The Pointer Pulse

Resources, strategies, news, updates, and more

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Principal's Corner

Season’s Greetings!

This has been a very special year so far. The holidays are a time when we think of the special people in our lives, family, friends and co-workers. Let me say what a privilege it has been to work with the outstanding educators and dedicated service personnel at our school. I want to thank you for your caring and dedicated approach to our students. Without this, Sparrows Point High School would not be the special place it is. I hope this is a time of relaxation with family and friends, so important as we prepare for the challenges and opportunities that come again in January.

This is also the time of year to reflect on our challenges and successes as educators. I hope that you had a few moments to reflect upon the goals you set for your classroom that were revisited at our last faculty meeting when your envelope was returned. With continued focus on classroom and school goals, I have no doubt our school will continue to soar.

Looking ahead to January 2016, the administrative team will be preparing a brief video presentation to review with students our school procedures and expectations. We are also looking forward to welcoming to guest speaker Davey Muise on January 27, 2016. I’m certain his message will resonate with our students.

Enjoy the break and happy holidays!!


Video: Writing, Inquiry, Collaboration, and Reading

Resources, Strategies, and Good Reads

Support Staff of the Month: Gail Parr

Gail Parr loves being a para-educator. In fact, she left the accounting field to fulfill her desires to help students. She explained that she made this change and does what she does to try to help students with special needs be able to achieve/feel some resemblance of a “normal” high school experience. She hopes that they "have a sense of accomplishment and hope, since most of them wish for the same things that their peers do but lack some level of ability to do so, whether physically, emotionally and/or socially."

She hopes that any students of hers would simply remember her as "helpful."

Teacher of the Month: Jen Bodis

Jen Bodis started her teaching career Just outside of Syracuse, NY at Solvay High School. She worked as a resource teacher with special education and at risk students and taught biology.? Jen attended SUNY Canton for Veterinary Technology, University at Albany for her Bachelor’s in Biology, and LeMoyne College for her Master's degree; she also completed a cohort STEM/Physical sciences at UMBC.

Jen is career changer. She began her first career as a veterinary technician, and then decided to go back to school to become a veterinarian. She attended SUNY Albany for Pre-med/Pre-vet. During her last semester she had to take a psychology class to fulfill her requirements for her Bachelor’s degree, so she decided to take Educational Psychology. As a requirement for the course, she had to observe and work in a middle school. Because she really enjoyed it, she decided what she really wanted to do was teach. At the time, she thought it was going to be physically, mentally, and emotionally easier than working as a veterinarian. She joked and said, "If I had only known then what I know now, perhaps I would be a world renowned veterinary orthopedic surgeon."

Jen does not have one favorite memory of teaching, but she did love receiving the phone call from Mr. Wynkoop that she would get to home teach at the high school (she was formerly at the middle school) with us. She said, "I waited for a VERY long time to be here with all of you."

When asked what word she would like to be remembered by, Jen said, " tough." She went to explain "I want them to say that I was understanding, fun, and that they learned at least one thing from me."

In her time away from teaching, Jen enjoys boating, skiing, hiking, biking, just about anything outside with her husband and boys.

Instruction In Action

Essential Questions


  • Essential questions are simply lesson objectives reworded in an interrogative format.
  • Essential questions are posted on the board and changed each day to reflect the goals of the lesson.
  • Essential questions will be answered that day (week, unit, year, etc.).

What they really are:

  • Essential questions are “important questions that recur throughout all our lives.” They are “broad in scope and timeless by nature.”
  • Essential questions refer to “core ideas and inquiries within a discipline.” They “point to the core of big ideas in a subject and to the frontiers of technical knowledge. They are historically important and alive in the field.”
  • Essential questions help “students effectively inquire and make sense of important but complicated ideas, knowledge, and know-how — a bridge to findings that experts may believe are settled but learners do not yet grasp or see as valuable.”
  • Essential questions “will most engage a specific and diverse set of learners.” They “hook and hold the attention of your students.” - Wiggins and McTighe

Upcoming Observation Lessons:

If you have an observation lesson coming up, and you would like some help planning and/or preparing, please email or see Leah Wolfe. This would be a great time to implement some strategies aligned with your Teacher Development Plan.

Mark Your Calendars!

Happy Birthday To:

12/25: Cheryl Quinn

12/29: Eric Weber

12/30: Kelly Karwacki

12/30: Penny Wells

1/2 : Irene Kirkpatrick

1/2: Gail Parr

1/15: Joe Scalice

1/21: Mike Heuther

1/27: Vern Smither

Christmas Break

Wednesday, Dec. 23rd, 2:30pm to Sunday, Jan. 3rd 2016 at 11:45pm

Email or in Person

I hope you all have a wonderful, relaxing holiday filled with joy and love.

Upcoming Dates/Events:

12/24-1/3: Winter Break

1/4: Schools Reopen

1/9: SPECIES Interviews

1/15: End of 2nd Marking Period

1/16: SPECIES Interviews

1/18: Schools Closed- Martin Luther King Jr. Day

1/19: Professional Development Day

Leah Wolfe: S.T.A.T. Teacher

Please email, stop by, or use the S.T.A.T. Teacher form if there is anything with which you would like assistance.