Cougar Comments

Jan 6, 2020 - Jan 10, 2020


It must be the time of the year. We head into 2020 with only 14 days left in first semester, and if you're anything like me, I've spent these past couple of much-needed weeks being a bit wistful and reflective. One realization that has struck me lately has been how necessary it was for me to get away from the building to clear my head. I've found myself reading more this year in general, but over the past few weeks, I've had my attentions divided between articles and books centered on school leadership AND how to parent, how to be a learner, or how to... well, live life, I suppose.

I love the irony of a calendar year like 2020. Hindsight and all that. I love reading other people's thoughts as they reflect as well. For example, a friend of mine who is also a longtime educator shared a blog post on restorative practices and so I read that (posted at bottom). I also find myself reading any and everything about lessons we're learning about child development... amount of screen time... how to help teach resilience... how to treat all moments with your kids as special... I warned you. I've been a bit wistful.

One of the reasons I find myself enjoying reading is the discomfort difficult discourse creates. When we are honest with ourselves and each other, we create opportunities for growth. Don't we ask that of our students in the moments we ask them to learn something new or different? For educators, examples include deciding that we will read a book even if it's not our jam. We will try that new instructional practice even though it's different from those we have mastered. We will work on tasks that are outside of our comfort zone because we know the act may be important. We will decide NOT to write off that student who has perpetually made our professional life difficult these past few weeks. We will try new things.

Difficult reflection, hard conversations, or arduous tasks that require the need to recharge every now and again. Actually, sometimes it's just the day-to-day struggle of helping ALL kids that requires us to refill our cups. Without that extra energy, educators run the risk of depleting the reserves required to not only take on the daily challenge of educating our students, but also those tasks that require us to embrace the discomfort or flexibility that stimulates growth.

To that end, these next few weeks are a challenge as we help our students, and each other, finish the first semester STRONG. I hope each of you has been able to find a moment to recharge and enjoy some much-deserved time away to reflect and recharge.

I know that I needed it!

Whatever it takes!



3 weeks remaining in first semester! That's crazy talk.

Final push. Let's do WHATEVER IT TAKES! (That was for you, Brownell.)

Thanks and/or Congrats

  • Congrats and well-done to our 2nd season sport coaches! Nice work on wrapping up the season before break.
  • Thanks to everyone who has recently stepped in to cover a fellow colleague when it was needed before break.


  • Family Time gathering on Tuesday of this week. Yes, you read that correctly. Part one of a two part service project activity. Stay tuned! Details will be coming your way, but we wouldn't want it to sneak up on you. Students will follow your lead as we make January a month focused on service and leadership.
  • Mr. Lezcano will be communicating with students as to the expectations that keep CJH running smoothly. Please back our play as we reestablish the "norm" as we settle back in from winter break. This is particularly important as we try to help struggling students rise to our expectations academically and behaviorally.
  • Quick turnaround of this round of nominations for Student of the Quarter. Google Form coming your way shortly. Until then, please keep a sharp eye on your rosters to think of which kids are deserving of this honor.
  • Communication regarding academics, particularly when a student is failing or at-risk of failing, is necessary. Fully understanding that real-time grading allows for little excuse for not knowing how a student is doing, please keep in mind that parents are often just doing their best to ascertain what is happening within our walls. Please make it a point to reach out to the parents of students who are failing or at-risk of failing so that students and parents are aware.


Instructional Leadership Team (ILT)

  • ILT doesn't meet for a while. This group will be working in concert with the AVID site team as we look at how to experiment with WICOR practices this spring. The idea will be to move our AVID-school-wide work forward without feeling like we are adding one more thing to our plates :-).


  • This group met before break to make sure the next two Family Time lessons were dialed in. That said, they will also be looking at how to best address necessary expectations and how to reinforce when students are doing a good job being kind or showing Cougar PRIDE.

AVID Site team

  • The same as the ILT description above. Please check in with your department chair to help us dig deeper.


  • SST groups just met to make CORE/FLEX assignments for our final session of CORE/FLEX for the semester.


Monday, January 6th, 2020 - LSM schedule

  • Collaboration Monday! Choose your own adventure. CORE/FLEX assignments were made before break, but it may be worth recalling who's doing what for this final round. We will also be gathering as a staff really quick to go over part-one of our service project activities in January. Please remember, this is part of Family Time and is also part of our observance of MLK, Jr. Day.
  • CJH Booster Meeting in our library at 6:30pm.

Tuesday, January 7th, 2020 - First of two Family Time activities (Service Projects)

  • Family Time during CORE/FLEX time window
  • Our January staff meeting will be in the library after school.

Wednesday, January 8th, 2020 - First day of final CORE/FLEX session of semester

  • Our final round of CORE/FLEX for the semester kicks off this day!!! Really, really need help supporting our struggling students as we get close to the end of first semester. More details to come on this, but Mrs. Holmes and Mrs. Wolfrom will work their magic to make sure this happens seamlessly as always.

Thursday, January 9th, 2020

  • Thursday looks pretty open at this point.

Friday, January 10th, 2020

  • Mrs. Brauner will be meeting with some other ELA folks to talk about aligning writing practices across the secondary level.
  • Otherwise, the day looks pretty open.

Of note in the coming weeks:


  • Service project in January - facilitated in Family time
  • January 20 - Martin Luther King, Jr. Day - no school
  • Jan 23/24 - Early release days - out at 11am
  • Finals schedule = Jan 23 - periods 1, 2, 3 and Jan 24th - periods 4, 5, 6
  • Jan 27 - Staff-directed day (no school for students)
  • Jan 28 - Second semester begins!


PROFESSIONAL LEARNING resources, articles, or other resources