Welcome back to 2022-23 school year,

I hope everyone is enjoying the last days of summer and our lovely August weather. On Friday, August 25th, we look forward to welcoming all of our students back to school for the new academic year.

Each school year begins with a lot of excitement, energy, and sometimes even some worry. We each experience this excitement in our own unique way. Some of the students haven’t seen their friends since late June, and they’re looking forward to the new school year and everything that it has to offer. Parents and guardians are excited to see their children go for the start of another great school year, but they are surprised at how quickly their children are growing. As the first day of school gets closer, even teachers who just got back from vacation and professional development may be trying to calm their nervous butterflies.

We couldn’t be more excited about the accomplishments we made together this year, and look forward to continuing to improve our academic program and expanding student and family support services.

This year, we celebrated being named one of the best 20 public high schools in Massachusetts and ranked #1 in Western Massachusetts by US News & World Report
At this year’s Commencement ceremony, we celebrated the 100% graduation rate at HCSS-East and HCSS West the 100% four-year college acceptance rate among our graduating seniors. They are heading to the next chapter of their lives in prestigious colleges, including two Ivy Leagues: Cornell and Columbia universities. The class of 2022 raised more than $24M scholarships for their college education. We are excited to hear more news from class of 2023.

I also would like to welcome Ms.Trudeau, the new Director of HCSS West as Mr.Cogal is promoted to the Chief Academic Officer position for HCSS East and West. Mr.Cogal and Ms.Trudeau are both experienced and valuable members of the HCSS community for many years. Mr.Cogal worked as the Director of HCSS West and Ms.Trudeau worked as the Director of Curriculum and Instruction for the science department. Congratulations!

With the new year, I would like to give some advice to my students. Attendance matters! build the habit of regular attendance as soon as you start school first day. Because your attendance matters!. You cannot learn if you are not in class. Research shows students who miss two or more days each month are less likely to pass.

Improve your note taking skills. Taking notes gives you more than just a record of what was said in class. Taking notes keeps your body active and involved and keeps you from getting sleepy or distracted. It keeps you alert and your mind busy. By paying close attention to what you hear and deciding what to write down, you keep your mind engaged with what you hear. As you take notes, you’ll choose and highlight the most important things you hear.

Review your notes everday, not the night before the test. Read over your notes each day while the class is still fresh in your mind. Fill in any missing parts. Compare your notes to those of another student. This isn’t cheating, and it might even be good for both of you. Review your notes every day to help you remember what you’ve learned and move closer to your goal, which is to MASTER the subject or skill.

Participate in class.
Students who participate in class are more engaged in their learning and are better able to encode information in their memories. It also shows your teachers that you’re listening and thinking about the material that’s being presented. Teachers are more likely to think of you as a dedicated student when you participate regularly in class discussions.

Find extracurricular activities
Having a non-academic activity you enjoy helps you do better in school. Extracurricular have been shown to help students do better in school, make new friends, and feel like you belong to
a community. They also give you the chance to do things they enjoy.It’s very important for you to have a mental or physical outlet that you do regularly, almost like another class. It’s the things you really like to do that make you happy and make you who you are. Join clubs, athletic programs, and events.

Take care of yourself. Getting enough sleep, eating well, and taking good mental care of yourself are all necessary to success. When any one of these fall by the wayside, you are unable to perform at the peak of your ability no matter how prepared you are otherwise.

In our public schools walk the scientists, researchers, educators, doctors, artists, and political leaders of the future. What we know and make Hampden special is that we do not need to look to the future to see leadership. We see advocacy, leadership, innovation, and student-led change today – in our classrooms, in our schools, and across our community.

As we collaborate to continually improve our schools, I am privileged, humbled, and eager to work with you and our amazing team of teachers, staff, administrators, and school leaders.

“Welcome back!”



Tarkan Topcuoglu, Ed.S.

Chief Executive Officer

Mr.Topcuoglu has been in the education field for more than 19 years and worked as a teacher, department head, dean of academics, and eventually as principal. He has a bachelor, master, and educational specialist degrees in education. He is married and has two wonderful children. Topcuoglu has received a number of awards in his career including National Blue Ribbon Schools’ Terrel H. Bell Award, given each year by the U.S. Department of Education to eight principals in the nation.He has been recognized as “Bell Principal” by former US Education Secretary Dr.King in 2016.