Dear Western Families,
I can’t believe we only have a few days left for our underclass students and our seniors have completed their last “regular” day of school. These are very busy, yet exciting times at Western.
While this year is wrapping up, I wanted to target a few items in my blog that focus on “looking ahead”. In the spirit of continuous improvement, we are working on a few focus areas for next year. One of these is our efforts to “capture voice” from our parents and students and provide ways to improve on communication. Along these lines, we will be trying some new strategies to collect information, suggestions, and ideas from our stakeholders. I’ve included the following link in a googleform to help collect information that will allow confidentiality with the user’s response. We will also be working more closely with our PTO next year to develop programs that help inform parents and guardians in topics they are interested in learning more about.
Lastly, we will also be looking at implementing strategies that increase focus on “bystander awareness”. We hope to continue to foster a culture of support for our students by making them feel comfortable and become proactive in letting adults know when they have questions and concerns.
I’ve included a number of events and information that you may be interested in this blog. As always, feel free to reach out to us with ways we can continue to support your child.
Darah Bonham, Principal
–Monday Night Event
In the spirit of having meaningful conversations with our parents and stakeholders about relevant issues, we will be hosting a community conversation for PARENTS and GUARDIANS, this Monday at 6:30 p.m. at Western centered around healthy relationships.
Our goal as school staff is to provide not only a safe and healthy environment here at school but also to equip students with the skills and tools they need to enjoy a healthy life beyond the school day. As part of that work, we are focusing on an active bystander culture. In other words, what peers can do to support each other in making safe and healthy choices.
The One Love Foundation has a program that they use with parents and students to help them reflect on the dangers of unhealthy relationships and to learn how peers can recognize patterns that may indicate a need for help. Members from this organization will facilitate a parent workshop on Monday, May 22 at 6:30 pm at Western. A facilitator from the One Love Foundation will lead the session. The evening will include a viewing of a video produced by the One Love Foundation followed by a discussion of the patterns and warning signs that parents and friends often observe in relationships that become unhealthy and even dangerous. We caution that the video used for the intro to this conversation is graphic and contains some scenes that are disturbing. For this reason, we are limiting the conversation to parents for this particular event.
For more information about the One Love Foundation, visit http://www.joinonelove.org. If you plan to attend this workshop, please RSVP to this link.
-The last day of school on Friday, June 9, will be a half-day for students. The second half of the day is reserved as a Teacher Work Day. EDEP after-school care will not operate on June 9. Dismissal times for June 9 at Western Albemarle High School is 12:50 p.m.
-MidTerm Exam Change Next Year
We provided surveys and took feedback from parents, students and teachers to better understand and plan for the best mid-term exam experience for next year. Based on this input, we will have ONE traditional exam week next year PRIOR to the winter break. An exam schedule will be created to include review times, along with specific times when class periods will meet to test.
In the end, this will create the best experience for our kids. Thank you for those who provided feedback.
–Beginning this year, Albemarle County Public Schools will offer to donate to graduating seniors the computer that has been assigned to them for the past four years. If the student machine is less than four years old, another device will be offered. The devices are considered to be surplus equipment and will be replaced for the following year. Albemarle County Public Schools believes that having access to a computer after graduation will help our graduates further develop and apply lifelong-learning skills they need to succeed as 21st century learners, workers, and citizens.
On the WAHS website, there is a PDF form that must be printed and completed and signed by the senior (and their guardian if you are not yet 18) – this form must be turned in to your school’s administration. All computers, whether seniors want to keep them or not, must be turned in by seniors before graduation. All computers must be wiped of their contents and reimaged before being distributed back to seniors.
Western staff will be in contact with seniors who wish to keep their computers after school is out to set up a time for them to pick them up.
Laptop Collection Info:
For planning purposes, we will collect senior laptops this year on May 19th. In the event that a senior requires their laptop for testing purposes, they will have the option to apply for an extension. May 25th will be the final collection date for seniors. Laptop collection for underclassman will occur on June 1st and 2nd. Laptop collection will be similar to last year’s procedures and will take place via Social Studies classes.
-May is Mental Health Awareness Month. This is a good opportunity for parents and students to think about the importance of mental health, to raise awareness about mental health issues, and to become familiar with resources that can help begin conversations about mental health awareness. Talking about mental health issues can also bring up other sensitive topics, but there are many professional resources available to help parents have these conversations with their children and teens.
The WAHS School Counselors are available to help support your student’s emotional needs as well as academic issues. Our mission is to support students in their academic, career, and social/emotional development to help them achieve success in school and to be prepared for their future. In doing this, we support students’ mental health every day! We also have a Region Ten Student Assistance Counselor, as well as a School Psychologist to help support this mission. We are all available as a resource to parents and students.
