5 Cs of School Culture

It’s hard to argue that the culture of our country impacts that culture of our schools. As we quickly approach a new school year, leaders must be intentional at creating the conditions to have a positive school culture; a culture that is inviting, energetic, engaging, and empowering:

Inviting– all are welcome, and all means all; all-inclusive.
Energetic– full of positive emotions and actions that are contagious.
Engaging– encourages conversation, critical thinking, involvement, and activity.
Empowering– all have a voice, choice, and the freedom to be authentic.

http://inservice.ascd.org/four-ways-to-create-a-positive-school-culture/

To create such a school culture takes some intentionality by every adult in the schoolhouse, starting with building leadership. Following are what I call the 5 Cs of School Culture that I derived from the work of Jostens Renaissance (@J_Renaissance), Dr. Brene Brown, Focus 3 (@Focus3_Team), and Leadership Coach Jack Slavinski (@JackSlav). When each component is incorporated into the mission, vision, beliefs, and behaviors of adults and students, the impact on school culture will be dynamic!
https://www.flickr.com/photos/65359853@N00/10659804656

Courage– “To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.” -Dr. Brene Brown
Compassion– “To suffer with.” -Dr. Brene Brown
Connection– “The energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgement; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.” -Dr. Brene Brown

This connection can begin the moment students take their first step into school. In fact, “when teachers started class by welcoming students at the door, academic engagement increased by 20 percentage points, and disruptive behavior decreased by 9 percentage points (Edutopia, 2018).

Character– “Ethical trust; being a person of your word, following through on your commitment and intentions, and being responsive to others.” -Jack Slavinski
Competence– “Technical trust, which is established by the experience we create for others in our care. It’s built by solving problems with and for others.” -Jack Slavinski

To navigate and balance the 5 Cs, we have to imagine the type of learning environment we want to create and implement processes to make it happen. While it’s true we have to have a compelling vision and effectively communicate it, we must also consistently model the behaviors we want to see. This is the challenge. Here are some ways to shape the 5 Cs:

Courage– Spend a few minutes each day talking with your staff or students about life; share stories of trials and triumphs; be honest about you feel about your school successes and shortcomings.
Compassion– Begin each staff meeting with a centering activity that gives people time to reflect on their week, their day, or their year and to share a meaningful experience. Then use a process called “Around the Room and Back Again” to create multiple opportunities for dialogue.
Connection– In addition to what is stated above, greet students and staff by using a process called “Four at the Door,” which was created by Tom Cody (@TjdsbTom)
Name to Name- Learn and use your students and staff names when talking with
them.
Eye to Eye- Look students in the eye.
Hand to Hand- Offer a handshake, high five, hug, or fist pump (or whatever
physical touch is appropriate and comfortable).
Heart to Heart- Say something that connects to others hearts, such as
compliment them, ask about an activity they were a part of, or ask about their
family. The possibilities are endless!

Character– Under promise and over-deliver. When asked a question and you don’t have the answer, research it to find the answer and get back to the person who asked you. It makes a huge difference and builds credibility!
Competence– Learn something every day by listening to a podcast, reading, journaling, and sharing what you learn with others. I choose to listen to a podcast every day when doing daily chores, and I make it a goal to read something related to my work or leadership daily. Also, make a note of what problems have been solved so you can update staff and students, and celebrate success! This can be shared in a weekly staff newsletter, blog post, or leader update.

The key is just to be human. Be real. Be present. Care. Creating a positive school culture is simple, but not easy. Take care of yourself and take care of the people whom you serve, and the learning environment will be what you envision it to be!

Be Great,

Dwight

Three Ways Administrators Can Support Staff Learning

When I began teaching in the mid-90s, professional development was something I

https://www.edx.org/course/applied-deep-learning-capstone-project
expected should come from my district, and it did. I worked with some outstanding building and district administrators who planned evidence-based and relevant professional learning opportunities for us. I can’t say with certainty that I took advantage of every opportunity offered, but I got my fair share.

