Monday, December 31, 2012

Memorial Ceremony: January 4, 2013

Good afternoon, 
I hope that you are doing well and that you have enjoyed the chance to spend time with friends and family over the course of the past week. While I know that we are all looking forward to the start of the new year, I recognize that our thoughts are also focused on the approaching anniversary of the passing of Jack Street.

While we all often think of Jack and the impact he had on our lives, it is particularly at this time of year that we think of him and his family. With that in mind, I wanted to let the Nipmuc community know that we will hold a memorial ceremony at Nipmuc on the first anniversary of Jack’s passing – January 4, 2013.

At this time members of the Nipmuc community will come together for a formal ceremony in which we will honor his life, dedicate the bench that was presented as a gift from the Class of 2012, and participate in a moment of shared remembrance of our classmate and friend.

The ceremony will take place in the courtyard at Nipmuc Regional High School, where the bench that is dedicated in Jack’s name will be placed. The memorial will begin at 3:00pm and will be followed by a brief reception in the cafeteria.

Please feel free to let me know if you have any questions about this memorial ceremony.  Parents and students are welcome to join us. No RSVP is required.

John Clements

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Winter Semi-Formal Dance

Good afternoon,
I hope all is well for you and your family as we approach the holidays and a well-deserved vacation for our students.

I wanted to get in touch with you prior to the start of the new year so that you can mark your calendar for our annual winter semi-formal dance.  This dance is organized each year by our student council, and it is always one of the most anticipated student events of the winter. This year the dance will be held at the Myriad Ballroom in Mendon on January 26th from 7pm – 10pm.

Knowing that many of our students will use the vacation to shop for the dance, I wanted to offer a clear reminder prior to the event about the school’s dress code at these dances. Specifically, I wanted to clarify the guidelines of the dress code concerning dresses. Please be aware that:
  • At a minimum, dresses need to be long enough to reach the tips of the fingers when resting at one’s sides. (As a guideline, dresses should be at least mid-thigh in length.)
  • Dresses with plunging necklines or that inappropriately expose the body will not be acceptable. 

I am providing this reminder following increased concern about not only dress code at our dances, but also the way students are dancing at these events. I want to be sure that parents and students are aware of the guidelines prior to the event, as these concerns will be addressed on the evening of the dance.

As we approach the dance, I will offer additional reminders about the dress and dancing guidelines at the semi-formal. Mrs. Moran and I appreciate the efforts of parents in discussing these concerns with their children.

I am thankful for the input I have received from our student advisory council, parents, and school council in determining the guidelines for the dance and proactively supporting good decision-making at this event.

Please be aware that tickets will be on sale from Wednesday, January 16th through Wednesday, January 23rd. Cost is $20.00. Ticket sales are contingent upon student data sheets being turned in to the nurse. Tickets will not be sold to any student has not turned in their data sheet. These sheets are available in the main office.

Thank you,
John Clements 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Update to DECA Lock-in

As an update to the post about the overnight DECA lock-in,  I'd like to offer our sincere thanks to the Upton Police Department and Officer Carl Ambrosino for being with us this evening at the DECA lock-in. We appreciate that they continually go above and beyond to provide a safe environment for our students.

We are especially thankful for this additional assurance today, at a time when our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of the tragic events in Newtown, Connecticut.

Thank you, Chief Bradley and Officer Ambrosino for your support.

Up All Night for Pancreatic Cancer Awareness

Stephen Pihl and Emily Ciantra: Organizers of
the DECA event to promote awareness of pancreatic cancer
Later this evening, just as many of us will be thinking about getting some sleep, Nipmuc will welcome more than 200 students back to school to participate in an all night “lock-in.” Hosted by seniors Emily Ciantra and Stephen Pihl, the lock-in event is part of a DECA project aimed at raising awareness about pancreatic cancer. Running from 10pm – 7am, the event will provide a variety of activities to keep the students having fun including great food, movies, video games, and the main event of the evening – a volleyball tournament.

While the event is intended to provide a safe, enjoyable night of activity, the lock-in is not all fun and games. Stephen and Emily will begin the event by bringing all of the students into the Nipmuc auditorium where they will share information about pancreatic cancer and how many people and families are affected by this terrible disease. While they want our students to have an enjoyable night, they also want to be sure that they use this opportunity to educate them about the far-reaching effects of this form of cancer.

Stephen and Emily have worked long and hard on this project not only because they are motivated to be successful with their DECA project, but also because this is a cause that is close to their hearts. Last year this project to generate awareness for pancreatic cancer was run by a member of the Class of 2012 whose mom was battling this disease. This year, Stephen and Emily have adopted the project in her memory.

