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Principal's Message

September 2015
Dear Parents, Students and Community Members,

            As the Principal of Allentown High School my primary focus is student learning. All students must be prepared to be successful in 21st century careers – many of which do not even exist yet.  Students must know how to think, to problem solve, to innovate and to collaborate.  There is no longer a single pathway to that end, but whatever paths our students choose must be steeped with rigor, relevance and relationships.  In all their courses, students must be challenged beyond their comfort zones and encouraged to think critically and creatively.  Students must be provided with authentic learning experiences, and they must be connected to adults who truly care.

            Students need to interact with adults who help them to plan their futures and who model appropriate civic and social behaviors.  As the adults in their lives, we must provide guidance in the development of character. We must help students act with compassion, accept responsibility and chose to do the right thing.  Citizenship and service to others are tenets stressed in our high school, and I hope to expand these by encouraging our students to give back to the community that gives so much to them. 

            We continually seek to improve communication within the high school and with parents and the community. I ask parents to become active partners with us in the education and development of our students.  Parents are invited to join the Principal’s Advisory Council which meets monthly to discuss issues related to the high school and to develop programs and opportunities for our students.  The dates and times are posted on the website.  I also welcome parents to volunteer and to share their expertise with us.  We will communicate through our web-site, the RealTime parent portal, Honeywell Alert Now system, and e-mail.  You can also follow me on Twitter:  Connie Embley @AllentownHS and on the Principal’s Blog on our webpage.  Both will give you AHS news.  Please be sure your son/daughter’s teachers and the office have your e-mail address. If you want to receive information through the mail instead of electronically, please call the office and we will place you on our mailing list.

           Inside NJ Magazine’s annual Top Performing Public High Schools ranking added a new tracking category to the mix this year – arts education.  Making NJ the only state in the country to track student participation in the arts, the State Department of Education looked at the integration of arts in school curriculum.  This year’s formula relied on three factors:  combined SAT scores, a composite High School Proficiency Assessment score and a combined arts participation score.  Schools were divided into three tiers. I am proud to report that Allentown High School scored in the top tier of high schools on these three categories. 

            Allentown High School is a dynamic learning community that strives to meet the needs of our students through a comprehensive program that challenges all students to achieve.  Some important facts and information about the high school include:

  • We hired a new Vice Principal at the high school this year; Brandon Crosby graduated from Rutgers with a degree in history and from TCNJ with a Masters Degree in Secondary Education and received a Masters Degree in Educational Administration from the University of Scranton.
  • We hired a new Athletic Director for the middle school and high school, Philip Ricci.Mr. Ricci received a degree in Technological Studies, a Masters Degree in Educational Technology and a Masters Degree in Educational Leadership all from The College of New Jersey.
  • We will welcome nine new teachers to Allentown High School this year.In the English Department: Monica Nichols and Jessica Kaiser; Fine Arts Department: Celia Gray; Science Department:  Chrissy Testa; Special Education Department:  Michael Rutkowski, Courtney Sosna, Michele Tanghare, Kirsten Hill.  We also welcome a new guidance counselor:  Lauren Puglisi and welcome Mary Johnson, one of our English teachers, to a new position as a guidance counselor.
  • The teachers at Allentown High School took part in a book study over the summer of 2014.They read one or more of these five books: 5 Minds for the Future by Howard Gardner, Teach Like A Pirate, by Dave Burgess, Flip Your Classroom:Reach Every Student in Every Class Every Day, by Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams, Write Beside Them, by Penny Kittle, and Subjects Matter, Every Teacher’s Guide to Content Area Reading by Harvey Daniels and Steven Zemelman
  • Allentown High School has four Choice Academies: Tomorrow’s Teachers, Fine and Performing Arts, Political and International Affairs Honors Program, Agricultural Sciences
  • We offer our students 21 honors level courses and 15 Advanced Placement courses.
  • Last year students took 360 Advanced Placement Tests with 85.4% scoring a 3, 4, or 5, which makes them eligible for college credit. The state average percentage of students scoring a 3 or better is 74.2%.  We are well above the state average.
  • As we strive to infuse technology in education, we have seven computer labs and ten wireless labs for student instruction and use.
  • 92% of our 2014 graduates planned to continue their education at a two or four year college.
  • Our 2014 graduates received over five million, eight-hundred thousand dollars in scholarships.
  • We offer over forty clubs or activities for student participation.
  • Academic integrity is the foundation of all scholarship; we have a Student Honor Code which all students are required to pledge to uphold.
  • During the summer of 2014, we conducted five summer programs: College Application Process Made Easy, SAT Language Arts Prep and SAT Math Prep, Study Skills and Summer Enrichment.All five programs were very well attended.
  • We will introduce our students to the State mandated PARCC testing this year.
  • Our Student Council was selected as the 2014 top Student Council in NJ.
  • We have the high school version of the Olweus Anti-Bullying Program.
  • The high school’s TV studio provides a daily live broadcast of the school’s announcements via classroom TV’s.
  • We offer our students help from certified teachers after school in the Math Lab, Homework Lab and the library, and during the school day in the Writing Clinic.

To ensure academic excellence and an educational system that prepares students for the future, we must consider the most important aspects of education: innovation, individualization, sustainable change, sound educational research, challenging instructional methodology, and shared decision making at all levels.

If you ever have any questions or would like to meet with me, please call the office.  I look forward to a successful 2014 - 2015 school year and hope you will join us in promoting our themes for this year:  Compassion and Perseverance.

Constance DeNicola Embley