Week 8 at NAHS!



Like many of you, I look forward to watching OSU football games on Saturday. What’s interesting about this year’s games are the pregame and postgame rhetoric about the team’s performance. Since winning the national championship and having a star-studded roster, it seems like the expectation is for the team to blow out their opponent each week.

Every aspect of the game is critiqued, analyzed, and scrutinized to the point where it sounds as though they lose each week. This is just a part of being a champion. It’s also a reminder to me that winning is never easy and like learning, it’s a messy, non-linear process. There are many factors of the game that have to be executed, but there are also times when the athletes have to improvise to make a play. This, too, is also like learning. It’s about what to do when the plan falls apart or there is an unforeseen obstacle. The challenge is in applying the skills, knowledge, and past experience in a moments notice to quickly overcome the obstacle.

It’s all a part of the learning process and the more we learn and do something, the better equipped we are to improvise and make a play. I encourage our Staffulty and to continue to believe in our ability to improvise as professionals, to embrace our mistakes and see them as opportunities to learn, to try something new, or even to fail forward. The more we are able to do this and respond positively to it, the more it will become a part of our learning culture.

Staff News
Congratulations to Intervention Specialist Bobby Britton and his wife on the birth of their son Behren (Behr) Archer Britton, born at 12:07 pm on Tuesday, October 6th! He is 7 pounds 11 ounces and 22 inches long. Their son Caden is happy to be a big brother and all are resting at home.
Behr Britton

Students in our National Honor Society went to Lind’s Fruit Farm to pick apples for our custodians and presented them with a couple of bushels! They were pleasantly surprised by the thoughtful gesture! Thanks to NHS for this generous act of service!

Day Custodians Matt and Dave Photo credit: Beth Johnston

Day Custodians Matt and Dave
Photo credit: Beth Johnston

Students As Learners
The A Cappella Singers were blessed to have guest composer Mr. Stacey Gibbs in class with them last Thursday! Mr. Gibbs is an internationally acclaimed composer and arranger of African-American Spirituals. Additionally, Mr. Gibbs will be conducting workshops at the McCoy on October 24th with our choir and choirs from Whitehall, Northland, and Pickerington Central. This is yet another unique learning experience for our students! Thanks to Choir Teacher Karrie Horton for making this happen!

Photo credit: Katie Roberts

Photo credit: Katie Roberts

Students in Katie Roberts and Lori Cheney’s CP English 12 class collaborated with Jen Lane’s class for a day of “Miltonian Magic!” They are studying Paradise Lost and asked students to synthesize Paradise Lost Book IX by creating a one-minute trailer. Students turned this into a friendly competition and were thoroughly engaged in the process and production! I applaud the collaborative efforts of Ms. Roberts, Mrs. Cheney, and Mrs. Lane as this is an excellent example of a Quadrant D learning activity! For more details about the assignment, please click here.

Upcoming Events
Monday, October 12th- Mariel Hemingway 7th and 8th periods at the McCoy
Tuesday, October 13th- Bow Tie Tuesday; Wednesday block schedule
Wednesday, October 14th- Testing Day
Thursday, October 15th- Regular Block Schedule
Friday, October 16th- No School for COTA Day
Monday, October 19th- BOE Meeting 6:30 pm
Friday, October 23rd- Pink Out for Breast Cancer Awareness; End of 1st grading period; Alex Sheen Presentation 1:30 pm in the Gym
Saturday, October 24th- ACT

Articles Worth Reading
Why Parents and Schools Should Work Together to Teach Digital Citizenship

Make Way for Generation Z

Be Great,


Week 7 at New Albany High School: Spirit Week!

Many students and Staffulty participated in the Spirit Week activities, attended the Powder Puff game and bonfire, and participated in the pregame Skull session and Tunnel of Pride! I appreciate the collaborative effort of our PTO and Football Moms for organizing the bonfire, Student Council for planning Spirit Week, and our Staffulty for supporting our students! Click here to learn more about NAHS Spirit Week!

CE MonthOctober is Connected Educators Month and it’s a good opportunity for our Staffulty to expand their Professional Learning Network by connecting with other educators within and outside our district. At first glance, it may seem that it’s only about the tools and devices, but it’s actually about establishing professional connections and relationships with other educators and to remain current about relevant educational topics. It’s also about the learning process of sharing, exploring, questioning, and producing content. I have made efforts to model connected educator characteristics by subscribing to professional blogs, connecting with some of the top educational organizations on Twitter or liking them on Facebook, and participating in education chats via Twitter. Currently, about 30 members of the New Albany High School Staffulty use social media to expand their Professional Learning Network and it has positively impacted student learning because of the ideas and research curated from professional organizations!