The night begins at 10pm here at Nipmuc. The brackets are set for the volleyball tournament that will be the highlight of the evening (and early morning). We ask that no outside food or drink be brought to the event. Our parents have worked hard to put food together, and the event is also being supported by donations from local businesses. Students will be asked to leave their bags in a “bag check” room. Chaperones will help students access their bags when needed. Additionally, all students attending the event need to remain at the lock-in throughout the entire event. Parents may dismiss their children beginning at 5am (with a note). All other students will be dismissed at 7am.

Thank you to DECA Advisor, Mr. Gary Perras for chaperoning this event as well as the many parent volunteers who are attending the evening, providing food, and working hard to support Stephen and Emily in their important project. We are also thankful for the support of the Upton Police Department, in particular, Officer Carl Ambrosino for spending the majority of the evening with our students.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Welcome, Class of 2017!

Good afternoon,
On Wednesday evening Nipmuc Regional High School will provide an informational presentation for students and parents of current eighth graders. We are excited to meet our prospective students, and we are looking forward to giving our eighth graders a preview of what will come during high school.

On Wednesday morning at 9:30am, our Dean of Students, Mrs. Mary Anne Moran, and I will be travelling to Miscoe Hill to meet with the current eighth grade class. At that time we will give a brief overview of our academic programming, extracurricular activities, and the student life at Nipmuc. At 7pm on Wednesday evening, we have invited eighth graders and their parents to the Nipmuc Regional auditorium to provide additional information about our school. Our class presidents will join us for both presentations, answering student questions in the morning and providing a student's perspective on life at Nipmuc.

In addition to hearing from administrators and our class presidents, eighth graders and their parents will also have the chance to meet with more than fifty Nipmuc students as they tour our facility, explore our clubs & activities, and learn about the programs that distinguish our school.

I look forward to seeing eighth graders and their parents on Wednesday!

Included below you will find a letter from our Freshman Class President, Matthew O'Brien, inviting our students and parents to learn more about Nipmuc.

Letter to Parents:

Monday, December 10, 2012

Pride and Prejudice

Image by Rose Wiklund
When I met with the elected board from Nipmuc Drama prior to this weekend's performance of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, I asked them about the highlights of their production. In sharing their thoughts about the play, they were quick to tell me about the strength of the characters. They assured me that all of the audience members could find a character that they could laugh with and be captivated by. Whether considering "sweet Jane," "stubborn Elizabeth," or "arrogant D'Arcy," the audience certainly enjoyed the chance to get caught up in the romance, comedy, and personalities that bring this story to life.

Congratulations to Director Elizabeth McCarthy and the Nipmuc Drama Guild for a production that drew the audience into the story of virtue, aspirations, social pressures, and relationships. Bravo!

Cast members from Pride and Prejudice

Crew members from Pride and Prejudice

Monday, November 19, 2012

Faculty and Students Together (FAST)

Good afternoon,

Faculty and Students Together day, or F.A.S.T. as it is commonly known, is a longstanding tradition at Nipmuc. On this day students participate in a number of competitions and group activities aimed at generating school spirit. It is a day of competitions and activities, highlighted by the school-wide pep rally that ends our day.

I am writing to you looking for help in building upon the success of last year's F.A.S.T. Through the work of our students, last year's event was a true success focused on school pride, volunteerism, and togetherness. I know that our student council has worked hard to make this year another success. In preparing for this, I am asking for the help of students and their parents in keeping the spirit of the day by following these guidelines:

  • During the pep rally negative chants directed toward other classes are not permitted. I specifically addressed this with our upperclassmen following the homecoming pep rally. The pep rally should be about school pride, not putting down other classes.
  • Students are encouraged to decorate the gym. Their signs need to be positive in nature and should not include statements intended to insult other classes or students.
  • The dress code remains in effect on Wednesday. School and class spirit are encouraged. Students need to remember the guidelines of the dress code when getting ready.
F.A.S.T. Events:
The following is a list of events and activities that will be taking place during F.A.S.T.
Bonfire: Tuesday, 5pm-7pm. Tickets are $2 and can be purchased through the end of the school day on 11/20. Students must buy tickets in advance. No ticket sales will take place on the evening of the bonfire. Students sign-in at the entrance to back fields (by the soccer field entrance along the main driveway of the building).

Activity sessions: Wednesday will feature two sessions of activities including such events as ping pong, volleyball, board games, Wii sports, dominoes, and banagrams. Students will participate in two of these sessions on Wednesday.  

Speaker: Nipmuc welcomes motivational speaker Scott Backovich. A nationally recognized motivational speaker, Scott will provide two presentations: one for freshmen and sophomores; one for juniors and seniors. 

Community service: As part of FAST students are collecting toys/art supplies/coloring books for children at Milford Hospital, raffling off an iPad (proceeds dedicated to various cancer funds ), collecting canned food for the food pantries, and running a Duct Tape a Teacher (or principal!) event run by the Special Nipmuc Olympic Warriors (SNOW).

