The Raider ACE!
What's Going On In Raider Nation Vol. 2 Issue 39
Volume 1 Issue 4 - September 18, 2023 - September 22, 2023
We Must Teach Our Kids To Focus!
If we want our kids to be successful in the classroom and ultimately go out and change the world, they have to learn the power of focus. If students focus on a subject, task, or objective, they will be triumphant.
By definition, focus is a thinking skill that lets people to start a task without procrastination and then keep up their attention and effort until the job is complete. It is an ability to not only pay attention to things that they are engaged in but also avoid distractions that will impede the work they are trying to do.
According to Dennis Prager, “Happiness is dependent on self-discipline and focus” The biggest hurdle in achieving our goals is how easily we let ourselves be distracted by things that do not count as progress towards our achievements.
As professional educators, we have to teach our students to focus and stay on task. In many cases, that's the difference between passing or failing grade. We also have to teach our young people the importance of having a plan.
“A goal without plan is just a wish.” You cannot expect everything you want to magically appear in front of you. It takes hard work and every successful person in history put that hard work in to cash their goals as reality.
We are W.J. Keenan High School. Home of the Champion Raiders!
There are a few things that we will need to make sure we are doing to keep the natural order and flow of our school:
- School starts at 8:00 a.m. Remind students they need to report to class before then to avoid a tardy.
- Stand at your door during the change of each class.
- You must not leave your students unsupervised for any reason.
- Please do not allow students into the hallway without a pass.
- Please do not allow students that are not on your roster in your classroom. Students need to be in their scheduled classroom to receive credit. You are accountable for every student in your room.
- You may only sign out to leave on your planning period and/or with administrator approval in an emergency circumstance if you do not have a scheduled absence.
- If you are absent from school, it is your professional responsibility to input the appropriate information in Frontline in a timely manner. Substitutes are limited. Please check Munis prior to doing this so you are aware of your available days for an absence.
Raider Dates to Remember
Monday, September 18, 2023
- "Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it." — Charles R. Swindoll
Tuesday, September 19, 2023
- Faculty Meeting in the lecture hall @ 3:30 p.m.
- SRO Meeting in the Theater @ 4:30 p.m.
- “Change your thoughts, and you change your world.”— Norman Vincent Peale
Wednesday, September 20, 2023
- “Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” — Maya Angelou
Thursday, September 21, 2023
- "If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way." — Napoleon Hill
Friday, September 22, 2023
- Varsity Football Vs. Newberry H.S. @ W.J. Keenan (Cluster Night / Focus on Math) 7:30 p.m.
- Magnet Meeting (Theater) @11:10 a.m.
- "If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door." — Milton Berle
Ms. Abongnwi's Science Class!
After completing the Topic: Science and Engineering practice, students were given an assignment to apply the steps of the scientific method and design an experiment to solve a daily life situation of their choice. They independently did some research, worked in groups to complete the task, and answered questions after making presentations.
Mrs. Lawson-Wilson's Teaching and Learning News!
I will be placing pertinent information here and, in the Raiders Chest, in lieu of emails. Please be sure to read weekly especially if you are in a department leader role.
Here's what's going on in Teaching and Learning:
I would like to highlight the World Languages department this week! They are doing a phenomenal job with many areas of the South Carolina 4.0 Teaching standards. They are executing different strategies, consistent with formative checks for understanding and structure and pacing throughout their lessons. Not only this, but each of their classrooms also create a space for students to take risks in their learning! There is a level of consistency there that may be found in each one of their classrooms. In addition to that, they started their World Languages Club last year! Hats off to Mrs. Stan for her leadership and Senor Castro and Senor Sparkman for their professionalism and ability to activate student ownership and engagement. This department is on a mission! I look forward to highlighting another department soon.
I would also like to highlight Mr. Waring. I observed his learning community where I witnessed a number of things that worked well: learning objectives and state standards were clearly communicated to the students, there was a clear plan for instruction and he used multiple strategies to meet student needs. Teacher clarity was evident.
