Thursday, January 24, 2013

GLHS Schedulng for Next School Year

One of the most important components of second semester is the scheduling process. We want to ensure students, parents, teachers, and guidance counselors have as much time as possible to create the best possible schedule for each student.
We offer over 200 courses because we want our students to have choice in what they want to take over the years. However, this creates some challenges for us as well. In addition to our rich course offerings, we’ve had two different schedules the last two years: a 4 block A/B schedule at Clark Hall and a traditional 8-period schedule on main campus with some block classes sprinkled in. As you can imagine, or as some of you have experienced, this created a number of conflicts, such as double study halls or students being closed out of courses. In order to reduce the number of conflicts, we have come to the realization we cannot continue operating with two different schedules.
A/B Block Schedule
To help alleviate some of the conflicts we faced, next school all English, Math, Science, and Social Studies classes will be taught in an A/B Block format, grades 9-12. Blocking courses allow for:
·        Deeper exploration in content and meaning
·        Hands on time with teachers and students
·        Assessment and work completion within the classroom (including labs)
·        Creative lesson planning
·        Time to provide feedback to students while they are in class
·        Time for teachers who teach the same courses to work more together more closely and consistently
·        More time for students to complete out of class assignments
·        Less classes a day for students
We’ve had a great deal of success with the A/B schedule at Clark Hall because of the reasons listed above. Additionally, students have adapted to the time and have learned to manage their time outside of class to ensure they complete assignments in a quality manner.
If you are not familiar with the A/B block schedule, an A/B Block schedule is a schedule in which a student has two different classes scheduled during the same block of time, but they alternate which day and which class they take. For example, a student who has Math and Science during first block will go to the math class on “A” day (Tuesday and Thursday) and science class on “B” day (Wednesday and Friday). Monday will be a normal 8 period day with 47 minutes per period. The blocked class periods are 94 minutes long, so the amount of time in each class is evenly distributed during the year. This schedule will not conflict with our performing arts classes, International Languages classes, DECA, or other specialty classes; however it will help tremendously in alleviating conflicts.
Course Changes
With such a strong emphasis on Literacy through the Common Core State Standards and a majority of our seniors already taking two English courses, beginning next school year, seniors will have to take a semester of literature and a semester of composition. This will provide the opportunity for our students to continue to hone these skills as they transition from high school. Also, this will make it a little easier to offer dual enrollment classes that are yearlong. Our goal is to add five dual credit classes a year for the next five years. I have discussed this with several parent groups, including my Lions Advisory Board and members of the PTO. It’s also been a topic of discussion at the “Coffee with Mr. Carter” conversations.
The US Government class will be a year-long course as opposed to a semester of State and Local Government or Economics and a semester of Federal Government. This year’s juniors (Class of 2014) who have already taken Economics as the alternative for the State and Local Government credit will still be able to take a semester only of Federal Government next year.
Financial Literacy has been a graduation requirement the last two years and we currently have the standards embedded in State/Local Government and Personal Finance classes. However, in order to be more intentional with teaching the students Financial Literacy, students will have the choice of taking Economics or Personal Finance to fulfill their Financial Literacy requirement. The Economics course will not only have the Financial Literacy standards embedded throughout the course, but for students who are interested in pursuing a career in business, it will provide a broader perspective of micro and macroeconomics. The Personal Finance class will provide an in-depth study of the Financial Literacy standards where students will be able to apply the principles learned to their lives today. Both options allow us to be intentional and purposeful in fulfilling this important requirement, while providing student choice at the same time. 
Students who took Economics as a junior will only have to take a semester course of Federal Government to fulfill their government graduation requirement because prior to the 2013-14 school year, the Economics course has been an alternative to State and Local Government. Junior students who did NOT take Economics will be scheduled to take a full year of US Government their senior year and will have to take a semester of Personal Finance or Economics to fulfill the Financial Literacy requirement. Either way, students will leave high school with a thorough background of financial literacy.
Scheduling Process
Our Guidance Counselors will begin meeting with students to discuss scheduling on January 24th. Following is the schedule:
·        Juniors to be Seniors Thursday, January 24, 2013
·        Sophomores to be Juniors Monday, January 28, 2013
·        Freshmen to Sophomores Tuesday, January 29, 2013
They will meet with three groups per day by alphabet. This will ensure a smaller group size and for greater opportunities for students to ask questions, share concerns, and for the guidance counselors to answer the questions in greater detail. January 30th through February 12th, teachers will explain to students their departmental course offerings, course sequence, and course requirements. It is during this time that students will need to get your signature of support for selected courses. Students will then need to submit the selective course applications by Friday, February 8th. The actual registration form is due to your student’s English teacher by Thursday, February 14th. These deadlines are important because it helps us get the students scheduled sooner so we can reduce or eliminate conflicts much quicker. Your cooperation is greatly appreciated!
As you can imagine, this is a long process, but we have an amazing team of teachers, guidance counselors, and administrators who work together as a team to make it all happen! Please feel free to contact you student’s Guidance Counselor if you have any questions. Thanks! Until next time…
Be Great,

