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Weekly Announcements

22-26 October - Change in Seasons

posted Oct 21, 2018, 3:57 AM by HSD Principal

I'm writing this Sunday evening and there is still no internet on campus. Hopefully, it will be restored by the time classes start Monday, or it may be a rough day. Interestingly, students thought that we had intentionally disconnected it to prevent them from using devices after our speaker on Wednesday.

It was really encouraging that all the shout-outs at the all staff meeting last week were directed at high school staff. From my chair, it really seems like you all are working really well together and I hope we are able to keep up that momentum throughout the year.

On that note, be planning your teacher-to-teacher visits for this quarter. They will be more helpful the sooner they are carried out so that you have time to reflect and adjust your teaching practices based on what you observe.

ACSC athletes should all be back in class on Monday. They have one week to catch up on missed work, so they should be on track by next Monday, 29 October. Many will be trying out for second season sports beginning Wednesday, but they need to prioritize catching up in classes first. You can let them know that if they are not caught up by Monday, they will be marked ineligible for the week. 

Tuesday's ASERT will be in the library. All MSD and HSD staff will be together, so you all can go straight there at 1:40.

Wednesday is ExCo's Appreciation Day. Notes and tickets will be placed in student lockers after school Tuesday and food items will be distributed in front of the high school office during lunch.

Aladdin Jr. is running this week. On Thursday there will be a matinee showing, enabling students to get home early and not be so tired during class on Friday. Some high school students will be missing part of the day on Thursday in order to prepare. I am working with the staff to finalize who that is and will send out a list when I've got one.

For homeroom, we will be continuing the AXIS series on relationships. There are no large-scale plans during activity period, so most students will have an extended lunch.

You may have seen Brian's email that we are renewing our subscription to Turn It In after all. That comes with two additional parameters. All MSD and HSD long-form writing assignments should be collected through Turn It In. We had some plagiarism issues first semester that were only caught because teachers got suspicious. We want to train our students well and catch them in the act now when consequences are less severe. Also, the deadline on Turn It In defaults to midnight (11:59 PM, I think). But we want to encourage our students to get sleep, so I'm asking that you change the deadline on your assignments to 9:00 PM on the due date. Please do the same if you use Google Classroom. It's a simple change that I hope will help shift our culture a bit.

No one has let me know about PD books they would like to get. I'm going to place an order in about three weeks, so if there are books you'd like, send the titles my way.

Next week is a short week. We will follow the normal Monday schedule, but there will be an all-school chapel on Tuesday. Tuesday will still be odd blocks, and Wednesday will be even blocks, but the times will be a bit shorter. Then you'll get to enjoy a four-day weekend before the final six weeks of the semester.

15-19 October - ACSC Season 1

posted Oct 14, 2018, 1:21 AM by HSD Principal

We're one week into the quarter, and that means we have eight weeks of class before semester exams. Make the most of that time with your classes.

If you missed last week's ASERT meetings, here is the link to what was shared at the short HSD meeting. Short version: 1) plan on visiting other classrooms this quarter and 2) let me know if you want any specific books for PD. Also, talk to someone in your department since each department reviewed departmental documents and then made goals that teachers will be working on this year. Initial progress on those goals will be discussed at the first ASERT of the month for the remainder of the semester.

It is ACSC week for first season sports teams. The ACSC lists have been updated to include the managers who will also be traveling with the teams. You should see all players on Monday, so feel free to give them work to do while they are away.
  • The boys soccer team and girls volleyball team will miss school Tuesday through Friday.
  • The girls soccer team and boys volleyball team will miss school Wednesday through Friday.
Students who miss class for ACSC tournaments have five school days upon their return to make up missed work. That means that they should be caught up fully by Monday, 29 October. You can work with students in your classes on the best schedule for making sure that happens.

Tuesday for ASERT there will be an All-Staff Meeting in Tipunan.

