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Principal's Newsletter

September 2019

Principal's Message | One to One Initiative | Summer Reading - September 11th

Required Office Hours | Library - Open for Business! | Parent Forums

Principal's Message

The beginning of the 2019-2020 school year has been exciting and busy!  We have been completing several facilities projects, implementing our 1:1 initiative (see below for more details) and finalizing schedule changes.  The students have been warmly welcomed back, as the building is just not the same without them!  Freshman Orientation was a great success with our greatest turn out of parents to kick off their children’s transition to high school, as well as a busy day of activities for the newest members of our Spaulding Community.  

We want to encourage parents and guardians to reach out early and often about any questions, concerns or feedback.  Your child’s teachers and counselor are generally the first points of contact, but administration can also be contacted.  We, at Spaulding High School, are committed to every student having a dynamic experience through their academics, athletics and club activities.

One to One Initiative

Last month, we notified parents and students that we would be embarking upon issuing each student at Spaulding High School, a chromebook.  We have now completed our distribution of the devices.  We have been experiencing difficulty with our network (unrelated to the issuance of chromebooks) and still have some details to complete around printing stations in several places in our building, but overall, we are very excited to put devices directly into the hands of students to enhance their learning experience while at Spaulding High School.  With the assurance that students will have dependable access to devices, we anticipate our curriculum becoming even more dynamic, as well as moving even more to a paperless system.

If students experience difficulty with their devices, they should report it to the technology team in the library.  Further details about the chromebooks and expectations can also be found at Chromebook Handbook on our website,

Summer Reading - September 11th

Last spring, most students signed up for their summer reading book and have had the summer to complete their summer reading.  On September 11, all students and many staff will meet in small book groups to discuss their summer reading choices.  The book groups are diverse between all grade levels of students as well as different content area teachers, para-educators and other staff facilitating the discussions.  These discussions are great opportunities to hear a wide array of opinions, perspectives and insights, as well as build connections between students and staff.  The summer reading rubric indicates how students are assessed for their English classes. 

Please note, on September 11th we will be following an assembly day schedule to allow for the afternoon meeting time.  All students are expected to participate in their reading groups. 

Required Office Hours

Ever since the onset of Proficiency Based Grading in Vermont, we have continued to transform our teaching practices to better meet the needs of our students.  In recent years, we implemented Reassessment Days to give students one more day to meet their proficiencies, and while those days seemed productive, they also allowed students to develop poor academic habits.  Teachers have collaborated, problem-solved and refined our system that would better support our students in developing habits that are transferable across disciplines.  In summary, our new system includes:
•    Frequent check-ins with the classroom teacher so students know what is expected of them on a weekly basis (“Weekly Check-Ins”) at the start of the academic week
•    Designated time for students to meet with classroom teachers 1-on-1 (“Required Office Hours”) for students not meeting expectations regarding proficiency
•    A working, shareable document (shared with parents, the student’s teachers, case manager and counselor) that outlines precisely what students need to be working on to get back on track (“Plan for Academic Success - A.K.A “PAS”)

Progress grades will continue to be reported every three weeks to inform parents of how their student is doing in class, but the following school day will have a different schedule.  Classes will end at 11:00 AM, and the afternoon will have scheduled time for students not meeting expectations to meet with their teacher in smaller groups to make a plan for how they can reach proficiency and start working on their plans. 

The following documents will hopefully answer any questions:
•    Google Presentation - This slide show was presented to students the opening week of school
•    Handbook - Summary of Required Office Hours in the Parent & Student Handbook (pg.21-23)
•    Required Office Hours - A detailed document provided to all teachers and support staff

If you have additional questions, please feel free to contact Brenda Waterhouse at

Library - Open for Business!

Over the summer, the SHS library was reorganized and remodeled.  The upgraded space allows for more flexible seating, including stand up work stations and booths.  A beautiful new circulation desk has been moved to the center of the library, to allow for easier access, visibility and supervision.   A fresh coat of paint and new carpeting , along with reorganization of the shelving really brightens the space.  The reorganization also allows for a larger meeting space for larger meetings and whole class presentations.  The window instillation connects the library, the center of our school community, with the rest of the building, making it a warm and inviting space.

The library is open for students from 7:00 AM to 3:45 PM daily.  We encourage students to frequent the library, especially before and after the regular school day. 

Parent Forums

We will continue to hold monthly parent/guardian forums.  These forums are intended to share information and provide discussion opportunities for feedback, input and questions.  Due to limited attendance to our previous forums, we are changing the time of day to better suit families.  We will be holding our forums on the first Tuesday of the month from 7:00 AM to 8:00 AM.  We hope that parents and guardians will drop in, share a cup of coffee, and participate in discussions on a variety of topics related to their child’s education.