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Principal's Page
Todd Grimes, Principal
Westerly High School
23 Ward Avenue, Westerly, RI 02891

401.596.2109 voice 401.315.1586 fax
Announcements
Class of 2017 accomplishments

In case you were unable to attend graduation, here are the highlights that I included for the 2016-17 seniors. They were outstanding!


Class of 2017 Highlights - Who Are They?

  • Westerly High School’s report card is as follows:

  • Recognized last August by R.I. Monthly as #6 RI high school

  • Recognized with a silver medal by U.S. News and World Report’s “America’s Best High Schools”

  • Recognized by ACT as an exemplary school for career readiness

Scholars

  • 71 Seniors received Gold Lamp of Learning Pins

  • 109 Seniors received Academic Letters

  • SkillsUSA participants

  • 4 seniors will be competing at FBLA Nationals later this month

  • Top performers in Science Olympiad, Math League, and the URI Chemistry Contest

  • Academic Decathlon Awards: Social Science, Silver, Top Team Scorer

  • SAT - Above state and national SAT averages in all areas (Critical Reading, Math and Writing)

  • ACT - Above state and National ACT composite score

  • AP Scholars

  • 2017 Write Rhode Island Winner - short story titled “Tiny Droplets of Change”

  • Dime Scholar

  • 16 seniors received initial Seal of Biliteracy

  • 54 received college credit in one or more classes

  • One received an Associate’s Degree

Athletes

  • girls’ tennis reached the Division I semifinals for the 2nd consecutive year

  • girls’ soccer reached the Division II playoffs

  • girls’ cross country - top 10 finish (8)

  • 2 senior All-state girls tennis players - including a 4 time selection

  • All-state football player

  • Accomplished swimmers

  • girls’ Indoor Track and Field Divisional Champions, 3rd place finish at state meet

  • 4 x 400m Girls Indoor Relay - State Champions

  • girls’ basketball Divisional Champions, DII semifinalists

  • boys’ basketball - quarterfinals of DII Tournament

  • All-State Cheerleader

  • Outstanding Unified Athletes

  • Boys’ tennis were division champions and reached the Division III semifinals

  • Top public school golfer in the state

  • Girls Lacrosse were division champions - lost a 7-6 heartbreaker in State Championship after winning 13 consecutive games

  • Class B and state boys discus champion as well as All New England performance

  • Girls Outdoor Track & Field Team - Schomp Invitational Champs & Class B Champions

  • School record holder in the 100m and 200m

  • Class B 100m Champion

  • Outdoor Girls Track & Field - placed second in the 4x800

  • Placed in the maximum 4 events at state meet

  • A school record to finish 3rd in the 200m

  • 3rd in the 100m

  • 5th in the long jump

  • 4x100m relay - state champions

  • Outdoor Girls Track & Field = state champions

  • 4x400m relay finished 2nd in New England, competing this weekend at the nationals

Leaders

  • 9 Rotary Club Students of the Month

  • Town Councilor

  • Biz Camp participants

  • 2017 Home/Garden Show construction setup crew at the RI Convention Center

Artists

  • Scholastic Art Awards recipients (2)

  • Have had work displayed at Hoxie Gallery, Rhode Island College’s Alex and Ani Center, and URI Providence Campus

  • 2 named to Southern New England Honors Band

  • All-State Chorus Member

  • “Best Musical Unit" in the Mystic Irish Parade

  • Performed on Main Street USA in Disney World

Spirited

  • Beach party

  • planned great pep rallies

  • Organized a Unified Prom rivaled only by the Oscars

Civic/Service Minded

  • Firefighters

  • Organized a debate between teachers prior to the election

  • cared for the elderly and the homeless

  • raised money to support single mothers and newborns

  • Distinguished Finalist for this year's Prudential Spirit of Community Award

  • President’s Volunteer Service Award winner

  • community service examples - Columbus Day Parade, Summer Pops, service on local fire departments, more than 10,000 documented hours

  • Have been accepted to many of the finest institutions in the world

  • 73% (52(4), 21(2)) will attend college in the fall, 14 enlisted in a branch of the military

  • 91 seniors received 203 scholarships

  • scholarship money totaled $190,756

  • Senior Projects - most authentic, invested

  • Raised awareness for poverty in our community

  • Developed a protocol for treating possible concussions

  • Raised awareness for Myasthenia Gravis - a chronic neuromuscular, autoimmune disorder

  • Built a walkway by the Federico Gym entrance to help beautify the campus



Progress on WHS Core Values and Beliefs

To ensure every decision we make as a school community is best for our students, each decision needs to be aligned and consistent with our core values and beliefs. Our core values and beliefs are written below in regular print, and my anecdotal thoughts on a few highlights of our progress are written in italics.

