Archive for September, 2011


Book club at TCS?

The other day my wife, Lindsay, told me about a book that she thought that I would like. The author was interviewed on Talk of the Nation and she was excited about his ideas. The book is called ‘The Other Wes Moore’. Basically the author read a story about a guy with the same name who was arrested for murder. The author, a highly successful soldier and young man, wondered , “What happened?”. This simple question lead him to write a letter to the other Wes to inquire. The book contains the answer to that simple question. While I haven’t yet cracked the book, I have purchased it and am toying with the idea of hosting an all-male student book club using this book. I don’t know if it’ll seem too up front to some of my students, but the notions of choice and decisions is compelling. This’ll be a blog series that I’ll be writing a lot about. More to come…

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Each year we spend a week and a half preparing with the full staff. This often entails reviewing policies and procedures (boring but necessary), discussing our goals and objectives, hosting an orientation for students and families, and spending time preparing for our classes. This year we did this plus initiated committees that will help us move our ideas further, rolled out the goals and objectives to our reading and writing initiatives, and ate lots of donuts! Coming out of our time together I felt that we were very well prepared and hit a good stride as a staff.
I was pleased with how well the committees worked especially. Each committee brought useful and innovative ideas out to staff. The stand outs to me were the diagnostic testing planning and preparation and the work on a ‘helpful tips’ sheet for teachers when they’re reaching out to parents.
The other notable event that happened at the school was related to enrollment. Going into August we were disappointed that our admission of new students slowed down coming into the month. Then the floodgates opened up! There were multiple days when we admitted 5+ students! It was very encouraging to also see that the students who were coming in were eager to go to an academically focused school. With that rate we formed a wait list in a short period of time. It was gratifying to see our student body form over the last few days before school started.
The final comment that I want to make is that I’m in my last six months of my administrative licensure program. This section focuses on instructional observation. I have lots of homework to complete (mainly reading and writing but I have some activities to compete as well) by the 15th of this month. Once I finish in January, I take an exam and then will have an administrative license. It’ll be gratifying to complete this work and earn another credential.
All in all this is going to be an exciting year!!

This was the longest 4-day week I’ve worked in recent memory. I’m guessing I was close to 60 hours. Thanks to the help of Erin and Allie we were able to get 304 schedules done before classes started. The only way I could be happier is with slightly smaller class sizes.
The school had a great start to the year this year! The ‘Writing and thinking workshop’ seemed to have engaged all students in meaningful learning and set the academic culture that we were looking for. All in all this was an amazing week at work. I’ve been recouping all day with OSU football and now the ND/Michigan game.

College Board president tests well on income | The Columbus Dispatch.

This should be the first and most important indicator that our obsession with testing has gone too far.