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Principal's Message

January 2018 -- Principal's Message

Dear Homestead,

Happy 2018!  I hope that everyone had a restful, relaxing or exciting yet safe break. I truly enjoyed my time with friends and family, and I am very excited to be back with my Homestead family as we welcome the new year and get back to what we do best -- teaching and learning!

Since we are at the start of a new year but only in the middle of the school year, I thought I would take this space to give you a preview of things to come for Second Semester.  I do want to take just a little side trip and congratulate the Homestead Marching Band students, families and instructors for their amazing performance at this year’s Tournament of Roses parade.  I had the honor of watching them live from the Grandstand and could not have been more proud of our students and adults who made this event even more grand.  A special thanks to John Burn and Eric Weingartner for their amazing dedication and leadership, and a huge thank you to Vicki Feltman whose tireless devotion to our band has helped us to be one of the best in the country.  The entire event was a major undertaking, which could not have been possible without our amazing adults in the Music Boosters.  And, of course, I cannot express my gratitude enough to our talented students in band and color guard who are the true stars of the show.  

January means two things in high school -- seniors begin to start hearing about college acceptance and our incoming 9th graders (welcome class of 2022!) begin the process of course selection for the 2018-2019 school year.  If you have not already done so, please visit our Guidance Department Events Calendar to find the specific events for your student or students.  We begin with visits to our feeder Middle Schools as well as meet with students and parents to begin discussing options for next year.  The basic process is to deliver information for students and families to use to help make decisions about what are the best classes to take for their students to achieve their post-secondary goals.  Then in February/March we begin the initial course selection process where students will submit their requests and we will begin our planning to fulfill requests.  A Course Verification letter will be sent home in April so that families can make last minute adjustments if necessary to the courses they have selected.  This process helps us begin to align our resources to best support requests but to also know what hiring may be necessary.  After all of this is complete, we begin the long, arduous process of building the master schedule, which will go through several revisions throughout the summer and up until the start of school to adjust for the inevitable changes that occur.

I would encourage you to attend the parent information nights that are scheduled but to also talk with your students and fill out the request forms together.  It is important to help your students choose classes that not only fit their interests but that might also be appropriate for their future goals as well as to fit in with their busy schedules.  To this point, our Guidance Department has revised the Homework Calculation Guide that is designed to help students understand the workload they have selected.  We have found that students will often choose classes with no regard to how much homework or reading is involved, which could affect their participation in outside activities, work and family life.  We want our kids to challenge themselves, but we also want them to enjoy themselves by participating in the activities that they love.  Our counselors and teachers can also help guide students in these areas but it also helps to partner with our parents to help kids make healthy choices.  These time management tools will be provided to the students during our class guidance presentations so please ask your students to use them when considering course selection for next year. 

One big change to anticipate next year will be the new bell schedule that is in the process of being finalized.  For the first time, parents and students will be able to choose a true “No First” period option for those wishing to have a later start to help with issues of sleep.  Choosing a “No First” option does not guarantee that you will get it as we have to consider many issues and items when trying to fulfill your requests, but if you do not ask for it you most likely won’t get it.  We will not have a 7th period skinny class, or a class that meets every day at the end of the day for 45 minutes.  Remember, all students will get six classes (unless they are a senior who needs fewer credits to graduate) and requesting a seventh class does not guarantee that you will receive one.

Another exciting change this year that we are looking forward to implementing is the start of Online Registration.  Starting with our Residency Verification process, incoming 9th grade families or families who are brand new to our district will have the ability to fill out and submit their forms electronically before coming to present their residency documents.  Those families will be sent a link with instructions on how to proceed. All families will also have an opportunity to update their information online in the spring through this system (e.g. phone numbers, emails, emergency contacts).  

Finally, January also means the start of major construction on the new Innovation Hub building.  We had some progress at the beginning of the year with the tearing down of the old F building but things have been a little quiet and slow these past two months as the contractors have been completing the pre-work needed to get moving.  This means more noise as the building starts to go up and parking will become more challenging as construction increases.  We ask for your patience and increased vigilance as you come and go from school until the building is completed around December of 2018.

Once again, I would like to wish you all a happy and prosperous new year and look forward to serving you and your students as we continue to move forward.

Greg Giglio, Principal