Our Most Important Relationship

When I walked into my first education class during the first semester of my freshman year at Wittenberg University, in the middle of the expansive black chalkboard was a large white post-it paper was the following quote: No significant learning occurs without a significant relationship.” -Dr. James Comer

His words pierced my heart. Instantly I was certain about my career choice. His words made everything so clear for me. I understood why I connected with some teachers and coaches and not others. It all made sense, and those words clearly and concisely described why I wanted to become an educator. I wanted to be relational so that I could positively change lives and impact others’ futures.

To be relational describes how two or more people are connected. Relational is an action word indicating that it’s an ongoing process that requires intentionality. It’s a service, and for some, it’s a way of life. Meaningful relationships are transformational, not transactional. In a transactional relationship, one party is seeking to gain from another at a cost. Someone is giving up something with the expectation of getting something in return. While this relates to a monetary/service exchange, it often exists with an actual product being sold. It’s a balance of power and may be an uneven exchange. One of the people involved is acting out of self-interest, and little value is placed on the relationship.

It is no secret that creating and maintaining positive relationships contributes to overall success and growth. Our work’s foundation has little to do with content knowledge, pedagogy, and understanding of assessment. Those things are important to becoming a better and effective educator. Still, without having positive relationships, you can be the best technical educator and have no significant impact on your students and colleagues. Our work’s foundation is the types of relationships between educators, students, families, and communities. You show me a school with toxic or negative relationships; I guarantee it is not a successful school. While we often focus on relationships and connections with others, we cannot neglect the relationships we have with ourselves.

The most important relationship we have is the relationship with ourselves. How we treat ourselves can lead to success or sabotage. There is a growing body of research about the importance of self-care, primarily because our culture has glorified busyness and glamorized “the grind.” We wear busyness as a badge of honor and work ourselves to the point of exhaustion. We engage in conversations about how busy we are and “story top” to ensure we are the busiest in our group. We equate busyness with productivity and develop a martyr mindset. It’s self-destructive and models to our students, family members, and communities that what we do is arduous, burdensome work. Is that the message we want to send? Do we want to work ourselves to exhaustion and eventually burnout?

We often say that students are the most important people in the building. We also say that we must always do what is best for students, especially when making decisions about curriculum, instruction, assessment, and culture. Our students are why we do what we do, but they are not the most important people in the building. We are.

Our attitude and mental well-being affect the climate and culture of our schools. There’s so much pressure to be the best, and we can sabotage ourselves because of self-destructive thoughts. Sometimes our greatest enemy or barrier to success is ourselves. Past experiences, negative emotions, or even replaying others’ negative words that have been spoken to us can sabotage our ideas, goals, and dreams.

If you neglect yourself for the sake of your work, consider this: you cannot give your best if you have very little to give. Consider ways to make your health a priority. Start by making small, subtle changes like going to bed earlier just one night this week. Turn off all notifications on your phone when you get home. Do not send or respond to emails after a specific time that is relevant to you. For example, make 6:00 or 7:00 pm when you shut down email until you get to school the next day. Write down a few positive experiences about your day and reflect on how they made you feel. Share some good news with someone close to you. Move your body by going for a walk, run, or ride. Review and re-establish boundaries around work so you can protect yourself and be your best. Know when to say when and call it a day. You deserve it.

Be Great,

Dwight

Find Ways to Use Your Strengths

Have you ever questioned why you do what you do? Have you questioned your excitement or passion for what you do? I hesitate to use the word “passion” because it’s overused and misunderstood. It’s at a point where some may believe that they have to find something else to do if they are not passionate about their work. One can be passionate about something apart from one’s career. Many are and are living successful, fulfilled lives.

Instead of questioning your passion, I encourage you to examine if you are using your strengths. Are you operating in your character strengths regularly, or are you stifled by your title or job description?

