The Reds Tale

April 12, 2018

From the Desk of Mr. Roote

On March 22, a group of NHS students accompanied me, Ms. Reinholtz, Ms. Ohlson and Ms. Yuhas to a conference at our BOCES conference center down the street (see pictures below). The backdrop for the conference was designed based on some regional survey data Mr. Jay Roscup analyzed. The day started with a series of reflective prompts provided to the students:
  • Brainstorm strategies for building trusting relationships or what is required for trust to exist.
  • Imagine someone you barely knew had a personal issue (Examples: upset about something, has been bullied, looks like something is wrong) and you felt like you should tell someone-it could be an adult or a peer. Who would you choose to talk to?
  • What reasons do you have for extending trust to a peer, teacher, counselor etc.? Why did you pick this person?
  • Imagine a friend had a personal issue and you had to talk to someone at school-could be an adult or a peer. Who would you choose to talk to?
  • If someone breaks your trust, what strategies-if any-do you use to rebuild trust? What are some examples of broken trust or rebuilding trust?
  • In your relationships how often do you discuss your disagreements?
  • Do you agree with this statement: Relationships of all kinds-from friendship to work to romance-everything just depends on the random combination of personality.

While I found a great deal of meaning in all the activities planned for the day, I will note that the bold faced question above really got my attention. As a husband, father and teacher/principal I have become very aware of just how challenging it can be to build and maintain a high level of trust with our teenagers. My challenge is shared by our teachers, coaches, custodians etc.!

Take for example this classroom scenario: One of our teachers is working hard this year to promote collaboration and student to student dialogue in her classroom. She see's great value in integrating her small groups so that many voices are present and heard. In fact, she has developed specific protocols that maximize the chances all student have a voice in their group. A few weeks ago, students entered her classroom and she set them up into five groups of three to go over a recent assessment. The groups were set up so that each group included a high (85-100), medium (70-85) and low (below 70) score. The idea was for the group to share their work on the assessment with the outcome being a more thorough understanding of the concepts tested. One particular student in the class was grouped with a classmate she was navigating a small social media conflict with. Specifically, her classmate posted an unflattering picture of her that drew some criticism in the follow up posts. Unaware of the issue, the teacher responded to the students request to work alone with, "No, lets stick with the plan." The student became upset and left the classroom to spend the period with her counselor.

I share the story above because there is a moment, where if time were slowed down, could present as an opportunity for both the teacher and the student to keep their shared trust buckets full. Instead, the outcome was a significant drain, more so on the student's bucket. I will pose these questions: What if the teacher had a prior understanding of the peer issue? What if the student saw an opportunity to move on from the social media issue with the group work instead of as an opportunity to fall deeper into it?

While I don't have a perfect answer for how to build and maintain a level of unwavering trust, I will note that the aforementioned teacher has grown to better understand what makes the student tick that suffered a few gallons being dumped from her bucket. She is more active with the students parent and counselor now than ever.

I would be curious to learn what you do to regain trust with a teenager when a bit of it is lost?

From the Desk of Mr. Wagner

On our conference day, during the “unconference” sessions, I was able to participate in discussions focused on trauma informed classrooms and behavioral management. These were both well attended sessions as they are both areas that present challenges during our daily work with students. I really appreciated the contributions made by the educators in the room and learned from my colleagues who offered a wide-range of experiences and perspectives. I think we all know that students with trauma have difficulty learning. Specifically, I have learned that students who are affected by adverse childhood experiences can have difficulty with:

  • Managing “big” emotions
  • Chronic irritability/anxiety that interferes with problem solving
  • Empathy
  • Expressing concerns/needs in words
  • Considering the wider context of a situation
  • Appreciating how one’s behavior impacts other people
  • Working in groups/connecting with others

I would also like to share a key takeaway, which is that trauma is different for each individual and may not be something you would think is traumatic of stressful. I think this is important to consider as we are often in a position to place our values on our students.

It is our responsibility to ensure all students are successful learners, knowing that some students have complex histories that create barriers to learning. There are strategies such as being as informed as possible, using de-escalation techniques, and cultivating a positive and safe classroom culture that will help support all students. To add to that, I think that unconditional empathy and patience is the most effective way to support students who have experienced trauma. During the unconference session, it was clear that everyone felt that this is an area where we always need to grow. I will share with you that this is an area that I am committed to learning more about to better support the work I do with our students.

Mash Up

The April 17 half day schedule is designed to complement the SELF schedule on the following day. On April 17: Period 5/6 or 6/7 is 7:30-8:16 am. Period 7/8 or 8/9 is 8:19-8:55 pm. Period 10 is 8:59-9:35 pm and Period 11 is 9:38-10:14 am.

Due to significant testing conflicts we have cancelled the May SELF days.

I have asked our custodial/maintenance teams to more regularly lock the LGI as students are showing up inside. In some cases, they are present with no lights on. You can expect the space to be locked beginning at 2:30 pm daily.

Reminder for SELF days: NEC students use the gym from 10:48 am to 11:18 am. Please refrain from sending students to the gymnasium during that time.

Calendar Share

A period 1 schedule runs on April 18. SELF. Contact: T Roote.

Monday, February 19-March 24. Reception, Sunday March 11 from 2:00-4:00 pm. 36th Annual Wayne County High School Art Show.

Fridays until April 20. Junior Senior Prom Walk-Around Initials. Contact: R Ross or T Roote.

Tuesday, April 17 in the afternoon. Capstone Presentations. Contact: K Ganter.

No Empty Chair Campaign is from April 23-27. Contact: Nicole Reinholtz.

Monday, May 7 from 8:00 am-12:00 pm in the LGI. Health & Wellness Fair.

Saturday, May 12. Cabaret Night/Jazz Festival at 6:30 pm in the High School Gym.

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.

Upcoming Senior events summarized

Social Emotional Learning and the Plan for Excellence

The Instructional Corner

On March 29th, Mr. Cook shared the following quote during his opening address: “Every student, every day. It is one thing to say it, but we must live it. Our District vision commits us to engage all students with the diverse opportunities and academic experiences they need to reach their maximum potential. In Newark, personalized learning will be the means to that end by purposefully empowering students to embrace, reflect upon, and own their learning while supporting educators to deliver differentiated, data-informed instruction for every student, every day.”

This is not the way we’ve always done things; however, Personalized learning is not the shiny, new thing. It allows us to align the pieces of the puzzle (learning targets, differentiation, higher order thinking, assessments, and community building) that we have been working on over the last two years. This work may get messy at times, but we can support each other through this learning process. Our classrooms will continue to come alive for our every student, every day.

March 29 Conference Day Survey – please take an opportunity to provide feedback on each of the choice sessions that you attended. Your feedback will help provide information regarding our next steps. Remember: “Better is a never-ending quest.”

Alumni Spotlight: Jackson Correia

NHS Class of 2017: While in high school, Jackson participated in track and was on a sectional winning team in the 4x800 relay. He was actively involved with the Junior Members group of NAVA. He won the John Meath Scholarship , had a 96 average and graduated in the top 10% of his class graduating with an Advanced Regents diploma and Honors in Science. Jackson recently completed boot camp and Corpsman school with the NAVY. He is heading to the Field Medicine Training Battalion at Camp LeJeune through June 2018. Next step will be to go to the School of Infantry as his duty station at LeJeune as well. Words of Wisdom: "Be positive, things could be worse!"

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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.