On Wednesday, we will have a special speaker in chapel. Brad Huddleston will be here to talk about how device use affects us. The original time announced in the Community Bulletin was a misprint; Brad's session will be during the regular chapel time, and we will not be running a special schedule. Middle school students will be joining us for the session, so we will meet in Cadd Theater again.

Thursday during homeroom, we will be using a resource from AXIS, the group that did the seminar for us last year. It is the first part of a four-part series that we will go through this quarter. Depending on how this one goes, we may use more of their programs for homeroom in the future. Homeroom leaders will be sent instructions in a few days.

Friday during activity period, student leaders will have a meeting covering the Leadership Agreement. All other students will have an extended lunch.

If you've got small classes due to ACSC absences, it might be a good week to schedule a classroom visit.

9-12 October - Back for Q2

posted Oct 8, 2018, 4:39 AM by HSD Principal

Welcome back from October break. I hope you all had a restful week and feel ready to jump into second quarter. I was encouraged by your involvement and engagement during the inservice. Hopefully, we can keep up that momentum as we work together to help all of our students succeed this year.

We will not modify bell schedules this week, so Tuesday will start the quarter with odd blocks.

Tuesday for ASERT we will have a 15-minute HSD meeting in the lounge beginning at 1:40. At 2:00, all teaching staff will meet in the library to work on departmental documents.

Wednesday is the PSAT. All students in grades 10 and 11 will take the exam in the morning and will not be in class for blocks 2 and 4. Since Tipunan will be used for testing, HSD chapel will be in Cadd Theater on Wednesday.

Thursday during homeroom, Sandy will be giving a seminar on head injuries to all high school students in Tipunan. You are welcome to attend, but she will be giving a seminar for staff later in the month, so you will be getting more teacher-specific information at that time.

This weekend is the Dan Landry Tournament. Students will not miss class and it should not disrupt the school schedule. Just come out when you're able and cheer on our volleyball teams.

On Friday, I will be off campus with all the house leaders for a one-day retreat. We will spend time debriefing after first quarter and planning for the remainder of the year. They will be bringing around Planned Absence Forms in the next day or two.

Friday during activity period, ExCo will be running an assembly in Tipunan for all students new to high school to explain the service hour program and requirements. I will be off-campus, so I would appreciate a few teachers attending so the ExCo officers aren't on their own with 60 students.

Next week, the varsity teams will be traveling to their respective ACSC tournaments. Those athletes will be bringing around absence forms as well. They will have homework time scheduled into their trip, so feel free to send some work along with them. They will have the entirety of the following week to make up their missed work, so they should be caught up by 29 October.

If you didn't get around to filling out the First Quarter Reflection before break, please take a couple of minutes and do that now.

I am really glad to be working with you all this year. I hope working with our students inspires you.

24-28 September - End of Q1 Already

posted Sep 23, 2018, 4:53 AM by HSD Principal

It's the end of first quarter already. And that means the year is 25% over - which is weird to think about. Five more days and you get a well-deserved break.

Remember that, due to our half day of class and Parent/Teacher Conferences on Friday, Monday we will be running the Friday schedule. During Activity Period, Tharseo has a lunch party and Dennis will be kicking off the GameTogether room. Monday is also a non-uniform day for Tharseo and Machaira.

For ASERT on Tuesday, we will have a brief high school meeting in the lounge, talking about some expectations for conferences. Beginning about 2:00, there will be an all-staff seminar with Paul Campy, an author and speaker; that will take place in Tipunan.

Remember: In preparation for the end of quarter and parent/teacher conferences, please have up-to-date grades that reflect students' progress posted by end of day Wednesday, 26 September. Quarter grades are not final in high school, they are just progress grades for the semester, but students and their parents need to have an accurate picture of their progress up to this point.

On Friday, we will run a half-day schedule with periods 1-8 meeting. It will give you some time to wrap up the quarter, return student work, or maybe get some quarter 1 feedback from your classes. 