When I was trained as a Critical Friends Group facilitator in 1998, I had a shift in thinking: I started to take ownership of my professional growth. I recognized that not all teachers I worked with were given the same opportunities as I. was asked to facilitate meetings, lead a session during an in-service day, or participate on a building level committee. I was able to take input from my CFG and create meeting agendas based on our needs rather than some prescribed, one-size fits all, professional development. I appreciated the autonomy my group was given to engage in learning that was relevant to us.

Five years into my principalship, I had another shift in thinking as I became a connected educator. I expanded my PLN to include others outside my district, I started blogging, I participated in and facilitated Twitter chats and book studies on Voxer, I listened to webinars, and I asked more reflective questions. I shared what I learned with my staff in a variety of different ways.

I strived to create a professional learning culture and adopted three strategies to support staff learning that I gleaned from some outstanding principals like Cheri Dunlap and Mark White (@MarkWhite55):

1. Empower teachers to attend and present at local, state, and national conferences. When I observed an innovative idea or outstanding teaching and learning, I invited the teachers to share their experience with others at a local, state, or national conference. I encouraged them to submit a proposal because I was proud of their work and wanted to reward them with a trip to a conference where they could share their expertise and connect with other like-minded professionals.

2. Identify those who are modeling best/next practices and create space for them to share with the staff. What better way to build capacity around instructional practices than to create the conditions for staff to hear from their peers? Use a process to allow for reflection, feedback, and for discussions about next steps.

3. Identify and pay relevant speakers to help ignite or support professional learning. Sometimes it’s a good thing for teachers to hear another voice; another expert in the field who has successfully modeled or thoroughly researched different ways to accomplish a task. Making this investment shows your level of commitment, support for your staff, and reinforces expectations.

As you bring this school year to a close, start thinking about how you will support learning in the fall. Consider trying one of the strategies mentioned above and be sure to explain to your staff what you hope to accomplish. I guarantee you’ll have a great deal of support!

Be Great,

Dwight

The Worst Mistake I Made As Principal

Being a school principal is equally challenging and rewarding. It’s challenging because of the number of leadership and management decisions that must be made daily, shifting expectations and demands, and the relentless amount of information that is taken in and requested at such a rapid pace. These are just signs of hyper-change and the new normal.

The principalship is rewarding because of the countless opportunities to impact the lives of so many people on a daily, monthly, and annual basis. I’ve been reminded of this quite a bit the last couple of months in the form of seeing former students who share a memorable story or a kind word I may have spoken to them in passing. Or, from invitations to their graduation parties and other life moments such as weddings (Yes, I am at the stage in my life where I attend weddings of former students).

When I was a principal, I immersed myself in the work. I looked forward to attending sporting events, concerts, plays, awards ceremonies, and the like. However, when I became a father, I struggled internally with wanting to be at the multiple school events and being home with my daughter. I never really found the proper balance… What an ugly feeling.

I enjoyed preparing for parent and community events, staff meetings, and professional learning opportunities. I enjoyed discussing the work with my administrative team during our weekly team meetings, or during informal conversations throughout the day (and night). I especially enjoyed visiting classrooms and still regret not creating opportunities to get into classrooms more. It’s a demanding job and one that requires a great deal of emotional, mental, and physical stamina.

Being a principal is also a public position, and in today’s world of total transparency and desire for immediate information, nearly every decision is scrutinized, discussed, debated, and analyzed.

Professionally, my wife is also somewhat of a public figure. Over the years, she’s had several clients and coworkers who had children in the schools where I was the principal. Often times, she would be approached by a client or a coworker and asked about something that may have occurred at school or why I made a particular decision. I was always aware of this possibility and didn’t want to put her in a tough position where she had to respond to such questions. To protect her from such scrutiny, I decided that I would not talk to her about most things that happened at school. I’d either talk to a principal friend in another state, talk to my team about it, or simply not talk about it at all. My philosophy was ignorance is bliss.

For the most part, this strategy seemed to work. However, after being away from the principalship for a year and learning more about myself, I realize that the worst mistake I made as a principal is that I DIDN’T share my work with her; the good, the bad, the beautiful, or the ugly. I simply just didn’t talk about it, and I thought I was doing it to guard her against others who clambered for “insider” information, but it prevented us from connecting about an essential part of my life: my role as a principal. Since then, I’ve learned three key lessons about the importance of talking about the principalship with your spouse or significant other:

1. It creates opportunities connection. Studies show that, on average, we spend about a third of our lives at work. That’s A LOT of time creating shared experiences, celebrations, going through trials and disappointments, and making an impact. This world should be shared with your spouse or significant other.