WHS Core Values and Beliefs

Westerly High School is a community of learners who are committed to a positive school culture that honors academic achievement, mutual respect and personal accountability. Currently, in addition to doing our best to model these important driving principles, the School Improvement Team (SIT) is developing an action plan for next year to address ways in which may improve in these areas. We commit to clearly communicating our expectations to all stakeholders and holding ourselves accountable to meeting them. Through a self-study completed by the SIT during the 2015-16 school year, we identified that communication was an area in which we needed improvement. Thus, the SIT developed an action plan to address this issue, and to date, has satisfactorily achieved all of the goals identified in the action plan.We commit to providing our students multiple pathways to success so that ALL students can be prepared for life after high school. In addition to providing challenging coursework in all content areas, WHS has developed three Career and Technical Education (CTE) pathways, and continues to look for alternative pathways for students to achieve success in preparing for college and/or career readiness. We believe that innovation, technology, and having a global perspective will advance our learning, and we reject the structures that have traditionally served as limitations to progress. WHS has committed to changing the daily schedule next year to encourage more opportunities for students to learn outside of the walls of our school. Community partnerships continue to grow. P-TECH is a great example of innovation, as students have the opportunity to benefit from a partnership between the school, higher education, and the manufacturing industry for a valuable real world experience. We believe that learning must never be a passive activity, that instruction should inspire and that schools must operate in an atmosphere that is electric. In addition to the examples listed previously, WHS has created an opportunity for students in grades 10 -12 to develop their own learning path in the core content areas. We are calling this FLY, and the learning is 100% student-driven through voice and choice in partnership with a teacher as facilitator. We believe in the power of collaboration between teachers, students, their families and the community, and draw upon the strength of our diversity to solve our problems and create our own opportunities. Our greatest strength is our families and the community that does so much to support them. Our great community values theater, art, music, recreation, the environment, and we need to celebrate these opportunities. Civil discourse is much needed as we face the problems of today and beyond. Our schools are our greatest assets, and we are committed to fostering a community that values contributions from all of its members, and makes us better for it.

My Shadow Experience

Today, for the second consecutive year, I joined 1,765 school leaders in 50 states and 15 countries in the Shadow A Student Challenge. This Groundhog Day started when Tony Lementowicz drove me to Bradford to catch the bus with Ray Hill, the junior with which I would be spending the day at school. Tony made the initial drive as authentic as possible, by driving me to the bus stop in his family mini-van. The bus ride was relatively quiet as most of the students listened to music or kept to themselves. The ride was a little longer than expected since one of the bridges on Route 91 is impassable by buses.

My first class was a health class, and since it was the first week of the second semester, it was a new class for the students. I participated in an interview activity that helped me get to know the students better. We viewed a short video, and a discussion ensued around domestic violence. It is unfortunate that I will not be part of the next class discussion on healthy vs. unhealthy relationships. Being that I spent 16 years as a health teacher, this was a great way to start my day. The content is relevant and timely.

Next, Ray and I went to his English class. We learned more about the famous rodent we call Punxsutawney Phil. Phil saw his shadow today, so brace yourself for six more weeks of winter. Ray and I also collaborated on a writing assignment based on a real world experience.

Construction class was a blast as I observed Ray and his partner work on a building simulation of a cardboard construction project. They worked hard, and utilized real application to solve a problem. A memorable moment for me was when our group went “dumpster diving” to retrieve more cardboard.

Lunch was fun, as I enjoyed the conversation with a small group of lunch friends. To make the experience most authentic I enjoyed hot lunch again today, complete with “tater tots” and all. Next it was off to physical education to work off some those calories.

A former physical education teacher, I realized that I do not move as swiftly as I once did, nor is my flexibility any better. I had a great time in PE though, and I expect there to be more sore body parts tomorrow. The students were great at including me, and I had flashbacks to days of yesteryear.

The final class of the day was consumer economics. This is a class I could have really used in high school, well before the debt started to accumulate. I engaged in multiple activities and learned about “needs” and “wants’. The students participated freely, and seemed to have a good understanding of the content.

I had a great day and look forward to participating again next year. I find it to be a valuable experience, one that is bonding and educational for me. Taking some time to view the world from a student’s eyes is powerful and thought-provoking. I wish to thank all of the teachers who were so accommodating, and most importantly, I want to thank Ray for being such a great host today. He shared his time with me, and for that, I am most grateful.

Winter China Exchange Opportunity for Juniors

Dear Junior Families,

Here is an exciting opportunity for 6 or 7 Westerly High School students to host Chinese students for a 2 week period in February. There is an opportunity for our host students to travel to Beijing for a 10 day period at a later time. The details are below. Please contact me if interested, or for more information.

In February 2017, the U.S.-China Institute at Bryant University will bring in a group of 6-10 high school students (11th graders) from Beijing No. 35 High School for a 2-week winter camp to participate in the Harvard-MIT Mathematics Tournament (HMMT) on February 18.

