Welcome to the Class of 2021

     CB West Logo
    house team
    House Principal: Mr. Justin Rubenstein
    School Counselor (A-K): Ms. Donna Dallam
    School Counselor (L-Z): Mr. Michael Curtis
    Class Advisor: Mr. Shawn O'Brien

    announcements & information
    Stay up to date during the school year by reading the daily announcements.
    Scan CB West's FAQ page for answers to common questions.
    distance learning
    Ms. Dallam and Mr. Curtis will be posting information for students here, in addition to checking email every day. 
    As we receive information from colleges concerning admission policies for our juniors, we will post it here.
    (6/27/20)  Stevens Institute of Technology will suspend the SAT/ACT test score requirement for one year and become test optional for Fall 2021 first year student applications.  The test optional plan will require applicants to indicate on their application if they will submit test scores.
    New Jersey Institute of Technology has decided not to require standardized test scores for Fall 2021 and Spring 2022 applicants.
    Miami University will be test-optional for students applying for Fall 2021 enrollment.
    (6/17/20)  Lehigh University is adopting a test optional policy for the SAT/ACT during the 2021 year.  First year applicants for the fall 2021 semester can choose whether or not to submit SAT or ACT test scores for consideration.  Due to Patriot League requirements, student-athletes must still submit either SAT or ACT scores.  Lehigh's holistic philosophy considers other variables including rigor of curriculum, classroom performance over time, personal and academic context, contributions made to one's school and community, letters of support and personal essay.  Lehigh also allows for flexibility with alternative grading methods.  Alternative grading methods will be honored in the same manner as the school's traditional grading scale.
    Johns Hopkins University has also adopted a one year test-optional policy for students applying for fall 2021 admission.  SAT Subject tests are not a required part of the admissions process.  Applicants will be considered within the context of current circumstances and the limitations they may pose, including any changes to a school's grading policy.  Applicants are reviewed based on multiple years of academic achievement and extracurricular engagement.
    (6/16/20)  Dartmouth College is enacting a one-year suspension of their standarized testing requirement for candidates seeking undergraduate admission.  Dartmouth College is now test optional for the Class of 2025 and will continue to
    view students holistically.
    (6/15/20)  Yale is temporarily suspending its requirement that first-year applicants submit results from the ACT or SAT in response to the widespread disruptions caused by the pandemic.  SAT Subject tests will not be considered during the 2020-2021 admissions cycle.  The Committee will pay close attention to a student's high school transcript, letters of recommendation and demonstrated academic drive and commitment. 
    (6/10/20)  Since students have faced complications in registering for and taking both the SAT and ACT tests, the University of Delaware is allowing students the option not to submit test scores when they apply to either the 2021 spring or fall semester.  If students do not wish to submit test scores, they will be required to submit supplemental essays after submitting their application.  The prompts can be found on their student portal, My Blue Hen Home.
    (6/8/20) The University of Virginia will not require applicants to submit standardized testing to be considered for admission for at least the next application cycle.  The Office of Admission will continue to offer a comprehensive, personal, through and holistic evaluation of each applicant.  Those students who do not wish to include testing as part of their application will be at no disadvantage in the application review.  Additionally the University pushed back its Early Decision deadline to November 1st.
    The University of South Carolina will superscore both the SAT and ACT beginning with Fall 2021 freshmen applicants.  Since the College Board and ACT are committed to adding more test dates, UofSC feels that the expansion of such testing suggests that there is adequate time for students to test before application deadlines.  The University of South Carolina will continue to monitor the situation closely.  Letters of recommendation are not required for general admissions consideration.  Honors College applicants must have two letters of recommendation.
    (5/29/20)  Drexel University has adopted a Test-Optional policy for students applying as first time students during the 2020-2021 admissions cycle.  Drexel utilizes a holistic approach for evaluating applications. See this link for full details. 
    The College of New Jersey will also implement a test-optional policy for students applying as first-time students beginning with the 2020-2021 admissions cycle.  TCNJ takes a holistic approach when reviewing applicants, considering student interests, involvement beyond academics plus transcripts, including course selection, grades and strength of curriculum.
    (5/28/20) Columbia University fully supports the administrative decisions made by schools during the pandemic crisis.  Pass/Fail marks in lieu of letter grades this spring will be accommodated with no disadvantage when applicants' transcripts are received in the fall.  Columbia also understands that extracurricular, athletic, artistic and other pursuits were impacted.  Applications will be reviewed within this context.  Columbia will accept SAT and ACT scores from November test dates for Early Decision applicants and scores from January test dates for Regular Decision applicants.  Columbia remains committed to their holistic and contextual application review process.
    (5/6/20) Learn about Pennsylvania State Colleges through a live online event..  Register Here!
    (5/5/20) Please see updates regarding the ACT online offerings, as well as additional exam dates: Read the Full Press Release
    (5/1/20)  George Washington University understands that COVID-19 has been disruptive to schools and will be flexible with grading adjustments that secondary schools adopted to complete the 2019-2020 academic year.  GW encourages students to attend an online information session and explore a virtual tour.
    (4/29/20)  Worcester Polytechnic Institute acknowledges that many high schools have switched to Pass/Fail grading in the middle of the year.  WPI's holistic application evaluation process will review a student's candidacy carefully and will consider the context of the COVID-19 outbreak's impact on academic instruction and participation in pursuits outside the classroom.  Future applicants to WPI will be held harmless for individual school decisions to move to Pass/Fail grading for part of the 2019-2020 school year.  WPI has been test optional for more than a decade.  Test scores are not required for admission or scholarship consideration.
    Elizabethtown College hosting a virtual info session for students this Friday, May 1st. Students register here: https://app.strivescan.com/students?id=1851.
    (4/28/20) From Rider University: 