2. It creates opportunities for compassion. The feeling of walking through a situation with someone creates closeness, understanding, and empathy.

3. It improves communication. The opportunity to share a significant part of your life without judgement, ridicule, and complaint can be comforting and is much needed. It reminds me of the video, It’s Not About the Nail. While funny, there is so much truth in the message.

I encourage you to share your work with your spouse or significant other. Be transparent about the exciting ideas or projects you’re working on, challenges you may be facing, or opportunities for growth that are on the horizon. You’ll be a better leader and spouse because of it. You need that, and they need it as well.

Feel free to share your thoughts, ideas, suggestions, and celebrations in the comment section. Thanks!

Be Great,

Dwight

Parting Words of Wisdom to New Albany and the Class of 2018

Mr. Sawyers, the Board of Education, parents, staff, and faculty, THANK YOU for embracing my vision to create a school where every student has a sense of belonging, a belief in their abilities, and a desire to grow. Thank you for standing by us as we navigated the waves of change and overcame unforeseen obstacles. Thank you for welcoming and embracing me into this school community!

Graduates, THANK YOU for allowing me to play a small role in the most important years of your lives thus far. Thank you for your perseverance, for using your voice to promote change, and your determination to take advantage of everything New Albany High School has to offer. You will forever be a part of my life!

I have asked a great deal of you the last four years and I cannot let you go without making one more request.

For the next two minutes, pretend you are sitting in your first period class and the 8:00 am bell rings to signal the start of the school day. Imagine hearing the “chime” of the public announcement system and your ears perk up as you await the all-too-familiar greeting you heard for nearly 725 days:

Good morning, New Albany High School Class of 2018. This is Mr. Carter with a few parting Words of Wisdom.

As you embark on a new chapter in life, ask yourself the following questions:
Am I giving or taking?
Sustaining or draining?
Contributing or withholding?
Connecting or conniving?
Uniting or dividing?
Whatever you decide, it’s up to you!
– Jon Gordon

With so much information coming at you each day, “take time to put silence between your conversations. You may even start remembering what you said and discovering what you can learn from others. “ -Melody Beattie

“When things aren’t adding up in your life, start subtracting.” -Anonymous

If you want to change your life, change your daily habits.

“Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time.” So, don’t wish away what is NOW by focusing so much on what’s NEXT. -John Rohn

“You’re less of who you could be when you’re trying to be someone you’re not. Therefore, get to know, accept, and embrace the real you.” -Melody Beattie

In your pursuit of happiness, “be happy not because everything is good, but because you can see the good side of everything.” -David Roads

“Allow yourself to be a beginner. No one starts off being excellent.”
-Simple and Inspired

In a society that is so contentious, remember that “It’s impossible to argue when one person refuses to fight and instead responds only with peace. Be the person that responds with peace.” -Melody Beattie

“Be the person who smiles politely when people look at you. Be the person that says the positive thing when everyone else is complaining. Be the person that gives advice from the heart. Be the person that tips generously. Be that person.” -Anonymous

“Life and the people sent to us– the people we love– are gifts. Love people for who they are. Let yourself be you. Feel whatever you feel. Do the work for the sake of work instead of for the results you hope to get.” -Melody Beattie

“A good boundary to establish for yourself is to talk about a person the same way you talk to a person.” -Melody Beattie

“Let your words be like wind chimes. Communication is more than what we say; it’s how we say it and how we sound.” -Melody Beattie

Be careful with technology. What is supposed to liberate us can actually enslave us. Every aspect of your life doesn’t have to be shared on Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, SnapChat or any other form of social media. Please Pause Before You Post.

“As long as you are fighting for what is right instead of who is right, you can never lose!” – Rory Vaden

“Enthusiasm is free and it is contagious-but so is negativity! Choose wisely!” -Amber Teamann

At times our emotions run high. Never make a permanent decision based on temporary feelings.

