April 5, 2016
Thank you for being receptive during our staff meeting yesterday. We wanted to communicate with you early about the new PD plan as we know many of you will want to begin thinking about your Innovation Center time. Please know that we believe that you are professionals and we trust you to create the plan you need and want for your professional development. This district has honored the high school with daily PD time. Ten years ago, we were very lucky to have PD time once a week, and now we have it every day! This is sacred time and there were huge changes made in bus schedules and elementary start times to give us daily PD. The research shows that a later start is better for teenager brains. And the research shows that daily time for teachers to collaborate and work in learning communities improves teaching, improves the culture and improves student success. Ben Davis teachers pushed hard to have this daily time, and we must make sure we keep this time sacred for what it is intended for--professional development. Nevertheless, we are at the next stage in our PD plan and we do believe it is time for teachers to have autonomy with the Innovation Center. Mr. Clodfelter and his committee have come up with the new plan that meets this challenge. There will be many opportunities for learning during this time. There is a very high expectation that teachers act as professionals with this sacred time and use it as it is intended. I know that you need every minute and it would be very easy to fall into a habit of grading or making copies during this time. Please be diligent as we move forward with the new plan and use it for what is intended--professional development opportunities. I have already spoken to a few teachers who have great ideas on what they want to accomplish! And as mentioned, there will still be many classes, both long term and short term, to choose from.
The other message I heard yesterday was that Impact is here and it will be what WE make it to be! We have hurdles. We have concerns. We have logistics to work out. But all the work that Shannon and her committee do is for naught if the teacher is not committed to making this time worthwhile. As Shannon said, our students deserve this time. They deserve time to set goals, learn organizational skills, prepare for colleges and career, work in Naviance, work with their counselors, learn successful habits, and much more. Teachers deserve the time to get to know students outside of the content. We predict that Impact will increase our attendance rate. We predict that it will also increase parent participation and communication. We predict it will decrease failure rates. And we predict more students will feel plugged into school. These are several of the data points we will collect over the next few years to mark our success or areas of improvement with Impact. We want to hear your voice with your concerns. But I agree with Shannon and challenge you to envision this as a successful endeavor. Impact teachers will be the reason it works. The Ben Davis Giant spirit and culture of success will be the reason it is successful.
Finally, remember that we have to tighten up the ship the last 2 months of school. We can not give students the chance to make bad decisions. Administrators will be out in the hallways frequently, helping students make the decision to stay in class and finish strong. We know that class time is sacred. We know that you need every minute to teach the content to students and with testing, field trips, convocations, illness, and the like, each day and each minute is vital. Please hold students to these expectations as we finish strong.
Great News and Reminders:
- Congratulations to the You Make a Difference winner for March... Meagan Campbell! The nomination reads, "Meagan Campbell works diligently not only to help her students to succeed, but also to advocate for their best interests. Knowing that many of her students come to school hungry, face adversity outside of school most of us will never experience, and lack the social skills necessary to express appropriately their frustration or anger or helplessness, Meagan thoughtfully tries to find ways to help her students to succeed. She lets her students know that she cares about their success as both students and as young adults. She knows about their backgrounds and discusses with them how to make good choices. She creates engaging lessons that relate to students' lives as well as to required content. She pushes her students to think in ways they are not used to doing in order to help them succeed in whatever they want to do in high school and after their commencement. In short, she gives her time, energy, and commitment to help them be the best students and people they can be. Also, Meagan truly invests herself in her students. She lets them know she cares and spends extra hours at school preparing lessons for them. A number of her students confide in her as a trusted adult. Meagan is always trying to better herself as a teacher and a learner and is a supportive colleague."
- Congratulations to our Robotics team who have qualified for state!
- Congratulations to our choir program as Sounds and Premiers were both 7th in the state over the break!
- Congratulations to Shannon Rose. She is a veteran teacher, BD alumni, teacher leader, and has now been recommended as the new Media Center Specialist for 2016 as Kathy moves into the life of a retiree.
- Congratulations to Kevin Vanderbush. His article, "Powerful Impact", was published in Athletic Management. Once again, our teachers are national leaders!
- I have been asked to kindly remind the staff to avoid fixed reference dates in emails. Please be mindful of including dates when you reference time as you never know when the reader will open the email.
Upcoming Home Events
Wednesday, April 6: Softball vs Brownsburg
Friday, April 8: Baseball vs Covenant Christian
Saturday, April 9: ACT
Tuesday, April 12: Girls' Tennis, Softball and Baseball
Wednesday, April 13: Boys Track and Field
Thursday, April 14: Top 50 Sophomore Banquet