HWRSD – Working towards shared Core Values and Beliefs

Lately we have been talking and thinking about the future of our schools. The leadership team, teachers, parents and students been involved in three workshops with the members of the school committee.

Our first workshop had to do with the future. Specifically, what is the future we want to create? The impact of technology and an ever changing dynamic, global economy are driving changes that most schools are unable to keep up with as they educate their students.  Our kindergarten students will graduate in 2032. What will the world outside of school be like? How will they adapt as we prepare them for jobs that don’t exist?

This is an interesting video that we shared from Ted Dintersmith that outlines the future of work:

The second workshop had to do with an exploration of learning. We worked with members of school committee, parents, teachers and students to develop a draft definition of learning. We have also worked with our teachers to explore the topic of learning as well. Participants of the workshops were asked to think about one or two of their most memorable learning experiences. We also asked a few other clarifying questions:

  • Why do you remember it? 
  • Did you learn this yourself or did someone teach you?  
  • What was the environment?
  • What was the type of experience? 

The most interesting part was that the youngest student participants (3rd and 4th graders) said they learn best from Youtube.

After people wrote about their most memorable learning experiences on individual sticky notes, we asked them to categorize them by Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How or learning. After this, people were assigned to one of six groups to synthesize as many as 40 sticky notes per question.

This was the result:

The third workshop was entitles making the vision a reality. We worked with school committee members to introduce them to our school improvement plans and introduce the strategic objectives of our draft strategic plan. More importantly, we presented our WHY.

Simon Sinek speaks about the WHY.  He says, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” So why do we do what we do?  What is our why? ”Meeting the needs of all learners”.

We look forward to continuing the long, important journey to explore and develop our core values, beliefs, mission and vision. Be on the look out for invites to meetings and opportunities to get involved!

HWRHS Generals Athletic News for this week.

Congratulations to HW Girl’s Soccer on their 2-1 victory during Penalty Kicks over Bedford on Saturday in the Preliminary Round of the Division III North Sectional Tournament.  The Generals will advance to the next stage and travel to Austin Prep. in Reading (101 Willow Street) on Tuesday, November 5th at 6:00 PM.  Tickets are $5 for Adults and $3 for Students & Seniors.

HW Cheer will compete in the CAL Championships on Thursday, November 7th at North Reading High School.  The even begins at approximately 6:30 PM.

HW Football will travel to Victory Stadium in Watertown (40 Orchard Street) on Friday, November 8th for this week’s game to face the Raiders.  Kick-off is scheduled for 7:00 PM.  Tickets are $7 for Adults and $5 for Seniors.  JV Football will host Newburyport later this week either on Saturday at 10:00 or Monday at 3:30.  Stay tuned for updates as that information becomes final. 

HW Boy’s & Girl’s Cross Country will travel to Wrentham Development Center (131 Emerald Street in Wrentham) to compete in the Divisional Championships this Saturday, November 9th.  The times are TBA and will be updated on the HW Athletic Web Site, MaScores and @hwathleticdept Twitter account as the week progresses. 


The principal, Mr. Eric Tracy, of Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School announced today that Megan E. Amero, Miranda R. Boyd, Emily M. Caccivio, Elizabeth J. Dixon, Adelaide M. Gordon, John T. Kain and Erica R. Luo, have been named Commended Students in the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program.  A Letter of Commendation from the school and National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC), which conducts the program, will be presented by Mr. Tracy to these scholastically talented seniors.

About 34,000 Commended Students throughout the nation are being recognized for their exceptional academic promise.  Although they will not continue in the 2020 competition for National Merit Scholarship awards, Commended Students placed among the top 50,000 scorers of more than 1.5 million students who entered the 2020 competition by taking the 2018 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®).

“Those being named Commended Students have demonstrated outstanding potential for academic success,” commented a spokesperson for NMSC.  “These students represent a valuable national resource; recognizing their accomplishments, as well as the key role their schools play in their academic development, is vital to the advancement of educational excellence in our nation.  We hope that this recognition will help broaden their educational opportunities and encourage them as they continue their pursuit of academic success.”

HWRSD All Day Professional Development – What are we doing all day?

Today’s speaker, Will Richardson, our opening day speaker, has returned to help us to continue the difficult conversations that we need to have as we develop our beliefs at the school and district levels.

