Monday, October 10th 2016

Professional Development - Feedback
Please access the link to each session and provide feedback for the session you attended.  Remember to evaluate each session so we can use the feedback to build our future professional development:

Collecting Data and Using It to Effect Practice (Stone/King)

Grit, Resilience, and Building a Stronger Student (Wagner)

IEP Updates: IEP Goal Writing Strategies for Effective and Efficient Meetings (Earp)

Intermediate/Expert Google Classroom (Kitsmiller/Sweet)

Introduction to Google Classroom (Gleek)

Performance Plus: Using Data to Change Practice (Holliman)

Using Naviance and the College Recommendation Process (GLHS Counselors)

Using Nearpod to Collect Data (Wolfe)

Working with ELL Students: Strategies, Resources, Grading and Modifying (Garling/Farley)

Friday, September 2, 2016

Quote of the Week:

Video of the Week:
Every Kid Needs a Champion - Rita Pierson

Mon, 9/5 - No School
Tues, 9/6 - Department Meetings (3:00 PM)
Tues, 9/6 - Staff BYObanana in Media Center/Library (3:00 PM)
Tues, 9/6 - Business Department Professional Development
Wed, 9/7 - MS/HS Administrator Meeting (12:00 PM)
Thurs, 9/8 - GJPS BOE Meeting (6:30 PM)
Fri, 9/9 - Fall Blood Drive
Mon, 9/12 - PRC Meeting (3:00 PM)
Mon, 9/12 - Fall Play Auditions (3:00 PM)

Voodoo Doughnuts: How to create a buzzworthy class

People flock to Voodoo Doughnut from all over the world. Here's what we can learn from them about teaching in the classroom. (Image by Matt Miller)
People flock to Voodoo Doughnut from all over the world. Here’s what we can learn from them about teaching in the classroom. (Image by Matt Miller)
After a presentation in Portland, Oregon, in May, I was waiting to board a plane to head back home. Everyone was crowded into the boarding area with their luggage, food and other items.
One person stood out to me, though.
She was holding this pink box.
So, what’s the natural thing to do to satisfy this curiosity? Go up to her and ask her about her box?
Nope. I walked by her and peered at it out of the corner of my eye. (Like a creeper. I know.)
She was carrying doughnuts. But not any doughnuts. These were Voodoo doughnuts. They’re a big deal in Oregon (where there are three stores) and Denver and Austin, Texas (where there’s one each).

Tell me more!

I had to know more about this place. The pink box caught my eye, and the interesting name had me hooked. I did some digging and found some unique information about this place:
I got to visit Portland again in August, so you can probably guess what I did.
Who wouldn't want to buy doughnuts from a place like this? (The Cubs fan in me was happy to see the Arrieta jersey in Portland.) (Photo by Matt Miller)
Who wouldn’t want to buy doughnuts from a place like this? (The Cubs fan in me was happy to see the Arrieta jersey in Portland.) #beardnets (Photo by Matt Miller)
Finished my presentation. Headed right in to Portland. Found Voodoo Doughnut.
I bought a dozen assorted doughnuts. Some were traditional (yeast and cake doughnuts, chocolate and caramel frosting). Others were wackier (with Oreos, Butterfinger, M&Ms, etc. … we did get a Froot Loop one).
I ate one (maple bacon, with two strips of bacon on top!) and brought the rest back home to Indiana for my family. I flew 2,000 miles and walked through three airports with a pink box of doughnuts. (After a while, a dozen doughnuts get heavy.) (I know … you have no sympathy for me because I’m complaining about the weight of doughnuts, for goodness sake.)
You have no idea how many people stared down my pink box in those airports, and they started about a half dozen conversations with strangers. (One guy asked if they were for sale. I said, “I’d be in big trouble if I didn’t follow through for my family. They’d be pretty expensive.”)

Classroom Voodoo

Our classes can be a haven for imagination, fascination and stimulation. Be brave and try something awesome.
Our classes can be a haven for imagination, fascination and stimulation. Be brave and try something awesome.
The doughnuts were good, but they weren’t that good. In fact, the co-founder even said, “I mean it’s wonderful but it’s just fried doughnut! We haven’t really invented anything.”
Why did I go out of my way to buy doughnuts in Portland, Oregon?
Voodoo is on to something, and I know we can bring some of that mojo to the classroom.
(Disclaimer: I don’t like voodoo itself. Don’t believe in it. Wouldn’t have named my own doughnut shop “Voodoo Doughnut.” Don’t believe in practicing voodoo on students. OK, I feel better now. Moving on …)
1. Grab their attention. I never would have found Voodoo Doughnut had I not seen that pink box in the airport. Retailers know that packaging gets customers’ attention. We can use that too.
  • How can we “package” a lesson in a creative way? What do we give students that could be packaged creatively?
2. It’s all in the name. As I mentioned, I never would have picked “Voodoo Doughnut” for my own doughnut shop. But you can’t deny that it stands out more than “Joe’s Doughnut Shop.”
  • What can we name a lesson or activity that will get kids pumped up about it? Can we let them help us name certain parts of the class?
3. Embrace the non-traditional. There are cake and yeast doughnuts everywhere. Chocolate and caramel in every store. But Dubble Bubble bubble gum on doughnuts? That’s not for everyone. But by trying to reach everyone, sometimes you reach no one. People love to embrace uniqueness.
  • What twist can we put on a lesson or school activity that’s different? How can we make a class so unique that students have to take notice?
4. Tempt the taste buds. People don’t go to Voodoo Doughnut only because they’re unique. Their doughnuts are delicious. There’s one everlasting truth in education — kids love to eat.
  • How can we tie something delicious into our lessons? Can students make something delicious on their own to bring in (if they want to)?
5. Make class buzzworthy. There’s hype around Voodoo Doughnut. They’re not on social media just because they have their own Instagram and Facebook accounts. People love sharing photos of the place. They feel like they have to tell others.
  • What visually stimulating (or simply shareable) moments can we create in class? Can we let students take pictures on their phone to share with others?
6. Set the scene. The Voodoo Doughnut shop wasn’t just a place to buy doughnuts. It was a spectacle. Stained glass. Crazy chandelier. Chalk art menu board. The works.
  • What new piece of classroom decor can spark students’ attention and become a conversation piece? Is there anything students can create to add to the experience?
Yep, there’s something to this Voodoo Doughnut thing. Another way I can tell: my pink box is empty, but it’s still in my kitchen. I just haven’t been able to bring myself to throw it away yet.
Our classes can be a haven for imagination, fascination and stimulation. Be brave and try something awesome.
Question: What else can we do to create a buzzworthy classroom? What have you done? What would you like to do? What have you seen others do?
  • Please keep Mr. Eckard, Ms. Harris, and Ms. Palmer in your thoughts as they are coping with loss or illnesses of loved ones.
Before last staff meeting, I sent a form asking for issues/complaints/kudos for the staff to share.  Below are some areas that were addressed:
  • Mr. G getting a smartboard installed in PASS Room
  • Students becoming more familiar with Google Classroom
  • Government teachers encouraging students to work with Link Crew and Student Council to earn community service hours
  • GCS and Digital Academy teachers’ patience as we start the new school year while the correct students are put in their classes.
  • Water bottle fill-up at selected water fountains
  • Clark Hall custodians did a great job this summer in getting the building ready for the school year
  • Digital signage in the main building and Clark Hall having announcements
  • There were 5 comments about either Open House being from 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM or having Open House operate on the student’s bell schedule.  
    • We can change Open House next year to 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM.
    • I am open for discussions on changing Open House to a bell schedule format
    • One comment asked “Is Open House even necessary anymore?”  Yes, we will continue having Open Houses.  I get too many positive comments about it to not have it.
  • Laptop batteries at Clark Hall are dying quickly
  • TV not working for daily announcements in one of the classrooms

  • My personal favorite: Could end-of-the-day announcements be delayed until 2:48 pm? Even if there are multiple announcements, it never takes three minutes to convey the information.
    • I have been doing this since I received this.
  • Remember for staff members who have been informed, there will be APEX training on Thursday, September 8th.

Friday, August 26th, 2016

Quote of the Week:

"When its your time to go, how do you want to be remembered by students?"
-- Inky Johnson

Video of the Week:
Learning Without Limits - Jim Mahoney, Battelle For Kids
One of the best TedTalks I have ever watched!

Events of Interest
Mon, Aug. 29 - PRC Committee Meeting (3:00 PM)
Mon, Aug. 29 - PTO Meeting (7:00 PM - Fab Lab)
Tues, Sep. 1 - Fall Interest Play Meeting (3:00 PM)
Fri, Sep 2 - Freshman Tailgate Party (6:15 PM - Outside Jefferson Hall)
Fri, Sep 2 - Student Pictures & Student ID Retakes
Mon, Sep 5 - No School
Tues, Sep 6 - Staff Meeting Day (Department Meeting Day: 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM)

Education Design and Practice: Are You Changing Your Clubs?

As a golf fan, I can remember when the “long putters” were becoming all of the rage on the PGA and Senior Tours.  Early on, it seemed everyone was trying them out to see if they were the next great fix to their respective golf games and careers.    When you see the putters, they aren’t the prettiest looking clubs on the market.  The putters drew spectator’s attention when viewing tournaments in person or on television because they didn’t look like the conventional golf club.  The clubs were different.  And when it comes to golf, the appearance of clubs rarely drastically change over the years.

But that’s just it.  The players were not experimenting to be different or to say, “Hey, look at me!  I’m using a goofy-looking long putter to get attention and be different.”  They tried using the putters to get better at what they do.  The players who became comfortable with the clubs and continued to use them did it because they started to see improvements in their putting.  They eventually changed putters because they got better.
As we have started the new school year, I have visited classrooms and seen changes in design and practice.  The change is much like the “long putters” discussed above.  It hasn’t been done to change for the sake of change.  The changes I have witnessed have been for the benefit of students.  Meeting students where they like to learn: whether it is using comfortable seating or using a variety of resources, change is good if it is used to help students and staff grow as lifelong learners.

One example of change that I recently saw was in Annie Preneavea’s (@mrsprenoveau) class.  Annie teachers Algebra II and is an instructor in our GCS (Gahanna’s Commitment toward Success) program.  Annie’s classroom made a transformation this summer.  It went from the “traditional” classroom that we know (rows, metal chairs, metal desks) to a relaxing, comfortable learning environment for students.  Not only has this changed the way the room appears, but it has changed the way she teaches.  A collaborative environment allows teachers to become facilitators and assist with learning.  Teacher are now not the person in the room who holds all of the information.  Collaborative spaces helps foster this distribution of information.

When looking to change design and practice, it is important to focus on specific areas to establish you are doing it for the right reasons.  

Do the Data: You have to know why you are changing what you do and how it looks.  If the why isn’t related to growth of students and staff, you are doing it for the wrong reasons.  There is no reason to start down the path of obtaining resources and making changes if you don’t know the why of different design and practices.

Listen to your Crew:  What are your students looking for?  What type of environment do they need to succeed?  If you are not getting input from your students on design and practice, you are not making the greatest impact with your changes as you could be.  

Grind to Find the Resources: This is usually the biggest hurdle.  It is tough, time consuming, and the most common downfall for great ideas regarding design and practice.  It is easy for resources to become the biggest demise because it’s the easiest excuse.  We can’t let that dictate changing design and practice.  We need to utilize our connections and personal learning network to find resources.

As mentioned above, Annie changed her design but didn’t let a lack of funds stand in her way.  She utilized donorschoose.org to secure funding for her ideas.  She had many families and friends who saw her need and helped her.  There are other sites available like www.gofundme.com, www.zerobound.com, www.classwish.org, www.adoptaclassroom.org, and RocketHub (www.rockethub.com) where you can ask for specific funds based on what you need.

That doesn’t even mention building relationships with local businesses and writing grants for specific projects.  While it may be a little bit of work, as you can see from Annie’s room, its worth it.

Remain Relevant and Alive as an Educator:  Kids are more apt to learn when relationships exist.  Actually, we all are.  Its human nature.  When it comes to remaining relevant professionally, you have to or like anything else in life, there are consequences.  Refusing to change or even consider changing design and/or practice can be percieved as if you don’t consider being relevant as a priority.  Students see right through that.  That is why the best teachers personalize their learning, learn from others, and find ways to make changes in design and practice based on student need.

While the “long putter” in golf has taken some heat lately in golf and lead to rule changes, players will continue to try to find ways to get better.  Educators and leaders need to have the same mentality.  We need to continue to test the waters in design and practice.  Creating collaborative environments and using teaching methods that promote collaboration will help our students for life after school.  As educators, the specific areas mentioned above are in our hands.  It’s on us to provide opportunities to change.  If not, our students lose out.  Changing clubs and trying out different clubs doesn’t always work out in the end.  But not even giving a change in design and practice a chance could leave you wondering what could have been.  Don’t be like the guys who didn’t even try the “long putter” because how it looked.  Be the person who at least gave it a try.

  • Please keep Ms. Candor, Mr. Eckard, and Mr. Thomas in your thoughts as they are coping with family losses or illnesses at this time.
  • Temperature of rooms - Mr. Cullen has been inputting maintenance requests for district maintenance personnel to address.  At this time, the maintenance department is behind of their normal times of addressing issues.  The procedures for addressing maintenance requests if just that, we input areas that need addressed and the maintenance department then fixes the issues.  If there are issues that are affecting the educational learning environment for students, please make us aware and we will do everything that we can to change the environment (change classrooms, etc.) to help improve the situation.  This may require flexibility on both the building administration and staff end.
  • ACT/SAT discussion for new report cards - The new Ohio report cards has a portion of the card that grades districts/buildings on how well they are equipping Ohio’s students to take advantage of future opportunities.  The “Prepared for Success” portion of the report card has 2 areas:


  • A district earns 1 point for every student who earns any of the following:
  • College entrance exam remediation-free scores* (18 for ACT English, 22 for ACT math and 21 for ACT reading; or 430 for SAT writing, 520 for SAT math and 450 for SAT reading)
  • An honors diploma; or
  • 12 points through an industry-recognized credential or group of credentials in one of 13 high-demand career fields.
If a student achieves more than one of the above, the district still earns 1 point for that student.


For every student who earns 1 point plus one of the following, a district earns 0.3 additional points:
  • Advanced Placement tests – Scores 3 points or more on at least one test;
  • International Baccalaureate tests – Scores 4 points or more on at least one test;
  • College Credit Plus – Earns at least 3 credits.
If a student achieves more than one of the above, the district still earns 0.3 point for that student.
As you can see, students need to take a college entrance exam (ACT/SAT) in order to receive points.  This summer, ODE announced that it would fund one of the college entrance exams for districts for students to take.  As a district, we are in the process of learning more from both ACT and SAT as to what would be the best fit for a college entrance exam for our students.  I will keep you updated as to where we are in the process in the upcoming weeks.

  • PTO Meetings - The GLHS PTO organization is going to try something different this year.  Instead of hosting all of our meetings in Clark Hall, we are going to host the meetings in different areas of the community and district.  This will allow our parents and community members to see the many different programs that we offer at GLHS.  If you are interested in participating in this, please let me know and we can showcase your program/organization at one of our upcoming meetings.
  • PeachJar - As you can see from one of the links above, the district has a new feature for advertising events called PeachJar.  PeachJar allows staff and community members to upload digital flyers for others to see.  
  • ID & Student Picture Make-Ups - Please post on your board somewhere that ID & Student Picture Make Ups will be on Friday, September 2nd.  Try to make everyone aware of this date; we get alot of emails/calls from parents about this date each year.
  • September 6th Staff Meeting - This meeting date will be for Department Meetings from 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM.  Department Chairs please make sure your department knows where they will be meeting during this time.
Articles of Interest

Monday, January 4th, 2016

Quote of the Week:

"Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved"  -- Helen Keller

Variety in Education is the Spice of Life

Variety in life is a good thing.  Variety and choice are a couple of things that make our country and this time in our lives great.  For some as adults, the different variety and choices that we have take time to get used to.  But for our students, this is the only life they know. 

Our students take advantage of variety and choice everyday.  The only problem is, in education, we don’t take advantage of that.  For years in our educational system, we have tried to avoid variety and limit the amount of choices for students and teachers.  Why? That’s for another blog post.  For now, the fact of the matter is as educators, we need to offer different opportunities for our teachers and students.

When I meet with teachers and discuss preparation, instruction, and assessment of students, one of the biggest opportunities for growth with educators is using assessment data and assessment choices.  As educators, it seems that it is ingrained in us to assess students the same way students have been assessed for years.  The mindset is, “It is has worked for this long so why change?”   That may have worked 10 to 15 years ago, but as stated above, our students and society have changed.  Our students need choice.  Whether it’s good or bad, our students expect choice.  Students have different needs, learning styles and abilities.  In education, we need to cultivate their desires for differentiation allowing them to demonstrate growth based on their styles.

