Week 19 at New Albany High School!

Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy lives through us all. He led during a time of great turmoil in our country and there were significant cultural, legal, and regional barriers that prevented unity from existing in our country. As we work to overcome some challenging times in our country, let’s remember the words and actions of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


Staff News
I was out of the building quite a bit last week, yet Assistant Principal Steve Gehlert and Kip Greenhill did an excellent job taking the lead. Mr. Gehlert worked with several teachers to find other classrooms to conduct class when faced with a water leak, they both met with a group of students to work through a conflict, and Mr. Gehlert attended an important meeting about the Global Scholars Program. I want to publicly thank them for their leadership!

http://highlanderdistrict.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/online-real-estate-classes.jpg
http://highlanderdistrict.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/online-real-estate-classes.jpg
English teacher Ann Trotter, Physics teacher Greg Morris, and AP US Government teacher Kirk Hilbrands hosted several administrators from Worthington City School District to share their experiences with blended learning. Each presented a different delivery model for their blended learning classes, which is a unique component of differentiating how they meet the needs of students. The Worthington cohort was impressed by the variety of approaches, the focus on student learning, and what they heard from students as they shared they enjoy most about having a blended class. This form of differentiation is by no means an easy process, yet the collaborative support provided during the training has proven to be invaluable. It’s a reminder that to work in isolation is merely a choice and working together in a Professional Learning Network leads to significant learning for teachers and students.

Students As Learners
Science Olympiad Advisor Sudha Ganesan provided an update on the resent success of our Science Olympiad Team after they competed at the Kenston Science Olympiad Invitation on Saturday, January 16, 2016. She states:

“Our two high school teams were off to a great start at the Kenston Science Olympiad Invitational. I am2016 KENSTON TROPHY proud to share that our students’ hard work helped them win medals and ribbons in eight events and brought home the over-all Eighth Place Trophy! Our teams placed 11th and 37th out of 48 schools, including the top eight schools from Ohio and the top schools from Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Virginia. This is an amazing start considering we played with only 14 members on our Varsity team and 10 members on the Junior Varsity team. Even as we walked out of the Kenston High School building our students were already talking about what they needed to do to make sure they come home with a team trophy at the next invitational, too.”

Congratulations to the following Science Olympiad team members:

Medal Round:
· First place gold: Wind Power – Aditya Mistry and Bhagee Ganesan
· Ribbon (4th – 8th) Round:
· Fourth place: Anatomy and Physiology – Bhagee Ganesan and Shankar Pattabhiraman
· Fifth place: Protein Modeling – Aditya Mistry, Nikhil Pramod and Shankar Pattabhiraman
· Sixth place: Bridge Building – Parker Lehmann and Jonah Callinan
· Seventh place: Wright Stuff – Gunnar Wielinski and David Tan
· Eighth place: Cell Biology – Bhagee Ganesan and Nikhil Malakalapalli
Forensics – Shota Nemoto and Olivia Samson
Air Trajectory – Gunnar Wielinski and Nikhil Malakalapalli

Rigor/Relevance Framework
Rigor/Relevance Framework
Students in our Theatre Program participated in 24 Hour Theatre over the weekend! Theatre Teacher Elliott Lemberg gave participants three themes in which they had 24 hours to prepare a performance. The themes were: appearance verses reality, change, and order and disorder. Students selected their teams and applied everything they’ve learned first semester to create a number of skits that they performed in front of a live audience. This is such a unique learning opportunity and it exemplifies our students ability to think critically and creatively, communicate effectively, and collaborate to solve problems!

Athletic Update
Our Girl’s Varsity Basketball Team is coming off 2 big wins last week. First,Girls Varsity BB they avenged an earlier loss to a 10-2 Mount Vernon team. Second, they upset a 12-1 Watterson team. Currently, their record is 9-5. The team is led by seniors Meche’la Cobb, Caitlin Coss & Liza Hernandez. They beat Olentangy Orange Friday night, but lost to Upper Arlington on Saturday.