And speaking of quarter 1 feedback, please take a couple of minutes to fill out this First Quarter Reflection some time this week. During a free moment at conferences on Friday might be a perfect time since the quarter will be behind you at that point, but feel free to complete it sooner if you have a free moment.

Parent/Teacher Conferences:
High school will have only one afternoon of conferences on Friday from 12:00-4:00 (unlike the other divisions, which have two full days of conferences). As mentioned above, we will run a short schedule on Friday with an 11:00 dismissal.
  • All teaching staff are expected to be at conferences, even if you don't normally teach on Friday. If you need to be gone part of the time (eg. you coach a team with a competition that evening), please clear that with me so we can inform parents ahead of time. (I know about the cross country and boys soccer games already.)
  • Lunch will be provided in the lounge beginning at 11:00, so come and fill your belly before heading over to conferences.
  • During conference time, all high school staff will be at tables in Tipunan. Tables will have nameplates on them so parents can find you. Please be there by 11:50 to get yourself set up and organized. 
  • Parents will be able to sign up for 10 minute blocks with teachers. There will be an alert that sounds when the time is up. Please ask parents to be polite and move on when their scheduled time is complete; someone may be waiting for an appointment in the back of the room, but be too shy to interrupt your conversation. 
    • If it's obvious in once a block begins that a teacher is free, a parent may ask to speak with him or her.
  • This is a time for parents to ask specific questions about how their children are doing in your courses, so be ready to speak to that. They should all have been able to see updated grades, so it's likely you'll be seeing parents whose children are not doing as well as they hoped in your class.
  • Bring a laptop so you can access Sycamore and share it with parents. You may also want to bring other grades if they are not accessible yet online, student work if it would help parents understand their child's progress, or other materials that you may want to reference (eg. course resources).
  • You will likely have free time, so feel free to bring work to grade, a book to read, a game on your phone/tablet/laptop/etc. to pass the time if you are not currently with a parent.
  • Please plan to be there until 4:00. Some parents do take off work early and come later in the afternoon. So just because no one may be looking for you at 2:30 doesn't mean no one else is coming.

17-21 September - Some Normalcy

posted Sep 16, 2018, 5:00 PM by HSD Principal

The hijinks of Spirit Week are over and we are returning to normal school until October break - with one schedule change next week mentioned below.

You all should have received both your Yearly Goals Sheet and a teacher rubric. Fill out the rubric and goals sheet according to the instructions here. Mars will soon be scheduling goals meetings for us to review your plans for the year.

You may have noticed that there is a new PD reading shelf in the HS lounge. The PD box was sad and lonely, so I beefed it up a bit and found the few books some new companions. As you have need or desire, feel free to sign out books from the shelf to use in your classroom. The shelf includes titles such as:
  • Differentiating Instruction
  • Advancing Formative Assessment in Every Classroom
  • How to Grade for Learning
  • How to Plan Rigorous Instruction
  • How to Assess Higher Order Thinking Skills in Your Classroom
  • Making Standards Useful in the Classroom
... and many more!

There is also a shelf for personal reading. The books on that shelf may be borrowed, but write your name and date read in the cover. Then, as you read, feel free to annotate, mark up, add notes to or stick notes in, add personal comments, etc. to the books. That way, we will create a running commentary as we read books together and hopefully start some good conversations around literature. If you have books you would like to add to that shelf, feel free to do so.