Way to go Mr. Waring!
Teacher CLARITY is our instructional focus this year. According to John Hattie's meta-analysis, teacher clarity has an effect size of .75 which doubles student gains in learning. Again, the clearer things appear for the learning community (all stakeholders) the better the student outcomes. Here are the questions that administrators will be asking your students when we are observing this year.
- What am I learning? (Learning Intentions/Targets)
Why am I learning it? (Clarity & Motivation)
How will I know that I have learned it? (Success Criteria)
Dates to Remember:
September 22 - Early Release/School PD
October 18 - End of First Nine Weeks
October 19 - Teacher Workday
October 20 - Student/Staff Holiday (Fall Break)
October 27- Early Release Day/Parent-Teacher Conferences
November 10 - Early Release/PD
Based on the chart data, is the teaching strategy you use the most yielding the best results in your classes? How do you know? The classrooms that I observe with the participatory teaching methods have the highest levels of student engagement and the better student outcomes.
If you are posting work outside your door, the standard used should accompany that along with the learning outcome for that lesson.
Please be sure to communicate the learning objective to your students verbally and in writing at the start of your lesson. Students should also be able to communicate their learning outcomes and know where the lesson will lead them. We are showing inconsistencies across the building in this area. Without knowing the purpose of the lesson, students will not be able to see meaning beyond the completion of an assignment.
Please be sure to access the Raiders Chest in One Drive for important information regarding the Secondary Grading Manual. Be sure to follow the guidelines for grading this year that I reviewed with you during our Professional Learning (Round Robin session). Give me a call if you have questions.
While the district has provided the gradebook setup, there were some reports of gradebook miscalculations. Please see the document (in the Raiders Chest under Instructional Resources) provided by Mrs. King in the to help resolve this problem that you may have encountered. Please make sure that you are updating your gradebooks weekly.
Mastery Connect is the platform that the district has in place to support formative assessments in the classroom.
A copy of the Mastery Connect Handbook is in the Raiders Chest. Please review so that you are aware of district guidelines for using this resource for Formative Assessments. Please see the start of school year guide for teachers in the folder titled Instructional Resources in the Raiders Chest. Department Leaders will be able to assist you with setting up trackers if you need help. This needs to be completed by each teacher. If you are having issues with logging into Mastery Connect or delivering assessments through Mastery Connect, please submit to a 1 to 1 ticket and add Cerissa Allen as the collaborator. If you run into any other issues, send me an email.
Certified Staff Certification/Recertification:
Renewal teachers/staff should have signed up for Read to Succeed if you have not taken the class. Information regarding this was sent out through District Announcements. Anyone that is renewing this year, has been placed on an informal (continuing formative) evaluation this year. Your evaluator is listed in SCLead. You will also need to complete 120 hours to renew your certificate.
SLO meetings are in progress. Information will need to be placed in SCLead for your SLO/GBE/SGG process. Please begin adding this information if your meeting is complete. SLO information is in the Raiders Chest.
September 19th begins the fall evaluation cycle for certified teachers who are Continuing Formative, Annual Summative or Induction in SCLead. Your evaluation teams are listed when you login. The chairs of each team will reach out to you regarding your specific process.
Parent accounts are a great way to engage the parents and guardians of your students. Teachers can send Parent Access Codes from their "classes" within Schoology. The instructions are below:
Download a List of Parent Access Codes
- Within a course, click Members.
- On the right side of the Members area, click Parent Access Codes.
- Click Download to automatically download a CSV file containing the students' names and the corresponding Parent Access Codes for the instructor to distribute accordingly.
Once parents register for Schoology using the code, their account will automatically be associated with their child’s account. Parents will be able to view all of their child’s activities, courses, groups, calendars, updates, attendance, and grades, depending on the permissions and privacy settings you put in place by System Admin (District IT).
