September 2016 Message
Welcome to the 2016-2017 School Year! We are very excited to be kicking off our school year on August 15th and are looking forward to seeing all our new and returning students.
One of the most common questions we get at this time of the year is how can parents get involved at Homestead High School? Parents may feel a bit unsure of their role now that their students are establishing their independence and honing their own advocacy skills; however, it is our belief – as well as a point backed by loads of educational research – that students are more successful at schools where parents play an active role on campus. Gone are the days though when teachers ask for a “room parent” or seek sign ups for parents to act as assistant teachers and tutors in the classroom. Despite this, there are still many ways in which parents can be directly involved in the lives of their students – even if the students are not asking for or comfortable with that support.
The first step for parents is to make sure that you have signed up for School Loop and Infinite Campus. These two tools are often confused as doing the same thing, but they have two distinct functions. First, School Loop serves as a communication tool for our teachers to our students and parents. The School Loop system can be used for emails, posting of homework assignments, class calendars and as an electronic grade book. By signing up for School Loop, you can be part of this information network to help your student stay organized or to just know what is happening on campus. A majority of our teachers use School Loop in one way or another to communicate important information. If you find that a teacher is not using School Loop, the best incentive for them is to hear directly from students and families about the importance of this tool.
Infinite Campus (IC) is an information portal that contains an electronic record for students, including attendance, transcript, schedule, and other demographic information. Homestead staff use IC to look up and record information about students in order to get to better know them and their needs. Parents and students use IC to keep track of important information and find it especially useful during the college application process as you can have immediate access to unofficial transcripts, GPA’s and test scores. So without even leaving your own home, these two tools can keep you informed.
Of course, our website is a vast resource where we store all the information about our school, courses, achievements, staff lists, clubs and parent organizations. Honestly, if you have a question about our school I would bet that you could find that information on our website. Not only will you find my monthly Principal’s Messages such as this but you will also find the icons for School Loop and IC. Simply scrolling through the titles at the top of the website, you will find specific links to School Information, Academics, Guidance & Counseling and Athletics. Two links that I would like for you to explore are the Student Life and Parents & Community links. Under Student Life, you will find ways for your students to get involved in extra-curricular activities while under Parents & Community, parents will find a variety of resources where they can get involved to help make Homestead a truly great place to learn and work.
You can also find links to our Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA), School Site Council and various booster pages. While these might sound very similar in nature, they also have distinct roles in supporting our students. The PTSA is the advocacy group for Homestead and they provide support through their Direct Appeal donation drive, providing parent educational opportunities, and support for graduation activities including the All Night Party for seniors. The PTSA also coordinates SAT Prep Courses, the Reflections Art Program, Student Scholarships and Teacher Grants.
The School Site Council (SSC) is a decision-making body and oversight committee comprised of the principal or designee, teachers, staff, parents and students. We meet five times a year to discuss a variety of issues, and our first meeting is September 27th from 5pm to 6pm in the Staff Lounge. All are welcome to come participate, but only elected members can vote on items.
We have several Booster groups that support our athletics, music, cheer, and dance teams. Depending on what teams or activities your students join, you have the option of contributing your time, money or expertise to help provide as well rounded and rich an experience as possible. Thanks to the hard work of our Booster Groups, our students are able to have memorable experiences that last a life time and provide skills that help them in a variety of avenues.
Every week, my executive assistant Tricia Goulet sends out a weekly email blast full of important information, dates and links. Parent emails are taken from our database, but parents can opt out once they start receiving it.
I would also like to take this opportunity to invite every parent and guardian to our Back To School Night on Wednesday, September 7th. At our BTSN you will get the chance to meet your student’s teachers and hear valuable information about their courses and expectations. You really won’t have the opportunity to discuss your student’s individual needs or progress, but you will learn how to best communicate that information to our teachers.
Last school year, the Fremont Union High School District initiated a Parent Survey that went home to all the parents of registered students. We got lots of valuable information and feedback from the survey (click to see results and analysis of the parent survey) and appreciated the chance to hear directly from you. Don’t worry if you did not participate last year; our district will be sending home another survey so that we can continue to address issues and concerns. The survey is still being worked on but should be ready around our Back to School Night, so stay tuned. It would be great if we could beat our number of responders from last year, which was just under 500 parents.
Finally, just as we encourage our students to experience all that our campus has to offer I would extend that invitation to you. Whether you look up the calendar on our website or are reading the weekly email blasts, be sure to write down dates of upcoming events and then come to campus to see what our students are capable of doing. Even if your student is not involved in band or drama or art or sports you should still come out to catch a performance or take in a game. You will be amazed at the amount of talent in the Mustang stable and it might even inspire or encourage your student to participate in something new or different.
As always, if you have any questions please be sure to email or call me – or better yet, show up to an event so that you can introduce yourself and tell me in person. Here’s looking forward to a great year! See you soon.