The Journey BeginsPosted by Dr. Diann Kearney on 6/11/2017 9:00:00 PM
On the evening of Tuesday, June 13, the Apex High School faculty and staff will say “see you later” to our home on Laura Duncan Drive. Administrators and office staff will call Apex Middle School home until our furniture and belongings are moved into our new home on the Green Level High School campus. Beginning Wednesday, June 14 and until we announce otherwise, administrators and office staff will work out of Apex Middle School offices. You may reach us by phone at 919 387-2208 or through our individual email addresses. We will be able to register new students, answer questions about schedules, assist with transcripts, and access report cards and other student records while at AMS.
Our Project Managers indicate we will be fully operational at Green Level High School on Wednesday, July 5 – meaning, we will have furniture, our office supplies and resources, and the necessary permits. As soon as we are settled, we will share the news by way of our website, Twitter, and school messenger system. While our phone number (919 387-2208) will remain the same, our address will change to:
Apex High School
7600 Roberts Road
Cary, NC 27519
We will miss our permanent home on Laura Duncan Road but we are all very excited about our two-year stay in a brand-new school with all the latest design features. We will be able to seat over 800 in the state-of-the-art auditorium, the cafeteria is an open concept space that will accommodate our breakfast and lunch eaters and other activities, the gym provides space for our entire student body, and there is more parking lot parking than AHS has ever known.
During early July, we will announce student, parent, and staff guided tours of the facilities. Stay tuned to our website, Twitter, and our school messenger system for updates. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to our main office or to me directly.
I appreciate your patience as we embark on this exciting adventure. Moving an entire school is no simple task but our staff has devoted extra hours and days to packing their classrooms, shared spaces, and book rooms while making sure we finish this year on a positive note. Our transition from “The Peak to the Level” will be one of challenge and excitement as we learn our way around the new building, start our school day earlier at 7:10, and acclimate to new traffic patterns.
Thank you to parents, community members, and county leaders who have offered support and encouragement to our staff over the past year as many of you are aware of the complexities of planning for the construction of the new Apex High School while navigating our way around facility challenges at this campus and preparing to move to Green Level for two years. Since we have not been as involved in the planning and design of the Green Level campus, it will take us a bit longer to acclimate once we arrive. We expect to be ready to welcome our new and returning students on schedule in August. Important dates and details will be forthcoming.
Enjoy your summer and thank you for your support of Apex High School!
Peak to the LevelPosted by Dr. Diann Kearney on 5/16/2017 6:00:00 AM
The Peak to the Level is more than just a catchy phrase – it is quickly becoming our reality. On Tuesday, June 13, we will celebrate the graduation of the class of 2017. Later that afternoon, we will finish packing and prepare for the arrival of the movers on Wednesday, June 14. While construction at the Green Level High School campus is complete, furniture is being moved in and the permitting process is in full swing. We do not yet know when we will move in at GLHS.
In the event of a delay between leaving the Laura Duncan Road site and moving into GLHS, we will be housed at Apex Middle School. Our clerical staff and administration will work out of AMS offices where we will have access to our records and registration materials. Between June 14 and the time we announce our arrival at GLHS, you may reach us by phone at 387-2208, by email, or by visiting us at AMS.
We look forward to our new, two-year home at GLHS, and to returning to the fully renovated Apex High School for the 2019-2020 school year. If you have any questions about the move, the renovation, or other matters, please call or email the designated staff member or reach out to our main office staff at 387-2208. Thank you for your support of Apex High School!
Proposed Bell Schedule 17-18Posted by Dr. Diann Kearney on 3/10/2017 7:00:00 AM
Attention Apex High School Parents,
We wanted you to be aware of a recommendation the Wake Board of Education considered last night that affects our school. The board is considering a change to our bell schedule. Specifically, the board is considering a proposed schedule change of 7:10 a.m. to 2:03 p.m. Our school will relocate to the Greeln Level High School swing space during the renovation of our main campus. The swing space is located about seven miles northwest of the current campus. Most students live east of the current campus. This creates down time with empty buses that must be accounted for. The current bus schedule drops students off early, so that mitigates the effect of bus pickup times, but it directly affects carpool riders. This change will ensure that middle school students who use the same buses during the next bus run will get to school on time.
The Wake Board of Education is expected to make a decision about this proposal on April 4. If you have feedback on these changes, please visit www.wcpss.net/schedule-changes to share feedback with the staff and Board of Education.
