ABC's of Education, Volume 2, Issue 3Posted by Megan Van Hoy on 10/10/2018
The ABC’s of Education
Volume 2, Issue 3
Greetings, dear friends! Please allow me to apologize for the lapse in time between entries! Things are happening over on North Center Street that suggest we are progressing toward our GOALS at Statesville High School!
For the sake of clarity, please allow me to repeat what we are working toward in our school.
We have two (2) primary goals for this year:
- Moving our school from a school performance grade of “D” to “C”
- 50 percent of students who are enrolled in English II, Math 1, and Biology will earn at least a “3” on their end-of course (EOC) exams.
Now…It is VERY easy to simply write some cute and glitzy words on a paper with catchy phrases and acronyms and such, but strategic measures must be employed to ensure that we accomplish these goals.
In order to move our school performance grade or SPG, Statesville High School MUST improve:
- Our EOC composite
- Performance on the ACT
- Performance on the WorkKeys
- Improve our 4-year Graduation Cohort Rate
- Math Rigor, or seniors who graduate with Math 3 or higher on the final transcript
There are specific strategies and measures in place in our school improvement plan AND covered during our State of the School Address on September 28, 2018. Rather than have a “wait and see” approach, we measure and evaluate student data daily and cover pertinent data during our School Improvement Team meetings (to which ALL of you are cordially invited to) and our faculty and staff meetings
In order for goal #2 to be realized, we had to embrace the notion of preparedness. According to most recent North Carolina School Report Card data (www.ncpublicschools.org/src), twelve (12) percent of our incoming freshmen in 2017-2018 were grade level proficient. Understanding that those students are now enrolled in most, if not ALL of the measured classes, we had to be strategic in scheduling them and putting them in the best possible position to be successful. We took a look at readiness data and scheduled some sections of English II, Math 1 and Biology on a year-round basis. At the end of the first semester and upon successful completion and mastery of a skills assessment to determine goal mastery, the student will earn an English/math/science ELECTIVE credit, and then prepare for success on the actual EOC in June.
In doing this, we have literally “met the students where they are.” In no way are we “watering down” the curriculum. Rather, we are teaching mastery of the standards at a rate and pace that a portion of our students may achieve the highest level of success.
So I am clear, our school achieved a level of growth from 2016-17 to 2017-2018 that outpaced ALL other traditional high schools in our district. This is certainly a point of celebration for us and something that we are building upon. We accentuate the positives, develop relationships with our students, encourage them to achieve and PUSH AND EXPECT THEM TO SO SO!
Believe me, our staff and students are working HARD over on 474 North Center Street. Come check us out for yourselves. The Statesville Nation eagerly awaits to show you what we are doing and excelling in at SHS!
ABC’s of Education: Vol 2 Issue 2Posted by Megan Van Hoy on 9/18/2018
Can you believe that we are midway through the first grading period? To borrow the cliché, “it seems like just yesterday we were celebrating the feel good first day of school!” We are in a groove here at Statesville High School, but by no means have we hit our collective stride!
I would like to posit to each of us that we all have specific jobs to do as we march toward continued school improvement and reform initiatives. I made a comment recently that in its true essence, school and school operations used to be as simple as “A-B-C/1-2-3,” but in recent years, “things” have happened. These “things” in turn have complicated a once simple formula for operations and student success and created a web of excessive entanglements of processes, problems, and distractions.
Most of the time, the aforementioned entanglements are, on its face, “good things” that needed to occur to ensure that all children were and are receiving high quality education from highly trained and knowledgeable teachers. I am good with that. But I also implore us all to REMAIN FOCUSED on the tasks at hand as we work diligently to improve the intellectual and social climate and culture of our school.
Here’s what I mean.
100 percent of us (school people, community folks, parents, and of course, students) must be totally committed to making EDUCATION a priority. Lots of words have been spoken about how American students are “losing the race” or are not as prepared as their contemporaries in other so-called “Modern” societies. This may be true in some cases, as an examination of some Asian, European, North American, and South American schools and cultures all have a common denominator: AN EMPHATIC PRIORITY IS PLACED ON EDUCATION AND THE TREATMENT OF THOSE PERSONS WHO ARE PROVIDING EDUCATIONAL SERVICES TO CHILDREN!
