Designing our Design LAB

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

School Culture

Last week was a difficult week at Design Lab. On the good news side, we were able to determine who took Ms. Romito's car. Zuri is suspended and I'm taking him to an expulsion hearing. We didn't talk to students about this terrible incident.Should we have? I've begun getting feedback from staff regarding how to handle this with the students. But I'm interested in hearing from you with your thoughts. Do we just move forward without talking to students? Do we speak with them about it? If so, what do we say? I think this is an important conversation and it starts with us. I'd love to hear from you on this topic.


Separate from the stolen car, we had a week of yelling, anger, and student frustration last week. Amidst the negativity, Mr. Ezepue had a bottle of juice thrown at him. As an aside, he handled a difficult situation about as well as could be expected. But it still happened-and it shouldn't have. Additionally, student attendance was horrible last week. It was an incredibly angry week, and we had fewer students in the building than we have most weeks. Why?


School culture drives everything. What we model, expect, and allow is what our culture is and what it will be. So how do you want our culture to be? Different? The same? Are you satisfied with all the late arrivals to class? All the missing school? The yelling? I'm not. Our culture starts with me. I model yelling when I stand downstairs between periods and yell "Let's go!" to our students. I yell because it's easier and I'm loud and it's definitely easier than running around to every student to speak to them individually. But does this act show what I value? I don't think it does. What do you value relative to our school culture? How can we define, expect, model, and reinforce a shared set of values to grow our school culture? Looking back at previous years, we're in a better place than we've ever been before. But is it good enough? Not for me. Is it for you?


We'll be having a UCC meeting next week. I'll be talking to the UCC about taking positive steps forward regarding our school culture. I hope between now and then, you take the time to speak with Ken and the rest of the UCC to offer suggestions for making our school culture better. In the meantime, I've attached an article about SEL for your consideration.

The Week Ahead: Learning by Doing

We'll be meeting twice this week on Wednesday and Thursday. Please plan to share your Evidence of Learning with the rest of the staff at 2:50 on Thursday in the media center. You can share video, made items, and anything else. But it must be Evidence of your learning during our Learning By Doing time. Everyone will share.

Data Meeting this Week

As always, we will have a data meeting on Tuesday this week. Please bring your laptops, student data, and working documents. This week, we will continue to plan how you will differentiate process in your selected class. Additionally, I will share the Spring NWEA cut scores for proficiency, so you will have a target for each student to meet. Lisa Farmer will again join us for our meeting. She is there to observe me, not you, so it's nothing to stress about.

Robotics This Week:

There is Robotics this Wednesday, February 3rd. As a reminder, the 10th grade participants will have Robotics with Mr. O'Hara and Ms. Yox first period. All other participants will have robotics through their assigned science class.

200 Minutes This Week

Monday, February 1-Personal Planning Time and APT Meeting

Tuesday, February 2-Data Meeting

Wednesday, February 3-Learning by Doing

Thursday, February 4-Learning by Doing with presentations to staff at 2:50 in the media center.

Making at Other Schools

Here's an article about a South Carolina High School with a diverse student population that is using project based learning to have students focus on real problems and grow their own school culture and community. Check it out below.

News and Notes:

February 1-Personal Planning Time/APT Meeting

February 2-Data Team Meeting

February 2-Family Maker Night for Prospective Families-5:30-8:00-Speak to Eric or Jessica Yox if you plan to attend

February 3-Learning by Doing

February 4-Learning by Doing with staff presentations beginning at 2:50 in the Media Center

February 4-AAP Update meeting-Ken and Eric out of the building 8:30-12:00-Coverage needed for Ken.

February 8-Personal Planning/UCC Meeting


Upcoming Dates:

-February 12-Teacher PD Day, no students

-February 15-President's Day-No School

-February 18-Early Dismissal-Interim Parent Teacher Conferences

-February 28-March 4th-3rd Quarter Exams

-March 4th-Unannounced TDES Observations are due

-March 7-18th-OGT's-This is a change from March 14-25th

Thank You's:

Thank you to:

-Jessica Yox for leading our efforts at the high school fair. Your efforts to build an incoming 9th grade class are invaluable.

-Rob Senor for recruiting at the high school fair on Monday

-Jessica Stickel for recruiting at the high school fair on Tuesday

-Meghan Paris for recruiting at the high school fair on Wednesday

-Thank you to Desiree Stroder for being a great teammate last week