The last two years have forced us to think differently about educating students. When we created online and blended learning models in response to the pandemic, we could see what was possible on a much larger scale than piloting a new delivery model in a single classroom or grade level. Some flourished while others floundered. We had to break any thinking trap that prevented us from creating a different education model.
It’s easy to fall into thinking traps about ourselves, our work, and other people. It may take a new experience, perspective, or vision to get out of those traps and change how we see the world around us. However, just like the traditional education model doesn’t work for every student, the change to online or blended learning models doesn’t work for every student either. It’s about providing several options for students and families.
Students, families, and educators are started to demand options because their perspectives have changed from the experiences of the last two years. Some ask why we can’t offer online options for students who want them. Why can’t we provide flexible work schedules for teachers and administrators who wish to offer student scheduling options? Again, perspectives have changed, which has led to discussions about what significant, systemic changes are possible for education.
I work in a Career Technical Education district, and when the pandemic first hit, we, like all schools, created a schedule to cope with the sudden disruption of forced closer. We scrambled to keep learning relevant. Students were used to spending half their day in their Career Tech Labs. We struggled to transition those types of experiences to an online environment. Quite frankly, it was impossible.
When the 2020-2021 school year started, we were committed to getting our students back on campus. We discussed various scheduling options and the logistics to make them a reality. Our perspective focused on allowing students to experience relevant hands-on learning in an environment set up for those experiences. We had to get our students back on campus.
After a few weeks, we brought students back on a hybrid schedule where they came for lab only and completed their academics online. It was not ideal, but we made it work, and our students responded well to it. We were intentional about it and took several iterations to find something that worked for the most part.
Often, this takes some intentionality, but it could happen after a little happy accident (Bob Ross!). Watch the video below to see what happens when an ostrich accidentally trips into a new vision, which ultimately creates new possibilities for the entire flock. As you watch it, I encourage you to think about the following questions:
What new opportunities will you create for yourself and others around you with a bit of change in perspective?
What intentional steps can you take this week to broaden your perspective to meet the changing needs of students and staff?
I recently listened to an episode on George Couros’ Mindset Monday podcast called, “Start Slow, End Strong.” He shared a story about how he approaches running marathons. It’s more of a slow roll rather than a high-energy burst at the start. I was reminded of something my grandmother told me many years ago as I listened.
About 25 years ago, I got serious about my relationship with God. I attended Bible Study every Wednesday night, Sunday school on Sunday morning followed by a two-hour service, and I attended the small group sessions during the week. I felt like I was called to be a preacher, and I spent many hours studying on the weekends. My grandmother, Grandma Carter, is a wise woman with a gentle spirit. She is the family’s matriarch and has earned that title through her love and actions. She is observant, always thinking, but rarely interferes with our lives. However, she will impart nuggets of wisdom when she is moved to do so.
She recognized an all-too-familiar pattern of behavior in me and wanted to prevent me from starting fast and fizzling out way before I should. She called me one lazy Sunday evening and asked how I was doing. We exchanged pleasantries talked about my job, her health, and whatever else was going on in our lives. Then she asked, “How are things going at church?” I enthusiastically shared what the sermons were about, my notes from Bible Study, and how my preparation was coming along. She listened without saying much. When I finished, she sighed and said, “Baby, slow down, you are going too fast. You will get there but take your time. I know how you are.”
I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t annoyed by that. I thought, “Man, she is always so worried about me. Stop trippin’.” But, what I said to her was, “I know Grandma. I know.” Ten years after that conversation, I was utterly exhausted from studying; in fact, I was sick of it. I grew tired of everything related to the church. I was in such a hurry to learn as much as I could as fast as I could that I lost the joy in the process. I was done. Grandma was right…
I did the same thing when I got my first teaching position. I’d spend several hours each night preparing lessons, trying to soak in every piece of information about the subject matter, and planning engaging lessons. That’s how I tackled most things in my life. When I committed to something, I was all in 100%. No balance; I had to learn as much as I could as fast as possible. It was like I had to prove I was to be taken seriously in the space (teacher, preacher, learner, leader, you name it). When I learned how to use social media as a school leader, I was all in, tweeting and posting as much as I could and whenever I could. It became a part of my identity as a leader for many years. And then, one day, I just grew tired of it, all of it.