Please, before you collect fruits and vegetables to hurl at me for insinuating that a high priority on education is missing from our frame of operations, hear me out. There are so many different distractions competing for our student’s attention these days. Social Media. Fortnight. Sports. The social landscape. Fashion. Vaping. Intellectual Influenza. Not to say that these things aren’t prevalent in other nations, but I believe to a degree that these external distractors are not as prevalent. As a parent and grandparent, I certainly understand the concept of balance. You know…What our parents and grandparents taught us: “All work and no play makes Johnny…” But being a teenager in 2018 is much, much more complex, challenging, and different from what it was for me in the early to mid-1980’s, as I neither had to live my life nor have my standard of living measured by what I saw others doing on Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat-none of which existed as I was coming along.
Somewhere along the way, being a good student-academically astute and confident and proud of intellectual prowess, scholarly achievement and good grades-got lost. Now, it’s cool to engage in polar opposite behaviors coined by some scholars and researchers as “Anti-Intellectualism.” We are seeing students voluntarily self-select OUT of challenging and rigorous courses of study such as International Baccalaureate, Advanced Placement, and/or Honors level work as not to be inconvenienced by the workload so more time can be dedicated to social pursuits such as hours on social media or getting a great thumb and wrist workout on the Xbox or GameCube. I have grave concern for the long-term implications, as critical tasks and skills such as interpersonal relationships, teamwork, collegiality, and problem solving are being LOST.
As always, I am one of those persons who believes in collaborating to facilitate SOLUTIONS. Our staff at Statesville High School received critical training over the summer in working with dynamic populations, working to re-prioritize education, and working to bring back the rigor and shine to education and to Statesville High School! I want you to learn more about these initiatives, and here is how:
JOIN US ON THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2018 FOR OUR FALL STATE OF THE SCHOOL ADDRESS & VENDOR FAIR! It will be from 6-8 p.m. in Mac Gray Auditorium on the Campus of Statesville High School! Doors for the Vendor Fair open at 5:30 pm, and the presentation will begin at 6pm!
More information is forthcoming in the next installment, so STAY TUNED! In the meantime, however, mark your calendars for September 27 & JOIN US AS WE WORK TO MAKE EDUCATION A PRIORITY AGAIN!
ABC’s of EducationPosted by Megan Van Hoy on 9/7/2018
ABC’s of Education
Vol. 2, Issue #1
Welcome to the 2018-2019 school year! We have just completed instructional day #9, and we are excited about the prospects for an effective and productive instructional year. It’s a brand new year, but the expectations remain the same that progress and process will reign supreme at Statesville High School! We are in eager anticipation of the remaining days and months of instruction, assessment, and enhanced instructional outcomes, and would like to take this opportunity to encourage the Statesville High School Family as well as the Iredell-Statesville Schools Family at-large to share and participate in the vision of overall excellence by doing the following as we embark upon a new school year:
- Inspect what you expect. Establish frequent communication with your child’s teachers and hear from them directly what the academic and social expectations are. Ask for and receive a syllabus/course outline and hold your student accountable for the due dates/assessment dates that projects and/or assessments are set to occur.
- Be a PRESENCE in your child’s school. Take the administration up on their offer to visit the school DURING the instructional day so that you may witness first-hand what is occurring in classrooms, in hallways, and in non-instructional settings such as lunch and class transitions. Take this time to work with school administration to volunteer in some capacity to build a sense of community partnership in your school.
- Be keenly aware of the academic, behavioral, and social expectations of the school, especially as they relate to the dress/personal appearance expectations, electronic devices, and expectations governing the prompt arrival to school and to class and work with the school to ensure that your student is in line with those expectations.
- Get active with the auxiliary groups in the school such as PTSA, athletic boosters, band booster, and so forth. There are plenty of opportunities available to serve in and contribute to the school!
