An Open Letter To My Students

“What Should We Expect of You?”

At the beginning of the school year, I shared with your families a brief list of what we expect of you. This list is essentially our core values: respect for self, respect for others, respect for the learning environment, and respect for the community.

Several months ago, we gathered in the gymnasium during Academic Coaching Time (ACT period) where you were asked an essential question: “What should we expect of you?” The reason why we asked you this question is because your voice matters. You matter, and your level of engagement is directly related to how you feel about being a New Albany High School Eagle.

Once we explained the directions, we asked you to organize yourselves into smaller groups, spread out, and sit on the gym floor to brainstorm a list of behaviors we should expect of you. The School Counselors and Administrators gathered your lists and we compiled the data, which were put into the following Wordle:
What We Expect of Students (1)

The highlighted behaviors would make any parent or educator proud. You understand how important it is to demonstrate respect towards others, our learning environment, and the community. You also stressed the importance of being on time, prepared, and open-minded. The more we all demonstrate these behaviors on a consistent basis, the better our learning environment will become.

As we near the end of the first semester and kickoff the second half of the year in less than two weeks, let’s refocus on what you said we should expect of you. Following are some specific ways you can do that:

1. Be punctual daily
2. Be prepared by completing your assignments in a quality manner
3. Throw your trash away whether you’re in the cafeteria, hallways, Jefferson Room, Library, or outside.
4. Be where you are supposed to be at all times.
5. Be nice.

You make me proud to be your principal daily and I look forward to what is in store for second semester!

Be Great,

Mr. Carter

Weeks 14 and 15 at New Albany High School!

The Carter Family, Thanksgiving 2015
The Carter Family, Thanksgiving 2015
Thanksgiving is my family’s favorite holiday! We enjoy the combination of the fall colors, cooler weather, and time to reflect on our lives independently and collectively as a family. It’s also a time for us to gather with family to break bread, laugh, listen to stories, and just relax. Let’s continue to focus on gratitude, love, and fellowship as we prepare for midterm exams and winter break.

Staff News
Congratulations to teachers Elliott Lemberg, Darren Falk, Karrie Horton, Jessica Whitehead, and ReginaKiss Me, Kate Poster Morlan and the entire cast and crew of Kiss Me, Kate for stellar performances over the weekend! There were a variety of solo and group performances that showcased our talented students.

Thanks to our Social Committee for hosting another successful OSU-Michigan Tailgate Party in the Jefferson Room on Tuesday, November 24th! The outcome of the game was not what we wanted, but it was nice to gather as a staff to enjoy good food and good company!

Art teacher Juliette Montague recently facilitated two presentations at Morehead State University. Her first presentation was on the importance of concept drawing for product design to group of STEM students. She showed them examples of how Industrial Designers and Architects use perspective drawing for concept ideas. She also gave a brief hands-on perspective drawing lesson to the class. Her second presentation was to the Arts Entrepreneur class in which she made a presentation using her own work and experiences marketing, promoting and selling artwork. She had great experiences interacting with the students both during and after the presentations. It is rewarding to share our expertise others outside our classrooms because it’s another opportunity to serve others.

Students as Learners
Last week in Claire Monk and Jessica Dorman’s physical science classrooms, students explored concepts related to force and motion in an authentic and active manner by maneuvering a bowling ball through an obstacle course. Students were tasked with a mission to complete an obstacle course by applying a force (with a hockey stick or broom) to the bowling ball, and to graphically represent the relative magnitude and direction of the motion of the bowling ball throughout the course. They were assessed based on successful completion of the course and were penalized for applied force infractions and inaccurate representations of vectors on their motion map of the obstacle course. Next week, students will relate this task to Newton’s Laws of Motion and continue to explore balanced and unbalanced forces.

Students in Lorin Love’s Biomedical Science course, while learning about biomolecules, diabetes and the insulin-glucagon cycle, celebrated a with a Plant Strong feast. Accounting for nutrients in plant-strong choices, students compared their meal with the standard American diet. At the conclusion of the feast, students were polled about what they learned. Following is a summary of their thoughts gathered on Polleverywhere!