We’d like to provide this opportunity to students and teachers at a Confucius Classroom high school for in-depth culture and education exchanges.

Before the program:

  • 6 or 7 American high school students will be paired with Chinese students.

  • Students will start writing to each other in November.

During the program (tentatively Feb. 5-19):

  • 5 host families from the high school will host Chinese students. The program will provide subsidy to host families for food and transportation ($30/student/day).

  • During the school day, Chinese students will go to same classes with their American buddies and exchange ideas/knowledge/perspectives with American students and teachers. The program will pay for Chinese student lunch in school.

  • Every day after school, Bryant will bus Chinese students to Bryant campus for math training/workshops for competition (2 hours/day). Their American buddies are invited to join the workshops if they are interested.

After the program (spring and summer):

  • American and Chinese student and family friendships will continue.

  • A sister school relationship can be established with Beijing No. 35 High School.

  • Beijing No. 35 High School welcomes American high school student group to visit and is willing to provide reciprocal hosting in Beijing, including host families, classes and culture tours in Beijing.

Thank you,
Todd Grimes
Winter China Exchange Opportunity for Juniors

Dear Junior Families,

Here is an exciting opportunity for 6 or 7 Westerly High School students to host Chinese students for a 2 week period in February. There is an opportunity for our host students to travel to Beijing for a 10 day period at a later time. The details are below. Please contact me if interested, or for more information.

In February 2017, the U.S.-China Institute at Bryant University will bring in a group of 6-10 high school students (11th graders) from Beijing No. 35 High School for a 2-week winter camp to participate in the Harvard-MIT Mathematics Tournament (HMMT) on February 18.

We’d like to provide this opportunity to students and teachers at a Confucius Classroom high school for in-depth culture and education exchanges.

Before the program:

  • 6 or 7 American high school students will be paired with Chinese students.

  • Students will start writing to each other in November.

During the program (tentatively Feb. 5-19):

  • 5 host families from the high school will host Chinese students. The program will provide subsidy to host families for food and transportation ($30/student/day).

  • During the school day, Chinese students will go to same classes with their American buddies and exchange ideas/knowledge/perspectives with American students and teachers. The program will pay for Chinese student lunch in school.

  • Every day after school, Bryant will bus Chinese students to Bryant campus for math training/workshops for competition (2 hours/day). Their American buddies are invited to join the workshops if they are interested.

After the program (spring and summer):

  • American and Chinese student and family friendships will continue.

  • A sister school relationship can be established with Beijing No. 35 High School.

  • Beijing No. 35 High School welcomes American high school student group to visit and is willing to provide reciprocal hosting in Beijing, including host families, classes and culture tours in Beijing.

Thank you,
Todd Grimes
Student Shadow Day Experience on March 9
Hi All,
I just wanted to share my experiences today as I took advantage of the last day of the national Shadow a Student Challenge. I began my day with Mr. Lementowicz acting as my dad, as he dropped me off at the bus stop. I was met there by the student I was shadowing and another student. I had a pleasant ride in, and some of the students seemed quite surprised that I was on the bus. I moved throughout the day with my shadow partner, beginning with Algebra II. I was quite proud that I was able to answer the Do Now, but please do not ask to see my work. I followed that with Economics and the Stock Market Challenge, which certainly helped me later in the day when I attended AP U.S. History, and we actively engaged in the stock market during the period of the 1920s. It also reminded me that I am barely financially literate. I attended advisory with Chef, and I scored a Bulldog cupcake in the process. French III proved to be a real challenge, although my three years of HS Spanish has not served me as well as I would have liked either. I learned new vocabulary, and that the French are much more polite and formal when writing emails. Then it was up the hill to Ward on a beautiful day on the quad, landing in the classroom with the best view in Westerly, Mr. Servidio's class. I played the stockbroker as many lost their life savings. Second lunch was a blast with my new friends, except that lunch crowd was a bit noisy. Then it was off to health where the boys were sent to receive a lesson on reproductive issues with a guest medical expert. Recollections of my days as a health teacher returned, but I finally packed it in when it seemed that reproductive talk with the principal present did not seem to inspire students to answer or ask questions.
I had a great day, and would like to thank my shadow partner Colby for being a gracious host. I also would like to thank Mr. Furano, Mrs. McGuinness, Mr. Finkelstein, Mrs. Canty, Mr. Servidio, and Mr. Sciro for welcoming me and making me part of the class. I saw happy, engaged, polite students at each stop, and along the way. Thank you all for doing what you do. I love this school!
Growth Mindset Thought
“So what should we say when children complete a task—say, math problems—quickly and perfectly? Should we deny them the praise they have earned? Yes. When this happens, I say, “Whoops. I guess that was too easy. I apologize for wasting your time. Let’s do something you can really learn from!”
Carol S. Dweck, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
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