Weekly Information

  • 18-22 November - Diary of Anne Frank
    We've got a few regular weeks coming up for a change. But the next three weeks are the last three instructional weeks in the semester. Yeah, that's freaking me out a bit too. I've only got a small handful of meetings with you left, then my days get a lot less hectic. 

    As Crystal mentioned in her email, on Monday, students in Advanced Drama will be acting as Jews during the time of the Holocaust. This activity is meant to help them better understand what it was like to live through that time as they prepare to play their roles this week. You are not required to participate according to the rules Crystal outlined, but it would be helpful if you made their lives unnecessarily uncomfortable for the day.

    Tuesday during ASERT, we'll follow our regular schedule. There will be a short HSD meeting followed by either TIP or Growth Groups. 

    During homeroom this week, groups will meet in pairs again. Check the master house document (HR Brother/Sister tab) to see who your homeroom will be meeting with.

    The Diary of Anne Frank will be running Thursday through Saturday this week. Go see it. Really. There are limited seats each night, so get tickets soon. The students listed below are involved in the play and will be on campus late each night this week. Because of that, they are allowed to ask for extensions for assignments and for assessments to be rescheduled if needed. The students below the break have a lesser involvement and should continue to have time to complete out of class work during the show.
    Christian Malessa
    Josh Diener
    Jan Pieren
    Keegan Wolfenden 
    John Gorre
    Gracie Ransom
    Nina Colenbrander 
    Nia Kuy 
    Kyla Helwig 
    Kharis Young 
    Karis Bland
    Peter Kim
    HaJun Kim 
    David Zhao
    Hana Park

    Judah Stumbo 
    Asher Schultz
    Ben Hagen
    Zach Hagen
    Qian Bland
    Kye Hong

    Since we had to reschedule it from last week, there will be an earthquake drill this Friday at 12:51 - one minute before the bell rings. Please review the instructions in the Crisis Plan Manual found in your room so you know how to instruct your students during the drill. This is the longest drill since it requires assembling on White Field. 

    Our boys and girls varsity basketball teams were meant to travel to Hong Kong next week, but their tournaments were cancelled due to the political unrest. As of now, there will not be a trip, but Josh Manthe is working to schedule another opportunity for them. If that pushes through, I'll let you know as soon as I know.

    A delegation from MUN (Model United Nations) will travel for their regional assembly next week. Students will miss classes Friday, 29 November, and Monday, 2 December. That list of names will be sent this week and students will bring their absence forms around for you to sign.
    Posted Nov 17, 2019, 4:30 AM by HSD Principal
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Thank You

  • Blood Drive
    Thanks to Carolyn and NHS for sponsoring our blood drive this week. If I remember correctly, we donated almost 40 units - although a surprisingly high number of people were turned away for low hemoglobin counts. I guess we all need to eat more spinach. 
    Posted Nov 10, 2019, 2:00 AM by HSD Principal
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Teaching Thoughts

  • (Getting) Better Together
    At EARCOS, I attended a couple of sessions with a presenter from Resources for Better Teaching (and it was mostly for reasons other than that they are from Boston). During each session, the speaker mentioned that in thirty years of research and consulting, he and his colleagues had never seen an effective school in which teachers were not working together to improve learning. In other words, collaboration based around improved practice was a factor present in every effective school they have seen.

    As you have been working together this year, hopefully you have found engaging with colleagues about your teaching practices encouraging. But maybe you are wondering how to make your group work more effective. The cover story in the current Harvard Business Review is Cracking the Code of Sustained Collaboration. As Francesca Gino has studied organizations in which effective collaboration happens, she found three common employee characteristics: they respect colleagues’ contributions; they are open to experimenting with others’ ideas; and they are sensitive to how one’s actions affect colleagues’ work. Gino specifies six skills that can be taught and learned that she says will help anyone looking to improve their collaboration. In the upcoming ASERT times, try to pick one and work on it with your team.

    Train to Listen, Not Talk
    We should:
    • Ask expansive questions: Try to get others to elaborate on ideas by asking "why" and "how" type questions instead of yes-or-no questions.
    • Focus on listening, not on yourself: Practice active listening techniques instead of spending time thinking about what you will say or how you will respond.
    • Engage in "self-checks": Constantly evaluate how you are responding in interactions. Pay attention to and critique your own tendencies while working with others.
    • Become comfortable with silence.

    Train to Practice Empathy
    You will understand your colleagues' contributions better if you can learn to see things from their point of view. 

    Train to be More Comfortable with Constructive Feedback
    This can be one of the main hinderances to observing and being observed in your classroom; it is uncomfortable to have others tell you what you don't do so well. But all professionals evaluate their own performance and ask coaches to do the same. "Discuss feedback aversion openly" in your groups and give each other the permission to give it when needed.

    Train to Lead and Follow
    Everyone will fill both roles at some point while working together.

    Train to Speak with Clarity and Avoid Abstractions
    Clearly state your thinking and conclusions. And speak directly to specific things you notice while working together. Saying, "The assessment guidelines you gave for the photosynthesis lab were not clear," is much more helpful than saying, "We should make sure students know what we want."

    Train to Have Win-Win Interactions
    Make sure you fully understand what other people are asking or expecting. Sometimes outcomes that seem mutually exclusive are not after all.
    Posted Nov 10, 2019, 2:29 AM by HSD Principal
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