Arkansas High Weekly Happenings

February 8 - 12, 2016

Athletic Signing Celebration

A large crowd of community partners, parents and students gathered to celebrate the "signing" of letters of intent to play collegiate athletics by four of our Arkansas High School students. The celebration was a wonderful way to honor the athletes, their families, their team mates, & to spread positive aspects of the AHS Community. Local media covered the event & interviewed the student-athletes. Congratulations! We are proud of each of you.

Smoothies On The Way!!

Arkansas High School just received a grant awarded through No Kid Hungry. We applied for this grant with the help of Stacey Adams, Food Service Director. We will be receiving $ 5,000, and this money will be used to order any equipment needed to support the program. We will be looking at a blender/processor, laptop and mobile cart to start with. The smoothie will be offered with a grain based side and another fruit option. By doing this, it is considered a reimbursable meal, therefore, making it easily available to all students at their normal breakfast price. The targeted start date is March 1. We are planning to have a sample day on February 19th. We will have a contest with the students to pick our “signature” smoothie. We will do this by having the students complete a survey for the best flavored smoothie and then name it, example Hog Wild. Thanks Ms. Stacey for your help!

Where Are We?

In order to better identify our needs, we we are conducting a self-assessment using a rubric developed by the Arkansas Leadership Academy. We have chosen to do this self-assessment as a whole staff in order to insure that all voices are heard. To minimize the time commitment, we have broken it into five short (3-5 question) surveys over the next five weeks. Each question asks for a 1-5 rating based on criteria at each end of the performance spectrum, and each rating has an attached area to provide evidence. This evidence would be any tangible examples that informed your rating. You may have one or two, or you may have ten. Please take the time to give this survey thought and attention. Your answers and examples will help us move forward as a school. As always, thank you for your time and input. Please click on the link below and answer three questions for me.

Instructional Rounds

Mr. Frank's and I did informal instructional rounds last week. I entered the information into the Google doc observation platform (customized for AHS) and Mr. Franks used the "instructional rounds" sheet. Together a total of 19 classrooms were visited.

FIRST SNAPSHOT
SEATED - desk - 3 coaching - 2 teaching - 2
STANDING - coaching - 9 teaching - 2 on phone - 1

STUDENT ENGAGEMENT <1-2-3-4-5> 1=low; 5=high - criterion for judgement where applicable - posture, on-task, questions, product, eye contact, distractions
34333 44223 33311 2233
52/19 = 2.74

INSTRUCTIONAL PRACTICES
Authentic/ relevant 8
Discussion 4
Learning centers 2
Modeling 4
Providing directions/ instructions 2
Teacher/ directed Q & A 4
Informal assessment 4
Coaching 8
Hands-on experience 4
Lecture 3
Presentation/ demonstration 3
Providing opportunities for practice 13
Testing 6

INSTRUCTIONAL STRATEGIES
Identifying similarities & differences 2
Summarizing/ note-taking 2
Homework/ practice (independent) 7
Homework/ practice (guided) 5
Cooperative learning 4
Generating/ testing hypotheses 5
Reinforcing effort/ recognition 4
Non-linguistic representations 3
Setting objectives/ feedback 8
Cues/ questions/ advanced organizer 1

INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS
Computer software 4
Smart Board 4
iPads / Chromebooks 1
Hand-held technology 2
Oral 8
Published print materials 2
Advanced calculators 7
Student created materials 3
Video
Worksheets 6
Content-specific manipulative 3
Lab/ activity sheet
Overhead/ board/ flip chart 3
Real-world objects 2
Textbook 4
Web sites 1
None


Things we Saw - Things I hope you will reflect on...............

Vocabulary - The study of vocabulary to assist in review is an effective strategy.

Worksheets
- How are they being used? If they are "busy" work, the value is non-existent. If content is reinforced, the material discussed/debated, and relevance/connections explicitly made, then worksheets have a place. The real issue here is the learning level. Some worksheets observed being used today had very high thinking skills embedded; others, not so much.