Early dismissal:
As a reminder, students will be dismissed at 10:45am on Wednesday.

Thank you to our student council for organizing and running this event, and thank you parents your help in making the day a success.

John Clements

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Update from Nipmuc: 11/15/12

Parent/Teacher Conferences:
Thank you to all of the parents who attended yesterday’s parent/teacher conferences. Conferences will continue this evening from 6pm-8pm. As you make your way to the conferences, please bring your child’s report card with you in order to identify each of the teachers that you would like to see. A listing of teachers’ rooms will be available in the main lobby this evening.

FAST Activities:
Faculty and Students Together (FAST) will take place on Wednesday, November 21. As part of this day of school-wide activities and competitions, many of our students and groups are participating in fundraising activities to benefit local charities. Included below are some of the student-run activities that are taking place over the course of the next few days.
  • Sophomore Brett Alibozek is organized a drive to collect new coloring books, crayons, playing cards, and activity books for the Milford Hospital Emergency Center.  These donations will help to occupy children who are ill when they visit the hospital. Donations can be brought to the main office at Nipmuc. Donation boxes are also available at Clough, Memorial, and Miscoe Hill. Thank you for your support. Even the simplest donations will help. Please contact Brett Alibozek at with any questions.
  • The student council at Nipmuc will be running a canned food drive to benefit local food pantries. Students are encouraged to bring canned food to school. The class with the most canned food will win a Coffee Bean breakfast on Monday, 11/26.
  • The student council is raffling off an iPad to students on the day of FAST. Tickets are $2 each or 3 for $5. The class that raises the most money through the sale of raffle tickets will be eligible to win the iPad in the raffle. All money raised through this raffle will benefit the cancer funds adopted by each class.

FAST Activity Sign-ups:
Students can sign up for FAST activities beginning today. The online form to register for activities can be found through the @NipmucNewsTwitter account or on the school’s website.

Financial Aid Night: 
The guidance department will host its annual financial aid night presented by the Massachusetts Educational Finance Authority (MEFA). This event will take place on Wednesday, November 28 from 6:30pm - 8:30pm in the Nipmuc auditorium. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Winter Preseason Athletic Meeting: Change in Date

Good morning,
Please be aware that as a result of the girls' soccer district semi-final game, the Winter Preseason Athletic Meeting will be rescheduled to Tuesday, November 13 beginning at 6pm in the Nipmuc auditorium.

Come cheer for our girls' soccer team as they take on Holy Name at 3pm on Wednesday. This game will be held at Grafton High School.

Good luck, Warriors.
Good luck, Warriors!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Financial Aid Night

Good afternoon,
Included below you will find an invitation to attend the guidance department's annual Financial Aid Night. This presentation is typically attended by parents of seniors. Please review the information below for more details about this event.

Financial Aid Night:

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Parent/Teacher Conferences

Good afternoon,
As a reminder, parent/teacher conferences will take place at Nipmuc Regional High School on Wednesday, November 14 from 12pm-2pm and Thursday, November 15 from 6pm-8pm.

Please be aware that tomorrow, November 2, marks the end of the first marking term. Report cards for term one will be sent home with students prior to conferences on November 13.

Thank you very much. I look forward to seeing you on the 14th and 15th.
John Clements

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

MetroWest Adolescent Health Survey

Good morning,
I am writing to share some important information about a health survey that will be administered to all students at Nipmuc Regional High School on November 8, 2012. Nipmuc is one of 50 local schools in the MetroWest area that will be part of this survey.

Please review the letter below to learn about the topics covered, how to opt out, and frequently asked questions about the survey.

Letter to Parents:

MetroWest Survey Fact Sheet:

Thank you,
John Clements

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Daily Schedule at Nipmuc

Good afternoon,
I hope everyone weathered the storm and that you are doing well as we recover from Hurricane Sandy. As we prepare to return to school, I wanted to remind everyone that days missed for weather-related reasons are skipped in the 7-day cycle.

With this in mind, if we are able to return to school on Wednesday, students will be following the schedule for Day 1. The order of classes on Day 1 is A-B-C-D-E.

I wish the best in getting your power restored, your roads cleared, and your yards clean.
Best - John Clements

Friday, October 19, 2012

Special Nipmuc Olympic Warriors (SNOW)

Emma Alcott displaying the hand-painted
tote bags that benefit SNOW
One of the best aspects of the clubs and activities at Nipmuc is that so many of our student groups are focused on providing community service. Whether participating in Pay It Forward, STAND, the Impact Team, National Honor Society, or Student Council, Nipmuc's students have continually looked for different ways to volunteer and make a positive change in their community.