First Tuesday: Faculty
Second Tuesday: Department Leaders
Third Tuesday: Freshman Academy
Fourth Tuesday: PLC
I hope you enjoy your week!
The Volleyball Team Is Locked In This Season
Mr. Hankins' Hang Out!
Raider Community Student Support
Teachers and staff, we need your assistance in providing support for our young Raider students. Through our Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) framework, we are aiming to give our students the tools they need to be successful.
Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) is a school-wide, data driven, proactive framework for improving both learning and behavioral outcomes for all students. MTSS uses the problem-solving process to meet the academic, behavioral, social, and emotional needs of each student. (https://www.richlandone.org/Domain/1736)
You may be asked to sit in on MTSS meetings as a classroom teacher, serve as a mentor, advocate or content expert for students. The goal is to surround students with as many caring adults and resources as possible to allow students to thrive. Thank you in advance for your assistance and cooperation.
Please note the following dates for school photos:
· September 27—Senior makeups (for seniors who missed their photo sessions this summer)
· October 9—Fall Individuals (students in grades 9-11 AND faculty/staff
· November 30—Fall Individuals makeup
There Is Nothing Like Getting Promoted!
Dubard's Grad Coach Updates
- Seniors, please join the "2023 - 2024 Seniors" Schoology group for daily Scholarships and information updates.
- The Gates, Coco-Cola, and The Ron Brown Scholarships are now open! Check the 2023-2024 Senior group on Schoology for details.
Quote "Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good."
Mr. Meschwitz's Corner!
The Giving Season is upon us! Our 2023 United Way Campaign officially begins Monday, September 11 and it will run through Friday, September 29. Turn-in dates will be Thursday and Friday, October 5-6.
Last year’s campaign was a great success at WJ Keenan High School with so many of our phenomenal faculty and staff members contributing to help make positive impacts in our community.
Again, this year, our goal is 100 percent employee participation in the campaign. While we do not focus on how much employees give, we do encourage our faculty and staff to consider giving through payroll deduction. If every employee gives even just one dollar per pay period, that would go a long way in helping to support the United Way of the Midlands.
What is United Way of The Midlands? They are a local charitable organization creating generational change in the Midlands. Unlike smaller nonprofits who often have a very defined focus, they take a multifaceted approach to some of the biggest problems facing our society. Problems like homelessness, children's literacy, and lack of access to healthcare. By addressing these core issues, they work to the break cycles of crisis and empower people to build their own paths to success. Below is a link for how United Way is directly impacting our community.
We look forward to another great week at WJ Keenan High School, home of The Champion Raiders!
Start Strong, Finish Stronger
Mrs. Jeter's Freshman Academy News!
Here are a few tips to assist our students to ensure their growth and success
· Learn to self-advocate.
· Ask questions
· Take advantage of Raider Ready Tutoring beginning September 18, 2023.
· Remain respectful at all times
· Make good decisions
Every day is an opportunity to improve your skills and increase your knowledge.
Please see below a few updates:
- We will meet as a Freshman Team on the 3rd Tuesday of each month at 3:30pm. Our meeting location will be Room B102. Our first meeting will be Tuesday, September 19.
- When guiding our students through difficult situations, whether it be the student is in a high emotional state or if he/she is not meeting classroom and/or school expectations, let's make sure we are providing support through clear directives that given without unnecessary commentary; however, continuously connecting the directive to accountability and the building of life skills.
- Quarter 1 - Content Recovery - Department Leads were sent a copy of the Q1 Content Recovery Plan. Please make sure you are familiar with it and notify students. A copy will also be shared with parents via School Messenger and social media platforms. A copy of the plan is attached to this email.
We had a great district freshman event this past week. Take a look at a few photos below.
We have had an exciting and different start to the school year. We are transitioning from a Magnet School to a School within a School. The Raider Academy is a new approach to college and career readiness designed to give students the foundation to make a difference in the world!