Staff News
Please keep the Morlan family in your prayers as they mourn the loss of their sister-in-law. She passed away over the weekend after battling with pancreatic cancer.

Congratulations to Educational Aide Shannon Godinez who completed her first 10 K run on Sunday! She trained for nearly a year and not only finished without walking, but beat her goal by finishing in under an hour! We are so proud of her accomplishment!

Shannon Godinez

Shannon Godinez

Students As Learners
Congratulations to the following seniors for being named a Commended Scholar in the 2016 National Merit Scholarship Program! They earned this recognition for their outstanding performance on the PSAT last school year, which was a Selection Index Score of 201! They are among 34,000 students nationwide who earned this recognition.

Andrew Altschuld
Ruthie Lewis
Harper Loeb
Sam Malik
Shota Nemoto
Rana Odabas
Nathan Oehler
Brennen Rampton
Mehek Sheikh
Isabella Vendetti
Michael Zaper

Congratulations to the newest members of the NAHS Troupe 6596 International Thespian Society! To become aInternational-Thespian-Society member of the International Thespian Society, students must have 100+ hours of quality work in the theatre arts and related disciplines. Other distinctions are based on students’ grade point averages and additional hours in theatre arts and related disciplines. Following is the list ITS members and their special designation:

Abigail Bartlson- Honor Thespian
Linder Bozeman-Thespian
Jessica Flowers- Thespian
Bryanna Heaton-Honor Thespian (2015 graduate)
Ashley Keaney- Honor Thespian
Melody Menefied- Honor Thespian (2015 graduate)
Jessica Metcalf-Honor Thespian (2015 graduate)
Juhno Moon- National Honor Thespian
Mehek Sheikh- Honor Thespian
Alaina Stout- Honor Thespian
Sophie Tobin- Thespian
Alexis Wafer- Honor Thespian
Maci Bingman- Thespian
Jordan Burckard- Thespian
Alexandra Nowicki-Thespian (2015 graduate)
Miley Simmons-Thespian (2015 graduate)
Colin Sproule-Thespian
Katherine Trybus-Thespian
Ana Vertjanova- Thespian
Isabel Bagley-Thespian (2015 graduate)
Josh Billings- Thespian
Jackson Hill-Thespian
Nikolas Kasper- Thespian (2015 graduate)
Jacob Mangia- Thespian (2015 graduate)
Natalie Meilen- Thespian
Zachary Poje- Thespian
Hannah Price-Thespian
Mikaela Ray- Thespian
David Schaffer- Thespian
Justis Shaw- Thespian
Ethan Fox- Thespian (2015 graduate)
Daniel Luther- Thespian (2015 graduate)
Ava Rigelhaupt- Thespian (2015 graduate)
Parker Schuppenhauer- Thespian (2015 graduate)
Natalie Wotring- Thespian (2015 graduate)



We continue to explore rigor as it relates to the level of thinking that is required to complete specific tasks. At our last Faculty meeting, I asked teachers to jot down a current Quadrant D lesson activity or one they would consider assigning to students in the coming weeks. To review the list of activities click here. Our next steps are to discuss why these are Quadrant D activities and suggest ways to make improvements if necessary. It’s been a challenging, yet rewarding process as we collectively examine instructional practices!

Upcoming Events
Saturday, October 9th- SAT at NAHS
Monday, October 12th- Mariel Hemingway Presentation 1:00 PM at the McCoy
Wednesday, October 14th- ACT Aspire/PSAT
Friday, October 16th- No School

Article Worth Reading
Declining Student Resilience: A Serious Problem for Colleges

Be Great,


Week 6 at New Albany High School!

rr-frameworkAs a follow up to our rigor and relationships in-service on September 14th, we used our Faculty meeting to continue to examine what rigor means and looks like at NAHS. We have and will continue to maintain high expectations for students and Staffulty (staff and faculty) in regards to academic standards, effort, and professionalism. We are coming to understand that rigor in the classroom is based on a continuum of low to high levels of critical thinking. When examining the International Center for Leadership in Education Rigor/Relevance Framework, we understand that one quadrant is not better than the others because all quadrants are necessary for student learning. However, the overall goal is to create more Quadrant D learning experiences for students where they do the work, the thinking, and are asking questions.