A few policy reminders:
  • No underclassmen should be going to the V during class time unless accompanied by teacher. You may not send underclass students to the V unattended.
  • Students should not be wearing anything other than the blue or gray uniform hoodie. Sports team jackets, class sweatshirts, or any other sweatshirts are not allowed.
  • If you have students submitting written work, please refer them to the Style Manual and ask that they follow its guidelines. 
Next week is the final week of the quarter, so there are a few things to note.
  • Because of the half day on Friday, we will run Friday's schedule on Monday, 24 September. That means the week starts with a second period block, so remind your students - and yourselves - of that. The schedule Tuesday through Thursday will remain unchanged.
  • Since the quarter is ending, students need reflective grades in all their classes. Please plan ahead and make sure will have up to date grades posted by end of day on Wednesday, 26 September, in order to prepare for...
  • High School Parent / Teacher Conferences will take place on Friday, 28 September from 12-4 after a half day of classes (short periods 1-8). Even if you do not normally teach on Friday, you need to plan on attending the conferences; it is the only scheduled day for high school parent/teacher conferences all year. If for some reason you need to leave at 2:30, clear that with me this week, but as it is a school day, everyone needs to be there from at least 12-2:30.
I will be away on the Admin Retreat Wednesday and Thursday this week. Maddy will be high school OIC while I am gone, but she's teaching, so don't have any problems she'd need to solve.

10-14 September - Costumes & Hijinks

posted Sep 9, 2018, 1:49 AM by HSD Principal

It's Spirit Week again. None of the activities should disrupt your class time, and you all are welcome to participate at whatever level you'd like.

If you haven't heard yet, Hanani will be on medical leave for a while. For the immediate future, Maddy will be the primary person covering the IG Biology classes. As a result, she will not be in the office. Joyce will be handling eligibility in the coming weeks, and VP issues can be passed on to me. Obviously, that isn't a great solution, so be praying for Hanani, Maddy, and all of us as we seek someone to cover the classes more consistently.

Also, last week the father of Sky and Bada Hong was arrested in China. He was later released, but the family was given three days to leave country - time which would be running out today. Keep the family in prayer as they have to make an unexpected transition, pray for Sky and Bada who are processing this all from afar, and as you have opportunity, they may need some grace in the coming weeks. At least they know their family is safe.

For ASERT on Tuesday, there are a few things going on. First, at 1:40, we will all meet in the high school lounge for 20 minutes. We will go over the annual goals process for this year; Mars will be sharing documents with you in the next day or two. At about 2:00, we will split up. Those helping classes prepare for presentations will go that direction. Everyone else will spend the next hour working on recording their goals for the year. The hope is that most of you will be able to finish that process on Tuesday, so you don't need to work on it sometime else.

As you're planning the next few weeks, keep in mind that all students will need to have grades that accurately represent their progress for the quarter by Wednesday, 26 September. We will have parent-teacher conferences that Friday, and parents need information to determine which of you they would like to visit during conferences.

Spirit Week Information

ExCo complied all the information and rules for Spirit Week in this info document. It was sent to all students, so you may reference it, and they should know what you're talking about.

Students will be dressing up according to the theme each day, but you still have dominion over your class. If a costume or prop is distracting or unsafe in your space, you have the permission to tell students to take off a costume piece (if they would still be covered appropriately!), or put a prop in the back of the room.

ExCo will count students dressed up each day. On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, that will happen during 4th period. The other days, it will be during first period.

All week long, students will be vying for the house flags. ExCo needs a log of which house has control of flags each period, so please keep track of who enters your class with flags, and send that info to the ExCo email at the end of each day. Since the student who brings the flag into the room is allowed to leave with it this year, there should be no fighting or racing for flags this year; they can just be left somewhere in the room that will not be distracting. Complete rules are on the Spirit Week Info document.

ExCo is still looking for some people to judge costumes during lunch each day (except Wednesday). If you haven't already, you can sign up for a judging slot. Lunch costume judging only takes a few minutes. The board judging after school on Friday will take a bit longer.

House performances will take place in Cadd during chapel time on Wednesday. All of you should plan to attend, watch the student performances, and cheer for your houses.

On Thursday and Friday during Homeroom and Activity Period, there will be house games. Again, come on out and root for your house. Lunch times will not be invaded with activities this week - except for the costume judging.

We are praying that - no matter who wins challenges or games - all students would have fun this week and feel connected and involved. As you have opportunity, you can foster those feelings as you interact with students.