One of newest clubs on the scene at Nipmuc this year shares this focus of volunteerism. The "Special Nipmuc Olympic Warriors" (SNOW), started by Emma Alcott, Amber Calzone, and Lisa Slavin and advised by paraprofessional Tiffany Cote, is a student group that provides support for the Special Olympics. As members of SNOW, students will have the chance to work together with students in our VISTA and STAR programs in volunteer and support the Special Olympics.

We are fortunate to have students who often look for ways to stay connected to those students who face different learning challenges. Emma Alcott is a great example of student who has enjoyed the chance to develop friendships with students in our VISTA program. One of the ways that Emma has done this is by combining her passion for art education and her love of working with our students. Last year, she completed a year-long project in which she worked with students in the VISTA program, teaching them weekly lessons in art and developing meaningful relationships with them. Named after the block in our schedule that they met each day, Emma and the "A Gang" put together a series of art projects that we proudly displayed in our front lobby last year.

This year Emma is continuing her work with the "A Gang" by designing Nipmuc Warrior tote bags. The reusable cloth bags were each hand-painted by students in the "A-Gang" as part of one of their art projects. They are available in our school store for $5 each.

One of the projects that Emma, Amber, Lisa and the members of SNOW are taking on this year is volunteering at the Special Olympics flag football event to be held at Gillette Stadium. Our group from SNOW will design the paper signs that members of the football teams will burst through as they make their way from the locker room onto the field at Gillette. The money that SNOW and the "A-Gang" are raising through the selling of tote bags will help to purchase supplies for this activity and to provide transportation to the event.

Great job Emma, Amber, Lisa, Ms. Cote, and all of the members of SNOW!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

New England Patriots and Green Schools Visit Nipmuc

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Patriots Volunteerism 005Patriots Volunteerism 003Patriots Volunteerism 002Patriots Volunteerism 001

Earlier today Nipmuc had the opportunity to welcome recently retired New England Patriot Kevin Faulk, the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation, and Green Schools to our school in order to honor junior Leigh Hamlet and Superintendent Maruszczak for their work to make Mendon-Upton schools more environmentally conscious.

Green Schools and the Patriots Charitable Foundation are joining forces this month in the Patriots' season-long "Celebrate Volunteerism" campaign. This campaign, designed to honor Myra Kraft's lifelong dedication to philanthropy, focused on Mendon-Upton and the great work completed by Leigh and Dr. Maruszczak.

In congratulating our award winners, recently retired Patriots running back Kevin Faulk spoke about the importance of volunteerism and making an effort to give back to the community.When speaking to our sophomores and juniors about his career and experiences, Mr. Faulk explained that some of his greatest accomplishments came off the gridiron, including his graduation from college in 3.5 years and his understanding of the importance of giving back to the community through volunteerism.

Robin Organ and Sean Sullivan, representatives from Green Schools talked to our students about their ability to make a difference and the importance of activism. When receiving her award, Leigh challenged our students to "use their time and talents to make a difference" in the areas that are most important to them. Similarly, Dr. Maruszczak urged the students to gain awareness of how to make our communities "greener", noting that this may be the most significant issue faced by their generation.

As the assembly came to a close, representatives from Green Schools and the Patriots Foundation met with students in Nipmuc's Chemistry in the Community classes who run the school's recycling program. Robin Organ praised our students for their work and urged them to act as student ambassadors, bringing their message of "green awareness" to other schools in the district.

It was a day of environmental learning and celebration at Nipmuc. Again, congratulations Leigh and Dr. Maruszczak!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

John and Abigail Adams Scholars

Nipmuc's Adams Scholars
At the end of last week I had the opportunity to congratulate 55 of Nipmuc's seniors as recipients of the John and Abigail Adams Scholarship for their exceptional achievement on the MCAS tests. As Adams Scholars these students scored in the top 25% of their graduating class. This award will provide our students with free tuition for four years at any Massachusetts public university.
When I met with the students, told them that they should be proud of their accomplishment. During their year of MCAS testing, 96% of our students earned proficient or advanced scores on the English Language Arts test and 90% scored proficient or advanced on the math test. Scoring in the top 25% at Nipmuc not only means that they were ranked as "advanced" in both tests, but also that they achieved in the higher range of the advanced category. Congratulations to the following students for their exceptional achievement!

