Parent Letter January 6, 2017

posted Jan 11, 2017, 10:37 AM by Michael Motherway

Dear Parents and Guardians:

Happy new year and welcome back to NAHS.  I find that our students have a way of immediately powering back up after a vacation.  In the last two days I have seen them enthusiastically reading aloud MacBeth, studying Teddy Roosevelt, celebrating the logging of a collective 9000 pages of independent reading in a ninth grade class, rehearsing for the February musical Grease, presenting “pitches” at the DECCA business conference, and playing some intense 9th grade girls basketball against Tewksbury, among other athletic contests.  

And our teachers are busy with a January full of teaching and much professional learning and reflection.  For example, the NAHS History Department will soon host the district leadership team in “instructional rounds,” where district and building leaders walk through history classes observing teaching and learning and then give feedback to the department in a non-evaluative manner.  Our general education and special education co-teachers are looking forward to a full-day workshop next week about best practices in teaching classes with students who have a wide range of skills and abilities.  And all teachers in North Andover will enjoy the January 13 professional day, which we call “Ed Camp.”  It has been really nice to be in a school and district that believe ongoing teacher learning is key to improved student learning and success.

Regarding student learning and success, I want to remind you that parents can always access in PowerSchool student grades on major assessments, as well as attendance.* Teachers update these regularly.  At the end of January (mid-trimester), teachers will be communicating about your student’s progress.  On January 27, you will find grades and “Habits of Learning” posted on PowerSchool.  

A reminder that over the last few years, NAHS has done impressive work:

  • articulating curriculum standards and various common assessments in each department

  • agreeing that a term or final grade should only reflect what a student knows and can do according to the standards

  • declaring that nightly homework is important, and that it is mostly for practice or formative assessment

  • and that separate from the achievement grade, students and parents need feedback on “habits of learning” - for example non-academic factors such as behavior, student effort, attendance, homework completion

The idea is that if NAHS is transparent about its learning standards, about how the standards will be assessed, and about students' progress to meet the standards, then there’s a better community understanding of what the high school is all about.  Having said that, it is still a journey and always a work in process.  Teachers in each department continually work to align curriculum and make learning and grading meaningful. We hope that our trimester reporting to parents/guardians is informative and helpful.

And last, on a safety/security note.  I am happy to report that the high school building exterior doors are now locked during the school day, and we have a process to screen and “buzz in” visitors.


Deborah Holman

Interim Principal

* If you need assistance logging onto your PowerSchool account contact Alicia Murray at


January 9 -  College Test Prep Fair & College Bound Juniors Night sponsored by NAHS Guidance Department, 5:00 - 8:00 p.m.

January 13 - No School - Full professional day for staff

January 16 - No School - Martin Luther King Day

January 18 - NAHS principal search - parent/guardian meeting with Supt. Jen Price, 8:00 a.m. in room 1064

January 19 - PICC College Coffee Talk 8-10 a.m. sponsored by Guidance Dept.

January 25 - Early release at 1:00 p.m. professional day; PAC meeting, 6:00 p.m. in library

January 27 - Mid-trimester grades and comments posted on PowerSchool at end of school day; during the school day - blood drive held in the fieldhouse


NAHS production of “Grease” - February 2, 3, 4