Issue 2 | Volume 5 | October 2019
Uxbridge High School
300 Quaker Highway
Dear Parents, Guardians, and Extended Community:
Within a couple of weeks, our first quarter report cards will be out, registration will be sent for winter sports, and we'll be arranging for our fall parent-teacher conferences. College applications are in the mail, our underclassmen have settled into the building, and we will have started to work on a number of projects connected to our School and District Improvement Plans. It is indeed a busy time of year for our staff and Spartans!
As we have shared in the past, October is also a time when the "honeymoon" of the start of the year fades as teachers push with higher expectations and greater levels of accountability. Assignments come due in bunches, and, even as teachers are gauging progress and looking at ways to ensure mastery, they are looking ahead to the many topics that need coverage, both in terms of depth and breadth. As such, there are many outcomes on which we focus: MCAS, SAT's, AP tests, our own learning expectations. We have several teachers looking at standards-based assessment practices, which help students gauge how they learn and what they need, not merely a number and a grade. At the same time, we have more traditional metrics, which means re-takes, due dates, and multiple opportunities to hand in. In both cases, we encourage families to monitor Google classroom, work with teachers, and reach out to counselors in case there are things that are potentially going to be impactful.
Some reminders about attendance:
- Vacations excuse students from truancy, as parents have notified us about the absence. However, absences due to vacations taken during the school year may count against our school attendance procedures regarding credit accrual. We generally do not condone or excuse absences due to vacations taken during the school year, so if those are the absences that students use, please make sure that any additional absences are accompanied by proper documentation.
- For students who turn 18, and exercise their Age of Majority rights, they are held to the same standards as if parents were to dismiss them. That means they should provide a note or proper documentation, and, if they sign out of school, they are typically not permitted to return without a note, such as for a doctor's appointment. Age of Majority does not excuse student accountability.
- If students need to generate a dismissal because they do not feel well, that procedure should be initiated with the school nurse, Ms. Schiller. Students should not text home to begin dismissal procedures, since if they are not well, we will want the nurse to make sure the student is okay before being picked up or attempting to drive him or herself home.
In this newsletter there are details about our Accreditation and the District Strategic Plan, which have both formed the basis of our School Improvement Planning. There are also many graphics detailing the Innovation Pathway opportunities that will help drive planning for some students over the course of their time at UHS. If any questions arise, don't hesitate to reach out.
Yours in black and orange,
Michael Rubin, Principal
A great start
Uxbridge HIgh School
UHS DEPLOYS NEW TECHNOLOGIES
As part of UHS' Innovation Pathway and continued commitment to bridging outcomes between the academic and the local economy, the high school has started to deploy more than $200,000 in equipment, earned through various Workforce Skills Capital grants.
The Skills Capital Grant Program will award grants for the purchase and installation of equipment and related improvements and renovations necessary for installation and use of such equipment to support vocational and technical training. This equipment will upgrade and expand career technical education and training programs that are aligned to regional economic and workforce development priorities for in-demand industries, provided that grant applications facilitate collaboration to provide students training pathway’s to career opportunities in high-skill, high-demand industry sectors, and connect to several characteristics.
UHS has deployed robotic arms, laser engravers, desktop and laptop computers, digital cameras, unmanned aircraft (drone) technology, high capacity printers, and the first motion capture studio in a Massachusetts high school!
Issue 1 | Volume 1 | 2015
Innovation Pathway at UHS
Students who enroll in the Innovation Pathway at UHS will complete a three-course technical sequence in engineering and manufacturing, at least two courses that align for college credit, and either a senior project/Capstone or an internship placement with one of our industry partners. Some students will be contacted by counselors in the coming weeks about their eligibility, but if you have interest or questions, please reach out to your student's guidance counselor!
Students who enroll in the Innovation Pathway for Digital Media/Information Science at UHS will complete the equivalent of two full years of digital media classes, at least two courses that align for college credit, and either a senior project/Capstone or an internship placement with one of our industry partners. Some students will be contacted by counselors in the coming weeks about their eligibility, but if you have interest or questions, please reach out to your student's guidance counselor!