Nipmuc's Adams Scholars
Nicholas Addeo, Haley Alexson, Jessie Alibozek, Christopher Alleman, Amelia Baynham, Emma Blanchard, Rachel Bloznalis, Megan Brady, Matthew Burke, Marisa Camden, Cassidy Cannavo, Meredith Collins, Samantha Crosby, Emily Davidshofer, Brittany Denecke, Daniel Dias, Kailey Dowd, Christian Dumas, Elisabeth Ferguson, Ethan Fortin, Tyler Giordani, Stephen Granato, Erika Greenwood, Skylar Griswold, Kevin Gurney, Brandon Hall, Charles Hill, Joshua Horn, Hannah Kackley, Cameron Kahler, Holly Kalis, William Kelley, Emily Kerber, Amarie King, Madeleine Laplante-Dube, Stephen Lukas, Allison MacDonald, Michael Manser, Philip McMullin, Samuel Merten, Grant Moyer, Kayla Murphy, Michelle Nikfarjam, Megan Palinkas, Bryan Perkins, Stephen Pihl, Meaghan Roche, Michael Rosen, Nicole Scott, Tara Sharp, Kendal Till, Chenoa Tracy Stone, Deanna Valcour, Brendan Victor, Brendon Wilkinson.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

National Merit Scholarship Commended Students

Nipmuc's National Merit Scholarship Commended Students:
(l-r) Sam Merten, Matt Burke, Brandon Hall,
Deanna Valcour, William Kelley, Grant Moyer,
and Michael Manser with Mr. Clements

In 2011 over 1.5 million students participated in the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT). This standardized test which is offered by the College Board is often used as an opportunity to prepare for the SAT as well as a way to get feedback on college readiness. For a select percentage of test takers, however, this assessment provides a chance to qualify for recognition from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC).

I am proud to announce that this year seven Nipmuc students have been recognized as Commended Students for their achievement on the PSAT. On Wednesday, I was proud to meet with seniors Matthew Burke, Brandon Hall, William Kelley, Michael Manser, Samuel Merten, Grant Moyer, and Deanna Valcour to congratulate them on receiving this award.

As Commended Students, this group of Nipmuc's scholars has ranked among the top five percent of all test-takers. When we met I congratulated them and thanked them for their work. This achievement distinguishes them not only in our school, but also in our state and nationally as exceptional students.

"Recognizing academically talented students plays a fundamental role in the advancement of educational excellence within our nation," commented a NMSC spokesperson. "The young people recognized as Commended Students represent some of the best and brightest minds in the country as demonstrated by their outstanding performance in our highly competitive program. We sincerely hope this recognition will provide them with additional outlets and motivate their pursuit of academic achievement."

Congratulations to our Commended Students!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Class Ring Ordering Opportunities

Corey Sullivan from Herff Jones will be at Nipmuc this week for any students or parents who are interested in purchasing a class ring. Students can meet with Mr. Sullivan on September 26 - 28 during all lunches in the cafeteria. Additionally, student/parent ordering nights will be held on September 26-27 from 6pm-8pm in the Nipmuc media center.

Additional information is included below:

Friday, September 21, 2012

Another DECA Success!

Upton Police DepartmentDECA Cookout CrewNipmuc DramaRecruiting at the Club Fair
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A group of our freshmen enjoying the cookout!

What a day for a cookout! Today's DECA cookout and club/activities fair was a wonderful success thanks to the efforts of so many people in our school and community. Our students had the chance to enjoy the cookout with their classmates, attend a class meeting run by their class officers, and participate in the club & activities fair.

In addition to our students, custodians, DECA volunteers, and faculty members - our school owes debt of gratitude to our police department and the volunteers that made the day a success. Thank you School Resource Officer Carl Ambrosino, Chief Bradley, Sergeant Rivard, Officer Rankins, Officer Palmieri,  and Carl Hartwick for being such great chefs and for your continued support. Thank you to Don Brown for working our grills with the members of the police department. Thank you to Gary Perras and Diane Robin - Nipmuc's DECA advisors - for all that they do to make such a fun day run so smoothly.

One of the great successes of the day came in the huge number of students who took the opportunity to join a club or activity at our school. Our club representatives did a great job putting their groups on display and recruiting new members to join the action. From the highlight reel shown by our Ultimate Frisbee team to our costumed recruiters from Nipmuc Drama to our enthusiastic DECA reps - our students kept the excitement levels high and did their best to invite more students to join their groups. We're thrilled to have so many students taking part in our extracurricular activities.

Staying Connected with Nipmuc

Good morning,
I hope everyone’s year is off to a good start. As we make our way toward October, I wanted to offer a reminder about some of the ways that we will be looking to communicate important information and news about your children and all that happens at our school. With that in mind, I am including a number of resources that will be helpful for you to stay connected to life at Nipmuc.

The Nipmuc Regional High School Principal’s Blog: (
Through this blog you will receive updates about our students and news about what is taking place at Nipmuc. Check this site frequently or sign up to receive an email each time the blog is updated by entering your email address on the “Follow My Blog by Email” box located in the margin on the right of the page. Scroll on this page to see recent posts with information about our success with Advanced Placement courses, our new freshman class officers, and Friday’s cookout and activities fair.

Follow us on Twitter: (
Mrs. Moran and I are launching our Twitter page today, providing updates about Nipmuc and our students in 140 characters or less. Follow us on Twitter to stay current on student news at Nipmuc.

