Monday, March 13, 2017

WHS Staff News - Week of 3/13


Saw this quote on one of Mrs. Raffaele's daily attendance emails and I love it. How simple, but so true (Thanks Jill). 

You know why WHS is such a great place?  It's because the people are KIND. I say that because when I read Matt Strzala's "Big Thanks" email, it reminded me that so many of you go above and beyond for each other as professionals and as friends everyday.  Read his email, WE all should be proud that Matt felt this way about WHS in just five months. Pretty Special!! 
Dear Faculty & Staff:
Since today is my last day at WHS, I want to thank everyone for a warm welcome and stay. The atmosphere within Waldwick High is supportive and caring. Everyone who I met and/or saw on a daily basis allowed me to grow as an educator and person. I've learned so many things from all members and will never forget the impact that this district has had on me. Thank you to the administrators who believed in me and took the time to check on how things are going and being there for me for the past 5 months. I can tell you that I will definitely miss this place, but remember all the memories with everyone for years to come. As a whole, you all helped in advising me into the teacher I am by welcoming, assisting, and bonding. Once again, thank you all for everything. I hope we all can keep in touch and definitely see each other soon! Have a great year and summer! 
Best Wishes,
Mat Strzala

As Matt moves on to a full-time position, we welcome Julia Clinton to WHS who will finish the school year for Mrs. Dojer.  Stop by Room 141 to say hello!

Important Dates
Tuesday 3/14 - ⛄  ⛄  ❄ ❅ ❆ 
Thursday - 3/16 - Professional Development (Schedule should be out later today from Supt)
Friday 3/17 - A group of students will be taking the ASVAB test in the morning
Wednesday 3/22 - NHS Blood Drive 
Friday - 3/24 - End of MP 4

Good Read
Find TIME to read this post because it might help with that problem I hear from so many of you ... We just don't have enough TIME.  
7 Time-Saving Strategies For Teachers That Put Students First

New Post/Tweets 
WHS February Students of the Month
The Addams Family Musical - WHAT A SHOW

Monday, March 6, 2017

WHS Staff News - Week of 3/6

I guess this image is right about March this year.  

Thank you for all of the birthday wishes on Friday.  It was a special day! 

We have three weeks to the end of the 3rd marking period so please keep your grade books up to date and if you need to reach out to any parents, don't wait till the last minute. 

New Schedule Committee
Thank you to the 19 staff members who volunteered to be part of the committee. I had to cut the list down so I selected one teacher per department. If anyone from the Physical Education Department is interested in becoming part of the committee, there is a spot for you. The committee members will be sharing information with their departments as well as asking questions and giving feedback on key issues.  

Committee Members 
Danielle Kish - Lang Arts
Dena Argo - Related Arts
Ericka O’Hara - Science
Taline Royland - Math
Dayna Orlak - Social Studies
Christine Osborn - World Language
Maggie Kabobjian - Special Services

Meetings Dates (3:05 - 3:30)
3/14, 3/28, 4/4, 4/25, 5/9, 5/23

Important Dates
The Drama Club presents: Addams Family, The Musical - Shows are March 9, 10 & 11
*Chaperones still needed..... Ticket Takers 2017
Thursday 3/16 - Minimum Day/Professional Development 
Friday 3/17 - A group of students will be taking the ASVAB test in the morning

Good Reads
Achieving Differentiation Through Personalization & Individualization

Mrs. O'Hara had a great week on Twitter with her Rube-Goldberg projects. Check out her Twitter timeline for all of the great videos.   

Monday, February 27, 2017

WHS Staff News - Week of 2/27

It was great to see so many teachers taking their classes outside the classroom on Friday and utilizing the outdoor spaces we have added.  Over the past two weeks Gordon Andre has replaced all of the wooden benches in the courtyard and in "The Corner" (Area outside room 310/313) with Trex decking planks.  We also had a delivery of some new furniture, which was placed around the building.  We now have a seating area right outside the nurse's office and coming next week, there will be eight high top tables placed around the building.  The chairs are in, just waiting for the tables.  

These are all moves to help us create an environment that focuses on learning anytime, anywhere, as well as prepare for the common lunch. 

New Schedule
We are full steam ahead with implementing the new rotating/block schedule for next year.  I would like to create a committee that can focus on the needs and concerns of the staff, as well as create a detailed plan for "All the Little Things" that need to be looked at and addressed with the new schedule.  Committee Sign-Up Doc
I am in the process of setting up school visits to have WHS teachers spend a day or half a day observing and talking with teachers who are currently teaching in the block.  The ScIP Team is working on creating questions to help structure the visits. 

