Students from Districts 203 & 204 may enter this contest by January 20, 2017.
Greetings from NCHS. December is always an interesting and unique month during the school year at NCHS. There are two primary reasons for this. Final exams, and preparing for course selection for next year. I’d like to elaborate on both of these important topics.
Most courses at NCHS include final exams. The details associated with final exams are different depending on the course. Some final exams are comprehensive, assessing learning that was expected from the beginning of the semester to the end. Some final exams are actually projects or presentations, which are designed for students to demonstrate their learning. Most final exams contribute 10-15% towards the semester grade, so they are very important for our students. If a student has three rigorous final exams on the same day, the student may ask one of the teachers to move a final exam to another day. Preparing and taking final exams can also be a valuable experience in preparation for college, where most courses include final exams.
Preparing for course selection is also an important time for 11th, 10th, 9th, and 8th grade students. December is the month when we expect students to begin thinking about next year’s courses. Some courses are mandatory for graduation, but many of our courses are elective. There are many resources available at NCHS to help students and families with course selection. The “Program Planning Guide” available on our school website is a great resource for researching courses to choose from. This can be found on the NCHS website under “Student Services”, “Course Selection & Registration”, and “Program Planning Guide”. Feel free to contact your guidance counselor with any question regarding course selection. Our guidance counselors are familiar with all of our courses and the course selection process.
Enjoy the fun challenges during the month of December, thank you for supporting NCHS, and thank you for contributing to the success of our school. Best wishes for a safe and enjoyable holiday break. IT’S GOOD TO BE A REDHAWK!
Welcome to NCHS! The school year is off to a great start, with lots of valuable learning experiences taking place. It is my goal that all of our students have valuable learning experiences. This typically involves challenges and hard work. Nobody ever says that being successful is easy. The teachers at NCHS have high expectations for our students, but also provide support and assistance for those who need it. Our teachers are willing to support and assist students, and we have built further assistance for those who need extra support before and after school.
If a student needs extra academic support (the first step should always include directly contacting the teacher), using our website please click on “Academics”, “Academic Support”, and “5 Ways to Get Support” to learn about opportunities available to students before school, during lunch periods, and after school.
I strongly encourage students to get involved in at least one extra-curricular program while at NCHS. Graduating students consistently report that one of their best experiences while at NCHS was being involved in an extra-curricular program. In addition to the growth that takes place, college admissions offices are always impressed with high school students who are involved in positive activities outside of the school day.
Best wishes for a great school year. Go Redhawks!
Happy Summer NCHS Community!
I hope that everyone is having a nice summer break. While there is no school taking place at NCHS during the summer, the school is still open in the event anyone needs to stop by. The Student Services office is open each day from 7:00 – 1:30 pm, with a guidance counselor available for students or families. The main office is open each day from 7:30 – 3:00 pm.
As we begin to think about the upcoming school year, I’d like to remind everyone of the importance of a positive attitude and mindset. A few years ago I was introduced to the book Mindset by Carol Dweck. I found it fascinating. The book explains that in general there are two approaches towards learning. A fixed mindset believes that we are born with certain abilities that cannot be changed. A growth mindset (the best approach) believes that we can learn, grow, and improve. I’d like NCHS to be filled with people with growth mindsets, believing that we are capable of great things and that we can all learn and improve. It may take some of us longer than others, but with persistence and the right attitude we can all achieve and succeed.
Best wishes for the remainder of the summer. I’m looking forward to an awesome 2016-17 school year!
NCHS attempts to maintain a balance of tradition and innovation. We have many strong traditions that include high academic expectations, highly involved students and staff, a large menu of academic and extra-curricular choices, and a very friendly atmosphere in our building.
In addition to the traditions in place at NCHS, we are constantly changing and adding new ideas to improve our school experience for students. I’d like to provide a short explanation of a few of the new practices in place at NCHS this year.
We are now offering a dedicated location on the 2nd floor for students to make up tests or possibly a test re-take. If a student is absent and misses a test, the student can visit the testing center before school or during his/her lunch period to make up the test at a later date. Students will need to make arrangements with their teacher.
Before School Academic Help
We’ve had before school academic help in the past, but new courses have been added this year. For students who arrive to school early (particularly bus riders), academic help from a teacher is available in the following: Math, Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Writing, and Spanish.
Digital Learning Initiative (DLI)
All students were issued a chrome-book at the beginning of the school year. This provides all of our students with a valuable learning resource, and all teachers are assured that each student has the same device for learning activities. Most of our teachers use Canvas as a resource for students (or parents) to access information from home, and some of our teachers have additional learning resources that can help students reinforce or review learning standards outside of the classroom walls.
