Engaging. Relevant. Personal. For All. 12-10-15

Imagine SPS

Last week Rick Snyder and I had the opportunity to participate in the Imagine SPS bootcamp for secondary schools. It was a 36 hour endevor that was very enlightening and help me understand of why changes need to be made in our system. Part of our experience was to follow a high school schedule for two full days, so Rick and I were CHS Bulldogs for this project. Below is a a list of my observations:

This is not a reflection of CHS. This was a common theme for all 38 participants.

Here are a few things I learned:

  1. School still looks much like it did when I was a student in the late 70’s.
  2. Kids are kids no matter where they live or go to school.
  3. 90 minute blocks are too long for some classes.
  4. There is a lot of wasted time during the school day.
  5. 5 minutes for passing period isn’t enough time to go to the restroom.
  6. Students want to be active, hands on, collaborating, creating.
  7. Students want to be heard – not talked to all day long.
  8. We have many, many, many great teachers who care about kids.
  9. Worksheets, worksheets, and more worksheets.
  10. Hard to sit still for 90 minutes.
  11. School lunch is ok, but not to the point I’d eat it five days a week.
  12. 25 minutes for lunch is not enough time.
  13. Restroom breaks are needed.
  14. When do we get to reflect, debrief, communicate?
  15. The teacher does not know that I am confused and do not understand.
  16. There is no substitute for a great teacher who cares about kids.
  17. Teachers allowing students the opportunity to not be engaged.
  18. I am hungry. When do we get snacks?
  19. Google Classrooms are awesome.

Students have many opportunities for experiencing great teachers who make learning engaging, relevant, and personal, but not all kids have the same opportunity based on their schedule.

Our final day of the training we met with a focus group of students across the district. I went with a group of teachers and administrators to GHS and met with 12 students. This was their feedback to our questions.

1. Like to do group projects, but not all the time.

2. Technology is great, but they still like to learn from a book.

3. They have a lot of wasted time during the day.

4. Love the Four Block.

5. Want individual accountability for grades.

6. Want to be prepared for the ACT and college.

7. Their career path was based on personal experiences that they have had.

8. Good teachers make learning fun.

9. Job shadowing opportunities are great to find out what you like and do not like.

10. Like to choose their courses.

11. Want time during the school day to complete homework and assignments and get help from teachers when needed.

“We spend a lot of time designing the bridge, but not enough time thinking about the people who are crossing it.” – Dr. Prabhjot Singh

I am excited about what the future might look like at SPS and look forward to being part of this journey.

Imagine SPS Promo

Tech Tool of the Week

The “Start Screen” on your new device is a great navigational tool. If you want quick access to commonly used programs, files or websites begin by customizing your Start Screen.

Below is a link to tips and videos to help get you started.

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Principal Student Advisory Board


  1. Four Block
  2. Variety of Clubs and opportunities to join
  3. Freedom to choose courses
  4. New Student Center
  5. Dual Credit
  6. Athletics
  7. Time to complete homework during the school day
  8. School Spirit
  9. Rigorous courses
  10. One Tribe
  11. Chief Mentors
  12. Teachers who care


  1. Construction and parking
  2. School google accounts vs personal google accounts
  3. Wifi too slow
  4. Too much technology
  5. Unhappy teachers
  6. Need a BYOD policy
  7. Girl's locker room too small
  8. Need information for colleges beyond our area
  9. Need a water bottle filler fountain
  10. Wasted time during finals week

Friday, December 18 - Professional Learning / Work Day Schedule

Next Friday is scheduled as a PL/PW day for all teachers. We will plan on meeting at 8:00 a.m. in the Student Center for a Holiday Breakfast/Staff Meeting. You will have the rest of the day to work on grades.