Pembroke High School Weekly Update

Dear PHS Families, 
Here is this week's update.  Please do not ever hesitate to reach out if you have any questions about these or any other matters.  
Earlier this month, we hosted a team from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) for a Collaborative Conference as we continue to work towards our Decennial Accreditation visit in the fall of 2024. 
As I have noted in this space before, the accreditation process assesses the extent to which we align with the NEASC Standards for Accreditation.  The purpose of last week's visit was for the team to give us a progress report on that process so that we are primed to successfully retain our accreditation in 2024.  The team stayed for two days (December 8-9), visiting classrooms and meeting with panels of students, teachers, parents, and administrators. 
While the team's final written report of their visit won't be available to us until mid-winter, they did highlight many areas of strength.  Throughout their visit, the team members could not stop commenting on how well-behaved and respectful our students are.  Their classroom visits saw students committed to their studies and engaged in their work.  They could not believe how quiet our hallways were during the day!  They also highlighted a few other areas of strength:
  • A safe physical environment with the operational expectations and protocols to ensure this safe environment.
  • A strong support structure for our students - The team specifically referenced Compass, ARC, Learning Centers, guidance and adjustment counselors, and our co-teaching model as real areas of strength.
  • Curriculum in all content areas that focuses on depth of understanding and developing a wide range of skills sets instead of a breadth of knowledge
Of course, a major reason for their visit was to identify areas on which we should focus.  When we conducted our own self-assessment, we, too, identified areas for growth, and it was refreshing for us to learn that the visiting team concurred with our findings and will work with us to develop an action plan to address them:
  • Develop and fully embed into the school's culture a Vision of the Graduate, which clearly articulates the attainment of transferable skills, knowledge, understandings, and dispositions necessary for future success.
  • Commit adequate funding and resources to repair/replace rooftop HVAC units to ensure consistent temperature control throughout the building.
  • provide meaningful opportunities for staff collaboration so that they can effectively plan and develop lessons and assessments. 
We look forward to working with the visiting team over the next two years to make necessary adjustments so that we can successfully retain our accreditation in the fall of 2024. 
Recently, 88 PHS students from our Distributive Education Club of America (more commonly known as DECA) competed in the annual DECA District competition, which pits them against those from schools throughout the New England region in a series of exams and role-plays designed to measure their business and entrepreneurial acumen.  
Mrs. Gates and Mr. Cowgill, our business teachers and DECA Advisors, are pleased to announce that 12 of our students are moving on to the Massachusetts State Competition in March.  Furthermore, two of those 12 earned first place overall in their 100-question exam category, which is the highest award at the DECA event.  Special shout out to top winners Christian Leary (Finance Exam) and Matthew Willshire (Entrepreneurship Exam) for this amazing accomplishment.  The rest of our state finalists are listed below:
  • Business Finance - Christian Leary - 1st Place 
  • Accounting - Alexa Lewis - 1st Place 
  • Principles of Hospitality - Mikayla Horvath -1st Place 
  • Hospitality Teams - Olivia Skeiber & Matt McAuliffe - 4th Place
  • Entrepreneurship Teams - Matt Willshire & Colin Murphy - 2nd Place
  • Finance Team - Aiden Peacock & Will Pothier - 3rd Place
  • Principles of Finance - Jack Albee - 3rd Place
  • Hotel Lodging - Jack Gill - 2nd Place
  • Principles of Business - Ryan Milchunes -3rd Place
While mid-January may seem like a long way away, it is always surprising how quickly Semester Exam Week arrives once we return from Winter Break.  This year, Semester Exams are scheduled for January 17-20, the shortened week after Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.  These 90-minute exams do not factor into Term 2 grades.  Rather, they are stand-alone grades that count for 10% of students' final (yearly) grades.  
Because of their importance, we require all students to take their exams as scheduled unless they have an excused absence.  No student will be allowed to make up an exam without an excused absence, so students and parents are encouraged to read page 4 and page 12 of the PHS Student Handbook for a full understanding of our exam and attendance procedures.  
Our exam days are half-days, with two exams scheduled per day.  Student dismissal is at 10:50 a.m. each day.  The is the schedule for our semester exams:
  • Friday, January 13 - Exam Review Day:  This is a full day of school with all seven periods meeting so that teachers and students can have one last opportunity to review for semester exams.  To allow us to run all seven periods, we do not run Titan Time on Exam Review Day.   