    Prospective Students

    • Virtual Open House Week (Launching May 5) - Explore academics, housing, student life, health and wellness, and more through an online hub. Visit rider.edu between May 5 and May 18 to watch on-demand videos and take part in our virtual events.
    • Virtual Campus Tour - Students may explore Rider's 280-acre Lawrenceville, NJ campus from the comfort of home by downloading our narrated campus tour presentation (PPT) and viewing our virtual tour
    • Test-Optional Admission - Standardized tests offer a snapshot of a student’s talents, but they don’t provide the full picture. That's why SAT/ACT scores are not required for admission and most scholarships at Rider. Learn more about how students can apply test-optional
    (4/27/20)  NASA Astronaut Jessica Meir, who spent 205 days at the International Space Station, was trained to deal with social isolation and offers the following advice:
       *  Keep to a schedule and routine
       *  Exercise daily
       *  Play nicely with others, treat each other kindly and with respect
       *  Have fun
       *  Keep a sense of humor
     (4/24/20)  Given the fact that many high school students were, or will be, unable to sit for standardized tests this spring and summer, Wellesley College has decided to go test optional for first year applicants for Fall 2021.  Wellesley reviews applications in a holistic, committee-based review process.  Wellesley is suspending the Regular Decision with Early Evaluation option and has changed the Regular Decision deadline to January 8, 2021.
    The CollegeBoard has added a September exam date; see all SAT related updates here: https://pages.collegeboard.org/sat-covid-19-updates?SFMC_cid=EM303117-&rid=29410669
    (4/23/20)  One quick tip to take care of ourselves is to use a grounding technique.  This technique will only take 2-3 short minutes, but just may assist you through those particularly difficult times that can happen during the day:
    • List 5 things you can see right now
    • List 4 things that you can hear
    • List 3 things that you can feel
    • List 2 things that you can smell
    • List 1 thing your are grateful for, or one thing you can taste.


    Write, think or say these things aloud and send your negative thoughts away!  Take a deep breath in and let it out!  Then, dig back in and make it a great rest of the day!

