Weekly News and Notes, 1/8
We have several updates from UHS this week. With apologies, this week's message is more lengthy than usual, because there are many items to share with families.
Military Request for Information, Classes of 2022 and 2023
Each year, under the provision of the Solomon Amendment, which was passed by Congress in 1996, we are required to give access to military recruiters in the form of campus visits and lists with student information. This information actually overrides FERPA, and it gives military recruiters the right to receive data designated as student recruiting information. Denying that information can put the school at risk of losing federal funds.
Typically, we are able to provide access to the campus and thus not have to worry about sharing information. This year is obviously different. As a result, we have been asked to comply with the Solomon Amendment, including the release of parent emails to military recruiters for the Classes of 2022 and 2023 (current juniors and sophomores).
According to our School's Student-Parent Handbook (page 55): "According to the provisions of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA Section 9528), schools are now required to provide students’ directory information upon request to military recruiters and/or institutions of higher learning. If parents/guardians do not want their children’s name, address, telephone number, and/or parent email to be released to third parties, they should notify the Principal in writing." An email to the principal will suffice.
Early College Course Availability
For our juniors and seniors, we have an entire catalog of courses available for this spring that can be taken virtually through our partners at Quinsigamond Community College. All of these classes will earn students three college credits at a significantly reduced cost. The credits transfer to all Massachusetts and New England public colleges and universities and most private institutions. More than 50 of our students earned credit this semester in English classes offered through the school; a full listing can be found here. The QCC classes do have a cost associated with them.
Courses start on January 21, so reach out to any of the school counselors if interested. This is a terrific opportunity!
There is an attached flyer for the next meeting of the Uxbridge Special Education Parent Advisory, scheduled for January 13 at 7:30 p.m. The meeting is virtual and will be held at: https://zoom.us/j/
Food Service Manager
Congratulations are in order for Ms. Janice Ouellette, who will be serving our school as the new kitchen manager for Uxbridge High School food service. Ms. Ouellette has been on the staff for a few years and has been an active member of our school community. We wish her well in this new role!
The Commissioner shared an update of a recommendation he is going to make to the Board of Education regarding MCAS, specifically looking at the Class of 2021 and testing requirements. There will still be a test for students in grades 3-8 this year, and for students who are seniors who may not have passed the test, we now have options with respect to determinations that will assist with earning a diploma.
It woulda appear from the Commissioner's statement that the goal for grades 3-8 is to use the test diagnostically to determine what kinds of losses or gains students have made, individually and collectively, considering the challenges of the pandemic. There has yet to be a decision made on any relaxing of graduation requirement for students in the Classes of 2022, 2023, or 2024.
Basketball Practices & Athletics
Our girls basketball practices started this week. Having seen some other leagues start competition in basketball and hockey, we are hopeful that the start of our season will commence without many more hiccups. The boys' team should begin practice on Monday.
Again, we appreciate everyone's understanding. We continue to make decisions in the best interest of safety. As there are now just four schools in our league who are continuing with a winter season, we hope people understand the significance of our efforts to bring this season to fruition.
That being said, we are equal parts grateful and concerned about ski club, which is not a school-sponsored club so does not have the same requirements as us in terms of athletics. There were many photographs circulated from the mountain and bus of our students who participate in ski club - which are awesome - but not following distancing guidelines, masking requirements, or other steps that we have put in place in school - which is not. We take no issue with the organization or these opportunities and truly are grateful for the amazing volunteers who are supporting this for our students, but we admittedly get nervous when we see multiple students, without masks, eating together and/or well within six feet.
We understand that kids will be kids - we expect it and appreciate normalcy, speaking as a parent myself. But we also hope families can reiterate the need for following recommended safety guidelines at all times, since these actions can impact us all, particularly with the trends of numbers in Massachusetts, so that all these opportunities do not end up compromised.
Follow-Up to the Capitol Incident
First, many thanks to those of you who offered feedback on our approach to the incident at the Capitol. We strive to provide our students learning opportunities that are grounded in authenticity, and to see our teachers jump headfirst into tackling difficult conversations that were spirited, compassionate, and respectful of various perspectives was particularly heartening this week. Teachers also used this as an opportunity to weave in conversations about rhetoric, responsibility, art analysis, voting, and the proliferation of hate groups, to name a few topics - and not merely in history classes.
We appreciate greatly the effort of teachers and students to find a way to navigate the difficult conversations and engage our students in a way that was appropriate for the historical significance and respectful of the student perspectives, most significantly sharing with them our collective responsibility to each other, to our community, and to our nation.
We wish everyone a safe and enjoyable weekend.
Michael Rubin, Principal
Uxbridge High School