3-7 September - One Month Down

posted Sep 2, 2018, 3:50 AM by HSD Principal   [ updated Sep 2, 2018, 4:03 AM ]

You've made it through the first month of school! Thanks for all the work you have put in so far in getting the year off to a good start. This is MSD Friendship Week, so you'll see costumes and hijinks on the other side of campus. Don't worry, costumes and hijinks are coming your way soon enough.

School photos for high school students will be taken on Monday in Cadd 119-120. Crystal sent instructions and a schedule to everyone affected. We'd also like a picture of you, so stop by when you're free on Monday or Tuesday to get your picture taken.

Steve Hong is again running his World Lit "Jew for a Day" activity. See the email he sent for all the details. If you are hearing about this for the first time, you're probably thinking, "How is this a thing!?" The activity has been evaluated each year it has been conducted and students have always found it a really powerful and empathy-building experience. Feel free to participate at whatever level you are comfortable with.

Tuesday for ASERT, high school will be attending a session with a trainer from Foundational Teacher Training Portfolio (FTTP). Come to Tipunan at 1:40 with a device and a willingness to learn.

ExCo will be hosting the first prayer vigil of the year on Saturday, 8 September, from 6-8 pm in Tipunan. If you are able, feel free to come and join students in praying for each other and our community. Following our theme of being Better Together, we would like to pray for your requests. The prayer request box will be in the high school office all week and any submitted requests will be prayed for during the vigil on Saturday.

Next week is Spirit Week (costumes and hijinks). So that houses have time to get their acts together (literally), both homeroom on Thursday and activity period on Friday are reserved for performance practice. Next Tuesday, houses will all get a chance to practice on stage after school. House performances will be in Cadd during chapel time on Wednesday, 12 September. Again, feel free to participate in the costumes and hijinks as much as you feel comfortable.

Students' video game obsessions have been the topic of many a study in recent years. This article talks about three psychological needs that games like Fortnite meet for students:
We look for competence — the need for mastery, progression, achievement, and growth. We need autonomy — the need for volition and freedom of control over our choice. And finally, we strive for relatedness — the need to feel like we matter to others and that others matter to us.
Unfortunately, often school is "in many ways the antithesis of a place where kids feel competence, autonomy, and relatedness." But that is not necessarily how school needs to run. As you plan for this week, look for ways to foster feelings of competence, autonomy, and relatedness for your students - and maybe they won't stay up until 2:00am playing Fortnite.

And remember to scroll down and read the Teaching Tips section.

28-31 August - Recovery Week

posted Aug 27, 2018, 4:42 AM by HSD Principal

Thanks to everyone who helped out in any way with High School Retreat. Until the bus fiasco as we were trying to depart, it went as smoothly as any retreat I have been a part of planning. I know feedback I get is filtered, but I have heard good things though third parties as students have been talking. As you have opportunity, reinforce the ideas talked about at retreat in connection with your class content. And if you missed retreat, feel free to ask students about it.

Students have also had their recovery day, so feel free to jump right back into your course content. We will not be altering our weekly schedule for the missed Monday, so this week will consist of two sets of block days Tuesday-Friday.

Tuesday for ASERT, we will have the first of our ELL instructional times for this year. It will be a longer session since there is a lot to cover, so plan on being engaged for the entire ASERT time until 4:15. Meet in Tipunan at 1:45.

Thursday during homeroom, houses will meet to continue to plan for Spirit Week performances. 

By this Friday, 31 August, please post grades for your classes. It's already mid-quarter so students and their parents need to have a picture of their academic progress so far. If for some reason, a current grade is not accurately reflective, make a comment explaining why.

Beginning this week, I will be including teaching tips from various articles in the Teaching Thoughts section below. Be sure to check it out and glean any tips applicable to your situation. 

20-24 August - High School Retreat

posted Aug 19, 2018, 1:35 AM by HSD Principal

We've only got three days of class this week as we speed toward High School Retreat. 