    (4/20/20)  Students applying to Williams College during the 2020-2021 admissions cycle have the option of applying under a test optional policy.  Williams understands that the pandemic has led to school closings, shifts to remote learning and pass/fail grading policies, cancellations of co-curricular activities and a host of other disruptions that dramatically impact students' experiences.  You can be certain that Williams will be flexible in working with students and families no matter what challenges or limitations they've faced.
    (4/16/20)  Swarthmore College is suspending the SAT/ACT testing requirement for first year applicants for Fall 2021 and Fall 2022.  Swarthmore understands that as a result of school disruptions, students may no longer be able to participate in traditional extra-curricular activities, part-time jobs or similar activities and may have courses with Pass/Fail grades.
    (4/15/20)  The submission of SAT and ACT scores will be optional for all Fall 2021 applicants to Colgate University.  Colgate will continue to approach application review in a holistic way by valuing the context of students' experiences.  Colgate remains supportive and flexible to ensure that students are not negatively impacted by circumstances beyond their control.
    (4/14/20)  Brandeis University is committed to ensuring that students receive credit for rigorous coursework they completed this year.  Students at schools with a pass/fail grading model will not be penalized.  Brandeis will accept appropriate AP scores received on the shortened at home administration of the AP exams offered in Spring 2020.
    Case Western Reserve University approved a test-optional admissions policy for students entering in the Fall of 2021.  Case Western Reserve will not penalize students with pass grades on their transcripts.
    (4/8/20) Update from York College Admissions: Some schools are choosing to offer grades on a pass/fail basis for the spring term.  For juniors who intend to apply for Fall 2021 and who have 'passing' grades, their Fall 2019 and Fall 2020 grades will be used more closely for admission to the Fall Class of 2021.  Although there are no current changes to our admission policies, we will continue to monitor and adjust as needed.
    (4/6/20) New course material through Distance Learning starts today- good luck with this new stage! For any student with a 1st MP - 3rd MP AP Course, you have the option to receive a letter grade, which will count towards your GPA. Please make sure to let Mr. Curtis or Ms. Dallam know if you would rather take a Pass/Fail grade.
    (4/2/20)  This one is for the parents! I want to share an article from Psychology Today- it's a quick read, but offers some helpful advice. I'm home with my 6 and 3 year old, and I felt it offered a little reassurance within all of the chaos that comes from young kids being cooped up together all day. Even though we work with high school aged students, many have younger siblings, so I thought it might help. 
    (4/1/20)  Due to the cancellation of many SAT and ACT test administrations, Boston University hopes to minimize the heightened stress around standardized testing.  Boston University will now be test optional for first time students applying for admission for the fall 2021/spring 2022 semesters. This is a temporary, one year change which will be re-evaluated in the spring of 2021.
    (3/31/20) Colleges have been emailing counselors to provide us with updates on how they are handling school closures and this abnormal end to the school year. The unknown is the worst part of stressful situations, so we wanted to share with you some answers you may have questions to. Please take a look at what Yale University has provided here: https://admissions.yale.edu/covid-19. This message echoes what many colleges are communicating: they will be understanding as to many of the difficulties you are experiences as a result of this Pandemic, and they plan to adjust their approach to admissions as a result. Here is another example, sent from UVA:
    "Please know that students will not be at a disadvantage in the admission process as a result of school closures and cancellations associated with standardized testing. Students are not responsible for things they cannot control. With most high schools closed for the spring semester, we will need to be flexible when evaluating transcripts and academic course work, and we will continue to monitor the state of standardized testing nationally and abroad. If testing is cancelled through the summer and into the fall, we will need to discuss our testing requirements for next year. Our enrollment deposit deadline remains May 1, but we will monitor the situation over the next several weeks to determine if changes to our schedule need to be considered."
    Hopefully this helps to assuage some concerns you have about what this means for College applications.Also, Ms. Dallam and Mr. Curtis are planning to hold “office hours” where we can chat as a group and field some of your questions, as well as provide support. More to come!


    (3/30/20)  As we enter into the new phase of Distance Learning next week, you may have many questions.  Many of your questions will be answered by your teachers, but know that your counselors and house principal are available to field questions as well.  We may not know all the answers but we will certainly try to find the answers for you.  Please reach out and let us know how you are doing.
    (3/26/20) Mr. Rubenstein sent out a survey to check in on our 11th grade class. Please try and submit your responses so we can take a look! We'll use your feedback to help guide our postings and approach to Distance Learning. 
    (3/25/20)  Hopefully you have settled into Week 2 of Distance Learning.  However, you may be feeling anxious, overwhelmed or some stress.  If so, there are apps for mindfulness and relaxation such as Calm or Aura that might help.
    Studies have shown that extended time on social media can increase stress and anxiety levels, so rather than constantly checking social media maybe consider spending a little time each day involved in some of the following activities:
    * Spend time with your family watching a movie, playing board games or working on a jigsaw puzzle.
    * Go for a walk in your neighborhood or do some exercises at home.
    * Write in a journal keeping track of what is happening and how you are feeling.
    * Come up with creative ways to spend your time such as playing an instrument, writing a story or poetry, drawing or coloring or trying out some new recipes - your parents might like it if someone else makes dinner !
    For Virtual Spirit Week - Wednesday is Professional Day - dress in professional (nice) clothes instead of sweats or pajamas.  Post on twitter @CBWestHS.

    (3/24/20) As has been the case since these absences started, many things are changing with each day. It can be overwhelming when considering all the unknowns, and possible resolutions to this situation.

    One way to help get through such an ever changing, ambiguous time is to focus only on today. Answer the question for yourself each morning, "What do I need to do to today?" That's it. In an earlier post I talked about having a schedule, which fits into this plan, but be sure you limit your scope to day by day. There are times when thinking ahead, and planning long term are essential.. now is not one of those times. In fact, trying to plan ahead when so much is unknown and outside of your control can cause stress. So until things become clearer, take things day by day, and simplify your focus.

    Along those lines, try to limit the time you are spending listening/watching/reading The News!

    On a little different note, if you’d like assistance with learning, Mrs. Bagnick has several tutors who have offered to tutor through phone, Facetime, or Skype. Email LBAGNICK@CBSD.ORG with your subject and preferred method to schedule tutoring.  


