Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Random Acts of Kindness - #KindnessWHS

Everyone needs validation. A good way to spread good vibes and positive thoughts is through Random Acts of Kindness. These days we are exposed to a lot of negativity and our academic community is affected by it. In an effort to change this negativity we are encouraging our students and staff to participate in Random Acts of Kindness.  

There is a bulletin board set up in the senior wing for students to choose a Random Act of Kindness.  The board will be up all year; each class will be assigned a specific marking period, starting with the seniors, to keep it updated and keep the envelopes filled.  

If you receive a random act of kindness, share with us who and what the act was by using the hashtag #kindnessWHS and post a picture on social media. 

Our hope is to help students strengthen relationships between grade levels and also, each other in general.  It is a great feeling to have when someone takes the time out of their day to do something nice when you least expect it.  

Validation. What is it? It’s getting feedback from others that “what I do and what I say matters to you. You hear me. You see me. You think of me. You thank me. You acknowledge my accomplishments. You appreciate my efforts.”
Linda Sapadin, PhD,

Week of Respect at WHS

The following activities will take place at WHS during our Week of Respect:

Monday, October 3:  World Day of Bullying Prevention - Students and staff will wear blue.

Tuesday, October 4:  9th and 10th grade students will be attending a presentation by the Ganley Foundation. 

This heartfelt and empowering presentation offers educational basics and insights into the world of youth depression and suicide through real life stories and expert input.  The shared perspectives of a mental health expert and suicide attempt survivor encourage a dialogue with the audience which carries forward their message about the importance of mental health, depression awareness, suicide prevention and how to obtain help.

Wednesday, October 5:  the 11th and 12th grade students will be attending a presentation by Gian Paul Gonzalez.

Mr. Gonzalez has traveled across the nation as a motivational speaker for many corporate, athletic, government and educational institutions.  His message of being "All In" has reached people across the world.  Gian Paul earned a Master's Degree in Educational Leadership and is founder of an organization called Hope and Future, which is dedicated to helping inner city youth.  Gian Paul is represented by A Vision in Motion Speakers Bureau.

Friday, October 7:  Students and staff district-wide will wear orange and jeans. 

Week Long Activities
We will have a "Wall of Respect" where students, teachers, staff can write a positive message, a thank you note to someone, or anything that sets a positive tone for the school community.   These messages can be anonymous or signed.  

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Peer Mentoring Program at WHS

This year at WHS we started a peer mentoring program for the freshmen class. Our National Honor Society students have taken ownership of the program and have a lot of great activities planed for the year.

Senior and National Honor Society President, Sarah Armstrong, wrote this guest blog post to summarize the program.

Peer Mentoring Program

Objective: To provide freshmen students with a senior peer mentor in the National Honor Society as a guide throughout high school.

The transition from middle school into high school is no easy task. Senior NHS members aim to help freshmen tackle the challenges of adjusting to high school, as it is an environment that requires time to get used to. This program provides an opportunity for freshman students to hear truth and advice from those with experience, which will lighten the load by letting them know they have someone to turn to.

Freshmen have been sorted into groups of eight or nine classmates and have been assigned to a NHS group leader.  The groups will meet at 7:30 AM once a month on a Friday morning. The NHS members will be in touch with their groups via group message or email.  All students are highly encouraged to attend, as these meetings will provide them with a great deal of information including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Getting acclimated to high school
  • Peer pressure
  • Schedules
  • Schoolwork
  • Sports
  • NHS
  • Current events
  • Getting involved / clubs
  • Student council
  • Study habits
  • “How to succeed in ____” (ex: a certain class, being an active member of the community, being a good friend, participating in school functions, etc.)
  • Social groups and being friends with a range of people
  • Volunteering
  • Ideas on how we can make life easier at WHS

Freshmen should also feel encouraged to reach out to their NHS group leader at any time regarding any questions they may have pertaining to life as a high school student.

All meetings will be held at 7:30 AM

Friday, September 23
Friday, October 21
Friday, November 18
Friday, December 16
Friday, January 20
Friday, February 17
Friday, March 17
Friday, April 28
Friday, May 26
Friday, June 9

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Understanding the Graduation Requirements

PARCC results for the 15-16 school year were mailed home on Friday, which have some ramifications related to graduation requirements. 

