Designing our Design LAB

2015-16: A Year of Learning, Making and Designing Together

Teacher Appreciation Week

This is Teacher Appreciation Week. Thanks to all of you for all your hard work this year.

-On Tuesday, which is the actual National Teacher Appreciation Day, plan some time for yourself after school. We won't have an after school meeting in honor of Teacher Appreciation Day.

-On Wednesday, bring your favorite coffee mug. There will be coffee and bagels in the Teacher's Room from me.

-On Friday, lunch is on me. It will be in the teacher's room at 11:00 for all of you.

Thanks again for your efforts. I appreciate your contributions, hard work, and commitment to our students.

Last Week at Design Lab

I'm often so focused on how far we still have to go as a school, and I forget how far we've come in the last five years. Last week, I had so many reminders of how much we have grown together. On Wednesday, Andrew Coy from the White House and Adam Savage from Mythbusters visited our school. They loved spending time with our students, and seeing our spaces. Sean and I had dinner with Andrew Coy and he talked about the visit to Design Lab as being a highlight of the visit to Cleveland. Below are some pictures and video from their time in our recording studio. A huge thank you to Sean Wheeler. Without his efforts working behind the scenes, the White House would never have suggested they visit Design Lab on this tour. Thanks Sean for bringing such positive attention to our school.

On Thursday, Grant Lichtman, Jonathan Martin, and Peter Gow visited our school. All three are leaders in the Independent Schools World. Grant visited our school in October of 2012. He couldn't believe how much our school has improved since then. He loved observing Advisory, thought our makerspaces were just great, and was most impressed with our students. In 2012, almost none of our students would engage him in conversation. On Thursday, he had fabulous conversations with engaged and interested students who all spoke positively about our school.

On Saturday, Team Cleveland, a mixed group of high school students from CMSD Schools, won the World Championship at the First Robotics Competition. This is the first time a team from Ohio has won this prestigious event. Design Lab had three students on the winning team: Peng, Jonathan, and Avionne! We plan to hold an event to recognize their efforts this week-details to follow. All three students started out taking the same Robotics courses our 9th and 10th grade students are taking now.

I appreciated all the reminders this week of how much we've accomplished together. We all know there's plenty of work still to do, but take a moment this week to congratulate each other on all that we have done together.

Adam Savage at Design Lab
Andrew Coy at Design Lab

This Is Week Two of AIR Testing

We are back to a full schedule of testing this week for 9th and 10th grade. I know our students (and teachers) are all tested out, but we've still got a few tests to go. Please remind our students that these AIR tests have replaced the OGT and they must pass the AIR test to graduate from high school. We have to do everything we can to help students remain focused on the task at hand.

Individual Meetings This Week

We will continue our fifteen minute meetings to support student learning this week. I know some of you will be affected by proctoring. We will reschedule your meetings. Otherwise, I will see you at your regularly scheduled time.

As a reminder, we will discuss:

-What you intend for students to learn in the upcoming week

-What standard(s) you are teaching during the week

-How you will know if the students are learning what is intended

-What your plan is for students who may not be learning what is intended

-What support you need from me to help all students learn what is intended during the week

I will be coming around this week to visit classes and check lesson plans. I won't be collecting anything, and these are non-evaluative visits. Please leave your lesson plan for the day on your desk, so I don't need to interrupt your lesson to ask you for it.

Robotics This Week:

Robotics will be held this week on Wednesday, May 4. However, because testing is happening, 10th grade students will attend Robotics during 3rd period instead of during 1st period.

Testing and the Schedule This Week

We will be holding the Biology, American History and Government. This update includes only the Biology schedule to start the week. Here's the plan:

On Monday, May 2 we will follow our regular school schedule.

On Tuesday, May 3, we will follow a reverse schedule (7th - 1st).

Please inform students all day on Monday that we will follow a reverse schedule on Tuesday.

The testing schedule is as follows:

Monday, May 2, 2016 - Biology (Part I)
Start Time: 8:20AM

End Time: 10:00AM

Tenth Grade Proctors: Witt, Senor, Beavers, Bailey
Late Arrivals: Romito (1st), Yeung (2nd)

Tuesday, May 3, 2016 - Biology (Part II)

Start Time: 8:20AM

End Time: 10:00AM

Tenth Grade Proctors: Stickel, O'Hara (7th)/Yeung(6th), Gill (7th)/Senor (6th), Bailey
Late Arrivals: Stroder (7th), Witt (6th)

Tightening up the Proctoring This Week

Let's remember our team discussion last week. Even though our students are used to having chromebooks every day, for the purposes of testing, we need to think of these as Testing Devices, not chromebooks. That means students aren't listening to music, watching videos, or surfing the net after testing.

Also remember to maintain testing conditions in your classroom. This means no jackets or back packs on or around the students.

Let's work together to tighten up our testing and ensure everything runs smoothly.

Proctoring Expectations

Each proctor will be assigned students, similar to the groupings used for the Spring ProCore/QualityCore offering. These lists are posted on the office window in front of Ms. Terry's desk. Tests will take place in the proctor's classroom. Ms. Bailey will test in Room 202A and Ms. White will test in Room 203A for all tests. Ms. Romito & Mr. Yeung will test in Room 209 on Tuesday.

In terms of proctor requirements, proctors will need to:

  • Collect cell phones from students prior to testing.
  • Ensure all students have a chromebook for testing purposes.
  • Read the provided testing script and provide each student's individual log in information. I hope to control all tests from a central computer; I'll let you know as soon as possible if this is changing.
  • Monitor the testing room until the test concludes. No student is allowed to leave the testing room until testing has ended throughout the building.
  • Collect student login information at the conclusion of testing.

Late arrivals, as well as any 11th/12th grade students enrolled in a proctor's class, will be monitored each day. I will place a note on each proctor's door with instructions for these students. I will also provide you with the test booklets and answer documents each morning.


We had another great week of Advisory. We will use our time on Wednesday to review our students wants/needs/interests for our advisory program. If you haven't already, please send or share with me the notes from your advisory discussion about next year by noon on Tuesday.

200 Minutes This Week

Monday, May 2-Personal Planning Time

Tuesday, May 3-No Meeting for Teacher Appreciation

Wednesday,May 4-Advisory Planning

Thursday, April 5-Learning by Doing