Differentiating assessment choices may sound intimidating to many in education.  We are just not accustomed to doing it because it is not how we learned when we were in school.  The great thing is, by making subtle changes in the classroom and in our mindset, we can make differentiation a smoother process:

  • Change your Instruction

Instruct differently.  Maybe not everyday and every lesson, but try some new approaches.  Changing your instructional mindset allows your assessment mindset to transition.  At that point, you're not taking a risk.  You’re simply changing your assessment based on a change of instruction.

  • Increase Student Resources

The correct type, amount, and use of resources leads to more student creativity.  Allow students to use their resources and creativity to show what they know.
  • Increase Student Choice

Students have good ideas.  Growing up in a society that offers so much choice and variety fuels creativity.  Ask students how they would like to be assessed.  Trust me, they will surprise you.

  • Utilize Professional Resources

Ask others (outside of your classroom) for their opinion.  Allow them to share their creativity and ideas with you.  There are many different resources to use (blogs, social media, department meetings) to gain more knowledge about assessment choices. 
  • Practice More   
Give students more opportunity to practice.  Use more formative and diagnostic assessments each day in class.  We can accumulate a great deal of data and use it quickly with the help of technology.  Analyzing data allows educators to identify student strengths and needs immediately so class time is used effectively and efficiently.

We need to change our mindset.  A great place to start is how we deliver instruction to our students.  Taking small steps to deliver and assess instruction in a different way will create learning opportunities for a number of students.  Let’s match our instruction and assessments with our students needs instead of matching them with our comfort level.  What do we have to lose?  Not as much as we have to gain.

Some of this week's events:

Wed, 1/6 - College Financial Aid Meeting (7:00 PM - cafeteria)
Wed, 1/6 - Head Principals' Meeting (9:00 AM - 3:00 PM -  Clark Hall)
Thurs, 1/7 - 2nd Quarter Report Cards available on Home Access
Thurs, 1/7 - LHS Administrators Meeting (3:30 PM - Front Conference Room)
Sat, 1/9 - YMCA at Clark Hall Ribbon Cutting Ceremony (9:30 AM - Clark Hall)
Sun, 1/10 - Winter Band Concert (3:00 PM & 6:00 PM - auditorium)
Mon, 1/11 - Freshman Band Concert (7:00 PM - auditorium)
Mon, 1/11 - PRC Meeting (3:00 PM - Front Conference Room)
Tues, 1/12 - Staff Meeting (3:05 PM - Media Center)
Wed, 1/13 - New Teacher Meeting (3:05 PM - Media Center)
Thurs, 1/14 - BOE Meeting (6:30 PM - Clark Hall)
Fri, 1/15 - Diaspora Performance (all periods)

  • Please keep Marvin Hixon and his family in your thoughts as they are coping with loss of a loved one.
  • Congrats to Ms. Germany for birth of her son, Reginald Lee Germany Jr. (7lbs 11 ounces) on 12/21/15.  Everyone is doing well.
  • GLHS Staff meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, January 12th at 3:05 PM in the Media Center.  Let me know if you need to address the staff during the meeting so I can place you on the agenda.
  •  We have new carpet installed in different locations in the building.  The new carpet is part of the permanent improvement levy improvements.  The lobby, auditorium, auditorium lobby, and Freshman Teachers Office in Jefferson all have received new flooring.  Some of it is still being finished up today and/or this week.
  • Remember to remind Juniors and Seniors that the College Financial Aid Meeting for GLHS students is on Wednesday, January 6th at 7:00 PM in the cafeteria.  Students and parents will learn more about FAFSA and what colleges look for regarding financial aid.
  • Report Cards will be available for students/parents on Home Access on Thursday, January 7th.  Please have your grades in by the end of the day on Monday, January 4th.
  • Winter Band Concerts will be Sunday, January 10th at 3:00 PM & 6:00 PM.  Read below the write up for the concerts:
The Gahanna Lincoln High School Concert Bands will be performing their annual winter concerts on Sunday, January 10th at 3:00 and 6:00 pm.

"The Gahanna Bands have experienced remarkable growth in recent years," said Rob Cebriak, director of bands.  "Because of the increased number of students playing band instruments, we had to create an additional band and decided to perform two separate concerts."

The newest band, Silver Band, conducted by Greg Miller, will give its very first concert this weekend.  "It has been exciting to be part of something brand new - a new band meeting in a new room - which is still part of a great tradition of excellence," said Miller.  The students have been working hard and are excited for the 'debut' of this new ensemble.  Our program will include Dedicatory Overature, which was commissioned for the dedication of a new music building, so it seems fitting to begin Silver Band's portion of the Winter Concert with this standard work.  The band will also perform Four Dance Episodes, an energetic piece featuring contemporary sounds and spotlighting a variety of sections and soloists."

The 3:00 concert will begin with Blue Band, followed by Jazz Band 1, and then conclude with Silver Band. 

The 6:00 concert will begin with Jazz Band 2, and then conclude with Gold Band.  "We're eager to perform these pieces for the community," said Cebriak.  "Several of them have a special meaning for us."  The second piece, "Nimrod" from Elgar's Enigma Variations, is a lush, lyrical work used throughout the world to commemorate loved ones who have passed away.  "When the band traveled to Canada in November, we heard the Toronto Symphony Orchestra perform 'Nimrod' in honor of the victims of the Paris terrorist attack, and the students were moved by the depth of the emotion in such a short piece.  When we returned to Gahanna, the band decided to play it on our first concert." 

The concert will conclude with Slidin' Down the Mississippi, a trombone solo with band featuring Middle School South band director Jonathon Bradshaw.  "Mr. Bradshaw is a wonderful musician," exclaimed Cebriak, "and this piece (based on blues, ragtime, and Dixieland music) will be a joy for everyone to hear.  There's swing, improvisation, and all sorts of special tricks and sounds that will delight listeners young and old!"

Each of the concerts includes a performance by one of the school's jazz bands.  "Jazz Director Kelly Shellhammer is devoted to those bands," said Cebriak, "and they are recognized throughout the state for their outstanding musicianship and improvisation.  New listeners are often surprised that these bands are made up of students as young as 14."

The concerts are free and open to the public.  Patrons in need of special wheelchair seating are encouraged to contact the band office ahead of time.  The band office phone number is 614-478-5519.

  • Technology Update - Mr. Collet and his team has been doing a great job getting things up and running regarding technology in our district.  He recently sent out an email on an update to adding Technology Tickets.  Please remember to follow the protocol listed in this email to get your tickets addressed quickly.  He has given me access to also receive all of the tickets that are placed in the high school and in Clark Hall.  Please see a portion of the email from Mr. Collett below in case you missed it:

We are also excited to share our new helpdesk with you. You can navigate to helpdesk.gjps.org and log in with your existing username and password. We will be rolling out additional features and access in the coming weeks, but currently you can access this helpdesk only while in district. We are working to set up access to the Helpdesk from home.

Helpdesk Tips and tricks.
  • We have intentionally left the ticket creation process very minimal. We only ask for a general request type and that you provide as much detail as possible regarding your issue in the request detail.

  • The first time you log in please navigate to the Profile screen and update your location and room. This will auto populate the fields when you enter requests saving you from entering it for every request.

  • The default screen when you log in is a new help request.

  • When you enter a help request you will receive a confirmation of the request via email from help@gjps.org.

  • You will also receive updates from help@gjps.org. If you need to communicate or update an existing ticket you can log back into the helpdesk or reply to the ticket email (without changing the email subject). When you reply through email, the information in the body of your email will be added as a "new note" in the helpdesk.

  • We encourage you to update your existing tickets and not create a new ticket. Duplicate tickets will be marked as duplicate and closed.

  • Recently, Ms. Eberly (replacement for Ms. Anderson) accepted a job offer outside of the education field.  Evan Bell will be replacing her for the remainder of the school year.  Please welcome Mr. Bell when you see him in the building.
  • Thanks to everyone who has offered to help at graduation practice this year.  Dr. Prince will be in touch with you regarding any assigned roles.
  • The GLHS Business Department recently held a personal finance workshop for our students.  Huntington Bank had employees come to GLHS for the day to assist our students with learning more about personal finance.  Check out the article here.
  • GLHS Senior Kassie Frasher was recently showcased in The Columbus Dispatch for her DECA project to raise money for St. Jude's Research.  Check out the article here.
Articles of Interest:

Friday, October 23rd 2015

Quote of the Week:

Creating Measurable Objectives
Goals are an important part of life.   Without them, we often are just treading water.  As Earl Nightingale said, "People with goals succeed because they know where they're going."  There are many different examples in life where we can point to the importance of goals: athletics, behavior of children, academic success, business success and so on.  

Often during pre-conferences and observations, a discussion centering around the focus for student learning takes place.  In this discussion, we often recognize the importance of measurable objectives in daily lessons.  As educators, we need to establish goals for our students.  Creating goals gives our classes more structure and are easier for students to comprehend because they know what is expected.  Think of it as a GPS; we type in our destination, receive directions and we eventually end up where we need to go.  Our classrooms should look the same way.

There are 4 areas of focus for creating measurable objectives:

1. What is your goal for day, the week, the unit?
As stated above, all students need goals so they can be successful.  What do you want students to learn when they are in your class?  Establish a goal: it can simple (five parts of the design process or steps to create a brochure).  Each day there should be a goal.  It may be an extension of a previous lesson, but there should be a goal nonetheless.

2. What knowledge do you want the students to gain?
This is accomplished by creating learning targets or "I can…" statements that identify the learning level where students should end.  A good resource for determining the level of knowledge for students is Bloom's Taxonomy.  Some lessons or projects require different levels of learning for students ("Identify the five parts of the design process" compared to "Demonstrate the steps necessary to create a brochure").

3. Choose your words carefully
You have to know exactly what you need in #2 above in order to complete #3 correctly.  The learning level of students will depend on the correct verbiage used for the behavior at hand.  A great tool to use is an objective builder such as the one featured on this site.  It allows you to choose the correct term so your students know exactly what they need to do.

4. Make sure to add your destination
Students need to know how they are to demonstrate they have reached the end goal.  Its much like our GPS example above, if we don't put in the destination, the GPS won't guess where we are going for us.     Let students know if they need to illustrate they know what they are doing in an assessment, project, paper, lab or whatever the educator is looking for to show mastery.  Referring to one of the examples above, asking a student to demonstrate the necessary steps to create a brochure doesn't tell the student how they need to do this to show mastery.  Adding how you want the student to "Demonstrate the necessary steps to create a brochure by creating a brochure in MS Office" does.

Measurable objectives are a basic part of our daily lives.  We need them in education so our students have a path.  A goal without a plan is just a dream.  Help our students get from Point A to Point B and be successful by taking the time to create meaningful measurable objectives that give students and parents clarity.

Some of this week's events:
Tues, Oct. 27th - Technology Planning Meeting (6:00 pm - Media Center)
Tues, Oct. 27th - Marching Band Pops Concert (7:30 pm - Main Gym)
Mon, Nov. 2 - PRC Meeting (3:00 pm - Library)
Wed, Nov. 4 & Thurs, Nov. 5 - Educators visit from Ireland (all day)
Thurs, Nov. 5 & Fri, Nov. 6 - Fall Play (7:30 pm - Auditorium)
Sat, Nov. 7 - Fall Play (2:00 pm - Auditorium)
Mon, Nov. 9 - Professional Development Day

  • Please be sensitive to the students and the different schedules for activities this week (Thursday night football game (including band), students working late for the preparation for the Fall Play, other sports teams having tournament games this week) when assigning homework and assessments.  This will be a busy week for many of our students.
  • Ms. Candor's World War II History class was again featured in a local media outlet this week when The Columbus Dispatch did an article on their Paperclip Project.  
  • Thanks to everyone in the school counselors department who helped make our ACT Bootcamp and ACT test hosting at success at GLHS.

Articles of Interest:
Teen Engagement in Learning Starts With Respect
Let's Make Our Testing Smarter
Establishing Our Collaborative Work Norms

Friday, September 18th & Friday, September 25th, 2015

Quote of the Week:
"If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself." --Henry Ford

Parent Teacher Conferences

With our 2nd Parent-Teacher Conference evening approaching on Monday, September 28th, I thought it was important to share with you a post I came across by Elena Aguilar with tips for creating a rewarding Parent-Teacher Conference environment.  Most of these approaches we all use, but I think it is important to concentrate on these and do these well.  Going back to the first staff meeting this year, I stressed the importance of compassion and building relationships.  I think #5 goes a long way in doing those two things.  
Each fall, I attend a parent-teacher conference for my son. I also spend time coaching teachers on preparing for parent conferences. Given these two different perspectives on this tradition, I figured I could share some thoughts for making these conferences meaningful and rewarding for all.

1. Approach Parents with Positive Assumptions

Parents are your friends. They want to partner with you. They want to see their child succeed more than anything else. Parent conferences might be an opportunity for you to surface your beliefs about parents and reflect on them, but when you engage with parents, even if you hold some doubts about them, put those aside. Welcome every parent as your strongest ally in working with your student (their child).

2. Prepare, Prepare, Prepare

What is your goal or objective for the time you have with parents? What exactly do you want to communicate? What would you like the outcome of this meeting to be?
Here's an example: My goal in Maria's conference is for her mom to see the growth she's made in writing this fall and to determine some ways that she can be more organized. I also want to hear her mom's perspective on the social challenges she's dealing with.
Then prepare your materials. Have notes, tests, and work samples, but plan exactly what you want to share. Don't just sit down with parents and open a massive folder bursting with student work. Put sticky notes on the items you want to share, select the best examples of the growth, and jot down a few notes.

3. Be Solution Oriented

Be specific when asking for change. Telling a parent, "He's distracted a lot," is useless. What is the parent (who isn't sitting next to her child all day) supposed to do with that piece of information? How can she help her child or the teacher?
Whatever support you ask from a parent needs to be something that is within her sphere of influence. Asking a parent: "Can you talk to him about being more focused?" is possible, and parents can talk and talk, but the results might be limited.
A teacher could say: "I'm concerned because your son is often distracted during independent work in my class. Here's what I'm doing to try to help him . . .  . Do you see this behavior at home ever? Do you have any other ideas for things I could try? Can you think of anything you might be able to do?"
Always convey a growth mindset. All behaviors can change given the right conditions. If you want to see changes and have concerns about a student, be prepared to offer specific, actionable solutions.

4. Take the Opportunity to Learn

What could you ask parents that might help you better support your student? What would you like to know? If this is the first time you're sitting down with parents, it's a great opportunity to hear their perspective on their child's school experience so far, on what their child likes to do outside of school, on the questions, and concerns they have about their child. So what do you want to ask?

5. Show that You Care

For parents, conferences can be terrifying or wonderful. As a parent, I have sat across from teachers whose feelings I couldn't identify -- I actually questioned whether or not they cared about my son as a human being and as a student. I have also sat across from teachers who I wanted to jump up and hug; they so clearly cared about my boy.
Don't underestimate the power of the positive, and lead with it. Be specific in the positive data you share -- tell an anecdote or show a piece of work. Make sure you truly feel this positivity. We can all sniff out empty praise. There is always, always something positive and praise-worthy about every single child. It's your job to find it and share that data with parents.
Happy conferencing

Some of this week's events:
Mon, 9/28 - Parent-Teacher Conferences (3:30 PM - HS)
Mon, 9/28 - PTO Meeting (7:00 PM - Clark Hall)
Fri, 10/2 - Custodians Day 
Sun, 10/4 - Fall Choir Concert (3:00 PM - HS Auditorium)
Mon, 10/5 - PRC Meeting (3:00 PM)
Tues, 10/6 - Staff Meeting (3:00 PM - 4:00 PM  HS Media Center)
Tues, 10/6 - Orchestra Concert (7:30 PM - HS Auditorium)
  • Moe's Southwest Grill will be catering our Parent-Teacher Conference meal on Monday, September 28th.  Dinner will be in the cafeteria annex beginning at 3:00 pm
  • Please remember to follow district procedures when it comes to students and teacher assistants.  Students are to remain on school grounds at all times and should not leave the school building while working as teacher assistants.
  • Thanks to all staff members who helped with Homecoming events this past week and weekend.
  • Mr. G will be discussing BFK Module 2 "Clear Learning Targets" at the October staff meeting.  We will also be reviewing testing procedures and protocols during the meeting.  

Articles of Interest:

Friday, September 11, 2015

Quote of the Week:
"Alone we are smart, Together we are brilliant."  - Steven Anderson

September is Attendance Awareness Month
This month is Attendance Awareness Month across the country.  Attendance Works is a great site with many resources available for all types of stakeholders.  Increasing our attendance will help our overall culture and learning environment.  Try to use some of the resources below in order to help any students who have attendance deficiencies.  Teacher resources to increase attendance  are located on this site.

