South Hadley High School Student Artwork

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Santa Comes to the SHHS Child Care Center

The young people of the high school Child Care Center got a surprise visit from Santa Claus today who had gifts for all the children. The Center is open during the school day, and South Hadley High School students rotate in and out of the center throughout the day to help out.

Graduates Return to South Hadley High School

The Guidance Department hosted South Hadley High School alumni in the library today. The purpose of the program was to allow current high school students to hear from the graduates about their transition from high school to college, the workplace, and the military. Each alumni spoke of their own personal experience and then took questions from the crowd. Thank you to all the Alumni who took time out of their schedule to share their experiences.

SHHS Concert Choir Chosen To Perform On WGBY

Ms. Curtis and the South Hadley High School Concert Choir received the exciting news today that they have been chosen to perform in Season 2 of Together in Song.

There are 11 High School groups who will be competing. The Concert Choir will be recording sometime between the end of January and beginning of February.  When the program airs, people will then need to vote to move us on to the next round (semi-finals).  Finals are performed LIVE on April 21 and April 22.

Congratulations to Everyone! 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

South Hadley Food Pantry Still Seeks Christmas Baskets

Our students are doing a tremendous job collecting food items for the Food Pantry.

Here is a great article from the Gazette about the effort:

South Hadley Food Pantry still seeks Christmas Basket items

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Writing Center

Here is a student produced PSA about the South Hadley High School Writing Center

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

School Safety Night at South Hadley High School Library December 7 2011

Just a reminder that the middle and high school will be hosting a safety night for parents and students at the high school library starting at 6:00pm on December 7, 2011. 

There will be multiple presentations made at the meeting around bullying prevention, student risk behavior, and internet/cyperbullying.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Monday, November 28, 2011

December Newsletter

Here is the link to the high school newsletters:

High School Newsletter

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Julia Duda Wins Superintendent Award

Congratulations to Julia Duda for being awarded the Superintendent Award. Dr. Sayer presented Julia the award at the high school.

Drug Task Force Meeting

The South Hadley Drug Task Force will be meeting at 6:30pm on Wednesday. This is a rescheduled meeting. Please contact Karen Walsh-Pio or myself with any questions.

Financial Aid Workshop Wednesday at 6:30pm

Just reminding the community that we will be holding our financial aid night at the high school at 6:30. The program is open to all parents, but is targeted to parents of 11 and 12 graders. The program will be held at the library. Contact the guidance department with any questions. The event will also be airing on public television.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Lesson In Systems of Equations with 3 Variables!

Ms. Bussiere had her Algebra II students up and moving in a recent class where the class was learning about systems of equations with 3 variables.  Students moved around the room to represent the dimensions of a graph with 3 points (x, y,z) - or 3D.  Getting students up and out of their seats was not only a “fun” activity, but also an effective way to help students conceptualize the lesson Michelle was trying to teach.  Great job by Ms. Bussiere and her students!

An Amazing Student Lead Project!

Vista Higher Learning asked students to share their vision of the impact of language study on their future. Videos needed to  creatively convey the message that knowing world languages and cultures can change lives- starting with their own.

Here is the video submission:

And here are the credits for the video: 

Representing South Hadley High School's AP Spanish 5 class, as well as all kids whose futures will be impacted by languages in some way or another, this is my submission to the Vista Higher Learning 2011 Video Contest! Hope you like it!

Music, lyrics, and video written, produced, composed, and performed by Kyle Whelihan.

Students/teachers in this video, in order of appearance: Betty Czitrom, Luis Agrait, Marissa Kellogg, Michaela Raschilla, Jiayin Sperry, Kyle Whelihan, Beth Ayn Curtis.

We are the future.
We're moving forward.
We keep the world turning,
'cause we understand
that we're all different,
and it don't matter,
when we walk together
hand in hand.
We are the future.
We're moving forward.
We keep the world turning,
'cause we understand,
that we're all different,
and it don't matter,
when we walk together
hand in hand.
We walk together
hand in hand.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Good Luck to Mr. McCarthy!

