HWRHS End Distracted Driving Presentation

This morning our students were part of a distracted driving presentation by the Massachusetts Academy of Trial Lawyers and the Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation.  The presentation was interesting and informative.  There are also some scary statistics related to distracted driving.  I found these on the End Distracted Driving website:

  • 37,461 lives were lost on U.S. roads in 2016, an increase of 5.6% from 2015 (data not yet available for 2017) NHTSA
  • 10% of fatal crashes and 15% of injury crashes in 2015 were distraction-affected. NHTSA . (The NSC estimates that cell phone related crashes alone accounted for  27%  of 2015 car crashes – let alone other distractions)
  • In 2015, there were 3,477 people killed and an estimated additional 391,000 injured in crashes involving distracted drivers NHTSA
  • The fatal crash rate for teens is 3 times greater than for drivers age 20 and over (IIHS), with driver distraction responsible for more than 58% of teen crashes AAA Foundation

As an adult watching the presentation, I found it most fascinating when one of our students said, my dad gets mad at me when I tell him not to drive distracted.  WOW!  I initially didn’t really think the presentation related to me as an adult.  I quickly realized that distracted driving pertains to ALL OF US.  A point made clear by today’s presentation.

While some of the videos were a little corny, they actually made some strong points that kids understood.  I thought this one made the biggest impact.   After watching the video, the presenter asked, “Why wouldn’t you text during a game?”  Student answer, “You have to stay focused on the game.”  Presenter:  “Why wouldn’t you want to be focused when you are driving?”  SILENCE.  Point made.

Tomorrow, we will meet as a school in the same book groups we met with at the beginning of the year.  This will allow all of us to take part in the discussion while reinforcing some of the important points of the presentation.  If you would like more information, check out the End Distracted Driving website.

Thank you to HWRHS Student Government for bringing this presentation to HW!




Reimagining school…a HW journey.

Since the start of the school year Cutler Elementary Principal, Jen Clifford and I have been talking about ways to help our teachers to look more closely at learning while also thinking about the questions, What is Learning? and What does deep and powerful learning look like?

During the last six weeks, teachers from the HS and Cutler Elementary have been visiting each other’s classes to see how learning is approached at each level.  In the last couple of weeks, the MS has also jumped in with us.  During these visits, we walk through various classrooms and observe, keeping the two main questions in mind while also staying open to new ways we could apply what we experience.

Usually, the elementary and high school levels are thought not to have much in common, but during their visits, our teachers have been able to identify ways in which they can “borrow” or adjust a practice to help them to design better learning opportunities.  Elementary practices like using the walls to support or visualize learning have been starting to appear on HS classroom walls.  Small group remediation/support and removing desks from the classroom have also been ways teachers have tried to reimagine how kids learn in their classes.


A HS Biology classroom.

As we continue on our learning journey, fifteen teachers at the HS are participating in a book group to discuss the book Timeless Learning.  Each Monday afternoon we meet to discuss two chapters of the book.  The discussions have been lively and have also pushed us to challenge our current thinking about ways kids learn.

Think about a learning opportunity that has stuck with you.  Why does it stick?  Was it because you were sitting in rows in class or because a bell rang every 45 minutes?  I would guess it was authentic, you had some level of agency, you were interested in the topic, and you wanted to learn more about the topic?  How do we make those same connections for kids so that learning sticks and they want to learn more?


HWRHS 2018-19 FALL Championship Season Updates – UPDATE (11/2/18 – 10:00 AM)

HW Boy’s Soccer (7-6-3) has earned the #14 seed in the upcoming Division IV North State Tournament.  The General’s will host #19 Stoneham in Preliminary Round action.  There has been a time, day and location change for this game.  The game will now be played at Triton Regional High School on Saturday, November 3rd at 3:00 PM.  There will be free admission to the contest.

Congratulations to HW Volleyball on their 3-0 victory over Madison Park last night in the MIAA Division II Preliminary Round at HWRHS.  With the win, the Generals will travel to Lynnfield High School to face the Pioneers in the next round on Saturday, November 3rd at 4:00 PM.  Ticket Prices will be $7 for Adults and $5 for Students / Seniors.

Congratulations to HW Football (6-2) on their 21-0 victory over Austin Preparatory School this past weekend in the MIAA Division VI North Quarterfinal Round.  With the win, the Generals advance to the North Semi-Finals against #3 Northeast Regional on Saturday, November 3rd at 2:00 PM.  There has been a location change for this game.  The game will now be played at Manchester-Essex Regional High School.  Kick-off remains at 2:00 PM and there will be free admission to the contest.

HW Girl’s Soccer (8-4-4) has earned the #9 seed in the upcoming Division III North State Tournament.  The General’s will travel to Lynnfield High School to face the 8th seeded Pioneers in 1st Round action on Friday, November 2nd at 3:45 PM.  Ticket Prices will be $7 for Adults and $5 for Students / Seniors. 