“Don’t worry about what people say behind your back. They are the people who are finding faults in your life instead of fixing their own.” -Anonymous

Finally, in the words of AP Psychology and Humanities teacher Mr. Daryl Sycher, “Be brave, be bold, and care for each other.”

With something to think about, this is Mr. Carter. Make it a great life… or not. The choice is yours. Thank you!

Be Great,

Dwight Carter, Principal
New Albany High School

“Why am I smart?”

The last couple of weeks, I’ve been invited to talk with our freshman Humanities classes about perspective. They are reading The Other Wes Moore for their unit on perspective and as part of the experience, the teachers invite several guest speakers to spend some time with their students.

I’ve enjoyed my conversations with our bright-eyed and eager scholars because it’s given me a chance to reflect on my life, the experiences that have shaped my perspective, and examine why I am where I am today. After sharing my perspective with two classes, which included stories about my childhood and people who have impacted my life, I thought about my mom. I sent her the following text message, “Why am I smart?”

After about 10 minutes, she responded, “Because you work hard.” I appreciate her answer, but she was wrong…

I replied, “No. I am smart because you told me I was smart. I work hard because you showed me how to work hard. I am successful because you believed I would be successful.”

My life, which includes my perspective and success, is a self-fulfilled prophecy that began when I was but a small child. My mom’s words shaped my thinking and my perspective on life. For that, I am forever grateful. Thank you, Charmel M Carter!

Be Great,

Dwight

Parting Words of Wisdom to the NAHS Class of 2016

Dwight Carter TEDxNewAlbanySeniors, for nearly every school day the last two years, we began with the daily Words of Wisdom. It’s been a pleasure to serve as your principal these last two years and to show my appreciation, I cannot let you go before you hear this all too familiar phrase one last time:

Good morning, New Albany High School Class of 2016. This is Mr. Carter with a few parting words of wisdom.

• Don’t worry so much about what could happen, who likes you or not, and what you have to do. Focus on being present in the moment.

• It is impossible to be envious and happy at the same time.

One of the greatest lessons in life is learning to be happy without the things we cannot or should not have.

• Remember the three H’s each time you greet others: a handshake, high five, or a hug.

• Instead of making a “to-do” list, make a “to-be” list and then become it.

• Make every effort to not talk about others behind their backs.

• Remember to think on your feet, respond and not react, and perform under pressure.

• Experience life beyond the screen of your phone, laptop, or computer.

Understand that life is not fair.

• Present yourself in appearance, word, and deed how you want others to treat you.

A person makes a name, not the name a person.

• Consistency is far greater than perfection.

• You really don’t have to post, tag, tweet, snap chat, record, ping, or Kik every aspect of your life. Make time to disconnect in order to reconnect.

With something to think about, this is Mr. Carter. Make it a great life… or not. The choice is yours.

Be Great,

Dwight

*Italicized statements taken from 8,789 Words of Wisdom by Barbara Ann Kipfer, Matthew Wawiorka

Student Guest Blog Post: Steven Kish, Executive Director of TEDxNewAlbany

Steven KishMy name is Steven Kish and I am a junior at New Albany High School. On April 2, an exceptional team of students that I am lucky to be surrounded by hosted New Albany’s third annual TEDx event, which has evolved from TEDxYouth@NAHS to–this year–TEDxNewAlbany. We made the jump to TEDxNewAlbany this past year in order to move our focus away from a school-only focused event to a true community event, still completely organized by NAHS students. Read on to find out more about TEDxNewAlbany 2016 as well as the speakers and the team that brings it all together.

TED, TEDx, TEDxNewAlbany, and the Difference

TED is a global organization which stands for Technology, Entertainment, and Design. There are 2-3 TED Conferences per year, one of which is always in Vancouver, and TED is the parent organization of TEDx events around the world.

TEDx events are community based, locally organized events that feature speakers on a range of topics. Talks are not quite speeches nor are they presentations, so to speak, but they are passionate, intimate, talks where speakers have up to 18 minutes to share their ideas.

