WINCHESTER HIGH SCHOOL

80 Skillings Road

Winchester, MA 01890 – 2853

Telephone 781-721-7020

 

PARENT FACULTY ASSOCIATION NEWSLETTER ~ DECEMBER 2013

Visit our website at http://www.whspfa.org

 

 

FROM THE OFFICE OF PRINCIPAL TOM GWIN

 

When you receive this newsletter it will be only a few days to the December 10th debt exclusion override vote that would provide the funds to pay for the town’s share of the high school project.  Please exercise your right to vote.  You can find all the information you need to know at the Winchester High School project website:

www.winchesterhsproject.com

 

There is one more tour scheduled for Saturday, December 7 at 9:30 am. You can sign up at the website.  Please remember to be as informed as possible before you go out and vote on December 10th. 

 

On November 18th and 19th, I represented the WHS community at the National Blue Ribbon Schools Recognition ceremonies in Washington DC.  WHS earned this award through the teachers’, students’ and parents’ ongoing commitment to excellence.  Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, a speaker at the ceremonies, said, “Schools like yours demonstrate that with hard work and a commitment to excellence, classrooms can be places that encourage the complex and creative thinking needed in a competitive global economy.  By empowering every child to become a lifelong learner and an engaged citizen, you and your colleagues are creating the leaders of tomorrow.  The example set by your schools is a powerful inspiration to others.”

 

During the two days, I attended presentations concerning innovations in education and roundtables in which principals were able to provide the Department of Education with feedback related to the new teacher evaluation system, the Common Core, and PARCC testing.  It was also very nice to share ideas with other principals.  I felt very proud representing all of you.

 

Have a very happy holiday season!

                                                            

PFA NEWS

From the Co-Presidents

Audrey Loria and Malini Dutta

 

Thank you to Suzanne Ontso, Guidance Director, who addressed our well-attended November PFA meeting.  She responded to the questions that had been sent to us by parents, with some additional input from Dr. Gwin.  It was a good conversation and we appreciated the time she spent with us.  (If you’d like to take a look at the draft minutes from the meeting, please click here

 

We also had a chance to review the Grants that the PFA hopes to fund this year.  However, that depends on a successful Direct Appeal campaign…and that depends on you!  Please, if you haven’t made a donation, would you do that today?  We really don’t want to disappoint the teachers who are counting on us to enrich our students’ experience!  Donating online is easy…just click here to do so.  

 

We do not have a monthly meeting scheduled for December—but we do encourage parents to “save the date” for an open house celebrating Mrs. Karen Branley, who is retiring after many years of service to the Winchester School community.  We will certainly miss her smiles and warmth in the front office!  The event will be held on Monday, December 16th, 6:30 – 9:30 pm at the Sons of Italy.  Staff, parents and alumni are welcome.  If you are interested in helping with the party, please contact Paula Michienzi at michboysmom@aol.com.  We hope to see you there!

 

January’s PFA meeting has been rescheduled for a special meet and greet with our new Athletic Director, Marc Arria.  The meeting will be held on Monday, January 13th—watch your inbox for further details, as the date gets closer.

 

There is a lot of anticipation about the upcoming WHS renovation override vote.  Please remember to cast your vote on December 10th!  For those of you with college students, please encourage them to request an absentee ballot to ensure that their vote is counted.

 

Hope you all have a peaceful holiday season!

 

Audrey & Malini

 

Winchester High School: Did you know?

 

Absentee ballots are now available Monday to Friday (except on Thanksgiving) at Town Hall, Town Clerk's Office at 71 Mt. Vernon Street.

        

Š      To participate in the vote on December 10, residents must be registered to vote in WINCHESTER.  

Š      Voters who are mailing the ballots back using the USPS must take into consideration delivery time.  In order for the ballots to be counted the ballot(s) must be at the Town Clerk’s office not later than 8pm on Election Day.

Š      A family member can carry back an absentee ballot on Election Day, but they need to hand deliver it to the Town Clerk’s Office and NOT the polling location. 

