HWRHS Commended Students in the 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program

Mr. Eric Tracy, Principal, of Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School announced today that Louise C. Bassom, Owen W. Leonard, Nidhi Pillai, have been named Commended Students in the 2021 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 2021 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 2021 competition by taking the 2019 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 – Important information about school meals for all children

On August 31, 2020 the USDA announced that school meals for all children will be available free of charge until December 31, 2020 or until funds run out!! 

Q. What does this mean to Hamilton-Wenham families? 

A. All meals served in school or at our remote pick up will be free for all children aged 2 – 18 

Q. What if my children are not enrolled at HWRSD? 

A. You can still participate in our remote distribution, click here for more information on how to preorder and pick up times and location. 

Q.  Do I still need to fill out a Free Meals application? 

A. Yes, we encourage any family that thinks that they qualify for Free or Reduced Priced meals to apply.  This will allow for a smooth transition when we begin serving meals in the traditional way.  If you have already received a letter from the district letting you know that you have been approved for free or reduced meals, you do not need to complete an application.  This benefit will apply for the entire school year. 

Q. If my child is in school, can he/she still pick up a remote meal? 

A. No, we ask that children only take one meal per day, whether in school or not. 

Q. What if I my children are enrolled at HWRSD but we live in another town? 

A. Children are allowed to pick up meals at any “open site” – click here to see if there is a site closer to your home where you can pick up a meal. 

Q. Will you be offering breakfast as well? 

A. No, HWRSD is not mandated to serve breakfast and will not be adding that meal at this time. 

Catherine A. Donovan, M.Ed., SNS

Director of Nutrition Services


HWRHS – Seasonal Coaches/Families Meeting Date Set

Next Tuesday, September 15th at 6:00 PM, the seasonal Coaches-Families Meeting will take place regarding Fall Athletics via Zoom.

The first session will be the general assembly where the Athletic Department will cover all our mandated topics plus a healthy discussion regarding our unique situation this Fall.  Toward the end of that session, the Athletic Department would like to answer your COVID related questions.  Please use this FALL ATHLETICS SURVEY to submit your questions ahead of time.  We will take the most common questions and themes and address them.  

In the meantime, many of your questions will be answered by clicking here.

Following the general assembly, each sport will have a breakout session to discuss particulars of that sport.  

Zoom links to follow.  Questions submitted through Saturday Night will be considered.  

HWRHS – Opening letter to parents and students

Hi everyone,

Thank you for your patience as we work towards opening school.  This has been frustrating for me and I am sure for you as well because I usually have more information in your hands by now.  This letter will outline the first week and start of school. 

The high school will begin using the all remote schedule during the week of  September 14th.  This will allow teachers to begin building relationships and connections with all of their students before the shift to the hybrid model. In addition, students will have the opportunity to meet their teachers, get back into “school mode”, and obtain the work necessary to transition to the hybrid schedule in a week or two. All scheduled classes will meet via Zoom during the week of September 14th. 

During the past two weeks and into this week, our staff and faculty have been at the high school working on the development of lessons, units, and learning opportunities for our students.  They have participated in professional development to help them to redeploy their own knowledge as it pertains to hybrid and remote learning situations.  To say the least, they are doing an amazing job honing their tech skills!


Student schedules are nearing completion and will be available in Aspen by the end of the day on Wednesday. School counselors will be available to meet with students by phone, virtual appointments, or email to discuss any schedule changes. The only changes that will be allowed are those that will fill in missing classes in a student’s schedule at this time no other changes can be made.  Please access the counselor scheduling link here.

 Remote Attendance Policy 

  1. Attendance will be taken each day at approximately 7:40 AM by the first-period teachers, as well as in other synchronous classes.
  2. Attendance will be taken during all synchronous classes. 
  3. All absences, whether virtual or in-person, will be managed in accordance with the school’s attendance protocols.
  4. Students must show their full faces while on remote learning.  Teachers may, at their discretion, allow modifications to this requirement.  
  5. Students will attend a remote learning class in an environment that is appropriate for learning.  (ex: not in bed/ bathroom)
  6. Students will be dressed appropriately, according to the clothing guidelines found in the student handbook.

Google Classroom 

All teachers will use Google Classroom to share information and class materials with their students. Students will need to check their school email accounts at the end of this week to access class codes sent by their teachers. Students who are new to the district can expect to receive email access information this week. 


