The Stallion Scoop: 12May16
IN THIS WEEK'S NEWSLETTER:
- PRINCIPAL CHRONICLES
- FROM THE ASSISANT PRINCIPAL
- PSP NEWS
- FIELD DAY INFORMATION
- MAY SAC MEETING AGENDA
- INDOOR AMPHITHEATER UNVEILED
- DCSD FREE SUMMER FEEDING PROGRAM
- GIFTED & TALENTED NEWS
PRINCIPAL CHRONICLES - JOSH MILLER
The Principal Chronicles continue ... (San Diego Edition + STEAM Day)
Sorry we missed last week's edition but I wanted The Chronicles to cover our trip and STEAM Day, so buckle up, this is going to be a long one. Taking a trip in the Wayback Machine (Mr. Peabody reference anyone?) we were asked to accompany several schools on a trip to San Diego to tour three of the best schools in the country: High Tech High, VIDA middle school, and Design39Campus. Of course, they picked the worst time of the school year to go: May. We asked if any of our staff wanted to go, and put our plans in place. Since we are a school, and have yet to plant a money tree, we shoe-stringed this trip. Case in point: we left on Tuesday (after the really awesome 4th grade program - who doesn't love to see the Virginia Reel on a Tuesday?) at 10:30pm and arrived in San Diego around midnight. Couple this with the 30 minute drive to the hotel, and we arrived at precisely at 1:00am. I thought it was kind of strange that we had to pay full price for a room that we only stayed in for about 6 hours, but I digress. The next morning we were off to VIDA middle school after we stopped at IHOP to fuel up (like I said, shoestring budget). We were late getting to VIDA (speedy service is not IHOP's trademark) but once we sat down we were mesmerized by the principal. He stood in front of us in his turquoise Vans and Oakley sunglasses on his head, and used the word "stoked" a lot (definitely knew we were in Southern California) but he was unbelievably inspiring. When he arrived at the school they had been through 5 principals in four years, and being a highly impacted school things looked bleak. He took over and worked extremely hard on the culture and instilled some solid instruction. In just over two and half years they moved to one of the highest performing schools in San Diego. They did this with the same staff and same type of students from before. Nothing fancy, the school was old but looked nice and the kids were 100% into everything they were doing. We walked out of there with our spirits lifted and hearts inspired. We got back into the SUVs (we couldn't afford a 15 person passenger van so we had to cram into two, mid-sized SUVs - we really really got to know each other. really) and headed off to our next hotel which was another 30-minute drive. As we pulled out I saw our staff starting to drag, being up most of the night and up early in the morning was taking its toll. What did we do you ask? Well, we did what anybody does when they visit California: hit In and Out Burger. You would be amazed what a greasy burger can do for moral. After checking in and debriefing our day, we were set for our visit the next morning to Design39Campus.
When we pulled into our parking spot at Design39 (right by the parking space reserved for Darth Vader, who apparently might have a tardy problem since there was no car in the spot even though school had started) we gazed upon probably the most aesthetically pleasing school I have ever seen. During my career I have opened a brand new school, but that place was a dump compared to Design39 (I actually thought I heard harps faintly playing in the distance). As we toured the building it was amazing what level of detail they had when putting that school together. They basically opened the school with the idea to revamp the whole idea of school. One example; there weren't any teachers only "lead designers", no main office only a "welcome center", no principal only a "lead learner". Everything about that school was beautiful, but one thing that stuck out more than anything else; the instruction wasn't any different than what we do here. One of the most sought after schools in San Diego didn't do anything fancy with their instruction. It was simply good solid instruction, and it was very affirming.
Our next stop was High Tech High which was right by the airport - this was good since our flight was supposed to leave at 5:20pm (key words in that sentence "supposed to"). Apparently there is more than one High Tech High since half of our party went to the wrong one initially. After a quick lunch at Panera (yep, of all of the exciting places we could eat in San Diego, we went to Panera) we walked into High Tech High.
Let me first point out that by this time, our brains were saturated and exhausted but we were still excited to see the very famous High Tech High. When you walk into HTH you are instantly taken aback by the amount of art work. It was like they have 17 Mr. Bartons. They had artwork literally everywhere and it was pretty awesome. Other than that though, I didn't really "get" High Tech High. Maybe I missed something or didn't quite understand but to me it seemed like kids just hanging around doing nothing. There were lots of kids playing guitars and singing, others working on "projects" on computers, others still who kept just walking in and out of different rooms. HTH isn't that big of a place (500 students) but has over 2000 students on the waiting list. When we went upstairs it got better, we actually saw kids learning (sort of) and teachers working with students but I still walked away unimpressed. Luckily for us they have High Tech Elementary down the street so we invited ourselves down to tour that building. They were nice enough to let us walk around and look in the classrooms. This building was very similar to HTH in looks but WAY more organized and here the students were engaged more in their learning rather than their rapping ability. Going around the classrooms, I saw the same high quality instruction as I did as Design39. I went into a 5th grade classroom and made the mistake of asking some students what they were working on. I spent the next 15 minutes hearing about everything they were doing. I was very impressed with the depth of knowledge these students had about the math they were working on. I asked one student how many people had visited his class that year and he said about 1000. Whoa. As we were turning in our badges to head to the airport we saw a large group of teachers working with the staff at High Tech Elementary, they were all from Denver Public Schools. Small world.