You may have heard about the Netflix series “13 Reasons Why.” This series has generated a lot of conversation across the nation, and several professional organizations have issued recommendations for parents and educators. Several school districts in the U.S. (as well as overseas) have communicated with their parents about this series to make families aware of what their children might be seeing if they have watched the series. Based on a young adult novel, the series is emotionally charged and includes graphic scenes as it tackles the issue of teen suicide. Organizations who have issued statements about this series, as well as recommendations for parents, include:
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: afsp.org
National Association for School Psychologists: nasponline.org
The Jed Foundation: jedfoundation.org
The above websites are excellent resources for understanding all mental health and emotional issues that we face in our school community. Local resources for mental health support include Region Ten Community Services Board and Ready Kids. The WAHS School Counselors can also make referrals to other local organizations and therapists that can help support students and families’ mental health needs.
If you have further questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to a school counselor.
Senior Exam Schedule
Mon AM Senior Rehearsal/ Monday PM English exams
Tuesday AM Gov’t exam
Tues PM – Thurs other class exams
All non-Writing SOLs
Independent Study Showcase (5:30 – 7:30pm)
All non-Writing SOLs / CATEC completer Ceremony
All non-Writing SOLs
All non-Writing SOLs/ Senior Trip
Senior Grades Due/ Academic Awards / Drama 2-4 Awards (7pm)
Field Trip-Book Nook to Crozet Library(10:30-12:45) / Musical Theatre (7pm)
6/9 Last Day of School 16-17 School Year
6/19 – 22 SOL Academy & Testing
8/7 – 10 SOL Academy & Testing
–Tiny House update:
The WAHS Tiny House is almost finished! We are so proud of the work of Kevin Matheny’s third period class: students completed all aspects of the project, from design, grant writing, asking for contributions to building most of the house. In addition, we are incredibly grateful to the construction community and in particular to AGC-VA for their contributions: the students benefitted from mentoring, and everything in the house was donated. Some businesses even performed the more skilled tasks, such as installing the metal roof, or blowing the insulation. Our students feel more prepared and are much more eager to enter the real world after experiencing this level of support.
WAHS is so grateful to the following businesses and people who helped us with donations or with time. We truly could not have done it without you.
Newsplex did a lovely story about the work last week. The house is looking better every day and will soon be for sale. Contact the school if you are interested.
–Mini Med School application is open for the fall.
All students interested in Mini Med school for the fall of 2017 are eligible to sign up now.
Students with first priority are those who registered to take AP Biology, Medical Terminology, or Sports Medicine. Students outside of these three classes are also welcome to sign up and will be notified of their status in the fall.
Sign up at this link. Contact Mr. Lawson or Ms. Bertrand with questions.
-The team of Marcel Tisdale, John Haden, and Cole Weis represented WAHS at the iSweeep International Science Fair competition in Houston Texas on May 1-3. Marcel Tisdale traveled to Houston to present his Autonomous Agricultural robotic vehicle. It was designed to automatically sustain a system of plants. It plants and waters using solar power as it moves around the farm tending to the agricultural vegetation.
They placed first in Agriculture in the Intel ISEF Regional competition, which qualified them for the iSweeep International Science Fair.
Marcel and Cole are members of the WAHS robotics team. John takes Architecture and Marcel takes Robotics 2, and is my Independent Study in Robotics student.
-Advanced Physics presented their independent research projects in the Library. They presented information about hovercraft, the physics of sound, the physics of forensic blood spatter, orbits, black holes, and magnetic accelerators. Students also studied circuits so they could wire the tiny house.
AP Physics Students designed pages in an ABC Book about physics. All pages will be incorporated into an actual book over the summer.
–Last week our ESA sophomores paddled on the Rivanna with the James River Association learning about impact of our community on local watershed. Incredible interactive and engaging learning experience for them.
This weekend our ESA Juniors will be traveling to the Chesapeake Bay and doing some fieldwork in Bay ecology and specifically Oyster Reef Ecology. We will be camping, exploring, canoeing, and visit the ‘world’s most sustainable building’ in the Brock Environmental Center.
Last week our class was presented with a copy of the 2016 Merit Award for Design Excellence from The American Institute of Architects (Central Virginia), that VMDO Architects received for their work in the Environmental Studies Academy Building.
-WAHS visual arts students are selling their beautiful work at the Crozet Artisan Depot through May 31. Students are earning money for all sales that they make. Please support our talented visual artists may coming by the Depot and purchasing a special piece. All pieces are priced between $10-$50. Items for sale include: pottery, photography, paintings, collages, magic wands, and jewelry.
-The Musical Theatre Class will be performing a final showcase featuring songs from different musicals Wednesday May 31st at 7pm in the auditorium.
The Technical Theatre Class will be displaying their scale models of our theatre in the display cases near the front office for the last two weeks of school.
Spring Athletic Awards Ceremony Info… http://westernalbemarlesports.org/main/adnews/ID/43119883
Info regarding fall sports… http://westernalbemarlesports.org/main/adnews/ID/43120227
-Congrats to Maygan Reynolds who had a poem published in Voya Library Journal Teen Poetry Contest
Additional Helpful Western Albemarle Links
* Subscribe to Zoe Padron’s “Thursday Round Up” by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Mrs. Padron is our Gifted Resource Teacher at Western and provides a great weekly resource for students and parents about college opportunities, scholarship info, and much more. You can also access the Round Up through thenew link HERE.
*Subscribe to the Daily Announcements HERE
* School Counseling Link