Optimism abound and it is my sincere belief that this is going to be another year of CONTINUED transformation and turnaround at Statesville High School! Working together, we will GET IT…AGAIN!
Friday the 13thPosted by Megan Van Hoy on 4/13/2018
Friday, April 13, 2018
I would like to start with a disclaimer: The thoughts which appear on this blog represent the emotions that principal HDLassiter experiences at the time of blog composition!
Right now, on this Friday the 13th, I am absolutely elated with our staff and students at Statesville High School! Report cards were distributed to all students during a called homeroom session at 3:05 p.m. and I am pleased to announce that, at least superficially, our students, on average, are progressing nicely in their academic pursuits in our school!
How do we know this? In addition to frequent walk-throughs, quality assurance checks, and dedicated teachers and staff, our students are doing a good job of successfully passing all of the classes in which they are enrolled.
How do we know this? Our Student Services team and administrative team review each report card, sign them, and in some cases, handwrite commentary on the student report card featuring words of inspiration, encouragement, or in some cases, admonition. On each report card there is a plea for parents to e-mail me should they have any questions about the contents or commentary on the report card. I am pleased to advise that I have received SEVERAL since students arrived home last evening!
We are also enthused about the results of an unannounced active intruder drill executed here on April 12 at 1:44 p.m. EVERY student and staff member did an excellent job of doing their part to ensure their individual safety as well as that of each other. In some cases, teachers and students stacked chairs and desks against the door, while in others, staff were poised to keep everyone safe by equipping themselves with poles, sticks, or other instruments to ward off an attacker. I was absolutely thrilled to see how seriously our SHS family took this drill, and although it is a shame that we have to rehearse such a thing, it is encouraging to know that should something “go down,” our family would be ready.
Lastly, as I express my joy at how well our family is doing thus far, I have to report on the Spring Semester Senior Meeting we held with our graduating seniors on Friday, April 13, 2018. We provided each senior with a checklist of things they must be aware of and do prior to graduation. We provided them with guidance on developing their post-secondary plan. We provided them with an up-to-date transcript along with a color-code (green/yellow/red) which articulates their status should the semester end today and its implications on graduation. I had never seen this group so focused and genuinely excited and concerned about their next steps, as I think the realization of “…things just got real” has kicked in!
We are onto something special here at Statesville High School. Continue to keep us in your positive thought processes as we travel this road toward excellence together!
That Dreaded C-Word: Change!Posted by Megan Van Hoy on 4/9/2018
From the desk of HDL
April 9, 2018
Thanks for visiting our website and taking the time to read my initial blog entry for this academic year. I can honestly say that I am quite happy and proud of where we are as a school and as a family at Statesville High School. Sure, it took some time for us to “get here,” given the adjustment that every school community endures when there is a change in leadership.
There are new expectations, new priorities, enhanced emphasis on adhering to best practices, policies, and rules, and of course, that DREADED “C-WORD,” CHANGE! But, our staff, students, and school community have all risen to the occasion, and we are in a great position to be successful along many fronts:
- We are focusing credit recovery efforts to seniors and unclassified juniors to get them back on graduation cohort and improve/increase our graduation rate.
- We have reached out to students who are at-risk of academic failure to attend our Extended Day Academy to either recover lost credits or earn original course credit to facilitate grade-to-grade matriculation and, as a consequence, reduce the dropout rate and continue the upward trajectory of our graduation rate.
- We have a renewed and consistent approach to discipline and the management of student behavior. Although having the “tough conversation” with students and their families is never popular, it is necessary as we build a learning environment that is SAFE and orderly for everyone in our building.
- We have initiated ambitious and aggressive embedded, in-house remedial/tutorial opportunities for our students called “Lunchtime Study Buddy.” The desired objective is for students to eat lunch in room B214 in a “smart lunch” capacity and receive supplemental instruction in courses in which they may encounter difficulty.
There are lots of POSITIVES occurring at Statesville High School. WE have decided to make our own BRAND and tell our own STORY!
I’m looking forward to telling you more of the story in the days and weeks to come!
Hans D. Lassiter