We got to the airport only to learn that our flight had been delayed which now put us in jeopardy of missing our connecting flight out of Phoenix. Luckily for us we made our connecting flight with about three minutes to spare and arrived back in Denver about 11:30pm only to have to start up the next day which was STEAM Day.
I'm not sure who the dummy was who planned a late night flight right before STEAM Day (oh yeah, that was me), but that was not the smartest move I have ever made. So I got into my car to drive to school and as I pulled out of my driveway I hear a repeated clunking sound (not good). I pulled over and noticed a large screw firmly implanted in my front tire but no air was leaking (yet). Since I don't live very far from Discount Tire I drove over there thinking they could fix it really quickly and I would still make it to school on time (Note to self: call first before driving over). Of course they don't open until 8 so I figured I could make it to the Discount Tire in Parker and drop my car off there and just walk to school (Note to self part two: driving with a screw in your tire = not smart). On the highway I heard the distinct sound of a screw coming out of my tire and slamming against my wheel well. Sure enough, ten seconds later the low tire pressure light came on. I pulled off the highway, and sure enough the depressing hiss of a flat tire was the music filling my ears. I changed my tire and drove to Discount (shameless plug for Discount) who fixed my car for free and was done in about 45 minutes. I rolled into school about an hour late and then turned around and drove over to Chap for the Hexathalon (What kind of dummy schedules the Hexathalon on the same day at STEAM Day? Yep, me again). Our 6th grade students did really well and I am always amazed at how supportive they are of each other.
After I got back to school I had to rush around and get prepped for STEAM Day. In addition, to all of the cool things the classrooms were doing we were also opening up our indoor amphitheater (see story below). When I initially planned the grand opening I just wanted someone from the District to film it because I thought it was pretty cool that we worked together with our 6th grade students and the students at Chaparral. Little did I know that word would travel fast, and everybody and their mothers would showed up from the District (an hour early no less).
In the end, STEAM Day was awesome. We had tons of parents in the house and we even were able to video host one parent who couldn't get off work. We had some feedback from our last STEAM Day about trying to have STEAM Day later in the evening so working parents could attend. We couldn't move STEAM Day, but we were able to use a new technology option called WebEx. We were able to livestream one of our students presentations directly to the phone of his mother. She was able to interact with him and be a part of STEAM Day without having to miss work. We were pretty excited about it and were grateful for her patience as we worked out the kinks. In the future we are hoping to expand our WebEx capabilities to live stream more events like our EPIC assembly, SAC meetings and maybe even conferences.
That is it for this week's episode of the Principal Chronicles - stay tuned for next week's episode. Until then May the 4th be with you. See you next time when the Principal Chronicles continue ...
FROM THE ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL - ROBIN HUNT
Volunteer Reception will be held on May 26 at 2:45 for all those who graciously volunteer their time to CTE. Please RSVP for this event by completing this form.
StuCo took a field trip to Parker Town Hall and visited with the mayor. Thanks especially to Lisa Loomer and MaryAnn Laurich for helping to make this a successful trip!
Lost and Found will be available for viewing next week. Please be sure to look for your lost items. All unclaimed treasures will be donated on June 3. As always, you are welcome anytime to search for you child's missing belongings.
PSP April/May 2016 Newsletter
Restaurant Night: Save the date for our last restaurant night of the year at Panera! Monday, May 23rd from 4:00pm - 8:00pm if you go to the Panera in Parker we will receive 15% of the proceeds when you mention you are there to support CTE.
FROM PE - MICHELE WHITTINGHAM
We're using VolunteerSpot to organize our FIELD DAY 2016 Volunteers!
Here's how it works in 3 easy steps:
1) Click this link to see our Sign-up on VolunteerSpot: http://vols.pt/Ngxyf4
2) Review the options listed and choose the spot(s) you like.
3) Sign up! It's Easy - you will NOT need to register an account or keep a password on VolunteerSpot.
Note: VolunteerSpot does not share your email address with anyone. If you prefer not to use your email address, please contact me and I can sign you up manually.
MAY SAC MEETING AGENDA
Dear CTE Community,
Please join us for our last SAC meeting of the year on Tuesday May 17th at 5:00 PM in the first mobile. The meeting will run for about 90 minutes since we will also be electing officers for the 2016-2017 school year. The meeting will be immediately followed our PSP meeting. Hope to see you all there.
Josh Miller - Principal
INDOOR AMPHITHEATER UNVEILED
In collaboration with the Interior Design class at Chaparral High School, the unused space behind the CTE library has been transformed into a multi-purpose, indoor amphitheater! 6th grade students chose from a variety of proposals for the space, and the high school students completed the remodel. This effort represented authentic work experience for the designers, and the restoration of a usable work space for CTE.
The grand opening and ribbon cutting was held on Friday, 6may16. This space can now be checked-out and used by any class at CTE.
Please read more from Interior Design instructor, Ariel Bergman, on Chaparral's website: link.