The Reds Tale

May 24, 2018

From the Desk of Mr. Roote

Coming up in a couple of weeks is the Newark High School end of year awards ceremony. This event marks the culmination of a great deal of hard work for many of our students, but also marks a time in the school year when mention of a "trophy culture" begins to trend. Not familiar with this terminology? It is used most often in athletics. From "Want to eliminate 'Trophy Culture?' Stop worrying about winning and teach kids the little things" By Zach Barnett on May 30, 2017, "I’m not exactly sure why 'Trophy Culture' has bubbled to the surface now, because 'Trophy Culture' has existed for more than 25 years. I know this because I first started playing youth sports more than a quarter century ago, and a trophy was given to me after that season. I played sports throughout childhood — football, basketball and baseball — and a trophy was given to me after each season. Some of the teams I played on were good, and we were given large trophies. Some of those teams were bad, and we were given small trophies. But the existence of a trophy did not lull me or my peers into a false sense of accomplishments. We knew when we were good, and we knew when we were bad. When one team earned a trophy so big their parents had to carry it for them while we went home with oversized paperweights, none of us said, 'We both got trophies, therefore we are the same.' Notice the repeating verb in the second paragraph: given. No youth athlete decides to play a given sport because they’ll get a trophy afterwards. Seven-year-olds do not make contract demands; and if they do, they’re for a trip to a concession stand after each game, not a trophy at some point in the future."

To add a bit of shine to our awards ceremony before any gets rubbed off, here is a list of five reasons the NHS awards ceremony is not a participation prize event:

  • While most students in the building have an opportunity to fairly compete for an award, not every students gets an honor. In some cases, a student needs to be enrolled in a certain course to qualify or have a minimum GPA.
  • Some awards are character based, don't all students have good character? True, all of our students have the ability to do great things when no one is looking. However, many of the character awards focus on the embodiment of good character, which in my mind honors the appropriate application of good character. For example, a sportsmanship award probably has a bit greater meaning when the application of sportsmanship is applied at all levels as opposed to just among a familiar group of peers.
  • The awards we distribute do not deter a student from continuing to do well as high school is not the final step. Most of the students that receive awards at our awards ceremony go on to serve in the military, start careers and take college classes.
  • It is true we do celebrate participation at NHS with attendance awards. However, this does not occur at our awards ceremony. Instead, it occurs quarterly in the report card and infrequently in a subtle school recognition.

Since my wife and I are working hard to raise Jack (8) and Ava (6) to earn what they get and to not feel entitled, I will concede that I cringe at the participation trophy that sometimes shows up at home. In fact, a low point was when Jack tucked his t-ball trophy into bed with him. At this point, (a few years removed from the tuck-in) Jack is realizing the difference between an earned award and other types of award/reward. To that end, I wonder if it is best to build kids up, while teaching them that rationale thought...

From the Desk of Mr. Wagner

When I taught Global Studies and U.S. History, I found that it was difficult to motivate students towards the end of the year, when the weather gets nicer and summer is closer. I would give a speech to each class that this is the most important time of the year as we are finishing curriculum and preparing for final examinations. Students typically responded well, but the classroom was still lacking high engagement. I learned that it is important to shake things up towards the end of the year. Some of the changes I made...

  • I tried to make sure that the learning was active and less teacher directed - review games can be highly effective if carefully planned
  • I planned a different setting at least once per week - outside if it was nice out, the library to access technology, etc.
  • I found that having students track their own data motivated some of them to improve (on practice Regents exams for example)
  • Lastly, keeping in mind that the year is coming to an end and finding opportunities to celebrate the year with students can take a few minutes of the focus of test prep, as well as provide some much needed fun

Of course this is a challenge, but these strategies seemed to increase student engagement and support ending the year on a positive note.

Mash Up

Senior news!

I am putting this on my top three links of the year list from Mr. Sweet. Please take a look as the content is timely and well presented: 12 Tools for Building End of Year Review Activities.