Mr. McCarthy will be competing in the New York City Marathon this Saturday. A 26.2 mile trek through the five boroughs of New York City. We are all cheering for you!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Senior Dress Up Day

The Senior class came in full dress this morning, and their spirit was not dampened by the recent storm. I know that many in the community have suffered through this latest storm, and was nice for us as a community to have some fun this morning.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Pictures From The Spike It For Life

Thank you to Sophie Weinstein for sending along these pictures from the Volleyball's Spike It For Life fundraiser.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Emily Pritchard Named Special Education Department Chair

We are pleased to announce that Ms. Emily Pritchard has been named the new chairperson for the special education department.  Ms. Pritchard has been a special education teacher here at the high school for the past six years.  She has been an outstanding member of our staff and we are excited that she has agreed to take on this new role in the department.  Among her many achievements, Ms. Pritchard was a member of the team that developed our inclusion program for students with learning disabilities.  She also helped to create our ‘Reading Workshop’ course which teaches reading skills to students with language based learning disabilities.  Working with the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Emily has helped to establish ‘Dialogue Groups’ for students that allow them a space to discuss issues concerning social justice and diversity.  Ms. Pritchard was also awarded the Harvard Club's Award for Teaching Excellence. We are lucky to have Emily’s leadership working for our students in this new capacity!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Grade 9 Explore Presentation

Last night, October 20, 2011, Jane Rathbun and I presented to Grade 9 parents the Explore test results. Ms. Rathbun focused on how to read the test scoring sheets, and I delivered some information on how our Freshmen students compare to students across the nation. For the parents who could not make the meeting, the score sheets will be handed out to Grade 9 students in the near future and they should be bringing them home and sharing them with you. I will be posting the powerpoint presentations shortly to the blog.

Adams Scholarship Announcement

South Hadley High School was informed today by the Department of Education that 45 of our students qualified for the John and Abigail Adams Scholarship.

The Adams scholarship rewards high academic achievement on MCAS tests, and provides families of college-bound students with financial assistance. The scholarship covers tuition to state community colleges and universities, with amounts ranging from $740.00 to $1,745.00.

Students will be notified next week with official letters from the Department.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Congratulations To Our New National Honor Society Members

South Hadley High School inducted 35 new students in the South Hadley Chapter of the National Honor Society. The National Honor Society seeks young people dedicated to the ideals of Scholarship, Leadership, Character, and Service. These students dedicate themselves to serving our community, and all of us in the community should be proud of their accomplishments.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Students Appear on MassAppeal to Promote South Hadley Food Bank

South Hadley High School students Melanie Young and Sophia Kebbede were recently on the TV program MassAppeal to promote the Halloween Children's parade happening on October 30th.  The walk will benefit the South Hadley Food Pantry - a canned food item and a $5 donation are appreciated.  Sophia  and Melanie also discussed their roles as Community Service Interns and why it is important for High School students to get involved in the community.

MassAppeal Show

South Hadley Students Help In the Fight Against Juvenile Diabetes

South Hadley High School students Juliet Chenier, Olivia Alderman, Jay Patruno, and Tess Gauthier participated in a walk at Six Flags for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). More than 3,000 people attended the walk to support research into the treatment and cure of juvenile diabetes.

Here is the link to the organization's web site

Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation

Tremendous job!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

GLEE and the Music Department

The Music Department has entered a contest hosted by the television show Glee in which they are trying to win a grant. The Music Department submitted a short video that will play on line. Please support the Music Department by voting for them at:

GLEE Voting Site

Friday, October 7, 2011


South Hadley High School students earned $9,000.00 through the AP Grant Program (MMSI) for the number of qualifying scores earned last year. The Grant provides students $100.00 for every qualifying score (3 or better) they receive. On Tuesday, students will receive individual checks, some totaling $500.00. Amazing!

Monday, October 3, 2011

MCAS Math Scores to be Revised

Just to let the community know, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education announced on Friday that MCAS Math scores will be revised due to a calculation error. South Hadley High School has been informed that with the mistake corrected, the High School Math Program did indeed make it's Annual Yearly Progress (AYP), as required by the No Child Left Behind Act.

Here is a link to the Boston Globe Article describing the issue:

Boston Globe Article Link

South Hadley High School Teams Up With Mt. Holyoke

South Hadley High School and Mt. Holyoke College will once again be teaming up to open the South Hadley Writing Center.

Our students have already attended an all day summit at the college to become familiar with the protocols of the writing center and have an opportunity to tour the campus and mingle with the college community. Starting next week eight Mount Holyoke SAW volunteers will be going to South Hadley High School once a week to mentor high school students in the SHHS Writing Center.