Our Bowling Team is off to a great start! Coach Damian Hammond provided the following images of our bowlers in action!
Bowling 1

Bowling 2

Bowling 3
Upcoming Events
Tuesday, January 19, 2016 First day of second semester
Wednesday, January 20, 2016 Department Meetings 7:15 am
Thursday, January 21, 2016 Department Meetings 7:15 am
Saturday, January 23, 2016 A Cappella Cabaret

Articles Worth Reading
Managing Stress: Creating Calm In Your Career

10 Smart Leadership Solutions for Everyday Challenges

Be Great,

Dwight

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

My Choice to be G.R.E.A.T!

Make it a great year

As I embark on another year and reflect on 2015, I am reminded that I can truly only control two things: my attitude and my actions. In fact, that’s all any of us can control. To make 2016 a G.R.E.A.T year, I will be:
1. Grateful– demonstrate an attitude of gratitude for the “problemtunities” that come my way (opportunities disguised as problems), my loving family, supportive network of friends and colleagues, and God’s daily blessings.

2. Relational– Focus on the people in my life who have breathed life into me with words of encouragement, constructive criticism to help me grow, and remember that, “no significant learning occurs without significant relationships.” I can improve relationships with others by being an active listener, reserving judgement, being present, and demonstrating empathy.

3. Enthusiastic-It is often said that, “nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” I firmly believe this and have seen it happen in my life and in the lives of others. I plan to begin each day enthused about the opportunity to positively change lives and impact the future of others!

4. Authentic– It takes too much energy to be someone or something that you are not, thus, I have found it so much easier to be me, the real me, in every situation. However, I am still working on growing in this area.

5. Teachable-To learn is to lead and lead is to constantly learn. The more teachable spirit I have, the better person I can become for myself, my family, friends, and my staff and students.

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 12 at New Albany High School!

Veterans-Day-Pinterest-PicturesOn Wednesday, November 11th, we honor our Veterans by celebrating Veteran’s Day. We do not take for granted our veterans’ service here and abroad. We have several classes that write letters or send care packages to our active servicemen and women! On behalf of the NAHS students, staff, and faculty, we salute our Armed Forces!

Staff News
A sincere “thank you” to the following teachers who have volunteered to be club advisors:
Social Studies teacher Jeanette Milligan– New Albany’s Young Business Leaders and NA Stock Clubs
English teacher Lynnette Turner– Creative Writing Club
Social Studies teacher Paul Locke– Junior Achievement

Students As Learners
Choir teacher Ms. Karrie Horton and the A Cappella Singers had the experience of a lifetime during a combined concert on October 24th. They were joined by choirs from high school choirs from Northland, Whitehall, Pickerington Central, and Capriccio Youth Choir, and led by guest arranger and composer Stacey Gibbs! Following is a video of their performance of “Swing Down Chariots” and all three soloists are New Albany students, Colin Sproule, Ally Blais and Rayna Hutcherson.

After the performance, Mrs. Horton asked her students to reflect on their performance and it is evident they thoroughly enjoyed this experience! Click here to read their responses.

Congratulations to students in Art Foundations, 2D Art, KAP Drawing, and AP Drawing classes for the outstanding art on display in E Lobby!

Independent ReadingI observed English teacher Jacqui Loughry’s AP English 12 course and she has created a
great centering activity for students at the beginning of the period. While she takes attendance, students are given 15 minutes of Independent Reading. Every student was engaged in a book of his or her choice and once she completed attendance, Jacqui picked up her book and read as well! I saw a variety of books, from science fiction to biographies and everything in between. She created a handout to explain the purpose of Independent Reading which states, “This year, we will be continuing to build your skills as a confident, capable, enthusiastic lifelong reader. We will be doing this through independent reading time-15 minutes per class period almost every day and 15 minutes every day on your own.”

I applaud Jacqui for creating the conditions for students to foster a love for reading that isn’t specifically tied to a grade or assignment. Additionally, it’s an excellent use of class time to develop global skills.

Upcoming Events
Tuesday, November 10th-#BowTieTuesday
Wednesday, November 11th- Veteran’s Day; National Signing Day at 2:45 Jefferson Room; Senior Financial Aid Meeting at 7:00 pm Mini-Theatre
Thursday, November 12th- Department Meetings at 7:15 am; Eastland CC Field Trip
Friday, November 13th- Eastland CC Field Trip

Articles Worth Reading
Staying the Same is Ultimately Falling Behind
Staff Morale Is Lower Than Ever

Be Great,

Dwight

Week 11 at New Albany High School!