Students who enroll in the Biomedical Science Innovation Pathway at UHS will complete a two-course technical sequence in biomedical science, at least two courses that align for college credit, and either a senior project/Capstone or an internship placement with one of our industry partners. Some students will be contacted by counselors in the coming weeks about their eligibility, but if you have interest or questions, please reach out to your student's guidance counselor!
Strategic Plan Goals
Issue 2 | Volume 5 | October 2019
In January 2019, Uxbridge Public Schools formally began the process to develop a multi-year district action plan that represents our community’s values and the strategies that we believe best support student achievement. The initiatives, outcomes, accountability, and identification of resources of the Annual District Improvement Plan drives the implementation of and the reflection on the goals and initiatives of the multi-year plan.
We followed the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) Planning for Success process recommended for district strategic planning and continuous improvement. Our facilitator worked with the designers of this process for DESE and has worked with over 100 school districts and superintendents in Massachusetts to develop their strategies for district improvement. Under her direction, we kept pace with our aggressive timeline while able to authentically engage with stakeholders from across our community to examine, not only our concrete practices and outcomes, but to also challenge our own beliefs around education and identify what we want for our children both in practical and aspirational terms.
The purpose of this work is two-fold: (1) to further develop a cycle of continuous improvement at all levels of the school district including identified focus areas, relevant data, and benchmarking the impact on student achievement and (2) to improve collaboration and communication within the school district and Uxbridge community as it relates to the education of our children.
Dr. Tiano and Facilitator Dr. Patricia Grenier guided the work through two major groups, the Steering Committee and the Administrative Council. The Steering Committee was comprised of 22 key stakeholders, including teachers, administrators, parents, students, community members, and association representatives, who had and continue to have a vested interest in the delivery and outcome of this process. Meeting 6 times, including a full Saturday morning, the steering committee embraced their guiding principles of giving strategic direction by providing opinions, feedback, and advice while supporting the superintendent to ensure that the final product is relevant, meaningful, and engaging. The effort and passion of this collaborative group provided a diverse and insightful perspective by which many ideas were examined.
UPS will design Coherent Systems to Achieve Excellence in Teaching and Learning by ensuring that all students are provided with a comprehensive curriculum that meets or exceeds content standards and is presented in a manner that maximizes all students’ learning.
UPS will ensure the purposeful use of information in order to teach all students by implementing and using a meaningful and informative data management system that is consistent, student centered and identifies strengths and needs of all students both academically and emotionally.
UPS will develop an Efficient and Responsive Culture by working in collaborative, committed and effective teams that share common goals.
District Strategic Plan
Opportunities to Grow
-continued on the next page
Adopted plan will guide work for next 3-5 years
All initiatives fall under one of the three categories listed below:
The full strategic plan, including all goals and initiatives, can be viewed by scanning the QR code a or visiting the district website.
-continued from previous page
UHS EARNS CONTINUED ACCREDITATION
Uxbridge High School recently received word from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges that it has earned continued accreditation. This marks the first time in the last three accreditation cycles that UHS has been awarded continued accreditation without any statuses of warning or probation, and the commendations and recommendations of NEASC will help provide the school and district with opportunities for growth moving forward.
The accreditation report was developed in December 2018, with a visiting team spending four days at UHS, examining various elements of the school through the lens of the accreditation standards. In its final report, UHS received 24 commendations, including:
- fully embedded nature of core values, beliefs about learning, and learning expectations;
- the use of PLC time to allow colleagues to work on alignment and articulation of curriculum across disciplines;
- the commitment to involve staff in writing and reviewing curriculum;
- the large variety of course offerings for students;
- the spirit of collaboration, unity, and collegiality among students, parents, administrators, and school committee, resulting in investment in positive relationships and the school;
- the implementation of weekly support team meetings, using data and referrals, to ensure that struggling and at-risk students receive appropriate interventions and support;
- the significant work to develop productive parent, community, business, and higher education partnerships, creating additional opportunities for student learning.
