Thursday, April 27, 2017

And Down the Stretch They Come! Finishing the School Year Strong

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If you've ever been in or watched a race, you know that the end of the race is not the time to coast. It is the time to "kick it in!"

Having been at WJHS for the last four years, I've had a first hand look at how our teachers continue to have school to the very last bell.

Will we celebrate?  Absolutely.  The effort and achievement of our students and staff members is worthy of celebration.  So, we will have fun events to honor and reward our students and staff members.

However, for us, the end of standardized testing doesn't signal that the school year is over.

In fact, we see the end of the year as an opportunity to "kick it in."

The focus that we place on establishing positive relationships with students will only become more important.  We know that a positive classroom environment is just as relevant the last month of the year as it is during the first.

Our instruction will continue to focus on the essential learning that our students must master.  We will set clear learning targets, assess progress toward mastery, and provide meaningful feedback.

Professionally, we will continue to grow by reading educational research, trying new practices without fear of failure, visiting other classrooms, etc.

Our teachers will strive to create memorable learning opportunities for students.  We will look for ways to demonstrate our love for teaching/learning.  We want our students to see our passion for learning, reading, making, thinking critically...Maybe some of it will rub off on them!

To get a behind the scenes view of just how we "kick it in" down the stretch, check out our hashtag- #gowjhswildcats.

Tim Sparacino, Principal



Friday, March 3, 2017

WJHS: A Place of Making

Check out this post by Mrs. Beach on her Tinkering in Making blog.

At WJHS, we believe that "making" is an essential part of meaningful learning.

You can support our campaign and increase access to makerspaces at WJHS by visiting www.gofundme.com/WJHSmakers.

We appreciate you!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

What Are Teachers Doing on PD Days?

Next Monday and Tuesday, students will be out of school and teachers will be involved in professional development activities.

As a parent, you may be wondering what types of activities teachers are involved in on these "release days."

Monday, February 20
Most WJHS teachers will be in our building Monday.

We do have a few teachers that will be involved in training at other sites that relate directly to their area of expertise.

Our morning sessions will focus on developing the technology integration skills of our teachers.  We know that just "integrating" technology doesn't automatically lead to improved learning or engagement.  Our use of technology has to purposefully improve learning.

Teachers have been offered a menu of five technology training options and they have selected three one hour sessions that are most beneficial to them.

These sessions are facilitated by teacher leaders within our building and our Instructional Technology Specialist, Dee Thomas.

Our afternoon learning will focus on:

  • The work of our Response to Intervention(RTI) SWAT Team and how it relates to Priority Time
  • Professional Learning Community (PLC) best practices as they relate to RTI
  • Our ongoing Rethinking Grading book study.  (Two of our teacher leaders will be helping us investigate Chapter 4: What How and When to Grade).
  • Reflect on the data from the Gallup Student Poll that we administered in the fall (time permitting).

It's important to note that our teachers had input into the structure of this day.  They were surveyed to identify the most pressing needs that they had for professional development.  That input was used to select and craft the sessions detailed above.

Tuesday, February 21
On Tuesday morning, some of our teachers will be involved in district-level professional development activities (Co-teaching, Math Lab Best Practices, Social Thinking, etc.).

Some teachers will be involved in district-level PLC meetings focusing on vertical and/or horizontal alignment of curriculum, expectations, assessment, etc.

Other teachers will be at WJHS in building-level PLC meetings focusing on ensuring a guaranteed and viable curriculum, common assessment, remediation, and enrichment opportunities, etc.

On Tuesday afternoon, all 7th-12th grade teachers will meet at BHS for district-level PLC meetings focusing on quality Tier 1 instruction, vertical and/or horizontal alignment of curriculum, expectations, assessment, etc.

Conclusion
As you know, lifelong learning is one of the CORE values of our staff and a vital component of The Wildcat Way.

We are looking forward to a great two days of learning so that we can be better educators and even more successful  at building a school that students run toward for the children that you allow us the privilege of working with everyday.  Thank you!