Grandma was right, but I finally understood what she meant this time.
George mentions how he started his podcast. Instead of buying expensive equipment, he purchased a $10 microphone, connected it to his phone, and started talking. Over time, he enjoyed the process and became more intentional about his episodes. “Start slow, end strong.”
I recently started a new position, which I absolutely love. Shortly after being board-approved, my mind started racing about everything I wanted to do. I created this sense of urgency. I began to worry about way too much, and then I remembered my grandmother’s words: “Baby, slow down, we are going too fast. You will get there but take your time.” I am taking my time to learn the role, connect with others in similar positions, observe, and reflect while also doing the work.
What new things do you want to try as we start a new semester? Whatever it is, start slow, be consistent, and you will end strong.
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 email@example.com.
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.
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, 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!
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!
Outside of school, most people apply learning across disciplines, scenarios, and experiences. For a majority of our lives as students, we are taught in a system that creates blocks of time for learning specific content, much like the factory model of production. However, learning should be life and there is nothing linear about life.
Life is irregular—thus, learning is irregular.
We are in the midst of one of the most disruptive, yet exciting times in history: The Information Age. The rate of change has increased exponentially due to the rapid creation of new content that is produced as technology and life have become seamless. The rate of change continues to have an impact on our education system because students today, or Generation Z, have only known life with touch screen technology. Vast amounts of information is readily available to them with the touch of a button or finger swipe across a screen. They are also creating more content than any generation in history, thus they learn in some fundamentally different ways than we are used to.
The linear, factory system of education is counter to the messy, irregular, and creative learning process that our students have grown accustomed to outside of school. Following are three key points to consider as we are challenged to meet the needs of Generation Z.
1. Asynchronous technology makes learning a constant activity. With the emergence of online learning platforms and social networking, students are able to connect, communicate, and collaborate with their teachers and peers to extend learning beyond the walls of the schoolhouse and school day. Time, space, and location are now variables in the learning process whereas they used to be constants. Author Daniel Pink wrote in the Foreword to the book, The New Social Learning,
The use of technology greatly enhances students’ power to learn on their own time, in their own space, and in much deeper ways than ever before. So, let’s embrace it!
2. We must change how we deliver content due to shorter attention spans. We have quickly become a “sound-bite” society in that we are used to chunks of information shared in a compelling manner. Gen Z takes in thousands of digital images and messages a day, so to make learning more relevant to them, we must not only incorporate all forms of multimedia, but empower students to create and integrate multimedia to demonstrate their learning. If we adopt the use of technology in the classroom, this is a natural byproduct.
3. Focus on global skills development through the content we teach. It is often said that Gen Z will change careers 10-14 times before they retire. If this is true, it is impossible to teach them all the content they will need to be prepared for life. We must consider ways to develop the four key global skills of communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking through our specific content areas. Another approach would be to create interdisciplinary courses that provide students the opportunity to apply content in meaningful ways. We should also integrate technology to help students determine what local, regional, national, and global problems they want to solve. This will, without a doubt, create the conditions for students to develop the necessary skills that transcend careers and jobs.
As we grapple with how to catch up to the changing times that occur in every industry outside of our own, we must consider the messy, irregular, and nonlinear learning process and embrace strategies that empower students to demonstrate their learning in meaningful ways.
Ideas from What’s in Your Space? 5 Steps for Better Schools and Classrooms by Dwight Carter, Gary Sebach, and Mark White, to be published by Corwin Press in March 2016; available at Amazon
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 recently 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:
• 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 Congratulations 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 silent 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!
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!
Monday, March 7th- Department Chair Meeting 3:00 pm Professional Library
Wednesday, March 9th- Staff Meeting 7:15 am Jefferson Room;
Thursday, March 10th- Staff Meeting 7:15 am; House Jeopardy
Saturday, March 11th- SAT
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.
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!
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 am 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:
· 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
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!
Our Girl’s Varsity Basketball Team is coming off 2 big wins last week. First, 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!