Several years ago, I began speaking and coaching while I was also a building principal. I loved the work. I made connections with others who do the same who I am blessed to call my friends. I enjoyed helping other leaders and educators work through challenges or inspire them to try new things. After a presentation or coaching session, I’d return to my building on fire and ready to take on the day. I noticed it, and others saw it as well. Soon after, I would become bogged down with the minutiae that are just a part of the job. Over time, I became discouraged and somewhat disheartened. It was a struggle. I decided to change districts, thinking that I would find my joy in the job with a fresh start.

While I enjoyed working in another district, I quickly learned that it wasn’t the district. My issue was internal. I still got a charge from many parts of being a building principal, especially creating the conditions for students to succeed and staff to teach and grow professionally. There were also parts that I just couldn’t stomach any more. After many months of reflection, talk therapy, and soul searching, I learned that the one thing I enjoy most is teaching. I continued to coach and speak, and I decided to leave the principalship to coach, present, and consult full-time.

Teaching can occur in many forms: coaching, using staff meetings as learning opportunities, speaking, and presenting. I love the entire learning process and found myself unable to do it as much as a building principal because the principalship is multi-faceted and layered.

A few years ago, I worked with a leadership coach named Jack Slavinski (@jackslav) to identify my strengths. Through the process, I learned why I succeeded in some principalship areas and struggled in other areas. Regardless of your position, you can still learn to use your strengths to help yourself, others, and your school or district. After a year as a full-time leadership and effective coach and presenter, I returned to building leadership as an assistant director at a career and technical school. My transition back to the building was not easy, but I learned to lean into my strengths and find ways to use them to have a positive impact on my team, staff, and students. I have a better work/life balance, my mind is clearer, and I can support our director because of my experience in the position. Here are three things I did to find more fulfillment in my career:

1. Use a research-based assessment to learn more about your character strengths and reflect on what you enjoy most about your job. I highly recommend the VIA Character Strength Assessment. I’ve taken it twice in the last two years, and my top five character strengths have remained pretty consistent, which is consistent with the research. Putting words and descriptions to my strengths has allowed me to be more intentional about my daily work.

2. Share your strengths with others and let them know how you use them to serve others. Take it a step further and share your plan on how you will better operate within your strengths to add value to others and your school. For example, I am now in my second year as an Assistant Director at Eastland Career Center. I am relatively new to CTE and have found many ways to use my strengths to help my district. I help facilitate staff meetings, collaborate with district staff to plan our professional development, and find ways to lead up, meaning helping our leaders lead better. The John Maxwell Company shares nine ways to lead up:
Lead yourself exceptionally well. The key to leading yourself well is to learn self-management. In order to be successful, we must make the right decisions early and manage those decisions daily. Then, we are prepared to follow through on them with consistency.

Lighten your leader’s load. When the boss succeeds, the organization succeeds. Conversely, it is almost impossible for you to win if your boss fails. Be a team player and lift the load on your boss’ plate. By helping your boss in a great way, you are a part of something bigger and will have the chance to celebrate success in the end.

Be willing to do what others won’t. Few things gain the appreciation of a top leader more quickly than an employee with a whatever-it-takes attitude.

Do more than manage – lead! Managers work with processes – leaders work with people. Think within a broad context about how your decisions will impact the entire organization. You’ll prove you can move past management to leadership.

Invest in relationship chemistry. People won’t go along with you if they can’t get along with you. As a leader, our job is to connect with people. We must connect with those we lead, our peers, and those who lead us. In order to lead up, be a champion of what your leader desires.

Be prepared every time you take your leader’s time. Time is the one commodity that cannot be increased, no matter what a leader does. Take steps and research to prepare yourself and your leader for your time together. Preparation paves the way for both leaders to add value to each other.

Know when to push and when to back off. Successful leaders make the right move at the right moment with the right motive. Knowing the right time to push and when to back off will determine if you get pushed right out the door. As leaders, we must read the atmosphere of the workplace to determine appropriate next steps.

