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" (http://www.helpforhaiti.com/).
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


Monday, November 7, 2016

WHS Staff News - Week of 11/7

Looking forward to the four day weekend!!

Election Day tomorrow - I am asking all staff, with the exception of the Physical Education Department, to please park in the upper lot tomorrow.  We are expecting heavy traffic tomorrow with voters coming and going.   

No Homework - As you know, this is our week with no homework.  Some of you have experienced concerns about a whole week, but it is really only two and a half days.  In the future, we will not be having full school weeks off.  I will be putting in place homework free weekends for each of the next three marking periods and those dates will be published for everyone in advance.  I strongly encourage you to talk with your students this week or on Monday and ask what students did with their time or if they feel refreshed from having the break.  Ask them to reflect on their effort during the first marking period and would they make any changes.  

Grading Info for MP 1 
REMINDER:  Wednesday, November 9, is the last day of the First Marking Period.  The following outlines important grading information:

GRADING OPENS:  Wednesday, November 9 @ 9 AM

GRADING CLOSES:   Wednesday, November 16 @ 9 AM

REPORT CARDS/PARENT ACCESS:  Will be available for viewing on Friday, November 18 @ 9 AM


  • Each Student should receive a numerical grade and a minimum of one comment.
  • The Comment Lists for HS and MS are NOT the same.
  • After entering all of your grades and comments (be sure to save your entries), Verification Reports 70770 & 70780 for each class should be e-mailed to your Supervisor no later than 9 AM Wednesday, November 16.
  • ESL students should be receiving a numeric grade this marking period (per previous instruction by Mrs. Manning); therefore, an ESL Narrative form will not be required. 
Good Reads for Professional Growth
This level of workload expected of teachers is not improving schools but it is wrecking lives
This article summaries how some of you are feeling.  I get it, and understand your frustration!

Recent Blog Posts/Tweets
Warrior Gear Sale 
Homework Free Week 
CPR/First Aid Certification 

Monday, October 24, 2016

WHS Staff News - Week of 10/24

"There are no two ways about it - teaching is demanding. We're counting on our teachers to shape and transform our next generation, but we pay them salaries comparable to that of someone who works at a rental car counter. We expect them to deal with learning, family, motivational, and life issues for hundreds of students yet decide that they are not trustworthy that we need to hold their feet to the fire with nonsensical standardized tests. We blame them when things don't go exactly the way we want - with a given child, class, school, or national cohort - yet we do next to nothing to support them. Yet they persevere, and come to school every day committed to helping our kids become better people. So, to our teachers, we say thank you!!"

This statement came from the book, Most Likely to Succeed by Tony Wagner. Tony Wagner was the keynote speaker at the conference I attended last week. I know this is how some of you feel, but I believe in you and there are many others out there that support your work and understand how hard you are working.  

Below is another statement from his book which talks about our current schooling system and issues that teachers and students are facing today.  

"Today more than ever, we prize academic achievement, pressuring our children to get into the "right" colleges, have the highest GPAs, and pursue advanced degrees. But while students may graduate with credentials, by and large they lack the competencies needed to be thoughtful engaged citizens and to get good jobs in our rapidly evolving economy. Our school system was engineered more than a century ago to produce a workforce for a world that no longer exists. Alarmingly, our methods of schooling crush the creativity and initiative young people need to thrive today."

What are we doing at WHS to create a school culture that breeds creativity and innovation? We talk about building relationships, creating engaging lessons, challenging our students, but can we do more? When I say more, I don't mean more work, I mean thinking differently about the approach we take to teaching our students. The work has begun for so many of you. Lets keep it going!! 
On Wednesday, we have a scheduled Learning and Collaboration Time.  Please use that time to think about your teaching.  Are you creating a learning environment where students' creativity is fostered and encouraged to go deeper?  Think about this on Wednesday:  What if for your next assessment you gave a blank Google Doc to all of your students and asked them to write/sketch/record/etc. what they have learned from the current topic/concept/standard you were teaching? No study guide, no review, no extra help. What would you get? Would you get great answers with examples, links to resources, all the steps to solve a problem, etc. Would that not demonstrate learning? If the students couldn't provide solid answers, would that not be a poor reflection on you as the teacher? 

No Homework week of November 7
Factors on this decision ... 
Three day work week
End of the marking is Wednesday 11/9
Gives students a chance to re-energize for Marking Period 2 
Ask students to self-reflect on their effort during the first Marking Period
Get feedback from your students
No Homework should be due on Monday, November 14

Would love to have face to face conversations on these topics throughout the week with all of you. I want to hear your thoughts and ideas.  