English teacher Lynette Turner shared this one page article that provides more clarity. I forwarded this to Staffulty (staff and faculty) over the weekend to review. Our next steps include further examination of rigor by looking at it through the lens of thoughtful work, high leveling questioning, and academic work.

Staff News
Intervention Specialist Lori Cheney is currently mentoring one of her former students who is now teaching English to students in Japan. He is struggling with some behavior issues with his students, and also how to give constructive feedback. Lori shared how she and English teacher Katie Roberts uses “First Five” with their classes, discussing their and the students’ lives outside of school each day at the start of class for five or so minutes. He has implemented this in his class with great results. She also shared with him the list of relationship strategies generated from our in-service! So, not only are we adding to our own teaching repertoire, we are helping an alum and a teacher halfway around the world!

Several teachers continue to tell our story by posting classroom updates on Twitter or Instagram using our hashtag, #NAHSCommUNITY. Please click here to see week 6 at a glance!

Students As Learners
NHS member M. Pine painted faces for free at the home football game last Friday. She collected $30 in donations to benefit an NHS charity of their choice! It was a wonderful community building opportunity as she interacted with several elementary school students. Students Cassidy Platte, Jamie Schroer, and Sophie Ungless assisted her with this project!

Photo by David Mitchell

Photo by David Mitchell

Library Aide David Mitchell shared how he enjoyed having English teacher Jacqui Loughry’s AP English 12 class in the library Friday morning. They familiarized themselves with the space and other resources such as out databases, new book titles, and more!

Our House Deans and House Leaders participated in a National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) student leadership training program called Raising Student Voice and Participation (RSVP). They worked through a number of activities focused on team building, taking initiative, and strategies to get input from all students to improve school climate and culture. The House Leaders seemed to grow in confidence throughout the day as they implemented a variety of strategies and dialogued about how to serve the student body!

Upcoming Events: Homecoming Spirit Week!

Monday, September 28th- Favorite Sports Team Day; State of the Schools Address 7:00

2015-16 School Theme

2015-16 School Theme

PM at the McCoy
Tuesday, September 29th- Class Color Day
Wednesday, September 30th-House Shirt Day/Powder Puff Game/Bonfire
Thursday, October 1st-PJ Day
Friday, October 2nd- White Out Day or Eagle Spirit Wear
Saturday, October 3rd- Homecoming Dance 8:00 PM-11:00 PM in the Gym

Article Worth Reading
Perfect Practice-Educational Transformation

Until next time…

Be Great,


Week 5 at New Albany High School!



During our in-service on Monday, we learned the value of creating a safe and welcoming classroom environment in connection with dopamine release and increased learning. As I continue to reflect on the in-service about rigor and relationships, I stumbled upon a brief video that further explains why establishing positive relationships with students can lead to increased achievement. I shared this video with the NAHS Staffulty and asked them to think about how this relates to the importance of rigorous and relevant learning experiences for our students.

We understand that as we develop trust, presume positive intentions, and seek to understand others before being understood, we will create a positive and welcoming learning environment for students and parents. Last week illustrated this in a number of ways, from the nearly 1500 parent/teacher conferences, to the Hollister Company “All Equal” assembly and performance by Echosmith! For more information about what our students and Staffulty experienced, please click here!

Staff News
Please keep Administrative Assistant Beth Johnston in your prayers as she and her family mourn the loss of their 12-year-old Golden Labrador Retriever, Casey. She passed away last Saturday.

Congratulations to Math teacher Chrissie Bolan and her husband, who are expecting their second child! The baby is due to arrive in March!

Congratulations to Assistant Principal Steve Gehlert and his wife Tarin, who celebrated their 11th Wedding Anniversary on Friday!

Science teacher Jessica Whitehead proactively sent a letter of introduction to her students’ parents and to share pertinent information about her classes. Since some of her parents weren’t able to sign up for a conference, the letter provided another opportunity for her to inform parents of her teaching philosophy and course design. Click here if you are interested in reading it! Many of our teachers did this as well, and I appreciate them making connections with parents in a variety of ways! Additionally, several teachers scheduled appointments with parents who weren’t able to come in on the designated nights.

Intervention Specialist Mike Covey created a progress report for each of his students that included their quarterly goals, strengths, and areas of improvement to send to parents via email. Since he didn’t have any parent conferences scheduled, he used the time to send the goals sheets to his students’ parents! This is an excellent way to update them on their child’s progress.

