Showing posts from 2010

Never Underestimate the Power of Web 2.0

This past week I had an opportunity to spend a day at the Christa McAuliffe Technology conference for educators. This year's conference was held in Manchester and was an opportunity for school administrators and teachers to learn about some of the new tools and technology resources that schools are using to stay "current" in the 21st century. I took some time to attend a couple of different "Web 2.0" workshops -- these always interest me because I always learn about new web tools and resources that schools are using (as well as new ways to use some old tools). Here is a summary of some of the tools I plan to try soon:

1. Twitter and Blogger -- I have used both of these before, but the twist (or challenge) is to find a way to use one of these to publish the school newspaper. I have asked a couple of students to help me explore how we might upload our December 2010 school newspaper to Blogger to allow for more reader interaction. More to follow on that soon...

2. H…

Fifty Years Ago In Sanborn History...

One of the pleasures of working at Sanborn is that the school has a rich 127 year history. In my office I have a bookcase where past principals have left yearbooks from each graduating class since 1957 (the library has yearbooks dating back further than that)!

Two years ago, we digitally uploaded most of these yearbooks to our Facebook Alumni page as a way to boost our participation on that page, and it worked - over 1500 alumni have signed up. Still, I often feel that it is a shame that these old yearbooks aren't more widely available to all. For today's post, I pay tribute to the class of 1960 by posting some of their yearbook candids along with the captions they used. I thought it was a fitting way to look at what life at Sanborn was like fifty years ago. Enjoy!

Thanks for Thanksgiving

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I thought I would dedicate my column this month to listing some of the things that I am thankful for this year. Please note that these are in no particular order.

1. I am thankful that we successfully (successfully within reason, that is) made it through our first round of report cards. As you know, we made some significant changes to the way grading works at Sanborn, and with those changes came a new report card format and a new grading program (Pinnacle). As with any change, we expected some “bumps in the road.” I am thankful that I have teachers, students, parents, and administrators who know this new system is the right thing to do and have been patient as we work through the implementation process.

2. I am thankful that our school community has pledged to put an end to vandalism in our school. I thank each of you who have come forward with information on an act of vandalism.

3. I am thankful for the high level of sportsmanship and teamwork t…

Sanborn Hosts NH Supreme Court

This past Thursday, we had a unique opportunity to host a session of the NH Supreme Court. The day was part of an annual trip that the court makes to a local high school for "Court on the Road." Sanborn was lucky enough to play host for this important event thanks to Deb DeBay, fourth grade teacher from Memorial Elementary School in Newton, who asked the court to consider our location last year.

Ten local high schools sent student representatives to watch the two actual court cases. Sanborn had 150 students from Mr. Hurley's AP US History classes, Ms. Karcz's and Mrs. Jules's block 6 Democracy class, and Mr. Hatem's and Mr. Welch's block 2 Democracy class. Sanborn ran a live video feed to the UNH Granite State Distance Learning Network - this allowed high schools form the North Country to participate in the event as well (and this technology was a first for the court!)

It was a busy week. Sanborn students were paid a visit last Tuesday by Attorney General M…

The "End is Near" for the Textbook

I had a difficult time writing the five-year textbook replacement plan this year for the high school. I found this to be a little ironic though, considering where Sanborn was just a few years ago - My first week on the job as assistant principal in 2006, I was attacked by a swarm of teachers begging me to order them some much-needed textbooks. The math department wanted to stop the practice of having just one set of classroom textbooks for each teacher (meaning no one could bring a book home). The science department was still using a biology book with a copyright date of 1984. The Social Studies department had ten different sets of US History books that they had accumulated over the years and none of them talked about the "War on Terrorism," the biggest news of the last decade. The problem was, by 2006 the textbook budget was grossly inadequate for the needs of the school and by the time books were actually purchased for a course or department, the information in them became …

My Interview With a College Admissions Officer

Last week, I had an opportunity to sit down with an admissions officer from Boston University. We had a great discussion about some of our Sanborn students who have expressed interest in the school, but more importantly, we talked about what BU is looking for these days in college applications. I'd like to share some of what I learned in that meeting with all of you.

First, I asked her if there were any specific courses (above and beyond the obvious 4 years of English, 4 years of math, 4 years of science, and 4 years of Social Studies) that BU likes to see on the high school transcripts of applicants. She indicated that precalculus and physics were very helpful because they were one way to show a student challenged themselves. For the same reason, she said BU also likes to see at least one or two courses at the AP (Advanced Placement) or PRS (Project Running Start) level in high school. When I asked her about foreign languages, she indicated that 2-4 years in the same language was …

NECAP Science Results Released

This past week, the State of New Hampshire released the results from the NECAP Science test administration from May or 2010. Each year, grade 11 students take this test as part of a battery of NECAP tests (math, reading, and writing are done in the fall) that are used to determine if schools are making adequate yearly growth.
These latest tests confirm that Sanborn's class of 2011 made some significant gains in each of the subject areas.
Student scores are based on the following four levels: 4: Proficient with Distinction 3: Proficient 2: Slightly Below Proficient 1: Significantly Below Proficient The following chart show how Sanborn students have done over the past three years as compared to the State on this Science test. You should note that the State stayed at 24% of students scoring proficient or above, but Sanborn improved from 17% to 32% of students proficient or above. Our Science Department has already begun studying the data to determine what changes should be made to the curr…

Homecoming is a Sanborn Tradition

There aren't too many schools in America that can say they have over 100 years of history - but at Sanborn, we are in our 127th year! Homecoming is an annual tradition that started many years ago as the "Indian Festival". It has always included sporting events, a dance or other social event, music performances, and of course, a parade. The pictures included in this post are from the 1960 yearbook - fifty years ago!!!
Join us for homecoming this weeekend. Here is the schedule of events:
Friday - Field Hockey Varsity and JV at Chase Field at 4:00pm Saturday - FOOD ALL DAY 8:00 - Parade down main street to the high school 9:00 - Skits in the high school gym 12:00 - Boys varsity and JV soccer at the high school 2:00 - Girls varsity and JV soccer 2:30 - Varsity football 7:00 - Semi-formal dance for all students in the cafeteria

Shift Happens

Last night at our open house I showed the following video, entitled "Shift Happens":

This video demonstrates just how quickly our world is changing. To prepare our kids for this kind of a future we need to be able to change and adapt to meet the needs of twenty-first century learners.