Rigor/Relevance Framework
Rigor/Relevance Framework
Students in Anne Stidham’s Public Speaking course shared their policy change speeches last week. Students and teachers from other courses were invited to attend, as well as building and district administrators, which created an authentic audience for those delivering speeches. Students were asked to select a school topic of interest, such as ACT Period, House, school lunches, and the bell schedule. They then did research on what similar schools are doing, conducted interviews, summarized their findings, and persuaded administrators to consider their policy change suggestions. This was a great example of Quadrant D (high rigor, high relevance) activity because students selected their topics and had to apply their knowledge to solve an unpredictable situation. Additionally, they had to synthesize their results and present them in a compelling manner. It was a culmination of the skills they’ve learned in this course throughout the semester.

Upcoming Events
Monday, December 7th: Ohio Model United Nations Conference
Wind Ensemble Concert at 7:00 p.m. – McCoy

Tuesday, December 8th: Band Concert at 7:00 p.m. – McCoy

Saturday, December 12th: ACT

Article Worth Reading
11 Tips Successful People Use When Dealing With Problems in Life

Be Great,

Dwight

Week 13 at New Albany High School!

Staff News
Congratulations to Concord Counselor, Brandy Smith, and her husband as they are expecting their first child!

Substitute teacher Shannon Book shared with me the following information to let me know how our students feel about our Math Department:

Dear Teacher“I was subbing for Mrs. Morlan’s AP Calc AB class this morning and as the students were working diligently on a small group assignment, they started an impromptu discussion about how our math department is “stacked” (their actual quote) with talent. I overheard one student say, “Unfortunately, I got an A- that year but I learned so much I can’t complain.” The students named all of the teachers they had up to this point and they had great things to say about each one. Many of these kids plan to become engineers and, although they pointed out many people drop out of engineering programs after the first year, they felt they would be well prepared.

The best part about this conversation was it wasn’t prompted by anyone. It was a very candid and reflective conversation the students had on their own about the quality of education they have received at New Albany. Priceless.”

Students As Learners
Chemistry teacher Mary Cook facilitated a uniqueTeaching Cycle lab for her students a few days ago. It included formative assessment strategies that guided her instruction and required students to not just acquire knowledge, but also apply it to unknown situations. She states,

“College Prep Chemistry students are starting our unit on gas behavior and these lab stations are the first activity where students explore relationships between different variables by taking observations at different stations. After students collect observations, they identify the variables and constants for each station and then develop a particle level explanation and visual diagrams that support their collected evidence. Students then present their explanations at the particle level during white boarding group discussion to come up with the best explanation and visual representation (particle level and graphical). They then apply these explanations to more real world scenarios.”

BettsSpanish teacher Lisa Betts designed a lesson to help students apply the language to real-world scenarios during class last week. Following is a description of the activity:

“My students were given the task of creating a skit with at least a doctor, nurse and patient. The patient had to seek help for at least two ailments; the doctor and nurse had to gather information from the patient about what was going on, what symptoms s/he has, what occurred, what injury they might have, how it happened, etc. An exam had to be given to ascertain a final diagnosis, and then the doctor had to give some sort of course of action to help the person feel better. It was a total riot!”

Art teacher Juliette Montague’s students havegrowth-ahead made significant progress in their drawing ability! She recently shared a few artworks as evidence of student growth for her Student Learning Objective. I applaud the students’ attention to detail and perseverance. Check out this brief video that captures where students started and where they are now!

Veteran's Day Thank You Cards
Intervention Specialist Taylor Pinnick used Veterans Day as an opportunity for her students to send a care package to her boyfriend’s unit in the Army National Guard, who are currently deployed. Students from the Special Education Department at New Albany, from elementary school to high school, as well as SLC F in the 2-5 building, wrote letters and created cards to send to the unit. Students collected over 100 cards to send, as well as some special treats to help with the heat!
Veterans-Day-Pinterest-Pictures
Humanities teachers Sara Hric and Rachel Braswell celebrated Veterans Day by asking students to interview a current soldier or veteran and capture their experience. This assignment corresponds with their reading of Homer’s Iliad and The Odyssey where they are discussing the experience of the soldier/veteran. Students will also participate in a Socratic Seminar to discuss their findings. I observed a few groups of students perform skits about scenes from The Odyssey and a major part of the skit summary was to explain the connection to the soldier as they highlighted Greek values.

