The Reds Tale

Summer Reds Tale II/II, 2017

From the Desk of Mr. Roote

Much of my inspiration to write develops after discovering parallels between seemingly unrelated areas. The most obvious connections come between my work and home life. Less obvious, are connections between the education and business fields. An article recently landed in my inbox titled 10 Tips For a Strong Start from Entrepreneur. Naturally, this article caught my eye as I was deep into the task of preparing the building for its opening on September 5. The author writes, "In the majority of cases, start-up success or failure is all about knowing both the how and the why of taking action, and always being clear about which steps to take next. To help this process, here are 10 essential things you need to know about running a successful business. Use it as a checklist to make sure your thinking and your business plan are on the right track [...]"


In an attempt to offer students a parallel between the business world and Newark High School, I will follow each of the authors ten points with a related point that can be useful to our teens this September:


  1. Offer what people want to buy, not just what you want to sell. It would be way too easy to excuse every tough/unpopular decision made by the main office with, "This is school, our singular purpose is to get kids to learn." While learning is critically important, there is no reason that we cannot have a bit of fun along the way. As a result, avoid losing sight of the opportunities we have to smile and laugh together. This can come from participating in our pep assemblies and spirit wars with your class.
  1. Get cash flowing ASAP. Cash flow is the lifeblood of business, and is absolutely essential to feed bottom-line profits. So you need to find ways to jump start cash flow immediately. Like cash, good daily habits are your currency to be invested in classroom success. Use the extra periods (study hall, lunch, after-school etc.) in your day to complete homework and to catch up on reading. Be sure to meet with teachers regularly to understand your progress and seek to be a positive force in each classroom. Try to make a daily contribution to the learning of your classmates.
  2. Always find new ways to keep costs low. All the cash flow in the world is worthless if it's not positive cash flow, which means you have to bring in more cash than you pay out. I always say, work smarter and not harder! Surround yourself with classmates that have an eye on academic success and try to follow their lead. I have an ongoing joke I use when I am out with my family and in a place where people are fast dancing. I always boast that fast dancing is simple and anyone can do it well. All you have to do is to dance like the best dancer in the room. Try it!
  3. When planning, always overestimate expenses and underestimate revenues. Get your work done early so you can ask your teacher to give you feedback...before it needs to be submitted for grading. While not a huge fan of extra credit, I will concede that many of our teachers keep the door to success in their classes open all year by offering opportunities to redo work for a better grade or to submit enrichment/extension work for a grade. You cannot argue the value of the preceding!
  4. Focus on sales and marketing manically. In business, nothing happens until a sale is made. From the jump, you'll need to find a good way to get leads, convert leads into sales, and make sure you keep getting repeat sales from your customers. You are your strongest advocate! Never be shy about highlighting your strengths and how they can be activated to serve you better. If you learn better sitting on a stool than a chair, ask for a stool!
  5. Find ways to exponentially increase profits. None of us can do this alone! Stay connected to your past teachers and treat every relationship as a valuable relationship.
  6. Test and measure everything. You can't change what you don't measure, and you can't tell if a program or strategy is working if you are not faithfully testing, measuring and tracking your results. It can be so frustrating to hear a student say, "I didn't know when it was due." or "I had no idea my average was that low.". I ask teachers to be prepared to offer feedback to students, families, counselors and me every 2.5 weeks of every quarter. That is to say, you should have a decent idea of your grade at the 2.5, 5, 7.5 and 10 week point of each quarter. When you get bad news, adjust!
  7. Accept that learning more equals earning more. As you begin to reach and even exceed your full potential see your school counselor to discuss what the implications are should you aspire to get a better job out of high school or go to a better college. And of course, look for scholarship opportunities, there are plenty.
  8. Don't discount, add value. Whenever you discount, you are taking money directly out of your pocket and directly from your bottom-line profit. So don't do it. Instead, create added value propositions all the way up and down your product or service line. Be a bucket filler and not a bucket dipper! Look for opportunities to show empathy and to share kindness. Ensure that what you do in these areas is done in a way that it is contagious.
  9. Get a coach. Even if you don't get a business coach at first to help you and guide you in your planning and operation, get someone who is objective and outside of your business you can rely on for nitty gritty business advice and to hold you accountable to getting results. Look to add someone to your life with experience. Someone to advise you. Be wary of the people that always agree with you and instead look for those that can give you some harsh truths, but can also support you as you make a change and grow.

See you soon!

From the Desk of Mr. Wagner

In the previous Reds Tale, I focused on how to cultivate the critical skills of mindfulness, observation, deduction, introspection, and intuition in learners. To provide you with an opportunity to experience these skills, I presented you with the following card puzzle….