Lorin LoveScience teacher Lorin Love reincarnates as Anna Garcia from the dead to play a review game about diabetes with students in Principles of Biomedical Science! To see how others dressed up on Friday, as well as a recap of our week, please review the Week 11 Storify!

Staff News
Humanities and Art History teacher Rachel Braswell attended a free two-day conference about educating African American Males on Friday, October 23rd and Saturday, October 24th. The conference was not only insightful, but she was able to collaborate with many educators from higher education. The conference was co-hosted by The Ohio State University, Champions for Children, and the United Way. The keynote presenter was David Johns, the Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans.

Spanish teacher Sarah Riechley attended an AP Spanish Workshop on Wednesday, October 29th. She, too, was able to collaborate with many other educators and discuss pedagogy, content, and AP expectations!

Math teachers Karen Morlan and Linda Schmidt attended an AP Calculus workshop last week as well. They practiced grading AP exams and collaborated with other teachers from across the country!

Thanks to the Counseling Team for proctoring OGTs last week. It took a great deal of time away from their usual workload and I appreciate their efforts to ensure all our students are able to meet this graduation requirement!

Many of our teachers highlight historical and literary characters during lessons as a way to teach or reinforce the characteristics we want our students to exhibit. To further help reinforce positive character, Jostens created a list of tips for parents to help cultivate character strength at home. This can be a great family activity!

Students As Learners
I appreciate the types of learning activities our teachers develop that not only engage students, but help them to demonstrate learning in unique ways. Following are a couple of examples; one by Social Studies teacher Darryl Sycher and the other by Physical Science teachers Claire Monk and Jessica Dorman:

“As part of the Unit on the Renaissance in World History, my students were asked to choose an explorerSycher 1 and report on them in class. This Explorers Project asked students to provide a short biography of their particular explorer and how his discoveries impacted Europe and the natives that he discovered and encountered. Along with this written portion of the project, students were also asked to display their creative side and make a visual to represent the accomplishments of their explorer. This was used to enhance their oral presentation and make their 16th century explorer “come alive” in the 21st century.”

“Mrs. Monk created this lesson to add a fun twist to the energy unit in physical science. In this activity students get to make their own bouncy ball to collect and analyze data. Once the ball is made students obtained the mass and recorded a video of the ball dropping and the bounce back. Students then uploaded the video into an analysis program, which they manipulated to be able to determine the velocity of the ball dropping and in the bounce back. With this information students then calculated the potential energy and kinetic energy of the dropped ball and drew energy bar charts of the different phases of the motion. Using the law of conservation of energy as a guide, students were able to determine why the bouncy ball did not bounce back to the same height while still having a total amount of energy equal to 100%. While the main learning target of this activity was to investigate the concept of energy transformations students also applied their skills of experimental design to trouble shoot how to alter the recipe to make a better bouncy ball, or how to make one after a failed attempt. Students had to determine what methods led to the best bouncy ball for their purposes. By making the ball themselves they also learned about chemical reactions and how the items we started with changed as a result of the reaction. Solid and liquid reagents became a bouncy rubber-like solid. What better way to spend a Friday before Halloween than making your own bouncy ball to analyze how well it conserves energy while throwing in some chemistry for fun?”

7A'sI believe there are seven A’s of successful schools: academics, attendance, the arts, attitude (behavior), activities, acts of service, and athletics. Every student can have a sense of belonging if they embrace these seven A’s and it’s important for us to create the conditions for this to happen. Coaches Pat Samanich and Brian Finn received the following email from our Special Olympics Swim Coach that celebrates the act of service by our football team:

“I wanted to reach out to both of you to let you know how much we appreciated having your football players at the Special Olympics swim meet this past Saturday. They did an amazing job and were absolutely wonderful to our athletes!!! I had a lot of parents and spectators comment to me directly on how great it was to see them participating and supporting our swim team.