Become a go-to player. All leaders are looking for people who can step up and make a difference when it matters. When they find such people, they come to rely on them and are inevitably influenced by them. To be a go-to player, we must always produce excellence. Leaders will trust us and count on us in moments that count.

Be better tomorrow than you are today. The key to personal development is being more growth-oriented than goal-oriented. Goals are valuable, but growth helps you achieve those goals. Focus on growth every day, and your leadership journey will be life-long and fulfilling. Ultimately, you’ll benefit your entire organization when you aim for personal growth.

3. Work on your strengths as you plan, prepare, and practice while doing your daily work.

If you are frustrated, disenchanted, discouraged, and questioning your effectiveness as a leader, teacher, coach, or whatever, take some time to identify your areas of strength. Reflect on the moments you experience joy in your work and consider why. Then do something about it. Take the VIA Character Assessment and examine your profile to identify ways to find more purpose in your career. Your colleagues, staff, and team will experience the difference, and thank you for it. Feel free to share your results and reflections in the comment section or email me at mrdwightcarter@gmail.com.

Be Great,

Dwight

Accessible

https://aitpdf.ca/blog/the-importance-of-an-accessible-pdf-document-strategy/
I had an impromptu meeting yesterday morning that was just what I needed. Around 7:50 am, I received a call from our receptionist to let me know a young man needed to see me. I quickly responded and asked her to send him to my office.

When he entered my office, we greeted each other in our standard and affirming manner, and then he sat down. His reason for coming in was hidden behind a logistical request, which I could discern by his body language and the way he slumped down in the chair in front of me. Through a masked mouth, he asked, “How’s your mental health?” I was shocked by his question but took it as a hook. He wanted to talk about how HE was feeling, so I gladly accepted the bait. I responded to his request by sharing a little bit about my weekend and how I felt at the moment and pivoted to asking about him: “How are you doing? What’s going on?”

He shook and dropped his head while rubbing his forehead with his right hand. He said, “Man, Mr. Carter. I’m struggling…” I turned my chair to make sure I was directly facing him and leaned in to let him know that he has my undivided attention.

He opened up about his life, the real obstacles he’s trying to overcome, and how overwhelmed he’s feeling. The more he talked, the straighter he sat in his chair, and the more animated he became.

He talked about his future goals, and I assured him that we would do whatever it takes to help him get there. We shared a few stories, and I gave him the information he came for. After about 20 minutes, I sent him a class pass, and he went about his day. We were both fulfilled. I took away three reminders from our chance meeting:

Be Accessible– I had a few things I felt that I needed to get done before the first-period bell rang, but it was more important to meet with my student than to tackle my to-do list.

Be Available– I was open to listening to his story and available to provide emotional support and tangible help, at least at the moment. I also let him know I am available to help anytime.

Be Accountable– Earlier in the school year, I noticed this young man seemed to be carrying a heavy burden, so I stopped him in the hall to check on him. He wasn’t in the mood to talk much but assured me he was okay. I let him know that I’d be checking on him from time to time and that he could stop by the office anytime he needed to talk. Well, yesterday he did just that. To be accountable is to deliver on one’s commitment. I made sure I was accessible and available, thus responsible.

We must never lose sight of why we became educators, and for me, it is to positively change lives and impact futures. Be accessible today.

Be Great,

Dwight

Cope, Adjust, and Transform (#CopeAdjustTransform)

I had the pleasure of co-authoring a book with Mark White (@MarkWhite55) titled, Leading Schools in Disruptive Times: How to Survive Hyper-change. In it, Mark White and I introduce a problem-solving framework we call, CAT: Cope, Adjust, and Transform. CAT helps school leaders successfully deal with change, especially the sudden disruptive events that often are sprung on schools without warning. In the CAT framework, school leaders do the following:

1. Recognize the disruptive event and cope with it immediately. When a crisis occurs, the goal is to resolve it as quickly as possible, usually within hours or days of its inception.