Testing - Students taking tests is vital. The results inform teacher & student about the level of content acquisition. What happens if students score low? If they "ace" it? Are your students receiving feedback?

Cooperative learning
- This can be great when used well & a disaster when poorly planned. There should be accountability measures in place such as: time limits, products required at the set times, and possibly presentations by students to demonstrate comprehension. Simply putting students in groups doesn't usually work. They tend to stray off-task & then have others to blame for a poor products. Worse yet, one student does all the work. Thoughtful planning to assign specific roles/tasks and scoring guides with performance expectations can assist in making this work. (A semi-permanent rubric/scoring guide was seen in a science lab today. It was taped to the table top! Great job T. Blair!

Art differentiation - The arts use differentiated assignments and projects to great advantage. They are experts at PBL. They have been doing this a long time. Great job A. Fenix and A. Langley!

Jigsaw of material - A class was observed using a "jigsaw" to cover necessary content. Small groups of students were assigned different chunks of material from their textbook chapter. Each group was to study their part and then tasked with presenting their key points. In effect, they taught their class the assigned material. The teacher facilitated the discussion through feedback & focused questions. Great job E. Jackson!

Accountability for students - The use of a timer and required public presentations by students help increase the probability of students staying on task. Students must be engaged in note taking of their active listening, providing written feedback, or using some type of organizer to capture their thinking. We ask for trouble if we let them just sit & listen. (I have doubts many really hear.)

Oral instructions & delivery of content - There were eight observations of oral instructions & delivery of content. This is not surprisingly high. However, student engagement was higher when verbal was combined with visual or tactile.

Objectives - None observed - Learning expectations are probably being noted orally (see above note about hearing). It is imperative students know what they are supposed to learn. Several I asked today had no clue. Some could tell me page numbers.

Peer tutors
- Students learning from students is a powerful strategy. This was noted in a math room. When given a tight time frame, a sense of urgency and a heightened level of accountability kicks in, students attention is increased. If students are required to present to their peers, this is ramped up even more. Great job J. Foreback!

Pen pals - talked with Ms. Mugno - her classes have written letters of introduction to possible pen pals at DHS - the Teacher at DeWitt has responded via email so the teachers are working on details of the letter exchange. Great job J. Mugno!

Leadership Team Work

Main issues of the work
Results - what have we accomplished as a school?
Equity - how do we respond to needs of students and stakeholders?
Community engagement
- The group split into three groups, brainstormed areas in place for each of these categories. After consideration and input in all the categories, the participants offered ideas of ideal state for each of the categories.
Strength-based approach - article study - "Embracing a Strength-Based Perspective and Practice in Education," Resiliency Initiatives

Events for the Week!

Parent Teacher Conference

Monday, Feb. 8th, 12-7:30pm

1500 Jefferson Avenue

Texarkana, AR

Please be prepared to be in the cafeteria at 12:50 ready for PTC.

8th Grade Parent Schedule Meeting

Tuesday, Feb. 9th, 6pm

1500 Jefferson Avenue, Texarkana, AR, - Student Union

FASFA Sign-Up Help

Thursday, Feb. 11th, 4-7pm

1500 Jefferson Avenue, Texarkana, AR, - N115

RedLine Tryouts

Saturday, Feb. 13th, 9am

1500 Jefferson Avenue, Texarkana, AR,- AHS Gym

Tryouts are closed to the public.

Sadie Hawkins Dance

Saturday, Feb. 13th, 7-10pm

1500 Jefferson Avenue, Texarkana, AR, - Student Union

Important links

Arkansas High School

Arkansas High School is a public secondary school in Texarkana in Miller County in southwestern Arkansas. The school serves students from ninth through twelve grade and is administered by the Texarkana Arkansas School District.
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We will celebrate February 16-19, 2016