    (3/23/20) If you are looking for something to do, use Khan Academy as a resource for SAT prep or help with academic subjects.

    In the post last week it was mentioned to keep active physically.  Mr. Price, one of our Health/PE teachers, is encouraging students to go to his website for some ways to keep physically active.  View his site to get active at home. 

    The College Board just released information about AP exams.  The College Board is developing secure 45 minute online free-response exams for each course.  In addition, free resources will be available for AP students beginning March 25th.  Students can attend optional, free, live AP review courses that will also be available on-demand to be reviewed at anytime.  

    Also follow West on twitter @CBWestHS - Virtual Spirit Week starts on Monday !


    (3/19/20) Now that we are a few days into an extended absence from your normal routine, and the excitement of being off from school is fading, it is important to start thinking about a daily schedule. We are creatures of habit, and routines can have a calming effect. Since we no longer have the block bells to keep us on track, you should put structure into your day, with activities for learning, exercise, and mental wellbeing. Set your alarm for the same time, and plan to do similar activities at different times throughout the day. For example, wake up at 9am, eat breakfast, and then jump on to check out the Distance Learning activities until 11am. Workout for a half hour, shower, and get dressed. You can then do something fun for a while, and then eat lunch. After that, do something for your mental health (Mindfulness, breathing, talking a walk). Read the news and/or checkout another Distance Learning activity. Video chat with friends, or talk to someone on phone. Before you know it, it will be time for dinner, and then you can spend time with your family/do something fun. This is just a quick example, but the important thing is to make a schedule that works for YOU. What it actually looks like is less important than simply having one. Here are a few resources to help you get started!


    Your teachers are providing you with learning activities each day as part of the Distance Learning plan. Click on your teacher's page to access everything they have posted so far (link). Keep your mind active!


    There are many options for keeping active, but I wanted to share one major resource that is available for free. The YMCA has come up with the "Y Inside Out," with instructions and links to many ways of staying healthy (link). You can stream several free workouts, including Yoga!

    Mental Wellbeing 

    Managing stress can take effort, best done each day before a major life stressor occurs. Mindfulness is an excellent way to train your mind to handle stressful events. Continuing along with the "Y Inside Out" initiative, give the Les Mills Mindfulness exercises a try (link). Being cooped up inside all day is a quick way to losing it... be sure you are taking care of yourself, it only takes 15 minutes!


    (3/18/20)The Central Bucks College Fair has been cancelled and colleges have cancelled Open Houses, Information Sessions and Tours.  However, many colleges have virtual tours you can view.  Check the college websites for information.  Also you can use this time to use the College Search and College Match features in Naviance. 
    Mr. Curtis and Ms. Dallam are available by email if you have any questions or just want to check in and let us know how you are doing.  Stay healthy and keep in touch !
    (3/17/20) In addition to the March SAT being cancelled, the May SAT has also been cancelled. Read this post from the CollegeBoard to learn more, and help plan for taking college entrance exams. As stressful as it is to have such an unexpected thing happen while preparing for college, remember that the entire world is being affected by this pandemic, and so colleges will surely be understanding. Focus on things you can control, such as using this time for additional prep, and keep an eye out for announcements/emails from the CollegeBoard and ACT organization so you can sign up for an upcoming exam date that works for you.
    The key points of Program Planning are reviewed, and College Planning steps for the rest of the year are introduced. 
    11th grade School Counselors visit each Academic, Honors, and AP English class towards the end of the 1st semester, and the first week of the 2nd semester. The key points of Program Planning are reviewed, and College Planning steps for the rest of the year are introduced. 
    Program Planning materials are distributed to students, and procedures for entering and selecting courses for senior year are shown during advisory. 
    A general overview of key topics for junior year, including Career Exploration and College Planning. Also introduces non-college post-secondary options. 
    Colleges send admissions reps to visit with out students at West, and present a comprehensive summary of what their school have to offer. Students can ask questions, and make a good impression on the person who will likely review the applications to that school for our area. This is a brief "how to" for signing up for these College Rep visits to West.  
    important links
    Please view the left column of this page for many topic specific links.
    Students should login to Naviance using the "Clever" button.
    One of the best, most comprehensive, and well organized online resources for career exploration. Students in the Class of 2021 will be introduced with several lessons on how to utilize this site in conjunction with Career Plan activities through Naviance. 
    Interested in learning more about a club at West high school? Getting involved is one of the most fulfilling ways to be part of the West community. 
    Explore all options for financial assistance provided to needy families (CHIP, Medical Assistance, Free/Reduced Lunch program).