Tuesday, November 24, 2015

I'm thankful for...

Good afternoon,

In the spirit of the season, I wanted to express my thankfulness for all the members of the WGSD learning community.  Each and every day, the district community puts children and their learning at the forefront of all that we do.  Staff members work tirelessly with families and community members to provide students with the space and opportunities to discover who they are and what they are uniquely suited to do in this world.  For our amazing students, staff, and district community, I'm thankful!

Each child, Each day...John

Friday, November 20, 2015

"Student Success" in the WGSD

Good evening,

Last week, I had the privilege to share a few district celebrations related to learning and achievement with our board of education.  Here is just a small sampling of those celebrations from the 14-15 school year:

  • The district's Annual Performance Report (APR - state "report card") score is among the highest in the state.
  • Our 11th grade students performed very well on the first ever ACT given to almost every 11th grader across the state during the school day.
  • More students took an AP exam than at any time, and the average score earned (3.69) was also the highest in history.
  • In 2009, 0 students took an AP science exam and in 2015 94 exams were taken.
  • The percent of African-Americans taking a weighted class (ie: an advanced class such as AP) increased by 30% and was the highest in the school's history.
  • The percent of students suspended decreased to approximately 3.5%.
  • More science fair projects were completed by elementary students in 2015 than at any other time in recent history.
Here are some other celebrations from 14-15, most of which were highlighted at the board meeting:
A number of district staff members interested in experimenting with and/or currently implementing innovative practices are now gathering on a regular basis to collaborate and share.

 The WGHS Coffee Shop provides select high school students with the opportunity to learn vocational skills in a "real world" setting.

Children at the WAFC explore the concept of sound in their outdoor playscape.

 Mick Fumo shared with 3rd grade students how he uses creativity in his daily life as a chef at Cielo in the Four Seasons Hotel.  

WGHS band students were recently treated to a master class with the Kevin Eubanks Group (ie: The Tonight Show).  The band played, took questions, and asked a student drummer to join them in a session.

Each child, Each day...John

Friday, November 6, 2015

The WGSD....A Great Place to Learn!

Good afternoon,

In my role in the WGSD, I get to see students and staff engage in really powerful learning opportunities that are relevant, challenging, and rewarding.  Below is a "sampler" of some of what I've witnessed over the past two weeks.  All I can say is, "I wish my personal memories of school looked something like this!

Each child, Each day...John

3rd graders from Hudson collaborate with WGHS students to draft and create simple machines.

Hixson 8th grade students test water filters they made to determine if they are capable of filtering at least 200 ml of water in 30 minutes or less.

A Vietnam Veteran shares his story with high school students about being a Sentry Dog Handler during the War.

Check out this rhythm two 2nd grade students at Bristol created using Garage Band and then their own voices.

This Steger student is in the process of writing an excellent story about "a special place."

This 2nd grade student from Clark worked very hard to create a unique instrument as the children learned about sound.