 

If you or a family member plan to vote absentee please be mindful of the following guidelines:

 

Voters who are unable to vote on Election Day because of physical disability, religious beliefs, or absence from the Town may vote by absentee ballot. State law limits the availability of absentee ballots to the above three listed circumstances only. Absentee ballots are not available for mere inconvenience, or because of ordinary commuting-related difficulties. If you will be absent from Winchester for an extended period of time, you may submit a single application for all elections occurring within the year the application is accepted.

 

A voter who is admitted to a health care facility after noon of the fifth day before an election may apply for a ballot up until the close of the polls and may request to have the ballot delivered.

 

Upcoming Information Events:

 

Wednesday, December 4 at 8:30 am: WFEE and the Chamber of Commerce will co-host an informational breakfast to discuss the State of the Town and Schools with an overview of the WHS Project.

Thursday, December 5 at 1pm: Helen Babcock and Steve Parkhurst will co-host an Information Q&A Meeting at the Jenks.  All residents are welcome.

Saturday, December 7 at 9:30 am: Last guided tour of the High School. Please sign up at "Take a Tour" in banner.

Tuesday, December 10: Election Day 

 

 

HELPFUL LINKS

 

WHS Staff Contact List

WHS Days Calendar

WHS School Calendar (list of key dates)

2013-2014 District-wide Calendar

 

 

 

 

 

 

SCHOOL NEWS

 

Answering phones, but so much more

Let's honor a woman we all adore

The greeter, gatekeeper extraordinaire

A sense of calm when she is there

Come celebrate as we bid adieu

To a woman who, so kind and true,

Made WHS a welcoming place

We'll surely miss her smiling face!

 

In Honor of Mrs. Karen Branley

Winchester High School's Beloved Receptionist

 

A Retirement Open House

Monday, December 16th, 6:30pm - 9:30pm

The Sons of Italy ~ Winchester, MA

 

Light fare & Cash bar

 

Come reminisce with Karen & leave a sentiment in the memory book or drop a note in the basket!

 

Want to help / Questions ~ contact Paula Michienzi at 781.729.8935 or mail to: michboysmom@aol.com

 

 

CLASS NEWS

 

 

 

PARKING SPOT RAFFLE

 

Would you like your very own parking spot in the Student Lot? Tired of not finding a place when you come back from lunch or being late to school only because you had to park so far away. We have the Answer!

 

The Senior Class will be raffling off a Special Parking Spot in the Student lot. You get the Student of the Week spot for ONE WEEK. You can enter the raffle as often as you want. Your tickets remain in the mix for the entire year so you have many chances to win the "primo spot".

 

Raffle tickets are $5.00 each or 3 for $10. You can buy tickets from Mrs. Troiano in Room A301 or you can email 2014whs@gmail.com with the number of tickets you would like to purchase.  When payment is received in the main office, we will add the tickets to the mix.

 

Guidance News

 

Parent Conversations

Wednesday, December 18th, at 8:45 am

Guidance Conference Room

 

Parent Conversations invites Winchester Parents and Guardians of high school students to join us for coffee and informal conversation about our kids, WHS, and our community. The monthly discussions are casual and drop in yet always confidential. New and "seasoned" parents offer stories and experiences and through these conversations, ideas are exchanged, questions are answered and many problems are solved. The monthly meetings vary among open discussions, specific topics and guest speakers.

 

During the October meeting new tobacco and nicotine delivery products that target our children were discussed.  Shafiya Ciccarelli, WHS Clinical Counselor and facilitator of the Parent Conversations, prepared a summary of this event.