  • Tuesday, January 17 - Exams for Periods 1 and 2 
  • Wednesday, January 18 - Exams for Periods 7 and 3 
  • Thursday, January 19 - Exams for Periods 6 and 2
  • Friday, January 20 - Exams for Period 5 and Makeups (NOTE: dismissal is at 9:05 a.m. unless a student is taking a make-up exam)
  • Monday, January 23 - First day of Term 3/Semester 2
COCOA and CRAM - Exam Review Night:
In preparation for semester exams,  we are hosting our annual Cocoa and Cram - Exam Review Night on Thursday, January 13, 2023 from 6:30-8:30 p.m.  This review night is for our freshmen and sophomores as we look to support them during Semester Exams.  
Many members of our faculty and dozens of PHS National Honor Society students will run small and large group study sessions - by subject.  While the night is not mandatory, we certainly encourage our 9th and 10th graders to take advantage of this opportunity.  More details to follow, but save the date!  Join us on 1/13!  Hot chocolate and sweet treats will be provided.  
The Class of 2026 wants to make sure your child is prepared for midyear exams! Please consider sending your child (grades 9-12) a midyear exam care package to help them get organized and energized.
The package will contain school supplies (notecards, post-its, a pen, a pencil, a highlighter), refreshments (water, Gatorade, Rice Krispies Treat, pretzels, and M&M’s) along with a personalized note from the buyer. We will try our hardest to accommodate any food-related allergies.
Midyear care packages will be delivered during Titan Time on Wednesday, January 11, 2023. If you would like to order a midyear care package please email The cost is $15. Orders are due no later than this Friday, December 23, 2022.
Each week, I will conclude this update with the "Celebrating Community" segment, which will highlight the recent successes and accomplishments of our entire school community.  In doing so, we draw well-deserved attention to the many people that make our community great.  
  • Holiday Celebrations - Throughout the month of December, various PHS clubs have been celebrating the various holiday traditions enjoyed throughout our school community.  Happy Holidays to all!
    • The Multicultural Club met to celebrate and discuss the meanings of Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanza.  They enjoyed Egyptian treats while playing traditional holiday music and games
    • The French Club met to celebrate the holidays enjoyed across the French-speaking world.  The members made holiday crafts and enjoyed homemade Bûche De Noël - a traditional French Yule log.  
    • The Latin Club met to celebrate the original origins of Christmas, including Saturnalia.  They also enjoyed traditional Roman delicacies and had a small gift exchange. 
  • Congratulations and many thanks to our Amnesty International and SAGA clubs for hosting a joint meeting to discuss women's rights around the world, bringing particular attention to the women's movement in Iran.  
  • Congratulations to freshman Joe Hoban, who was accepted into the 2023 Junior District Festival Band on the baritone horn. Jack will attend a 2-day festival on March 10-11 at Sharon High School. 
  • Congratulations to these fall athletes, as the post-season accolades continue to roll in for them:
    • Josh Phinney, Cross Country - Patriot Ledger All-Scholastic 2nd Team
    • Adam Wengryn, Cross Country - Patriot Ledger All-Scholastic 2nd Team
    • Jack Tosone, Football - Patriot Ledger and Boston Herald All-Scholastic 1st Team
    • Emma Cranston, Soccer - Patriot Ledger All-Scholastic 2nd Team
    • Declan Crowley, Soccer - Patriot Ledger All-Scholastic 1st Team
    • Andrew Gleason, Soccer - Patriot Ledger All-Scholastic 2nd Team
    • Ethan Sullivan, Soccer - Patriot Ledger and Boston Herald All-Scholastic 1st Team
  • 12/23 - Early Release Day (student dismissal at 11:10 a.m.)
  • 12/26-1/2 - Winter Break
  • 1/9 - PHS PTO Meeting (PHS Library 7 p.m.)
  • 1/12 - Cocoa and Cram - Exam Review Night (6:30-8:30 p.m.)
  • 1/13 - Exam Review Day
  • 1/17-1/20 - Semester Exam Week (student dismissal at 10:50 a.m.)
  • 1/20 - Grades for T2 close
  • 1/23 - First day of Semester 2 and Term 3
  • 1/25 - Early Release Day (student dismissal at 11:10 a.m.)
Thanks, all.  Please do not ever hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns about these or any other matters.  Happy Holidays!

Marc Talbot, Principal