The Reds Tale

May 4, 2017

From the Desk of Mr. Roote

With Teacher Appreciation Day upon us (Tuesday, May 9) I thought I would use my column this week as an opportunity to fill some buckets. In the past, I have accomplished this by seeking inspiration from fables, analogies, sports stories etc. Previously, I have identified your extraordinary work with acorns, cracked pots, party favors etc. Since I am not offended by the gentle ribbing I get from sharing some of my deeper thinking I will take another stab at it. I pass along the behavioral science below because it highlights the fact that we are all in this together.

It doesn't matter if you are a student cleaner, cafeteria cashier, monitor, or classroom teacher! Your effort, when coupled with the effort of all those around you is exponentially more meaningful. I think the common saying for this is the sum is greater than its parts: "Every fall thousands of geese fly from Canada to the southern part of the United States to escape the bitterly cold Canadian winter. As soon as a flock of geese take flight from Canadian waters they quickly form a v-shape flying pattern, with one rotating goose in the center lead and all the other geese trailing behind in two close lines. Wildlife scientists have conducted extensive studies to determine why geese and other migratory birds always fly in a distinctive v-formation. They found some fascinating results:

  • When geese fly together, each goose provides additional lift and reduces air resistance for the goose flying behind it. Consequently, by flying together in a v-formation, scientists estimate that the whole flock can fly about 70% farther with the same amount of energy than if each goose flew alone. Geese have discovered that they can reach their destination more quickly and with less energy expended when they fly together in formation. When people work together harmoniously on teams, sharing common values and a common destination, they all arrive at the destination quicker and easier, because they are lifted up by the energy and enthusiasm of one another.
  • When a goose drops out of the v-formation it quickly discovers that it requires a great deal more effort and energy to fly. Consequently, that goose will quickly return to the formation to take advantage of the lifting power that comes from flying together. Sometimes people playing on teams will drop out of the group and try to accomplish goals on their own. However, like the geese, they usually discover that they miss the synergy and energy that comes when they are an active part of a cohesive team moving toward their destination, and want to return to the group.
  • Geese rotate leadership. When the goose flying in the front of the formation has to expend the most energy because it is the first to break up the flow of air that provides the additional lift for all of the geese who follow behind the leader. Consequently, when the lead goose gets tired, it drops out of the front position and moves to the rear of the formation, where the resistance is lightest, and another goose moves to the leadership position. This rotation of position happens many times in the course of the long journey to warmer climates. When a team is functioning well, various members of the team may take the leadership role for a while because of a particular expertise or experience. Consequently, on good teams, everyone has the opportunity to serve as a leader as well as a follower.
  • Geese honk at each other. They also frequently make loud honking sounds as they fly together. Scientists speculate that this honking is their way of communicating with each other during their long flight. Similarly, when working on teams, it is exceedingly important for each team member to communicate regularly with all the other team members. Teams frequently fall apart because of the lack of adequate communication among the various members of the team. Perhaps human teams can learn from flying flocks of geese that constant communication among members is exceedingly important in moving effectively towards a common destination.
  • Geese help each other. Scientists also discovered that when one goose becomes ill, is shot or injured, and drops out of the formation, two other geese will fall out of formation and remain with the weakened goose. They will stay with and protect the injured goose from predators until it is able to fly again or dies. Likewise, human teams work best when they do more than just work together, but care for the well being of each other.

Be on the look out for treats in some of our common areas of the building on Tuesday to remind you of how important you are to our "sum."

From the Desk of Mr. Wagner

“The best thing about being a teacher is that it matters. The hardest thing about being a teacher is that it matters every day.”-Todd Whitaker

I was offered a job to teach at Geneva High School in the summer of 2006. I was excited, energized and eager to get started. I worked really hard to prepare my classroom and get ready for the first couple weeks of school. I focused on getting to know my students. I arrived early and worked late to make sure I was keeping up. I attended sporting events and extracurricular activities to build stronger relationships with my students and colleagues. Then October arrived…. I found myself dealing with some significant classroom challenges and falling asleep on the couch by 8:00pm. On days I didn’t work as hard, my lessons were not as good and negative behaviors occurred as a result. When I grew impatient with students and reacted unfavorably to situations, relationships suffered. My learning experience was probably like most of yours. Teaching is hard because it does matter every day. The pace is rigorous and you are on stage all day. It does matter though. Even though sometimes it feels like students are ungrateful, the public is against you and you are constantly asked to do more, your job matters. I was reminded how much teachers matter when I attended my first teacher retirement party which happened to be for my mentor. He taught at Geneva for 30+ years, lived in the community, and was the varsity basketball coach for 20 years. At his retirement party, you could feel the impact he had on his students and the community. During my first year, it was great having him as a mentor to remind me how rewarding teaching can be. There are big moments we can reflect on and be part of that inspire us. But, there are also experiences at NHS I see on a daily basis that inspire me. I see students being learners, conducting experiments, problem solving, and working together every day. I see students helping one another and interacting positively. I see students eating lunch with teachers and seeking out teachers after school for support. When I feel like my job is wearing on me, I look for the positive things going on at our school every day. I remind myself that teachers are responsible for the success and culture that exist at NHS. I want to express my appreciation for our teachers and let you know that you matter every day.

Mash Up

The ABCD Schedule for May and June can be found on our homepage.

When requesting a vacation, personal or bereavement day please fill out the Leave Request Form that can be found under staff tools on our homepage. In addition you must put your absence into Absence Management. If you have any issue with your login please first try a different browser or contact Sharon VanHall at BOCES ( or call 1-866-334-6669). If your absence is not in subfinder by 6:00 am the morning of the day you are absent substitutes will not be notified of your absence. Please notify a colleague as to where your sub plans can be found. Kyra cannot be responsible for the handling of teacher sub plans. There should be clear instructions on where your sub plans are when you are absent. By the way, you can attach sub plans or notes for substitutes to the Absence manager.

The Tech. Office is planning network upgrades for the summer. Per Ms. Sonneville, "The bad news is that EduTech has scheduled it (and we cannot change this) for July 10-24. This means our network will go down on the very first day of summer school. The good news is that we were able to push them back a bit so that they won’t take it down until NOON on JULY 10. This means the first morning of summer school will have network connections until 12PM. (They told me 12:01, but I never know about them…!)"

Social Emotional Learning and the Plan for Excellence

Three cheers to Brynne Sturge for raising awareness of speech and hearing month.

Calendar Share

Thursday, May 4 in the afternoon and Friday May 5 all day. Tom out. Contact: T Roote

Friday, May 5. High School Rent a Senior Day. Contact: Deb Barry or Amy Lannon.

Friday, May 5 at 3:00 pm. Field Trip Blackout Begins. Contact: T Roote.

Tuesday, May 9. National Teacher Appreciation Day. Contact: T Roote.

Friday, May 12 at NRW. Special Olympics.

Wednesday, June 7 from 7:30-11:00 am. Academic Awards Assembly. Contact: K Springett.

Thursday, June 8 at 9:00 am. Prom Crash Drill. Contact: S Flanagan.

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.