Principal's Blog

  • Welcome Back

    Posted by Colleen Byrd on 8/30/2019

    Dear Hoosac Valley High School Students and Families, 

    Welcome back to another exciting year of Perseverance, Respect, Integrity, Diversity, and Empathy (P.R.I.D.E.) at Hoosac Valley High School.  We are looking forward to a productive year where our focus will be on building relationships and connections. There are many new beginnings to celebrate as we look forward to welcoming you back to school on Wednesday, August 28th.

    Each week you can expect an email from me called "Words from Byrd."  In that email I will update you on the happenings of the current week, and I will give you a preview of what's to come in the following weeks.  Feel free to send me ideas, information, and/or constructive feedback; I'm always looking for new ideas!

    YOU received instructions in the mail regarding our new parent/student portal in PowerSchool.  PLEASE be sure to CREATE an ACCOUNT before you try to log in.  That wasn't part of the original instructions, and we apologize for that.  However, if you create an account FIRST, you'll then be able to log in.

    We have new faces at HVHS and familiar faces changing positions; so, please join us in welcoming them to our FABULOUS school. Miss Christina Papadopoulos has been hired as a Math teacher for the high school, Miss Haley Diamond is taking over 8th Grade Science, and Miss Shelby Hiser has been hired to teach several 8th and 9th Grade English classes, as well as World History.  Mr. Paul Lemieux is replacing Ms. Holly Freadman, Marley Knysh is coming to us from the District Attorney’s office to work in our Learning Lab, and Miss Morgan Shafer is rejoining the Hoosac Valley High School family as our Chemistry teacher. We are lucky to have several dedicated, talented teachers who hold multiple teaching licenses. As such, Amanda Brooks-Clemeno will be taking over the 8-9 Inclusion Program, and Mr. Seth Jenkins is teaching students in our Bridges Program.  Last but not least, Mr. Patrick Mahoney has been hired as the Athletic Director. Mrs. Molly Meczywor has been hired as the permanent Dean of Students, and Mrs. Nanci Klammer will be the first smiling face you see when entering the main office. In addition, we continue to meet with wonderful candidates for the remaining positions that we have open.

    As noted above, the first day of school will be Wednesday, August 28, 2019, and homeroom for high-school students begins at 7:30 A.M. sharp.  Our school day ends at 2:00 P.M., and we will continue to run a straight periods 1-7 schedule.  Bus routes will be available on the school district’s website the week before school starts and published in The Berkshire Eagle near that date. 

    The main office has changed!  Families, community members, and students will now be welcomed by both the high-school and middle-school administrative assistants when they come through the main doors.  ALL business (tardies, dismissals, drop-offs, appointments, etc.) will be handled in the main office -- the NEW HUB of Hoosac Valley Middle and High School.  Please be patient as we work through any kinks in this new process, and remember that our entry procedures are to ensure a positive, helpful, and safe transition for all stakeholders.  Visitors will be expected to sign-in and wear a badge while walking the halls at HVMHS. 

    Once again, we are lucky enough to be able to offer free breakfast and lunch to all students, and students are always welcome to purchase items from the cafeteria in addition to what’s being served on any particular day.

    Most of our school’s policies and procedures can be found in our revised Student Handbook.  Hard copies of the handbook will be provided to all new students and all students entering 8th grade.  An electronic version of the handbook is available on the school’s website, and a document will be sent home with students regarding any specific changes, updates, or additions that were tweaked over the summer; school administration will meet with all students at the beginning of the year to review any pertinent changes that have been made.  

    Meet Hoosac Valley High School (formerly Meet the Teacher) will be on Wednesday, September 11, starting at 6 p.m. in the auditorium.  Student Picture Day is scheduled for Wednesday, September 4, starting in the morning for all students.  Members of our Interscholastic Clubs and Organizations will provide tours for new students before school starts, and it will be helpful if touring students bring their schedules with them.  Tours will be held on Monday, August 19, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., and Monday, August 26, from 9-11 a.m. and 5-7 p.m.  

    On Wednesday, August 21, from 6-7:30 p.m., we invite all 8th grade students and their families to a Step-Up orientation event in the HV auditorium.  Enclosed please find a flyer with more details.

    Student-athletes and their guardians will want to mark August 26 on their calendars (the original date of 8.27 has been changed).  There is a mandatory meeting for all fall athletes and at least one parent/guardian, starting at 7 p.m. in the HV auditorium.  In addition, middle-school waivers were approved for 7th grade athletes to participate in Boys and Girls’ Soccer and Cross-Country.     

    We’re looking forward to another challenging and rewarding school year, and are excited to welcome you back on August 28th.  Until then, please enjoy what remains of the summer, including plenty of rest and relaxation and time with family and friends. 

    Mrs. Byrd

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  • Making School Libraries Work for Teenagers

    Posted by Colleen Byrd on 8/13/2019

    In the Marshall Memo, a weekly round-up of ideas and research in K-12 education, a Texas librarian asks, “What will make the teens who walk into your library keep coming back?” Above and beyond the basics of creating an attractive space, curating a first-rate collection, and hosting engaging and relevant programs, here are Karen Jensen's suggestions:

    • Young adolescents must find something they need, want, or value. If they don’t find something of interest, they’re not coming back – and since there’s a wide range of interests in any student population, there must be a variety of things to do: books, information, programs, access to the Internet, and a safe space to be social.
    • Teens must feel valued and respected by the library and its staff. “By staff, I mean allstaff,” says Jensen, remembering a colleague who hated young adolescents and made a point of giving them the “stink eye” when they arrived. “From the moment they walk through the door to the moment they leave, teens need to be treated well,” says Jensen. “Everything done behind the scenes is undone and every dollar invested is wasted if we aren’t providing good customer service.”
    • Teens must have an overall positive experience. They are likely to remember and share negative experiences, including on social media. “The only control we have is to do our parts to make sure our young patrons have positive experiences,” Jensen concludes. “It takes knowledge, passion, and dedication to make all this happen.” 