2015-16 School Theme
2015-16 School Theme
Fall Sports Wrap Up by Athletic Director Kevin Reed

The New Albany Eagles completed another fantastic fall sports campaign with multiple awards, honors and team accomplishments. Coming off a 6th consecutive Ralph Young all sports award, all eyes were on the Eagles as New Albany athletics has become the envy of central Ohio athletic programs. Of the 11 fall sports New Albany offers, all but 1 finished with a winning record. 15 Eagle athletes were named to the First Team All OCC-Capital teams, 12 were named to the Second Team All OCC-Capital teams, 1 to the Third Team All OCC-Capital, 3 to the Special Mention All OCC-Capital and 11 were named Honorable Mention ALL OCC-Capital.
OCC Capital
The boys golf team wrapped up their 6th consecutive OCC title by completing an undefeated OCC season (28-0). The boys golfers also wrapped up a terrific season by finishing 3rd in the sectional tournament and 6th at the district tournament. Girls tennis head coach Marc Thomas was named OCC-Capital Coach of the Year and Junior singles player Alex Cash was Sectional champion and a state qualifier. Cash was also named to the All State Tennis Team and Player of the Year in the OCC-Capital Conference Senior Amit Greenshtein was named Player of the Year in the OCC-Capital Conference for boys soccer. Four Eagle athletes were named to All District teams:
Alex Cash- girls tennis
Maddy Largent – volleyball
MiCayla Nash – volleyball
Kiana Khorrami – girls soccer

The girls soccer team, under 1st year head coach Kelly Snead, had a great tournament run finishing as District Runner Up with a tough 2-1 loss to Upper Arlington in the district final.
Girls Soccer Team

Senior football player Alex Boffo was named an OCC football scholar athlete. Junior girls tennis player Taylor Selby was a sectional runner-up. Junior Christina Vitellas and Sophomore Makena Romagnano tennis players were sectional runners up in doubles while Junior Jessica Von Zastrow and Freshman Valentina DiLorenzo placed 3rd in the girls sectional doubles tournament.

Aside from the boys golf OCC title, the girls tennis team were OCC runners up. Football, girls soccer and boys cross country finished 3rdin the OCC-Capital. Field Hockey finished 4th in their league. Boys soccer, volleyball and girls cross country finished 5th in the OCC-Capital and the girls golf team finished 6th.

Despite the target on all Eagle athletic teams, New Albany ended the fall season 3rd in the Ralph Young all sports race with 45 points; 12 points behind leader Olentangy and 10 points behind Olentangy Orange. Congratulations to our fall sports coaches and athletes!

Upcoming EventsKiss Me, Kate Poster
Monday, November 16th- #CelebrateMonday; BOE Meeting 6:30 pm Mershad Auditorium
Tuesday, November 17th- #BowTieTuesday
Thursday, November 19th-Kiss Me, Kate 7:00 pm McCoy
Friday, November 20th- Kiss Me, Kate 7:00 pm McCoy
Saturday, November 21st- Kiss Me, Kate 7:00 pm McCoy
Sunday, November 22nd- Kiss Me, Kate 2:30 pm

Video Worth Watching
What Students Really Need to Hear

Be Great,

Dwight

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!
NHS 1

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,

Dwight

Week 5 at New Albany High School!

http://altered-states.net/barry/newsletter185/
http://altered-states.net/barry/newsletter185/
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,

Dwight

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

http://www.sussexvt.k12.de.us/school/images/2015/open-house.jpg
http://www.sussexvt.k12.de.us/school/images/2015/open-house.jpg
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 until they 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,

Dwight

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,

Dwight

The Seven A’s of Successful High Schools

SuccessDefining what it means to have a “successful” high school is quite the challenge, with stakeholders often disagreeing on the approach to take. Some primarily focus on what’s easily quantifiable, such as standardized test schools, national normed tests, attendance data, grade point averages, and discipline data. While these data points are important, they don’t always tell the whole story or clearly define the success of a school.