The Nipmuc Guidance Department Blog: (
New this year, the Guidance Department Blog is a great new resource that will keep you connected to important information from our guidance counselors. Learn about scholarships, course selection, “Breakfast with Guidance” events, student resources, college fairs, and more by checking this blog. Like the Principal’s Blog, you can enter your email address to be alerted each time this blog is updated.

The Nipmuc Regional High School Website: (
Check in frequently to view the calendar or be connected to a number of resources including teachers’ websites, contact information, and information about Nipmuc.

Nipmuc Athletics:
Another new addition to our online presence is the Nipmuc Athletics website located at Check in for results, important announcements, information about the Warriors’ Club, and more. If you would like to download the Nipmuc athletic schedule into your calendar, check out

Please know that I recognize the importance of communicating effectively with our students, parents, and the school community. I hope these resources provide you with a variety of ways to get important information in a way that works for you. I will continue to look for ways to expand and improve our communication efforts throughout the year.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

DECA Cookout and Nipmuc Club/Activities Fair

On Friday, September 21 Nipmuc will host its fifth annual DECA Cookout and Club/Activities Fair. This event has become a yearly tradition at the school as it provides our students with a chance to connect with their classmates, meet with their class officers and get an introduction to all of the clubs and activities that Nipmuc has to offer.

This year's DECA group has done a phenomenal job organizing the event, working with local businesses to receive donations, and put together an enjoyable day for our students. Among the many students who have worked to organize the cookout is Nipmuc's DECA president and state DECA representative Chris Desilets. When asked about the importance of the event, Chris told me that the DECA cookout has become popular because "it's a great way to get back into things in the school year." He pointed out that is has become such a popular part of the school culture in part because it offers "a rare opportunity for our classes to have lunch together as a group." Beyond that he said that another reason for its success is that "it's run by kids. It's fun to see your friends making your hamburgers."

In addition, the cookout helps to raise funds to support those students who participated in DECA competitions. Last year, the DECA cookout helped to defray costs for the 106 students who competed at the state competition and the seventeen Nipmuc students who travelled to Salt Lake City for the international competition. This year the internationals are scheduled to take place in Anaheim. Friday's cookout will certainly help to support those students who will making the trip across the country.

This is an especially important event for our freshmen who will have a chance to meet with representatives from all of Nipmuc's clubs and activities. Sign-up sheets are available, providing an easy way for our students to become part of life at Nipmuc beyond the classroom. Click here for an updated copy of the Nipmuc Activities Guide which provides you with all of the groups that will be represented on Friday.

Tickets for the cookout are sold in advance for $5 in the school store and $6 at the door on Friday.

The schedule for the day is as follows:
Friday, September 21 (DEFGA)
DEF blocks - regular schedule

11:05am - 12:30pm DECA Cookout/Activities Fair/Class Meeting
11:05am - 11:33am
Seniors and Juniors: Cookout (Cafeteria/Courtyard)
Sophomores: Club/Activities Fair (Gym)
Freshmen: Class meeting (Auditorium)

11:33am - 12:01pm
Seniors and Juniors: Club/Activities Fair (Gym)
Sophomores: Class Meeting (Auditorium)
Freshmen: Cookout (Cafeteria/Courtyard)

12:01pm - 12:30pm
Seniors: Class meeting (Auditorium)
Juniors: Class meeting (Soccer field)
Sophomores: Cookout (Cafeteria/Courtyard)
Freshmen: Club/Activities Fair (Gym)

In order to prevent you from missing any blocks that day, the afternoon will run as follows:
G block: 12:33pm - 1:15pm (42 minutes)
A block: 1:18pm - 2pm (42 minutes)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Our Newest Student Leaders

Freshman Class Officers (l-r)
Maxwell Polay (Treasurer), Henry Marshall (Vice President)
Matthew O'Brien (President)

Congratulations are in order to the newest group of student leaders at Nipmuc Regional. At the conclusion of last week, our student council guided our freshmen through the process of electing class officers and student council members for the Class of 2016. Our school is fortunate to have a strong tradition of meaningful student leadership that guides our school-wide activites, contributes to school policy, and communicates the needs of the student body. I know that I will rely on them a great deal throughout the year and I am looking forward to working together.

With that in mind, I took a few minutes to meet with the officers from the Class of 2016 to learn more about our freshmen. Included below you will find some comments from Matthew O'Brien (President), Henry Marshall (Vice President), and Maxwell Polay (Treasurer) as they discuss some of the strengths of their class.

Matthew O'Brien: "I believe that the Class of 2016 is a hard working, goal-oriented class that knows the value of an education in the ever-changing world of today... I believe that the Class of 2016 will make a great addition to Nipmuc because we work hard and strive for excellence but know how to have a good time doing it."

Henry Marshall: "The Class of 2016 is a class with many personalities. All of these different personalities are positive, and they make for a great and fun classroom experience."