Some of this week's events:
Mon, 9/14 - no school (professional development day for staff)
Tues, 9/15 - Department Meetings (3:00 PM - 4:00 PM)
Wed, 9/16 - Fall Play Auditions (3:00 PM)
Thurs, 9/17 - ASVAB Testing (7:30 AM)
Fri, 9/18 - Commitment to Graduate for Freshman (9:00 AM)
Sun, 9/20 - Suburban College Fair (1:00 PM - Otterbein)

  • Please keep Mr. Wilcox in your thoughts as he is coping with the loss of a loved one.
  • Department Meetings will be on Tuesday,  Department Chairs will need to email me the location where they will be meeting with their team.
  • Read email regarding Interim Report.  As stated in the email, no Interim Reports will put a priority on keeping your grades updated in HAC.

 Articles of Interest:
From the Outside Looking In: Does Your Classroom Tell a Story?
7 Important YouTube Tips for Teachers
Increasing Student Engagement with Project Based Learning
Go Where the Bus Can't: 10 Virtual Field Trip Ideas
Over 35 Formative Assessment Tools To Enhance Learning Opportunities

Friday, August 28 & Friday, September 4, 2015
Quote of the Week:
"A year from now you may wish you had started today."  - Karen Lamb

Collaborative Classrooms

I found this blog post last year (it was actually written in 2012) and I really like the areas the author Rebecca Albers points out regarding collaborative learning.  Focusing on groups and making sure there is structure such as group agreements and all the students in the group know how to listen are important for successful group work.  I am also a big supporter of modeling collaboration and demonstrating to students how to negotiate with each other.  I believe as educators, we model negotiations with our students each day.  Take the time to read this post; I think you will enjoy it:
What's ideal when it comes to collaboration in our classrooms? Here's one coveted scenario: several children gathered at a table engaged in a high-level task, discussing, possibly debating an issue, making shared decisions, and designing a product that demonstrates all this deeper learning.
As teachers, we'd love to see this right out the gate, but this sort of sophisticated teamwork takes scaffolding. It won't just happen by placing students together with a piece of provocative text or an engaging task. (Heck, this deeper learning collaboration is challenging for most adults!)
In preparing our students for college and careers, 21st century skills call on us to develop highly collaborative citizens -- it's one of the 4 Cs, after all.
So how do we begin this scaffolded journey? Once we've shared with students the task or assessment they are challenged to complete with their group, here's some suggested steps for supporting students in deep and meaningful collaboration:

Establish Group Agreements

Deciding on group norms, or agreements, right at the get go will give each student a voice and provide accountability for all. Although the Center for Adaptive Schools' Seven Norms of Collaboration are to be used with adult groups, use them to inspire more "kid-friendly" worded norms to offer up to your students. Children (depending on the age) might come up with things like: "one person talks at a time," "respect each other and all ideas," and "no put downs." A poster of the shared agreements can be displayed and when necessary, called attention to when a student or group needs a reminder.
Accountability is an important factor in group working agreements. Since a teacher must find creative and effective ways to monitor multiple groups working at once in the classroom, assigning roles can be incredibly helpful. For example, if students are working in a group of four reading and analyzing an article, say, on immigration reform in the United States, you may have "an investigator," "a recorder," "a discussion director," and "a reporter." For the group to be successful, each child must complete the jobs that accompany his/her role.

Teach Them How to Listen

Good listeners are both rare and valued in our culture. I share this with students. I also share how people who really listen (make eye contact, offer empathy, restrain from cutting others off in a conversation) are easy to like and respect.
Save The Last Word is a great activity that allows students to practice listening. Provide several rounds of this structured activity followed by time for students to reflect on the experience and evaluate their own listening skills.
Children also need opportunities to restrain themselves from speaking in order to keep their attention on listening. Consider adding "Three then Me" to the class norms/agreements. This simply means that before one can speak again, they need to wait for three others to share first.

Teach Them the Art of Asking Good Questions

Have the class generate questions on any given topic, writing each one on the board. Decide on the most pressing and interesting questions of the bunch and discuss with students what makes these particular ones stand out. Talk about the types of questions that more often yield the best responses -- those that are open-ended, thoughtful and sometimes even daring.
Describe how well-received questions are neutral and don't sound as if someone is being interrogated. Introduce them to invitational questions stems such as, "When you think about ______, what comes to mind?" and, "Considering what we already know about ______, how will we ____?" As a scaffold, provide a handout with question starters for students to use during group discussions.
Students also need to know about wait time. Explain -- better yet, demonstrate -- that once someone in the group poses a question, there needs to be a few seconds of silence, giving everyone time to think.

Teach Them How To Negotiate

A group member who speaks the loudest and frequently asserts may get the most said but that doesn't mean they'll convince a group of anything. A good negotiator listens well, shows patience and flexibility, points out shared ideas and areas of group agreement, and thinks under pressure.
After sharing this list with students, generate together more characteristics to add to it. Indulge them in a brief activity called "Build a Consensus." In this activity, set the timer and give mere minutes to group plan a mock birthday party, fieldtrip, or a lunchtime meal so they can practice their negotiation skills.

Model What We Expect

When it comes to creating a highly collaborative classroom, teachers need to model listening, paraphrasing, artful questioning and negotiation any and every chance they get. In a student-centered classroom, we really do very little actual teaching (in the traditional sense of the word). What we find ourselves mostly doing is facilitating learning experiences for whole and smaller groups. Sending our students out in the world with the incredible ability to effectively facilitate a group is a 21st century skill crucial to success in the university and the work world.
This reminds me of the design company IDEO. An employee there was promoted to guide a team in redesigning the shopping cart not because of seniority but because "he's good with groups." Ultimately, this guy was highly skilled at creating a space for all ideas to be heard, respected, and built on.

Group Brain Power

Learning, and higher-level learning such as synthesizing information from several documents or analyzing scientific data, can hit much deeper when done collaboratively. Let's not forget Lev Vygotsky and his educational theory that proposes learning as a social process. And if he were alive today, he would most likely agree with the saying, Two minds are better than one. He might even add, "Better yet, how about three or four?"
What strategies and activities help you develop student groups? In what ways has collaboration driven deeper learning in your classroom? Please share with us your successes.
This blog series on Deeper Learning is supported in part by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. The opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.


Some of this week's events:
Wed, 9/2/15 - Head Principal's Meeting (9:00 AM - 4:00 PM)
Wed, 9/2/15 - Fall Play Interest Meeting (3:00 PM)
Thurs, 9/3/15 - Athletic Hall of Fame Banquet (6:00 PM)
Fri, 9/4/15 - Hamilton House Fall Cookout
Fri, 9/4/15 - Student ID/Picture Makeup (10:30 AM)
Mon, 9/7/15 - No School
Wed, 9/9/15 - Miracle Jeans Day (pay Cindy or online)
Wed, 9/9/15 - Assistant Principals Meeting
Wed, 9/9/15 - New Teacher Meeting (Media Center - 3:10 PM)
Thurs, 9/10/15 - GLHS Administrators Meeting (Front Conference Room - 3:30 PM)
Thurs, 9/10/15 - GJPS Board of Education Meeting (Clark Hall - 6:30 PM)
Fri, 9/11/15 - Fall Blood Drive
Sun, 9/13/15 - GLHS Soccer Golf Outing (Royal American - 11:30 AM)
  • Please keep Ms. Hoffman in your thoughts as she is recovering from a medical procedure.
  • I recently wrote about a Student Ambassador Program that I would like to start at GLHS.  I am gathering resources from different schools to create an application process.  When completed, I will send the information out to staff and students.  The idea behind it is to have a group of students who each period and for special events at GLHS and Clark Hall, can escort people to different areas of the building.  I don't like seeing visitors getting lost in our building.  This will allow us to have a group of students (hopefully each period of the day) who can sit at the front desk and escort visitors to different destinations in the building.
  • Congratulations to our very own Betsy Morrison for being inducted into the Gahanna Lincoln Athletic Hall of Fame.  It is an honor that is well deserved and I know we are all proud to have her as a part of our team.  Betsy is also a member of the GLHS Student Hall of Fame.  Well done!
  • Miracle Jeans Day on Wednesday, September 9th - pay Cindy to wear jeans or you can pay online on the site Ms. Aiello sent out earlier.
  • New Teacher Meetings begin this week.  These meetings are a way for new staff members to ask questions or bring about concerns to the administration.  We will meet on Wednesday at 3:00 PM in the Media Center.  The meetings are voluntary and a good way to get questions answered for things you are not sure about.
  • The district has created new meeting dates for principals and assistant principals.  I attended a Head Principals meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 2.  The assistant principals will also meet with other assistant principals from around the district.  Their first meeting is Wednesday, Sept. 9.  The meetings will enable us to keep open lines of communication going between buildings principals and assistant principals.  In the Head Principal meeting, we covered a number of topics including: priority goals for the district, instructional leadership opportunities for the building principals, implementation of FIP and teacher evaluations.  We also met with Jeff C. from Technology, Sue W. presented information from the special education department including the great resources on their website, and we discussed assessments and time frames with Jill E.
  • The digital academy space in Clark Hall - West (old Columbus State portion of Clark Hall) is coming along nicely.  We have furniture and Dana E. has done a great job cleaning and painting the space.  We should be moving the digital academy into the space very soon.
  • Tank tops and saggy pants.  To me, its pretty clear.  Follow the rules in the student handbook.  As a staff, we need to be consistent.  We issue the same consequences to students for clothing infractions.  The rules are the same as they have been in the past, we just need to enforce them consistently throughout the day.  Please continue to report students for clothing violations. 

Articles of Interest:
Rethinking Education: New Orleans is now teaching creativity and innovation as a skill
7 Things The Best Teachers Will Regret This School Year
Create an Interactive Classroom Without Technology
Research Shows Teacher Collaboration Helps Raise Student Achievement

Friday, August 21st 2015
Quote of the Week:
"Criticism is easier to take when you realize that the only people who aren't criticized are those who don't take risks." - Donald Trump

I spoke about having compassion for students and their situations in the beginning of the year.  Below is a great blog by Joshua Block that explains some of the areas that I believe we need to make our main focus at GLHS:

I had been trying to start class for several minutes. Our normal post-weekend check-in had failed. Instead of hearing updates from each other, students were having side conversations about the school dance. Once I regained everyone's attention, two girls walked in late and the whole class stopped to watch as they gave each other a consoling hug before they moved toward their seats.
I was losing patience. This was not the strong start I had envisioned for the first in-class workday of our project. "Who is ready to share the main question for their project?" I asked in an attempt to refocus everyone and manage the energy emanating from 33 frenetic 15- and 16-year-olds.
The number of decisions that teachers have to make in the course of a teaching day, or even during a ten-minute period, is enormous. Like so many other teachers, I feel stretched to my max during a school day, so the thought of setting another goal feels daunting. Yet I wonder if, in the midst of the controlled chaos of classrooms, it is possible to increase compassion.
At Science Leadership Academy, where I teach, we talk of creating a school-wide Ethic of Care (as described by Nel Noddings). As I continually investigate new ways to help more students find success in their work and confidence in their abilities, I become increasingly convinced that I must develop a stronger ethic of compassion within the daily, overflowing moments of a class period.

What Can Compassion Mean in a Classroom?

A compassionate classroom environment is not an environment that lacks academic rigor. In this environment, students are understood to be complex people. Here, young people feel that they belong. Here, they meet challenge and encouragement while we ask them to be the best versions of themselves. Compassionate classrooms are places where student voices and student ideas are prioritized.
I hope that by identifying and practicing these simple structural and pedagogical reminders, I will be able to steadily improve my ethic of compassion:

1. Remembering to Check In

I get so excited about content and projects that it's easy for me to forget how my students' minds are already busy with thoughts that don’t relate to my class (imagine that!) when they arrive in the classroom. I find that small gestures can have a large effect on the energy and mood of a group. Sometimes this means checking in with individual students via short conversations at the door, or starting class by asking everyone how they are and having volunteers share bits of news. It gives us a short transition time together where we first reconnect as individuals and then switch to content.

2. Informal Conferencing

Interacting with students individually and in smaller groups during class shifts the dynamic between teacher and students. I want to remember to regularly spend portions of class time kneeling down next to students at their tables as we consult about their work. Too often I forget the importance and necessity of integrating these check-ins into our class time.

3. Increasing Personal Connections With Content

We all feel more engaged when topics relate to our lives. Some of my units allow students to make powerful connections. An example is a unit on Renaissance art that investigates issues of representation and then uses a similar framework to have students analyze modern day advertising. I am planning to find more ways to highlight these overt connections more frequently.

4. Asking Better Questions

Sometimes I will ask a student too general a question about the progress of a project, and their short, clipped affirmative response will end our conversation. At other times I remember to ask specific questions such as:
  • What is the main idea you are developing for your conclusion?
  • How are you analyzing that source?
  • What parts do you feel good about, and what are you struggling with?
When I ask the right questions, my connections with even the most reticent students get stronger.

5. Expressing Belief in Student Abilities

When my students and I are at our best, the work they create is powerful. I have learned that there is incredible value to setting high expectations while expressing confidence that students can succeed with tasks that may feel overwhelming. On a group project, I may remind a class, "This is challenging, but if you are working together and using your time wisely, you will be able to create something impressive."

6. Being Flexible and Accepting Failure When It Happens

When students run into problems that impede their progress, I want to remember to be flexible while maintaining a high standard. When students do not succeed, I want to remember to make it clear to them that while I had hoped for more, everyone messes up. I find that this balance of rigor and understanding is key to students feeling that they belong in a class.

Some of this week's events:

Mon, 8/24/15 - PTO Meeting (7:00 PM @ Clark Hall)
Thurs, 8/27/15 - In the Know Auditions (3:00 PM @ H166)
Fri, 8/28/15 - First Football Game @ Westerville Central (7:30 PM)

  • Columbus State is wrapping things up on the 1st floor of Clark Hall.  When they have all of their belongings, we will be moving the Digital Academy to the computer center on the 1st floor of that side of Clark.  The YMCA will also be moving in and using the rooms on the 1st floor.  
  • Great story by Tino Ramos at WBNS-Ch 10TV about Ms. Candor and the "Paperclip Project" she and her students are working on in.  Check out the story and video
  • Thanks to everyone for attending the Open House last week.  Many parents shared compliments about the staff and be able to visit all of the classes.
Articles of Interest:

Friday, August 14th 2015
Ready, Set, Go!
The first few days have gone great!  It is exciting to start another school year (even though it seems last year just ended a few weeks ago).  I enjoy seeing everyone back and we will try to get things back to "normal" as quickly as possible.  Remember if you need anything, please let me know.

Some of this week's events:
Mon, 8/17/15 - Athletic Boosters Meeting (7:00 pm @ HS)
Tues, 8/18/15 - Performing Arts Boosters Meeting (7:00 pm @ HS)
Wed, 8/19/15 - College Information Night for Seniors (6:15 pm @ HS)
Wed, 8/19/15 - Open House (7:00 pm @ HS)
Mon, 8/24/15 - PTO Meeting (7:00 pm @ Clark Hall)
  • Please keep Ms. Dorn-Watchel, Ms. Schilling, and Mr. Eidens in your thoughts as they deal with the loss of loved ones.
  • We will have a voluntary Staff Meeting at 3:10 pm in the Media Center on Tuesday, August 18 to recap the first few school days.  I realize that there is Math training at this time, so the math instructors will need to speak with others to find out what we discussed in the meeting.
  • Open House this year is on Wednesday, August 19th from 7:00pm - 9:00pm.  The format of the evening will be the same as last year.  Parents will be able to visit your rooms at any time and will not make specific appointment times.
  • Thanks to the Social Committee for planning and setting up the Staff Picnic again this year.  The weather was great and Hannah Park is a great place to hang out for a few hours.
  • Welcome to all of our new staff members.  We are excited to have you on our team.  Please let us know if you need anything.  We will have our 1st year teacher meetings coming up.  Ms. Shelton sent out an email last week with days and times.
  • Please contact me if you have any technology issues.
  • The staff did a great job with professional development this summer.  So many teachers and administrators took part in PD to become better educators.
  • Congratulations to Mr. Ross for his exhibit "No Explanation Needed" at the Cultural Arts Center.  It will run through August 29th.  Check out an exhibit preview and article in The Columbus Dispatch.  Nice job Mr. Ross!  Another example of how extremely talented our staff is at GLHS.
  • Congratulations to our Service Award recipients:
    • Kalena Falk
    • Keah Germany
    • Diana Huffman-Barr
    • Melissa Monnig
    • Thomas Stevens
    • Ernie Ziegler
    • Ron Foltz
    • Tim Gagliardo
    • Julie Ingo
    • Ryan Lockwood
    • Jennifer Lukacsko
    • Cindi Macioce
    • Robert Wilhelmsen
    • Kristi Dorn-Wachtel
    • Anne Jackson
Articles of Interest
5 Big Ideas that Don't Work in Education
Co-Teaching for Rookies: Building Trust and Looking at the Big Picture
Pencils Down: More U.S. Colleges Drop Standardized Tests
New Menu Gives GLHS Students Healthy Options
Program Incorporates High-Tech Industrial Tools
John Hughes Honored at GLHS

Friday, April 17th 2015
Prepping for the Summer Months
While the summer months are meant for rest and relaxation after another school year, it is also a great time to reflect on your practices.  During the school year, we hear about new tools and methods but there is not always time to try them.  

