Happy Friday from Principal Chris

  • Friday, June 5, 2020

    Posted by Chris Ellsasser on 6/5/2020

    Happy Friday to Everyone,

    Things seem to be falling apart. A virus has distanced us from each other and our nation is grappling with our history of racism. We are being called upon to face so much together about living divided. We have an opportunity during this moment to move forward as a nation. We have an opportunity to face our history, to exercise empathy, and to engage in a healing dialogue.

    The death of George Floyd is a stark reminder of how far we still have to move as a country. It is hopeful to hear the diverse voices, see the diverse faces, and hear the common call for peaceful change. These are  evidence of how far we have come as a nation in our struggle to pursue the aspirational goals of freedom and social justice. We must of course do much more. We must take on the topic of systemic racism. We must understand and address the pain and suffering that comes from implicit biases. 

    Education stands at the center of this work. It is through education that we will find our way. An understanding of history will enable us to improve upon the past. Engagement in the present will enable us to talk with each other, to see each other clearly, to listen carefully, and to empathize. Imagining a future without institutional/systemic racism, and without implicit biases will enable such a time to be possible.

    I hope that you have an opportunity to talk as a family about what is happening, and to consider what you can do to contribute to the dialogue. There is so much pain, so much fear, so much anger being expressed. I hope that we can see what is happening as the beginning of change and that we can only move forward if we join with each other. 

    Peace,
    Chris

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  • May 29, 2020

    Posted by Chris Ellsasser on 5/29/2020

    Happy Friday Everyone,

    We each experience the world through a belief lens. Our beliefs are formed by our lived experience, including the influence of those in our social circle. This is why we can see the same things differently. The diversity of our perspectives is essential to maintain so we do not become myopic. The diversity of our perspectives also creates problems when we are not able to practice empathy.

    Formal education is a human invention that can make it possible for us to be diverse and united. Formal education enables us to navigate paradox. As students and teachers, we engage daily in the process of educating ourselves about what others think so we can refine and develop our own thinking. Education framed by empathy does not promote assimilation or indoctrination driven by those in power.

    As a school, our commitment to education for diversity and inclusion is foundational. We want our students to be able to identify their biases and find genuine interest in trying to understand the lived experience of others. 

    I hope this weekend you have the opportunity to educate yourself about the biases that might be informing your actions, and to consider what it must be like to experience the world in a way that you do not. 

    Peace,
    Chris

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  • Friday, May 22, 2020

    Posted by Chris Ellsasser on 5/22/2020
    Happy Friday
     
    Happy Friday Everyone (a note to the students),

    Being on the other side of a hill when you are running is always a good feeling. Gravity becomes your friend. One foot follows the next. You are able to relax and go fast at the same time. The endorphins kick in and you feel like you are flying. Once things start to flatten out the tendency is to slow down, losing the edge you earned on the uphill when you dug in and challenged yourself.

    In terms of the school year, we are on the downhill. The part where you were working hard and felt exhausted because you could not see the end is behind you. The end of classes is in sight, the weather is warming, the beaches are calling to us, and the temptation is to back off and glide into the finish.

    This is the time to keep a steady pace. Dial in on the assignment right in front of you. Real in that assignment with your best effort, then fix your eyes on the next. Use the end as a source of energy to pull you forward, not as an excuse to back down. 

    You have worked so hard to stay engaged with school. You have made so many sacrifices. You have taught yourself a new way of learning. You have worked though the technology learning curve. You have encouraged your friends to continue learning. You have shown that you value your education as the means for realizing your potential.

    The time will soon be upon us when you can sit back and look with pride on your work for the year. Now is not that time. Once you have completed your final assignment, pushed that submit button, and stepped away from the computer, then is the time to step outside into the sun for the summer. 

    I hope this weekend you have time to rejuvenate. Step away for a moment and enjoy the long weekend. Embrace the life we enjoy here in this place where sand and water surround us. Feel the satisfaction of coming this far. Then, on Monday night, set your eyes on Tuesday and return to work on behalf of your potential. 

