Skip to main content

Principal's Message

July 2022

Dear John F. Kennedy Community,

Welcome to the 2022-2023 School year. I am very happy to be returning for my tenth year as the principal of John F. Kennedy High School. The past years were years in which the entire Titan Community felt the burdens and effects of COVID-19. As this year begins, it is our hope that students and staff were able to re-engage with school and social circles with the help of the supports and systems we put into place last year. Over the past two years, our teachers have used the Professional Learning Community model to meet as collaborative teams and plan for the best possible scenarios for our students. We have considered the possibilities of learning gaps and a focus on building community while still ensuring that all students have access and exposure to grade level content.

This year, we are entering our ninth year as a Title I school. As part of this process, every family is required to click on this link JFKHS Titan Compact in order to complete and digitally confirm agreement with the Titan Compact as part of the electronic Maze Day procedure. The Titan Compact is a 3 – Way – Pledge between parents, students, and staff which clarifies the roles and commitments we are willing to make in order to ensure that our students succeed. The Titan Compact is based on our recently adopted Essential Behaviors.

Prepared for Learning:      All Titans (students and staff) are prepared for learning to take place. This means that we arrive on time and are free from distractions that impede our ability to learn.

Respect for All:                All Titans (students and staff) respect each other and themselves. This will be accomplished through self-regulation (language) and development of empathy and community building.

Impact                            “What kind of impact will I have on the school? On others? On my own success? On my future? We will be developing “I Statements” which help us all to reflect and create positive impacts on each other.

Discipline:                        Discipline (in the positive sense) is applying grit to overcome distractions and obstacles in order to stay on course. We will succeed through setting goals and holding ourselves accountable to those goals.

Explore:                          All Titans can go beyond what they know (comfort) and will develop a growth mindset to explore new opportunities for success / problem solving. This will be summarized by the question, “What is my plus?”


In April of 2020, Kennedy High School was named a National Model PLC (Professional Learning Community) School due to our efforts to use data and informed practices to better serve our students. We will continue our process of building Professional Learning Communities for the purpose of school-wide RTI (Response to Intervention). At the core of this philosophy are the Four Essential Questions that drive our work here at JFK:


  1. What do we expect students to learn? The teachers are establishing 7-10 essential standards for each course which identify what students need to know in order to be successful at the next level. This has been done through many hours of discussion and debate by each department.
  2. How do we know when each student has learned it? The staff is in the process of creating common assessments (tests) and ways to truly check for understanding during units in order to ensure our students are learning, and more importantly, how to identify students who need intervention and follow up on material and concepts before they fail. Our staff has set the goal of getting through these first two steps this year with the support of ongoing professional development.
  3. How will we respond when some students do not learn it? The intervention piece is an integral part of the PLC process. The Titan staff has agreed that the best approach to intervention is immediate support and intervention during the school day. This is a monumental task that our staff is working towards developing toward the end of this school year and throughout next school year. In short, our staff is committed to serving our students in a way that helps them to succeed with immediate and very calculated support, without students having to come before and after school.
  4. How will we respond when some already know it? It is just as important for our staff to develop enrichment opportunities that further challenge our students when they understand concepts. Every lesson and activity will have components attached which will increase levels of depth and rigor as students begin to master concepts.


The staff will be using their collaborative time and Professional Learning opportunities to identify key fundamentals for distance learning and will be identifying common tools for assessment and engagement so that students will have some consistency from class to class.


The staff has continued to incorporate CER (Claims Evidence Reasoning) and three common strategies into lessons which have proven to help our students access higher level thinking skills. These strategies are referred to as “The Big Three”. When applied in the classroom and at home, these strategies help students better analyze and process what they are learning. They are (1) Annotation, (2) Cornell Notes, and (3) Compare and Contrast.


Over the past nine years, I have had the privilege to meet many parents and students who are proud to be Titans. I have watched this community take responsibility and action needed to build upon the success of previous years. I can say with pride that we have answered this call and gone beyond expectations in achieving success in all areas, and we have done so at high levels. I have no doubt that this will be a year of continued growth and success for Kennedy. All of these changes are positive ones which will continue to increase the opportunities and experiences of our students. As always, I continue to encourage all members of this community to get involved and be as active as possible.  Make an effort to attend parent conferences, Title I Parent Night, college nights, student performances (when resumed), and athletic events (when resumed) to help support the students.  Take every opportunity to become a member of this Titan family and join us as we continue to bring pride and excellence to John F. Kennedy High School.


Go Titans!

Edward Velez

Principal, John F. Kennedy High School.


Build Trust. Build Capacity. Achieve Success.