESTER grade. The trimester grade will only reflect the proficiency or understanding of material that your son or daughter has shown on tests, quizzes, major assignments, and projects.

2.)   If there is an on-going project, students may be expected to, as part of the project, do some of the work at home. Thus, while not an assignment assigned as “practice”, in order to meet deadlines students may have to finish work at home.

3.)   As has been shared, we now have students receiving three work habits grades to go along with their numeric trimester content-grade. These three new areas are: Respectful, Responsible, and Creative Thinker. These will be assessed on a 1-4 scale. The 1-4 grade in these three areas will be on each student’s progress and report card. Parents and guardians will see the efforts your son or daughter is putting forth in class. These grades will not be part of the trimester grade. For example, if a student is not doing the requested practice to prepare for class when asked, then he/she would not be exhibiting responsible work habits and his/her work habit grade under Responsible would reflect this. 


Work Habits meetings with parents & guardians – Last week were sparsely attended. Please go to the MHS Web Page and on the left hand side under Principal’s Page you will see MHS Meeting Handouts. If you click on that link you will find the handouts and presentation from the evening. Those in attendance agreed that our new categories are important to each student’s future success at school and the work-place, but did share the following questions and concerns:


-       “So there will be no more HW?” A couple of people thought we were eliminating HW. We explained the difference between practice and HW. We are NOT eliminating homework, but now breaking down the difference between practice and long-term assessments that provide evidence for meeting standards and skills needing to be learned.

-       A couple of comments were shared such as: “My son/daughter came home and told me that the teacher said its not being graded so you don’t have to do it.” This is a misunderstanding as the teachers at MHS expect students to go home and complete practice when assigned. One of the biggest concerns I hear from staff as is about homework not being completed. We want and need our students to complete both practice and long-range assessments at home when assigned!

-       “These rubrics appear somewhat subjective and expect the teacher to decide in some cases, is that fair?” Evidence can be collected in most cases. In some cases teachers will collect evidence through observation or the student can share evidence when they complete a self-evaluation, which many teachers ask students to complete. We believe it is the teacher’s responsibility to assess using the rubric we developed.

-       “My son/daughter doesn’t like to work with people, they will be marked down when it comes to working with others, because they won’t do it.” This may happen in some cases. We shared that it is important to try to work with others as the skill sets tell us, that there are many differing kinds of group skills students can and should become proficient with. Our emphasis with students is in TRYING! Research shows us that work habits, is an area that our students must improve in, just like with math, science and English. Work habits now must be emphasized for our kids to have an opportunity for greater success in the 21st Century. We are now saying that MHS expects that each of our students also show proficiency in our three work designated work habits.

-       “Students will have difficulty earning a 4.” This is true and it should be that way. We believe that a “three” on this rubric is an excellent grade/assessment of their work ethic defined by our rubric. We want students to strive for fours and look forward to them doing so! Students who receive a B or an A with three 3s should be proud of their work!

-       “Will this be part of earning honor roll or eligibility?” No, not at this time, but this may in future years. Till be up to the RSU 57 School Board to decide.

-       “Will the MHS Work Habits Grades appear on a students’ transcript?” No, not at this time, but may in future years. This will be up to the RSU 57 School Board to decide.


Join me in honoring April’s Honored Students: Jay Arnold, Amanda Athearn, Abby Auger, Tessa Bandle, Elijah Barker, Megan Barrett, Brianna Bean, Janelle Boisvert, Sequoia Booth, Brandon Bosse, Cassie Buck, Matt Bullard, Sean Burgett, Deanna Burnell, Britany Chamberlain, Kris Constantine, Shayna Davis, Lindsay Decker, Kaya Dow, Julianne Dumond, Cody Emrich, Deanna Faunce, Emily Foglio, , Krysten Forrester, Michala Geiger, Caleb Gerry, Alyssa Gilman, Chelsie Goodwin, Jesse Hall, Benjamin Hamilton, Logan Hamilton, McKenna Hamilton, Dylan Hanson, Nate Hanson, Marie Harrington, Dillan Hayes, Timmothy Johnson, Ayla LaChapelle, Nicole Langevin, Kaylin LeClerc, Nicole Loconte, James Medici, Dan Metayer, Kelly Michaud, Grace Moreau-Bean, Elizabeth Mosher, Ryan Mullett, Meghan Neyer, Jonathan Ohman, Jacob Oliver, Jake Orcutt-Kinney, Matthew Perreault, Austyn Pfeiffer, Courtney Picone, Morgan Pierce, Lucas Roy, Ryin Rumery, Catherine Shaw, Amber Single, Jameson Sterling, Malick Sully, Mitchell Thayer, Andrew Tibbets, Danielle Tulipano, Stacy Verrell, Nick Vigue, Brittany Vincent and Bethany White!  Super job!


Join me in honoring May’s Honored Students: Brianna Bean, Kayla Belanger, Joe Bell, Kelly Bernard, Alicia Blanchard, Olivia Bradley, Madison Brook, Jamie Buckowski, Paige Caballero, Ron Cantara, Ryan Carreon, Kyle Caton, Mindy Chaisty, Caleb Cobbett, Kristoffer Constantine, Michael Crowley, Jake Desrocher, Julianne Dumond, Trayton Dunne, Samantha Emmons, Carolin Ernst, Deanna Faunce, Christina Fetter, Skyler Gallant, Noah Gerry, Matt Gile, Ashley Goodwin, Ryan Goodwin, Keeghan Graffam, Jesse Hall, Ben Hamilton, Claire Harrison, Brianna Henry, Jacob Hougham, Kylie Ireland, Haley Jarosz, Melissa Johnson, Sara Kelley, Kevin LeBlanc, Kaylin LeClerc, Brandon Lestage, Matt Magbanua, Emily McGrath, Jack Melanson, Austin Murphy, Jon Ohman, Jacob Oxton, Courtney Picone, Karlie Pike, Kayla Poland, Ben Polcaro, Haley Poulin, Austin Price, Sarah Redman, Alexis Roberge, Jeremy Roberge, Shauna Robert, Michael Roux, Madeline Sanborn, Monica St. Amand, Jameson Sterling, Katie Tarbox, Cote Taylor, Evan Taylor, Andrea Thompson, Angel Velez and Krista Walton! Way to go!


Thanks for listening!




Christian M. Elkington