2. Adjust school practices and operating procedures in the days and weeks after the incident to prevent its reoccurrence or to handle it and other disruptions more efficiently.

3. Continue to transform lead staff through a process to adopt new philosophies and change school culture through study and reflection in the months after the incident. The ultimate goal is to transform thought processes, and adaptive strategies will be deepened in the future.

https://supplychainbeyond.com/disruption-or-digital-transformation/
You would be hard pressed to talk to a teacher, secretary, or school administrator who would say we are not experiencing some disruptive times in education. Since 2008, public perception of educators, in general, has been less than favorable. One might say we face one disruption after another, yet we continue to find ways to meet the needs of our students, engage parents, respond to community desires, and do what is best for all stakeholders.

We explore seven disruptions educators face today and describe how to apply the CAT framework to each one. The disruptions are as follows:

1. The emphasis on student safety, including the fear of school shootings, the laser-like focus on social/emotional development, and efforts to combat high-stress levels in today’s students and families.

2. Accelerating technology advances that change how students learn and how schools operate, including the influx of smartphones, wearable technology, and the impact of social media.

3. A system of reform efforts such as A Nation at Risk, No Child Left Behind, Common Core State Standards, and the Every Student Succeeds Act that has resulted in complex school accountability ratings that drive instruction, learning, hiring practices and budgeting.

4. The generational challenges that occur when baby boomers, Gen Xers, Gen Yers, and millennials work together in the teaching force, and Gen Z’s demands and Gen Alpha that are leading to new types of teaching methods and spaces.

5. The explosion of knowledge and getting students global-ready, including the challenge of teaching global skills in a rigid, test-driven curriculum and attempting to answer the question, “What does it mean to be educated in the 21st century?”

6. Dealing with increasingly complex diversity issues, including racial tension, ethnic differences, political polarization, and LGBTQ issues.

7. The growing demand for transparency by parents who want access to school information, including 24-hour access to student grades; their need for prompt responses from educators to their questions and demands; and their constant examination of the school’s curriculum, clubs, and overall grades.

In the book, we share stories from 21st school leaders and educators who have faced one or more of these disruptions,

https://feedingmissouri.org/seeing-hope/
we highlight what they learned, and emphasize what they would do differently in the future. Through their stories, the reader can reflect on their daily work using the guided questions and CAT Framework activities at the end of each chapter.
I encourage you to use the CAT framework as a guide to handling disruptions at your school and to share how you are embracing these disruptions on social media by using the hashtag, #CopeAdjustTransform. We need each other, and one of the best ways to learn from shared experiences is to connect with your PLN through #CopeAdjustTransform. I look forward to celebrating with you as guide your students and staff through these disruptive times!

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

“What is the Meaning of the Renaissance Cheer, Mr. Carter?”

I introduced a new cheer to our students during our fall State of the Eagles Address and then again at our Homecoming Pep Rally. The students really got into it, which was demonstrated by members of our student body who led the cheer at some of our sporting events! When I included it our Homecoming Pep Rally class competition, many left wondering, “What is the meaning of the Renaissance cheer?”

Jostens Renaissance is a research-based school climate and culture framework that focuses on recognizing, respecting, rewarding, and reinforcing positive behaviors, such as academics, attendance, character, and student and staff engagement. It is proven that when positive behaviors are respected, recognized, rewarded, and reinforced, positives results continue.

Through Renaissance, pep rallies focus on public recognition of what I call the 7 A’s of successful schools: academics, attendance, attitude (behavior), the arts, athletics, acts of service, and activities. Traditional pep rallies primarily recognize athletes.

Based on the results of the PRIDE Factor survey we conducted last spring, there is a need to provide more opportunities to privately and publicly recognize individuals and groups for positive behavior and performance. Instead of stating, “We are now going to have a Jostens Renaissance program”, I decided to ease it into what we do as a school so that it’s not viewed as “one more thing we have to do.”