The Raider Academy at W. J. Keenan High School provides five houses through which students may choose. Students will have multiple opportunities to prepare for careers that are in high demand and require advanced skills. We offer a leadership curriculum that includes a rigorous project-based classroom experience that challenges students to gain future-ready competencies. The Raider Academy students will have advantages that include the opportunity to receive college credit, state and nationally recognized industry certifications, work-based learning opportunities and internships.
The W.J. Keenan High School Raider Academy offers five unique pathways aimed at engaging learners.
• Project Lead the Way Engineering
• Business Management and Administration
• Hospitality and Tourism Management
• Government and Public Administration
• Agriculture and Animal Science
Meet the Raider Academy Teachers
Mrs Young: PLTW Engineering & Math Department Chair
Ms. Davis: PLTW Engineering
Mrs. King: PLTW Engineering, Business Management, & CTE Department Chair
Mrs. Thompson: Hospitality& Tourism/Family and Consumer Science
Mrs. Bradley: Government & Public Administration
Ms. Ausburn: Agriculture and Animal Science
The next Student Raider Academy meetings will be held on the following dates:
9/22/2023 (This may change because it is a half day)
Please note that this meeting is not mandatory. If students have work to complete, I urge them to stay in their classes and complete it.
The next Raider Academy parent meeting will be held virtually on
Magic Happens When Students Get In Groups!
Absence Reporting/Morning Routine
Teachers and staff, please help us keep our students and school safe by reporting to work by 7:30 (morning duty) or 7:45 am. Please be at your doors ready to receive students by 7:50 am.
Please be reminded if you are going to be absent, report your absence by:
1. Submitting your absence in Frontline (Aesop).
2. Sending an email that you will be out.
a. To: Mr. Hankins
b. CC: Ms. Erving and Mrs. McIntee
c. Subject: Your Name Absent Date of Absence (Ex: Jabar Hankins Absent 1/16/23)
3. Calling the school (if an emergency happens on your way to work).
Substitutes and staff members covering classes should arrive by 7:45 am.
Thanks for your cooperation and for all you do for our students.
Happy Birthday To Mr. Danso from the Math Department!
Notes for Raider Teachers!
Feedback From Observations: Focus on engaging students and having them do the work. Rather than standing up and writing on the smartboard as you are explaining, have students come up to the board and share what they know. Put students in groups and give meaningful activities. Use balls and other manipulatives to identify students for a response. Make these engaging strategies apart of your daily routine.
Handling Conflict: Please talk with our students about how to properly handle conflict. Encourage them to reach out to adults in the building to get help with situations that can potentially get them in trouble. Please convey the importance of working together resolve problems before they become bigger issues. It takes a village!
Student Work: Please start posting your best student work inside and outside your classroom in the hallways. You may also share by tagging WJK on social media.
Ask Yourself: What is the hook for today’s lesson that will keep them engaged? Is there an opportunity for my students to get up and move around with my lesson? How am I going to check for understanding? Am I giving students the opportunity to show me they have a grasp of the content? Am I using the DLE to enhance the lesson or am I simply giving electronic skill sheets?
Signing In and Out: If you need to leave campus for an emergency, please get approval from an administrator, and sign out in the main office. We are professionals.
PTSO: Please consider joining our Parent Teacher Student Association. It is a big part of communicating to our parents that we want to build a stronger partnership this year. The application is in the main office with Ms. Golston.
W.J. Keenan High School
The mission of W. J. Keenan High School is to provide engaging educational opportunities through a rigorous curriculum, cutting edge technology, and partnerships to extend to our diverse community and produce first class citizens who will contribute to the present and excel in the future. WE ARE KEENAN!
Our vision is to create a nationally known high school that is highly regarded for its academic excellence, leadership in cutting edge technology, science, environmental, and career based programs. A high school that builds strong relationships with all stakeholders and continues a culture where the expectation is to lead, set the example, and raise standards for all to follow.
Location: 361 Pisgah Church Road, Columbia, SC, USA