Dr. Watson has a new card puzzle for Sherlock Holmes. He picks four cards out of the pack of 52 cards and lays them face down on the table. He offers the following hints to Sherlock:

  1. The left card can’t be greater than the one on the right.
  2. The difference between the first card and third card is equal to eight.
  3. None of the Aces are present.
  4. No face card has been included: i.e. no queens, kings or jacks.
  5. The difference between the second and fourth card is 7.

Since I promised the answer, here it is…. 2, 3, 10 and 10.


This puzzle is rigorous, but doable. It requires focus to work through the problem-solving cycle. Most of all, it is engaging. So, how do I use a Sherlock puzzle in my classroom? In a Reds Tale last December, I discussed a related topic on how to get students to think, rather than just look for the answer in the interest of completing the task. I reflected back to the source I included, How to Get Students to Slow Down and Think, where the teacher created a complex math problem involving an army trying to take over a castle. This is a great example of how a teacher developed an engaging learning experience to teach math standards. I think much of this work is a mindset. Instead of thinking first about the content you need to cover, start by thinking about pedagogy. If you want your students to work in groups of four to solve a complex problem or issue, incorporate your content into a learning experience that fits that model. If you want your students to have an interactive discussion about a work of art, court case, or scientific theory, then start with that end in mind.


As a history teacher, one question I asked myself in order to frame a lesson was: How can I create a learning experience that requires students to come up with the information themselves? This prompted me to think more creatively. One activity that engaged learners was when I created teams of historians (groups of four), provided the teams with primary source images for a specific topic, and asked students to use only the images to gather information, historical characteristics, events, etc. Typically, I kept it open ended to allow for free thinking. Each group was given different images related to the topic and after the students analyzed the images, they would have to present the information to the class. After each group presented, the culminating activity would be to make the historical connections about the topic. This usually initiated some thoughtful discussions and questions, and further, a deeper understanding of the content than if I had just presented it to them.


Empowering learners to learn on their own is one of our most powerful skills we can teach. Empowerment requires risk-taking as you are putting the learning in the hands of the students. Students are not used to this approach, so fostering a classroom culture that promotes self-learning is essential. As we approach the new school year, think about how you will craft your first week of school to set the stage for students to take a lead role in their learning.

Mash Up

Updated staff handbook and student handbook.


From the July Council on Alcoholism & Addictions of the Finger Lakes newsletter: "Family Checkup: Positive Parenting Prevents Drug Abuse: Could your kids be at risk for substance abuse? Families strive to find the best ways to raise their children to live happy, healthy, and productive lives. Parents are often concerned about whether their children will start or are already using drugs such as tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, and others, including the abuse of prescription drugs. Research supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has shown the important role that parents play in preventing their children from starting to use drugs. The following five questions, developed by the Child and Family Center at the University of Oregon, highlight parenting skills that are important in preventing the initiation and progression of drug use among youth. For each question, a video clip shows positive and negative examples of the skill, and additional videos and information are provided to help you practice positive parenting skills. Questions:

  1. Are you able to communicate calmly and clearly with your teenager regarding relationship problems?
  2. Do you encourage positive behaviors in your teenager on a daily basis?
  3. Are you able to negotiate emotional conflicts with your teenager and work toward a solution?
  4. Are you able to calmly set limits when your teenager is defiant or disrespectful? Are you able to set limits on more serious problem behavior such as drug use, if or when it occurs?
  5. Do you monitor your teenager to assure that he or she does not spend too much unsupervised time with peers?


Ms. Sonneville reports that there is a delay in our SmartBoard acquisition efforts. This will push install later into the fall.


REPRINT: If you are interested in updating your door signage that includes your picture and a short "blurb" please send the new picture with a caption and/or the new blurb to Ms. Robyn Ross by the end of August. For those new to the building, please provide Ms. Ross a picture, caption and a quick thought about you/your family ASAP.


REPRINT: From a disciplinary referral perspective Mr. Corey and I plan to work with seniors, Mr. Wagner will cover freshman and Ms. Ross will handle sophomores and juniors.


2017-2018 school counselor student assignments are as follows:

  • 9-12 A-B and C Seniors, Danielle McGavisk
  • 9-12 C-F, Caty Hugunine
  • 9-12 G-L, Joe Feeney
  • 9-12 M-R, TBD
  • 9-12 S-Z and N-R Seniors, Susan Gardner

Our school psychologists will remain the same. Kristin Leonard and Rene Sinicropi, and Nicole Reinholtz will also be working as our prevention counselor again this year. Finally, we will welcome We are also welcoming the addition of a Wayne Behavioral Health satellite office. Patrick Maney, will be here one day a week to work with students who are in need of counseling services through Wayne Behavioral Health.

