Best Wishes for a Happy Holiday

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Dear Students, Staff, and Parents,

As we end this first semester and wrap up 2016, I want to say Thank You. I very much appreciate your support and your patience as we have all endured my first semester as a principal. Although, from my perspective, I have to say that I love this job–it does not feel at all as though I need to “endure” each day. While I do miss teaching, I still get to interact with wonderful students and staff, and I love the opportunities and experiences that my new position presents each day.

During the next couple of weeks I am going to be unplugged from the SkyView system. I’ll still plan, strategize, reflect, and prepare for next semester, but I will also be spending some much needed and intensive time with my family. They have sacrificed much these last few months as I pour my heart and soul into SkyView and my doctoral work. Similarly, our teachers and staff have poured themselves into SkyView these last five months and also need some rest and relaxation with their families.

And on that note, I encourage you to take full advantage of this holiday season. Please find the time to relax with your family and friends. I leave you with these words from Perry Como (or the Carpenter’s if you prefer their version):

     Oh, there’s no place like home for the holidays

     ‘Cause no matter how far away you roam

     When you pine for the sunshine of a friendly gaze

     For the holidays you can’t beat home, sweet home

Cheers!

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About Final Exams…

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Dear Parents and Students,

These past 8 months, I have received feedback from students, staff, and families asking me to evaluate our current approach to finals and to consider making some changes that would help our students to be more successful by:

  • Allowing for more focused study time.
  • Providing better access to teachers.
  • Creating more flexibility for students who do not need (or want) extended study sessions.
  • Alleviating some of the stress and anxiety that students feel–particularly on days with three straight final exams.

In response to that feedback, we are going to try a new final exam schedule at the high school. Next week, finals will run for four days from Tues, 12/13 – Fri, 12/16. Each day, students will take final exams in the morning and then be granted release in the afternoon according to the following schedule:

Tuesday, 12/13: Finals for Per 1 & 7
Wednesday, 12/14: Finals for Per 5 & 3
Thursday, 12/15: Finals for Per 2 & 4
Friday, 12/16: Finals for Per 6

TUES, WED, THURS

 

8:00 – 9:30 Final Exam (1-Tues, 5-Wed, 2-Thurs)
9:30 – 9:45 Break
9:45 – 11:15 Final Exam (7-Tues, 3-Wed, 4-Thurs)
11:15 – 12:00 Advisement & Peer Tutoring
12:00 – 4:30

a. High School students released for the day.

b. Students may meet with teachers by appointment only.

c. Students who remain after finals and are not meeting with teachers may study in the cafetorium. Lunch will be served according to the usual schedule.

FRI

8:00 – 10:00 Advisement & Tutoring; Locker Clean-out; Break
10:00 – 11:30 Final Exam
11:30 – 12:00 Assembly
12:00 – 3:15 a. High School students released for Winter Break!

b. Students who remain after finals will report to the cafetorium. Lunch will be served according to the usual schedule.

Please note:

  • Each high school teacher is required to administer a meaningful final exam (or equivalent class project).
  • These exams are comprehensive and will constitute approximately 10-15% of the student’s semester grade.
  • All students must report to school during finals from 8:00-12:00. You will not be excused during seminar periods or if you do not have a final exam scheduled. Students should plan to study during their “down-time.”
  • Students will NOT be permitted to take final exams early or permitted to make up final exams after Friday, December 16. During finals week, any absence due to illness will require a doctor’s note.

At the end of final exams on December 16, I will be releasing three very brief surveys to solicit feedback on the effectiveness of this schedule (one for students, one for teachers, and one for parents). This will help us to determine if we should use a similar schedule for final exams in May.

Happy studying!

Cheers!

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