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
I shared this image with my staff last week because it challenged my thinking about goal setting and starting over. As educators, we are given the unique opportunity to start over at the beginning of each grading period or after long scheduled breaks, such as winter break or spring break. As each new year approaches, we are encouraged to set resolutions, but the message in the image reminds us to focus on doing something BETTER, not necessarily NEW. As we approach second semester and 2016, I encouraged staff and faculty to continue to think about the ONE THING each of us can do better rather than adding something new to our plate. We had a great first week back, which is captured in this brief Storify!
As we approach the second semester, it is a good time to review some general expectations and procedures.
-Be Punctual- Punctuality is a sign of respect.
-Be Prepared- Prior planning prevents poor performance.
-Be Present- Be here daily and also be in the moment.
-Be Professional- Professionalism is knowing what to do, how to do it, and
doing it in a high quality manner.
-Be Positive- To change your situation, change your attitude.
-Play- Don’t take yourself too seriously. Continue reading →
Thanksgiving is my family’s favorite holiday! We enjoy the combination of the fall colors, cooler weather, and time to reflect on our lives independently and collectively as a family. It’s also a time for us to gather with family to break bread, laugh, listen to stories, and just relax. Let’s continue to focus on gratitude, love, and fellowship as we prepare for midterm exams and winter break.
Congratulations to teachers Elliott Lemberg, Darren Falk, Karrie Horton, Jessica Whitehead, and Regina Morlan and the entire cast and crew of Kiss Me, Kate for stellar performances over the weekend! There were a variety of solo and group performances that showcased our talented students.
Thanks to our Social Committee for hosting another successful OSU-Michigan Tailgate Party in the Jefferson Room on Tuesday, November 24th! The outcome of the game was not what we wanted, but it was nice to gather as a staff to enjoy good food and good company!
Art teacher Juliette Montague recently facilitated two presentations at Morehead State University. Her first presentation was on the importance of concept drawing for product design to group of STEM students. She showed them examples of how Industrial Designers and Architects use perspective drawing for concept ideas. She also gave a brief hands-on perspective drawing lesson to the class. Her second presentation was to the Arts Entrepreneur class in which she made a presentation using her own work and experiences marketing, promoting and selling artwork. She had great experiences interacting with the students both during and after the presentations. It is rewarding to share our expertise others outside our classrooms because it’s another opportunity to serve others.
Students as Learners
Last week in Claire Monk and Jessica Dorman’sphysical science classrooms, students explored concepts related to force and motion in an authentic and active manner by maneuvering a bowling ball through an obstacle course. Students were tasked with a mission to complete an obstacle course by applying a force (with a hockey stick or broom) to the bowling ball, and to graphically represent the relative magnitude and direction of the motion of the bowling ball throughout the course. They were assessed based on successful completion of the course and were penalized for applied force infractions and inaccurate representations of vectors on their motion map of the obstacle course. Next week, students will relate this task to Newton’s Laws of Motion and continue to explore balanced and unbalanced forces.
Students in Lorin Love’s Biomedical Science course, while learning about biomolecules, diabetes and the insulin-glucagon cycle, celebrated a with a Plant Strong feast. Accounting for nutrients in plant-strong choices, students compared their meal with the standard American diet. At the conclusion of the feast, students were polled about what they learned. Following is a summary of their thoughts gathered on Polleverywhere!
Students in Anne Stidham’s Public Speaking course shared their policy change speeches last week. Students and teachers from other courses were invited to attend, as well as building and district administrators, which created an authentic audience for those delivering speeches. Students were asked to select a school topic of interest, such as ACT Period, House, school lunches, and the bell schedule. They then did research on what similar schools are doing, conducted interviews, summarized their findings, and persuaded administrators to consider their policy change suggestions. This was a great example of Quadrant D (high rigor, high relevance) activity because students selected their topics and had to apply their knowledge to solve an unpredictable situation. Additionally, they had to synthesize their results and present them in a compelling manner. It was a culmination of the skills they’ve learned in this course throughout the semester.
Monday, December 7th: Ohio Model United Nations Conference
Wind Ensemble Concert at 7:00 p.m. – McCoy
Tuesday, December 8th: Band Concert at 7:00 p.m. – McCoy