Parking - One of my favorite topics

First, we will be making changes for student parking next year.  A lottery system will be implemented due to the fact that there just are not enough parking spots for students.  More on that plan in September. 
Second is staff parking and the thought of assigning spots. I had a few conversations with a couple of staff members who would like to see assigned spots.  The middle school staff would need to be part of this conversation as well, but I want to gather some feedback from all of the HS staff.  Please take a minute to answer two questions related to parking. 
Parking - To Assign or Not Assign

Important Dates  
Tuesday 2/28 - 9th Grade Class meeting @ 2:40pm (Items that will be covered)
  • For the 8th consecutive year, we will be teaming up the Sean Fisher Foundation to offer heart screening to all freshmen.  The heart screenings will take place over two days this year.  March 24 & 31 at Eastwick College in Ramsey.  Schedule to follow.  
  • Information on the CAP Program (Child Assault Prevention).  The program will take place on:
    • Wednesday 3/1 during Period 7
    • Thursday 3/2 during Period 8
    • Friday 3/3 during Period 9
Tuesday 2/28 - Jean Day for World Rare Disease Day  ($3 Donation for Jeans)

The Drama Club presents The Adam's FamilyShow nights are March 9, 10 & 11. 

Chaperones Needed - I need help each night with three ticket takers.  Please signup here: Ticker Taker 2017

Good Reads 

3 Ways Culture Affects Learning And How To Use Them
Station Rotation Model: Student Designed & Led Stations


Tuesday, February 7, 2017

WHS Staff New - Week of 2/6/17

I really enjoyed my conversations last week with everyone during our mid-year conferences. It's a long week for me but well worth it.  I heard a lot of positive comments and I was glad to hear so many teachers taking risks and trying new techniques and strategies outside their comfort zone.  I also heard your frustrations and will do my best to address your needs and concerns.  

The work we are doing is meaningful and should be rewarding.  It will be stressful at times, but like most things, it's not always going to be easy or go exactly how you want.  In those moments of frustration take a breath, think about the great kids we have here at WHS and do what's best for them.  The students didn't create SGO's, Marshalls, Gradebooks, etc. 

For the second half of the year focus on making the learning meaningful.  Have engaging conversations, create lessons that challenge your students to think and take them out of their comfort zone.  Create an environment in your learning rooms that provides "Purposeful Discomfort".
I leave you with one statement and one request for you to think about.... 

I believe we have so many students great at "Doing School" but are they great learners.  Do you agree? 

What can you do to motivate students to love what you are teaching?  You can control this! 

National School Counseling Week 2/6 - 2/10
We have a great crew of counselors that go above and beyond for our students everyday. Thank you Albina, Andrea, Bob, Kristi, Lynda and Penny for all you do and showing what #OwnitWHS is all about! 

Change in Procedure for PLAAFP (Present Levels of Achievement and Functional Performance)
In an effort to streamline the process for collecting information for the PLAAFP's, as well as giving guidance on what exactly should be included, the CST with input from a few teachers created a Google Form that we believe simplifies the process.  Moving forward, all members of the CST will be using this form to collect the information for the PLAAFP. 
Present Levels of Achievement and Functional Performance (Google Form)

*As a reminder, an IEP is a legal document and teachers are required to be part of the development and implementation.  Your input is key to our students' success. 

Important Dates
2/15 - Reschedule of Staff Meeting (3:10 - 4pm)
There will be a speaker from the CAP Program (Child Assault Prevention) speaking to the staff which connects to an upcoming program for our freshmen in March. 
*This is a required meeting.  If anyone has a conflict please see me. 
2/20 & 2/21 - Winter Break 

Recent Blog/Twitter Posts 
January Students of the Month 
WHS Academic Decathlon Success Continues

Monday, January 9, 2017

WHS Staff News - Week of 1/9/17

As we hit 2017 running, I need to send out a few thanks for events that took place back in December...  
  • Thanks Tommy Schultz for stepping up and filling in for Mrs. Argo.  Welcome back Dena Argo!
  • Thank you Mr. Clancy, Terais McLoughlin and Kerry Guglielmotti for organizing our Holiday Lunch!
  • Spirit Rallies are as good as they have ever been.  Thanks Mr. Freeman and the Student Council!
  • We had great Winter Concert! Thanks Mrs. Montella and Mrs. Serwin for all of your dedication to the Arts! 
A few reminders as the 2nd marking period winds down.  
  • Make sure your gradebook is up-to-date and if you need to make any parent phone calls regarding grades, now is the time.  
  • Consider taking one prep this week to send a few emails, make some calls for both positive reasons and any student that is struggling.  
  • Start thinking about second semester courses and the beginning of the third marking. Find time for student reflection.  Consider collecting student feedback and continue to build and foster your relationships with your students. 
This week on Wednesday and Thursday I will be out of the building attending a Future Ready Summit with Dr. Casarico and a team of Waldwick educators.  More on the Future Ready initiative and what it's all about will follow. 
Important Dates
Friday, January 13 - Jean Day WEA Philanthropic Fund
Monday, January 16 - Minimum Day / Edcamp PD
Friday, January 20 - End of First Marking Period 

FYI - The Saint Luke's Youth group Retreat is scheduled for Friday, Saturday & Sunday, January 27, 28 & 29.  A good amount of our students participate in this event and are not around all weekend.  Keep this in mind when assigning long term assignments or homework that weekend.