TEDxNewAlbany is New Albany’s own TEDx event!
TEDxNewAlbany

Our Speakers

On April 2, TEDxNewAlbany featured 13 speakers–each talk was astoundingly thought-provoking, and they will all be available on YouTube soon. If you want to watch one, simply search “TEDxNewAlbany” in YouTube and a TEDx Talks playlist will appear. Three NAHS students, Claire Klodell, Izzy Vendetti, and Aaron Westbrook, as well as two staff members, David Mitchell and Dwight Carter gave talks! Here’s the full list of speakers and topics:

Juan Alvarez – This Life Purpose Thing
Danny Barren – Think For Yourself
Doug Brennan – What’s Your “For Good?”
Dwight Carter – I Quit
Jodi Collins – Living In The Field
Brad Griffith – How Open-Source Software Can Shape Our Lives
Claire Klodell – Dear My Teenage Self
Jim Mahoney – Learning Without Limits
David Mitchell – The Bigger Picture In Our Kids’ Activities
Kerri Mollard – Ah, You Are So Rich
Izzy Vendetti – Owning Your Perspective
Aaron Westbrook – Change: It’s Not Out Of Your Hands
Shaun Young – Hidden Secrets Of The Uninsured

Our Team

Our organizing team is completely made up of NAHS students and is split into three different committees.

Our speakers committee (Kate Golian, Lauren Horton, Olivia Koller, Ila Lahooti, Miles Waytes, and Olivia Wootton), led by seniors and Co-Directors of Speakers Jessie Bernard and Sam Malik, trains new speaker coaches, and selects and trains all speakers up through event day. Each speaker receives personal, professional training on their talk from a student speaker coach, and it is truly amazing to see the talks that come out of this hard work each year–TEDxNewAlbany 2016 was no exception.
TEDxNewAlbany Group Shot

Our marketing committee (Linder Bozeman, Noah Bressler, Kennedi McDonald, and Jessica von Zastrow), led by junior and Director of Marketing Redd Ingram, is responsible for filling the McCoy Center on event day by using social media, interviews, magazine advertisements, our website, promotional videos, and much more to sell tickets.

Our logistics committee (Ellee Edman, Sujan Kakumanu, Sammi Kappes, and Akshar Patel), led by junior and Director of Logistics Prapti Dalal, organizes performers, coordinates vendors, and does–well–everything else! The logistics committee is home to our most detail-oriented student-organizers, and is vital to making sure that everything runs smoothly at TEDxNewAlbany.

While they aren’t technically part of a committee, I would be remiss not to recognize our Treasurer, Alexis Rudy, and our Ticketing Manager, Zach Furterer.

Thank you,

Steven Kish
Executive Director, TEDxNewAlbany

Learning Is Irregular

http://iteach-and-ilearn.blogspot.com/2013/03/school-and-life.html
http://iteach-and-ilearn.blogspot.com/2013/03/school-and-life.html
Outside of school, most people apply learning across disciplines, scenarios, and experiences. For a majority of our lives as students, we are taught in a system that creates blocks of time for learning specific content, much like the factory model of production. However, learning should be life and there is nothing linear about life.

Life is irregular—thus, learning is irregular.

We are in the midst of one of the most disruptive, yet exciting times in history: The Information Age. The rate of change has increased exponentially due to the rapid creation of new content that is produced as technology and life have become seamless. The rate of change continues to have an impact on our education system because students today, or Generation Z, have only known life with touch screen technology. Vast amounts of information is readily available to them with the touch of a button or finger swipe across a screen. They are also creating more content than any generation in history, thus they learn in some fundamentally different ways than we are used to.

The linear, factory system of education is counter to the messy, irregular, and creative learning process that our students have grown accustomed to outside of school. Following are three key points to consider as we are challenged to meet the needs of Generation Z.

1. Asynchronous technology makes learning a constant activity. With the emergence of online learning platforms and social networking, students are able to connect, communicate, and collaborate with their teachers and peers to extend learning beyond the walls of the schoolhouse and school day. Time, space, and location are now variables in the learning process whereas they used to be constants. Author Daniel Pink wrote in the Foreword to the book, The New Social Learning,
Slide43

The use of technology greatly enhances students’ power to learn on their own time, in their own space, and in much deeper ways than ever before. So, let’s embrace it!

