March 2016

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Hello WHS,


This year, many of my monthly musings have included comments about a term called "growth mindset."  This relatively new termaccording to Carol Dweck, its author,  is a "self-perception or 'self-theory' that people hold about themselves. Believing that you are either 'intelligent' or 'unintelligent' is a simple example of a mindset. People can be aware or unaware of their mindsets, according to Dweck, but they can have profound effect on learning achievement, skill acquisition, personal relationships, professional success, and many other dimensions of life." (


I have really embraced the concept of a  growth mindset as I believe it means that we can all improve, learn and develop.  In addition, this year as interim principal, I have been alarmed at the stress that I see in some of our young adults.  How can we be proactive in teaching our students how to combat and thrive within stressful situations  instead of reacting to stress each time we encounter it? By embracing our stress and acknowledging it, they are better prepared to grow and develop. We need to work with our teens so that they can develop a growth mindset in dealing with stress which is a real part of all of our lives.


In watching a recent TED talk by Kelly McGonical on stress (Kelly McGonigal: How to make stress your friend -the-positive-side-of-stress-can-do-for-students/#e.622j3o.4h4mv0 via), I was interested in hearing about stress and its hormonal reactions on our body. While our body releases adrenaline to take action in stressful situations, it also produces oxytocin. The oxytocin is a natural chemical that helps our bodies build resiliency. McGonical states that there are three ways that help us safely work through stress. Her suggestions are based on research that she and other theorists have done.  

Her first suggestion is that caring for others builds resiliency against stress.  One of the studies mentioned that high schoolers that participated in random acts of kindness had lower levels of toxic stress.  


The second way to help combat stress centers around having a life purpose.  McGonical stresses that teachers can help students to realize this purpose by asking the following questions:

The third suggestion to help combat stress is to focus on your stress level and look at ways that it can help you grow.  A positive strategy that will help students focus on developing resiliency is to have them share tough and painful stories.  They must also share on  how they were able to persevere through these stressful situations. Sharing with the group can show that we all have stress and that it is part of life. Stress, though a part of all of our lives, it is not always what anyone wants to deal with. However, by using a growth mindset model and talking through our stress, we can all grow and develop in ways to learn to work through our stress. I am hopeful that by talking about the real triggers of stress and how to cope with them, we can support our learners to use some of the suggestions mentioned in this valuable talk and article.





 It's hard to believe that March is here - with the craziness of the weather who knows what is to come.  We hope that you and your families enjoyed the week off together and are settling back into your routine.


The WFEE Trivia Bee was held on Wednesday, February 3rd, at the Lynch School.  We would like to thank the WHS PFA team volunteers -  Malini Dutta, John Ulwick and Walter Scully.  Hopefully some of you were able to attend and witness their brilliance in action. 


Also, during the month of February the PFA hosted the Valentine's Day celebration for faculty and staff. We would like to thank the Social Committee  headed by Mary Ellen Melaragni, Denise George, Margie Peterson and Alison Bayiates for coordinating such a festive social along with the WHS parents who so generously donated baked goods. The event, filled with chocolate covered strawberries and other delicious treats,  brought a smile to the faces of our valued staff members.


By now you are probably getting tired of hearing about the Direct Appeal. We have made great progress towards our goal of $30,000, but we haven't gotten there yet. To date we have raised a little over $28,000, so a big THANK YOU to everyone who has contributed. If you haven't yet made a donation, please consider making one - even a small donation would help us move closer to achieving our goal.  It's easy - simply go through our convenient online payment system by clicking here.


The next PFA meeting is scheduled for March 8th (this is a date change) at 7:30pm in the WHS dining commons.  The main topic for the meeting will be a presentation from the WHS STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) directors.  We hope to see you there with questions in hand.  Also, Gerry Skinder will be in attendance to discuss last months hot topic submissions.



Lori Scully

Mikie Ulwick

PFA Co-Chairs





Parent Conversations


R.A.D. Systems of Self Defense Program: Learn what it is and how we our empowering our young women at WHS

featuring speaker Jason Cacciapuoti, PE & Health Teacher 


Tues, March 15th, 9:00-10:00 am 

WHS Library Conference Room

9:00-10:00 am 


Parent Conversations are typically held the 2nd Tuesday of the month. Due to other large events (Guidance Department Parent Coffee), the date has been changed the date for March.


Wellness Department News


A partnership has been formed with the Winchester Coalition for a Safer Community, the Winchester Police Department, and the Winchester High School Physical Education staff. We have introduced a new curriculum to the standard physical education program. With the financial support of the Coalition, last summer Jason Cacciapuoti, Andria Bremhorst, Sergeant Dan Perenick, and two other Winchester Police Officers were trained in the Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) Basic Self-Defense program. This program is designed to empower women by teaching them how to avoid potentially dangerous situations, and to provide them the tools to escape physical altercations.


This program was implemented and offered to all female students enrolled in physical education classes during the first semester and it was very successful. The staff is extremely excited about teaching female students these skills this semester. It is our hope to offer the RAD program in the spring to senior students who were unable to take the class during the school day. The Physical Education staff is also looking into certifications that would bring a program called R.A.D. for Men to the high school for the start of next school year.