As we approach the summer months, take some time (maybe 10 minutes a day) and read some articles, posts, journals on different practices, methods and tools.  Use different types of apps like Zite to search for posts that may pertain to you.  Search some hashtags on Twitter that may pertain to your content to see if there is anything that may help your instruction for next year.

Set a goal to look for things for 10 minutes a day or a few times a week to help you get better.  It may help transform your classroom, help the rest of the teachers in your department, and most importantly, help our kids.

Some of this week's events:
April 20th-24th - Peace Week
April 20th - National Honor Society Rehearsal (Auditorium - 7:35 am)
April 20th - Athletic Booster Meeting (Library - 7:00 pm)
4/21-4/23 - Reflections Performances (Auditorium - school day)
4/21 - National Honor Society Induction Ceremony - (Auditorium - 7:00 pm)
4/22 - Progress Reports for 4th Quarter available on Home Access Center 
4/22 - Multicultural Festival (Gym #2 - school day)
4/23 - Poetry Slam (Auditorium - 7:00 pm)
4/24 - Lunch on the Lawn (Football Stadium - Afternoon)
4/24 - Jazz Night (Cafeteria - 7:30 pm)
4/24-4/25 - Cheerleading Tryouts for 2015-16 (Gym #2 - 6:30 pm)
4/25-4/28 - DECA National Conference (Orlando, FL)

  • Congrats to Sibi Senguttuvel and Alex Alatsis for receiving the A.W. Smith Innovation Scholarship from Case Western Reserve University.  They submitted their papers and were selected to present their research to a panel at Case Western.  Both students are still deciding whether or not they will be attending CWRU but are leaning in that direction.
  • We have hired new teachers for different departments for next year.  I will be sharing the new hires names and a little about them in the next few weeks.  We have had some teachers accept positions and then reconsider, so I have been waiting to share the information until we get more commitments from applicants.
  • I recently shared a draft bell schedule for 2015-16 with the Leadership Team.  Ask your department chair about the schedule if you haven't seen it yet.
  • Please keep in your thoughts Ms. Ebbinghause, Ms. Cochia, and Mr. Townsend as they have lost loved ones recently.  Also, please keep in your thoughts Ms. Hoffman as she is fighting through a serious health condition.  Please give her as much support as possible.

Articles of Interest:
How Teachers Can Motivate Students of Any Age
The Syllabus We All Should Have Gotten
The Best Tools for Flipped Classrooms
53 Ways to Check for Understanding

Friday, March 27th 2015
I recently read a blog post by Homa Tavangar entitled Empathy: The Most Important Back-to-School Supply that she wrote in August 2014.  She touches on empathy and its place in education.  Homa talks about how empathy is something that is easy to forget during our day to day operations in schools.  She believes there are three phases in starting empathy:
1. Create conditions where empathy can thrive;
2. Take action that suits your personality and interests;
3. and act & reflect on your actions.

After reading this post and thinking about it, I feel that empathy is the foundation of education.  Everything that we want or desire to happen in schools: students acting appropriately, staff and students showing respect for each other, students giving maximum effort each day in the classroom and building relationships among students and staff bases itself on empathy.

We need to be models of empathy each day we walk in the building.  Modeling empathy will demonstrate to our students and parents how important we believe it is in building a positive school culture.  Practice identifying emotions of students, listening to peers and students, reading student and peers body language, and look at things through others points of view.  Empathy will help create relationships, rapport and safe, effective classroom environments where learning will occur.

Read Homa's post and the Ashoka file on how to start empathy in a school/classroom.  This will be one of our initiatives for the remainder of this year and next school year.  We will also share ways amongst the staff on how we can show empathy and methods we use each day to show empathy.  Take a look at theses 3 steps to reflective practice on a teacher's pathway to empathy.

Some of this week's events:
3/30 - New Teacher Meeting (3:00pm - Media Center)
4/1 - District Administrator Meeting (9:00am - Central Office)
4/2 - SADD Assembly (2nd Period - Juniors, 3rd Period - Seniors, 7th Period - Freshman, 8th Period - Sophomores - Auditorium)
4/3 - No School
4/7 - Battelle for Kids SOAR Learning Workshop (8:30am - Ohio Union) (still spots available)
4/6-4/10 - No School

  • Monday, March 30th and Tuesday, March 31st - get a free Piada Stick with the purchase of a piada, pasta bowl, or salad when you mention "GLHS" at Piada
  • Please read the latest #glhsedchat Storify where Betsy Morrison moderated a powerful discussion on "Teachers Taking Inventory in the Classrooms."  A number of good resources were shared by educators from around the world as we continue to make #glhsedchat one of the largest chats in the Midwest.  #glhsedchat will be taking 2 weeks off (this Thursday 4/2 & Thursday 4/9) for Spring Break.  Join us when we start back up on Thursday, April 16th.  Thank you Ms. Morrison for the great discussion.
  • The DECA Program and Mr. Lynch completed another successful State competition by once again qualifying the most students in the state of Ohio for the National competition in Orlando, FL in May.  I don't really know what else to say except each year the program expects success, and that is what occurs

  • Congratulations to Ms. Macioce as she has been nominated for the Columbus Parent Magazine "Teacher of the Year" award.  Voting is open through May 3. Winners will be recognized with award ceremonies before the end of the school year and each will receive a $250 prize from our sponsor KEMBA Financial Credit Union. They will also receive a prize package from sponsors Sylvan Learning and United Art and Education. They will also be featured in the Columbus Parent August Back to School issue.  Click on this link to vote for Ms. Macioce.
  • The EFCTS Gahanna satellite program recently competed in the Future Educators Association State Conference and the Future Health Professionals State Conference.  Both programs had students qualify for the National competitions. 
Future Educators Association  

2015- 2016 State Officer Elects
  President- Dylanie Shaw (Pick North)
  Vice President- Aubrey Gray (Pick Central)- also qualified as national officer candidate

Top 5 prejudged:
FEA Moment- Kassidy Mercer (Gahanna)
Lesson Plan- Sabrina Montanye (Liberty Union)
Chapter Display  (not a national competition)- Erica Wheaton (Pick North), Molly Shannon (Gahanna), Makayla Scott (Gahanna), Brooke Crawford (Reyn)

Impromptu Speech-
3rd Place- Connie Avery (Gahanna)

Ethical Dilemma:
2nd place - Megan Hersey (Gahanna) and Kelsey Garner (Reynoldsburg)

Technology Video:
1st place- Josef Moore (Gahanna), Brooke Crawford (Reynoldsburg), and Megan Komjati (Gahanna)

Congratulations to the following Bioscience Technology students who qualified for Nationals in Anaheim, CA at the
2015 HOSA, Future Health Professionals State Conference (held March 14, 2015 at Tolles Career Center):

1st Place Biomedical Debate: Leah Ely, Najwa Faqih, Jacob Weakley (Groveport), Erin Sanderson (Bloom-Carroll)

2nd Place Biomedical Lab Science: Valerie Herer

2nd Place Human Growth and Development Knowledge Test: Nikola Kurbatfinski (eSTEM Reynoldsburg)

3rd Place Healthy Lifestyle: Madison Heise (Whitehall)

3rd Place Public Service Announcement (topic- Concussions): Kathleen Candor, Arek Chambers, Torey Katzmeyer, Justin Seebauer
  • The All-District Jazz Night was a big success this week.  Thank you to all of the staff who helped make this a success especially Ms. Shellhammer.  
  • Please increase visibility this week in the school and outside your classrooms as we have a 4 day week and we are approaching Spring Break on Friday.
  • Remember on Thursday, April 2nd is the SADD - Distracted Driving Summit.  We will have a Spirit Week this week to remind students of the important things in their lives:
MondayClubs and Spirit Wear - wear blue and gold and/or school club gear to remember the important things in your life today
TuesdayHero Day - dress up like someone who inspires you to be the best version of yourself everyday
WednesdayFuture Day - wear your dream college spirit gear or dress up as your dream career to remember your future dreams
ThursdayMemorial Color Day - remember yourself or someone you know who has been effected by the following issues by wearing this color to school:
Red- Car Crash
Yellow- Drugs and Alcohol
Green - Suicide and Bullying

There will be flyers in your mailboxes that we ask you to display somewhere in your space at school. There will be a raffle each day of Spirit Week for dressing up, so encourage your students to participate!

On the day of the Summit (Thursday, April 2nd), each grade level will attend an assembly focusing on all the elements of distracted driving: texting, passengers, wearing seatbelts, drunk driving, drowsy driving, and more. There will be skits presented by our SADD members, a video from Impact Teen Drivers, and a guest speaker from a local insurance agency. The assembly schedule is as follow:

 Period 2: Juniors
 Period 3: Seniors
 Period 7: Freshmen
 Period 8: Sophomores

There will also be vendors in the lobby during lunch periods that day, targeting all aspects of distracted driving. Students will be able to visit vendors to be entered into a raffle and win prizes, and all students will be encouraged to sign our Pledge to End Distracted Driving. This pledge will earn juniors and seniors a discount on their prom tickets.

  • Thanks to all who participated in the Blood Drive this week and helped organize it.  

Articles of Interest:

Friday, March 13th and March 20th 2015
Social Learning Platforms
Utilizing resources to maximize learning and growth opportunities for students is vital.  A great way to do this is with a social learning platform (SLP) like Edmodo or Schoology.   A SLP allows teachers to connect with students and help them create norms and reflect on how different online actions will be interpreted.  Teachers and students find great ways to use SLPs to their advantage in the classroom everyday.

It doesn’t matter what SLP you use (Edmodo, Schoology, Google Classroom, etc.) as long as you are using it to its full advantage.  Some of the great things you can do with a SLP are:

1. Formative Assessments
Teachers and students can learn a great deal from formative assessments with SLPs.  Teachers can create short quizzes and polls for students to take.  Teachers can give students immediate feedback by using the charts and graphs built into the SLP.  Teachers have the ability to change their instructional practices on the spot and address students’ needs during that specific class; not a day later or a week later.  Teachers can differentiate on the spot and help students on what they need help with by looking at specific questions that were focused on specific standards & targets.

2. Class Discussion
SLPs can be used for dialogue between teachers & students, and also parents.  SLPs have access codes that can be shared with parents so they can have access to their student’s account.  Students can ask teachers questions, ask other students questions, and discuss class materials using the SLP.  What a great way for students to share class discussions and interact with others.

Communication is a huge piece in education and SLPs allow teachers, students, and parents to communicate about classroom growth.  This method of communication is different than what many of us are used to.  It is important to educate parents and students on the many different facets of SLPs and how they increase student learning and producitivty.

3. Assignments
Teachers can post assignments for students using SLPs.  This way, students always have access to the assignments and can get the assignments even if they miss class.  Teachers can also post alerts for students and create folders for different classes and assignments. 

As you can see, SLPs are a powerful means of instruction and communication in and out of the classroom. SLPs can play a big role in transforming instruction in your school and district.  Use SLPs as another learning resource and tool to help your classroom and students succeed.

Some of this week's events:
3/20 - OGT Week: Social Studies
3/20 - Report cards are visible on Home Access
3/20 - Staff Event - Signature's ("Wicked Knight" performing)
3/22 - Spring Sports Pictures (1:00 pm - Gym 1)
3/23-27 - OGT Make-ups
3/23 - PTO Meeting (7:00 pm - Clark Hall)
3/24 - All District Jazz Night (7:30 pm - Auditorium)
3/27 - Spring Blood Drive (7:30-2:30 pm - Gym #3)
3/27 - OSU Visiting Clark Hall (8:00 am)
  • Everyone has a done a great job with testing this week.  I appreciate everyone's professionalism during this week.
  • I would like to thank Mr. Foltz and Ms. Kromer for their work during Academic Awards Night on March 17th.  It was a great evening and we honored well over 400 GLHS students for their academic endeavors while at GLHS.
  • Please keep Mr. Wagner in your thoughts as he is dealing with the loss of someone close to him.
  • Everyone should try and make it out to see Mr. Callihan's band play Friday night at Signatures.
  • The Spring Sports season is getting ready to begin. Make sure to get your Spring Sports schedule so you can support the Lions as they try to capture league crowns in all of our Spring sports.
  • Check out the Storify from the Thursday night Twitter chat discussion Communication in Education

Articles of Interest
3 Ways to Create a Positive Classroom Learning Community
The Top Tech Tools for Formative Assessments
Creating the Conditions for Student Motivation

Friday, February 27th & March 6th 2015
What does a Typical Teacher Based Team Meeting Look Like?
When we look towards the 2015-16 school year, we need to start thinking out how we are going to maximize our time in team meetings each day.

All of the teaching staff will be placed on teams.  We will have multiple teams during the school year.  Some of the possibilities include: content teams (English team, etc.), grade level teams (Frosh team, etc.), "Fed Ex" teams (create your own team to work on solutions)

"Fed Ex"
You may be asking, "What are FedEx days?"  Here is a link to read more about what it is done on those days.  We would not be looking for something produced after 1 day as is traditionally done, but we would focus on work on solutions throughout the entire year.  It may be something that you and/or others are passionate about cross-department.  The time in the morning (on certain days) will give you time to work on this.

Team Structure
Each team will have designated leaders.  Many of the teams will have the department chair as the team leader.  There will also be roles for each team:  secretary/note keeping, time keeper, etc.  Positions will be established so that each meeting will have structure and time is used efficiently and effectively. 

Code of Cooperation
A code of cooperation is a set of rules and protocols established for teams that dictates each meeting.  The code is used to create a focus for each meeting and limit the amount of destructive behaviors that can erode daily meetings.  Some of the things that are typically seen on a code of cooperation include: Listen, Always be on time, Always start on time, Come prepared to meetings, Do not criticzie others for sharing, etc.  Teams establish their code based on what is important to them for effective meetings.

Agendas and Notes
Weekly agendas are created to solidify structure for each meeting during the week.  Agendas help teams efficiently use time during their daily meetings.  Agendas include things like location of meetings, topics to be addressed, who is responsible for certain actions during meetings, and timelines.  The agendas enable everyone to stay informed and communicate with each other.

The meetings themselves start with whatever you are working on.  So, if you attending one of the first meetings to determine what you will work on, you start with a Brainstorming session on possible problems to focus on.  An example would be an English team.  They could look at standardized test scores and feel that the reading comprehension score could improve.  Another teacher in the team may feel that more attention needs placed on reading and assessing non-fiction.  The team then brings together all of the ideas and creates a problem statement that defines precisely what the opportunity is and who the clients are.  The important thing to remember is that we are looking for areas we can improve on either by team or something that can be changed in the school.  We use the meetings to find ways to improve upon these areas.

Let's take a look at what a typical meeting would look like.  Let's say we are focusing on an English team:
1. The team Brainstorms to find areas where their students are having difficulties. (What is the opportunity for improvement?)

  • So the English team determines they need to increase reading comprehension scores on standardized tests as a whole for all grade levels.

2. Find the target group.  (Who will benefit the most from the improvement and what do they need?)

  • They determine the target group are students who are scoring at below 80% correct (or a specific number from a standardized test - such as any student scoring 21 or under on English - Reading portion of ACT)

3. After Brainstorming, determine precisely what the opportunity for improvement is (What is your operational definition? Operational definition is a working definition of terms used to describe the opportunity; a definition by which the team can agree to operate.)  Create a problem statement that specifies the problem and its impacts as well as create a vision of the desired situation.

  • Increasing the average reading comprehension score by 2 points for students scoring under 21 on the English portion of the ACT  by using a variety of formative assessments and formative teaching methods in classes across the English Department.

4.  Study the current situation.  (What data is needed to measure performance? How will the data be collected?)

  • Team may gather data from assessments, homework, formative assessments, class participation, etc.
5.  Analyze the causes (What are the root causes of poor performance?)
  • Identify the most significant causes of variation and poor performance.  English team studies the data over time and has been able to determine the main cause of the poor performances.
6. Develop a theory of improvement (What are the possible solutions? Which solutions will have the greatest impact?)
  • The English team identifies specific actions for each possible solution.  The actions they determine are based on their findings from analyzing the data over an extended period of time.  The team determines the actions, who will lead them and the timeline for the actions.
7. Implement the actions for improvements  (Collect data as you go and figure out what you are learning
  • The English team implements the formative practices over an extended period of time over class. Each day they meet they share data (positive & negative experiences) and determine what the data indicates about each action taken.
8. Set a standard with the improvement (Should the new strategy/strategies be adopted?)
  • The English team determines their data reveals students do well on Kahoot quizzes and their assessment scores increase when Kahoot is utilized as a formative assessment each week.  Each team member then agrees to use the site and the team creates a structure on how to use Kahoot so it is done uniformly by the members of the team.
9. Establish future plans (What did we learn? What happens next?)
  • English team reflects on what they are doing and look for ways to improve as the data is collected.
By emphasizing structure and leadership, we will make the most of our collaboration time each day.  When we work together, we grow together.  When we grow, our students grow.  It really is that easy.  Collaboration time will make us better and assist us in our growth.  Our students will see it and hopefully get to also experience collaboration in practice by utilizing tools teachers take away from the collaboration times.  