Google Classroom 
I have received a few parent emails regarding Google Classroom and their not receiving the email summaries. As I am troubleshooting the issue, please make sure you have the Guardian Email Summaries selected to be ON. 

*In Classroom .... under the STUDENT Tab .... Guardian Email Summaries ... Include this Class ... ON position. (See image below)
If you don't have it on, please turn it on.  

Important Dates

Spirit Week 
Tuesday - American Day 
Wednesday - Twin Day
Thursday - Formal Day (Students) Staff (Casual Day)
Friday - Color Day & Spirit Rally 2:00 pm - Students will be called down from their Period 8 class.  We will not move to Period 9.

Tuesday 10/25 Photo Retakes (12 - 2:30 pm Greenberg Center)
Wednesday 10/26 Learning and Collaboration Time 
Thursday 10/27 Parent Workshop Naviance Training (8-8:45 am & 6:30-7:30 pm Little Th)
Friday 10/28 - Class Ring Ordering During Lunch (Sophomore Class)
                       Senior Class Picture "17" on the Hill at 1:45 pm
Monday 10/31 - Halloween 

Around the building 

Mr. Noschese has a student teacher with him this semester, David Fox. I asked David to introduce himself to the staff...  

I’m a recent addition to Waldwick High School and have been thoroughly enjoying the experience thus far. I’m currently working alongside Mr. Noschese as a student teacher and will continue at this position for the extent of the fall semester. This is, most certainly, a learning experience. I’m accumulating a wealth of knowledge throughout my time here and storing it for future use in a potential classroom of my own.

However, for now I’m still in the process of receiving my teaching certificate from Felician University and will be finishing up by the end of this fall (2016). I’ve also earned a Bachelor's Degree in History from the University of Delaware. Ultimately, my educational foundation has been set by these two institutions, but my true understanding is growing each and every day.

This includes my time at Waldwick and truthfully, much of what I know about teaching today has been enriched exponentially from the time spent within here. Granted, one can only learn so much from a textbook and the process of performing the actual day to day duties supersedes anything we can encounter behind a desk. So, thank you for providing me with this opportunity to sharpen my craft through meaningful connections with your students and yourselves.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

WHS Staff News - Week of 10/17

Saw this tweet the day after our PD Day last week and could not agree more with it! 

Still processing what was discussed last Monday at our PD day.  I believe it was a productive day that shed light on a few important topics and hopefully I cleared up some of the confusion that was around the building.  My next step will be meeting with the supervisors and the ScIP Team to create a clear plan moving forward.  Conversation is healthy when both sides are listening and we will continue to have these conversations. 

Warrior Wednesday's 
Starting this Wednesday, staff will be allowed to wear Jeans with.....
Warrior Gear
Blue and White
College Gear
Causes (Pink this Month for Breast Cancer Awareness)

Important Dates
Spirit Week is the week of 10/24
  • Monday - Pajama Day
  • Tuesday - America Day
  • Wednesday - Twin Day
  • Thursday - Formal Day
  • Friday - Color Day 
    • Seniors - Black
    • Juniors - White
    • Sophomores - Blue
    • Freshmen - Pink 
Thursday 10/20 and Friday 10/21 - I will be out of the building attending the New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association Fall Conference.  I am presenting at the conference and cannot wait to share all of the great things going on at WHS because of all of you!! 

Wednesday 11/2 - Eighth Grade Open 

Around the Building

We have two Social Worker Interns working with Lynda Fabbo this Fall. 

A little about them...

Allison Marcus is a second-year MSW student at Rutgers University. She attended Binghamton University and Ramapo College, where she received her BA in Psychology with a minor in Criminology.  She has previously worked with high school students as a substitute teacher.  Last year, she interned at a long-term care facility with the elderly and over the summer, she interned with a non-profit in Brooklyn that provides training for front-line child welfare workers.  She has an interest in mental health counseling, which she hopes to integrate into a career as a counselor for young adults in higher education.

Gabrielle Quinones is a second year MSW student at Ramapo College. She has a background of working with children with autism and children in the foster care system.  She went to Montclair State University for her undergrad, where she received a BA in Family Child Studies and minored in child advocacy.  In the past, Gabrielle has worked in a private school for children with autism and interned at an outpatient facility for children and adolescents.  Gabrielle hopes to continue to work in the field of families and children. 

Recent Blog/Twitter Posts

Over the weekend a Twitter account was created bashing our students and staff.  Multiple students contacted me on Sunday concerned about it and shared screenshots of the tweets.  I contacted Twitter to try to get the account deleted.  I also tweeted about it (Screen Shots of my Tweets below) and got a great response from parents and students.  As of 4pm yesterday the account was down.  Not sure if Twitter took it down or the creators, but it's gone.