    Peace, 

    Dr. Ellsasser
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  • Friday, May 15, 2020

    Posted by Roberta Endich on 5/15/2020

    Happy Friday Everyone,

    The virus has changed nearly everything about WHAT we do each day. In the past nobody  - at least no law abiding person - would have pulled on a mask before entering a store. We never used to negotiate space as though we each lived in one of those clear plastic balls used to allow a pet hamster or mouse to “run free” on the living room floor. Our kitchen tables never used to function as classrooms and offices. We never used to scrub our hands on the hour like surgeons moving from one patient to the next. This perpetual learning curve is exhausting. Underlying everything is the lack of control we feel coupled with the uncertainty of when we will safely be on the other side.

    Our kids have refused to be defined by this moment. They have used their technology and their ingenuity to find ways to be themselves against all odds. They play music with each other through the flat land of Zoom. They use their cars to circle up cowboy style, keeping their social distance. They exercise. They do their school work. They reach out to support their friends. They turn ordinary household materials into games. They have remained loyal to their values. They have continued believing that each new day will be the day we reach the other side safely together.

    I hope this weekend you have the opportunity to talk to your kids and let them know how proud we are of them for being themselves during this time. They have given us hope by showing they are here to shape the world - not to be shaped by it. They have helped us all remember that while this virus has altered so much: the one thing it has not touched is who we are.

    Peace,
    Chris

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  • Friday, May 8, Weekly High School Update

    Posted by c on 5/8/2020

    Weekly High School Update

     
    Dear Families,

    Happy Mother’s Day weekend. Here is the update of school-related information for this week.
    • Grades for quarter 3 are available on X2. Students received a EC for Emergency Credit, or an I for Incomplete. 
    • Students with an Incomplete should work with their teachers to complete missing work. Student should contact their counselors if they are unable to engage fully in each other's classes so a plan can be developed. 
    • Morning Announcements are emailed to students each weekday morning by 8:00 AM and contain information about student events. We are scheduling many activities to support student engagement and to celebrate school spirit.
    • We have created a NRHS Home Delivery Service. Students and families can email Sean Fleming if they need to deliver something to school or if they are in need of a delivery from school. We will also be using this service to deliver awards for students who are recognized during our virtual award events.
    • Community service hours can be reported. Students were not expected to accumulate hours during the closure, but those who have hours from the year should email them to Mrs. Cremins by Wednesday, May 13th.
    • Families of seniors can contribute photos to the Nauset Senior SlideShow by emailing pictures to nausetseniorslideshow@gmail.com  by May 15th at 3:00 pm.
    • Below you will see a chart with an annotated calendar of school events through to the end of the year.

    2020 Nauset Regional High School Events
    EVENT DATE TIME LOCATION PLAN
    Senior School Property Return May 18th 10:00-2:00 Nauset Regional HS Live
    Senior School Property Return May 19th 10:00-2:00 Nauset Regional HS Live
    Senior School Property Return May 20th 10:00-2:00 Nauset Regional HS Live

    Seniors can come to school and pick up their personal and school property.  
    You must wear a mask and maintain social distancing protocols.
    We may limit the total number of people in each building for safety purposes.

    Contact person:  Sean Fleming  flemings@nausetschools.org

    Senior School Property Return May 22nd 10:00-2:00 Nauset Regional HS Live
    Senior School Property Return May 26th 10:00-2:00 Nauset Regional HS Live

    Seniors will receive an email notifying them of all property to be returned (iPads, books etc.)  Tables will be set up at high school and students can choose to return in person or have a staff member come to their house to pick up items.  We will have caps & gowns available on these days at school.
    Contact person:  Sean Fleming  flemings@nausetschools.org

    Senior Athlete Night May 28th 7:00 pm Virtual YouTube Premium

    Senior athletes who played a sport in their senior year, will be honored at this 10th annual virtual event. Each athlete receives a commemorative picture plaque designating sports played at Nauset.  Scholarships and special awards will be given that night along with a special video tribute to senior athletes.  Awards, scholarships, etc. will be delivered directly to homes on June 1st and June 2nd.  Families will be notified via email to confirm delivery.
    Contact person:  John Mattson  mattsonj@nausetschools.org