NCHS will never be perfect, and we will continually strive to make improvements for our students and their learning experiences. I am very proud of our school, and we will our best to provide a high quality education for everyone who walks through our doors. Enjoy the remainder of the semester and continue to embrace the fun challenges that lie ahead!
Bill Wiesbrook, Principal
Greetings from NCHS!
As we near the end of the first semester, we are soon approaching the time of the year when students will be making course selections for next year. This is a very important decision for students and families, and can impact the future direction of our students. I believe that many of our students should consider selecting an AP course when deciding which courses are best for next year.
NCHS offers 26 Advanced Placement (AP) courses. That’s a comprehensive menu for students and families to consider! AP courses follow a college curriculum, and essentially offer students a college-level classroom experience while in high school. We know that 96% of our students enroll in college after graduation, and an AP course can help to prepare students for the future. Each year in the Spring, many of the students enrolled in AP courses will take the AP exam. The exams are graded on a 1 – 5 scale (with a score of “5” being the highest), and students earning a score of 3 of better typically earn college credit for the course. This can certainly help prepare students, give students confidence, and even help students and families financially.
In the current senior class of 2016, 56% of the students have taken or are currently enrolled in an AP course. I’m proud of these students, and think this is great. However, this means that over 40% of our seniors will graduate without trying an AP course. I’d like to see more of our graduating seniors taking at least one AP course. If you feel your student is interested, willing, and able to succeed in an AP course, please talk to your guidance counselor about the possibility of choosing an AP course for next year. If you or your student isn’t sure whether he/she is prepared to succeed, consider communicating with a teacher or department chair in addition to the guidance counselor to gather feedback.
I’m happy that NCHS offers such a wide variety and range of courses for our students to consider. Please spend some time with your student discussing the course selection process for next year. Sometimes the experience in a high school class can significantly impact the future life of a student.
Best wishes for a great “home stretch” of the first semester, and best wishes for the upcoming holiday break. Go Redhawks!
Bill Wiesbrook, Principal
The 2015-16 school year is underway! The staff at NCHS continues to try to serve our students and families by providing a high quality learning experience for all of our students. We have many opportunities for our students, and I hope that all of our students do their best to learn and grow. I’d like for students and families to know about one way to consider and measure academic growth during these important years of high school.
One of the methods used to measure students’ academic growth is known as the EPAS path. The EXPLORE, PLAN, and ACT exams make up the parts of ACT’s Educational Planning and Assessment System, known as EPAS. This is one of the assessment systems schools can use to track student progress on college and career readiness skills. Below you will find important information about how to interpret the meaning of the scores on EPAS exams. I hope that by providing this information students and families can have critical conversations about future plans and academic preparation while at NCHS.
8th grade students in our district take the EXPLORE test in the Fall. The PLAN is given in the Spring of 9th grade. The practice ACT is given to 10th graders in the Spring. The state mandated ACT is taken in the Spring of 11th grade. These exams are scored by ACT, and a report is generated and share with families. Each of these exams generates an overall Composite Score. These scores are sent to each family and can be used to measure student progress.
All of the EPAS assessments are scored in a similar way and measure similar College Readiness Skills. Unlike the ACT, which has a maximum score of 36, the PLAN has a maximum score of 32, and the EXPLORE has a maximum score of 25. All three exams provide a score in the four tested areas (English, Reading, Science, and Math) and a Composite Score. The Composite Score is an average of the other sub-scores. The Composite Score is used by colleges to determine overall achievement, and in many cases, placement.
Though every student works at a different pace, ACT predicts that a student’s Composite Score will increase by 2-3 points between EXPLORE in 8th grade and the PLAN in 9th grade. Similarly, they predict that a student’s Composite Score will increase by 2-3 points between the PLAN and the ACT in the spring of the 11th grade. These ranges should provide insight about the kind of growth that ACT predicts a student should make over the course of his/her high school career.
Most of our students feel their ACT score is important. I hope that families and students will use the results of the EXPLORE, PLAN, and practice ACT to help in the goal of a successful score on the ACT. If you have questions or would like advice regarding preparation for these tests, please contact your guidance counselor.
Let’s all do our part to make this a great school year!
The 2014-15 school year is over. It was definitely a fun challenge! I hope that all of our students learned and grew during the school year, and achieved success. Now that the school year is over, we are planning and organizing details for the 2015-16 school year.