2. We must change how we deliver content due to shorter attention spans. We have quickly become a “sound-bite” society in that we are used to chunks of information shared in a compelling manner. MultimediaGen Z takes in thousands of digital images and messages a day, so to make learning more relevant to them, we must not only incorporate all forms of multimedia, but empower students to create and integrate multimedia to demonstrate their learning. If we adopt the use of technology in the classroom, this is a natural byproduct.

3. Focus on global skills development through the content we teach. It is often said that Gen Z will change careers 10-14 times before they retire. If this is true, it is impossible to teach them all the content they will need to be prepared for life. Global SkillsWe must consider ways to develop the four key global skills of communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking through our specific content areas. Another approach would be to create interdisciplinary courses that provide students the opportunity to apply content in meaningful ways. We should also integrate technology to help students determine what local, regional, national, and global problems they want to solve. This will, without a doubt, create the conditions for students to develop the necessary skills that transcend careers and jobs.

As we grapple with how to catch up to the changing times that occur in every industry outside of our own, we must consider the messy, irregular, and nonlinear learning process and embrace strategies that empower students to demonstrate their learning in meaningful ways.

Be Great,

Dwight


Ideas from What’s in Your Space? 5 Steps for Better Schools and Classrooms by Dwight Carter, Gary Sebach, and Mark White, to be published by Corwin Press in March 2016; available at Amazon

Week 27 at New Albany High School!

Our seniors experienced an important moment on Wednesday, March 9th: they received their graduation caps and gowns. This may be not be a significant event for some, but for many, the reality of graduating from high school, which will mark the commencement of the next chapters in their lives, set in this day. They may not admit it, but there was an excited buzz in the gym as the Senior Team addressed the students and distributed the cherished garments.

Our parents of seniors provided a hardy brunch, which included pancakes, biscuits and gravy, fruit, juice, and milk, for which all were grateful. Once they finished eating there was time to go to the courtyard and enjoy the spring-like weather and the sunshine, throw a Frisbee, or just talk with their friends. It was a special day that could not have happened without the collaborative efforts of our parents, Senior Team, Secretary Beth Johnston, and our Jostens representative Mike Dillon. Our seniors are certainly fortunate to have such a supportive and thoughtful group of well wishers as they prepare for graduation and begin their last nine weeks in the New Albany schools.

Staff News
Please keep College Counselor Stefanie Drugan and her family in your prayers as her father was recently diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Please keep Spanish teacher Lisa Betts in your prayers as she and her family mourn the loss of her uncle.

Congratulations to Math teacher Clayton Rainsberg and Intervention Specialist Mike Covey for competing in the Pi Day 5K Race in Westerville on Saturday! Mr. Rainsberg set a personal record of 22:24, which is a minute faster than his time last year, and he placed second in his age bracket. Mr. Covey shaved two minutes off his time from a year ago.

Thanks to everyone who organized and proctored the Ohio Graduation Tests. It was a time consuming endeavor, but such an important process to help some of students move a step closer to graduation.

I really appreciate those of you who continue to provide passes for students during House and ACT Period. Several people have stepped up to monitor the halls during ACT to praise our students to being responsible and respectful as they transition to the various zones or classrooms.

Students As Learners
Board President Laura Kohler took a tour of our school last Thursday and she was so impressed by the high level academic discussions, student presentations, and engaged learning she experienced in a number of the classrooms. She commented on the cleanliness of the building, the quiet hallways, and the overall focus on learning. We often forget how blessed we are until we hear it from others who are not in our school every day like we are. We will continue to strive to create the conditions for teachers to teach, students to learn, and for others to serve. Thank you for constantly putting students first!

We continuously seek opportunities for students to connect with others locally, nationally, and globally as a way to fulfill our mission and expose our students to different perspectives. From global service and exploration trips to local service learning projects, we create the conditions for students to broaden their perspective and develop global skills.