Dwight

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

You're Invited! February Community University Workshops

In our efforts to help familiarize you, the parents and guardians, with how we are using technology in the classrooms, we have created Community University. Community University is a list of technology workshops led by Gahanna staff members and/or some GLHS students on a monthly basis. We are offering two workshops on Monday, February 4th from 6-7pm. Following are the workshop descriptions and location:

iPads 101: There is an app for that! Come learn the basics of operating your iPad and learn about some new apps to enhance your iPad experience. This workshop is led by GLHS Librarian, Ann Gleek in the GLHS Library. RSVP here by Friday, February 1st.

iPad 102: “Next step” tips and apps for those who are comfortable with the basics and looking to do more with an iPad. This workshop is led by Lincoln Elementary Principal, Jim Miccuilla in the GLHS Library. RSVP here by Friday, February 1st.

If you do not an iPad, no worries! You'll be able to borrow one of ours for the workshop. You are more than welcome to bring you student along! It will be an excellent opportunity to share ideas and to learn something new together. We look forward to seeing you!

Until next time…

Be Great,

Dwight


Thursday, January 10, 2013

January Upcoming Events!


January typically brings about a fresh start as we plan to make meaningful changes in many areas of our lives. For us at GLHS, we return from break refreshed and rejuvenated to continue to educate our students today for the challenges and opportunities of tomorrow. The end of the semester brings with it a number of events to make you aware of:
Sunday, January 13th- Winter Band Concert in the Auditorium at 3:00pm
Monday, January 14th-Coffee with Mr. Carter in Clark Hall 325 at 6:45am; Freshmen Band Concert in the Auditorium at 7:30pm
Tuesday, January 15th-Thursday, January 17th- Midterm Exams
Wednesday, January 16th: 8th grade parent night from 7-9 pm (auditorium and café)
Friday, January 18th- Teacher Work day NO SCHOOL FOR STUDENTS
Monday, January 21st- MLK Jr. Day Observance NO SCHOOL; Chorale and Orchestra Benefit Concert at Peace Lutheran Church at 7:00pm
Tuesday, January 22nd, First day of Second Semester
We also have a new event that is a collaborative effort between some students who graduated last year and several GLHS staff members. It’s the “Diaspora: Voices of an Ever-Changing America.” Following is a brief description and an invitation:
GLHS will present a debut performance of “Diaspora: Voices of an Ever-Changing America” on February 1, 2013 at 7:00 pm in the GLHS Auditorium.  Diaspora is program that celebrates African American History and Culture through the arts. Admission for all is simply a non-perishable food item or cash donations for GRIN. Mrs. Amerson, Ms. Bridges, and Mrs. Germany have worked with a diverse group of students who will showcase talents ranging from dance, singing, spoken word, and much more.  The performance will touch on everything from before the Middle Passage from Africa to Modern everyday society.  You definitely don’t want to miss out. The goal is for you to be entertained and informed all at the same time.  
Finally, I stumbled upon this quote this morning and wanted to share it with you:
“It is harder than we remember to be a child.”
Keeping this quote in mind, let’s continue to encourage our students. They are faced with more challenges than we could ever imagine, and yet, they continue to perform at a high level. I look forward to seeing you around GLHS in the coming weeks! Until next time…
Be Great,

Dwight