Knight Notes

November 20, 2017


Good morning--

I hope you had a wonderful American Education Week. I greatly appreciate the efforts of our awesome PTO. I know you are also excited about Thanksgiving Break. This week will surely go very quickly.

Thank you for all that you do for the students at FHN. Have an awesome week and a wonderful Thanksgiving Break.



New Staff Member

FHN is back to having a full crew of cafeteria aides to assist out Commons supervision. We are excited to welcome Mr. Travis Voss to the team. Mr. Voss is a father of two students at Francis Howell High School. He is an active member of their band boosters, and volunteers a great deal of his time for their band and winter guard. Please help us welcome Travis to FHN.


Thank you for attending the presentation. Many of you were able to attend and had very good things to say about it. I really appreciate Jamie Lapinski-Brown coming out to provide it. I know there are also some questions that have arisen from the presentation and I will be working to get answers communicated out.


  • Congrats to the students who performed with the Metro District 8 Honor Band.
  • Congrats to Rob Stegeman for receiving the Tools for Teachers award of $500 from Weber Chevrolet. He was honored on channel 11KLPR.
  • Congrats to the @FHNtoday staff for taking 4th Place in Best of Show for Large School Websites at NHJSC.
  • Congrats to the North Star for winning a 2017 Pacemaker award.
  • Congratulations to Sarah Zimmerman for earning a 3rd Place finish in the Diversity category of the NSPA Story of the Year category.
  • Congratulations to Carolynn Gonzalez for earning an Honorable Mention award in the NSPA Newsmagazine Page/Spread of the Year.
  • Congratulations to FHN's Grant Argent for being the FHSD BOE Student Representative.
  • Congrats to Becky Just and her Iron Chef Team for winning the 10th annual Iron Chef Culinary Throw Down!


FHN currently has 84.9% of students attending 90% of the time. You may be receiving emails from administrators or administrative assistants as we try to pair up our struggling students with an Attendance Ally. Remember, pairing a student with an adult mentor is one of the leading strategies in increasing student attendance. Thank you for your support of these students.


The next Behavior team meeting will be on Tuesday, November 28th at 2:30 in Room 5/8.

Here are 7 strategies to optimize optimism in our teens:

1. Empathize
Often our teens just need someone to be there and understand. Letting them know you can see they feel hopeless and they wonder why they should bother can be powerful for them. It validates their experience. Saying, "I felt like that when I was 15 too" can help them. But then we need to move them to a belief in a positive future doing the following:

2. Emphasize "yet"
When a teen says, "I can't", smile and gently add "yet" to the end of their sentence. When they say, "I hate calculus. It's stupid. I'll never use it", acknowledge their feelings, and say, "It's a struggle right now isn't it. You can't do it yet." Those three little letters imply both an expectation that it will be done, and a belief that it can be done.

3. Steer their focus to what they can control
Teens often worry about things that they have no control over. Ask them, "What can you do right now about this?" If they can't do anything, acknowledge the predicament and empathize. If they can, steer them towards an answer. "You feel lousy. What options do you have?" "You're struggling with the assignment. Where is the best place you can think of to start?"

4. Focus on the end
A high school teacher used to do a regular "talk" with her students. She would write on the board, "There is life after high school - and it's GREAT!" She would chat briefly about their struggles, and then promise that it gets better. The students looked forward to the future.

The talk had impact.

5. Emphasize Strengths
Tell them what you see in them. "You have some remarkable strengths that you don't get to use enough at school..." and be specific about what they are! (You might find out what they want to do and tell them, "You'll be great at that - with hard work you'll excel.")

6. Understand mindsets
Become acquainted with research around the way our brains change. There are popular books such as Carol Dweck's Mindset and Norman Doidge's The Brain that Changes Itself. These books will change the way you talk about ability, possibility, and the future - and inspire your teens to be more optimistic.

7. Avoid the superficial
If a teen feels lousy, being told to "cheer up, it will get better" is unlikely to help. No one believes you when they don't feel you understand. It feels dismissive and patronizing.

Optimism - believing that good things are coming soon - may be one of our most positive tools for boosting our teen's self-belief, and reducing the dangers of depression.


All compatible Windows computers will be upgraded to Windows 10 and Office 2016 during the 2017-18 school year. The upgrade allows us to take advantage of performance and security enhancements.

All teachers can now sign up for their laptops to be updated by clicking on the link below. You will be asked to select a week to choose from (including the option of leaving it over winter break). Will Dillingham will follow up with each teacher during their chosen week to inform them of the specific date that week when their laptop will be updated. This takes about 3 hours per computer and we will provide you with a spare laptop while this occurs.

Please remember to back up ALL of your files on your computer to a flash drive or to a digital server. The files will not be recoverable after the upgrade. Once your computer goes in for upgrade, it should be returned to you by the next day.

Please contact Dr. Birch if you have any questions.

For more information about Windows 10 and Office 2016, the Technology and Communications departments created a useful video of some of the new features and changes to expect following the upgrade. Click Theis link ( to view the training video.



2016-2017 Staff Commitments to the Learning Environment

In order to improve the climate/environment at FHN, the staff commits to:

1. building positive relationships with students and staff members.

2. helping students to see the relationship between effort and success.

3. addressing any inappropriate behavior immediately to help set an expectation of appropriate hallway and classroom behavior.

4. giving clear and consistent expectations for device use and by enforcing them.

5. counting tardies consistently.


Sunday, Nov. 26th, 10pm to Monday, Nov. 27th, 12:30pm

Learning Commons


Tuesday, Nov. 28th, 2:30-3:30pm



Tuesday, Nov. 28th, 2:30-3:30pm



Wednesday, Nov. 29th, 2:30-3:30pm