Among the recommendations, UHS has started to integrate the highlighted recommendations as part of the two-year progress report, which will be provided to NEASC in 2021. Many of these also formed the basis of the District Improvement Plan and Strategic Plans, which have been adopted district-wide. Finally, teacher goals connect explicitly to the School Improvement Plan and Progress Report, ensuring that UHS will continue to receive continued accreditation as it moves forward.
Thank you to all our stakeholders for supporting the process!
- Implement formal vertical articulation with sending schools
- Ensure equitable access to co-curricular offerings, including athletics, facilities, and equipment for all students
- Develop long-term plan for maintenance, repair, and replacement of equipment and systems, concurrent with a plan to fund those items
- Report on integration of grade 8 into the school community
School-wide Learning Expectations
Use technology as a resource to access, evaluate, and effectively apply information, as well as enhance communication
Communicate information clearly and effectively, with consideration of audience
Work independently and collaboratively to solve problems, think critically, and create original products
Value and demonstrate personal responsibility, character, cultural understanding, and ethical behavior
Become an active owner of his/her learning, demonstrating adaptability and independence.
As part of our reaccreditation process through the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, our school will be examining our practices in terms of curriculum, instruction, and assessment, as well as the ways our school interacts with the community, provides support to students, and demonstrates sound leadership practices. The foundation on which all of these are built is the statement of core values and our beliefs about student learning. Individual student progress toward meeting expectations is reported out on report cards, and school-wide progress is compiled twice per year.
& Learning Expectations
Issue 2 | Volume 5 | October 2019
A member of the Uxbridge High School Community:
Shares responsibility for excellence and integrity
Perseveres through challenges and adversity
Accepts new ideas and thoughts
Respects self and others
Teaches effective communication, compassion, and balance
Accountable for a high standard of academics and behaviors
Nurtures personal independence and responsibility
Michael Rubin (co-chair)
Martha Ann Rolandelli
The School Council is established as a decision-making body for schools in Massachusetts. Comprised of students, staff, community members, and parents, and chaired by building principals, the organization helps drive the school agenda, designing and approving the school improvement plan, and providing guidance to School Committee in matters such as budget and school critical needs.
Some of our goals for the coming year include redefining success criteria and looking at student assessment practices, building relevant, real-world opportunities for students to learn, and continuing to offer additional supports for students when they struggle, including building emotional and academic capacity.
All School Council meetings are open to the community. Agendas for the monthly meetings will be posted on the school website.
Goals for 2019-20
School council 2019-20
- Updated curricula and review cycle for fine arts, social sciences, wellness
- Piloting of standards-based grading in some courses
- Integrating additional early college and career learning opportunities for students
- More effective use of data through teacher collaborative time
- Piloting and implementation of social emotional learning curriculum
- Enhancement of cultural proficiency and growth mindset with staff and students
Many thanks to our athletic director, Chris Carbone, for his collaborative work in developing a student-athlete handbook. This will provide some background into athletic procedures for student-athletes and families, and will also work in coordination with our Student Handbook in providing direction and expectations.
Families can expect to see the Handbook via email and linked to the athletics website in the coming week or so.
UHS to debut student-athlete handbook as resource guide
Issue 6 | Volume 4 | 2013
Uxbridge High School
Boys XC captures Class C title at Wachusett
Behind strong performances, including a school record time in the 5K from Colin Caso, the boys cross country team won its first-ever Wachusett Invitational on October 5, beating 14-time champion Hopedale.
The Spartans captured the title by way of placing four runners in the top ten, including Colin Caso, Aidan Ross (5th), Stephen Sanches (6th), and Carl Gallawan (9th).
Congratulations to the squad on an incredible performance!
Class of 2020: Mr. Lui
Class of 2021: Ms. Prior
Class of 2022: Ms. Durkin and Ms. Robertson
Class of 2023: Ms. Mason and Ms. Smith
Class of 2024: Ms. Bernasconi and Ms. Daverio
Mark your calendars
Half Day: October 11
No School: October 14
PSAT/Senior College Visit Day: October 16
No School: November 12
First Quarter Report Cards: November 14
Parent-Teacher Conferences: November 14