Maxwell Polay: "Many people in our class have different traits that will make this school even more enjoyable. We have many very smart people in our grade that have a high chance of succeeding in their education. We have funny people in our grade that take the stress off high school and make every day more enjoyable. And last but not least, we have some amazing athletes that are going to have great careers in Nipmuc sports."

Thank you to Matthew, Henry, and Maxwell for their words about their classmates. Joining this group in the leadership of the freshmen are the following newly elected student council members:

Nolan Bradley
Alyssa Cicconi
Scott Estabrook
Kevin Hack
Elizabeth Hilton
Lauren Jordan
Megan Mathiesan
Grace Merten
Alexa Mirageas
Carly Thibodeau
Sarah Tong
Kelsey Woods

Congratulations to all. I am looking forward to working with everyone in the year ahead.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

2012 Advanced Placement (AP) Results

Last night it was my pleasure to present the achievement of Nipmuc’s students and teachers on the 2012 Advanced Placement (AP) tests. As I mentioned at the meeting, Nipmuc’s AP programming has never been stronger. Over the course of the past eight years, Nipmuc has increased the number of Advanced Placement courses that it offers from 5 to 11. During this time period our students have embraced the challenge of AP which gives them the chance to take a college-level course while still in high school.
Some of the key data points showing the growth of the program and the achievement of our students.

These courses are independently reviewed by the College Board to ensure the rigor of the class, the specificity of the curriculum, and the quality of learning opportunities provided to our students. In offering eleven AP classes, Nipmuc gives its students a chance to challenge themselves in a variety of fields of study, helping them to develop their interests and prepare themselves for life on a college campus. We are excited that so many of our students have embraced this challenge. Whereas AP classes were once offered to only the top 10-15% of a grade, this year nearly 50% or Nipmuc's juniors or seniors are enrolled in AP courses.

In growing our AP program Nipmuc is fortunate to have support from the Massachusetts Math and Science Initiative (MMSI). MMSI has provided our school with a “gain” grant, designed for schools with established AP programs with the intention of helping them not only increase enrollment, but also achievement.
Some of the gains made in Nipmuc's first year of the grant with MMSI.

Last year Nipmuc was one of approximately 300 schools in the nation awarded a spot on the 2nd Annual District Honor Roll for Significant Gains in Enrollment and Achievement. I encourage you to view the presentation below in order to see some of the tremendous achievement of our students and teachers. We recognize that there is always room for improvement; however, we are also proud of the story of achievement told in our enrollment and achievement data.

(Please be aware that you may have to temporarily allow pop-ups to view the presentation.) 


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

School Picture Day

Please be aware that Grynn and Barrett photographers will be at school throughout the day on Friday, September 7 for school pictures.

Parents will have the option to purchase these pictures. Additionally, these images will be used for the students' ID cards.

Students who are absent on September 7 will have the opportunity to have their picture taken on October 18th. This is also the date that retakes will be offered to interested students.

Back to School Night

Dear Parents/Guardians,

I hope the school year is off to a good start for you and your child. It is wonderful to have our students back with us as we begin another year of work together.

It is my pleasure to invite parents to join us for Back to School Night here at Nipmuc. Students are not expected to attend.  The scheduled evening for parents of students in grades 9-12 is Tuesday, September 11, 2012 from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.  It will give you an opportunity to meet your child’s teachers, become familiar with the curriculum, and get an introduction to our new schedule.

We will meet briefly in the auditorium to welcome you.  Parents will then follow their child’s schedule. Schedules with corresponding room numbers will be available that evening.

Another opportunity for you to meet with your child’s teachers will be in November after the first term report card has been issued.  Conferences are scheduled to take place on Wednesday, November 14 from 12-2:00 p.m. and on Thursday, November 15 from 6-8:00 p.m. 

I hope as many of you as possible will be able to join us on September 11th.  As always, should you have questions concerning Back to School Night or anything pertaining to your child’s education here at Nipmuc, please call.

John K. Clements

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Security Upgrades at Nipmuc

As we make our way back to school, I want to make you aware of a change in the security protocol at Nipmuc Regional High School that you will notice when visiting our building. Starting with the first day of school, the front doors at Nipmuc are now secured throughout the school day.

 A security door and buzzer system have been installed on the front doors of the school. Visitors arriving after the morning rush of students will need to press a button to alert front office staff that they would like to enter the building. Administrative staff in the office will be able to view the guest through the camera and speak to the visitor through a speaker system. When they have confirmed that the visitor should be allowed to enter, they will unlock the door and allow access to the building.  Please note, we will continue to ask our visitors to sign in upon entering the school.

The doors will be unlocked at the beginning of each day, allowing our students to enter the school as they always have. Please be aware that the entrance to the building is monitored during this time. When all of our students have arrived, the front doors will be locked.

