August 2023

    Dear Southwestern CSD students, parents, and community members,

    It is my pleasure to welcome students, faculty, and staff back for another great year at Southwestern High School. 

    Our vision is to attain academic excellence through programs that meet the present and future needs of students, while providing a safe and nurturing community that celebrates diversity, practices mutual respect, and values parents as learning partners in laying the foundation for life-long learning.  In order for our students to attain academic excellence we all need to work united to support the academic, social, emotional, and behavioral needs of our students.

    In an effort to ensure that our students are life-long learners it is our goal to see 100% of our students graduate from Southwestern with the knowledge, citizenship, communication/collaboration traits, and the ability to use problem solving and critical thinking skills to transition into their next phase of adulthood.  Our graduates need to be able to adapt to an ever-changing, fast-paced world with confidence and commitment to create their own respective career pathway for success.

    Priorities for the school year include the following:

    • Academic Rigor-We offer a wide array of curriculum choices for students to challenge themselves academically while also pursuing elective courses to balance a rigorous and robust high school experience.  Students can pursue coursework in the following academic areas:  English, Math, Science, Social Studies, and World Languages.  Elective courses include:  Art, Business, Health/Physical Education, Technology, Band, Choir, and Orchestra.  We have additionally made a commitment to offer S.T.E.A.M (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) enhanced offerings to prepare students for continued education or the world of work.  We also share a dedicated commitment to provide academic support for students who have an Individualized Education Plan or receive 504 accommodations. We offer many AP courses through the College Board as well as College Connection Courses available through Jamestown Community College.  Additionally, many students also choose to pursue a CTE endorsed diploma through BOCES at the Hewes Center.
    • Alternative Learning Program-The high school is supplementing its academic programming for “At-Risk” students in the building.  We are seeing an increasing number of students who are at-risk of graduating, making poor decisions, disenchanted with school, make school a low priority, and/or exhibit “out of the norm” behavior.  Our Alternative Learning Program (ALP) is designed to support students across all learning domains.
    • Attendance-We have experienced an increase in the number of days our students have missed during the school year.   Students are missing school or arriving late to school without an excuse.  School tardiness was the most frequent behavior resulting in disciplinary consequences for the previous school year.  Students need to be in attendance daily and arrive to school promptly.  New York State Department of Education requires students to attend school minimally 85% of the scheduled time.  Students who fail to regularly attend school may lose the ability to earn course credit for excessive absences.  Please contact the attendance office on the day your child is unable to attend and when your child returns to school provide our attendance office with an excuse documenting you child’s absence.



    • Cell Phones-We are adding stricter guidelines to our Cell Phone Policy for the 2023-2024 school year.  A growing percentage of our students have a difficult time knowing where to draw the line on their cell phone use.   A majority of students are too dependent on their cell phones and are not engaged as active learners in our classrooms.  Cell phones are prohibited to be used in bathrooms, locker rooms, Structured Learning Center, and during Emergency Drills.  Upon entering a classroom, all high school students will be required to store their cell phone in a designated “cell phone garage.”  Cell phones will be kept in the cell phone garage for the duration of class time.


    • Data Driven Instruction-We are seeing achievement gaps in student performance as we transition from the Covid pandemic to endemic status.  Current research shows that small group targeted instruction will help us close achievements gaps.  We are adding Academic Intervention Services, Study Skills, and encourage students to seek additional help after school on Tuesdays, Wednesday, and Thursdays from 2:45-3:25 pm.  We also use an Academic Eligibility Report every 2 weeks to determine if a student(s) need additional remediation if they are at-risk of failing any enrolled course in the high school. 



    • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion-A vital district wide initiative that is currently underway is Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.  Currently, the Southwestern CSD is involved in the process to develop policies that advance Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion as priorities in our district.  It is our mission to create and sustain a safe, nurturing, and engaging learning environment for ALL students.  It is our goal that ALL students will see stronger academic outcomes as a result of our commitment to DEI.



    • Dress Code- We are amending the SWCS Dress Code policy and it is our belief that the student and their parent/guardian hold the primary responsibility in determining the student’s personal attire, hairstyle, jewelry, and personal items (e.g. backpacks, book bags).  Our schools are responsible for assuring the student attire, hairstyle, jewelry, and personal items do not interfere with the health or safety.


    Students must wear:

    • Top (shirt, blouse, sweater, sweatshirt, tank, etc.).
    • Bottom (pants, shorts, skirt, dress, etc.); and
    • Footwear.


    Students may not wear clothing, jewelry, or personal items that:

    • Are pornographic, contain threats, or that promote illegal or violent conduct such as the unlawful use of weapons, drugs, alcohol, tobacco, or drug paraphernalia.
    • Illustrate hate group association/affiliation and/or use hate speech targeting groups based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, religious affiliation, or other protected groups.
    • Intentionally show private parts.   Clothing must cover private parts in opaque (not able to be seen-through) material.
    • Cover the student’s face to the extent that the student is not identifiable except clothing/headgear worn for an ethnic, religious, or medical purpose.
    • Include hats, visors, or hoods during the school day.  These articles of clothing are prohibited except for ethnic, religious, or medical purposes.
    • Demonstrate gang association/affiliation.


    • Involvement-Students will benefit from the best educational experience through an active involvement in our many different available opportunities.  We encourage all students to participate in one or more of the following extra-curricular and co-curricular activities:  Athletics, School Musical, eSports, Student Council, Envirothon, Allies for Diversity, Impact, Spanish Club, French Club, School Newspaper, Key Club, Ski Club, and National Honor Society to mention a few possibilities.


    • Regents Examinations-Throughout the last 2 school years students were able to benefit from a Special Appeal to Earn Diplomas with a Lower Score on a NYS Regents Examination with a score between 50-64% on the Exam under special appeal.  New York State Education Department has removed this Special Appeal and all general population students must successfully pass NYS Regents Examinations with a 65% or greater score to meet graduation requirements.



    • Trojan Pride-As a school we must continually commit to the development of the whole child, and provide various levels of supports for all students across academic, social, and emotional domains.  When our students experience satisfaction derived from their own achievements, the achievements of team or a group of individuals with a shared vision our students will have a rewarding experience that we like to call “Trojan Pride.”  

    In closing, Southwestern Central School District is a special place due to combined efforts of our school community working in collaboration to provide diversified learning opportunities and extra-curricular experiences so all students have an opportunity to explore and find their niche as they prepare for higher education or the world of work.  Our faculty and staff members are excited for our students’ return on September 6th.  We look forward to your continued partnership as we strive to make Southwestern Central School District the best place to educate children!