We are slowly creating our Renaissance recognition criteria that will be based on students’ progress and achievement, behavior, and attendance. The cheer is something that a number of Renaissance schools do as a unifying cheer. I thought it would be good for NAHS to use the Renaissance cheer to proudly come together and celebrate what we have always been and will continue to be about: student achievement, student growth, and student well-being.

By definition, renaissance means rebirth, and with the cheer, there is a rebirth in our school spirit and pride that comes from celebrating our successes, recognizing our continuous improvement, and creating a sense of belong for all students and staff. At the same time, it’s important to understand that school spirit doesn’t primarily come from wearing school colors or loud cheers. According to Mark White (@MarkWhite55), school spirit comes from a sense of belonging. I couldn’t agree more.

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

Guest Blogger: Joshua Rajakumar, Founder of the New Albany Young Business Leaders Club

Student Voice.

Increasing student voice is a key topic discussed in education circles today. From Student Government to school town hall meetings, education leaders are implementing a variety of strategies to increase student voice.

Today’s students want and need to be heard. They are inventors, innovators, creators, and thinkers. They desire different experiences from school, in their social settings, and in their future careers. They are taking steps to create ways to learn more about their passions and interests. One example of one of these students is New Albany High School junior Joshua Rajakumar, founder of the New Albany Young Business Leaders Club. Following is the New Albany Young Business Leaders Club from Joshua’s perspective:

My name is Joshua Rajakumar and I am a junior at New Albany High School. This year, I started the New Albany’s Young Business Leaders Club. We have been active for about a month now and we have had two guest speakers thus far: Mr. John Kish and Mr. Bill Ebbing. We are excited about this partnership between the New Albany Community and the High School student body.

NAYBL
What is the New Albany Young Business Leaders Club?

New Albany’s Young Business Leaders is open to all New Albany High School students – from those who have a strong interest in business related careers to those who would like to know what business is all about. We provide exposure to all areas of business related careers, leadership development, resume building, and networking opportunities. Members participate in lectures, workshops, and community projects related to the different areas of business.

We meet every 2 weeks in the Jefferson Room on either Mondays or Wednesdays (currently Wednesdays) after school from 3-4 PM.

As the Founder and President of the club, I have been fortunate to have a team to assist me – Miles Waytes as the Vice President, Brian Schnell as the Media Manager, and Sudeep Ganguly as the Secretary working alongside me in this endeavor.

We currently have 45 registered members.

Past Speakers

On February 10th, Mr. John Kish, the SVP and CIO of Safe Auto Insurance, gave a presentation. He spoke about diversifying talents to be capable of performing many jobs and duties. He also addressed three of the most important skills to be successful in the business world: technical skills, people skills, and vision. He also addressed the importance of interviews and resumes and the major things to focus on in each, as he has hired multiple people for jobs and internships in the past.

On February 24th, Mr. Bill Ebbing, the President of the New Albany Company, gave a presentation. He spoke on the importance of community, creativity and perspective. He also touched on the positives and negatives of getting a masters degree/ MBA. The biggest thing he talked about was identifying your weaknesses early, so you can build a team around it and become stronger.

On March 9th, Mr. Andrew Klinger, VP Wealth Management at the Huntington Investment Company, gave a presentation. He touched on a variety of topics, including the importance of transparency when working with a group to enhance productivity. He also stressed that you should not expect to start earning a very high base salary, and that when you enter the labor force, experience and perspective is more important than money. Because Mr. Klinger used to be a stockbroker, and is now a wealth advisor, he also spoke on some stock related topics.

One piece of advice he gave was that even though you should buy low, to never buy a stock that is falling, and wait till it bounces back up. Other than low prices, he also spoke on the importance of looking at other factors such as the quarterly earnings, new management in the company, and the products they are making. He advised that that before you buy a stock, to always give yourself three reasons why you should buy it. In addition to this, he touched upon other topics such as derivatives, compliance and regulation, and commodities.