Students As Learners
Many of our students, by nature, are service-oriented. They seek out and thrive on opportunities to serve for the sake of making the lives of others a little better. We have several seniors who volunteer at the Eagles Nest, which is an after school service for students who are 6 to 12 years old. These are some of New Albany’s finest who are sharing their talents with Eagles Nest students after school. They work as tutors, game players, supervisors and “all things creative” in the world of 6 through 12 year olds.

From L to R: Will Dimon, Gavin Heiserman, Claire Klodell, Krista LaSpina, Morgan Handmaker and Katie Boley. (Not pictured, Jordan Inman

From L to R: Will Dimon, Gavin Heiserman, Claire Klodell, Krista LaSpina, Morgan Handmaker and Katie Boley. (Not pictured, Jordan Inman

I received the following email from an Ohio High School Athletic Association referee about our JVB Boys Soccer coach and team after they lost to Thomas Worthington on September 8th:

“In an evenly played game that was tied 1-1, New Albany was called for handling in the box in the last seconds of the game. A (Penalty Kick) PK was granted to Thomas Worthington that would essentially decide the game. As a New Albany player was escorted to the sideline due to receiving a yellow card, the New Albany head coach told the officials that the PK call was the correct call and he understood, and he helped calm down his players frustrations with losing a game at the last second. His excellent sportsmanship was a great example for the student athletes, who modeled that behavior themselves in the post game handshake line as well after losing the game. It was nice to see everyone, both coaches and athletes, being very respectful and gracious to all involved after a physical game.”

Congratulations to Coach Cody Thomas for being a positive role model and teacher for his team during a difficult situation!

Upcoming Events
Wednesday, September 23rd- Comp Day No School
Friday, September 25th- Interim Progress Reports
Monday, September 28th- State of the Schools Address

Articles Worth Reading
30 Questions To Ask Your Kids Instead of “How Was Your Day?” spotted by Science teacher Jessica Whitehead

Protecting or Ignoring? A perspective on digital citizenship.

Until next time…

Be Great,


Week 3 at New Albany High School!

As I prepared for my day on Friday, I searched through one of my books for some daily words of wisdom to tweet and came across the following quote that really resonated with me:

“Understand the difference between being at work and working.”

What came to mind was the positive feedback I received about the NAHS Staffulty (staff



and faculty) from parents during our Open House on Tuesday, September 2nd! Parents were genuinely pleased with the event because they saw and felt the love and joy we have for our craft as educators. But, more importantly, they felt how much we care for their children. As the saying goes, “They don’t care how much you know if they don’t know how much you care.” We strive to create a greater sense of community because we understand the importance of establishing positive relationships with our students, parents, and community members that will translate into a positive school experience for our students.

Another example of we connect with our students is the way we use social media to share positive messages and images about our school. I’ve been summarizing weekly events using the website, Storify, to capture articles, images, and inspirational messages that are posted daily. We tag each message with the hashtag, #NAHSCommUNITY. To review last week’s story, click here!

Staff News
Athletic Secretary Mary Ferguson was at the home football game two weeks ago to assist with ticket sales. It was so good to see her smiling and back in action! Please continue to keep her and her husband in your prayers.

Special Education Coordinator Molly Salt shared with me her appreciation for Joanne Mannarelli, Erik Jablonka, Bubba Kidwell, and Pat Samanich for working together to help a struggling student in need last week!

Students As Learners
What We Expect of Students (2)Last week I shared that our students had the opportunity to work together to determine what we should expect of them in regards to their overall behavior. Nearly 1500 students over a two day period came up with a list of characteristics we should expect of them in our school community. I used a word cloud website to create an image of the words or phrases that were most popular among the students. I am very pleased, but not surprised, by what they came up with because these are behaviors I get the opportunity to observe from our students on a daily basis! In fact, they are aligned with our core values of respect for self, respect for others, respect for the learning environment, and respect for the community.

Redd Ingram: Photo by Katie Roberts

Redd Ingram: Photo by Katie Roberts

English teacher Katie Roberts asked junior Redd Ingram to guest star as the “Grammar Graduate” in her CP English 10 class earlier last week. He led a quick review with sophomores demonstrating his learning by teaching underclassmen who enjoyed hearing it from a different voice than Mrs. Roberts. This is an excellent example of differentiating the process and increasing student voice!

Choir teacher Karrie Horton invited me to her A Cappella Choir class onKarrie Horton Friday to listen to them create and record their own arrangement of Foreigner’s “I Want to Know What Love Is”, for entry into a competition to sing on stage with the band on October 14th! It was an example of formative assessment at its best! Mrs. Horton gave immediate feedback to students as they made corrections. The students also made suggestions about how they could improve their performance. They were encouraged to truly make the song their own in order to showcase their talents! To learn more about the contest, please click here.