Staff: Please be certain to hold your classes until the bell rings. With nicer weather here, this is the time of year we deal with leakage from classrooms. If we can manage some of this it is appreciated.

Cap and Gown Walk: It has become a Newark tradition whereby seniors tour their feeder schools in their caps and gowns. I am happy to share that this ritual will come back this year. On June 6, immediately after the high school end of year awards ceremony, seniors will board buses and head to their first school (either Lincoln or Perkins) where they will get their cap and gown. After a walk in (11:20 am) those two building the group will head to Kelley (11:50 pm) by bus and then to Perkins Park for lunch. They will end their tour at the middle school (1:10 pm) and will get their yearbooks upon return to NHS. As an added touch this year I would like to invite our District Office Staff to join us in the park for some food and fellowship. Also, some staff/parents enjoyed doing a bit extra last year and baked for the kids. Anyone interested in doing so again should drop their goods off at the high school the morning of the event and it will be transported to Perkins Park.

The Regional Education Continuum and Gemini programs at FLCC will hold more College 101 visits in the next academic year on Oct. 16 and April 25. These visits give small groups of high school juniors and seniors a sneak peek at the college experience by providing an exercise in building a class schedule, a chance to hear from professors about their expectations and more. (Click here for a sample visit schedule.) To reserve space during College 101 or ask questions, contact Jackie Tiermini, Regional Education Continuum (REC) project manager, at

Parking in the lower staff lot is going to get tight after the upcoming holiday. From the figure below you can see the planned footprint for several trailers that will be accessed regularly by contractors. Because they will be accessed, some flex space will be accounted for around them. The plan is to allow staff and some limited student parking to co-mingle in hopes all can be flexible.

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Calendar Share

The Shred Truck will be coming on Friday, May 25 at 9:30 am.

Sunday, May 27. HS Marching Band Newark Memorial Day parade/recognition.

Thursday, May 31. Last Reds Tale. Contact: T Roote.

Friday, June 1 from 6:30-8:30 pm in the high school gym. District Wide Art Show. Contact: C Dentel.

Monday June 3 at 7:30 pm. High School Band Spring Concert in our auditorium.

Wednesday, June 5 at 7:30 pm in our auditorium. High School Choral Spring Concert.

Wednesday, June 6 from 7:30-10:30 am. Academic Awards Ceremony. Contact: T Roote.

Wednesday, June 6 from 10:30-2:30 pm. Cap and Gown Walk. Contact: T Roote.

Saturday, June 9 at 7:30 am at the Alex Eligh Community Center. Laurel House 5K.

Upcoming Senior events summarized

Monday, June 10 at 6:30 pm. High School Music Awards Banquet.

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Social Emotional Learning and the Plan for Excellence

The Instructional Corner

Our classrooms have access to large amounts of data stemming from summative and formative assessments, teacher observations, district, and state assessments. Studies have found that the effective use of data can lead to improved student achievement. While no single assessment can provide educators with all the data needed to make all instructional decisions, educators can leverage various data points to make informed decisions to assist and support students. As we close in on the end of the year, we can look at this data to inform instructional decisions for targeted instructional review. This type of targeted review will give each student the support they need, where they need it.

Close up/Share a pic/vid!

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The Newark High School Mission, Vision and Values

The Newark High School Mission: We are a school community with deeply held hometown pride, committed to readying young people to be life-long learners with experiences aimed at continuously motivating us to hone our skills in the complex tasks of teaching and learning. Our community is devoted to providing supports for the aspirations of our adolescents as they mature into adults with ambitious plans for college and careers.

The Newark High School Vision: Staff embody the school values and impart confidence while providing an inviting classroom environment with clear expectations and specific academic and behavioral goals. Students embody the school values through intellectual and emotional perseverance. Families embody the school values while remaining actively involved as advocates for their children and supporters of the school programs and staff.

The Newark High School Values: Safe, Responsible, Trustworthy, and Respectful.