Building on Excellence

The road to excellence is always under construction.                  ~Author Unknown

Week 20 in Review

With exception of the weather, last week felt like Christmas. First of all, our students were able to take home their own laptops.  What a great day for Benton High School. What a great week, actually. Attendance was solid. Student engagement was up.  Disciplinary referrals all but came to a standstill. I went from knocking on wood to wondering when the honeymoon was going to end.  I pray this week is no different. And get this, after eight days of school, we have managed something I don’t think has ever happened at our school, but I know for sure has not happened in this century – we managed to have 94.3% face to face meets with our parents and guardians through the Project Connect presentation and we have the signatures to prove it!  And this week, we only get to build on that.

And speaking of building, this past Wednesday, Benton was given a second gift with the news that our School Board had given the final approval to build our new field house up near Sparks Stadium.  In case you did not know this already, this fell into place with the final collection of required monies that Benton had to match to the district to help build the facility.

I want to send a super high five to Coach Tabor for realizing this dream. Coach Tabor has spent the better part of two years getting to this day. To understand his efforts is to have attended hundreds of meetings, fretted countless hours over plans to make sure everyone’s needs were met, and landed over $375,000 dollars in donations to Benton’s “Soaring on to Glory” Campaign. And many of you helped him get there, which I know he and I appreciate greatly.  This is a amazing achievement for our school. It’s been a long- standing vision that has finally been realized. With hope, we will finalize bids and get contractors in place to break ground before the end of this fiscal year. How great is that news?!?

Finally, this week we also found out that one of our own, Coach Mike Musser, was named to be inducted into the Missouri High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame on Friday, February 17th. Since the beginning of this Hall of Fame, only 52 coaches have been included on this very prestigious roster. Please be sure to congratulate Coach Musser on receiving this accolade. This is definitely a legacy we want to be building upon.

Week 21 – A Look Ahead

Building on the excellent week we had last week won’t be easy nor will it be simple. Without looking a gift horse in the mouth, it’s time to look at our student’s increased engagement in the classroom. I challenge you this week to make sure your students are using their new instructional tool to further the learning of your lesson.  Are they working on projects, activities or research after you finish your mini-lesson that enhances your instructional objective that day?  Are they collaborating in their work?  Are they using their new one to one tools to read more and write more?  They should be, and they need to be.  With the date of the implementation of the Common Core Standards looming, why not take this opportunity to increase that focus?  It will take a new look from you.  You will have to examine your lessons to see where you can fit in different types of activities that further your instructional objectives and build on that. Have students read different articles – perhaps opposing – and then ask them to summarize and argue what they’ve learned from the reading whether they agree with what they read or not.  You would have to model this for them, of course, but what a great opportunity to extend your lesson in a very rigorous fashion. (if you want more information and inspiration, check our Sean Nash’s comments at the end of last week’s post)

This Thursday starts our next in-house ACT Academy. Look for the list to come out tomorrow. I will be talking to those students during CAMP to remind them of the expectations for the academy. I’m not sure how many of you know this, but as of this last test, our ACT average is strong. The February and April tests are always big for seniors, so please support them if they need any help or tutoring for this very important exam. The test is February 11th if you didn’t remember.  Let’s make sure we keep building on that solid average.

Finally, Friday, January 20, is the next faculty lunch. Below are the assignments for that day:

SpEd, IT & FACS:  Veggies/Fruit
Sci, Bus & Libr:  Appetizers
CA, FA & FL:  Salads/Breads
SS, PE & Counseling:  Desserts
Math, Admin & Secr/support: Entree/Main Course (Taco/Potato Bar – we will bring taco meat and baked potatoes)

It’s going to be a great week to continue to build excellence in our school.  Data teams – remember to keep updating your information on your google.doc. Our data walkthrough with the district office is March 15th.  We need to have no less than two more cycles totally completed by the walkthrough date.  With only 8 weeks of school left by the time we finish the district’s visit, you may only have one cycle left to complete before school year ends. Focus for the walkthrough will sit with our data teams and will also be centered on the common assessments used by the data teams, analysis of the data from the assessments, and interventions created and used as a result of the data. It’s nothing new, but we will spend most of next month getting that information shored up for the visit. Please begin getting that ready now.

Building on excellence. Remember, excellence is a journey not a destination. The journey was never going to be easy or simple, but we all know it will be worth it.  Go Cardinals!

~Excellence is a journey not a destination.~

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