Upcoming Events
*Friday, September 11th- Red, White, and Blue Day for 9/11 Remembrance
*Monday, September 14th- In-service Day, No School for students
*Tuesday, September 15th- Parent/Teacher Conferences
*Wednesday, September 16th- Picture Retakes
*Thursday, September 17th- Parent/Teacher Conferences

Video Worth Reading
Common Sense Tips for Digital Parents

Until next week…

Be Great,


Week 2 at New Albany High School!

7A'sWe had a spirited-filled week! Students seemed to be excited about the start of the fall athletic season with golf matches, volleyball and field hockey games, cross country meets, last Friday’s soccer game and our first home football game. Athletics are one of what I call the “7 A’s of successful schools.” Athletics are an important part of the high school experience because they bring people together for a common cause, shared purpose, and unity. It’s what community is all about!

Several teachers continue to share what’s going on in their classrooms using our school hashtag on Twitter or Instagram: #NAHSCommUNITY. During House, our upperclassmen lead the Class of 2019 through a scavenger hunt to learn more about New Albany High School. To get a glimpse of what took place this week at NAHS, click here.

Staff News
I commend our School Counselors for embracing their new role as afternoon bus duty monitors. They have not only embraced it, but they own it, as you can tell by the spiffy hats they just bought! They use this as an opportunity to get to know students and to reflect together about the day. They laugh together, support each other, and share ideas to ensure they are providing the best possible support to students. It’s another great example of creating #CommUNITY!
Bus Boss 2

Bus Boss

Open House is on Wednesday, September 2nd. Open House is an exciting time for families to meet their students’ classroom teachers and to hear about what types of experiences they will have this year. Following are a few general topics that will be discussed by teachers:
General Class Expectations and Procedures
Contact Information: email address, work phone number, website, Twitter handle (if applicable)
Grading Policy
Unique Learning Experiences
Homework Policy
Teacher Core Values, Family, Interest/Hobbies, etc.

Students As Learners
On Wednesday, August 26th and Thursday, August 27th, students attended the State of the Eagles Address during ACT period. The State of the Eagles is an opportunity for the Administrative Team to discuss our academic, attendance, and discipline data with students, celebrate our successes, and set goals for the quarter. It’s also a way for us to establish expectations. This year, we approached it a bit differently. We asked students to organize themselves into groups of eight and to answer the question, “What should we expect of you?” After we reviewed a few items such as the importance of carrying their student ID cards, lunch dismissal, and other housekeeping items, students were given time to generate a list of expectations and then to narrow their lists into four expectations.

State of the Eagles
A loud and proud “Eagle” shout-out goes to Assistant Principal Steve Gehlert for facilitating the State of the Eagles Address on Thursday! I was out of the building, so Mr. Gehlert took the reigns and facilitated nearly 700 students in the activity. Feedback was extremely positive! Our next step is to review each groups’ list, do an affinity grouping, and create a list of the top four expectations. Thanks also go to the School Counselors, Molly Salt, Kevin Reed, and Dr. Domine for assisting with the activity!

Spanish teacher Hannah Macko created an activity to help students demonstrate their knowledge of Spanish vocabulary words. Students used Snapchat to review adjective agreement in Spanish II. After choosing adjectives out of a hat, students demonstrated knowledge of the vocabulary by acting out the adjectives in a variety of selfies throughout the school. They created captions in Spanish to describe each picture and were very creative with their selfie-taking abilities.
Snapchat Wall

Key Club President Sam Malik created an inspiring video and website to help raise awareness and funding for the Solar Panel building that was donated to us by The Ohio State University. He, along with the legendary Bill Resch, presented to the Board of Education on Monday, August 24th to thank them for embracing this partnership with The Ohio State University and support of this endeavor. In order to move the project forward, we must rely on donations to fund the rest of the project. There is a lot of positive buzz about the possibilities of this project and teachers Greg Morris and Ali Laughbaum plan to incorporate this in their classes. For more information about this project, click here.