Please thank them from our team and me and let them know how much we appreciated their support!! They are a great group of kids!!! -Casie Ford”

Thanks to all our coaches for teaching our students life through athletics!

Upcoming Events
Monday, November 2nd- Department Chair Meeting at 3:00 pm Professional Library
Tuesday, November 3rd- Election Day; Students Working the Polls; #BowTieTuesday
Wednesday, November 4th- Department Meetings at 7:15 am; Class Ring Orders due
Thursday, November 5th- Department Meetings at 7:15 am; Nationwide Children’s Hospital Wellness Presentation during House
Saturday, November 7th- SAT

Article Worth Reading
Edtech’s Next Big Disruption Is The College Degree

Video Worth Watching
Why Some of Us Don’t Have One True Calling| Emilie Wapnick| TEDxBend

Be Great,

Dwight

Today’s Professional Development

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http://groveland.spps.org/uploads/hanging_light_bulbs.jpg
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

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https://www.mnnonline.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/VictoriaEstrella.com_collaboration-10-01-14.jpg

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. VoxerVoxer 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,

Dwight

My 2014 in Review: From FREE to FINISH

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https://s3.amazonaws.com/cache.salvationarmy.org/2c91fea2-8a57-4dde-873b-e8341d0177e8_freedom222.jpg
My One Word for 2014 was FREE. I allowed myself to be free to explore new professional opportunities. After much contemplation, I freed my mind to think about leaving a school and district I love to see if what I know about building leadership applies elsewhere. Coming to that decision was not only difficult, but it was the right decision. A man I have a great deal of respect for once said to me, “It is better to leave one year too early than one day too late.” In my mind and heart, I felt is was time to leave…

The hardest part was simply allowing myself the freedom to consider leaving because of the friendships established, what we accomplished together, my level of comfort, and fear of what I could potentially give up forever. Yet, I am okay and I’m being stretched as a leader in more ways than I could have imagined in the district I’m in now. By simply allowing myself to be FREE, I embrace the newness, the transition, and the lessons learned and yet to be learned. Additionally,

I allowed myself to be free to say, “Yes,” to many projects or possibilities.

I allowed myself to be free to not live up to what I perceived others expected of me.

I allowed myself to be free to put my immediate family first in many situations because it was the right thing to do and without the burden of trying to please others.

I allowed myself to be free to say, “No,” without guilt or shame.

I allowed myself to be proud of my personal and professional accomplishments I earned such as being named the 2014 Bammy Secondary Principal of the Year and being inducted in the Wittenberg University Athletic Hall of Honor. Yes, I am proud and these awards are prominently displayed in my office.

I allowed myself to be free to accept invitations to do more keynote presentations and other speaking engagements because others want to hear from me.

I’m allowing myself to be free to embrace the platform I’ve been given to positively change lives and impact futures.

Thank God for 2014 and I look forward to embracing my new word for 2015: FINISH!

http://michaelhyatt.com/crossing-daily-finish-lines.html
http://michaelhyatt.com/crossing-daily-finish-lines.html

Be Great,

Dwight

Thank You, Gahanna Jefferson Public Schools

Thank YouIt’s been two weeks since I officially began my new position and I’m still getting used to being a part of a different district, starting over, and finding my way. In mid-February, 2014, I announced to the staff, faculty, students and parents of Gahanna Lincoln High School that I accepted the Principal position at New Albany High School, in New Albany, OH. Their responses via email, phone calls, text messages, tweets, Facebook and Instagram posts, cards and letters over the next four months were overwhelming. The outpour of support and encouragement still bring tears to my eyes. I was able to remain relatively calm during that time; however, I became more anxious as graduation approached. What was I going to say? Would it even matter? Would I even be able to speak or would I be overcome with emotion? These and many other questions raced through my mind for what seemed like forever.

Following is my brief graduation speech and Parting Words of Wisdom to the GLHS Class of 2014. However, to me, it’s more than just a speech: It’s my way of putting into words my love for the people of Gahanna Jefferson Public Schools and the Gahanna community for helping me become the person I am today.