The key to success as a school will be our ability to teach twenty-first century skills like: self-directed learner, community contributor, complex thinker, quality producer, effective communicator, and ethical user of technology. We have identified these to be our six school-wide expectations for learning for all students and we are embedding these skills into each of our courses and programs at SRHS.

As a new feature to our progress reports and report cards this year you will notice that each teacher will report out quarterly on these school-wide expectations for learning. These grades will replace the "effort" and "con…

New Parent Internet Viewer Activated!

This week we reached another milestone with our Pinnacle system implementation - we activated the Parent Internet Viewer. Parents should have received a copy of their login instructions for this new system in the mail this week. Anyone who needs this information sent again can contact my office at 603-642-3341.

The new Parent Internet Viewer will be an upgrade from our old system (Edline). Parents will now have access to more accurate and useful skill and assessment information, have the flexibility to set user-defined notification preferences, and have the ability to easily interact with teachers. This winter, students will use the system to complete their course registration for the 2011-2012 school year.

You can learn more about how the Parent Internet Viewer from Pinnacle can benefit you by visiting the company's website below:

Please understand that when you log into this system now, some teachers may not have grades loaded. T…

The Case for Change in Our Schools

These days everyone is weighing in on what it is going to take to fix our failing schools. More money? Better teachers? A national curriculum? More testing? The list goes on and on. Oddly enough, what people seem to agree on most is that the system we have used for decades is just not working anymore. We need a new system. Our students achievement in core academic subjects such as math and science continue to lag behind many other countries. Furthermore, our system is flawed in that is does not guarantee learning for all - something I would bet our founding fathers with their "all men are created equal" philosophy would not be happy to hear. The good news is, I suspect you will see dramatic improvements in our educational system over the next several years, but they will come with a price - and that price's name is "change.'

At Sanborn, change is coming as we shift our focus from "teaching" to "student learning." At the high school this year, …

Opening of School Report

Last evening I reported out to the School Board on opening day activities and issues. Here are some of the highlights of that presentation:

This year we welcome 15 new staff members and 2 new administrators to our community. They come from a variety of backgrounds and bring a wealth of experience, knowledge, and new ideas with them. They join a returning staff that is refreshed, rejuvenated, and ready to tackle the challenges they will face in their classroom.

As a school, we have identified three major areas of focus for this year: we want to see growth in our achievement scores in math, reading, writing, and science; we want to improve our communication with parents and the community; and we want to focus our assessments on student learning and mastery of competencies.

Monday, August 30th, our freshmen started school. They had an opportunity to meet their advisors, find their classes and lockers, learn how the lunch lines work, and talk to their teachers about expectations for the year…

2010-2011 Building Goals for SRHS

As we prepare to embark on a new school year, I'd like to share with all of you my goals for Sanborn Regional High School. It is my hope that these goals will focus our work on making Sanborn one of the top 10% schools in the State. I welcome your feedback: 1. By June 2011, students will demonstrate academic growth as follows: 70% of students in grades 9 and 10 will meet or exceed their target growth rates in reading, math, and language usage as measured by the Spring 2011 NWEA and all students in grade 11 will demonstrate 10% improvement in reading, writing, mathematics, and science on the Grade 11 NECAP. 2. By June 2011, the school will expand upon the use and types of communication tools that provide timely and relevant information to students, parents, and the community on a bi-weekly basis. 3. By June 2011, all staff will make use of assessment and grading practices that measure student learning through the mastery of school-wide and course-based competencies in all courses.

New Administrative Team

In addition to myself, you will see two other new names on the SRHS letterhead this year:

Michael Turmelle joins Sanborn as our new Assistant Principal / Curriculum Director. Prior to Sanborn, Michael spent many years at John Stark Regional High School in Weare, NH. He began as a Social Studies teacher and, over time, worked his way up to Principal, a position he held for the past three years. He is excited about the opportunity to move to the Seacoast area and work for the Sanborn community. For the 2010-2011 school year, Michael will handle all student issues for grades 10 and 11.

Ann Hadwen is not new to Sanborn but she is new to her assignment - assistant principal. Ann has worked for Sanborn for a number of years, both as an 8th grade and 9th grade social studies teacher. Ann will be responsible for all student issues in grade 9.

I will oversee all student issues for grade 12.

About Me

Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog. I hope this page will become an important communication link with the Sanborn community. Please check back often as I hope to provide weekly updates to all of you on the happenings of Sanborn Regional High School. For my first entry, I wanted to share with you a little bit about me. As you know, I took over as Principal on July 1. I tell people I meet that I have two full time jobs - Principal and husband/father of three. My wife and I live in Plaistow with our three little boys: Brady (4), Cameron (2), and Liam (2 months). Since I grew up in Plaistow I feel very connected to the Newton, Fremont, and Kingston communities. I received my undergraduate degrees from Boston University and then spent five years as a high school math teacher in Andover, Massachusetts. During this time I also served on the Timberlane Regional School Board. In 2004 I completed my graduate degree from the University of Massachusetts and in 2006, came to Sanborn as t…