Future Speakers

On March 30th, Becky Jenkins, CFO and Treasurer of NAPLS, will give a presentation.

On April 13th, Adam Van Treese, Campus Recruiting Manager for PricewaterhoueCoopers, will give a presentation.

From left to right the students are Brian Schnell - Media Manager, Joshua Rajakumar - Founder and President, and Miles Waytes - Vice President
From left to right the students are Brian Schnell – Media Manager, Joshua Rajakumar – Founder and President, and Miles Waytes – Vice President

Thank you,

Joshua Rajakumar

Week 26 at New Albany High School!

Staff News
Congratulations to Math teacher Chrissie Bolan and her husband as they celebrate the arrival of Jay Abbott Bolan, a beautiful healthy 8 pound 11 ounce baby boy!

Guidance Secretary Shelly Santantonio’s father was recently diagnosed with throat cancer. They do not yet know the severity of the diagnosis, but he is in good spirits. Please keep Shelly and her family in your prayers.

Secretary Karen McCullough officially joined our team on Monday, February 22nd! I have seen several you of stopping by her desk to introduce yourselves and to make her feel welcomed. Thanks to Beth Johnston for helping her transition into her new position.

Please welcome long-term math substitute teacher Tyler Rogers to Team NAHS. He is taking over the reigns for Chrissie Bolan. I would like to thank math teachers Karen Morlan, Chrissie, and Lindsay Bennett for leading the interview process to select Tyler to join us.

English teacher Lynette Turner, Math teacher Sara Shon, and Science teacher Clair Monk recentlyEdLeader21 attended a dynamic EdLeader21 Workshop held at the Columbus Museum. EdLeader21 is one of the premiere education organizations that develop rubrics to measure student creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, and communication skills. They were able to connect with a number of educators from Ohio and other parts of the country. Following are the learning targets for workshop attendees:

Learning targets:
Understand the key elements in the EL21 Critical Thinking rubric
• Learn how to design performance tasks that strategically integrate Critical Thinking in the context of ELA, science and mathematics
• Learn strategies for helping students self-assess Critical Thinking skills
• Use the EdLeader21 Critical Thinking Toolkit to strengthen your systematic implementation of 4Cs instruction and assessment

They participated in several design challenges as they examined the key global skills previously listed. Following is a list of potential design challenges EdLeader21 recommends for students:
1. How can we improve the landscape of our school?
2. How can we design a blade that generates the most speed and electricity on a turbine?
3. How can we, as biographers, create a legacy for our local heroes?

What they learned aligns perfectly with our Rigor work as we challenge ourselves to examine our instructional design and student learning to ensure students are developing the necessary skills for success.

Students As Learners
Science Olympiad 1Congratulations to our Science Olympiad Team for their outstanding performance in at the New Albany Invitational last Saturday! Following is a recap by Coach Sudha Ganesan:

Our varsity team won a fourth place trophy, while our JV came in 25th place. I cannot begin to tell you how proud I am of your students. They took such initiative to set up the HS on Friday last, they made sure each room had the right signage, the right number of tables, chairs, all school property was secured away from testing areas, all teacher’s resources put away safely. On Saturday morning, they were there in the lobby, greeting schools, walking them to their homerooms, getting rooms unlocked, lights turned on – true school ambassadors. During the day they helped visiting teams navigate our school campus to events, helped event supervisors with overhead projectors, internet connections, all this while they successfully competed in their many events earning a rich haul of medals and ribbons.
Our students are confident that we are on track to bringing home a top three trophy at the Grandview Heights Regionals in two weeks. Congratulations to our our amazing medal/ribbon winners.