Similar to a normal school year, all assignments will be graded. Students can expect to see letter grades (A-F) on their report cards. The grade book in Aspen will be updated at least every fifteen school days, as it was previously.  Here is a link to important dates for the high school that contains the current marking period dates. 

One thing I have learned throughout the pandemic is that all learning doesn’t necessarily happen in the classroom with a teacher.  As human beings, we are finely tuned to continue to be curious and to grow and learn by all of our experiences, not just certain ones.  Our kids are curious and have continued their own learning throughout the last few months, even without our help.  We are working on ways to take advantage of this by developing longer-term projects and group opportunities for problem-solving while fully integrating the technologies we have available.

It will be important to support our students in some of the usual ways, but also in new ways as we proceed through the ups and downs of this school year. It didn’t take us long in the spring to learn how important school relationships can be for our kids.  This year we have designed an advisory that places approximately 10-12 students with an adult in our building.  These small group meetings will open the doors to strong personal connections and give us opportunities to identify when someone may need some assistance.  

After the decision to pivot to remote was made, I have been told that the boards of health may be revisiting their metrics this week. Although we are starting the school year in a remote model, we will more than likely shift in a week or two to the hybrid model.  Flexibility will be an important behavior to model as we move forward. As I wrote the fourth version of this letter, due to adjustments and changes over the last couple of weeks, I realized just how flexible we will need to be.  I am confident that our staff, students, and families will come together to be sure that we have and maintain a safe school year for everyone. 

Thank you for your support throughout the last few months! Together we can make this a great school year for our kids!


Eric Tracy

HWRHS – What is the difference between a hybrid with remote option and all remote for our students?

Model 1-Hybrid with Remote Option

Hybrid Model:

Most HWRHS families have elected to have their student(s) participate in the hybrid model.  Students in the Hybrid model will be divided into two groups, blue and silver.  Each of the groups will come to school on two days and work from home on the other three days.  We will follow the normal school hours (7:40 AM – 2:20 PM) on the in-person days, but only have four blocks each day that are approximately 90 minutes long.

As an example, 

Blue group

Students will come to school on Monday and Tuesday and then stay at home on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.  

Silver group

Students will work from home on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday and come to school on Thursday and Friday.

Remote during hybrid:

If a family has elected to keep their students in the remote model while we are in hybrid, then the students will work from home all five days of the week.  Students will piggyback the hybrid model.  They will be assigned to the same classes and periods as the hybrid students, except they will not attend in the in-person days.  Due to technology limitations and confidentiality issues, classes can not be live-streamed.

A student who is remote will access all of the work via Google Classroom.  Students who are remote can also access their teachers on Wednesdays during office hours and we have designated teachers in Math, Science, Social Studies, English, and Foreign Languages to be available for content-specific questions students may have.

Model 2-All Remote

All Remote

We have designed our two models to allow us to easily shift from hybrid to remote.  If we have to switch to an all-remote model, due to an increase in metrics, as determined by the district COVID Management Team, we can transition smoothly with the only change being the daily schedule.  When we shift to an all-remote model, we will follow the usual HS schedule with some time modifications.  For example, classes would be 55 minutes in length and at least half of each student’s classes will be synchronous (face-to-face using Zoom).

News from the HWRSD nurses

“Dear Parents, Students and Staff,Congratulations to our Hamilton Wenham Regional High School Class of 2020.  This week’s newsletter focuses on preventing mosquitos borne illness, the importance of getting vaccines for preventable disease, and how to care for face coverings.  You may click here to see previous newsletters.   Wishing you a pleasant weekend. Stay Safe, Be Positive, Be Healthy. 

Nurse Leader, High School:  Lea Tabenkin – l.tabenkin@hwschools.net, 978-468-0409

High School:  Gwen McDonald –  g.mcdonald@hwschools.net,  978-468-0420

Miles River Middle School:  Maribeth Ting – m.ting@hwschools.net, 978-468-0390

Buker School:  Lisa Druskat –  l.druskat@hwschools.net, 978-468-5337
Cutler School: Lynne Nardella – l.nardella@hwschools.net, 978-626-8545

Winthrop School:  Jessica Baker – j.baker@hwschools.net, 978-468-5346″