    Underclass Awards Night May 26th 6:30 pm Virtual YouTube Premium

    This annual  event will allow the Classes of 2021, 2022 & 2023  to receive special awards virtually.   Underclass students will be properly acknowledged with various awards presented by clubs, organizations, and departments etc.  Parents will be notified if their son/daughter will be receiving an award so that you can plan to watch.  Awards will be distributed following this event by either pick up at school or home delivery.
    Contact persons:  Keith Kenyon  kenyonk@nausetschools.org  Wendy Spampinato spampinatow@nausetschools.org

    Seniors Last Day of School Motorcade May 29th 3:00 pm Nauset Regional HS Live

    This first time event will be for the faculty & staff to honor and say goodbye to the Class of 2020.  Seniors should arrive between 2:30-2:50 and line up on Cable Road.  We encourage you to decorate your cars.  The motorcade will kick off at 3:00 and be led by the local Police & Fire Departments.  Nauset staff members will be lined up throughout campus to salute and honor our seniors.
    Contact person:  Keith Kenyon  kenyonk@nausetschools.org

    Scholarship Night June 4th 6:30 pm Virtual YouTube Premium

    In order to properly acknowledge the recipients of the many scholarships offered here at Nauset Regional High School, we have scheduled this special Scholarship Night. Dr. Christopher Ellsasser, Principal and Mrs. Dee Smith, Scholarship Coordinator, will be awarding many scholarships to the Class of 2020.  Scholarships can be picked up at school or delivered to your home by a staff member.
    Contact person: Dee Smith smithd@nausetschools.org

    Class Day June 5th 6:30 pm Virtual YouTube Premium


    This 3rd annual  event will allow the Class of 2020 to receive special awards virtually. Seniors will be properly acknowledged with various awards presented by clubs, organizations, and departments etc.  Parents/guardians will be notified if their son/daughter will be receiving an award in advance.  
    Contact persons:  Keith Kenyon  kenyonk@nausetschools.org 
    Wendy Spampinato spampinatow@nausetschools.org

    Celebration of Class of 2020 June 7th 8:35 pm Wellfleet Drive In Live/Channel 22

    We will hold a celebration of this year's graduating class on Sunday 6/7 in a unique virtual presentation at the Drive-In.  The parking lot will open at 7:30 pm and each graduating senior will be allotted (1) vehicle per family.  Social distancing will be maintained as there will be a vacant parking space in between each car.  The ceremony will be pre-recorded and projected on the screen.  The ceremony will also be presented to family and friends not in attendance through Lower Cape TV.  More details to follow.
    Contact persons:  Keith Kenyon  kenyonk@nausetschools.org Sharon Richards richardss@nausetschools.org Tom Faris farist@nausetschools.org

    Step Up Day June 11th 10:00 am Virtual  YouTube Premium

    This event is normally held at school but will be provided virtually this year.  Students in grades 9-12 (2020-21) will have an opportunity to meet their teachers online and gain a better understanding of the curriculum and course expectations.  Schedules for each student will be sent via email in early June.
    Contact person:  Keith Kenyon  kenyonk@nausetschools.org  Dee Smith smithd@nausetschools.org

    Underclass Last Day of Classes June 19th 3:00 pm Virtual  
    This will be the final day of the 2019-20 school year four our underclass students.
    Senior Prom July 27th 6:00 pm Wychmere Yacht Club Live
    Assuming that social distancing restrictions have been relaxed, we will host our annual prom at the scenic Wychmere resort.  Tickets will be sold online.  (details to follow).  Ticket prices are $30 for seniors and $60 for underclassmen or guests. 
    Please note: All guests who are underclassmen and/or who do not attend Nauset Regional High School must also turn in an official, completed guest form. 
    Contact person:  Kate Blascio  blasciok@nausetschools.org Jennifer Stevens stevensjenn@nausetschools.org  Jessica Reeves reevesj@nausetschoools.org

    Senior Yearbook Signing/Cookout July 29th TBD Nauset Regional HS Live

    Assuming that social distancing restrictions have been relaxed, we will host this event at school and be sponsored by the Class of 2020.  All Nauset HS faculty & staff members will be invited to this cookout and have the opportunity to sign the seniors yearbooks.
    Contact person:  Kate Blascio blasciok@nausetschools.org  Jennifer Stevens stevensjenn@nausetschools.org  Jessica Reeves reevesj@nausetschoools.org