 

The Winchester High School Parent Conversations group was fortunate to have Maureen Buzby as a guest speaker at the October, 2013 meeting.  This program was arranged in collaboration with the Winchester Coalition for a Safer Community, and tremendous appreciation is due to Dot Butler, Program Manager, for bringing Ms. Buzby to the Parent Conversation meeting!  Ms., Buzby is the Coordinator of the Mystic Valley Tobacco Alcohol Program, a coalition that includes Winchester, as well as Malden, Medford, Melrose, Reading, Stoneham, and Wakefield.  She presented information about the numerous new tobacco and nicotine delivery products that our children are being exposed to, and are using with increasing frequency.  The packaging of these products are remarkably appealing to youth: for example, some look like an ice cream cone; others have beautiful designs or bright rainbow colors; some are sold in a variety of flavors such as chocolate, “orange crush”, pineapple; and the packaging of some products includes pictures that are sexually provocative.

 

According to Ms. Buzby, “E-hookah” or “Hookah pens” are some of the “hottest” new products among our youth.  Similar to e-cigarettes, these are battery-operated devices that heat liquid oils (usually scented) and create a vapor that is inhaled, which is called “vaping”.  A recent CDC report indicated that e-cigarette use more than doubled among U.S. middle and high school students between 2011 and 2012.  The FDA does not regulate e-cigarettes since they are not considered to be tobacco products.  Also, in some local communities minors can legally buy e-cigarettes since they are not considered a tobacco product.  However, they do contain nicotine and are addictive just like cigarettes.  Medical experts tell us that a nicotine habit can be harder to break than a heroin habit.  The contents of many of these new products are not fully known, so we have no way of knowing what is being inhaled or exhaled, and the long-term effects are also not yet known.   Some of these products look like a pen, and when someone is “vaping” there is no smoke or fire so it looks like someone is simply chewing on a pen. 

 

Other products that continue to be popular among youth are dip/snuff/chewing tobacco.  Similar products are also now available in forms that do not require the user to spit, so they may be less obvious to someone looking on.  Additionally, small cigars (cigarillos) are now sold in brightly colored foil wrapping with flavors such as strawberry, bubblegum, kiwi, and honey.  They are inexpensive (49 to 79 cents), and the aromas and flavors disguise the harshness of tobacco making them more appealing to kids.

 

Awareness of these many new developments in the nicotine industry can help parents and community members prevent the development of issues related to nicotine, or to intervene when necessary.  It is important to know that there are now numerous new products available that our youth are often aware of before adults are aware of them.  These products are marketed in extremely appealing packaging, but the nicotine that is delivered can lead to the same serious addiction and consequences as conventional cigarettes.

 

If you have questions about this information you may contact Maureen Buzby directly at 781-979-4158, or mbuzby@CityofMelrose.org .

 

Contact Shafiya Ciccarelli, Clinical Counselor, at 781-721-7020 X 1405 or sciccarelli@winchester.k12.ma.us if you have any questions about Parent Conversations meetings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Parent to Parent-Upcoming Program

 

Please join Michael Thompson, Ph.D. for his talk:  “Best Friends/Worst Enemies:  Friendship Development, Popularity and Social Cruelty in Childhood”.

 

January 7, 2014

McCall Middle School Auditorium

7-9PM

 

Based on his recent book of the same title, Michael Thompson, Ph.D., will walk parents through the complex social world of childhood and addresses a number of pertinent questions: What do social relationships in school predict about happiness in adult life? What is the normal sequence of child friendships, from the parallel play of the two-year-old to the period of intimate self-disclosure of the adolescent? Why do cliques form and what are the differences between boy and girl groups? Why are certain children scapegoated and how can their parents and school protect them? Dr. Thompson will draw on research to highlight the differences between friendship and popularity. He offers suggestions about the management of social problems in school and makes the case that while all children yearn for popularity, it is friendship that helps children survive and thrive.

 

Michael Thompson, Ph.D., is an internationally known consultant, author and psychologist specializing in children and families.

 

 

Connect & Commit

ALL ARE WELCOME!!

