The 2016-2017 school year is quickly approaching with much excitement! Monday, August 15th is the first day of school. Our vision this year is to be the top producer of successful students in the nation. We define success as students graduating and going forth to be helpful and productive citizens. Our mission is to lead students to success with the support and involvement of families and the community. The following are our five goals (1) an intense focus on student achievement (2) a high-performing and dedicated team (3)a safe learning and working environment (4) efficient operations (5) sustained community engagement.
I am particularly drawn to our students graduating and going forth to be helpful and productive citizens. This definition of success emphasizes that each student is very important and that they do have an impact on others. Being a helpful and productive citizen positively impacts our families, friends, communities, state, and nation. It speaks to being a dependable family member, a positive student at school, a hard working employee, an active volunteer, a good-hearted leader, or a caring friend. Our students will go on to have many leadership roles, and it is important that they lead well in a helpful and productive way.
Winter Park High School is a school that has a strong heartbeat. We are a school of character solidified by many incredible graduating classes that have established a Tradition of Excellence. Wildcats respect one another, value each other, and care about people. Wildcats embrace diversity and work to have a safe, supportive, and encouraging school culture. Wildcats also work together to learn, grow, and be good citizens.
Recently, the state released school grades, and I am pleased to report that Winter Park High School received an A! With the implementation of a new, tougher grading formula that was not officially decided upon until the middle of this past school year, there was a significant degree of mystery as to how grades would look this year. Our superb students, dedicated staff, involved parents and supportive community members worked together to earn the A grade. Many thanks to all, and way to go Wildcats!
Orange County Public Schools is providing laptop computers for all of our students this year. District approved textbooks will be accessible through the laptops and students will use the laptops for class work, homework, and testing. Class sets of hard cover textbooks will exist in most classrooms. AP and IB books will still be in paper form and not available electronically. With any new rollout, there will be unexpected challenges that arise. A few points of good practice follow:
1. Laptops need to be charged each night and ready to go for the next day. A fully charged laptop is vital!
2. Avoid loss or theft by storing laptops in a safe and secure location when at home. A laptop left on the seat of a parked car is a temptation to those with bad intent.
3. It is important to care for the laptop and accessories so that the device is long lasting and functions well.
4. It can be tempting to use the laptop to cheat or plagiarize which of course is completely unacceptable.
We also will be utilizing the Kahn Academy software program this year. KhanAcademy.org prepares students for the SAT exam and at the same time supports the learning of many state standards. It is worthwhile for a student to invest time in KahnAcademy.org from any computer on or off campus.
Communication this year will take place through our weekly electronic newsletter and our phone call-out system. If you ever change your phone number, please stop by our guidance office to have your contact number updated. If you do not receive our weekly newsletter, send a text message to 22828. Enter the following text message content: WPHS. A prompt will then be sent asking for your email address.
Welcome Cats will be held on Tuesday, August 9th at the ninth grade center. On that day, freshman will sign up for a specific time to pick up their new laptop computer. To sign up, go to our school home page and scroll down in the center column to Back to School! Then, click on Freshman Campus to access the sign up page. Orientation will be held for freshman parents and students at the ninth grade center on Wednesday, August 10th from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
For seniors, juniors, and sophomores a different laptop distribution system will be utilized to accommodate the larger number of students. You most likely have received information about that system. If you have not, look at our website for updated information.
Welcome Back Cats sessions are separate from laptop distribution for seniors, juniors, and sophomores. At the main campus, Welcome Back Cats will be held for seniors on Tuesday, August 9th from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. The session for juniors will be held on Thursday, August 11th from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., and the session for sophomores will be held on Friday, August 12th from 9:00 a.m. to noon. The Welcome Back Cat sessions are designed for students to pick up a schedule, receive or replace an ID card, purchase a parking decal, and rent a locker.
Thank you for reading this edition of the Wildcat Watch. I hope you find the information in this newsletter to be helpful. We are going to have a great year!
Timothy A. Smith