Some of this week's events:
3/5-3/7 - Speech & Debate State Tournament
3/6-3/7 - District Band & Choir Contest
3/9 - OCC Principal/AD Meeting
3/11 - Leadership Team Meeting (11:30 am - School Counselors' Offices)
3/12 - Wapokenta Teachers Visit (Math & ELA) (9:00 AM)
3/12 - Gahanna BOE Meeting (6:30 pm - Clark Hall)
3/12 - Yearbook Club Photo Day
3/12-3/14 - Varsity Varieties Performance (7:30 pm - Auditorium)
3/13 - End of 3rd Quarter
3/14 - EdCamp Columbus (8:00 AM - Clark Hall)
3/16 - Beginning of 4th Quarter

  • I recently received this from the Gahanna Rotary regarding two of our GLHS students:
I am pleased to inform you that two of your students, Alexandra Geno and Athalia Davis, have applied for and been selected to receive Rotary District 6690’s Youth Exchange Scholarship. Alexandra and Athalia received this merit based scholarship thanks to the work and generosity of the Gahanna Rotary club. Please note that Rotary clubs normally only award one of these scholarships, so the Gahanna Rotary club has truly made youth a priority for their club this year.

This full scholarship covers the cost of room, board, tuition and a monthly stipend for one academic year of high school studies abroad. Annually, about 1800 U.S. students between the ages of 15 and 18.5 years old participate in this program.

Since last fall, the scholarship applicants have been meeting monthly with our committee members and inbound exchange students for screening, training, and sharing of cultural experiences. Alexandra has just recently been matched to Spain, and Athalia with Germany. Between now and their departures in August, they will be involved with extensive language training and preparation to be immersed in the Spanish and German cultures.

Please join the Gahanna Rotary club in congratulating Alexandra Geno and Athalia Davis. It takes very special students to apply and be selected for this prestigious scholarship. They will serve as an ambassadors, expected to well-represent their school, community, country, and Rotary.
  • Here is the "Spread the Word Against the Word" video.  I want to thank everyone involved in the "Spread the Word" campaign.  It truly is a special thing to be a part of.
  • I would like to thank everyone for their efforts during our testing weeks.  I especially want to thank Mr. Gagliardo, Ms. Holliman, Ms. Dickerson, and Ms. Moore for their contributions and leaderships during the testing cycle.
  • Ms. Thomas share with me a video created by some of our students  (Michael Kromer and Nick Sophocleous.) They are two of her Honors Spanish 4 and discussed with her about the GLHS Ultimate Frisbee club they created.  Take a look at their video and thanks Ms. Thomas for sharing. 

Articles/Videos of Interest:
The Primacy of Relationships
5 Design Tools to Spark Imagination and Promote Creativity
PLC: Professional Learning Community Implementation
School Leadership: Resource Roundup

Friday, February 20th 2015
Online Digital Learning Academy
Students expect choices.  Not just in their daily lives with the likes of technology, clothes, and food to name a few, but also in school.  Next year, we are going to expand the learning opportunities for our students at GLHS.

We are writing grants and looking at our current resources to start an online learning academy at Clark Hall.  Students will be able to complete different courses in different ways.  We are focusing on an innovative learning environment with innovative instruction.  Some of the different types of learning will include:

  • credit recovery - Students will have the opportunity to take courses that they have not been successful in before.  These courses will be offered in a blended environment where part of the class will be online and another portion is taught using direct instruction.  
  • dual enrollment - Students will have the opportunity to take courses from universities while earning high school and college credit. 
  • advanced credit - Students will have the opportunity to take courses to advance their high school graduation.  Students will be able to personalize their learning and take courses at their pace and time.
  • community service - We would like to add a community service portion in order to receive the credit.
  • business partnerships - We are looking to create some unique partnerships with businesses in order for our students to establish connections for internships, community service projects, and jobs outside of school.
  • open lab learning environment - Students will experience a different learning environment than what they have come accustomed to.  Flexible learning spaces and relationship building will be the backbone of the academy.   

We still have some work to do with getting this off of the ground, but I feel confident it will be a reality in the fall.  We will get staff input as to more of the specifics of the academy and help develop more lead learners in our school and community.

Some of this week's events:
2/23 - No School (Professional Development Day)
2/23 - Staff Blood Drive (Back Gymnasium - 7:30 am)
2/23 - Health Fair (Main Gymnasium - 10:00 am)
2/23 - New Teacher Meeting (HS Library - 3 pm)
2/23 - PTO Meeting (Clark Hall - 7 pm)
2/24 - Band Prism Concert (7:30 pm)
2/27 - Career and Tech Showcase (Eastland-Fairfield Career Center - 9:00 am)
2/28 - Gahanna Gala (Hilton at Easton)

  • Please keep Ms. Germany & Mr. Wagner in your thoughts as they deal with the loss of loved ones.
  • The testing schedule will be changed.  The schedule, which would have been for Thursday, February 19th, will now be on Tuesday, February 24th.  The schedule which would have been for Friday, February 20th will now be on Wednesday, February 25th and so on.
  • Thank you for your professionalism last week during the beginning of testing.  Everything seemed to be running well and the staff remained flexible during our first go at the new testing.  I would like to thank Ms. Holliman, Mr. Gagliardo, and the school counselors for all of their hard work.  They have a done a great job getting everything in place.
  • The professional development day agenda is located here.  It has been emailed and sent in a Remind text. 

Articles of Interest
What Makes EdCamp Popular with Teachers
Beyond the LMS: What Next-Gen Learning Platforms Should Do
Engaging and Empowering Students
9 Learning Tools Every 21st Century Educator Should Be Able To Use

Friday, February 13th 2015
Fab Lab
Creating spaces for students to use creative and imaginative design is essential in modern education.  When students are given the opportunity to use their skills, they amaze us.  Look at our performing arts department, athletic teams, speech and debate team, and all of our clubs.  They are living proof.  Next year, we will have a fabrication lab/maker space at Clark Hall on the 1st floor (formerly Columbus State side of building).

A fabrication lab will allow students to build prototypes, explore questions, fail and retry at different experiments, and collaborate while bouncing ideas off of each other in the lab.  It will allow our students to work in a peer-to-peer setting to assist each other and collaborate.  We will be able to share our collaborative practices that we utilize during our teacher based teams meetings each morning with our students.

The lab will have the latest technology, including 3d printers and laser cutters, for students and community members to use.  We will working with the community as partners and not just patrons.  The lab will operate as a classroom learning environment as well as a business that will operate and create products that can be sold around the world.  

If you are interested in learning more about fabrication labs/maker spaces. go to Google and type in "maker space."  You will see many example of spaces set up around the country that operate just as I explained above.

Some of this week's events:
2/16 - No School
2/17 - NAEP Testing for Selected Seniors (posted in Attendance Office) (Cafeteria - 7:35 am)
2/17 - Department Meetings (3:00 PM)
2/17-2/20 - Ohio New Assessments Performance Based Assessments
2/17-2/20 - Alternate Bell Schedule
2/20 - Selective course selections posted in counselors' office
2/20-2/22 - Community Theatre Musical (Auditorium - 8:00 pm)
2/23 - No School for Students - Professional Development Day

  • Parent-Teacher Conferences went well.  I was impressed by the professionalism and good feedback our staff gave parents and students.
  • A portion of the US Army Band performed at GLHS last week.  It was a great show.  Our students and staff were able to see & hear how well the band plays.  Thanks Mr. C for setting this up.
  • We had a Leadership Team meeting last week for department chairs.  In the meeting, Ms. Holliman clarified any questions about the bell schedule and new Ohio Assessments which will be starting this week.  We also briefly discussed the teacher based team meetings we will begin in 15-16', and the need to delete files off our computers that we are not using anymore or are old.
  • We hosted our College Credit Plus meeting last Thursday night for parents and students.  We had representatives from Ohio State-Newark, University of Toledo, and Columbus State explain how College Credit Plus works at their institutions and how it can help our students and parents at GLHS.  I would like to thank Ms. Holliman and the school counselors for all of the work they did to set up the meeting and answer questions.
  • We will send out more information this week regarding the professional development day coming up on February 23rd.

Articles of Interest
The 4 Best Whiteboard Apps for Teachers
5 Tips for Getting Feedback From Students
Formative Assessments is the Cornerstone of Differentiated Instruction
Creating a Culture of Innovation and Connection: It Begins By Defining the Why
Outlines Improve Learning By Video

Friday, February 6th 2015
Teacher Based Teams
The effective use of teacher based teams can make a huge difference in a school.  I wrote a blog post while at my former school explaining the 5 traits needed for effective teacher based teams.  We need to meet as teacher based teams on a daily basis to continue our growth.  Together, we are going to make it happen.

You may be asking, "How are we going to do this? There is no way we can make it work."  I believe we will.  Let's look at a few factors or questions you may have:
1. When will we do this?
- from 7:30-8:00 AM each day

2. What will we do with the students who are at school?
- we will need to work on this for the remainder of the 14-15' school year to create meaningful programs for our students managed by staff members who will not be in the teacher based teams meetings.

3. What are we going to do?
- identify problems within our school, content, department, grade level, data, culture, etc. and find solutions.  Its that simple.  Whether it is working on data from assessments, assignments, etc. or areas of concern you see within a grade level, this time will be used to collaborate on finding solutions to help kids.

- the leadership team will be responsible for leading these meetings each day.  When they are absent or unavailable, they will appoint another person of the team to lead the meetings.  The role of a team leader will take on the responsibility of leading that team each day.  The team will work together to create weekly agendas and what the team focus will be for the meetings.

4. What about the loss of class time?
- we will adjust our bell schedule to not lose time, but actually gain time.  If we can't identify ways to make our bell schedule work without losing time each period.  I believe our times to collaborate will make our class periods even more productive.  

5.  Why are we doing this?
- to get stronger as a staff and as a building.  Working together, sharing best practices, and breaking down data will make us stronger.  We will have the opportunity to participate in professional development each day, not just a few times a year.

6. "I am on a team of one.  Who will I meet with?"
- not any more.  We will all be on a team.  We will all work together.  I will let you know what team you will be on or you can let me know what team you feel you should be on.

7. How we will we get stronger?
- We will work with others and share.  We will be able to take that time and work with each other to share best practices.  We will also take certain Fridays of each month to celebrate our successes and work on our failures.

I am excited about the possibilities for the next school year.  We are going to make this happen.  Just think of the possibilities of our growth.  More information to come as we get closer.

Some of this week's events:
2/9-2/11 - scheduling help sessions for students hosted by the school counselors
2/9 - Parent-Teacher Conferences (GLHS & GLHS Library - 3:30 pm)
2/10 - Staff Jeans Day (moved from 2/9 due to PTC) & wear orange to support dating violence prevention
2/10 - US Army Band playing at GLHS (Auditorium - 11:30 am)
2/11 - Leadership Team Meeting (School Counselors Office - 11:30 am)
2/12 - Parent-Teacher Conferences (GLHS & GLHS Library - 3:30 pm)
2/12 - College Credit + Parent Meeting (GLHS Cafeteria - 7:00 pm)
2/12 - Gahanna Jefferson BOE Meeting (Clark Hall - 6:30 pm)
2/13 - No School
2/16 - No School

  • Please keep Ms. Carter, Ms. McCarthy, Ms. Potts and Ms. Kempf in your thoughts as they have had or are getting ready to have surgical procedures.
  • The Performance Studio Dinner Theatre was a huge success.  Thanks to Mr. Wagner, Mr. Lahman, and Ms. Macioce for a job well done.
  • GahannaThon was also a huge success.  The GLHS Student Council and others were able to raise over $21,000 for charity.  Thanks to Mr. Wagner for leading the GLHS Student Council in this endeavor.  
  • GLHS administrators met with the University of Toledo to discuss dual enrollment offerings for the 15-16 school year.  There are a number of online courses that students will be able to take to earn HS & college credit.
  • We held our monthly staff meeting last week where Mr. G rolled out the testing protocols for the new Next Generation assessments.
  • We also held our monthly PRC meeting last week.  The new spreadsheet formula where staff can enter their own concerns has been a big hit.  We are doing a good job of addressing the concerns listed and finding viable solutions for each concern.  
  • Last week we celebrated National School Counselors Week at GLHS.  We would like to recognize the great things our counselors do at GLHS!

  • Last week I met with a representative from Lowe's for the "Toolbox for Education" grant they offer to local schools.  The grant focuses on using Lowe's products to improve the school facility.  I will be meeting with them soon to look at projects for our school.
  • I also met with a representative from The Golf Depot to discuss possibilities for our clubs, groups and teams to make money during the annual July 4th Celebration (held on July 3rd) that is held at The Golf Depot.  The representative will be sharing with me projects that students and teams can work on during the event next week.  I will keep clubs and teams informed as to what your opportunities are.
  • I was able to observe Ms. Williams, Ms. Schmidt's student-teacher, this week and witness how Plickers works.  Plickers is an app that is used to scan cards that students hold in the air as the question they are answering appears on the SmartBoard.  Students and teachers are given immediate feedback as to what the students answered.  Teachers can address misconceptions at that point with the entire class.  You should check it out.

  • I was also able to observe Mr. Wroda, Mr. McGregor's long-term substitute, as he used Kahoot with his class to review vocabulary terms.  Kahoot is web-based and students sign-in to a class and their answers are recorded. Many students were using their phones, but it also works on laptops and tablets.  When the timer ends, the number of people who answered each question appears.  Ms. Edmunds informed me that it also gathers the data into a spreadsheet for use to determine growth and who is answering what question.  That is another great tool you should check out.
  • Don't forget about our Twitter Chats on Thursdays at 8:00 pm.  The videos on how to create a Twitter account and participate in a chat are located below.  Try to make some time to join in the conversation on Thursdays.

Articles of Interest
10 Additional Things You Can Do With Google Classroom
Preparing Students for a Project-Based World
Useful Books for Principals and Teachers
A Beginners Guide to Personalized Learning
Looking Down Our Noses at Community College

Friday, January 23rd 2015
Technology has allowed differentiation in the classroom to come a long way.  Some of the interesting ways that students & teachers use technology to differentiate content learn are:

1. Video & Pictures
Capturing video is a great way for students to demonstrate how they understand content. Students will amaze you by the number of ways they use video to demonstrate mastery. Students like to use apps such as YouTube Capture & Videolicious to video projects & use as assessments to demonstrate mastery. Students also enjoy using Collaaj and ShowMe to use whiteboard functions and voice-overs. Students also use different video applications like Kahn Academy or EduCreations to watch videos to learn different material.

Students also use pictures to tell their stories. There are many apps out there that allow for collages & poster creation. One app that is a good poster app is Phoster. App allows students to create posters and save them as images. Teachers need to be flexible and allow students to demonstrate mastery in different ways than just summative assessments. Be flexible because your students are.

2. Peer-to-Peer
Following up on videos above, students love working in peer-to-peer environments and devices allow them to do this. Students can use the apps mentioned above and Google Drive to share documents with each other, edit documents at the same time, and create forms for input. There is nothing better than watching student collaboration & student discussion that creates critical thinking and growth.

3. Learning Management System (LMS)
Another great way to create differentiation is using an LMS such as Edmodo or Schoology. Students are able to express themselves on a platform that is similar to Facebook. Students can blog, ask questions, download documents, and communicate/collaborate with the teacher & other students. Students can post blogs and participate in discussions that allow them to demonstrate their knowledge of the content. Students have a voice and are members of a learning community. Collaboration can be a form a differentiation when students get support from their peers.

4. Basic Research
Sometimes students just use basic research as a form of differentiation. Students research answers or questions on the devices and find answers & explanations. Students improve their research skills & find different ways to learn content other than in the classroom.

Technology, really any devices in general, open doors for students. The apps and sites listed above are just a few that are used.  If you are looking for some differentiation ideas, try some of these out.

Some of this week's events:
1/27 - 1/29 - Student scheduling for the 2015-16 school year
1/31 - GahannaThon (Gymnasium - 6:00 pm)

  • Please keep Mr. Donelson in your thoughts as he is going through the loss of a loved one.
  • The 8th grade scheduling night was a success.  I would like to thank all of the teachers that attended.  Many parents gave us good feedback regarding the evening.  We have created a Remind account for all of the current 8th grades parents to access for reminders when we have updated the Parents Corner Blog.  This way, we will be able to provide them information regarding any changes in state law/regulations and any important events at GLHS.
  • The Science Symposium held in the auditorium and auditorium lobby was awesome!  Our amazing students and staff did a great job explaining their in-depth projects.  Mr. Donelson did an outstanding job putting this together with everything he has been going through.  We are truly proud of him and our students.