On Tuesday, March 8th, some of our students in Freshman Humanities and KAP American Humanities had the opportunity to listen to a presentation by Megan Boudreaux, the founder of Respire Haiti. She shared her dedication to educating children who are domestic slaves in Haiti. In a few short years, Megan and her organization have made a real difference in the lives of hundreds of childre. Megan is a dedicated, inspirational leader and a driving force in helping these children.

Senior Payton Carter heard Mrs. Boudreax’s presentation and recently started an organization to help raise awareness in the community about the conditions of children in Haiti. New Albany Helping Haiti will be collecting new and gently used children’s clothes and accessories from those in our community. Anyone interested in donating to this worthy cause may contact New Albany Helping Haiti at nahelpinghaiti@gmail.com. Please help to spread the word via social media by liking them on Facebook at New Albany Helping Haiti and follow them on Instagram at @nahelpinghaiti.

Upcoming Events
Monday, March 14th- BOE Work Session and Superintendent Interview at 6:30 p.m. at the Mershad
Tuesday, March 15th- Junior Senior Seminar Summer Institute Proposals due
Thursday, March 17th- ACT Boot Camp; Last Day of Third Grading Period
Friday, March 18th- Spring Break: No School
Monday, March 28th- School Resumes; First Day of Fourth Grading Period

Articles Worth Reading
Personalized Learning: Why Your Classroom Should Look Like a Coffee Shop
The author of this article shares specific examples of teachers who have transitioned to the personalized learning approach, which is a form of differentiation. The author also highlights the focus on student learning by listing several key questions asked of teachers and students.

Is it Time to Reconsider AP Classes?
The author of this article raises the question that many are starting to ask as more high stakes testing is introduced in schools and how difficult it is for students to manage the emotional and mental stress the comes with the college admissions process. The author challenges the conventional wisdom of rigor in schools with examples of high achieving schools that have replaced AP courses with their own interdisciplinary courses that focus on global skill development.

Enjoy your spring break with your family and friends!

Be Great,

Dwight

Week 23 at New Albany High School!

parent-teacher-conference.previewWe held winter Parent/Teacher Conferences last week and I received a number of positive comments from teachers and parents about the quality of the conversations. The conversations were centered on strategies and enrichments to maintain or enhance student performance. The timing of conferences was perfect for our school counselors because we are in the beginning stages of course selections, so parents who had questions were able to schedule individual time to meet with them. This should make the scheduling process even smoother.

Students gained access to online scheduling Monday, February 15th. I want to thank Steve Gehlert, Jennifer Grand-Pierre, Beth Johnston, Shelly Santantonio, Lisa Stiles, our School Counselors, and Department Chairs for their hard work on this all-important process.

Staff News
Congratulations to College Counselor Stefanie Drugan and her husband who are expecting their first child!

Congratulations to Alspach for winning the Pennies for Patients Drive! Pleasant Hill and Wagner came in very close for second and third places. Congratulations to all houses.

The school yearbook is one of the best ways to preserve memories and purchase a piece of history. With the use of social media and otheron sale now Web 2.0 tools, students are able to upload images that they would like to include in the yearbook so that it is much more of a collaborative process. The school yearbook is still a major artifact of the high school experience and one that is cherished years after graduation. English teacher and Yearbook Advisor Thom Cross has worked closely with students to increase advertisements, market The Eagle yearbook in more creative ways, and provide a way for students to remember their New Albany years.

There is still time to buy a NAHS 2016 yearbook! The last day to submit an order with a personalized cover is April 30th, 2016, and the last day to purchase a yearbook is July 30th. Please visit www.yearbookforever.com and address all questions to Yearbook Advisor and English teacher Thom Cross at cross.1@napls.us.

Students As Learners
handshakeAs part of her Physics class, Science teacher Jessica Whitehead is facilitating mini “How to Adult” chats. So far, they have discussed mortgage payments and the basics about home buying. They have also discussed business-casual verses business professional clothing and interview questions from top companies. Finally, she focused on the importance of a firm handshake. To do so, she invited members of the administrative team to greet her students outside her door to shake hands with them as they entered the room. This is a simple, yet creative way to embed “soft skills” into the curriculum.