Here is a blogpost from Mt. Holyoke describing their day with the students: 

Mt. Holyoke Community Based Learning Blog

Monday, September 26, 2011

Wonderful Articles About Our Students

The Town Reminder was kind enough to cover our presentation of South Hadley's Fire and Police departments and our AP Kickoff event. Here is a link to the articles:

Town Reminder Online

SHHS Writing Center - Open for Business October 1

Last year, we opened the 'SHHS Writing Center'.  As you may recall, it was staffed by two MHC students who also work as 'Writing Mentors' on the MHC campus.  The purpose of the writing center is to help students improve their writing - from any class - by getting intensive 1:1 support from another person.  This year, we are expanding the Center in two significant ways:

- There will be 7 MHC students this semester, meaning that the Center will be open more hours
- There will be 5 of our own students who will be getting training from the MHC students and will be acting as 'Peer Writing Mentors'

The Writing Center is primarily a "drop in" service - students can access it if they have a study or academic tutoring.  However, teachers can also send students to the Center during class time (with a Pass). 

The hours that the Center will be staffed by MHC students will be:

Mondays:           12:30 - 2:30
Tuesdays:           8:30 - 10:30    
Wednesdays:      8:30 - 10:30   
Thursdays:         9:30 - 11:30   
Fridays:             10:30- 12:30

In addition, our own students will be staffing the Center E & G Blocks.  These students were recommended by teachers last year to act as peer writing mentors. Having students 'teaching' other students is a great way to model the type of behavior we hope to see from our students.  It also reinforces the idea that we are looking for students to apply themselves academically and help their classmates to do the same.

We hope that students take advantage of this great resource.  We are lucky to have Mount Holyoke in our area and their students can be an invaluable resource to us.  If you have any questions - please let me know.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

MCAS Results Released for the State

Here is a good link to examine the MCAS results for South Hadley and other school districts:

Boston Globe MCAS page

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Open House at High School

South Hadley High School will be hosting an open house for parents this evening. The program starts at 6:30pm in the auditorium and will run to 8:30pm. Parents should arrive to the open house with a copy of their student's schedule. You will attend each class.

Teachers will be going over the course objectives and expectations, homework requirements, grading system, and other teacher expectations. Additionally, teachers will be discussing how parents can support the academic efforts of their children and should be giving out a syllabus for the class.

Friday, September 16, 2011

South Hadley High School Pays Tribute To Our Fire and Police for Their Service

The high school invited the police and fire departments of South Hadley to the library today to thank them for their service. The high school chorus sang the national anthem, and Mr. McCarthy discussed with the forces the work the students at South Hadley High School have been doing to give back to their community. The high school presented each force with a commemorative September 11th flag, and displayed a banner created and signed by high school students recognizing the sacrifices that our services make to the community. The banner will be displayed during parent night at the high school and then at Town Hall.

Below is the text of the speech Ms. Eckert made at the ceremony:

September 16, 2011

Chief Authier, Chief Keefe, and Chief Labrie, 

We all know that many people died on 9/11, in New York, in Shanksville, and at the Pentagon, victims of the barbarous acts of 19 hijackers, misguided in their beliefs, but hitting 3 of their 4 targets. 

We know the names of those people who died. 

But thousands and thousands more were saved that day. People were carried down stairwells, shielded from falling debris, and evacuated to safety by trained and dedicated firefighters and police officers, and were given first aid by emergency medical technicians. 

We do NOT know the names of all of those people who were SAVED that day. 9/11 was a wake up call to improve our intelligence and security systems, but it also woke us up to the heroism in the line of duty of the first responders who did not hesitate to do what they are trained to do on that awful day. 

343 firefighters died that day. 
60 police officers died that day. 
15 EMTs died that day. 
And more than 2,000 first responders were injured that day. 
All in the line of their duty. 

9/11 reminds us to care for each other and value our communities, and to take notice of the first responders in our midst. 

You are trained to fight fires, rush us to hospitals, and keep us safe from crime. In short, you rescue us when we are in crisis, 
Always on standby, 
Always alert, 
Always ready 

And for this, 
You have our respect
You have our admiration, and
You have our gratitude. 

From our school, we give you these flags of honor, bearing the names of those killed on 9/11. 

And we have wonderful students to present a gift to you bearing the names of many of those you protect from harm on this day and every day. 

Thank you. 

Students Get a Tour of the Statehouse From Rep. Scibak and Attend Lecture

Four students from South Hadley High School, Betty Czitrom, Claire Lamberg, Christien Cardona, and Anna Wang, went to the statehouse to attend the 4th annual James Otis lecture at the statehouse. The keynote speaker was Hon. Margaret H. Marshall, chief justice (ret) Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts. 