  • We hosted our 1st Twitter Chat on Thursday as we discussed Technology in Education.  We had a nice mix of Gahanna educators and other educators from around the world participating.  We will be having another chat this Thursday beginning at 8:00 pm.  Mr. Swartzentruber will be moderating the chat.  Below are links to screencasts you can watch if you are new to Twitter:
Here is a good post describing how to participate in a Twitter chat.

If some of you have questions about Twitter, I have included some tutorials in this email you can use to help you.
I have recorded screencasts using Jing that you can use for tutorials on how to:

  • create a Twitter account;
  • tweet, use hashtags (#), and find and follow people on Twitter;
  • how to participate in a Twitter chat

*** Screencasts are videos with voice where users can watch the person who created the video maneuver on the computer screen. You may be able to use them in your class.

The links to the screencasts are listed below:

How to create a Twitter account - http://screencast.com/t/w8IgWjA0zh2u

How to tweet, how to use hashtags, and find and follow people on Twitter - http://screencast.com/t/ieO7bFRcXh0

How to participate in a Twitter chat - http://screencast.com/t/Z5Yo9DeY4

Articles of Interest
Differentiation: Interactive Learning Menus

What Does a Connected Educator Look Like?

What the Heck is Project-Based Learning?

Friday, January 16th 2015
Why We Do What We Do
There's a popular saying that was used by Tom Hanks in A League of Their Own, "If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it."  That sums up education in a nutshell.  There are times when our jobs are some of the most rewarding in the world, then there are times when we wonder why aren't doing something else.  These thoughts often come to mind during difficult times.  We are human.  We have feelings.

I think, as educators, we can agree on the part of the job we love the most is working with young people and watching them grow.  As a staff, we need to remember that we need to work with everyone and help us all grow.  As we help each other grow, we also need to help each other heal.  Let's continue our drive to hold ourselves accountable as educators.

Our jobs are not easy, if they were, everyone would be doing it.  That being said, let's continue to focus on why we chose education and what are calling is to the profession, our building, and our community: to help people.

Some of next week's events:
1/19 - No School
1/20 - Department Meetings (3:00-4:00 pm)
1/20 - 8th Grade Scheduling Parent Night (Auditorium - 7:00 pm)
1/21- GahannaThon Kick-Off (Auditorium - All Day)
1/23 - Science Academy Symposium (Auditorium/Auditorium Lobby)
1/24 - Diaspora Evening Program (Auditorium - 7:00 pm)
1/25 - Chorale/Chamber Orchestra Performance (Peace Lutheran Church - 7:00 pm)

  • We recently held our January PRC Meeting.  Some of the topics discussed include:
    • bathrooms needing repainted - I am working with a GLHS club to assist on this project
    • carpet in J179 needing replaced/removed - I am working with Mr. Owens on this.  He and his staff will begin working on this soon and remove the carpet in portions.  It will be replaced during the summer.
    • power for projectors during the weekend - I am working with EMG on this matter
  • Thanks for your professionalism the day after the National Championship game.  I appreciate the way in which you dealt with a tragedy in a professional manner and also were at work after a long night.  I appreciate your work ethic and desire to be there for kids.
  • I will make the video this week for the Faculty Meeting last Tuesday.  I apologize it was not available on Monday or Tuesday last week.
  • We recently held a Leadership Team meeting to discuss the bell schedule for the end-of-course testing and Next Generation assessments.  Ms. Holliman and your department leaders will be sharing more information with you regarding our discussion.
  • Diaspora was a huge success!  I am always amazed by our students and what they can do.  I would like to thank everyone who helped make it a success.  Please remember to attend the evening show on Saturday, January 24th.
  • We will be starting our weekly Twitter Chat this week!  The hashtag to participate is #glhsedchat and it will be on Thursdays at 8:00 pm (EST).  I will be sharing short screencasts (videos with voice and visual) you can use to learn how to participate in a Twitter Chat.  I will moderate the first chat and we will focus on a topic for the hour long chat.  I will share more information via email this week.  Please feel free to share this information with your student teachers in case they would like to participate.

Articles of Interest:
6 New Educational Web Tools for Teachers

7 Ways Not to Let Boredom Happen in Class

Critical Thinking Framework for Teachers

Friday, January 9th 2015
Its a Marathon, Not a Sprint

The 1st semester has come to a close.  Hopefully we are beginning the 2nd semester with a fresh sense of hope and renewed energy.  I remember our meeting from the beginning of the year when we met at Clark Hall on the first day of school.  I discussed what our focus would be for this school year and some of my educational philosophies.  The one thing that stands out the most to me is my comment about the school year being a marathon and not a sprint.  I believe too many times in educational settings you see visions or initiatives that last for a little while and then fade away as the year goes on.  Let's run the marathon at GLHS and finish the year strong!

Some key areas to focus on the rest of the school year:
  • Accountability, Relationships, and Presence - let's continue to hold ourselves accountable as professionals, build relationships with each other and students, and maintain a presence in our building and at school events that will foster the growth of accountability and building relationships.
  • Continue supporting our diversity - we are a diverse community that strives on success and growth.  Let's continue to increase our offerings to our students and families, take pride in our different cultures, and continue to support our different groups and teams when we participate in events.
  • Communication - Continue to communicate with our students and parents.  Emails are great, but phone calls are better.  Take the guessing game out of the tone of an email and make a call to a parent or meet individually with students.  It can make a huge difference in building relationships.
  • Accept Change and Adapt - be willing to try different methods and grow in different ways.  Be open to trying new ways and changing from the old.
  • Grow Professionally - when you begin to try different methods, think of using different ways to grow professionally.  Participate in a Twitter chat, use apps or the Internet to research different learning methods to use in class, ask other teachers how they can help you professionally.  Don't be afraid to learn something new.
  • Collaborate - share best practices with each other and some practices that didn't work.  Allow your growth to help others grow.  We are at our best when we are growing together.
Some of next week's events:
1/11 - Winter Band Concert (Freshman, 8th Grade, Jazz I - 4:00 pm) (Blue, Gold, Jazz I & II - 7:00 pm)
1/12 - Varsity Variety auditions (Auditorium - 3:00 pm)
1/12 - PRC Meeting (3:00 pm)
1/13 - Staff Meeting (3:00 pm in Auditorium for Diaspora performance - department meetings after)
1/13 & 1/14 - HS Scheduling at Middle Schools
1/14 - Leadership Team Meeting (11:30 am - Front Conference Room)
1/16 - Diaspora (Various Periods - Auditorium)
1/19 - No School (MLK Day)

  • Please keep Ms. Muir in your thoughts as she is going through the loss of a loved one.
  • Please keep the Miller family in your prayers as the GLHS family lost a great friend over the holiday break.
  • Mr. Myers' Chinese classes welcomed overseas visitors from Ashland Chemical to their classes
  • Try to make it to some of the different events our students are participating in the next week.
  • Check out this article in The Columbus Dispatch about what teachers do on snow days.  One of our staff members is featured, and she isn't playing backgammon.
  • Congrats to Ms. Smith and Mr. Burgstaller who got married over Winter Break.  Congrats!

Article of Interest:

10 Sites/Apps for a Flipped Classroom

Learning from my Students Using PBL

Matching PBL with Traditional Grading

Friday, December 19 2014
Its All About People
I chuckle when people ask me, "So how's everything going?  Is it different from where you were before?  Are you OK?"  Being new and in a larger school, I should probably expect those types of questions.  Maybe its a conversation starter, a sort of an ice breaker I guess.  Why do I chuckle at those questions you ask?  Because to me, why wouldn't I be doing well? 

In an organization, when you have people who care about what they do and have a passion for doing what they are good at, you have the needed ingredients to make something special.  When you have a community that expects success from their schools, staff, and students, you have the foundation to make changes and build on what you already have and do well.  While both of these groups may have good days and bad days (like any other organization or group that employs humans), the majority of passion and support heavily outweighs the bad.  Sometimes I believe in thriving environments, these things may be taken for granted.

At GLHS and in the Gahanna community, we are blessed with people who have a passion to see our community grow.  They have a desire to see students grow into young adults.  They themselves want to continue to grow as learners.  We need to continue to build off of these people.  We need to utilize these people, provide learning opportunities for these people, and commend them on a job well-done when necessary.  We need to continue to make Gahanna what makes Gahanna great in the first place: the power of the people in the community, businesses, and schools.

When people ask me, "How are you doing?"  I tell them "I am doing well."  I work at a place where people (who have good and bad days: remember that!) care.  Whether it is the staff, students, or parents, they care and are proud of their school and community.  As a staff, I know that we are going to do everything we can to continue the growth and pride in our schools and community.  So let everyone know, I am doing just fine because of the people around me.

Some of the events over break and the first week back:
1/5 - Records Day (No School for Students)
1/6 - School resumes for students
1/6 - Originally scheduled staff meeting moved to 1/13
1/7 - Varsity Variety Auditions (Auditorium - 3:00 pm)
1/7 - College Financial Aid Meeting (Cafeteria - 7:00 pm)
1/8 - Report Cards for 2nd Quarter Available on Home Access
1/8 -  GJPS School Board meeting (Clark Hall - 6:30 pm)
1/10 - Lion Cub Cheerleading Camp (Gym #1 - 9:00 am)
1/11 - 8th & 9th Grade District Band Concert (Auditorium - 4:00 pm)

  • Mrs. Thomas’ AP Spanish class had the honor of hosting Mr. Henry Guzmán as a guest speaker this week. Mr. Guzmán is a native of Villiaba, Puerto Rico, who now resides in Gahanna with his wife, Nydia, to whom he has been married for 42 years.
    Some of the things students learned through speaking in Spanish to Mr. Guzmán included the following:
    Mr. Guzmán is a veteran of the US Army. He served in the Vietnam War and was wounded while on duty. He earned a Purple Heart, and also a Bronze Star for valor as part of the 101st Airborne Division. Mr. Guzman’s employment experiences include working for both the Department of Public Safety and the Department of Equal Opportunity for the City of Cleveland. He was also the First director of the Organización Cívica y Cultura Hispana Americana. In addition, Mr. Guzmán served as Advisor on Hispanic Affairs under former Ohio Govenor Richard Celeste.
    Mr. Henry Guzmán is now retired, but he continues to give back to the community through directing HG & Associates - Government and Education Consulting Group. He and his wife also volunteer as Disaster Team Members with the American Red Cross of Greater Columbus.
    Mr. Guzmán made an inspiring and lasting impression on the AP Spanish students. His presence, enthusiasm, and example of outstanding citizenship were greatly appreciated.  Great stuff Ms. Thomas! 
  •  Kudos to Mr. Donelson and his students for the Project Vesta-Mars Rover Simulation they recently completed.  What a great example of teamwork, collaboration, and students using soft skills to explain their simulations.  Their projects and attention to detail are impressive.
  • Ms. Anderson recently had former NFL and OSU player Dimitrious Stanley speak to her Accounting students.  Mr. Stanley covered a variety of topics from using good body language, the importance of networking, and the need for studetns to stand up for themselves and believe in themselves.
  • Ms. Hildebrand and her Teaching Professions class taught students from Lincoln Elementary the basics of coding in honor of the Hour of Code.  Both groups of students loved their experiences with coding. 
  • I represented the high school and presented at the December school board meeting.  I spoke about the great things going on at GLHS including the Performing Arts programs, our professional development days, our focus on "accountability, presence, responsibility," the Freshman Experience and Smart Goals for Freshman, our Veteran's Day Assembly, the Sophomore Eastland-Fairfield Career Center visits, our improved communication methods to parents and students, and our plans for GLHS down the road.  Its easy to brag about the staff and students when they are the best and brightest!
  • Ms. Macioce and some of her students also presented at the school board about the Theatre Department. They spoke about their experiences in the theatre program and the relationships they have built since they have been at GLHS.  Ms. Macioce spoke about our alumni and how well they are doing in the theatre field across the country.  The group sent a very powerful message to the board and the audience that evening: we have talented students and a very talented staff.
  • The GLHS Staff Holiday party was last week at Coach's.  There was a great turnout and The Lords of Literature performance was on point.  Everyone should try to attend next year. 
  • The Prayer Circle for Mr. Lewis last night at the football field was well attended with over 100 people in attendance.  Please continue to keep the Lewis family in your thoughts.
Friday, December 5, 2014
Educational Diversity
As many of you know, we get a lot of requests from schools to tour Clark Hall.  While many schools come to Clark Hall to see the collaboration spaces and unique seating options for students, they get to see a variety of instructional methods and teaching styles throughout their tours.  Recently I had the pleasure of taking a school district throughout the building and here are some of the things we saw:
  • A class with a teacher and intervention specialist in collaborative setting.  Multiple visitors had to ask me who the general education teacher was and who the intervention specialist was.  Students were working on writing prompts using devices and the teachers were assisting students throughout the class.
  • Project based learning at its finest as students were broken into groups working on a project that would need presented in the next few days.  Project leaders were assigned and a meeting was held with the teacher to update all of the teams as to some changes in the schedule and to get updates from each project manager on their group's project.
  • Small group (pairs) work was completed as students were working on projects.  Students were also speaking with the teacher about individual matters for the class as the teacher would also facilitate each groups project.
  • Students using a variety of the working areas in the building.  Some groups worked in the classrooms, some worked in the collaboration spaces, there were others who worked in the hallway.  The group was amazed at how each portion of the different types of learning spaces were utilized during their tour.
  • They spoke with one of our teachers who discussed the changes he has had to make over his career here at GLHS and how he has changed his teaching methods and practices based on the students needs.
If you notice, the areas mentioned above are about our teachers working with students and adapting to different learning styles.  That is evident in education that is offered to our students each day.  Use the diversity of our student population to our advantage by teaching in different ways to reach all of our students.

Some of next week's events:
12/8-12/9 - Project Vesta-Mars Rover Simulation (Clark Hall 320)
12/8 - PRC Meeting (3:00 pm)
12/11 - GJPS BOE Meeting (GLHS Presenting) (6:30 pm)
12/12 - Holiday Marathon (Auditorium)
12/12 - Staff Christmas Party (3:30 pm)
12/13 - GLHS Speech & Debate Tournament (Hamilton, Jefferson, & Lincoln Halls)
12/14 - Winter Choir Concert (3:00 & 6:00 pm - Auditorium)

  • Great job to Mr. Cebriak and the Golden Lions Marching Band for this past season
    The Gold Band recently performed at the Ohio Band Directors Conference at the University of Akron in the student union.  The band also worked with Dr. Ralph Hultgren of Australia on his piece, Moto Perpetuo recently. He had a great connection with the muscians. The freshmen worked with him, too, and he was very impressed at their enthusiasm, attention, and great questions.
  • Please keep Mr. Myers, Ms. Germany, Mr. Lewis and Mr. Scanlon in your thoughts as they are going through the loss of loved ones and/or illness of those close to them.
  • The CBI team of Mr. Davis, Mr. Wilcox, and Mr. Ward had their Career Based Intervention (CBI) audit this past week with ODE.  Everything was terrific and ODE was impressed with many facets of our program.  All three did a great job representing our school and programs.
  • Ms. Holliman and I recently hosted two information sessions regarding the new graduation requirements and Next Generation end of course assessments for the Class of 2018 parents.  Both nights we had nearly 100 people in attendance for the sessions and many great questions were asked by parents.  The information that was shared during the evening will be posted on "Parents Corner" of this blog.
  • I thought I would share this with you as an example of why we are in a great profession (I didn't write this, it was sent to me; names have been altered to protect identities):
    • I often "tear up" at work. Never because of bad stuff, but usually when I see kids demonstrate little acts of sweetness to the kids I work with. Well, today I nearly lost it:
      A student, Mike, who I have worked with for several years is a super appreciative recipient of my son, Carey's, hand-me-downs. If his shoes start to look "ready to replace" or he needs new shorts or a jacket I look to see what Carey has outgrown and bring it in to school where he promptly will put it/them on. 
    • As a teacher, I get to know pretty much every student- typical and not. A couple of students in one of my classes noticed that Mike was in desperate need of different shoes. At first, they wanted to buy some but I suggested that they just look through their own stuff to see if they might have a gently-used pair to bring him.
    • Well, today as I walk into this particular class, I look over and the one boy is slyly holding a shoebox. I instantly knew what he had done; he had purchased a new pair of shoes for Mike. You see, this kid that bought the shoes lives with a guardian (I don't ask specifics, it's really not my business) but I know things haven't been easy for him up to this point in life. He works 30+ hours a week and I knew that this purchase was made with his own hard-earned money.
    • The best part of my little story is when this kid privately gave the shoes to Mike, Mike was smiling from ear-to-ear as he enthusiastically and graciously accepted them. He immediately dropped down to the floor and put them on. Of course, he proceeded to jump up and hug the kid and asked, "What can I do for you?" This kid, with tears in HIS eyes said, "Nothing dude, that's what friends do." ***Gulp***
    • You see, there are a TON of great things that kids do. Unfortunately, the not so great stuff makes the news or is what we hear about.
  • The story above took place at GLHS.  We have great kids here.  That is a fact.  Keep bringing 110% to work each day for our kids and community.  It will pay off in the end.