PD Resources
Why Relationships Are the Foundation of Education via Bobby Dodd
The Teacher Factor via George Couros

New Blog Posts/Tweets
WHS December Students of the Month
Instagram Takeover @ WHS (Madison Conlon)
Instagram Takeover @ WHS (Johnny Chiurazzi)


Tuesday, December 20, 2016

WHS Staff News - Week of 12/19

See ya 2016.... Bring on 2017!!  What will the new year bring?  What New Year's resolutions will you be making? 

For me, I plan on focusing on all of the little things we are doing at WHS and re-evaluating all aspects of what we do.  As Principal over the past nine years, working together we have transformed the look and feel of WHS.  We have also enhanced the technology and the spirit!  Most have been positive changes, but like anything, there might have been a few bad calls along the way.  There are also a handful of areas where together we have made some small changes, but I think we can go bigger and make more of an impact.

I will be asking questions and looking for feedback to make sure we are working smarter, not harder, keeping in mind, "What is best for our students."  I am not doing this because something is broken and I am not looking to change, just for change sake.  I am really looking at what we are doing and what we can we do better! 
Have a great holiday break and enjoy the time off.  

Details for Friday 12/23

Students will called down to the Gym at the end of Period 7 for the Spirit Rally. 
The staff Holiday luncheon will be held in the Cafeteria.  

Recent Blog/Twitter Posts  Understanding your PSAT Score

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

WHS Staff News - Week of 12/5/16

We have a lot going on over the next few weeks as 2016 comes to an end and we look forward to 2017.  
This Wednesday, 12/7 we will be meeting as a staff after school in the Media Center for our Learning and Collaborating Time.  There are a few things I want to share. 

News Around the Building
Congratulations to Mr. Meltzer and his talented students on their award winning film - Chores.
Article from the Bergen Record Waldwick students win awards for short film
Link to their Film: Chores (Short Film)

Last week Mrs. Orlak presented at the National Council for Social Studies Conference in Washington, DC.  Sharing knowledge is a powerful tool and I encourage all of you to consider presenting at our upcoming Edcamp in January as well as conferences outside of Waldwick.  Great job Dayna!! 

Mid-Year Conferences - 1/27 - 2/3

Please use this link (Mid Year Conf Schedule) to fill in the time slot that works for you to schedule your mid-year conference. The sheet is broken up into departments.  I will provide more information on the Mid-Year conferences as we get closer.  

Upcoming Events 
Monday 12/12 - Desert Wars (Questions see Mr. Opderbeck)
Our WHS Students for Global Awareness Club will be hosting the Faculty Dessert War on Monday, 12/12.  As part of this event over the last few years our club has raised close to $1,000 to aid those in need around the world.  This year, we plan to make a donation to "Help for Haiti" (
Staff members bake a special dessert that can be divided into many small parts.  Students pay a fee to be the judges as they rate your creations.  We've had quite a bit of fun!
This year, we plan on having the Dessert War on Monday 12/12.  Hopefully that would give us a little extra time on the prior Sunday to prepare. 
Wednesday 12/14 - Winter Concert 7pm in the Little Th

Friday 12/23 
Spirit Rally (11:30 - 12:36) More details to follow

Holiday Luncheon (Questions see Terais or Kerry)
We are looking to put together a holiday lunch for all HS staff members during the spirit rally on December 23.  This will be a good time for staff to relax, enjoy a nice conversation with your colleagues and wish everyone a healthy and happy holiday before we leave for break.  We are hoping to get everyone to attend.  If you are interested please see Terais or Kerry with payment of $8.00 no later than Friday, December 16.  If anyone is interested in baking or bringing a dessert please feel free to do so.  
Ugly Sweater Contest (Questions see Heather or Lara)
It is time to start thinking about your ugliest holiday sweater/sweatshirt and holiday gear.This year, the Evelyn Pagano Holiday Spirit Award, will be awarded to the best overall holiday look, not just the best ugly sweater/sweatshirt.Nothing goes better with an ugly sweater than a comfortable pair of jeans. (Mr. Meyers and Mr. Carroll have given the okay for us to wear jeans).The contest will take place on FridayDecember 23Judging will be conducted by our unbiased panel.  More details about the judging will follow. Please show your holiday spirit and don't be a Grinch. 
Recent Blog/Twitter Posts 
WHS November Students of the Month
Congratulations Anthony Tutschek - County Band
Official WHS Mannequin Challenge (feat. Enzo Amore)
Parent Input Survey