After arriving earlier than expected, Ms. Mazur called Representative Scibak and he was gracious enough to interrupt his day and meet with our students and provide them a tour of the statehouse. As Ms. Mazur said "Representative Scibak gave us a private tour of all the places that people don't usually get to go!!" 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Massachusetts SAT scores released

The average SAT scores for Massachusetts students were released, and similar to the national averages, and the averages at South Hadley High School, they show a small decrease in score performance, but a rise in participation.

The Massachusetts, South Hadley and National scores:

                           Massachusetts        South Hadley            National Averages
Critical Reading: 505                       494                            497
Math:                  521                       520                            514
Writing:               500                       494                            489

Boston Globe Article about the results

Interesting Article on the Use of iPads in School

Adopting the One to One Model in Schools

Here is the link to Burlington High School website describing their ongoing adoption of iPads:

Ipad One to One Page

High School Bulletin Link

High School Bulletin for September 15 2011

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

South Hadley Students attend State House Event

On September 8, 2011, at the State House in Boston, three of our AP students, Andrew Pettengill, Rosemary Morris, and Peter Lambert, helped the Massachusetts Math and Science Initiative announce their National and State Advanced Placement results. They were quite impressive and can be viewed here:

Advanced Placement Score Results 2011

South Hadley High School SAT scores

We have received our aggregate SAT scores for South Hadley High School for the Spring 2011 test, which are as follows:

Critical Reading: 494
Mathematics: 520
Writing: 494

We had 126 students participate in the exam, which is an increase of 26 students from the previous year. Over the next few weeks I will be working with the guidance staff and the department heads to examine the SAT data more closely and begin the development of a plan to improve our scores. The comparative scores will be posted to the Drive to 25 page.

Community Service by Our Students

The Student Council organized a trip to Monson to help clean up trees and brush from a back yard on Sept 11th.  11 Students from the Field Hockey team and student council members participated, as well as 3 staff members, Tara Cole, Heidi Ragno and Michelle Bussiere.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Student Announcement Recognizing the 10th anniverary of 9/11

Today, at 8:47, our school had a moment of silence in recognition of the 10th anniversary of 9/11.  Three students - Julian Suarez (11th grade), Megan Pinciak (12th), and Sophia Kebbede (11th) read the following announcement to the school:

On Sunday, our country will be taking time out to remember the tragic events of September 11th, 2001.  On that day, men driven by hate and intolerance killed almost 3,000 people.  In spite of those efforts to tear our country apart, in the days and months that followed, millions of Americans gave of themselves to help make our country a better place.  Some helped clear wreckage in Manhattan, some joined the military to help protect our nation, and many more found ways to give back to their own community. What we learned from that heartbreaking day was that in order to preserve the country we love, we all have a responsibility to give back. Dr. Martin Luther King once said, “Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'.  He knew back then what many of us came to realize after 9/11 – that if we want to create a better world where events like 9/11 will never happen again, it starts with helping those around us.

It's easy to forget that 9/11 wasn't just about America -- the attacks shocked the whole world, and about one fifth of the victims were not US citizens. September 11th should  be a day of learning -- learning about the many cultures and ideas that make up our world. All of us are lucky to spend our days in a place of rich ethnic, racial, religious, and ideological diversity . Even as we unite to remember the many lives lost on 9/11, let's also take the time to learn about, and celebrate, the differences between us. 

South Hadley High School has a great tradition of service. Last year alone we held the largest can drive in our history to help ease hunger in our own community; dozens of us walked for breast cancer, sang songs to the elderly at Christmas, served holiday meals at Kate's kitchen, and sold baked goods for cancer. When our town started a food pantry in January(?), hundreds of us mobilized to organize the donations that allowed to pantry to open its doors. When Monson High School was hit by a devastating tornado last spring, we raised thousands of dollars in record time to help their recovery efforts, and this fall we are still working to help them rebuild.  This year, we hope to do even more - but we’ll need your help.  Find a way to get involved in one of these projects or help start one of your own.  

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Stop and Shop Fundraiser

On September 8, 2011, Stop and Shop will begin accepting registrations for its A+ School Rewards program. The program donates 2.5million dollars, and the amount of money that a school receives is based on the number of "points" a school earns. One dollar spent equals one point. It is a great opportunity for the high school to support innovative initiatives of our teachers.