For winning the house games in chapel two weeks ago, Machaira members will get to wear their house shirts on Monday, 20 August, since classes were called off last Monday. This goes for Machaira teachers too, if they would like to join :)

Tuesday, we will run a special schedule in order to honor employees who have served for 25 years. This is the first time we have done this, so there are quite a few who will be honored. There will be a brief ceremony at the flag pole at the beginning of the day, then a half hour ceremony at the end of the school day, which students will also attend. Each class will be ten minutes shorter to account for the celebration. You can check Peter Winslade's email for the full details of the day.

After school on Tuesday, you are all invited to a reception for the honored employees. You can stop by and greet them and get a snack, but don't feel the need to stay for the entire hour. After that, we will have a short HSD meeting at 2:30 in the staff lounge. It will be largely about High School Retreat so that everyone is ready for that event later this week.

Wednesday will be normal.

Thursday we will not hold classes. It will be a non-uniform day for students and the half day of school will be taken up with student meetings. First, classes will have an hour to plan for their High School Retreat dance spectacular. Then, houses will have two hours to work on their Spirit Week plans. An email will be sent out with more details about what we are hoping houses will accomplish that day.

Monday, 27 August, is a holiday, so enjoy your day off. I usually say to sleep in and eat waffles, but you can eat the lazy breakfast fare of your choice. You've earned it after sleeping in cabins for High School Retreat.

13-17 August - Picking Up Speed

posted Aug 12, 2018, 3:56 AM by HSD Principal

This is about the week when it feel like you are getting yourself and your classes into a rhythm. Hopefully you've had the time and energy to get things going well.

I'm sorry about the unexpected fire drills - both during and after school. As I mentioned, we will count that as our first fire drill of the year. The manufacturer finally came in and fixed our alarm system, so there should no longer be any false alarms as there have been for the past several months. We will still have a second fire drill at some point, as well as our earthquake and intruder drills, but I'll get you information before we hold those other drills.

We got an alarm clock for the lounge to beep every morning at 6:50 and remind us to pray. If you are around in the morning, join us for a short time of prayer for each other and our students. Tuesday, a member of high school staff will lead a devotion, and on Wednesday, all staff are invited to the lounge for a devotion. 

On Tuesday, you will have no ASERT responsibilities - unless you are cross-over MSD staff. You have the afternoon off because high school will hold Meet the Teacher afternoon on Wednesday. You will need to be available in your room for parents to come talk with you and find out about your class. Maddy sent out an information sheet for you to use and a schedule that parents will use to find you. Please make sure your space is organized and welcoming for parents on that day.

If you have not done so yet, please email me who your homeroom leader will be this year. I want to get all the leaders set up in the Google group this week as they will be sent information about what they will be doing at High School Retreat, which is the next time homerooms will meet. If you will not be attending retreat, your student leader will take charge of your homeroom's activities.

On Thursday during homeroom time, houses will meet to begin talking about ideas for Spirit Week. Unless you let me know otherwise, I will send houses to where they met on the first day of school - except Kaio will go to Steve's room (P18).

Friday's activity period will be spent holding class elections. If you are associated with a class, I will send you some instructions on what that will look like. Information will also go out to students early in the week.

High School Retreat is coming up next week. If you have not done so, please complete the staff chaperone form so ExCo can complete their plans this week. Cabin lists and bus lists have been made and will be shared with you, as well as expectations of staff while there. 

Beginning after High School Retreat, you will be asked to develop your yearly goals. Some goals will be given to you by the school, others you will set for yourselves. 

Just to confirm a few things that were said in the assembly last week:
  • Because there is no adult supervision in the library right now, the library has asked us not to send any students there without being accompanied by a teacher. That means study hall supervisors should not send any students to the library unless they take their whole study hall there and supervising them. If you are supervising students, it is your responsibility to make sure they are following library rules: not eating or drinking, not leaving trash or scattering books, leaving the space clean when finished. As Maddy said, seniors are the exception to this and may still use the library when they desire.
  • During any free time in class, students should be taking out a book to read and not engaging with a device. Please ask students in your space to follow that directive.

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