Humanities teacher Sara Hric held her 8th period class in the courtyard on Friday where her students discussed the meaning of the eagle. Students were basking in the sun, stretched on the benches, or relaxing in the shade as they discussed literary devices. The students were engaged and eager to participate. Sara provided specific feedback to students, which encouraged others to get involved in the discussion. It was an excellent example of differentiating the learning environment to meet the needs of students!
Sara Hric2

Sara Hric

Upcoming Events
Tuesday, September 1st- Bow Tie Tuesday
Wednesday, September 2nd- Open House 5:30 pm
Monday, September 7th- Labor Day, No School
Monday, September 14th-Professional Development Day, No School for Students
Wednesday, September 16th- School Picture Retakes

Articles Worth Reading
Inside the Lives of Digital Teens
25 Alternatives to “What’d You Learn in School Today?”

Food for Thought

Be Great,


Be Great,


Happy New School Year!

LobbyIt takes a great deal of teamwork to prepare for a new school year. Parents, Staffulty, students, and community members mentally prepare for a rush of activity, which is soon followed by a settled-in feeling after new, but familiar routines are re-established. The New Albany High School Team worked together to create a meaningful and positive first week of school for each other and our students! The House Deans and Social Committee did an excellent job decorating the lobby, the Scheduling Team created systems to help students make necessary schedule changes, and the Administrative Assistants were responsive to a variety of requests from teachers, parents, and students. Teamwork makes the dream work!

Who loves Kid President? If you are like me, you raised your hand and smiled as you thought of one of his inspirational messages. In honor of a new school year, please take a few minutes to watch Kid President message to “Be More Awesome!”

There was nervous energy in the air as the first day of school approached because of our new schedule, office hours, ACT Period, and larger class sizes. However, the following email from a colleague just about sums up our thoughts and feelings about our first week back:

“…I want to let you know that this week has been one of the best starts to a school year I can remember in my career. Furthermore, the new schedule you and others put so much time and effort into is a huge improvement to our school. Thank you for that!”

Staff News
Several staff members posted pictures of the first week on a few social media sites that provide a glimpse of our experiences. We are using the hashtag, #NAHSCommUNITY to share images, links, and other important information.

As I visited classrooms this week or walked the halls, I appreciated seeing so many teachers greeting students at the door and engaging them in brief conversations during passing times. I noticed how some used our theme, “CommUNITY”, as inspiration to classroom design or bulletin boards. These simple acts are helping to create a sense of belonging and community that leads to overall student success and positive morale!

I sat in on Mr. Eric Carmichael and Mrs. Christine Chamberlain’s class and listened to an intriguing discussion about history and the writers of history. The students were reflective in their responses and challenged each other’s thinking in the process. Mr. Carmichael also shared with me a strategy that he and Mrs. Chamberlain used to get to know all their students. They asked students to create a large name card so they could take their pictures and then take a picture without the name cards. They essentially created digital flashcards of students’ images to review them all week. By Friday, they knew the names of all their freshmen students! What a creative idea!

Students As Learners
senior seminarOur Senior Seminar Team, which is a group of teachers who facilitate our Senior Seminar program, worked diligently all summer to support a number of seniors in completing their projects. Projects ranged from video game design to an architect internship and everything in between! About a third of our seniors took advantage of Senior Seminar Summer Institute. This continues to be a model program that allows students to demonstrate their development of strong communication, collaborative, creativity, and critical thinking skills while pursuing their passions. I’m extremely proud of our seniors and members of our Senior Team!

I noticed a group of students wearing blue scrubs, latex gloves, and carrying clipboards and beakers walking the halls this week. Their teacher was also wearing the same thing! I followed them to the second floor of G building and stumbled upon a “crime scene.” There was yellow caution tape, strange marks on the floor, and obvious signs of foul play. It was a Project Lead The Way Biological Science lab designed by Lorin Love and the students are loving it! They are gathering evidence and making inferences about the cause of the crime and who is responsible. It is a great example of differentiated instruction and making learning relevant to students!

During lunch duty on Friday, I saw several groups of students discussing a reading assignment, working on class assignments, or discussing other topics presented in classes last week. I also saw classes outside in the Quad; our Introduction to Engineer students were using the track, and our photography students have been all over campus! It feels really good to have the students back on campus! I also appreciate the level of student engagement incorporated in course unit designs so early in the school year.

The implementation of ACT (Academic Coaching Time) Period has been very successful this week.academic coach The vision of ACT is to create an academic success plan for every student. Each Academic Coach has been assigned 20-25 students who they will meet with during ACT period on Wednesdays or Thursdays. The focus is to provide adequate time for students to complete assignments, work on skill development, to participate in peer assistance, and be exposed to academic enrichment or intervention strategies. ACT period provides us an opportunity to measure our success in the areas of academics, attendance, and student discipline.