Five days before my college graduation in June, 1994, I received a phone call that completely changed my life. On the other end of the phone, I heard the familiar voice of the beloved Gahanna Middle School South principal, Denny Souder. He requested I come in for a second interview. However, it wasn’t a second interview, but a job offer to teach 8th grade American History. It was my chance to start my professional journey and to positively change lives and impact futures through the awesome career as an educator.

I could not have predicted that 20 years later, I would be blessed with the opportunity to stand before you in my final days as the Principal of Gahanna Lincoln High School; one the most authentic, progressive, and caring high schools in Central Ohio. I could not have predicted how the thousands of students who allowed me to play a smart part in their life journey would enrich my life. I could not have predicted the many friendships, life-changing experiences, and growth opportunities I would have as a part of the Gahanna Jefferson Public Schools community.

I am forever grateful to the Board of Education, past and current superintendents, staff, and Gahanna parents for embracing my vision to create a school where every student has a sense of belonging, where students can find their purpose, and have as many opportunities to find their niche in a safe, loving, yet challenging environment; and a place that challenges students to be better each and every day. I am a better man, husband, father, and leader by being a part of the Gahanna Community.

Seniors, on Tuesday, August 24th, 2010, you walked into GLHS as scared, apprehensive, nervous, and fascinated freshmen on Freshmen Welcome Day. You were greeted by over 100 cheering Link Crew leaders prepped to accept you as a part of the Gahanna Lincoln Family. The next morning, on Wednesday, August 25th, 2010, at the sound of the first period bell, you heard what would become a familiar start of the school day and it’s only fitting that you end your GLHS journey the way it began:

Good morning Gahanna Lincoln High School Class of 2014. This is Mr. Carter with a few parting words of wisdom.

• Don’t wish away what is NOW by focusing so much on what’s NEXT.

• Don’t be a victim of your circumstances, but be victorious in spite of your circumstances.

• Become the type of person who others are excited to see you come, and sad to see you go.

• Work to live, don’t live to work.

• There is no greater sound than the joy-filled laughter of a toddler.

• 80% of your joy or sorrow as an adult will come from the person you marry, so choose wisely.

• Give others the benefit of the doubt, just as much as you want to be afforded the same thing.

• Learn how to articulate how you feel. Use more words besides, “good,” “fine,” or “frustrated.”

• Use things, not people.

• It’s okay to love what you do as long as you love more the people whom you do it for.

• There are really only two things in life that you truly can control: your attitude and your actions.

• No matter how old you are, you will always be your parents’ baby.

• The more time you spend helping others, the less time you have to judge them.

• Your appearance, your words, and your behavior do matter. They always have and always will.

• No one can make you feel bad or guilty without your permission.

• “You have to teach others how to treat you.” -Samantha Carter

• Mind your manners. They are not old-fashioned or out of style. Simple phrases like, “please,” “thank you,” “you’re welcome,” “sir,” “ma’am,” and “excuse me” go a long way.

• “Mind your business, so others won’t have to.” -David McGhee

• Your parents and guardians are much smarter than you think they are. You will soon find this out now that you are “grown.”

• If you have to ask if an article of clothing is too short, too high, too low, too tight, or too anything, then you probably shouldn’t wear it.

• Every aspect of your life doesn’t have to be shared on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Vine, Flicker, SnapChat, Kik or any other form of social media. Please Pause Before You Post.

• In all that you do, BE GREAT!

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

Be Great,

Dwight

Reflections From A Student Teacher: Edcamp Columbus

At Gahanna Lincoln High School, we have a number of student-teachers every quarter. I take this as a compliment to the quality teachers we have and the desire for colleges to have their student-teachers learn from great practitioners. I’ve been every impressed by one young man from The Ohio State University named, Johnathan Duff (@mrduffedu), because of the way he engages students in the classroom and for his eagerness to learn. He attended Edcamp Columbus, so I’ve asked him to share his experience with us:

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On Saturday March 1, 2014, the second annual EdCamp Columbus was held at Gahanna Lincoln High School’s Clark Hall. As a student teacher working in Clark Hall, I could not pass up the opportunity to engage other educators and to further my professional development in the very building I have been working in since August.