When I became a high school principal seven years ago, I wanted to take a much broader approach to defining the success of my school and as I begin my first year in a new district and a new school, I am even more confident in what I call the seven A’s of successful high schools. These seven areas provide a framework for high schools to focus on the development of the whole child, which is a concept we cannot overlook in today’s high stress, high demand culture. Following, I’ve outlined each of the seven attributes I consider essential in a successful high school, as well as my rationale for selecting each.

Attendance-Students have to not only be in school, but they have to be on time every period, every day, and be present mentally. Presence matters and is an easily identifiable characteristic of successful schools. Successful schools create an environment where students want to be there and be engaged every day. For example, create multiple ways for a number of students to have their “names in lights”: either read over the announcements, posted in the local newspaper, their pictures on display on digital monitors throughout the building or tweeted out by school officials for demonstrating positive behavior. Find inexpensive and creative ways to establish levels and layers of recognition of progress and achievement. Check out www.jostens.com/renaissance for suggestions and ideas.

Academics– Schools that offer a variety of relevant course offerings not only meet the needs of students, but stretch them to experiment with unfamiliar content, encourage them to learn by doing, and solve local, state, national, and global problems in creative ways. This provides opportunities for teachers to connect with other educators beyond the school walls and model the collaborative learning process. I recommend that a school review its program of studies annually to ensure it’s providing the best opportunities for students. One of the most important things a principal can do is to support the development of new courses that meet the needs of today’s learners. Support teachers who create classes that tap into students’ passions.

Attitude– it’s important that school leaders create a culture that celebrates a positive attitude of students, staff, and parents. One’s attitude is reflected in one’s behavior. One’s attitude, be it negative or positive is contagious. So, creating a culture that eradicates negativity leads to a much more pleasant environment and place where there’s a sense of belonging. For example, at Gahanna Lincoln High School, we established the PRIDE Award, based upon our school motto: Personal Responsibility In Developing Excellence. The PRIDE award allowed staff to give the award to any student who demonstrated the character straits we deemed important. Each month, these students’ names would be scrolled on the morning announcements. Students would go to the lobby to receive a certificate and take a group photo that would be posted on the school’s Facebook and it would also be posted on Twitter. In addition, we invited the students and their parents to a quarterly morning breakfast to be celebrated even more! It was amazing to see so many parents attend a 6:45 AM breakfast with their cameras. I’m certain they went to work and showed off pictures of their “baby!”

Acts of Service– Community service is the norm in successful schools and it doesn’t always have to be large one-time events. Classes or entire grade levels can partner with a number of local organizations, such as the Ronald McDonald House, a local food bank, an animal shelter, the Red Cross, nursery homes, or assist neighbors with home projects. The possibilities are endless as long as there is a plan and desire to help others. This not only creates a sense of belonging for students who have the heart to serve others, but also establishes solid school-community partnerships. For example, students at Gahanna Lincoln would annually have a homeroom competition to provide canned goods to the local food pantry, Gahanna Residents in Need (GRIN). They would collect so much food that they satisfied the needs for many families throughout the winter and spring seasons. This also sparked other organizations to give. Another example is how students at New Albany High School collected coats during the winter months to give to children in need. Simply ask your students what they want to support and why, and help facilitate the action!

I have to share the story of a young woman named, Shayna Fowler, who attends the same church I go to. She just graduated from Pickerington High School Central and she is a difference maker! She has committed herself to a life of service and has helped hundreds of tween and teen girls through a program called, “The Butterfly Project.” She is headed to Kenya this summer to help orphan children. You can learn more about Shayna here.

