The Reds Tale

December 13, 2018

From the Desk of Mr. Roote

During the past few weeks I have heard stories and experienced firsthand the motivational dilemma that weighs heavily on educators and parents in most schools across the nation. In the article Student Apathy: Motivational Dilemma by James Affini, the author states, "Student apathy and non-involvement are as common as chalk dust [...]. Many students are not willing to accept mediocrity, choosing instead apathy and even failure rather than average or below average performance." Let me give you a few common examples playing out at Newark High school:
  • Scene #1. A senior sits with his principal and counselor to discuss low grades on the most recent report card. When asked to share his thoughts he notes he has not seen his report card.
  • Scene #2. A student is placed in a credit recovery class to start his sophomore year. Credit recovery is designed to move the student on to the next course required for graduation while recovering the credit lost the prior year. For example, an English 9 student may recover credit and take English 10. The student sleeps and listens to music instead of engaging with the teacher. The student will soon be dropped from English 10.
  • Scene #3. A freshman indicates to his Algebra I teacher that he will catch up in summer school and prefers to not do homework, stay after or study for tests.

The common thread between each of those three snapshots is that when given a motivational dilemma, the student answer was to choose failure. The preceding scenarios, when playing out in school under the eyes of our teachers presents as exceedingly disheartening.

What is the solution? According to the aforementioned article, we need to avoid presenting to students the idea that they can choose to reject school OR to reject their self worth. This begins with finding opportunities to reward individuals of every ability. Doing so in a way that distances students from resenting their education is critical. I suspect it is all in the messaging! Are we saying things like, "You will not be able to pass a test without staying after school with me!" or are we saying, "I bet you will feel more confident on the next test when you practice these two problems! Can we work together on them?".

On a related note, take a look at the two pictures below, shared by Mr. Cook in an all staff e-mail. In his message, he highlighted the success of a Rochester City School (East). As you can see from the data wall in the first picture, student progress is not measured with 80's, 90's or 65's. Instead, it is measured as progress towards a desired state (in this case New York State Learning Standards). What can we do to present the desired state to our students? Because I was struck by his message, I sat with Mr. Cook recently to share my perceptions of what he presented and I asked him to unpack a few things for me. He shared a close picture of a locker not unlike the locker highlighted below. Not visible in his original picture was a very clear message regarding the standard required in order to graduate from the high school. On every locker was a message that suggested when you "beat" this course or test you will be one step closer to graduating.

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From the Desk of Ms. Ross

Happy holidays!

Mash Up

Well Balanced: A health and wellness publication

To celebrate a great start to the school year I will have treats in the staff room on the morning of Thursday, December 20. Enjoy a donut or bagel.

The Reds Tale is off until 2019.

From Ms. Hugunine, "Sign ups for the holiday party are posted on the Main Office (in between Robyn and Laurie's offices). If you would like to contribute, please sign up with your name and a dish to pass. Anticipate providing for roughly 60 staff members. The holiday party will be on Friday December 21st in the LGI."

From Ms. Walton, "The music department will continue to run a food drive at all concerts this year so I will be at the High School next week!" Be sure to bring a food item to donate!

Social Emotional Learning and the Plan for Excellence

This is a shout out to the amazing NHS staff. This year, we took 93 angels from our Angel Tree! That's more than ever. Kids on our Angel Tree get gifts for Christmas. If you hear of anyone wanting to be able to donate anything else, please spread the word that Mr. Roman and Mr. Baum are taking donations for their Hats and Socks for Kids fund. Also, we have some meal option available for families (see "Document Sharing Space" for details). Way to go NHS.

Take a look at our SELF tools here.

Alumni Profile: Eric Diamond Class of 2011

While in high school, Eric was a 3-sport athlete and in the National Honor Society. As with his brothers, he was actively involved with the music department and played tuba. Eric received his Bachelors in Psychology from SUNY Potsdam and his Masters in Forensic Psychology and Intelligence Studies from Marymount University in 2017. Eric is currently employed as a Business Analyst at Goldberg Segalla law firm in Albany NY. Words of Wisdom:

If you don’t have anything valuable to say in a meeting, just say It’s all about finding the right balance.” Everyone will nod in agreement with you.

Instructional Corner

When students understand exactly what they are supposed to learn and what their work will look like when they learn it; they are better able to monitor and adjust their work, select effective strategies, and connect current work to prior learning. Defining learning targets and success criteria up front and then consistently referring to them in the delivery of instruction provides opportunities for students to gain a clear understanding of what they need to know, be able to do, take ownership of their learning, and have the criteria by which to measure their progress. This will enable them to meet the goals set forth for them as learners.

Crafting high-quality learning targets and success criteria can sometimes feel like trying to juggle tennis balls, while walking across a tight rope; it requires skill, balance, and consideration of a number of factors all at once. One way to check the validity of a learning target is to ask whether it is student-centered, is thinking-centered, and describes a performance that demonstrates learning. When learning targets are student-centered, they focus on how students will demonstrate their new learning. This leads us to ask ourselves how the learning will be measured. Success criteria provide the students with what the level of accomplishment will look like. Making learning visible helps us make it measurable. Our goal is to craft just right targets that are specific and focused in what they require of students, yet meaty enough that they can be worked on for at least a whole class period.

Here are some questions to consider while you are unpacking your standards to create learning targets and success criteria:

  • What do I want the students to know and be able to do? (Knowledge, Reason, or Skill)
  • What do I want the students to understand?
  • What types of student evidence will demonstrate the levels of their understanding?
  • What does success look like for students that demonstrate understanding?

Document Sharing Space

Calendar Share

January 14. Below 65 Reports. Contact: S Mateo

Tuesday's in the LGI: January 8, February 5, March 5, April 2, May 7 and June 4. Staff Meetings. Contact: T Roote.

December 13, January 17 and 31, February 14, March 14 and April 2. SELF Days. Contact: T Roote.

Monday, December 17-Friday, December 21. Spirit Week: Monday-Very Merry Monday (North pole character day); Tuesday-Snoozeday Toozeday (PJ day); Wednesday-Ugly Sweater Weather Wednesday; Thursday-Fuzzy Lumberjack Thursday; Friday-Festive Friday (holiday colors). Contact: L LaPaglia or R Yuhas.

Wednesday, January 9. College Wear Wednesday. Future College Wear Wednesdays are: 2/13, 3/13, 4/10, 5/8, 6/12. Contact: Sue Gardner.

Monday, January 21 at 12:00 pm (march) at Grace Episcopal Church Complex in Lyons and 12:45 pm (main program) at St. John's Lutheran Church in Lyons . Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration. Contact:

Friday, March 15. NHS Program/No WTCC Program. Contact R Ross.

Band and Choir upcoming performance dates. Contact: Cynthia Briggs.

  • Friday, December 7 - Eastview Performance (Bands and choirs)
  • Monday, December 17 - Winter Concert (Bands and Choirs)
  • Friday, December December 21 - Outlet Mall Performance (Bands and Choirs)

December 21 in the gym. Winter Pep Assembly. Contact: L LaPaglia or B Yuhas.

Tuesday, April 30. Capstone Day. Contact K Ganter or D Barry

Close Up/Share a Pic

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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.