Please be aware that we are instituting this safety measure as a proactive way to ensure that Nipmuc remains safe. This decision to secure our doors did not result from concern about any known danger or threat. The system was installed after reviewing our safety protocols and looking for ways to ensure that our building is as safe as possible.  By securing our doors in this way, we have added an additional layer of security that will help to keep Nipmuc safe.

If you have any questions or concerns about this change, please feel free to contact me and I will further explain this new protocol.

Thank you,
John Clements

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The First Day of School

It was great to have our students back with us this today as we began the 2012-2013 school year. The first day of school is always filled with excitement as students get their schedules, see their friends, and meet their teachers. Today was no exception. Our year is off to an exciting start.

At the beginning of our day, all students picked up schedules before heading off to their first classes of the year. This is a time of transition for all of us as we adjust to a new schedule, the addition of another elective course, and instructional blocks that are approximately one hour in length. Our students did a great job making the adjustment to the new schedule, meeting with guidance counselors to fine-tune their courses, and learning about the classes they will take this year.

For our freshmen, today marked the start of their journey into high school. As we mentioned to them at orientation, the first day of school can often be a bit overwhelming. We know, however, that it will not be long before Nipmuc feels like home. Our sophomores and juniors returned to school knowing the importance of the year ahead. Whether getting ready for the rigors of MCAS or setting their sights on college, they are preparing for a year that is sure to be as challenging as it is rewarding. Our seniors walked through the front doors of the school with a great deal of pride and excitement for what is sure to be a memorable year. We look forward to working with them and benefitting from their leadership.

It was a wonderful start to the school year. We are glad to have our students with us, once again.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Student Schedules

I look forward to welcoming all of our students back to school tomorrow. Your teachers have been working hard to get ready for your arrival. We will be excited to have you back with us on Tuesday morning.

Please be aware that schedules will be distributed to students upon their arrival at school tomorrow morning, August 28th. Students should go to the following locations to get their schedules:

Freshmen: Auditorium
Sophomores: Cafeteria
Juniors and Seniors: Gym

We look forward to seeing everyone on Tuesday!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

New Schedule at Nipmuc

Good afternoon,

I hope everyone has enjoyed the beautiful weather this summer. It’s hard to believe that we are nearly ready to begin another school year.  As we prepare for next week and the first day of school, I want to update you on a schedule change that will go into effect for the 2012-2013 school year.

The change in the schedule comes following two years of discussion on the scheduling model our school uses. Through the work of a committee of teachers, as well as feedback from students and parents, a new schedule has been developed. The implementation of this new schedule will help to lower class size and provide additional opportunities for our students to take elective courses.

Through the schedule change, students will now take seven classes rather than the six that they took last year. These classes will rotate over the course of a seven-day cycle (see below).

Some of the features of the new schedule include the following:
·         Classes meet five times during each seven-day cycle
·         Students have the opportunity to take an additional class.
·         Each class meeting period lasts either 64 or 80 minutes. (Classes at Nipmuc were formerly 81 or 90 minutes in length.)
·         A morning break will continue to be part of the schedule.  During this break time, students will be able to purchase a full breakfast from our cafeteria instead of `a la carte items.
·         Three lunches (rather than four) will run each day. The length of the lunch time has been increased to 25 minutes.

In preparation for the schedule change, we asked our upperclassmen to select a seventh course that they would be interested in taking. Students chose from the current choices of electives in music, art, business, and physical education. They also could select from our twelve Advanced Placement offerings and new courses such as Spanish Culture and Business and Decades of Change.

Students in the ninth and tenth grades will take a series of half-year courses that are intended to strengthen the skills they need to succeed in high school and beyond while reinforcing and supplementing their learning in English, math, and biology.

During freshman year, students will take two new half-year courses: Communications and Literacy and 21st Century Skills. In the Communications and Literacy class students will develop skills for effective communication, conduct an examination of literary genres and skills, and investigate and analyze media. The 21st Century Skills class will help students transition to high school by introducing them to the academic, intellectual, and interpersonal skills that are the foundation for success in high school, college, and beyond.   

All sophomore students will take two different half-year courses: Ecology and Populations and The Fundamentals of Mathematics. The Ecology and Populations class will provide students with a further investigation into topics in macro-biology while providing supplemental learning opportunities to support their study of biology and their success on the biology MCAS test. Fundamentals of Mathematics is aligned with the national Common Core and will help students develop the foundational mathematical skills needed in algebra, geometry, and the advanced study of math.

These changes present some exciting opportunities for our students. Over the next few days we will finalize the schedule and prepare student schedules to be distributed on the first day of school. I am thankful for the work of the teachers, students, and parents who provided input during the process of developing the new Nipmuc schedule.
I hope you enjoy the final days of the summer vacation. I look forward to welcoming our students on Tuesday, August 28.


John K. Clements