Victorious Vkngs Enjoy Thanksgiving

The Week of November 23

This week’s Mission Moments

Francis Howell High School is committed to working in partnership with the community (staff, students, parents, and community members) to provide a quality learning environment that promotes continuous improvement for students in achievement, attachment, and behavior.
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Boys Soccer Earns State Championship! What a beautiful moment!

Instructional Insights and Celebrations

Avoiding the Blame Game in creating/maintaining Healthy Relationships

“Humans instinctively judge other humans,” say Kristen Swanson, Gayle Allen, and Rob Mancabelli (The Research Institute at Bright-Bytes) in this article in Educational Leadership; “it’s a survival trait.” Researchers in the 1960s identified and named the fundamental attribution error – a strong tendency to fault people, not systems. For example, when another driver cuts in front of us or goes through a red light, we immediately conclude the person is rude and reckless – even though there could be a medical emergency, or perhaps the person’s car is malfunctioning. “But it’s unlikely that our first instinct would be to consider these possibilities,” say the authors. “You’d assume the person is the problem… Essentially, we’re hardwired to overemphasize people’s internal characteristics and minimize the impact of the system or situation at hand.”

Our tendencies when driving in traffic can also surface when looking at student achievement data. “In an effort to act swiftly and decisively, we focus on what people are doing wrong,” say Swanson, Allen, and Mancabelli – the blame game. They have three suggestions to counteract this habit:

Teach colleagues about the fundamental attribution error. Help them catch themselves before they jump to conclusions and blame students or colleagues when other factors are at work. “Combating biases around data begins with awareness,” say the authors. “When we simply make colleagues aware of these underlying human tendencies, they become more likely to catch themselves engaging in ineffective, judgmental behavior.”

Search for root causes. One well-known strategy is to ask Why? at least five times.

Maintain a formative outlook. “Celebrating improvement and growth, not just success, helps everyone maintain momentum,” say Swanson, Allen, and Mancabelli. “When we honor people’s work and assume positive intent, innovative solutions follow.” This goes for the vocabulary we use when talking about data – for example, not there yet, beginning, emerging.

“Eliminating the Blame Game” by Kristen Swanson, Gayle Allen, and Rob Mancabelli in Educational Leadership, November 2015,; adapted by KM

FHSD descriptors for use of high quality Marzano strat

Here is a listing of the high quality implementation (OFIC) of the Marzano/McRel strategies

Happy Viking Staff Birthdays!





This week’s Viking in-the-know tidbits:

1. Reminder: any teacher currently on a NEE step 2 (3 visits) or 3 (6 visits as part of a summative evaluation) must visit your supervising principal's office this week to sign your 14-15 formative assessment notes. Teachers who had a summative evaluation (6 visits) and signed off on an evaluation document with your principal last year may ignore this request.

2. Since the grant period has ended, the district's ability to offer free WiFi at home to students has concluded recently. If you have students who mention this, it may be worth taking a moment to help them problem solve when they can gain Internet access to complete assignments--i.e. visiting FHHS library before school, visiting community libraries, etc. This program was very small at FHHS, but for those involved, any offers we can make to help them transition into new solutions would be appreciated.

This Week's Scheduling Notes:


Full day of learning

School Improvement team meeting at 1:40


Full day of learning


No School--Enjoy a great Thanksgiving Break.


No School--Enjoy a great Thanksgiving Break.


No School--Enjoy a great Thanksgiving Break.

Next week:

  1. Window for unplanned field trips closes until January due to the impact those trips could have on students taking constructed response final exams.
  2. December faculty meeting is on Thursday, Dec 3
  3. Senior panoramic retake in the gym during Howell Time on Dec. 2
  4. Last Howell Time this semester is Dec 9 and the only scheduled activity is a 9th grade mentoring program forum.
  5. Constructed response final exams begin in the following areas:

  • Language Arts November 30th through December 4th constructed response or performance event.
  • Science November 30th through December 4th constructed response or performance event.
Reporting Child Abuse or Neglect at FHHS

If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected please make an immediate call to the Children's Division using the information provided at this link. Thank you for all you do to improve and protect the lives of our students.