Friday, November 13th, 2014
Personalized Learning
We will be moving our students in a new direction when it comes to learning.  Our school and community already offer a great deal of opportunities for our students and residents.  We actually already offer different forms of personalized learning at GLHS in some of our classes.  As we make a slow transition to offering our students more opportunities for personalized learning, we need to keep in mind the values of personalized learning and how it will allow our students and families a great deal of benefits:
1. Personalized learning blends well with the diversity of our school
Our students are some of the most active in the state.  We have a large portion of our student body participating in extra-curricular activities and clubs.  Offering our students other options besides classes during the regular school day will allow more of our students to explore more types of learning methods and instructional opportunities.

2. Personalized learning allows students to learn in different ways
Our students do not receive the same instruction methods in each class.  This will always be the case even after they graduate from GLHS.  Offering our students different forms of learning will enable our students to become even more well-rounded learners.

3. Personalized learning reaches different learners
Different students learn in different ways.  Utilizing methods of personalized learning will allow different types of learners to experience different learning platforms.  This may help some of our learners who struggle in traditional learning formats.

I'm sure there are other positives (as well as negatives) aspects to personalized learning.  We will take this step by step and see where it takes us and our students.

Some of next week's events:
11/17 - SOAR Collaborative Conference (Ohio Union - OSU)
11/18 - Department Meetings (3:00 pm)
11/18 - 6th Grade & GLHS Freshman Orchestra Performances (7:30 pm - Auditorium)
11/19 - Leadership Team Meeting (Front Conference Room)
11/19 - 7th Grade & GLHS Symphony Orchestra Performances (7:30 pm - Auditorium)
11/20 - 8th Grade & GLHS Chamber Orchestra Performances (7:30 pm - Auditorium)
11/20 - Superintendent Chat (3:00 pm - Library)
11/21 - University of Toledo Dual Enrollment visit (Univ. of Toledo)
11/23 - Gahanna Holiday in Lights Parade

  • Mr. Phil Peters, Mr. Gregory, and Mr. Wagner did an excellent job with the Veterans Day Assembly.  I was proud of our students and staff for the emphasis we put on our assembly and the gratitude we show to our veterans who have served our country and represented our high school as graduates.  What a great event!
  • Ms. Heilmann accompanied some of our students to Washington D.C. for the National Organization for Youth Safety recently.  Our students were able to network with other students from around the country an learn more about youth safety (such things as texting and driving) to share with our student body.
  • Mr. Dengel recently presented to the Ohio School Board Association during their annual conference at the Columbus Convention Center.  He was recognized by the Columbus Dispatch this week for this presentation.
  • Congrats to Ms. Muir & family on the arrival of their newest member!
  • Ms. Toth got engaged last week.  Congrats!
  • Please keep Ms. Boder in your thoughts as she and her family are dealing with the loss of a loved one.

Article of Interest

I've been doing this for the last 13 years.....

Real World Ready

5 Ways to Become More Comfortable with Technology in your Classroom

Friday, November 6th, 2014
I recently participated in an educational chat on Twitter where the topic for the hour was student engagement.  It was a good time to reflect on some of the things I see each day in classrooms regarding engagement.  How engagement is defined depends on who you are talking to.  Some common things I see teachers do for student engagement are:
1. Create Student Voice and Choice
  • Try to personalize learning for students.  Allow students to have a say in your classes when it comes to classroom rules and procedures, the way instruction is delivered, and how they are assessed.  Let students know they have a voice and a choice, they will take more ownership of the class they are in.
2. Collaboration
  • Students learn from each other and want to hear what other students think.  Allow students to work together; research states that peer-to-peer instruction is one of the most effective ways for students to learn and comprehend content.
3. Utilize Tools
  • Some believe in order to engage students you need technology.  While it may help at times and in certain classes, it is not completely necessary to engage students.  Utilize resources (whatever they are) to engage students in your classes.  Whether it is with iPads or with chalk, find a way to use tools/resources to engage students.  The learning dictates the tool/resource to use.
4. Focus on Facilitating
  • Teaching isn't what it used to be.  The days of the 45 minute lecture for 4 days a week with an assessment on Friday are behind us.  Create lessons and content that is student-centered.  Allow students the opportunity to lead their own learning.  Don't feel the need to dictate and control the class.  Create student-led learners and student ownership will create the engagement you are looking for.
Always remember that the foundation to engagement is building relationships with students.  When students are comfortable in their learning environment, they are more likely to succeed.  Maintain relationships that grow students and develop a consistency of utilizing the areas mentioned above to maintain engagement in your classes and schools.

Some of next week's events:
11/10 - Professional Development Day
11/11 - Teacher Grades due in Home Access Center (3:00 pm)
11/11 - Fall Sports Recognition Banquet (6:30 pm - Auditorium)
11/12 - Progress Reports for 2nd Quarter available on Home Access Center
11/12 - Winter Sports Code of Conduct Meeting (7:30pm - Auditorium)
11/13 - GJPS School Board Meeting (6:30pm - Clark Hall)
11/13 - District Orchestra Concert (MS & HS) (7:30pm - Auditorium)
11/14 - Winter Blood Drive (7:30 am - 2:00 pm: Auditorium)

  • Staff will work on their Battelle For Kids Formative Instructional Practices (FIP) in the 2:00 pm session during the professional development day on Monday, November 10th.
  • Please remember to keep your web portals updated so students and parents can access the portal while they are at home.  Communication between teachers and parents is a vital piece for student growth and success.

Articles of Interest

The Parents Guide to the Common Core

Great Resources to Help you Use Social Media in the Classroom

Social-Psychological Interventions in the Classroom

Friday, October 31st, 2014
Effective communication is one of the cornerstones of education.  We need to be effective and effecient communicators to our students and parents.  What we may think is effective communication may not always be perceived that way by others.  To avoid that pitfall, we all need to focus on 5 areas of communication in education:
  1. Develop Relationships
    • A great quote that speaks volumes is, "People will forgive things where trust exists, but will rarely forgive anything where trust is absent."  The more personal the conversation is, the more effective your communication will be.
  2. Clarity
    • Be clear and specific.  Don't leave students and parents guessing.  Differentiate your communications with students and parents like you do your instruction.  An email isn't always going to be the only way to communicate your message.
  3. Focus on Contributing and Helping, not being on the Defensive
    • Find a way to try and assist parents and students.  Don't look at questions as an attack on your teaching, look at it as a means of clarification (see above).
  4. Listen and Empathy
    • Listen to what people have to say. If they want to voice their concerns, let them voice their concerns.  Take notes while they are speaking.  Address their concerns when they are finished.  Sometimes its good to ask, "What questions do you have that need answered?" so you can address what students and parents concerns are.
  5. Know Why You Do What You Do
    • Explain to students and parents "why" you are doing something: whether they are procedures, policies, rules, etc.  Always include factual data and research when possible to support yourself.

Some of next week's events include:
11/3-11/7 - OGT Testing Make-ups
11/5 - Principal's Meeting (9:00-11:30 am - Central Office)
11/5 - Staff Meeting (3:00-4:00 pm - Library)
11/6-11/8 - Fall Play "The Miracle Worker" (7:30 pm)
11/6 - Veteran's Day Assembly (9:15 am)
11/7 - Eastland-Fairfield & Satellite Career Center visitation by Sophomores
11/10 - Professional Development Day - No school for students

  • Staff meeting on Wednesday, November 5th in the library.  We will begin at around 3:05-3:10 pm.
  • Please remember to vote on Tuesday, November 4th.
  • We had a Leaderhship Team meeting last week.  We discussed areas such as the upcoming PD day, staff meetings and department meetings, and approving new courses for next year.
  • The "In The Know" team defeated Westland on Nov. 3.  Members of the team are Sibi Sengottuvel, Gina Clepper, Josh Russell, and Ben Russell.  The match will be televised on November 18th 7:30 pm on WOSU

Articles of Interest

A Process for Responding to your Most Challenging Students

"Capture" Some Learning on YouTube

Bring Class Discussions to Life

Friday, October 24th, 2014
It can be difficult to adjust to change.  Some do it better than others.  Whether you are open to change or not, there are times when it is going to occur.  In education, we see it almost everyday.  Change in the educational field takes place in positions, professional expectations, teaching methods, class offerings, and popular trends to name a few.  However you choose to handle change, the expectations that come with change will stay the same.

Some of next week's events include:
10/27-10/31 - OGT Testing (Re-takes)
10/27-10/31 - Study Halls will be located in the Auditorium all week
10/27 - New Teacher Meeting (3:05 pm - Donatos)
10/27 - PTO Meeting (7 pm - Clark Hall: 3rd Floor)
10/28 - District PRC Meeting (3:00 pm)
10/28 - Marching Band Pops Concert (7:30 pm - Gymnasium)
10/29 - Leadership Team Meeting (11:30 am)
10/30 - Environmental Science presentations (1:00pm - H196)
10/31 - Teacher Appreciation Night (7:30 pm - Home football game)

  • OGT Retakes this week - please consult with Mr. G on your daily assignments if you have questions.
  • New Teacher Meeting on Monday at Donatos.  We will discuss evaluation procedures and district procedures.
  • Try to attend the Teacher Appreciation Night on Friday.  You all deserve any recognition that you receive.  It will mean a lot to the students and the parents if we have a large showing.

Articles of Interest:

50 Resources for using technology in the classroom

Blended Learning Provides a Pathway for Success for High School Students

An Honest Thank You Letter to All Teachers

Friday, October 17, 2014
Innovative Methods
This past week we had another PD day providing development for the staff in a number of areas.  A few of the sessions focused on innovative learning methods and assessment methods.  We are always looking for the best ways for our students to succeed.  Let's be honest, that's why we change things up.  That's why we read and research effective strategies that may be different from what we are accustomed to. 

The vital piece in utilizing new methods of learning and assessment is communication.  Often times this gets overlooked in the research, writings, and blogs about innovative strategies.  We need to communicate to our stakeholders why we are using a new method and how it will benefit our students.  How you communicate is up to you, but use a means in which you have had success in the best communicating with stakeholders. 

We are all in this for student success.  Explain how your new process will help create student success for our students.  While the road and directions may be different, the destination is still the same.

Some of next week's events include:
10/20 - Athletic Boosters Meeting (7:00 pm - HS Library)
10/21 - Department Meetings
10/21 - Girls Soccer @GLHS vs. Hilliard Davidson
10/22 - Jeans Day for Staff sponsoring Gahannathon
10/22 - Superintendent Chat @GLHS  (3 pm - HS Library)
10/22 - Soph class ring ordering through Jostens (Lunch Periods - Cafeteria)
10/23 - Senior cap/gown ordering through Jostens
10/24 - Author Visit by Mindy McGinnis (HS Library)
10/25 - ACT Testing at GLHS

  • Please remember to remind students of the great resources we have to offer here at GLHS if they need academic assistance.  The PASS room has the necessary resources throughout the day to help students succeed.
  • If you have any questions about OTES, observations, and/or evaluations, please feel free to discuss this with your administrator.
  • Please let me know of your locations for your department meetings on Tuesday, 10/21/14.

Articles of Interest:

7 tips for elearning professionals to enhance knowledge retention

What makes it transformative?

Blogging as digital portfolios

Friday, October 10, 2014
Dynamics, Diversity, Distinct
One thing I know, we are blessed at GLHS.  We have many organizations, clubs, groups, teams, and people who are second to none.  The diversity amongst our students and within our course offerings are our strengths.  Our mission statement declares we educate our students today for the challenges and opportunities of tomorrow.    This is exactly what we are doing at Gahanna.

We provide opportunities for our students.  The size of our building and diversity of our offerings and community allow us to do this.  Is Gahanna a place where we should establish academies in certain subject areas?  Maybe.  Keep in mind the above statements as we prepare to grow and continue to move in the direction of preparing our students for today and tomorrow.  As we continue to grow, let's grow based on what we are.  We will increase our dual enrollment course offerings for our students to increase the amount of offerings for all of our students.  We will also look to build a digital academy to provide our students with an alternative learning environment to succeed.

We may not streamline into academies or schools focused on particular content areas, but I do not believe that is who we are.  Quite simply, the diverse offering of opportunities needs to match our diverse culture and diverse community.

Some of next week's events include:
10/13 - no school
10/14 - Professional Development Day
10/14 - Rescheduled BOE meeting (6:30 pm)
10/15 - Alternate Bell Schedule - classes begin at 10:30 am
10/15 - PSAT, ASPIRE, and Freshman Experience Goal Setting program
10/15 - Start of 2nd Quarter
10/15 - Grades Due for 1st Quarter
10/16 - ACT Boot Camp Day
10/17 - Grades accessed through Home Access

  • Our PD Day will be divided into sessions.  Please attend sessions during the scheduled times and then report to PLC times in the afternoon.
  • At our staff meeting this week, we addressed the following areas:
    • Mr. Gagliardo presented OGT testing rules and procedures and discussed intervention resources we offer at GLHS;
    • Mr. Scruci addressed the staff regarding our permanent improvement levy;
    • Mr. Dodd addressed the staff regarding our upcoming PD day, the continued mission of accountability, presence, and building relationships.
  • Staff members attended the College Credit Plus workshop hosted by Columbus State.  The workshop explained the new requirements for Ohio high schools regarding dual enrollment and the pathways that schools should be offering students and families.  I will email more information regarding this workshop.  Ms. Holliman will also discuss this during a session in our PD day.
  • Mr. Callihan and the Hamilton House staff had a cookout for the students on Thursday.  It was a great way to celebrate the students accomplishments and also have discussions with students regarding ways to improve socially and academically.
Articles of Interest:

How to Determine a Student's Prior Knowledge

Digital Storytelling Resources

Top iPad Apps for Making Presentations

Friday, October 3, 2014
Education Inside and Outside of the Classroom

As educators, it is important that we educate our students, parents, and community members what is going on inside of our classrooms.  It is also important for us to educate these same parties outside of the classroom as well.  As vital members of the Gahanna community, we need to make everyone aware of what is going on in the school each day.  Some of the ways we do this are by utilizing social media and creating video newsletters for our parents and community members.

It is important for all of us to be educated in areas that concern our school community.  Use some of the links below to familiarize yourselves with some of our financial aspects so you can have conversations with community members and help build their knowledge base regarding the facts behind our needs:

Frequently Asked Questions regarding the Permanent Improvement Levy

List of prioritized needs for the district with Permanent Improvement Levy

Some of next week's events include:
10/5: Fall Choir Concert (3 pm - HS Auditorium)
10/7: Freshman Band & Orchestra Concert (7:30 pm - HS Auditorium)
10/7: Staff Meeting (3:00 pm - Library)
10/8: College Fair for LD students (6:30-8:00 pm - Cafeteria)
10/9: School Board Meeting (6:30 pm - Clark Hall: 3rd Floor)
10/10: End of 1st Quarter
10/10: Pep Rally (3rd Period)
10/11: Homecoming Dance (8:00 pm)
10/13: No School

  • There was a district-wide Administrator's Meeting this week.  Some of the topics discussed:
    • There will be a technology audit performed for the district.  We hope to have results by December 2014.
    • We need 3 people in our building who are "technology savvy" to speak with the auditors and can explain our needs.  Please contact me if you interested in this.
    • Discussion of the permanent improvement levy. 
    • Discussion of the new evaluation update for Skilled and Accomplished teachers.  I shared that information with you via email this week.
    • Human Resources discussed we have around a 98% fill rate for jobs.
    • Building and Grounds discussed transporting students by way of private vehicle.  Please see me if you may need to do this in the future for any type of organization, team, or club you have.  There are certain precautions you have to follow.
  • I met with McGraw-Hill this week to discuss our digital conversion possibilities and some of the ideas that I have for our school.
  • I presented the school board with the October 2014 GLHS BOE Report
  • This week we had the Eastland-Fairfield Career Center Open House at Clark Hall to introduce families to the great opportunities for students at Eastland-Fairfield.  It was very well attended.
  • National Custodians Day was this week.  Please let our staff know how great of a job they are doing in our buildings.
Articles of Interest:

Using Scanable Technology to Reach Parents Year Round

Why is it Important to Visit Other Schools

10 Ways to Take your Google Apps Activities to the Next Level

Friday, September 26th, 2014
Failure is an Option

It drives me crazy when I hear the term "Failure is not an Option."  While I can visualize why the term was phrased, it is counter productive in regards to our educational system.  As humans, we often fail.  I would know.  I've been failing my whole life.  One of the great things about failure is that provides us with valuable feedback.