EdCamp Columbus comes out of the EdCamp movement that was started in Philadelphia in 2010. EdCamps are opportunities for educators to come together, share ideas and discuss what matters to them, and become drivers of their own professional development. EdCamp labels itself as an “unconference.” Rather that having a pre-determined schedule with session identified well in advance, the sessions held at each conference are determined by the attendees the day of the event. Have a topic you want to present or to discuss with fellow educators? Find an open slot on the day’s schedule (a.k.a. The Big Board) and write it in. Other attendees will see your proposal and those who are interested can attend. It is as simple as that.

A focus of my student teaching and my work as a Masters of Education student at the Ohio State University has been on making connections between my students’ service, their learning, and their understanding of civic engagement. I teach 5 sections of Government and work with all Seniors who have to complete a service component called the Service Activity Project. From a young age, service has always been very important to me. My focus on service learning has allowed me to align a personal passion, the reality of my classroom, and the research I am doing for Ohio State. Coming in to EdCamp Columbus, it was my hope that there would be a session related to service learning or civic engagement. As the time before the first session dwindled, openings remained on the Big Board and there were no sessions on service or civics. Seeing this as an opportunity, I decided to embrace the spirit of the “unconference” and proposed a session entitled “Connecting learning and service towards critical civic engagement.”

I was very happy to find out that I was not alone in my interest on these topics. The session was attended by a range of individuals – elementary teachers, high school teachers, government teachers, science teachers, and even a district’s technology specialist. Gahanna Jefferson Public Schools were well represented with GLHS science teacher, Jason Hardin, and Jefferson Elementary teacher, Ashley Sands, both attending and actively participating.

What is great about EdCamp is that sessions can be more of a discussion than a presentation. To borrow educational terminology, EdCamp is “attendee-centered” rather than “presenter-centered.” I kicked off the session by introducing myself and why I proposed the session – I am a pre-service teacher who is passionate about service and works with students who are doing service. I am interested in ways to connect students’ classroom learning with their service with the aim of getting them to think more critically about their role and engagement in society. Towards this end, I designed a service project in which students spent a Saturday conducting home repairs for an area senior. While successful, I am interested in other ways to improve my practice of connecting learning to service and civic engagement. Other session attendees shared their background and interest in the topics before we turned to the issues at hand.

Throughout the session, discussion flourished. As a group, we discussed the service requirements that exist in our schools and examples of service learning that we have participated in. Vibrant discussion was held around civic education and how it needs to start at a young age and extend beyond just the social studies classroom. The concept of the “common good” is not something that is limited to the study of the social world and thus work towards it should not be limited to social studies.

An item that became a major focus of the session was student choice. Rather than the focus and design of the service being determined by the teacher, attendees agreed that students should be involved throughout the process. Asking students “What do you care about? What do you want to work on?” will empower them and make their service and the learning that accompanies it all the more meaningful. The role of the teacher then becomes to guide and scaffold them through the process. Teachers also play the important part of helping students reflect on their service. Teachers should guide students to reflect before, during, and after their service. This can be done through discussion, writing assignments, and the strategic use of technology. It is important that the reflection that is done is critical and challenges the students to reflect on their lives and the nature of society and its institutions.

As the session was attended by a diverse group of educators, the topic of cross curricular collaboration was heavily discussed. Just as civic engagement can incorporate multiple content areas, so too can service and it need not be compartmentalized – government, science, and english teachers (just to name a few) can all collaborate. Ideas such as having students research the need and causes of the need of service, working with students to write grant proposals, using various mediums to document and tell the story of service all provide opportunities for skills from various content areas to be incorporated into service to others.

EdCamp sessions were blocked out in 50 minute time slots. By the end of our 50 minutes, the discussion was in full swing and participants were not ready to wrap up. It was decided that to continue our conversation, we would move our discussion online by creating a shared Google Doc. Herein lies the great value of EdCamp – not only do we get to come together with like minded educators to share ideas, but the conversation does not have to stop there. Bring a group of passionate educators together and the learning community they develop will extend beyond the Saturday they spent together in Clark Hall.

I applaud Johnathan for not only taking the time to attend his first Edcamp, but for having the courage to lead a session. This is an excellent example of what the Edcamp experience is all about!

Be Great,

Dwight