Over the last two years, the NJ Department of Education has made changes and updates related to high school graduation requirements.  Last year, the New Jersey Department of Education approved the threshold score points (‘cut points’) to define the performance levels on the PARCC assessments.
On August 3, 2016, the State Board of Education approved updated state regulations for the high school graduation assessments requirements in both English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics for the Classes of 2017 through 2021 and beyond.
NJDOE memo regarding Graduation requirements August 2016
Students graduating as members of the classes of 2017 through 2019 (Current Sophomores, Juniors & Seniors) can meet graduation assessment requirements through a variety of ways, including:

(1) Achieving passing scores on certain PARCC assessments;
(2) Achieving certain scores on alternative assessments such as the SAT, ACT, or Accuplacer (See chart below); or,
(3) The submission by the District of a student portfolio through the Department’s portfolio appeals process.

(Special Education students whose Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) specify an alternative way to demonstrate proficiency will continue to follow the graduation requirements set forth in their IEPs.)

The Class of 2020 (Current Freshman) can demonstrate graduation assessment proficiency through the same alternative means as those in the Classes of 2017 through 2019, provided that students in the Class of 2020 take all end-of-course PARCC assessments for which they are eligible as of the effective date of when the amendments were adopted by the State Board of Education. 
(According to the state memo, all current 9th graders must take the PARCC)

For the Class of 2021 (Current 8th Graders) and thereafter, students who have not demonstrated proficiency on the ELA 10 and Algebra 1 assessments and have taken all end-of-course PARCC assessments for which they are eligible, can demonstrate graduation assessment proficiency by meeting the criteria of the portfolio appeals process.

In addition to the PARCC Assessment, students can meet the graduation requirement by demonstrating competency in one of the alternative assessments approved by the NJDOE in both English Language Arts and Math. See chart below.

English Language Arts
PARCC ELA Grade 9 >= 750 (Level 4) or
PARCC Algebra I >= 750 (Level 4) or
PARCC ELA Grade 10 >=750 (Level 4) or
PARCC Geometry >= 725 (Level 3) or
PARCC ELA Grade 11 >= 725 (Level 3) or
PARCC Algebra II >= 725 (Level 3) or
Prior to 3/1/16 SAT Critical Reading >= 400 or
Prior to 3/1/16 SAT Math  >= 400 or
3/1/16 or later SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing Section >= 450 OR SAT Reading Test >= 22
3/1/16 or later SAT Math Section >= 440 OR SAT Math Test >= 22
ACT Reading or ACT PLAN Reading >= 16 or
ACT or ACT PLAN Math>= 16 or
Accuplacer Write Placer >= 6 or
Accuplacer Write Placer ESL >= 4 or
Accuplacer Elementary Algebra >= 76 or
PSAT10 Reading or PSAT/NMSQT Reading
(Prior to 10/15) >=40 or
PSAT10 Reading or PSAT/NMSQT Reading  After (10/15) >=22 or
PSAT10 Math or PSAT/NMSQT Reading
(Prior to 10/15) >=40 or
PSAT10 Math or PSAT/NMSQT Reading  After (10/15) >=22 or
ACT Aspire Reading >= 422 or
ACT Aspire Math >= 422 or
ASVAB-AFQT Composite >=31 or
ASVAB-AFQT Composite >=31 or
Meet the Criteria of the NJDOE Portfolio Appeal
Meet the Criteria of the NJDOE Portfolio Appeal

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Back to School Night Video 2016

For the parents who could not make it to this year's Back to School Night, here is the my video for the night.  

HUGE Thank You to Danny Rinaldi, Sergio Scardigno & Jake Schwencke! This video is all them and they did an amazing job!!! 
Thank you Mr. Meltzer for creating a TV Production program that creates pieces like this. 


Monday, September 12, 2016

NJSIAA Message - True Purpose of High School Athletics

Great message form the NJSIAA (New Jersey Interscholastic Athletic Association) that all fans, parents, coaches and athletes should read! 

(The below write up came directly from the NJSIAA press release) 

NJSIAA op-ed highlights true purpose of high school athletics 
Exec. Director Timko says many have lost sight of connection to education, benefits 

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (September 6, 2016) – With the 2016 school year beginning this week, NJSIAA Executive Director Steve Timko has released an opinion piece reminding fans, parents, and players of the purpose of scholastic athletics. The op-ed, 
The True Meaning of High School Sports”, attempts to reemphasize the crucial educational component of sports and athletic extracurriculars students engage in. 

