Throughout the school year 2016-17 one of our primary goals was to look at the social and emotional well being of our student-body. We entered into an agreement with Stanford University and their influential Challenge Success Program. Other high-achieving schools like Dover-Sherborn and Acton-Boxborough are also participating in the same program and are working collaboratively to make recommendations to students and parents regarding a balance of academics, co-curricular activities, and other outside opportunities.
You can find out more about this program at www.challengesuccess.org.
This is a two-year program and a Challenge Success Team has been established at the two middle schools and one at the high school. Each team is comprised of administrators, faculty, students, counselors, parents and other health professionals connected to the Westford Public Schools. In September, the Challenge Success Teams from each school will meet with the program coordinators from Stanford University to review the survey results in depth and to formulate recommendations for each individual school.
Below is a link to the “Principal's Corner” which is located under “Parents” on our school website. The link will provide you with the survey results from this past fall where over one thousand of our W.A. students participated in answering questions regarding, academic stress, sleep, homework, etc. Please take some time to review this important survey. I am hoping to host a few parent evenings before the end of this school year or following the Challenge Success Team's visit to Stanford University next fall so that parent/guardians and students may ask questions pertaining to the Challenge Success Survey.
Netflix series- Thirteen Reasons Why
Dear Parents and Guardians -
Westford Academy wanted to make you aware of the Netflix series- Thirteen Reasons Why. This show is based on a book that was released 10 years ago and has been made into a 13-episode drama series on Netflix. The series depicts extremely strong and graphic themes of suicide, bullying, rape, substance abuse and other social issues.
The trailer, advertisements and storytelling of this series can be misleading- Teenagers could perceive the message that suicide is a viable or romanticized option.
There is no mention of mental health and treatment options (as it references suicide throughout)
The idea of suicide is romanticized throughout
The series does not express what to do in harmful situations in terms of getting help or utilizing healthy coping strategies
The only time we see the main character seek out professional help is on the day she kills herself. She seeks help from a school counselor (as she is struggling with the aftermath of being raped by a classmate). The counselor is portrayed as indifferent, suggests that she needs to move on and that without disclosing the name of her rapist, there isn't much he can do to help her. The main character leaves the counselor's office with a reinforced feeling of hopelessness and a few hours later slits her wrists in her bathtub.
The series is not meant to be an educational film, and its message does not comply with health recommendations for treating mental illness, and/or trauma, or preventing suicide.
Please find out if your child has read the book, watched the series, or heard of the series and talk with them about it. We also suggest you research the series or watch it for yourself so you understand what your child may be exposed to. Please be reassured that the Guidance Department and faculty at Westford Academy are educated in the risk factors as they pertain to mental health. The Counselors at WA would respond to any safety issues with a sense of urgency, seriousness, empathy, problem-solving and parent communication. Please encourage your child to seek out a teacher/coach/counselor if they or their friends are demonstrating mental health risk factors.
For further information and resources:
NASP: Tips for Parents & Educators
NASP: Save A Friend - Resource for Teens
National Suicide Prevention Hotline,1-800-273-TALK (8255), or text “START” to 741741
If you would like more information- feel free to reach out to our School Social Workers - Patti Lonergan @firstname.lastname@example.org and Micaela Violette at email@example.com
The opening show is TONIGHT! Good luck to the cast and crew!
Westford Academy Theater Arts presents SPRING AWAKENING
Westford Academy Theater Arts presents SPRING AWAKENING with book and lyrics by Steven Sater and Music by Duncan Sheik directed by Michael Towers in the Westford Academy Performing Arts Center on April 28, May 5, 11*, 12 at 7:30 PM and April 29 and May 6 at 2:00 PM and 7:30 PM. On Wednesday, April 19 at 7:00 PM, there will be an Open Forum in the Westford Academy Performing Arts Center where adults and students will explore the topics and themes of SPRING AWAKENING which Westford Academy Theater Arts will present in April and May. Guided by Westford Public Schools Health and Wellness Curriculum Coordinator Sean O'Leary and supported by members of the Westford Academy Faculty, the evening is designed to engage adults and
students in conversation surrounding the difficult topics that every community faces. Topics will include: sex and sexuality; anxiety surrounding academic expectations; sexual assault; teenage pregnancy; and suicide. Members of the company will perform selected scenes and musical numbers from Spring Awakening - which will be followed by questions, thoughts and forward moving conversation. This event is open to the public but there is one caveat: We will come together to grow together. Bring your curiosity, questions, expertise, opinions, experience, open mind, compassion, understanding, and will to grow…as a parent, son, daughter, friend, ally, individual and member of a larger whole
Graduation Announcements will be sold in the main office beginning Monday, May 1st. These are not graduation tickets! They are simply nice announcements to serve as a keepsake for graduation or to send to family members. The cost is $2.00 per announcement (10 announcements per family while they last.) Please see Mrs. Langille to purchase.