Athletics-A solid athletic program provides an outlet for many students, creates opportunities for students to connect with each other around a common interest, and the focus they may need to perform academically. In addition, athletics foster positive relationships and increase school pride as the school community rallies around the teams that are in-season, providing weekly opportunities to celebrate students and the school.

The Arts-A robust performing and visual arts programs gives students the opportunity to stretch themselves, fulfill a passion, perform in front of authentic audiences, and immerse themselves into creative outlets. The Arts provide a showcase of the talent that exists within a school and brings the community to the school to see students in action. For example, high schools like Gahanna Lincoln and New Albany have a Fall play and Spring musical each year. Both performances involve a wide range of students, including those who want to perform on stage to those who work behind the scene by being a part of the build or stage crew, working the lighting, or playing music in the pit. Both schools earned an invitation to the Edinburgh International Festival in Scotland for their outstanding theatre productions. Gahanna Lincoln High School, under the leadership of Cindi Macioce, attended the summers of 2005 and 2013. New Albany High School, under the leadership of Elliot Lemberg, will attend this summer.

Activities– Successful schools have a number of clubs and extra-curricular activities, such as a Gamers Club, Table Tennis, Japanese Anime, a Programming Club, Chess Club, or a Writers Club for students who express themselves through poetry and spoken word. It’s important to honor student voice by allowing them to decide which clubs they want to have at school. The only stipulation is that a school employee has to agree to be the club advisor. Use school announcements, social media, and other web 2.0 tools to share meeting times and dates as well as highlights from club meetings.

Focusing on the 7 A’s will lead to an overall successful school by giving every student the opportunity to thrive. The 7 A’s encompass areas that appeal to all stakeholders, finding a nitch for everyone to be a part of building a positive school culture. As a final step as a building principal, I track data and share results with students, staff, parents, and the community to ensure buy-in and continued school success.

Be Great,

Dwight

They Have A Voice

Vintage-Microphone-Wallpaper-music-28520386-1280-1024Students at Gahanna Lincoln High School never cease to amaze me. Last week, we held our second annual performance of, Diaspora: Voices of An Ever-Changing America. It’s a culmination of student talent, from monologues to spoken word and hip hop dancing. The purpose is to highlight the contributions African Americans have made to the culture of America.

Four staff members worked closely with students to organize the entire show: English teacher, Donja Bridges (@donjab); Dean of Curriculum, Tia Holliman (@Ms_Holliman); School Psychologist, Johnel Amerson; and Family Consumer Science teacher, Keah Germany. They collaborated with students to create a shared vision for the program, develop an action plan, and select the performances. They wanted to not only educate the audience, but to entertain. It’s awesome to see what students can do when they have an authentic audience, supportive staff members, constant feedback, and time to practice.

I was thoroughly impressed by all the presentations and asked two students to share their original poems with me so I could include them in this post. They have a voice. They have something to say, and they want to make a difference. The first poem is by senior, Cymone Turner, and it’s entitled, I’m A Beautiful Colored Girl:
I am beautiful
I am amazing
I am good enough

You think I’m being cocky no I’m just giving back the gallons of confidence I deserve being colored. What am I saying? We’ll let me break It down for you.

I look out into the world today
I see different colors races shades
All mixed together in this beautiful concoction we like to call the 21st century
Why is this such a big deal?
Ha well because back in the day my skin wasn’t right. It wasn’t acceptable.
I was nasty
I was disgusting
I was dirty
I was a foul beast
Now do I look like beast to you?
I mean I might bite but it won’t hurt for that long
Ha it wasn’t right to be Not white
Dark as night
Not shining bright
But your little chocolate bite
It was whack to be black
But I’m telling you it’s lame to be ashamed
I can’t help my skin I was born in
I can’t help that I am black
I’m happy to be Black
Matter fact I’m happy to be Cymone.