Here is the link to register your card:

Stop and Shop A+ Program

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

September 11th Remembrances

South Hadley High School will be acknowledging the 10th anniversary of September 11th through a series of events. Here is a photo of Mr. Sullivan and students assisting Ms. Eckert in putting up a 9/11 timeline that she will be working with her class to develop.

Welcoming New Students To Our District

This morning the high school formally welcomed the new students to our district and to our high school. The students were treated to some snacks and a scavenger hunt. It was a great opportunity for students to connect with each other. Thank you to Jane Rathbun and the Guidance Staff for putting it together.

Some Great Work By Our Students!

'Gleaners' from South Hadley church raise awareness about hunger and water

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A message from our wonderful librarian

       This year, SHHS library will keep extended hours on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday until 3pm. Mondays and Fridays the library will close at 2:30. Extended library hours are subject to change depending on staff availability, but we try hard to keep them consistent. 

        The SHHS library has 14 copies of Greg Mortensen's book "Three Cups of Tea" to give away. Please email if you would like a copy. 

Teachers Collaborating with Teachers

The photo below is of teachers working together in the new collaboration room in the library at South Hadley High School. Through the hard work of Bill Evans and Ted McCarthy, we were able to schedule each teacher to a collaboration period. The purpose of the period is for teachers from all disciplines to discuss best practices and school improvement initiatives. The research is clear that teacher collaboration across disciplines is a driving vehicle for higher student achievement.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Fire Drill

Just to let parents know, we conducted our first fire drill of the year. The students and staff were excellent in evacuating the building in approximately three minutes. We will continue to work diligently with the Fire Department and the Police Department to ensure that our students will be safe in the event of a real emergency.

AP Scores Update!

I am extremely pleased to announce that South Hadley High School has seen tremendous gains in AP scores and AP participation over the past year. An initiative started by Dan Smith at the high school, saw the implementation of the MMSI grant at the high school. The purpose of the grant program is to increase student participation and success in AP classes and AP exams in the areas of Math, English, and Science. Here is their website

The increase in participation since 2010 to 2012 (current school year) in the targeted areas are:

Math = 187% (23 to 66 students)

Science = 40% (33 to 46 students)

English = 202% (36 to 109 students)

The increase in qualifying scores (a qualifying score is 3 or better) since 2010 to 2011 is:

Math = 23% (17 to 21)

Science = 67% (9 to 15)

English = 74% (31 to 54)

The first part of the initiative is to motivate students to challenge themselves by taking AP classes, so we are very pleased to see such increases in our scores so early in the program's implementation. We will be having our AP kick off day at the high school soon. We will continue to work with our students to have them challenge themselves!

I will post all the AP scores to the Drive to 25 page.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Successful First Day!

Thank you to all the students and the staff for such an amazingly smooth opening day at South Hadley High School. While we continue to work through some minor schedule conflicts, the students were engaged and excited to be back. I really appreciated all the warm good wishes from them, and the wonderful pink balloons that greeted me this morning.

I am providing a link for the 9th grade parents to the power point presentation that Assistant Principal Bill Evans showed during the Freshman orientation night. This power points outlines our plan to assist the Freshmen class in transitioning to the high school.

Tracks To Success Powerpoint

The Seniors Bring a ROARING start to the new school year

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Revised Opening Day Schedule

Good Afternoon, 

Below is the revised opening day schedule for students and staff at South Hadley High School: 
  1. Wednesday, 8/31/11: First day of school for students.  This will be a modified Day 2, with the day starting in Advisory.  After Advisory, the schedule will be: A, C, D, E, F, G.  We will also do staff (only--no students) ID pictures on this day.  At some point you will need to make your way to the back gym and get your picture taken.
  2. Thursday, 9/1/11: This will be a Day 3, and we will not do pictures and class meetings on this day.  Grynn & Barrett could not accommodate us on this day, so we will not disrupt classes at all.
  3. Friday, 9/2/11: Regular Day 4 (A, B, C, E, F, G).
  4. Tuesday, 9/6/11: This will be picture and class meeting day.  We will run a regular Day 5, but we will be calling students down to the auditorium for meetings and to the back gym for pictures.
Please stop by the main office if you have any questions or concerns. Students who do not know where their advisory is should see their Assistant Principal or Guidance Counselor. 

Welcome Students, Parents and Community!