    Graduation July 30th 5:00 pm Nauset Regional HS Stadium Live

    Assuming that social distancing restrictions have been relaxed, we will host the Graduation ceremony outdoors in the HS stadium for the first time in school history.  Students should check in at the cafeteria at 11:00 am.  Please remind your son/daughter that no additions to their caps/gowns will be allowed.  We also request that students do not chew gum during the graduation ceremony.  Faculty will begin to file into the gym at 12:50 pm and the graduates will start their procession promptly at 1:00 pm.
    Contact person:  Keith Kenyon  kenyonk@nausetschools.org Sharon Richards richardss@nausetschools.org

     



    Be well,

    Chris
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  • Happy Friday - May 1

    Posted by Chris Ellsasser on 5/1/2020

    Happy Friday,

     

    The sun has returned, we have a weekend in front of us, and we live by the sea. The other day my son Patrick said something that has stuck with me. He and his brother Mason have a friend who lives in Turo. They play hockey together, but the distance has always limited the time they can spend together playing a card game called Pokeman. During this time they have learned to facetime and play cards a few nights a week. A few days ago Patrick wondered why they had not always played cards together, and commented on how great it was to be able to spend more time with their friend.

     

    While playing cards through facetime is not the same as being in the room face to face, his point has stuck with me. He has made me wonder how many other things we have learned during this time that will continue to enhance our quality of life when we get on the other side. 

     

    Extraordinary times call for extraordinary imagination and ingenuity.  Our scientists are working overtime to invent a vaccine, and along the way they are learning at warp speed. Educators are reinventing education and discovery pedagogy and curriculum that would not have occurred to them if not for the disruption.  Young people are learning how to practice social distancing by circling up their vehicles like the days of horses and the wild west.  

     

    At our own school we have seen extraordinary examples of creativity and empathy. We are at our best. We are living more creatively and with greater empathy than ever before. We are showing our potential. Just today I had the privilege of meeting with our senior class in our first virtual assembly. Living unbounded by geography and time, we came together to talk about all the ways we will be celebrating their four years. 

     

    I pray for the end to this time, and my heart breaks for those who are sick and suffering. I am also filled with pride for the way our community and particularly our young people have responded. I have always been grateful to call the Outer Cape my home. These last few months have deepened that feeling. There is no place like home, and there is no home like Cape Cod.

     

    Peace,

    Chris

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  • April 17, 2020

    Posted by Chris Ellsasser on 4/17/2020

    Happy Friday,

    Our worlds have been reduced. The view from the second story unfinished bathroom that has become my office has been filled with grey skies and rain. I have watched the wind blow hard enough to snap limbs. The rain has sounded like dumping buckets at times. The window of my computer has held images of people I recognize, but who have been reduced by dimensions so everyone looks flat. I have been home with my family, but working from home is not the same as being at home. 

    In a very odd way that I do not understand we have become closer. Perhaps it is the empathy that is in the air. The wave from the stranger who would not have looked up at your passing truck. The phone call that would not have been made asking you two simple questions: “How is your family? How are you? The email that would not have been sent  thanking you for your effort. The offer of help with a household chore that would not have been made.

    We have become kinder during this time. We have found common ground. We have summoned the strength to be patient with each other. We have made the time to listen. Efforts to “fix it all”  have fallen way to simply being present. 

    Today my tiny “office” window is filled with blue sky and drifting white clouds. I know there will be more rain, just as I know there will be more days before we can all be together again. But I also know that summer will arrive, that the water will become warm enough for swimming, that the trees will fill with leaves, and that we will emerge on the other side of this and be forever different in a good way. I believe we will hold onto the kindness we have shown each other, and I hope that kindness will hold us together more closely than ever before.

    Peace,

    Chris


     
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  • April 10, 2020

    Posted by Chris Ellsasser on 4/10/2020

    Happy Friday,

    Optimism has always struck me as our magical power.  The human mind has the capacity to change reality by reframing our experience. Optimism produces hope, which then inspires us to move forward. The light we shine gives others cause to shine their own light. Collectively we are able to push away the dark to give room for our collective light.