Thank you for your support of Apex High School.
The Long HaulPosted by Dr. Diann Kearney on 2/12/2017 7:00:00 PM
The second semester is well-underway with snow days behind us and no teacher workdays in sight. This is the time of year that has some folks counting the days until Spring Break. Due to the January snow, the Monday, February 20 workday is now a regular school day. While early release days provide us an opportunity to bring our staff together for planned professional development, the next Teacher Workday is Friday, May 12. Between now and then, we have lots on the calendar and our teachers will continue to work diligently to support the needs of all students and to maintain engaging classrooms. Students find this time of year to be a challenging one and some of our seniors complain of “Senioritis” – a contagious condition that can negatively impact attendance and grades. Our staff will continue to closely monitor attendance, the level of engagement in classrooms, and the progress of all students in all subjects. As a school, our goal is to support all students as they move toward on-time graduation at or above 95% - last year’s rate was 94.8%. The Apex High School administration and counseling staff are here to support and encourage students in their journey through high school. We also work together to support our teachers and staff in their work inside of our classrooms. We appreciate your support as parents and families!
Our School Improvement Team (SIT) is led by Science Teacher Kerry Piper, the administration, parent Kathi Welch, and representatives from each department. We are currently focusing our efforts on Engagement and Intervention with particular emphasis on instructional strategies that increase engagement, the integration of instructional technology, and the work of our Professional Learning Teams (PLTs) in reviewing student performance data. Last Friday’s early release session provided teachers with the opportunity to learn more about technology applications that increase collaboration and communication between students and teachers and within the classroom. Hats off to the members of our SIT for their dedication to sustained improvement for all Apex students!
You will recall the Stakeholder surveys we administered back in September in preparation for our AdvancED Re-Accreditation visit in March. Students, parents, and staff completed the surveys and after a full review of the data, we identified the following:
Classes, Clubs, Activities, Sports
Cleaner restrooms, Improved technology
Faculty, Staff, Leadership, Clubs, Academics
Facilities, Technology, Academic materials
Communication, Scheduling, Facilities
Colleagues, Culture, Climate, Students
Facilities, Cleanliness, Technology
Facilities, Class size, Professional development
As a result of this feedback and our commitment to ongoing improvement, we have increased efforts at maintaining clean facilities through spot checks, feedback between teachers and custodial crew, and sustained dialogue between AHS leadership and county facilities staff. We have secured additional laptop carts for our core instructional classrooms and worked to re-allocate other desktops and laptops to increase overall student accessibility. Other resources have been secured to add two math teachers to our staff for second semester and to provide additional instructional resources for some programs. We continue to refine the ways we communicate with staff and parents – we use “The Big A” as a daily means of communication with all staff and the AHS website, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Cougar Notes to communicate with families. While we recognize we have not addressed all of the suggestions, we do believe we have demonstrated solid efforts to make Apex High School an even better place to work and learn. The External Review Team from AdvancED will visit our school on Thursday and Friday, March 23 and 24 to assess our efforts and to provide feedback. We look forward to their visit and to what we will learn about ourselves.
The Green Level High School construction project is on schedule and we look forward to our “swing” to that campus in June 2017. We will reside there for two years while the Apex campus is completely demolished and return to the Laura Duncan location in August of 2019. Several staff members have toured the GLHS facility and updates are provided under the “Renovation” section of my Principal Communication. Our Cougar TV student producers are providing updates to students during Cougar Class on Wednesdays of each week. Mark your calendars for a special event to honor our past and embrace the future of Apex High School – our students and staff will host the Back to the Future Celebration on Sunday, April 30 from 3 until 5 pm at AHS. Current, former, and future students and families are invited to attend. More info will be shared very soon by way of our social media outlets. You won’t want to miss this event!
Thank you for sharing your student with us – we value the role we play in preparing our students for their future!
Fresh StartPosted by Dr. Diann Kearney on 1/23/2017 9:00:00 AM
As we approach the beginning of the second semester, it is a good time to reflect on the past semester and how we can take advantage of a “fresh start” to improve habits and tendencies. All students, but especially seniors, fall into patterns of behavior that impact their performance and find it difficult to change habits unless encouraged to do so by a teacher or parent. Before we get too far into the semester, take a few minutes to review attendance and grades and ask your student what he/she would do differently in that class? We often hear that students procrastinate and find themselves scrambling the night before a big assignment. This adds to the already high stress levels and results in interrupted sleep patterns and poor dietary choices.