“The true reason we have athletic competition for high school students is to further extend the reach of classroom education,” wrote Timko. “That’s the reason scholastic sports developed in the first place, more than a century ago, and that’s why they continue to exist.” 

The op-ed is available on via this link: The True Meaning of High School Sports 

“High school athletics are entertaining…not entertainment,” added Timko. “They aren’t primarily about state championships, earning scholarships, or even running for Team USA.”

Represent #WarriorNation with class and respect for ourselves and others!! 

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Back-to-School Night 2016

This year our Back-to-School Night will be held on Wednesday, September 14. The evening will begin at 7pm with all parents reporting to their child's Homeroom.  Here are a few items to help you get through the night:
  • All Physical Education and Health classes will meet in the Little Theater
  • Science "labs" do not meet
  • You skip your child's lunch period
  • All study halls will meet in Media Center
Below is the schedule for the evening:
Homeroom 7:00 - 7:15
Period 1 7:19 - 7:27
Period 2 7:31 - 7:39
Period 3 7:43 - 7:51
Period 4 7:55 - 8:03
Period 5 or 6 8:07 - 8:15
Period 6B or 7 8:19 - 8:27
Period 8 8:31 - 8:39
Period 9 8:43 - 8:51

1-1 Learning @ WHS 

For 9th grade parents and transfer students, there will be an informational meeting to discuss the 1-1 learning environment at WHS prior to Back-to-School Night starting at 6:30pm in the Media Center.

Dropping off and Picking up at WHS

As a reminder, safety protocols, which will be enforced by the Waldwick Police Department, have been put in place to ensure the safety of students and staff at Waldwick High School.  Please keep the following in mind:

  • There is no left turn out of the upper parking lot from 7:45 - 8:15 AM and again from 2:30 - 3:30 PM.
  • Students should not be dropped off on Wyckoff Avenue heading Eastbound or Westbound in the morning or at pick up in the afternoon.
  • The speed limit on Wyckoff Avenue is 30 mph and 25 mph in the School Zone during school hours.
  • Students should only cross Wyckoff Avenue utilizing the designated crosswalks.
  • There is no parking permitted in the church lot across the street from the turf field.  Parents and students should not park their vehicle on church property during the school day or for any after-school activities.
  • Additional parking is permitted on John Dow Avenue and the pool parking lot.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

New Staff @ WHS - Rachel Dillon

It is my pleasure to introduce Rachel Dillon to the Waldwick community.  Mrs. Dillon will be a great addition to our Language Arts Department. This year she will be teaching English 10 and Blueprint at the high school and will also have one class in the middle school.   We are very excited to have her as part of WHS.

Can you tell us a little bit about your background? 
I grew up in Mahwah, about 3 miles from WHS in a family of five. I commuted to William Paterson University while working at the local Wyckoff Stop & Shop. I married my high school sweetheart one year after graduating college, during my first year of teaching. About three years ago, we moved to Allendale, from New Milford. I am a mother to six year old James and one year old Elizabeth.

What made you choose education as a career?
I always knew that I wanted to become a teacher as a result of watching my mother in the classroom. When I was four, my father gave me his old briefcase that I filled with "teaching supplies" and I would use my mother's childhood chalkboard to "teach" my class. I played this way for years and when I was in middle school and high school, I studied for my tests by pretending to teach the material to my imaginary students. It always felt natural to me and I knew I could make a difference in someone's life.

What appealed to you about Waldwick High School?
I student taught at WMS over ten years ago and always looked back fondly on my experience. Through the years, I have seen firsthand how wonderful the community of Waldwick is and I am so happy to truly become part of it.

Tell us something interesting about yourself?
I have taught middle and high school in both English and Social Studies. I have a passion for both subjects. My mother has taught English for over 25 years now and my grandfather was a WWII veteran, who fought in The Battle of the Bulge. He passed away when I was 11, so I never had the opportunity to ask him questions. He was deeply affected by the war, as was his brother, who fought in Japan during WWII. My mother and grandfather shaped my passion for both subjects.

Also, I love to travel. I have a long list of places that I would like to go to but I feel fortunate to have traveled internationally to Spain, Italy, France, Morocco, Mexico, and Aruba.