Graduation details - June 2, 2017
Graduation will be held on Friday, June 2, 5:30 PM, on the Westford Academy Alumni Field (First rain date: Saturday, June 3, 5:30 PM. Second rain date: Sunday, June 4, 2:00 PM) NO TICKETS ARE NEEDED and you may bring an many guests as you wish! Our seating is first come, first served. We rent 1,800 chairs in addition to having the use of our bleacher seats. We have plenty of handicap parking and have a handicap/elderly drop-off area. There will be people assisting with traffic flow and parking.
Remember All The Balloons Last Year?
The Westford Education Foundation is doing it again. Send your favorite WA Class of 2017 graduates shiny maroon and silver Mylar balloons as a fun way to congratulate them on this big accomplishment. Imagine hundreds of balloons decorating mailboxes and front porches of WA seniors throughout town on graduation day. Balloons are just $6 each. An array of six balloons to the same address (ordered at the same time) is $30. The deadline to order balloons is THURSDAY, May 25, 2017. Go to http://wefweb.org/ for the balloon order form. Be sure to include the grads' names,
addresses, and your own personal note for each recipient, and WEF will take care of the rest. Balloons will be delivered the day before graduation. Questions? Contact Kelly Guthrie at firstname.lastname@example.org. Proceeds from balloon sales help WEF fund a wide variety of innovative educational and professional development grants for Westford schools, as well as two scholarships to graduating seniors majoring in education. The Westford Education Foundation is grateful for your support.
LAST NIGHT 2017
WA Last Night 2017 is the all-night, substance-free celebration for our Westford Academy graduating seniors, which will be held on Friday, June 2nd starting at 10:00 PM. With almost 100% participation, Last Night is a highlight for WA graduates. It takes over 200 volunteers and many, many generous donors to make this evening a success. Parents of all students from K to 12, are encouraged to volunteer. For more information, please see the Last Night website at www.walastnight.org
Donations can be made online at www.walastnight.org/donate or please send your contribution to: WA Last Night 2017, PO Box 4079, Westford, MA 01886. All gifts are tax-deductible.
To volunteer, contact Volunteer Coordinator Cindy McKeen at email@example.com or come to an upcoming volunteer event to sign up and process your CORI form. Cindy will be at Panera from 7:00 to 8:00 PM on Tuesday, May 9th. You can also sign up before the monthly Last Night meeting in the WA Lecture Hall (Room 144) on Wednesday, May 3rd from 6:45 to 7:00 PM.
Attention SENIORS… Registration is now past due! Don't miss out on this wonderful night with your fellow graduates. Please mail your signed permission slip and contribution to WA Last Night 2017, PO Box 4079, Westford, MA 01886. Forms available athttp://walastnight.org/for-parents
Sustainable Westford News!
Westford Farmers Market
Your favorite farmers market will be here before you know it! June 20th is Opening Day! On Tuesdays you can count on a reliable, robust and lively farmers market on the Town Common and meet and greet your friends and neighbors. Enjoy fresh air and sunshine, local fruits and veggies, meats, eggs and cheese. All locally made without preservatives and artificial anythings! Brought to you by our wonderful student volunteers! Now recruiting for this season's student volunteers - the only prerequisite is fun loving, responsible and outgoing! Please contact Gloria with your pertinent information at: info@SustainableWestford.org
SNAP Bonus Bucks Program at the farmers market Please help fight hunger in our community and neighboring towns and provide food for a child or the family. Your private donation gives to your neighbors in need and doubles their food allowance provided by SNAP (a Federal program; Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program) up to $25 if spent at our farmers market. 100% of your donation is used for SNAP recipients. Items available for SNAP purchases through this program are limited to fresh produce, protein and breads, seeds and dairy products. To donate and more information, cut and paste into your browser: http://sustainablewestford.org/snap-bonus-bucks/
Westford Academy's Good Good Compost
Buy a bag of Westford Academy's Good Good Compost from Westford Community Compost, and Whole Foods Market in Westford will match the first 30 bags purchased with a donation of 30 bags to Fresh Start Food Gardens to benefit Westford's school gardens. Buy 3 bags or more and get free delivery in Westford, or purchase at our tailgate sale on April 29 at St Marks' parking lot from 10:00 A.M. - 12:30 P.M. Good Good Compost is made at Westford Academy from fruit and vegetables, leaves and coffee grounds. Each bag contains one cubic foot of premium, fully-tested, screened compost, and sells for $10. Proceeds go toward sustaining the composting program at Westford Academy. To arrange purchase of 3 or more bags with free delivery in Westford, contact: compost@SustainableWestford.org Hurry, supply is limited!
Upcycle It Program has added a new drop off collection point at WholeFoods! You will now be able to drop off these Upcycle items at WholeFoods of Westford: Baby food pouches, chip bags, cereal bags and drink pouches. Look for the Recycling Bins to drop off items. Proceeds from this program are donated to the Westford Public Schools, to date over $11,000 raised! For more information: www.SustainableWestford.org
If you're interested in volunteering for any of our programs we could use your help! Its easy and gratifying to be a part of your community! Please email to: info@SustainableWestford.org
Have a great weekend! Jim Antonelli