A few teachers have shared with me the agreements that students have developed that will create the conditions for a comfortable learning environment. I appreciate the effort to include students in this process!

Upcoming Events
Monday, August 24th-BOE Meeting 6:30pm
Wednesday, August 26th- State of the Eagles Address 1:55pm Gym; Senior College Night Meeting 7:00pm McCoy Center
Thursday, August 27th- State of the Eagles Address 1:55pm Gym
Friday, August 28th- Athletic Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony 5:30pm MS Cafeteria
Wednesday, September 2nd- Open House 5:30pm-7:30pm

Articles Worth Reading
Happier Students Get Higher Grades
Tips for Successful Parent/Teacher Communication

Be Great,


Frustrated and Frustrating




Feeling or expressing distress and annoyance, especially because of inability to change or achieve something.”Young people get frustrated with the system.”

(of a person) unable to follow or be successful in a particular career.”A frustrated actor”

prevented from progressing, succeeding, or being fulfilled.”Our parents may want us to fulfill their own frustrated dreams.”

A good friend of mine named, Steve Bollar, shared something with me several years ago that is so applicable to many edcuators:

“Vision frustrates your presence, but excites your future.”

As school leaders, we may live in a constant state of frustration because we may have a vivid image of what our schools can become as we remove barriers to allow teachers to teach, students to learn, and parents to become partners in the development of the whole child. We can see the emergence of a school culture where teachers take calculated risks by implementing technology in meaningful ways to engage their students, they allow student choice and voice in the learning process, and we can see the development of relevant learning activities that students don’t want to stop working on. We can see timely and meaningful recognition of student and staff success in visible and tangible ways. It’s exciting!

However, we also face the reality of unfunded mandates that take us in the opposite direction of our vision, we face an overemphasis on standardized testing to measure what students know and are able to do, and we are confronted with the reality of exhausted staff members who cannot take “one more thing.” This is where leadership comes in.

As we share our excitement about the future of our schools, we too, can frustrate our staff. We may share ideas, strategies, and articles that slowly push our staff out of their comfort zones. We ask deeper questions that require more than a simple, “yes” or “no” response. We question the existence of current practices in order to learn more about the “why.” We challenge the status quo while trying to manage the emotions that come from being pushed, gently or not-to-so gently, to do things differently. Yes, we can be just as frustrating to others as we are frustrated with our present situation. We have to keep this in mind as we navigate the change process through this challenging, yet exciting time in education. This, my friends, is leadership and it’s not easy.

When embracing this frustration, we must remember to focus on the progress we make towards reaching our goals, the connections we make with students and staff, and the positive stories that occur each and every day in the classrooms, hallways, athletic arenas, and in the arts. These positive images, videos, and anecdotes are proof that the excitement of our future is actually much closer to our reality than we think, see, and feel.

Be Great,


Are You Working On the Right Thing? #ModelSchools

I first saw this video at the 2005 Model Schools Conference when I was a high school Assistant Principal and it still resonates with me today. With so many mandates, directives, initiatives, and reforms, it can be quite the challenge to decide which ones to focus on to improve learner performance. Much like the gentleman in the video, we can exert our energy on the wrong thing and end up wasting precious time as we try to make progress for students and teachers.

If you need help narrowing your focus on what is best for your students in the midst of today’s education climate, then the 2015 Model Schools Conference is for you. This conference is rigorous and relevant adult learning that “fuels rigorous and relevant schools (Scheninger).” You will be exposed to a systemic approach to school change, Dr. Bill Daggett’s System for Effective Instruction, leadership development, and ways to identify the unique aspects of your school’s DNA. More importantly, you will be exposed to what Dr. Bill Daggett calls “Quadrant D learning,” which you will quickly see is what we are experiencing in our entire profession.

Not only you will be exposed to the Rigor/Relevance Framework, but you will be able to participate in hands-on experiences to identify with the work in quadrant D; you will be able to share your interests or expertise in an “unconference format” and you will be able to learn from other educational leaders who have successfully implemented the Rigor/Relevance Framework in their work to increase teacher and learner performance.

The bottom line is this: we need each other as we work to thrive in this most challenging of times. The gentleman in the video was acting alone with the wrong tools to complete the task. However, we don’t have to work in isolation to do the important work. There are hundreds of leaders, like you, who will attend the 2015 Model Schools Conference and the relationships that emerge from learning together, with and from one another, are a powerful force as we shift our focus from what is taught to what students are supposed to know and be able to do. A key component of successful leadership is one’s desire to continuously learn and this year’s Model Schools Conference will exceed your expectations in terms of learning practical, relevant, and research-based strategies to improving your school. I look forward to seeing you there!