Social Emotional Learning and the Plan for Excellence

Over the past several months leadership, kindness, empathy and the "habits" work packaged by Franklin Covey Co. have played a role in shaping how we will approach our school programs starting in September. In fact, by the time you read this a teacher/counselor/principal team will have "mapped" a curriculum to be implemented on fifteen different school days in 17-18. The program or forum will run in a whole group, large group and/or small group setting from 9:40-10:40 am on: September 13 and 27, October 11 and 25, November 8 and 29, December 13, January 10 and 31, February 14, March 7 and 21, April 18 and May 9 and 23. The period by period schedule will be adjusted on the preceding days and will rotate:

Forum 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13 and 15

  • Period 1 7:30-8:30 am
  • Period 2 8:35-9:35 am
  • Forum 9:40-10:40 am
  • Lunch 5 10:45-11:15 am. Period 6/7 11:20-12:20. Period 8/9 12:25-1:25
  • Period 5/6 10:45-11:45 am. Lunch 7 11:50-12:20 pm. Period 8/9 12:25-1:25 pm
  • Period 5/6 10:45-11:45 am. Period 7/8 11:50-12:50. Lunch 9 12:55-1:25 pm
  • Period 3 1:30-2:30 pm

Forum 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12 and 14

  • Period 4 7:30-8:30 am
  • Period 10 8:35-9:35 am
  • Forum 9:40-10:40 am
  • Lunch 5 10:45-11:15 am. Period 6/7 11:20-12:20. Period 8/9 12:25-1:25
  • Period 5/6 10:45-11:45 am. Lunch 7 11:50-12:20 pm. Period 8/9 12:25-1:25 pm
  • Period 5/6 10:45-11:45 am. Period 7/8 11:50-12:50. Lunch 9 12:55-1:25 pm
  • Period 11 1:30-2:30 pm
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Calendar Share

Wednesday, August 23 at 6:00 pm in the high school library. Social and Emotional Learning School and Community Q &A. Contact: T Roote.


Wednesday, August 23 at 7:15 pm in the high school library. Mr. Chris Brothers: A Celebration of His Life. Contact: T Roote.


Friday, August 25: Driving and Parking Paperwork and Senior Privilege Paperwork due. Contact: T Roote or R Ross.


Thursday, August 31 from 8:00-12:30 pm in the gym. Freshman Orientation. Contact J Johnson or C DeGroote.


Tuesday, September 5 at 7:30 am. The First Day of School. Contact: T Roote.


Wednesday, September 6 at 7:00 pm in the high school LGI. Board Meeting (see additional meetings below). Contact: S Warren.


Thursday, September 7 in the auditorium: Grade 9 from 7:35-8:35 am, 8:40-9:40 am, 9:45-10:45 am or 1:00-2:00 pm. Grade Level Assembly. Contact: R Wagner.


Thursday, September 7 from 2:00-2:30 pm. All Freshman Assembly: Sexting/Cyberbullying. Contact: R Wagner.


Friday, September 8 in the auditorium: Grades 10-11 7:45-8:45 am and grade 12 from 1:15-2:15 pm. Grade Level Assembly. Contact: T Roote.


September 29. Homecoming.


Tuesday, October 3 from 2:30-3:00 pm (and all first Tuesday's of each month) in the LGI or cafeteria. Staff Meeting. Contact: T Roote.


Tuesday, October 10 from 6:00-7:00 pm in the NHS Library. School Community Advisement Committee (SCAC). Contact: T Roote.


Wednesday, October 11, from 7:30-11:15 am. PSAT's for Juniors. Contact: D McGavisk.


Thursday, October 12 time TBD. Open House: A Celebration of Teaching and Learning. Contact: T Roote.


Thursday, October 12-Saturday, October 14. Young Americans. Contact: K Flock.


Tuesday, November 7 at 7:30 pm in the high school auditorium. Band/Chorus Concert (see additional fine arts activities below). Contact: C Briggs.

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Close-up (send me a pix!)

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The Newark High School Mission, Vision and Values

The Newark High School Mission: We are a school community with deeply held hometown pride, committed to readying young people to be life-long learners with experiences aimed at continuously motivating us to hone our skills in the complex tasks of teaching and learning. Our community is devoted to providing supports for the aspirations of our adolescents as they mature into adults with ambitious plans for college and careers.

The Newark High School Vision: Staff embody the school values and impart confidence while providing an inviting classroom environment with clear expectations and specific academic and behavioral goals. Students embody the school values through intellectual and emotional perseverance. Families embody the school values while remaining actively involved as advocates for their children and supporters of the school programs and staff.

The Newark High School Values: Safe, Responsible, Trustworthy, and Respectful.