 

You can sign up for the opportunities listed below at the meetings or in the C&C Office in the library of the high school.  If you have questions visit Kristen Ritchie, Program Director, in the C&C Office or email her at connectandcommit@gmail.com. Visit our website for more information: http://www.connectandcommit.org

 

Upcoming Service Opportunities & Events

 

 

Wednesday Dec. 4th- Living Legacy Kick-off- 2:45pm at the Aberjona Nursing Home

Student volunteers on the living legacy project will be paired up with a resident at the Aberjona Nursing Center who they will meet with once a week over the course of several months. The idea is to foster a relationship with the residents- learning about their lives and history and sharing some of our own interests and passions. At the end of the project, students will be asked to create some sort of living legacy that showcases a bit about their resident’s life. It can be a scrapbook, a video, a short story or anything you can imagine. This project will be something that the residents can keep with them and share with their families and friends.

 

Thursday Dec. 5th- Community Servings- 1-4pm in Jamaica Plain, MA

Help volunteer during the half-day preparing meals for patients through Community Servings. Transportation will be provided.

 

Sunday Dec. 8th- Wright Locke Farm Work Day- 12-noon Help cut down the raspberry canes and burn the burn pile.

 

Ongoing Service Opportunities

 

Comfort Zone Camp- The Comfort Zone Camp is a bereavement camp that transforms the lives of children who have experienced the death of a parent, sibling or primary caregiver. The camp is currently looking for 2-3 students 15 or older to volunteer in their Winchester office to help with administrative tasks and organizing their annual 5K Run/ Walk Fundraiser. This would be a once a week commitment of at least 2 hours at a time.

 

Living Legacy- This is an exciting opportunity to connect Winchester High School Students with residents living in the Aberjona Nursing Center. Once a week (likely on Wednesday) from 2:45-3:45 a group of student volunteers will travel to the Nursing Center and be matched up one-on-one with a resident. Over the next few months, we hope that through activities and discussions together, you will come to get to know your resident buddy and for them to know you. At the end of our series of visits, we will ask each student to put together something to give the resident that captures a bit about the resident’s life. It should be something that they can share with family and friends and a way for their story to live on for years to come- a scrapbook, a short video, a short storybook etc. This program would ideally run during the winter sports season to avoid conflicts as we transition from season to season.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                      Description: The Winchester Youth Center Logo

Winchester Youth Center

458R Main Street

Winchester MA 01890

781-721-0906

http://www.winyc.com

winchesteryouthcenter@gmail.com

Follow us on Facebook

 

ADULT INVOLVEMENT

RELAY OF LIFE OF WINCHESTER

We are searching for adults to join the planning committee for the 3rd annual Relay For Life of Winchester. If you have been personally touched by cancer or are simply committed to helping us create a world with less cancer and more birthdays please consider joining our committee. Committee positions include Fundraising, Sponsorship, Community Recruitment, and Survivorship. Contact us at winchesterrelay@gmail.com or call Rebecca at the WYC 781-721-0906.

 

 

The WYC offers a wide range of leadership, service-learning, and good-decision-making activities for WHS students.

All WHS students are invited to get involved in all of our amazing youth groups, awesome special events, and fabulous service projects.

 

LEADERSHIP PROGRAMS

PEER LEADER YOUTH GROUP

Do you have what it takes to be a peer leader?

If you have natural leadership skills, want to have a positive impact on the community, like to have fun and make good decisions; then the answer is yes!

This group is open to any WHS student who has natural leadership skills and the desire to further develop them. Anyone interested in joining this awesome group is welcome to stop by the WYC for more information. Our youth group meetings take place on Mondays, 5:30-7:00pm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

COMMUNITY NEWS

 

Annual Midnight Madness in Winchester Center 

December 2nd, 6 PM - midnight

 Sponsored by the Winchester Chamber of Commerce  

 

Join us in Winchester's vibrant and exciting town center and shop, support, and save at local businesses! Holiday shoppers will find musical groups, refreshments, and special sales. The Winchester Community Music School students will perform at several shops and the Jubilation singers will be beginning their performance at 7 PM.

