Drake Direct

New Year's Newsletter 2019

Open House 1.24.19

Thursday, Jan. 24th, 6:30pm

1327 Sir Francis Drake Boulevard

San Anselmo, CA

Please use this ONLINE PROGRAM for OPEN HOUSE!

Current Drake Parents, please visit classrooms at 6:30.

Incoming 9th grade, please come to the gym at 6:30.

Small Learning Communities: Time to Study...

This article is the second in a Drake Direct series. Please use this link for the first article from December 5, 2018.

As Drake moves forward with our study of the Small Learning Communities (SLCs), we want to continue to provide our community with the steps we are taking to better understand this intrigal part of our school. This fall our teacher's discussed the benefits and challenges of our SLCs. The staff recognized the benefits, such as personalization of both relationships and instruction and the creation of a community for students. We also recognized the challenges of the lack of alignment and differences our students experience in each SLC. We believe that there are great positives this school design provides for our students and we would like to continue with the model of Small Learning Communities. However, we recognize that the current configuration is not serving our students best.

We have started the Drake Innovation Team that is comprised of 8 teachers, one classified staff and one administrator to discuss how we can re-imagine our approach. In this work, we recognize the important role of stakeholder input. To this end, we are organizing a series of input meetings with our students, parents and recent graduates to learn from all of you what has been the experience and what do we need to move forward. You will hear about these as we move into spring.

We will continue to remind people, that we are not planning on having any significant change for the 2019-20 school year. We understand that this work will take some time AND we want to provide planning time as we move into a new model. We are, however, going to have smaller changes in response to personnel decisions, as we do every year. For next school year, we will be offering a new option for students who do not want to be involved in a formal SLC and opt into a smaller configuration that will be more traditional in structure. This option will be one of the four choices students will have when they register on January 31st. Every year we have a few people request this option, so we will see how many students are interested in this approach to SLCs. More information will be provided at the registration event.

The SLC structure and culture is a major part of the Drake experience. We recognize this and will continue to study and learn from what we have, imagine what could be best for all students and communicate along this journey to you all. Please continue to email questions and thoughts to Liz Seabury, Principal . lseabury@tamdistrict.org

2019-2020 COURSE SIGN-UPS are NOW!

Students need to choose their courses for the 2019-2020 school year by February 7th. We have a new slide deck added to the Drake webpage featuring all of our elective options. This process of picking classes cannot be taken lightly. Due to budget constraints the district is facing, we need to create classes that reflect what our students want and fill each class. Every change in student's course selection AFTER February affects this course creation process. To this end, we cannot be as flexible as we have been about student's changing their course selections after February. We provide all students the opportunity to double-check their courses AND MAKE CHANGES for the following year in late April. April/May is the final time we can consider any changes to a student's request so we can create all the classes we need. We will not be able to consider changes in August unless there is a school error.

We need all students to make their course selections carefully and seriously in February and confirm these courses in April. After April, we need to move into schedule creation and all student selections are final. Thank you for recognizing your role in this process and for making this process benefit each student's success.

The Drake Buccaneer: A call for help!

The Sir Francis Drake High School Buccaneer, our school Yearbook, is a long-standing tradition that students have worked diligently to publish each year since the early days at Drake High. While our yearbook sales remain robust, our course enrollment has dwindled significantly, in spite of ongoing staff and student recruitment efforts. This year, our course enrollment is only eleven students. We ran a Yearbook course workshop last week, in a final effort to recruit a full class of students, however, we do not foresee much greater interest in this course for next year, and will not be able to continue to run small sections. As such, we are rethinking our approach to the Buccaneer publication. Drake administration has discussed this issue with our current yearbook students and at a parent coffee. Additionally, we invited interested parents to meet with us about the next iteration of the yearbook, although we did not have any attendees at the parent yearbook meeting. Please know that we continue to explore and consider how to best keep a Buccaneer tradition going through the support of our broader Drake community for the 2019-2020 school year.