Evidenced by the level of activity on social media platforms like Instagram and Snapchat, students are spending an inordinate amount of time on their devices. Distracted driving and distracted studying have a number of risks and the overuse of social media impacts peer networks, relationships, and self-esteem.
Experts encourage a limit to “screen time” and structures for meal time, homework completion, and bed times. Experts on teenagers recommend between 8 and 10 hours of sleep per night. Interruptions like a TV left on or a charging cell phone are often difficult for a teenager to resist and the result is inadequate or compromised sleep quality.
Students also find themselves needing additional time and/or support with instruction. Teachers are available for support before and after school and possibly during your student’s lunch period. It is important that students develop their “self-advocacy skills” and feel confident asking a teacher for clarity on a topic and additional support beyond the ninety minute class period. While we welcome emails from parents, we encourage our students to approach teachers with questions and concerns. Teachers, counselors, administrators, coaches, and support staff are here to brainstorm ways for students to students to grow and develop as independent young adults and the structure of school is a safe place to hone these skills.
We will welcome new families to Rising 9th Grade Open House on Monday, February 6 at 6:00 pm. Direct your neighbors to check out our website for more information on registration for new families and other events and details. We begin planning for the 2017-2018 school year in February based on student enrollment. Another very important part of our planning is registration that current 9th, 10th, and 11th graders will do this spring. If you do not already follow us on Twitter (@ApexHighSchool), please do so as regular announcements are tweeted and posted on our website (http://www.wcpss.net/apexhs) and newly created Facebook page (Apex High School).
Speaking of next year, we are excited about our renovation and the transition to the currently under-construction Green Level High School for the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 school years. More information about the renovation and our temporary home can be found under “Renovation Updates” under “Principal Communication” on our website. As of this writing, we will pack up and move from the AHS campus on Friday, June 16.
Thank you for your support of Apex High School and the work we do with our students!
Quarter 1 ReflectionPosted by Dr. Diann Kearney on 10/12/2016 6:30:00 AM
As we approach the end of the quarter (October 28), we have much to celebrate! We welcomed the last student body – 2076 strong - to attend classes in our buildings and they have already made great memories and continued the rich traditions that have made Apex High School the school it is today. The motto of our Senior Class is “Out with a Bang” and while there have been no unexpected alarms or loud noises, it is clear that our students are proud to call Apex home. By the end of this week we will have celebrated Homecoming, sponsored the first homecoming dance in several years, raised funds for technology at the “Peak City Dodgeball Classic”, participated in band, strings, and choral competitions, hosted and played in volleyball, football, soccer, and cross country events, and supported our community by volunteering and tutoring.
Now that students have settled into their schedules and routines, we are seeing evidence of their hardwork and dedication. If you have not already done so, please utilize PowerSchool to maintain an awareness of your child’s attendance and grades. If a student is absent from a class, you will receive a phone message. After 4 unexcused absences, you will receive notification from your child’s teacher. After 6 unexcused absences, you will receive a letter with additional information about attendance expectations. Please encourage regular attendance and if your child is absent, have them bring your note to the Attendance Office the next day.
With report cards just around the corner, we hope you will celebrate your child’s academic success and outline goals for the second quarter. We encourage students to maintain responsibility for their work by arriving to class on time, turning in work on time, and preparing for assignments and tests in a responsible manner. If you have a concern or question about your child’s performance in a class/club/athletic team/extra-curricular, please email or phone the teacher/coach/staff member or to share the concern and gain additional information.
Thank you to all parents and families who participated in the AdvancED surveys. The results from the student, parent, and staff surveys will be used to identify strengths and areas of improvement as we prepare for the re-accreditation process. We had 1266 students, 218 parents, and 160 staff who completed the surveys with over detailed open ended comments. The AdvancED site visit is scheduled for March 23-24, 2017.
Thank you for your support of our school and for sharing your child with us.