 

Winton Cabaret Auditions

Winchester Town Hall

December 2 & 3, 7:00 PM

 

The Winton Club Cabaret 2014 will present its Annual Cabaret Fundraiser, "Rock the House" to benefit Winchester Hospital Jan 28 - Feb 1, 2014, in the Winchester Town Hall Auditorium.  Cabaret Chairwoman/ Producer Cheryl Lauretano and the Winton Club invite you to join the fun and support Winchester Hospital at the same time.  If you are interested in joining the cast, show auditions are in Winchester Town Hall on December 2 & 3, 2013, at 7:00 PM and rehearsals run the entire month of January.  Wear comfortable clothes and be prepared to sing a song of your choice. Bring dance shoes if you can!  For more information, go to: www.wintonclub.org

 

Cheer Team – Black Horse Tavern Fundraiser

December 3, 4:30 until closing

 

WPW C Cheer Team will be heading to Disney World in early December!  On December 3, from 4:30 pm until closing, the Black Horse Tavern will be home to what we hope will be the biggest party Winchester Pop Warner has ever had.   For just $25 per person, and just $10 for children under 12, people can enjoy a buffet of a variety of great Black Horse food (including their famous sliders, pizza, and lots of other great food).   All proceeds from the door will go straight to Pop Warner for the Disney Trip.   So please, come out and support our cheerleaders that night.   If you are unable to attend, please consider making a donation by going to www.winchesterpopwarner.com. 

 

Winchester Chamber of Commerce Holiday Lighting Ceremony

Thursday, December 5, 7:30 PM

Town Common

 

Join us for Winchester's annual tree lighting where Santa will be making his arrival by fire truck, and children will be able to greet him and share their wish lists.

 

The music for the tree lighting will be provided by Winchester All Town Honors Boys and Girls Chorus, a group of about 60 3rd, 4th and 5th graders representing all of the Winchester Elementary Schools, under the direction of Kit Perkin. Irina Chelnokova will be the accompanist and she will be conducting the music at the event. There will also be a high school brass ensemble playing under the direction of Jeanne Snodgrass. 

 

Rudolph's Frosty Follies

Saturday, December 14, 7 PM

McCall Middle School Auditorium

 

Get into the holiday spirit by watching the award winning Jubilation Singers present Rudolph's Frosty Follies! McCall Middle School's very own show choir will delight you with a fun twist on the typical holiday carols. All ages are welcome! 

 

Starting in December, tickets will be available for advance purchase at Bookends and will also be available for purchase at the door the evening of the concert.  Tickets:  $10 (general admission) $5 (students, teachers, seniors)

 

Holiday House Tour

Sunday, December 15, Noon - 4:00 PM

 

The Winchester Chamber of Commerce is pleased to sponsor a Holiday House Tour on Sunday, December 15, 2013, from noon to 4:00 P.M.  Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 on the day of the tour, available only at Bookends. The tour is self-guided, and the addresses of this year's homes will be on the tickets. This annual fundraiser supports the Chamber's seasonal beautification of Winchester Center with hanging flower baskets in the spring and holiday lights in December.

 

Come enjoy an afternoon this Holiday season touring seven magnificent homes in Winchester.  The homeowner will uniquely decorate each home. Please come help support Winchester's beautification fund.

 

Any Questions? Give us a call! 781-729-8870

 

 

WINCHESTER PUBLIC LIBRARY PROGRAMS

 

Thursday, December 5th:  " A History of Howard Johnsons" by Anthony Mitchell Sammarco who will discuss his new book about how a Massachusetts' soda fountain became an American icon.

 

Wednesday, January 8th (snow date January 9th):  "The Joy of Getting Things Done" by Linda L. King of Reading.  Back for her 3rd year at the library, the room has been packed each time and is a must for those who want to make their 2014 resolutions a reality.

 

All programs are at 7:00 PM, free to the public, and sponsored by Friends of the Winchester Public Library and the John & Mary Murphy Educational Foundation.