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Superintendent's Blog

Christopher Fray

Dear Class of 2020 and Parents,
I am very excited to welcome you to the 62nd graduation from Northwestern Regional High School. The Class of 2020 continues to make Northwestern history. This will be the first time a graduating class has ever held a commencement outside. Although we would have all preferred to have held graduation at the Warner as originally planned, the reality of COVID 19’s impact on every aspect of human activity, makes this impossible. I am very happy that the Torrington Area Health District (TAHD) granted us permission to hold a graduation with a live component. Many schools across the state have not been as fortunate.
As you know, the commencement ceremony is being held on our Northwestern school campus on June 11th, at 10:00 a.m. We chose to begin the ceremony at 10:00 a.m. because it can get very warm in the middle of June. The rain date for the ceremony is June 15th, at 10:00 a.m.The ceremony will begin with a virtual component in which graduates and their families will watch the graduation movie of the speeches given by the Class President, Class Vice President, Valedictorian and Salutatorian, Dr. Palmer, and the graduation speaker. During the virtual portion, graduates and their families will also watch the Senior Montage. After this segment of the ceremony, the graduates will be directed to the stage where they will receive their diplomas.
Information regarding the graduation ceremony is outlined below:
Each family is receiving a ticket for entrance onto campus. You must have your ticket or you will not be granted admission to the ceremony. The ticket has a number on it that corresponds to the parking place the family must park in. TAHD has mandated that there can be more than five people in a vehicle provided that they live in the same household. Please use the map enclosed to find your parking place. All cars should be parked so that they are facing the stage area.
SRO Wood and Officers from the Winchester Police Department will provide assistance with entry onto campus and exit from campus and to help ensure that social distance rules are being followed.
The number of the parking place corresponds to the order the graduates will be called from the car to receive their diploma.
Everyone in the vehicle must bring their own masks and must put it on if they have to leave the vehicle at any time. Please turn off your car during the ceremony.
Graduates will wear his or her mask until they walk across the stage during which they can remove the mask to receive their diploma and have their photo taken.
Everyone must stay in their vehicle (even during the playing of the National Anthem)  with the exception of the graduates, who will be directed when to leave their cars and where to initially report. Guests may only exit the vehicle to use the portable toilets which have been placed around the campus; two along the fence line, two near the AgEd Building and two near the school’s main entrance. Please use social distancing rules when using the bathroom. Please see the map for their general location.
The campus opens at 8:30 a.m. to enable families to find their parking place. Ushers will assist families with finding their parking place. For the safety of the ushers, please be patient while waiting to be directed to your spot.
For the safety of the graduates, all families must stay through until the end of the ceremony. Law enforcement personnel will acknowledge when it is appropriate to exit the parking lots. 
The entire ceremony is being live streamed so that family members will be able to view the ceremony from home. The information regarding the live stream channel will be sent to you at a later date to share with family members who cannot attend.
Unfortunately, due to restrictions as a result of COVID, no one other than the event participants may approach the stage. Because of this, we will have a professional photographer from LifeTouch taking photographs of every graduate on stage. We will provide an 8x12 photograph of each graduate on the stage to every family free of charge. Every graduate should be dressed in their Cap and Gown (zipped up) and any sash or cord they earned during  their high school career. 
There will be an interpreter for anyone with a hearing impairment, signing during the event.
Exiting the Event: There will be two ways to exit the campus after the event: Battistoni Drive and through the gate at the end of the senior parking lot. Police officers will direct the flow of traffic so that we can all exit the campus safely and orderly.
In closing, I would like to stress that you must have your ticket to enter the campus for graduation. Having never held a graduation under these circumstances, please know that the ceremony may take up to two hours to complete, so please feel free to bring water with you. I want to also take a moment to thank you for your patience and understanding as we work to provide a graduation experience for our kids that is as special as this class of graduates is!
Over the two days you will be receiving a paper copy of this eblast as well as a map of the campus with the numbers of the parking places identified so that you can locate them easily. Your ticket for graduation will also be included in this mailing.  If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to email Mrs. Williams, Mrs. Melanson, or myself.
Warm Regards,
Kenneth L. Chichester


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Regional School District No. 7 is composed of four rural-suburban towns: Barkhamsted, Colebrook, New Hartford and Norfolk. The district, consisting of 157 square miles, is located twenty miles west of Hartford and has a population of approximately 12,700.

Northwestern Regional High School is a comprehensive public school which operated under a house plan. Opened in September, 1958, the school is accredited by the New England Association of Secondary Schools and Colleges. The school campus of 42 acres includes two 9-12 Houses. Enrollment in grades 9-12 is currently 749. Ninety five percent of the professional staff have a masters degree or equivalent.The average class size in the academic program is 20. Students in grade ten in Connecticut public schools participate in a mastery test (Connecticut Academic Performance Test)developed by the State Department of Education.

The school curriculum is both flexible and encompassing, offering numerous one-semester, as well as full-year courses at intriductory through advanced levels. The school operates on a fully rotating schedule which includes a 67 minute period for each class once every seven days, with the remaining periods being 43 minutes in duration. Classes meet five times weekly for thirty-six weeks per one credit course: 1/2 credit is given for a one-semester subject and a 1/4 credit for each year of physical education/health. Marking periods are every 9 weeks. Laboratory work is required in the college preparatory sciences as well as in German, French, and Spanish. The school also has an Agricultural Education Program.

The staff at Northwestern Middle School is comprised of dedicated professionals, many with long tenure at the school. We are complimented by a high-quality student body that works hard to achieve in the classroom and are also known for their exceptional level of community service. We participate in programs that provide Turkey Baskets for families at Thanksgiving, Holiday Angels at Christmas, and support programs for our troops. Northwestern Middle School is dedicated to an outstanding academic and student activity program. Please stop in for one of our programs or call us with any questions you may have.


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