Eric's TOHS Weekly Update

For the week of: January 12-18

From Eric's Desk:


Robert Haar sent me a great bit of info over the holiday break, and I'd love to share it. The podcast discusses "ninth grade shock," and the reason why we see a significant struggles among our ninth graders:

"When students enter ninth grade at a traditional high school, they experience “ninth grade shock.” Kids experience a "dramatic drop" in their academic performance once they transition to high school, according to research conducted by Nikolas Pharris-Ciurej while at the University of Washington.

At Hillsdale High School in San Mateo, California, educators are combatting “ninth grade shock” by developing the kind of community kids don’t want to miss. To create this environment, the public school applies strategies that are centered around relationship-building and meaningful work. Students enter the school belonging to a "house," which is comprised of about 110 students, to help carve out smaller learning communities on this campus of about 1,400 kids. Students learn four core subjects (math, social science, English Language Arts and science) together within their house, and those subjects are taught by the same four teachers for both ninth and tenth grade. Students also stay in the same advisory for both years."

Ironically, I have two connections to Hillsdale: first, their house system is very close to the kind of small school structure that I worked with in Newberg, Oregon. Second, I actually was considering applying for a job at Hillsdale at the time that I was hired to work at San Marino. Consequently, I did a lot of research on their school and can say with certainty that it absolutely has made a difference.

Here's a link to the full article and podcast. Please take some time and give it your consideration. I'd love to hear what you think - feel free to send me your thoughts.

Let's have a great finals week.


Grade Updates

Please make sure you are updating your grades at least once every two weeks. Thanks!

Sustainable Outdoor Learning Environment (SOLE)

Some of you may have seen that the Board accepted the donation of a Sustainable Outdoor Learning Environment (SOLE) at our school. It's a facility where teachers can take their class should they want to engage in any kind of outdoor learning. The construction will happen along the service road just east of the softball field. It should be noted that the SOLE will come at no cost to TOHS. As I learn about the timeline, I will let you know. Here's a rendering of the facility:
Big picture

Finals Schedule

Monday, January 13, 2020 – Finals Review

Period 1: 7:40 – 8:15 (35 min)

Period 2: 8:20 – 8:55 (35 min)

Period 3: 9:00 – 9:35 (35 min)

Period 4: 9:40 – 10: 15 (35 min)

Break: 10:15 – 10:30 (15 min)

Period 5: 10:35 – 11:10 (35 min)

Period 6: 11:15 – 11:50 (35 min)

Period 7: 11:55 – 12:30 (35 min)

Tuesday, January 14, 2020 - Finals

Period 1: 7:20 – 9:20 (120 min)

Break: 9:20 – 9:40 (20 min)

Period 2: 9:45 – 11:45 (120 min)

Lunch: 11:45 – 12:20 (40 min)

Period 7: 12:25 – 2:25 (120 min)

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Period 3: 8:15 – 10:15 (120 min)

Break: 10:15 – 10:25 (10 min)

Period 4: 10:30 – 12:30 (120 min)

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Period 5: 8:15 – 10:15 (120 min)

Break: 10:15 – 10:25 (10 min)

Period 6: 10:30 – 12:30 (120 min)

Reserving the CoRE Lab

As you know, last summer we transformed A4 and A5 into the Center for Research Excellence (CoRE). The space is built to be flexibly designed to serve multiple instructional needs. Even better, it is a space that is available to all teachers! Here's some info on how to reserve the room:

The Center of Research Excellence (CoRE) is an academic space located in rooms A4 (Conference Room) and A5 (Classroom). To schedule time for the lab, you can email Lisa Chow, CoRE Lab Manager, at Please include your name, your class name, date, and class period(s) you would like to reserve. Lisa will confirm each reservation and you will be able to pick up the room key from Lynne Hill.


Great News! Recently, our PTSA agreed to purchase a school-wide license for Newsela through June. Don't know what Newsela is? Check it out here:

I'll be able to track usage through June in order to determine how often it is used so we can make a decision next fall on whether or not we want to continue our subscription. Once we complete the subscription process, I'll send out an email on how to log in and how to use it.

Chromebook Survey

A teacher survey will be coming out in the next week or two that will help us transition to a 1:1 Chromebook in the class program. Please take the time to complete the survey.

PTSA Membership and Grants

Grants are still available!!

Should you want to submit a mini-grant, you can find the application here:

Complete the grant application and email a scanned copy to Typically, grants have a limit of $500. Grants will be available until the fund is depleted or until the May 18 deadline (whichever comes first).

**Note, you’ll need to be a member to apply.

Thanks to all those who took the time to sign up for PTSA. It's never too late to join.

Membership is only $10. You can sign up here:

Gym Drapes

More great news! The PTSA has agreed to pay for new drapes that will cover the windows in the gym. No more butcher paper! That project will be completed sometime in January.


The Environmental club is finally ready to resume the Recycling program on campus starting tomorrow. 🙂

The NEW recycle day will be FRIDAYS!

On Friday (tomorrow), please place your paper and cans/bottles bin outside your room at the BEGINNING of 5th period.

We appreciate your help and support with the recycle program. We know that custodial has been emptying the cans and they have been asked to stop and leave the recycle for our club to remove on Fridays.

Please remind students where your recycle bins are in your classroom and not to through food or trash into them.

If for some reason you need a new bin please send me your room number and which bin you need replaced.

Attached is a reminder on what to recycle and what not to recycle.

Thank you and Happy Recycling!

Campus Events this week:

Check out this week's athletic schedule by clicking here.

Activities Calendar can be found by clicking here here.

Future Wednesdays

Jan 15: No Meetings – Finals Week

Jan 22: Faculty Meeting - WASC Work

Jan 29: PLC – DC to determine plan

Feb 5: Dept. Mtg

Feb 12: Faculty Meeting - WASC Work

Feb 19: TOUR - Suicide Prevention Training

Feb 26: PLC - DC to determine plan

Deep Thoughts