The second poem is by junior, Adam Davis, and it’s entitled, Real Life:

I’ve been thinking all day there’s a lot on my mind
And see I would rather say
It in the booth because in person I might hurt somebody’s feelings
And I’m not saying names I’m just speaking how I’m feeling
The truth hurts you can die if you lie
So I try not to reply
To those guys with wicked eyes
I can feel it when our hands shake
I’m not for you
If your man folds under pressure he’s not loyal
See he was just trying to make it to his house wearing a hood
But some how he is misunderstood
But July 13th the jury didn’t understand
That George Zimmerman was a grown man
And that Trayvon didn’t need any hands to help with his own plans
The sky’s the limit I am reaching for impossible
If Obama can be the president then anything is possible
And I’m just speaking for myself I know what I can do
But as long as you have God on your side there’s no stopping you
Young kid with a lot of heart
I was blinded by all of America but its ok because I hear them talk
I hear the whispers in the dark
And since they like to act they can play ground no park
When the sun shines that’s when the bees out
When it rains that when the killers and the thieves out
Blacks get treated like rats that’s why the Government throws cheese out
I was taught to rise above or he is out
And its a sad way of living
Some young brothers is dead some of them locked in prison
Some of them have jobs some of them don’t yet
Some of them still ride some of them switched sets
I’m just a diamond in the dirt
Forget all my people cause family comes first
I wish that was true
But that’s a lie too
Because I have a couple of cousins hating on what I do
How do you think that makes me feel?
Stuff real I have a lot of enemies I’m alone in this field
Death disrupts the streets so I’m thinking about my will
I am sitting at this table breaking bread into a meal
My mind is going crazy so I think that’s why I’m numb
And America being perfect is something its far from
I’m never happy cause I’m living in a stressed world
I’m from where people is dying and they stress girls
I wish I could bring Trayvon back
God if you listening run and tell that
And tell America that the justice system is all wrong
But life is like music its an end to all songs.

The audience was moved by Cymone and Adam’s words because they spoke with such confidence and authority. Their passion was evident and their message pierced our hearts. I am proud of the staff members for creating the conditions for not only Cymone and Adam to use their voices, but for all the participants in Diaspora. #glhsfamily

Be Great,

Dwight

GahannaThon: Bigger Than Ourselves. Bigger Than Before!

The students at Gahanna Lincoln High School are givers. They give of their time, their talent, and their treasure. Many of our clubs and extracurricular activities focus on making the lives of others a little easier, which makes our staff and community extremely proud.

Last year, members of Student Council wanted to start a new activity, called GahannaThon, to take the place of our Winter Formal Dance. After they presented their idea to the Administrative Team, we embraced it and watched something magical happen! The students tagged it, “Dancing With a Purpose” and raised a little more than $8,000! To say we were proud of them, is an understatement.

I’ve asked the GLHS Student Council President, Hannah Kesig, to explain what GahannaThon is and why we do it. Hannah is an amazing young lady. She has emerged into an energetic leader of her peers. She was on Student Council’s GahannaThon Committee last year and now has become so passionate about this event!

GahannaThon

GahannaThon is a 6 hour dance marathon that raises money for pediatric cancer. All proceeds go to Nationwide Children’s Hospital’s Oncology and Hematology unit. The money will help pay for new medical equipment for treatment and fun activities hosted by the hospital that allow a kid to feel like a “normal” kid again. As a school, our goal is to raise $15,000 for this wonderful cause.

We do GahannaThon for the kids. GahannaThon celebrates life and our little heroes battling cancer. They are fighting for their lives, and we are here to help. GahannaThon is on February 22, 2014 from 6:00pm-12:00am. It is going to be quite the celebration with many student performances and activities hosted by clubs around the school. Donations can be given online at http://www.helpmakemiracles.org/event/gahannathon2014/ or by cash/check in the GLHS concession stand about two weeks before the event. GahannaThon is a great way to give back to the community!

Gahanna Lincoln students will unite as one for all the kids who have fought cancer, will fight cancer, or are currently battling cancer. When sharing the good news of GahannaThon, we will be using the hashtags #glhsftk and #GahannaThon2014 on social media. One day we will dance for joy, until then we dance for life!

We dance for the kids. Why do you dance?

Be Great,

Dwight