We thank the Winchester Coalition for all their support.


Pamela Saba

Wellness Director Winchester Public Schools


School the World News


Fifteen Winchester High School students spent their February vacation building a playground with School the World in Guatemala (16 others are anticipating their trip this April)! School the World is a local non-profit dedicated to improving education in rural communities in Central America. The organization offers a Service Learning Program to high school students who wish to travel, learn about the Maya culture and dedicate themselves to service. The April and July trip options are still in the open enrollment period. Please visit for more information.  


WHS Construction Project Open House & Band Concert March 21, 2016 


The second WHS Construction Project Open House has been scheduled for Monday, March 21, 2016. Beginning at 5:45 p.m., WHS peer leaders will guide you through the spaces that have been completed as part of Phase 1, including the new Dining Commons, Library Media Center, Music Suite and Administrative wing, as well as the newly renovated Auditorium. Visit our modular classrooms that house some of our academic classes.  Then, at 7 p.m., take a seat in the Auditorium and be treated to music by the WHS Jazz and Concert Bands. Stay tuned for more information!




March Service Announcement


Red Cross Blood Drive - Wednesday, Mar. 2nd - 8:00a-1:00p

Connect & Commit will be hosting their annual Blood Drive with the Red Cross on Wednesday, March 2nd.  The time slots run every 15 minutes from 8:00-1:00.

Connect & Commit Open Meeting -Thursday Mar 3rd - 6:30-7:30p

Connect & Commit would like to invite anyone who is interested in service-learning to come to our meeting in the WHS Library.  This week is going to be a Recruitment Party, so bring your friends - old & new - learn about our club, play games and meet some fabulous people.  We hope to see you there!


Relay for Life of Winchester Kick-off - Wed. Mar. 9th - 2:30-3:30p

Connect & Commit and the Winchester Youth Center are teaming up to host the annual Relay for Life of Winchester High School Kick-off! If you are interested in signing up or learning more information about Relay stop by the WHS Dining Commons after school on Wed. Mar. 9th!


Dessert Auction for "Deserted" Dogs - Thurs. Mar. 17th- 6:30-7:30p

For the second year in a row Connect & Commit will be hosting a live dessert auction to support "Just a Touch Rescue." Parents, students, teachers and friends are welcome to bid for sweet treats for a great cause. Just A Touch Rescue (JATR) is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit corporation and was created in order to rescue, rehabilitate, and re-home dogs who are in need of a permanent, loving home.  All proceeds will go directly to JATR.


Escape the School - Thurs. Mar. 31st - 5:00-8:00p

In lieu of a meeting C&C will be hosting an event called "Escape the School." While the spaces might look like your average classroom, it's actually a mystery puzzle.  To escape the school you must find the hidden objects, figure out the clues and solve the puzzles to earn your freedom. Admission to each room is $10/pp and all proceeds will go to the charity chosen by the team with the fastest escape time. Do you think you have what it takes to Escape the School?


Check out our website to get the latest on Connect & Commit!






The WYC offers lots of programs, events and youth development opportunities for WHS students. We encourage everyone to stop by the WYC anytime to find out how to get more involved in all the cool things that we have going on!


The WYC Peer Leaders meet for youth group on Monday evenings at 5:30. Any WHS students interested in joining this group which focuses on leadership, service-learning, and good-decision-making should stop by and talk to Rebecca.


The Relay For Life Event Leadership Team meets at the WYC on Mondays at 7:00. Anyone interested in getting more involved with Relay can contact us 



WHS Kick-Off

Wednesday, March 9th

After School in the WHS Dining Commons


Register yourself and your team, show your support for the American Cancer Society, and learn about this year's event taking place June 25th-26th.

Register at kick-off or at to enjoy all the treats, activities and fun! We'll also be sharing team recruitment and fundraising ideas.

Contact for more information



Battle of the Bands Round 2

Friday, March 11th


Winchester Town Hall Auditorium

$10 admission





Siegel's with Seagulls



Swagmaster Flave & the Shaolin Funks

Audience members vote to select the bands that will perform in the final show 

on Town Day eve.

Come out to support your friends, listen to some great live music!

Contact for more info.

Special thanks to Winchester Community Music School, The Real School of Music and Mouradian Guitar!





During April vacation the WYC Peer Leaders will be participating in our 10th Habitat for Humanity trip. We will be traveling to Wilmington, Delaware to complete a week-long service-learning experience building homes for families in need.

We are currently working toward fundraising 100% of the expenses for our trip including a $2500 donation to Habitat for Humanity of New Castle County.

Please contact us of you would like to make a donation toward this 

amazing service-learning experience.

Proceeds from all of the following fundraising efforts will benefit our trip:


Raffle tickets

Buy your $20 tickets for the chance to win:

* Kindle Fire *

* Red Sox tickets *

* Gift Cards *

Drawing: April 11th

Contact the WYC for more information


WYC Coffee House

Friday, April 1st


$5 Admission


Featuring live music and delicious homemade treats and frappes.

All proceeds will benefit the Peer Leaders' April vacation Habitat for Humanity trip.





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