Will talks about the “illogic of the system”…Why we do the things we do if we know them to be illogical. One example he gave is sleep deprivation of teens. Given the research about teens and their sleep cycles and the start time of school, why do we continue to ignore research?

The vibe for the day: “Today is different”, The story of school is changing, yes there are challenges and there has never been a better time to be a learner.” The tools we have to enhance our abilities to connect and communicate is unprecedented. People can learn anytime, anywhere. He challenges us by asking, “What have you learned without a teacher?”

Schools and teachers are needed more than ever because this world is so complex. Having kids come to school with adults who care about them, can inspire them and give them tools to make sense of the complexity is a big deal.

He discusses the Modern Learners Lens. It includes, beliefs, contexts, and practices with a strong supportive culture of learning.

Image result for modern learners lens

While discussing the beliefs, Will underscores the “excruciating difficulty” of the work. This work “takes time, commitment and a willingness to understand the current modern contexts.” As an example, he talks about new literacies. Helping students to analyze and understand all that is available on the Internet. Fake news is the best example. How do kids know?

So, what is important to know in school now? People are arguing that schools are pretty far off base because what we are teaching is “in case” we need to know. We should be teaching kids to stay curious and to maintain a love of learning. He says, “which one billionth of everything available on the Internet should we teach?” Who should decide?

Around the globe schools have already solidified their beliefs. They emulate these beliefs throughout their schools by making decisions and living their beliefs every day. They essentially walk the talk. Some examples include:

The big question for HWRSD? What do we believe?

Stay tuned!!

HWRSD School Committee leadership team joint workshop

On Wednesday evening, I was a participant in an interesting workshop that was designed to help the district leadership team and the school committee members to begin to discuss and explore, “What is the future we want to create?”

Here is the opening slide deck:

The night was designed using the World Cafe Model for participants to be in small groups made up of a mix of teachers, administrators, and school committee members who moved at 20 minute intervals between three tables that had different prompts/provocations:

Each of the participants was given a passport to track their thoughts and their discussions with other table members.

After each group visited each of the 3 tables, we asked people to recap their thoughts into 3 categories, Wows!, Wonders? and Worries… Here are the responses.

One thing to note is that each group was seated at different types of furniture that is considered to be modern school furniture so they could also understand and experience the changes that can also be made within the school and classroom environments with flexible furniture that can roll and be configured easily into collaboration stations.

This work is the first step for us to work towards the next workshop, Deeper Learning.

HWRHS up coming college visits

College visits begin on Monday 9/16.  Currently we have more than 111 colleges scheduled to visit HWRHS this year. Students should check their email for more details. Here is a list of those visiting next week:

Gordon CollegeM9/16/2019B8:33 AM
Keene State CollegeT9/17/2019A8:33 AM
Massachusetts Maritime Academy*T9/17/2019D11:17 AM
Johnson & Wales University RIT9/17/2019E12:37 PM
Assumption CollegeT9/17/2019F1:30 PM
Salve Regina UniversityW9/18/2019D9:47 AM
University of Oregon*W9/18/2019E11:00 AM
College of CharlestonTh9/19/2019A7:40 AM
Lasell CollegeTh9/19/2019B8:33 AM
Southern New Hampshire UnivTh9/19/2019F10:04 AM
Rensselaer Polytechnic InstituteTh9/19/2019G1:30 PM
Northeastern UniversityF9/20/2019A8:33 AM
Colby CollegeF9/20/2019G12:37 PM
Sierra Nevada College*F9/20/2019F1:30 PM

New School Resource Officer for the HWRSD

Today was the first day at school for our new School Resource Officer, Kent Richards of the Hamilton Police Department. Kent is a graduate of the HW school district and is a familiar face around our schools. He has been instrumental in his work with the ALICE program, training of school staff. During the last few years he could often be seen walking the halls at the HS/MS or even teaching a class.

Officer Kent Richards, Hamilton PD

Officer Richards has a very distinct and important role in the HWRSD. He is someone who

  • who will foster positive relationships with students, staff and the community
  • who is able to assist with educational or instructional activities
  • who will be involved in school emergency management planning
  • who will investigate and respond to criminal misconduct
  • who will be available when there is reasonable fear for safety of students or personnel

Visibility is important as he forges new relationships across the district. He will be in and out of all five schools making connections with students, staff, parents and members of the community. There may be days he is teaching a class at one school and reading to students at another.

We are excited for this new addition to our schools as we all work together to keep our schools safe and secure while enhancing strong community ties.