    So many things like the weather happen to us rather than for or with us. Long stretches of rain and wind can leave us feeling tired, and wishing we had the power to change the weather. It is frustrating to focus on changing what we are unable to control. I would like to bring the sun back for everyone. I would like to be 6’ 2. I would like to have a full head of hair. Not happening. Well, I do hear the sun is coming back.

    So what do we do when we cannot change what we do not like? This is where perspective and a lens of optimism come into play. If we can change the way we think about a thing, then that thing changes for us. How we think about something can define that thing. A mixture of wind, rain , and dirt makes a muddy mess. And it is equally true that  - wind disperses seeds, rain brings life to plants, and dirt enables the growth of food.  So we have a choice: mud pie or apple pie. 

    The umbrella has always struck me as the quintessential example of the power of human ingenuity and optimism. An umbrella transforms a walk in the rain. The ingenious design puts us simultaneously inside and outside - keeping us dry while being in the rain.

    The times we are experiencing call for us to be umbrella-like. A walk in the rain without an umbrella is miserable. A walk with an umbrella can be pleasant. A walk sharing an umbrella with a friend or loved one can be wonderful. 

    While we are waiting for the sun to shine again - I hope you are able to stick close to each other, summon the power of your optimism, and keep dry while we all walk together through this rain toward the promise of the sunny days ahead of us.

    Please visit our new Student Art Gallery to see the work out students have been doing from home with the support of their teachers. 

    Peace,
    Chris

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  • April 3, 2020

    Posted by Chris Ellsasser on 4/3/2020

    Happy Friday Everyone,

    A few mornings ago my son Mason asked if it was strange that he was wishing his teachers and their families well. He noted that was something adults usually do for kids, not the other way around. My son Patrick wondered later that day if people would ever shake hands again. As a parent my response to both of these twelve year old observations was one of wonder, wanting to say the right thing to offer comfort, and trying to be as honest as possible.

    Our kids are looking to us for guidance. In some ways they have all become much younger (dependent) and much older (independent) at the same time. They look to us to feel safe, to feel normal, and to get answers in a time of such uncertainty. They are also taking on new responsibilities and have grown up too fast. 

    Self-care seems like the best place for each of us to start when it comes to supporting our kids. I think of the airplane steward’s direction to place the oxygen mask on yourself in the event of an emergency, and then place a mask over your child. A good question for all of us over this weekend is to ask ourselves what we need to sustain this effort. I have found paddling my longboard across Crystal Lake at sunrise is a way for me to draw energy for the day. Not something I am recommending, but more of my way of saying we all need to do whatever is necessary. 

    Back to my two boys. I told Mason it was wonderful that he was wishing his teachers well, and that perhaps the strange thing was that it felt strange to do so. Maybe the new norm is a more caring world. I told Patrick that I hoped handshakes and hugs would return, and that the one thing I knew for sure is that he would always get hugs from me and his mom.

    I wish everyone a peaceful and restorative weekend.

    Peace,
    Chris

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  • Friday Note: A time to be Kind

    Posted by Chris Ellsasser on 3/13/2020
    Friday Note: A time to be Kind
     
    Hi Everyone,

    We all find ourselves in uncharted waters these days with the word “unprecedented” appearing in so many conversations as we each struggle to make the best decisions with the best information. Above all of this I see a time for us to be kind to each other.

    We are each carrying different things and absorbing the concerns of others throughout each day. In short, we are exhausted and unsure. We are in a time when we are not as well as we would like to be. 

    We are all well versed on the hygiene protocols, and keeping up with the most accurate information so we can be voices of reason. I would like to suggest some steps we can take that reach beyond physical care:
    • Identify a “go to” person you can talk honestly with about how you are feeling
    • Smile in the company of others
    • Really stop what you are doing and listen when someone is talking to you
    • Ask those who are close to you how they are doing and give space and time for them to respond
    • Practice self-care 

    I hope everyone has time to rest this weekend and the opportunity to talk through what they are doing and feeling.

    Peace,
    Chris
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