Principal Weekly Wrap Up
December 4, 2015
OAP Mission Statement:
To have a safe place for all of us to be able to speak on tough topics and be aware of our own biases with clarity and deep compassion for students, parents, our community and each other.
To get us focused and to bring clarity to our systems by creating our "This is how we do business at Peterson handbook" by June 2015.
According to our CIP: Peterson wants to be known for...
Professional Learning Communities
Old School Classic...
So, during the break, my husband, Luke, wanted to see the movie Creed. He is a huge Rocky fan. For an example, when he proposed, he reenacted a scene from Rocky. (No, he did not call me Adrian). I expected the movie to be just like all the other 30 Rocky films. And...it was. Even though the storyline was the same, I appreciated the director remaining true to old school values, no glitz and glamour, just dialogue and family. Removing distractions allowed the true nature of the film to shine through. Because of this, Creed was better than expected. I am not necessarily recommending this film, however, I left the theater reminded of the need to remove distractions in order to see the purpose in what we do. It was a good reminder for me.
Current status of campus transformational tasks:
PLC's reviewed survey results and discussed possible campus/grade level next steps on December 3rd.
ILT members, please be ready to present during ILT meeting on December 7th. The plan is to create action steps in alignment with our CIP
A survey will be administered prior to Christmas Break to identify campus needs and celebrations. The data will be used to create a plan of action which will include steps to support character education, student discipline, parent requests for activities/clubs, requests for academic support/intervention for students and parent resources. Results shared during January 4th PD.
January 4th PD will be on campus. An agenda will be emailed prior to your return to campus after the break.
Journal Writing- Week 11
Deliberate Optimism: Can we model what we are asking of our students? Reflective thinking and capturing our thoughts on paper.
Please join me this week in reflecting on the following question and/or task: Introduce yourself to someone on campus you do not know. Do not wait or rely on someone else to do that for you.
November 30-December 3 , 2015
Principal Awards Delivered to the classroom
Thank you to the Sunshine Committee and crew who were responsible for organizing the festivities.
Gingerbread Men were on the loose!
Article Worth Reviewing: David Brooks On a School That Develops Community and Character
“All over the country there are schools and organizations trying to come up with new ways to cultivate character,” says David Brooks in this New York Times column. “The ones I’ve seen that do it best, so far, are those that cultivate intense, thick community. Most of the time character is not an individual accomplishment. It emerges through joined hearts and souls, and in groups.” He describes a recent visit to the Leaders School in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, which has about 300 students speaking 22 languages, 85 percent living in poverty, and is organized on Outward Bound principles. This high school, says Brooks, “is a glowing example of community cohesion.” Here’s what struck him:
Incoming freshmen are assigned to a “crew” of 12-15 students guided by an advisor, and stay together through graduation. Many upperclassmen serve as peer mentors to younger students.
Students’ first experience together is a wilderness adventure in which they learn to cook for each other, deal with outdoor challenges, and go through the sequence of storming, creating norms, and learning to perform together.
Students are given lots of responsibility in real-life social situations and challenged to develop compassion, judgment, sensitivity, and mercy. “If one student writes something nasty about another on social media, then the two get together with two student mediators and together they work out a resolution,” says Brooks.
Students who commit serious infractions meet with a “Harm Circle” and figure out an appropriate act of contrition and restorative justice.
One day in December, all students gather outside the school and cheer the seniors as they march as a unit to mail their college application letters.
Socratic dialogue is the pedagogy used in most classrooms, with students learning to negotiate disagreements through protocols like “Step Up/Step Back.” Students build on each others’ statements and make a point of drawing out shy students.
The school has a broad definition of achievement, with grades for character and leadership as well as academics. In report card conferences, students present their successes, failures, and improvement strategies to parents, observers, and a teacher.
“Most of all,” says Brooks, “I was struck by their kindness toward one another. No student could remember any racial or ethnic conflict… There’s a palpable sense of being cared for.”
Last year, the school’s graduation rate was 89 percent, with average SAT scores of 411 in math and 384 in verbal and all graduates headed for college.
Brooks quotes Kurt Hahn, the founder of Outward Bound: “It is the foremost task of education to insure the survival of these qualities: an enterprising curiosity, an undefeatable spirit, tenacity in pursuit, readiness for sensible denial, and above all, compassion.”
“Communities of Character” by David Brooks in The New York Times, November 27, 2015, http://nyti.ms/1IwESWd