First Days of SchoolPosted by Dr. Diann Kearney on 9/6/2016 6:00:00 AM
During our summer planning retreat, AHS leaders from the School Improvement Team (SIT) outlined our priorities for the school year. Our data on graduation rate, EOC performance, and discipline data indicate a very strong correlation between class attendance, grades, and on-time graduation. The team developed our school’s Attendance Plan which outlines expectations for teachers, administrators, counselors, and our Student Assistance Program counselor. After students miss 4 periods of any class, including Cougar Class, the teacher will contact the parents by phone or email. At this point, administrators and counselors will begin monitoring the student’s attendance to determine if additional support and/or consequences are necessary. Please assist us with making sure your child is in attendance daily (unless running a fever or throwing up), write a note for absences, followup with your child to make sure the note was submitted to the attendance office (main office), and monitor PowerSchool to ensure your child is in regular attendance to all classes. Our primary goal, as a school and learning community, is that at least 95% of all AHS students graduate on time. Thank you for your support!
It is with great excitement that we announce our 2016-17 partnership with AdvancED for Apex High School’s reaccreditation. This endeavor will ensure that “Cougar Nation” better understands the various perspectives of its partners and most effectively prepares its students, informs its parents/guardians, and empowers its staff. Throughout this process, we will work toward analyzing and improving on our school’s purpose and direction; governance and leadership; teaching and assessing; resources and support systems; and data-driven improvement. The parent/guardian survey window will open on September 5th and run through September 23rd. If you choose to participate online (English only), the survey link will be available on AHS’s website under “Apex High School News.” If, however, you prefer a paper copy of the survey (translations are provided), it will be available in the school’s main office (or mailed by request), and can be return when completed. We will also make the surveys available at Open House on Wednesday, September 14. Please be assured that your responses to this survey will be anonymous, and your honest opinions are appreciated.
The PTSA invites you to support Technology at AHS by sponsoring and attending the “Peak City Dodgeball Classic” which is scheduled for Wednesday, September 21 from 7-9:30 in the gym. Admission is $5 and all proceeds will go toward the purchase of a rechargeable 15 laptop cart to be used by students. If you are interested in sponsoring, please see the link or contact Ms. Kathi Welch or Ms. Barbara Donahue. Several staff teams have already been formed and this promises to be an “EPIC” event!
Our annual Open House is scheduled for Wednesday, September 14. The Senior Parent event will begin at 5:30 with Open House beginning at 6:30. We encourage parents to be in attendance and on time so that you won’t miss a minute of this important event. The PTSA will be on hand with AHS Spirit Wear, membership sales, and opportunities for you to get involved. More info about Open House will be shared in next week’s Cougar Notes.
If you aren’t already doing so, please bookmark the Apex High School website, follow us on Twitter at @ApexHighSchool, and monitor your student’s attendance and grades on PowerSchool. These methods of communication will keep you informed of all that is going on at AHS!
Start of 2016-17 School YearPosted by Dr. Diann Kearney on 8/24/2016 7:00:00 AM
Greetings, Apex Families.
We are excited about the start of the 2016-2017 school year and our work together as a learning community.
We will welcome parents of freshmen and new students to orientation on Thursday, August 25 beginning at 6:30 with a club fair in our courtyard. Our information sessions will begin at 7:00 with location assignments based on last name. See the schedule on our website under the news section for more details.
School starts for all students on Monday, August 29 at 7:18. We strongly encourage student drivers and carpoolers to leave home early and to anticipate heavy traffic along Laura Duncan Road. Additionally, we encourage parents to review safe driving tips with student drivers and to adhere to safe driving practices along their routes being mindful of students who might be walking to school.
Thank you, in advance, for your support of Apex High School. We look forward to seeing your student on Monday!
Diann Kearney, Principal
GreetingsPosted by Diann Kearney, Principal on 8/5/2016 5:00:00 PM
Greetings, Apex High School Families!
As we prepare to kick off the 2016-2017 school year, we want to make sure you are aware of the many ways we seek to maintain ongoing communication with our students and families.
The Apex High School website, found at www.wcpss.net/apexhs, is the most comprehensive resource we have for dates, information, and contact names and numbers. We hope you will bookmark this site and refer to it regularly and when you have questions.
Our Twitter account, @ApexHighSchool, is another valuable source of information. We will use our Twitter account to communicate reminders using visuals and photographs to reach everyone who follows Apex High School.
The School Messager system is utilized to get information out to the entire student body by way of a recorded message to the phone number you have listed as the primary contact in your child’s records. If you are not already receiving these messages, please contact our Attendance Clerk Ms. Lori Moss at 919 387-2226.
On this site, you will find more detailed communications regarding our school programs, areas of focus, and important events. We hope you will utilize all of these sources of information to maintain an awareness of the work we do at Apex High School to support our students.