Be Great,


Today’s Professional Development



Access to and opportunity for professional development for educators has grown exponentially due to the use of technology, the need for more relevant and timely learning, and a growing dissatisfaction with the traditional model of “sit and get.” There are more options besides attending professional conferences. Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoy attending quality professional conferences to listen to dynamic speakers, attend a variety of breakout sessions, present, and connect with other educators to discuss hot topics in education and share best practices. There are also many other ways we can engage in meaningful and relevant learning experiences on our own time, at our own pace, and in the place of our choosing. We have to come to accept that learning is a 24/7/365 endeavor not bound to traditional office hours. Technology has flattened the traditional professional development model by providing so many opportunities for those who want to take responsibility for their own growth and development. Following are six effective professional development strategies that are on the rise for educators.

1. Webinars- Webinars are web-based presentations where participants register for and login at a specific time to interact with a presenter and and other presenters. Edweb.net provides a variety of webinars four to five days a week and there is a list of communities educators can join that are relevant to them. Most of all, they are free and typically occur after the school day. I’ve facilitated a webinar for Edweb.net and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The moderator managed the questions so we were able to have an interactive and engaging dialogue about the topic. I encourage perusing this site and consider joining a community that interests you.
2. Podcasts- Podcasts are web-based interactive conversations about a particular topic. Most podcasts are recorded live and archived for future use. One that I enjoy is PrincipalCast, hosted by Dr. Spike Cook, Theresa Stagner, and Jessica Johnson. These are weekly podcasts that include guest presenters that provide their thoughts and best practices about topics like implementing the Common Core State Standards, teacher evaluations, life after the principalship, pedagogical strategies, technology integration, and so much more. I also recommend you read this article for a list of 51 podcasts for educators.
3. Twitter Chats- A Twitter chat is a topic-based discussion on Twitter that is curated using a specific hashtag. Thousands of educators participate in weekly chats and school districts are starting to host their own chats in order to continue conversations outside of the school day. If you are going to participate in a Twitter chat, I encourage you to use Hootsuite or Tweetdeck to allow you to follow the thread of comments. Check out this calendar of the most popular Twitter chats, which was created by @cybraryman1.
4. Blogging- Blogging is a way to make one’s learning visible because it’s a reflective process about ones thoughts, ideas, successes, and struggles. There are many free blog sites, such as Edublogs, Blogger, and WordPress that many educators use for their own professional and personal growth. A few blogs I often read are:
a. A Principal’s Reflections by Eric Sheninger
b. Connected Principals: Sharing. Learning. Leading
c. DCulberhouse: Engaging in Conversation Around Education and Leadership by David Culberhouse
d. Leadership Freak by Dan Rockwell
e. Life of an Educator by Dr. Justin Tarte
f. RaFranz Davis: Social Learner. Tech Specialist. Digital Diva by RaFranz Davis
g. The Jose Vilson by Jose Vilson
h. The Principal of Change by George Couros
i. This Is Seth’s Blog by Seth Godin



5. YouTube- It is reported that YouTube is the third largest search engine in the world! Needless to say, if there is a topic you want to learn more about, search YouTube and I’m certain you will find a few videos that will increase your knowledge about a particular topic. Even better, you could create your own YouTube Channel to share your expertise with others.
6. Skype- Skype removes time and distance as barriers and provides a means to engage in a conversation with a group of people or individuals to discuss relevant topics. Additionally, it provides a simulated “face-to-face” interaction that is still important to have.
7. Google Hangout- Google is flattening the collaborative efforts by providing asynchronous means to dialog, discuss, and communicate about topics of interest. Many schools have created Google Hangouts for teachers to continue relevant discussions and share best practices that improve student learning.
8. Voxer- Voxer is an app that is on the rise in the world of connected educators. It allows for the same type of connectivity as Twitter, but it allows users to create groups for participants to actually chat live. The messages can be saved and archived for future reference. I’ve recently created a Voxer account and have joined the Digital Leadership and NASSP15 groups to keep in contact with other like-minded leaders. Other examples of how Voxer is used include book studies, interviews, and topic based discussions.

These are just a few examples of relevant professional development and you may notice that they are tech-based. However, these do not replace the importance and power of face-to-face collaborative learning among peers. Consider adding one or two to your toolbox as you continue along on your journey as a life-long learner!

Be Great,