Bhagee G. – Anatomy & Physiology (2nd), Experimental Design (3rd),
Protein Modeling (3rd), Cell Biology (7th)
Nishant C. – Wind Power (3rd), Wright Stuff (3rd), Air Trajectory (5th),
Robot Arm (7th)
Gunnar W. – Bridges (3rd), Wright Stuff (3rd),, Air Trajectory (5th)
Aditya M. – Protein Modeling (3rd), Wind Power (3rd), Write It Do It (7th)
Nikhil P. – Protein Modeling (3rd), Detectives (4th), Chem Lab (6th)
Harshitha K. – Hydrogeology (3rd), Dynamic Planet (4th)
Mihir P. – Bridges (3rd), Fossils (6th), Chem Lab (6th)
Olivia S. – Hydrogeology (3rd), Fossils (6th)
Parker L. – Game On (1st)
Wilson W. – Game On (1st)
Jovitha N. – Anatomy & Physiology (2nd)
David Tan – Astronomy (4th), Dynamic Planet (4th), Forensics (5th)
Nikhil M. – Astronomy (4th), Disease Detectives (4th), Cell Biology (7th),
Pranav G. – Robot Arm (4th)
Sidharth S.- Robot Arm (4th)
Shota N. – Forensics (5th)
Aayush S. – Experimental Design (7th)
Arjun K. – Robot Arm (7th)
Catherine T. – Write it Do It (7th)
Shanvanth A. -Experimental Design (7th)
Tejal R. – Experimental Design (7th)

American History teacher Jeremiah Hunt introduced his students to a concept called, “the silentsilent debate debate”, which led to high level academic discussion and student engagement. As I observed the class, the depth of student learning impressed me, and asked Mr. Hunt to provide a description of the activity to share:

The night before the debate, I asked half the class to read a document supporting the Truman Doctrine and half the class was assigned to read/analyze a document criticizing the Truman Doctrine. The next day, students partnered up with a person in the class who read the opposing viewpoint. Instead of debating back and forth verbally the students took turns debating back and forth by writing their positions on a piece of paper. Each statement the students wrote was taken from the document and used text evidence as support. The activities allowed me to emphasize document analysis skills and supporting a position with text evidence.

I am certain this can be used in a variety of courses, so consider giving it a try. Thanks, Mr. Hunt!

Rigor/Relevance Framework
Rigor/Relevance Framework
Each year, students in American Literature 11 write their own poems based on a significant historical event or historical artifact in America. Before students begin writing, they study poetic structure through the works of Gwendolyn Brooks, Edgar Allan Poe, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and they learn to “scan” a poem and write explications. After studying the poetic art form, students begin writing and then present their poems along with a 3-D project. This year, the students worked harder than ever and Regina Morlan and Nicki Cray were so impressed with their efforts. The final products ranged in topics from Columbine to Vietnam Protests to Dr. Martin Luther King and The Statue of Liberty. Here is an excerpt from junior and new student, Yvonne Ologo: “The American Dream:”
Whoosh, whoosh, whoosh, the wind blew
Rushing leaves form my feet and toward her flew
There stood a silhouette, grey, pasted in the blue
Even with no expression my agitation grew.

Why do I have to shut up and follow the crowd?
Why can’t I do something, be creative, make myself proud?
She reached out to touch me, so gentle with care
Her face was so graceful, couldn’t help but revere…
The Statue of Liberty
And there it was in her silence she had answered me
America, yes, the land to be
Land of persistent differences but unity…

A job well done by Mrs. Morlan and Mrs. Cray!

Upcoming Events
Monday, March 7th- Department Chair Meeting 3:00 pm Professional Library
Wednesday, March 9th- Staff Meeting 7:15 am Jefferson Room;
Senior Brunch
Thursday, March 10th- Staff Meeting 7:15 am; House Jeopardy
Saturday, March 11th- SAT

Articles Worth Reading
Want to go to College in U.S? Show Compassion, Not Test Scores: Proposal

How to Turn on the Part of the Brain That Controls Motivation

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