One of the biggest changes for NCHS will be our Digital Learning Initiative. Every student will be issued a Google Chromebook device at registration in August. This will help assure that all of our students have equal access to digital learning resources during the school year. This will be an exciting opportunity for our students and teachers to have access to resources and information throughout the school day and throughout the school year. It will be new, so we know there will be some “bumps” in the road. Any time we try something new, and change our routine, it is natural to encounter a few challenges. However, we are excited about the endless possibilities this will bring to our students and their learning experience.
Enjoy the summer, keep learning, and stay healthy.
Bill Wiesbrook, Principal
You may have received an invitation to take the “5 Essentials Survey” for NCHS. The state of Illinois requires all public schools to administer this survey, built and coordinated by the University of Chicago. The survey is intended for students (grades 6 – 12), parents, and staff. Each of these groups has a slightly different survey allowing for feedback on the effectiveness of your school.
All science teachers at NCHS will administer the survey to students on February 13th (half-day institute). This will give us a very good sample size of students’ opinions and perceptions on the effectiveness of our school. Faculty will take the survey during a portion of an upcoming institute day. Parents are encouraged to take the survey whenever convenient (the survey takes 10-15 minutes to complete), and will be receiving several “talk 203” messages with the link provided (also provided below).
I want to do my part in helping to improve our school. I feel that NCHS provides great experiences and opportunities for our students, but I know we aren’t perfect. The feedback from the 5 Essentials Survey will be analyzed and we can use this feedback to focus on areas that need attention and improvement.
Please consider taking 10-15 minutes to complete the survey. Students and families should always feel comfortable sharing concerns or suggestions with the administration at NCHS. We are proud of our school, and want to continue providing a high quality learning atmosphere for our students.
Bill Wiesbrook, Principal
IT’S THE “PRINCIPAL” OF THE THING (October, 2014)
Most of you should be familiar with our school and district mission statement. It’s the same mission statement for each of our district’s 22 schools. Our mission includes educating students to be:
Many of our students receive recognition for high academic achievements, athletic achievements, and other co-curricular accomplishments. We also regularly recognize students who consistently excel in the final two “strands” of our mission statement—collaborative workers and community contributors. This recognition is known as the Distinguished Redhawk award. Students are nominated by teachers, and a committee of faculty selects four students who are shining examples of the two attributes mentioned above. The committee will select four students each quarter in the school year and display their pictures in the hallway near the main office. The students recently selected as Distinguished Redhawks include: Lottie Brooks, Blake Cortez, Grace Watson, and Austin Werner. Congratulations to these students and their families!
As we start to approach the winter season, families should recall that last year our district closed schools on several occasions because of inclement weather. When the school year calendar is published, it’s impossible to predict whether or not emergency days will occur. It’s important that families do not schedule vacations or make significant travel plans until after June 3rd, 2015. There are always five dates established as “make up days” in the event of schools closing. It’s critical that students are in attendance for final exams at the end of the school year, so please don’t make plans that could potentially conflict with these dates.
Please encourage your student to take advantage of the academic support offered at NCHS. Every day before school we have academic support available for our students. Bus riders are in the building by 7:00 am, and first period begins at 7:45 am. Therefore, these students have plenty of time to take advantage of our before-school academic support options. These include: Writing Center (room 245), math (room 343), chemistry (room 323), physics (room 326), and Spanish (room 104). If your student needs extra support in any of these subjects, there are always experienced teachers available in these locations before school.
Best wishes on a positive and rewarding school year. Our students continue to do great things and show great potential. Please continue to encourage your student to do their best. Go Redhawks!
Each of the last few years, we’ve surveyed our students to determine the percentage of our students involved in a co-curricular activity, club, or sport. Last year’s results showed that 80% of our students are involved in at least one thing after school hours. That’s a great number!
Research shows that students who are involved in co-curricular activities have a higher average GPA than those who are not involved. Our annual senior “exit survey” reports that our students involved in co-curricular athletics or activities consistently have very positive experiences. College admissions offices look favorably on high school students who are involved in co-curricular activities. I personally think that these students learn very worthwhile skills, including time management, teamwork, persistence, problem-solving, and the benefits of hard work.
Please encourage your student to get involved in something outside of the classroom during his/her time at NCHS. Eighty percent is a great number, but it would be terrific if we could have 100% of our students involved in a co-curricular event while at NCHS. Go Redhawks!
7:00 PM - 11:00 PM Focus 203 - Spring Session
8:30 AM - 11:00 PM Focus 203 - Spring Session
6:30 PM - 8:30 PM College & Career Center Open
7:00 PM - 11:00 PM Board of Education
7:00 PM - 8:30 PM NCHS Student Services Parent Program
7:30 PM - 9:00 PM 5th Grade Honor Band & Orchestra Concert