I learned this week that several teachers provide opportunities for students to retake tests to ensure they can demonstrate what they haveRedo learned. This is a challenging concept for many to embrace because it goes against the traditional culture of school and deadlines. However, I support this approach to assessment because it makes learning the constant and time a variable. Additionally, it gives teachers an opportunity to discover what needs to be retaught based on the data gathered from assessments. With office hours, Academic Coaching Time (ACT period), study centers, and online learning platforms like Schoology or Google Classroom, there are many opportunities to reteach content in a variety ways before students retake takes or quizzes.

Something for us to consider is should students receive half or full credit for making test corrections or retaking a test? If a student does not show up for re-teaching opportunities, should they be given the chance to retake a test or make test corrections? These are simply points to consider and certainly are not something that will become an overall school policy. Considering how we use information gathered from testing to influence future instruction involves contemplating how we will vary approach. This is one consideration. It would be an interesting discussion to know how various teachers approach this and share ideas on this topic.

Teen ViolenceSeniors Ruthie Lewis and Miranda Derflinger facilitated a Teen Dating Violence Prevention presentation for our freshmen during ACT last Wednesday and Thursday. Ruthie organized this event last year and enhanced it even more this year by including a self defense presentation by Miranda and inviting Gahanna Lincoln High School senior Kaylah Casuccio to share her story. It was an engaging and relevant presentation for our students.

A couple of weeks ago, I was approached by a few students with large cameras hanging around their necks and iPhones in their hands. Theyinstagram-logo proposed an idea to create an Instagram account called, Humans of New Albany (@HumansofNewAlbany). They were inspired by the Humans of New York (@Humansofny) Instagram account, which shares peoples’ stories in a visually, compelling way. They explained that they want to bring to light the fascinating stories of students and staff in our school community. They want to celebrate our unique differences and commonalities that unite us as human beings. So far, their work is impressive! If you have an Instagram account, I encourage you to follow them to learn more about the humans of New Albany. I appreciate their initiative, empathy, and desire to tell story visually.

Athletic Update
Congratulations to our Boys Basketball team for winning OCC Capital Division title! Congratulations also to a host of NAHS Swimmers and Divers for qualifying to the district championships after a successful sectional performance on Saturday!

200 Medley Relay
Grace, Kelly, Emili and Lauren S.
Brennan, Jack G., Steven and Victor

200 free
Blake, Abbie, Carson, Pearson

200 IM
Lauren L, Grace, Kelly, Jessica V.

50 Free
Jessica Z., Lauren S., Emili, Olivia, Harrison, Gage

Diving
Nikki, Georgina

100 Fly
Emili, Sydney, Jessica V, Midori, Carson

100 Free
Jessica Z, Blake, Olivia, Lauren S., Pearson, Harrison

500 Free
Abbie, Jane

200 Free Relay
Blake, Jessica, Lauren S and Olivia
Harrison, Pearson, Gage and Carson

100 Back
Grace, Sydney, Isabel

100 Breast
Kelly, Lauren L, Victor, Jack G.

400 Free Relay
Blake, Jessica Z, Abbie and Olivia
Pearson, Harrison, Gage and Carson

Upcoming Events
Wednesday, February 17th- Department Meetings 7:15-7:50 a.m.
Thursday, February 18th- Department Meetings 7:15-7:50 a.m.
Saturday, February 20th- Winter Formal 8:00-11:00 p.m. in the Gym

Articles Worth Reading
Stop Humiliating Teachers– The rhetoric around public education the last ten years has been toxic. The author of this article provides an historical account of what has led to the negative perception of teachers and identifies the root cause of the problem. The article is also inclusive of solutions to overcome it.

3 Huge Industries Facing Death Because They Won’t Embrace Radical Ideas– In the Information Age, change comes often and rapidly. Like Blockbuster, industries that refuse to adapt to new ways of accessing content and embrace change are less fluid. Therefore, they are in danger of no longer existing. What are the implications, if any, for education?

Video Worth Watching
I encourage you to watch the following spoken word video by artist Shane Koyczan. He tells a dynamic story about his school experience and that of others who may feel the same way. More importantly, he presents a way to eliminate the conditions that lead to students feeling as if they simply do not belong: empathy.

Be Great,

Dwight