    “Keep Them Coming Back for More” by Karen Jensen in School Library Journal, August 2019 (Vol. 65, #7, p. 18), no e-link available



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  • SAVE THE DATE

    Posted by Colleen Byrd on 4/26/2019 3:00:00 PM

    Hoosac Valley High School has partnered with the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition (NBCC) and other area high schools to present a forum that will create dialogue between our local schools and our communities, that will help us all gain knowledge and understanding regarding the perspectives of other schools and communities, that will create connections and an understanding about resources that can make a difference, and that will allow us to leave the forum with 1 thing that each attendee can do, in everyday life, to be a positive and active link between school and community.  

    Be on the lookout for an official invitation for this event which will take place on Wednesday, May 22, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the MCLA Church Street Center.

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  • Community Forum in its Planning Stages at HVHS

    Posted by Colleen Byrd on 1/11/2019 6:00:00 PM

    There are many exciting things taking place at Hoosac Valley High School, and the #HVHSFAMILY has worked hard this year to focus on a more positive climate and culture, recognizing the Perseverance, Respect, Integrity, Diversity, and Empathy it takes to build a community.  More importantly we recognize that there are many global issues within our communities that impact our students, impact our teachers and staff, and impact our families in some not-so-positive ways.  One issue impacting our students' education is the misuse of social media in its many forms.  Therefore, we are organizing a Community Forum that encompasses all Northern Berkshire Schools, the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition, State and Local Police -- including Northern Berkshire Juvenile Court and Probation, Community Stakeholders, Health Providers, Business Owners, and Families in an effort to start the conversation.  

    This proposed JOINT Community Forum is tentatively planned for March 2019, and initial meetings are underway, but we plan to join forces to give these issues a voice and show our support for each other so we can all educate our students in the best way possible.  

    The idea was made public at Monday's School Committee meeting.  Read the full article here.

     
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  • Which Causes More Academic Loss, Snow Days or Individual Absences?

    Posted by Colleen Byrd on 12/13/2018 10:00:00 AM

    In the article In Defense of Snow Days, Joshua Goodman (Harvard Kennedy School) reports on his study of the impact of Massachusetts no-school days on student achievement. Using data on school closings and standardized test scores, Goodman concludes that individual student absences “sharply reduce student achievement, particularly in math, but school closings appear to have little impact.”  He continues: “These findings should not be taken to mean that instructional time does not matter for student learning; the bulk of the evidence suggest it does. A more likely explanation is that schools and teachers are well prepared to deal with the coordinated disruptions caused by snow days – much more so than they are to handle the less- dramatic but more frequent disruptions caused by poor student attendance.”

    When just a few students in a class have been absent, teachers have to choose between spending time helping returning absentees catch up, which takes time away from the rest of the class, or letting returning students fend for themselves, which negatively affects their progress. Either way, the class’s achievement takes a hit. A snow day, on the other hand, can be handled by postponing, compressing, or eliminating non-tested material, which is why these lost school days have so little impact on test scores.

    “The negative achievement impacts associated with student absences imply that schools and teachers are not well prepared to deal with the more-frequent disruptions caused by poor student attendance,” concludes Goodman. “Schools and teachers may benefit from investing in strategies to compensate for these disruptions, including the use of self-paced learning technologies that shift the classroom model to one in which all students need not learn the same lesson at the same time.”  Read the full article HERE.

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  • Learning Targets: Helping Students Aim for Understanding in Today's Lesson

    Posted by Colleen Byrd on 10/19/2018 4:00:00 PM

    The Hoosac Valley High School administratros and educators are working to raise student achievement by reevaluating teaching and learning.  Our Instructional Leadership Team has been working hard to develop a solid working turn around plan that addresses four needs: Leadership, Shared Responsibility, and Professional Collaboration; Intentional Practices for Improving Instruction; Providiing Student Specific Supports for Providing Instruction to All Students; and School Climate and Culture.  
    Part of this plan, specifically our goal to develop and create intentional practices for improving instruction, include raising student achievement by conducting a performance of understanding in classrooms (a learning experience that deepens student understanding and produces compelling evidence of where students are in relation to the learning target of each lesson).  Both halves of the team (the teacher and the student) need to create a learning team in order to raise student achievement.  

    One of the goals this year is to provide teaching and learning around Learning Targets and how targeted daily lessons help the teacher understand not only what the students are learning in each particular lesson, but whether or not the student actually understood the target and outcome.  We are utilizing a book called Learning Targets: Helping Students Aim for Understanding in Today's Lesson.  The authors' theory of action is that "the most effective teaching and the most meaningful student learning happen when teachers design the right learning target for today's lesson and use it along with their students to aim for and assess understanding."  Read a synopsis from the book by clicking here, and ask your students if they have noticed the "I can" statements in their classrooms.  

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  • Family Guides to the Standards

    Posted by Colleen Byrd on 9/27/2018 5:00:00 PM

    Learn about Massachusetts learning expectations by exploring the new Family Guides to the Standards from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

    The Family Guides cover some of the learning standards that every student will master in each grade and how families can help them achieve these learning goals!

    Guides include standards for English language arts and literacy, math, and science and technology/engineering.  Check it out online: CLICK HERE



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