Congratulations to HW Cheer and Girl’s Cross Country.  Both teams won CAL Sportsmanship Awards at their respective league events yesterday!

Tournament season approaching fast for the Generals!

2018-19 FALL Championship Season Updates (10/22/18)

HW Golf (14-0, CAL Champs) takes part in the MIAA Division III North Sectional Championships on Monday, October 22nd at Far Corners Golf Course in Boxford.  Tee Time is set for 9:00 AM.

HW Boy’s & Girl’s Cross Country will compete in the CAL Championships on Saturday, October 27th at Bradley Palmer State Park in Topsfield, MA.  Races are scheduled to begin at 9:00 AM.  The HW Girl’s Cross Country team has already earned the Regular Season CAL Title.

HW Football (5-2, 3-0) has earned the #2 Seed in the Division VI North State Tournament.  They will host #7 Austin Preparatory School in the Quarterfinal Round on Saturday, October 27th at 1:30 at HWRHS.  Game Day details and information will be posted later this week to this space on the website.  The Generals have earned at least a share of the CAL Title for the second year in a row.

Details re: Girl’s Soccer and Volleyball have all qualified for the State Tournament.  Details will be announced in the middle of next week for those programs.  


For Immediate Release


The principal, Mr. Eric Tracy, of Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School announced today that Elizabeth M. Gasiorowski, Nicholas A. Glovsky, William C. Glovsky, Dimitri J. Lara, Sean E. Li, Emily H. Minster, Richard D. Paul, and Lauren H. Verge, have been named Commended Students in the 2019 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 2019 competition for National Merit Scholarship awards, Commended Students placed among the top 50,000 scorers of more than 1.6 million students who entered the 2019 competition by taking the 2017 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®).

“The young men and women 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.”

Learning and the process of re-accreditation at HWRHS

This summer I was involved in an incredible professional learning opportunity called Change School.  This opportunity opened doors to me that have forever changed my thoughts and feelings about what I believed I knew about education and more specifically, learning.

Change School coaches and all of the members of the community completely challenged me to really reimagine school using modern contexts and modern lenses.  Sounds complicated, doesn’t it?  After a few uncomfortable weeks, I really figured out how the ideas and contexts of our discussions and writing supported the ideas of reimagining school.  One quote really stuck with me.  “If we didn’t have today’s schools, would we create today’s schools?”  Well, would we?  I’m still wrestling with that one and many others.

The biggest take away for me was a simple set of questions:

  • What is learning?
  • What does deep and powerful learning look like?
  • How do I create the environment to support deep and powerful learning?

WOW!  That was my first repose as I thought about these questions for the next weeks and now months.

Now, we begin the process of re-accreditation at the high school and I am delighted to see that the entire new accreditation process in centralized around learning.  The 5 Standards of Accreditation include:

Learning Culture, Student Learning, Professional Practices, Learning Support, Learning Resources.

Amazing!  I look forward to a multi-year journey with teachers, students, and parents to develop a strong set of beliefs around learning while also working towards new and innovative ideas that will “promote an effective learning organization with the capacity to meet the needs of all students through continuous reflection and growth.”  (NEASC Standards Booklet)


HWRHS – Opening of school

This year we welcomed 140 new 9th grade students into the Generals family.  After two days of orientation, the Class of 2022 is acclimating well to their new school environment.  We also welcomed 24 new students via the school choice program to bring our total number of student to 568.

It’s been a hot start to the year, but our students and teachers have worked hard to stay on track with the business of learning.  My visits to classrooms have been filled with lots of relationship building, talk about learning and in one class, the teacher wanted her students to tell her the qualities of a good teacher.

This year, a large part of our focus will be around the accreditation process.  We will work with teachers, parents, and students to develop committees related to the standards.  Our first order of business will be surveys that will go out to all teachers, parents, and students.  The results will give us a baseline to begin out discussions about what we believe about ourselves, our commitment to the community and our commitment to our students.  We will also examine our mission statement to see if it is really something we strive to meet and make changes if necessary.  The surveys will be sent out in the next few weeks,  Please take the time to complete one for us.

At this point, our add/drop sessions have ended and students are now working with solid schedules.  Please remember, if your child is having any issues with the amount of work, difficulty completing work or just staying organized, please let their teachers know.  It is easiest to communicate with teachers via email.  Teacher contact information can be found in Aspen.  If you have trouble logging into the parent Aspen portal, send an email to aspenhelp@hwschools.net.

One change students will see this year is related to our commitment to the social-emotional support of our students.  Guidance counselors will now be teaching with our PE/wellness teachers during the weekly health portion of the class to continue to educate our students about aspects of social-emotional education.

Our curriculum night is scheduled for Thursday, September 13th starting at 6:30.  Parents will head to homeroom to pick up your child’s schedule, and then follow the classes in order.  You will meet the teachers and hear about all they have planned for this school year.  Homeroom assignments will be posted in the front lobby.  Other information about the school year can be found on our calendar.

We look forward to a great school year and many wonderful learning adventures!