Welcome back and Happy New Year.
We enjoyed a wonderful holiday season here at our schools loaded with concerts, classroom parties and acts of giving by our students, parents, staff and administration.
The generous acts of kindness our school community extends during the holiday season and throughout the year never ceases to amaze me.
Thank you to all those people who gave their time, effort, money, or kind words to help us touch others in need.
We will kick off the New Year with the end of the first semester and mid-term exams. Good luck to all students who are taking mid-term tests. Our teachers will be having a Professional Development Day on January 18th. While our students will have the day off, our staff will be busy participating in professional development activities. This professional development is geared to assist our teachers in staying up to date with new trends and fresh strategies, helping them to increase their knowledge and fine tune their classroom practices, all of which are critical to providing our students with the best educational opportunities possible.
Student class scheduling, with lots of great help by our guidance counselors, is just around the corner. If you can attend the Advance Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB) and Post Secondary Education Opportunities (PSEO) night held by our AHS Guidance Department on January 17th, I would recommend it. You will find that it is full of valuable information regarding the different programs and can help you make decisions about which program is the best fit for your student before scheduling begins.
Both our sophomore and junior classes will be traveling to experience “the big city.” Sophomores are headed to Chicago in January, while the junior class students will be going to New York City in February. These are always such a memorable experience for our students. Thank you to all of the adults whose time and effort make these trips possible. Don’t forget the cameras!
I would also like to touch on the subject of school safety which is on everyone’s minds in the wake of the school shooting tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. This and similar horrible events have made school districts around the country re-evaluate the issues of how to keep their students and staff members safe. While we have been proactive in our safety procedures here, including training our staff in A.L.I.C.E. (Alert – Lockdown-Inform-Counter-Evacuate), introducing A.L.I.C.E. to our students, hiring School Resource Officer (RSO) Michelle Ice, and installing security camera systems throughout the buildings, we continue to be vigilant about our school safety procedures and continually evaluate our options in this area. Our first priority is always student safety. I am asking parents to help in this area by realizing that each interaction with staff members, such as a forgotten lunch or homework, student pick-up, or dropping off forms at an office, takes the attention of our staff away from students. While such events are inevitable, please try to keep these distractions to a minimum whenever possible.
We are looking forward to a new year filled with lots of learning and personal growth. This should be a very busy year.