I recently read Applying Science of Learning in Education by John Hattie and Gregory Yates.  One of the best portions of this writing is the section on "Using Feedback to Promote Learning."  After reading this, I was able to come away with 5 reasons why as educators we need to utilize feedback to allow growth from failures:

1. Use praise in the classroom.  Just don't use it for effective feedback.
We need to praise students for their efforts, not for great scores and/or grades.  Convey effective feedback to students so they will grow.  Praise isn't effective feedback.  It is important to establish a culture that focuses on effort and growth.  Feedback needs to be specific towards a failure.

2. Feedback can influence the effort students make.
When students receive valuable feedback, they can see what their teacher thinks is important in their class.  Whether it is the way to write a formula or how to correctly site an reference, students know the importance of an area when the teachers provide feedback for that area. 

3. Create a pathway for the vision
Goals are important for all aspects of learning.  Students need to know their goals.  Give students effective feedback and many times students will work towards their goal.  Without goals, students don't know what they are working towards.

4. Formative feedback is vital.
Think in the terms of practice for a game.  Coaches just don't tell players, "You did it wrong!  OK, on to the next drill."  We correct mistakes and then model the correct method to ensure our players succeed.  Same goes in the classroom.  Look at formative assessments in the classroom, fix the errors by providing feedback to each student, and demonstrate to the students what is needed for success.

5. Be the GPS for your students
Show students where they are going next.  Program the destination and provide the path students need to take.   Remember, sometimes students take alternate routes.  As long as we get to the same place, growth can still occur.  Also remember to explain to students WHY they are following that path to their destination.

Some of next week's events include:
9/28 - Suburban College Fair (1 pm - Otterbein)
9/29 - New HS Teachers Meeting (3:05 pm - Panera)
9/30 - Parent-Teacher Conferences (3:30 pm)
10/2 - National Custodians Day
10/5 - Fall Choir Concert (3:00 pm)

  • Congratulations to Cindi Macioce for her nomination for a BAMMY Award for the Secondary School Teacher of the Year.  She is in Washington, D.C. this week for the awards ceremony.  I hope she found her luggage :)
  • Congratulations to Tom Gregory for the award of Outstanding Teacher from the Ohio School Board Association.  He received his award at the OSBA Central Region Fall Conference on Wednesday night. 
  • I met with the Building Leadership team this week and we are going to get a tech audit of our building to see what exactly we need to upgrade our infrastructure.
  • This week in The Lion Letter video newsletter, we will interview Ms. Aiello, Mr. Ziegler, and Mr. Lewis.
  • We also discussed as a group the continued focus on accountability, presence, and building relationships.  Positives were shared with the group as the building is doing well in these three areas. 

Articles of Interest:

Friday, September 19th, 2014

Make the Most of Parent Teacher Conferences: stress Attendance

Parent Teacher Conferences (PTC) provides us with the opportunity to build relationships with parents to accomplish both parties overall goals: student success.  With September being "Attendance Awareness Month" I encourage you to speak about attendance with parents during your PTC meetings.  Some tips to focus on during your conference taken from High Expectations Parental Services:
1. Learn something about your student's family.  Ask them their vision for their child's future.  What do you need to know to help their child succeed?

2. Share positives about their child you have observed so far.  Describe what you want your students to accomplish this year.

3. Inform parents about progress you have seen their student make and areas where their student can improve.  Explain skills and challenges that students have.  Explain what academic language means to our parents.  Encourage parents to ask questions just like we encourage our students to ask questions.

4. Discuss with parents how they can help their student at home and the resources that are available to them.  If a child is chronically absent, spend some time finding out what might be making it difficult for the student to get to school.  Ask parents what makes it hard to get their student to school each day?  There may be some alternative solutions we could utilize to alleviate this.

5. Let parents know how they can stay connected.  Discuss how parents can stay in touch with you and how they can access the Home Access Center to see their student's progress.

6. Ask and create a plan.  Be clearn about what you need and create a partnership between home and school.

Some of next weeks events include:
9/22 - Parent-Teacher Conferences (3:30-7:00 pm)
9/22 - PTO Meeting (7:00 pm)
9/24 - Jeans Day for Staff to sponsor Gahannathon (S.C. students will be around to collect)
9/24 - Leadership Team Meeting (11:30 am)
9/24 - Superintendent Chat (3:00 pm - Library)
9/24 - Special Education Book Study (3:45 pm - Clark Hall)

  • Everyone should be able to log-in to complete the Introduction to FIP module through the Ohio Student Progress Portal.  Please check your emails for the the correct link to use.
  • This week in the Lion Letter we are featuring: Mr. Swartzentruber, Mr. Bommer, and Mr. Ziegler.
  • I would suggest that you not speak to the pro-life group today when they are protesting.  I believe we should model for our students how to handle situations such as this that they may encounter in life.  If students have questions about protests, please have educational conversations with them.  Make sure your discussions focus on protests and not the content that is displayed, beliefs, or anything else that would be deemed as unethical in nature for educators to discuss with students.
  • I would like to thank the Freshman team of Aaron Winner, Kalena Falk, and Susan Kromer for doing an outstanding job during our Commitment to Graduate assembly for the freshman class.  It was a great experience for our freshman and made them aware that as students of Gahanna Lincoln High School, we have high expectations for them.
  • Please check your email for who will be providing dinner for staff during Parent Teacher Conferences.

Friday, September 12th, 2014

Develop yourself Professionally

Our first professional development day is this Monday.  Last week we looked at collaboration and sharing practices.  It is important to remember that in this day and age of education, professional development isn't what it used to be.  Gathering an entire staff into a room to discuss a few different topics can at times be effective.  Allowing staff to meet as grade level or content area teams is also a valuable means of helping teachers to grow.  Collaborative teams growing professionally fosters a climate of growing together that meeting in large groups cannot accomplish.  As we prepare for our first day of PD, continue to think of professional growth as a team with the ultimate goal of creating student growth.  Professional development looks different to different people and schools.  Don't worry so much about what ours looks like, let's focus on what type of growth we get from it.

Some of next weeks events include:
9/15 - No School for Students (Professional Development for Staff)
9/15 - Athletic Boosters Meeting (7 pm - Library)
9/16 - Department Meetings (3 pm)
9/16 - Commit to Graduate Ceremony for Freshman (Auditorium)
9/16 - Fall Play Auditions (3 pm)
9/17 - Progress Reports available for 1st Quarter on Home Access
9/18 - ASVAB Testing (Juniors) (7:30 am - Cafeteria Annex)

  • The International Language Department is doing something that shows how passionate our staff is about helping people.  The department "adopted" two young teens who live at the Montaña de Luz orphanage in Honduras. This orphanage supports children who have been affected by, or infected with, HIV/AIDS. For the past six years the International Language Department and its students have organized and participated in an annual walk-a-thon to raise money for Montaña de Luz. Over the years we have collected about $10,000. With this money, the orphanage has been able to purchase furniture, fans, a new stove, and a number of other items for its children. From last Spring's funds we decided to support two children as well. We welcome to our family 14 year old Samuel, and 16 year old Diana.  Great job everyone!
  • A group of staff members and administrators met this week to discuss our vision for main campus and Clark Hall.  We will be sharing a survey in the coming weeks to gather input from the rest of the staff.  We are also going to gather data from students, parents, and community members.
  • The PRC met this week to discuss a number of issues.  Some issues were addressed immediately and others we are going to continue working on.  One of them were running daily announcements on the TVs around the building.  We have students working on this each day.  We are still trying to gain access to other TV's around the building so we can include the announcements on those TV's.
  • I have been in contact with Battelle for Kids about getting everyone log-in user names and passwords for the FIP modules.  The deadline for completion of the first module is flexible, so please do not be concerned about having the first module completed by the October date.  I will keep you informed where we are about sign-in procedures for everyone.
  • This week in the Lion Letter we will feature: Ms. Jackson, Ms. Mulbach, and Ms. Sommers.  We are working on volume issues and some other fine tuning.  So far, we have gotten a  positive response from parents and the community.
  • Congratulations to Dwayne Marshall for being nominated for the Jennie Carter Leadership Award by California University of Pennsylvania.  Ms. Carter was a brilliant educator, a gifted speaker, a selfless leader and the first African-American to graduated from California University (PA) (class of 1881.) In the fall of 2007, the campus honored her accomplishments and spirit by naming the newest residence hall after her. In 2008, the university president proclaimed every October 9 (her birthday) to be "Jennie Carter Day" at California (PA).  In 2009, the Jennie Carter Leadership Award was established which is presented to individuals who embody the spirit and ideals of Jennie Carter. Past winners have included Lynne Hayes-Freeland of KDKA-TV and Aaron Walton , former Senior Vice-President with Highmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield.  Another fine example of how we are all leaders.  Congrats Dwayne! Well deserved.
  • Please remember if you are having technology issues to send them to me.
  • Please keep Ms. Ramey in your prayers as she is dealing with the loss of a loved one.

Friday, September 5th, 2014

Thinking and Sharing

In education, it is important to think collaboratively.  Utilizing our time to share practices with members of our staff and department is vital for continued growth.  We often preach to our students about the importantance of collaboration working together when at times, we don't do a very good job of it ourselves.  The ultimate goal is to help our students grow.  When we work together and share instructional ideas, we grow as a staff.  This growth leads to student growth.  We need to remember why we work in education and how important staff growth is to the growth of our students.

Some of next weeks events include:
9/9 - Vocal Music Boosters Meeting (7 pm)
9/10 - Theatre Audition Clinics (3 pm)
9/11 - Fall Blood Drive: Auditorium Lobby (7:30 am)
9/12 - Marching Band Pictures
9/15 - Professional Development Day (No School for Students)

  • I posted a blog on the "Parents Corner" page about the state of Ohio new graduation requirements.  While there are a few changes to the graduation requirements such end-of-course exams and ACT/SAT scores counting towards graduation, there are still some areas that are not clearly defined yet.  We will look at the requirements during our next staff meeting. 
  • I spoke at the recent school board work session meeting on September 4th and explained our plans for this school year and where we would like to go down the road at GLHS.
  • Myself, Ms. Spieth, and Ms. Holliman met with a representative from Columbus State to discuss our dual enrollment opportunities and class offerrings.  We are getting closer to being able to offer our students a program in Pharmacy Technology through Columbus State where our students could end up with a state board of education approved certificate upon graduation from GLHS.  I will keep you posted on the progress of this exciting endeavor.
  • I am working with Battelle for Kids to get sign-in information for staff members for the formative instructional practices (FIP) modules.  Some staff members are having difficulties getting signed in.  Don't panic if you can't get signed-in or haven't started the modules.  I will work on this during the week and keep you informed where we are with the process.
  • The first edition of the Lion Letter was uploaded.  The Lion Letter is the weekly video newsletter we will produce each week to inform our stakeholders of what is going on at GLHS.  If there is anything you would like to add to the newsletter each week, just letter me know.

Friday, August 29th, 2014

Stay Focused on the Prize

We are a little over 2 weeks into school and things are looking good at GLHS.  We hosted another successful Open House and all of our clubs and organizations are holding their introductory meetings preparing themselves for a successful school year.  It is important for all of our school: the staff, students, clubs and organizations, athletic teams, and performance arts to focus on our goals this year.

The classes at GLHS are beginning their drive toward their goals for the semester or the entire year.  Focusing on our goals is a part of being accountable as educators.  Having a vision for our classes is a great start, but we need to have attainable, yet challenging goals for our students.  Model for our students the importance of goals.  Share with students some of your goals as a professional for this school year.  Being accountable for your students success in reaching their goals will help foster relationships that will benefit our entire school culture.

Some of the events for next week include:
9/1 - No School
9/2 - Staff Meeting: Library (3 pm)
9/3 - GLHS Staff Book Club Meeting: Library (3 pm)
9/3 - Fall Play Interest Meeting (3 pm)
9/4 - Orchestra Interest Meeting (7 pm)
9/5 - Picture Retakes/ID (10:30 am)
  • Please keep Ms. McConaha and the Borons in your thoughts as they are dealing with the loss of loved ones.
  • Overall, Open House went well and we received a lot of good feedback on the evening.  I applaud you for your professionalism during the evening.  We will make some modifications to the schedule of Open House for next year.
  • The Leadership Team met this week and discussed professional development goals for teams.  Please speak with your department chair (if you haven't already) regarding professional development needs and wants for this school year.
  • Ms. Holliman has asked for the Leadership Team's input regarding our Opportunities for Exploration for our Program of Studies.  We are excited about the clarity it brings to our programs.  See your Leadership Department Chair for details.
  • The first GLHS video newsletter will be uploaded Friday, September 5th.  If you are interested in creating one for your department or classes and need assistance, please let me know.
  • Speaking of video newsletters, one of the areas we discussed when we met as a staff before the school year was the importance of communicating our message and methods to our stakeholders.  If you have any questions or would like to discuss communication methods, please let me know.
  • Please let me know when your club/organizations meetings are so I can try to attend as many of them as I can.
  • This past week, I have seen some great instructional methods and tools being utilized in the classroom:
    • Mr. Castorena using Google Drive to collaborate in and outside of the classroom;
    • Mr. Kitzmiller & Ms. Dorn-Wachtel are utilizing Google Classroom in their classes.  Students are maximizing the tool to interact with the teachers and other students.  Mr. Kitzmiller also shared this resource with the LMS Committee for Gahanna-Jefferson.  If you are interested in this for your classes, see Ryan for more information.
    • Ms. Kimbleton demonstrated to her classes how they are going to use Schoology this year and how the quiz tool of the software will enable them to see if they are mastering content.
    • Ms. Lawson utilized modeling in her Computer Art classes to illustrate correct design methods.
    • Mr. Swartzentruber has been using Nearpod to gather student data and create engagement in the class to spark meaningful conversations.  Nearpod is a great tool to do this and it is free.
    • Ms. Schmidt's classes were using trial and error methods as they performed labs on how to use the microscope.  Students worked in pairs and had to discuss why things did or did not work during lab.
    • Mr. Hoying and Ms. Anderson utilized different software/sites like quizstar.4teachers.org and Google to assessment their students both formatively and summatively.
    • Mr. Bommer used Twitter and his classes own hashtag for students to ask questions in a different format and receive immediate feedback from the instructors during the class.
    • Ms. Lowery and her students acted out/performed conflict scenarios and discussed effective responses to each scenario.
    • Our school counselors held our College Information Night before Open House and utilized direct instruction and question and answer techniques to inform our students and parents of secondary schooling options.
    • Mr. Lynch and our DECA program discussed past projects to give students an idea of where they can go with their projects.  They also utilized real life experiences of students and the instructor to help students visualize projects.
    • Mr. Dengel and the Orchestra utilized peer review evaluations to improve their practices and receive feedback from others besides the instructor.
As you can see, we utilize a variety of instructional methods at GLHS.  This is just what I was able to witness or was shared with me.  If you see something that peaks your interest, speak with other staff members.  Sharing effective practices is one of the best ways to grow and foster a positive learning culture.  #WeGrowTogether


Friday, August 22nd, 2014

Dog Days of School

We knew the cool summer days of June and July would catch up with us.  We just didn't expect we would be stuck inside with no AC (in certain portions of the building).  Hopefully the temps decrease and the building gets back to normal temps.

Some of the events for next week include:
8/25 - PTO Meeting at Clark Hall (7 pm)
8/26 - College Information Night for Seniors (6:15 pm)
8/26 - Open House for GLHS (7 pm)
8/27 - In the Know team auditions (3 pm - H166)
8/28 - GLHS Athletic Hall of Fame Night at Jefferson C.C. (6 pm)
8/29 - Football vs. Wayne (HOME) (7:30 pm)

  • EMG is processing and working on technology tickets.  Please let me know of any immediate needs that do not allow your classes to operate normally.  This includes student logins.
  • The Maintenance Dept. is working on the air conditioning in different sections of the building.  Please let me know of intolerable conditions.  We will try to accommodate classes by moving them to temporary locations in order for staff and students to have a comfortable learning environment.
  • Please remember to focus on Accountability, Presence, and Building Relationships as strive to make sure "Everyone Counts."  Our students and community expect and deserve a marathon metality, not a sprint mentality.  That is what we stress to provide each day at GLHS. 
  • We will begin our Monday Jeans Days for the "Fund the Need" fund on Monday, September 15th. 
  • EMG has been having issues with their site and the link to submit Help tickets.  EMG created a work around where you will automatically be redirected to a web page after clicking the normal OTRS link. This web page will collect your ticket data and email it the ESOC. The ESOC will then enter it into OTRS.  You can still submit Help Desk requests, you will just need to do this way until the problem is fixed.
  • Please check your email regarding a change to the updated site for the lunch detentions.

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