Good morning, Parents.
About Scott Greupink
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Good morning, Parents.
Foster Child Gift Drive
My family and I would like your help in making the Holiday Season a bit brighter for the children in our local foster care system by participating with us in a toy drive.
Every year almost 8000 children get placed in foster care here in Wisconsin. Many of those children, through no fault of their own, don’t get to experience a Christmas filled with love, joy, and peace. Instead they are facing rejection, sadness and uncertainty. They are left wondering “What’s wrong with me?” “Why doesn’t anyone want me?” and “What did I do to cause this?”
While we realize that a simple toy isn’t much, it is something. To some of these children it might be the only thing anyone gives them for Christmas. It’s our hope that we can help them feel wanted and loved, and to let them know that there are people who care about them.
We are collecting toy donations for children of all ages and with the help of Social Services will be distributing the gifts to local children. If you would like to help, please send the unwrapped gift(s) to school with your child labeled “Foster Care Gift Drive” or you can drop them off at the donation box located next to the Elementary, Middle and High School Offices.
Gift drive will run Nov. 19th – Dec. 14th.
Thanks for your generosity,
Sara & Jeff DeBlaey
( and family: Jay, Kelsey, Jakari, Henry & Molly)
Good Thursday morning, Parents.
Good morning, Parents.
My assumptions would be that when students believe those two statements are true, they begin to see that what they are learning is relevant to their futures. And they believe that a school that cares about the growth of every student certainly cares about their growth as well. When students see connections between their classes and the skills they will need in the future, and they believe their teachers cares about them personally, they respond with greater motivation and engagement.
Last year we started a mentor program where each OHS faculty member serves as a mentor for 5-6 freshmen or sophomores. These mentors help students explore careers and in the process help students to see how what they are learning in high school is important to their futures. If this program is executed well, we think it has the potential to address these to survey prompts in a rather systematic manner. Quality mentoring with small groups of students will give us the opportunity to help students get excited about their own personal futures, and in the process they will see that we genuinely do care about building strengths in every one of our students.
We learned a lot in our first year of the mentor program, and we think the strengths of this program are that each teacher can really connect with each student they have because the mentor groups are so small (5-6 students), and because our Student Led Conferences are a central part of the career exploration process, and this brings students, parents and mentors together in these important discussions.
We still have a lot to learn to tap the full potential of this program, but we feel we are on the right track. If parents have any advice for us on how we can improve our mentoring program, please contact us and share your ideas.
Enjoy the fall colors while they last,
Good afternoon, Parents.
The Wisconsin Advanced Placement (AP) Advisory Council’s Pacesetter Award sets their standard for the highest level of recognition for high schools at 30% or more of the class taking at least one AP test, with 70% passing. This was a level of achievement that only 17 Wisconsin high schools achieved with 2017 graduates.
Our graduating class of 2018 had 76 students, 27 of which took at least one AP test (35.5%). Twenty of these students passed at least one test, so 74% of students taking tests passed. Broken down a bit further, we had 20 graduates who passed a total of 48 AP tests. Some students passed as many as 4 or 5 tests. Furthermore, we had an overall AP test pass rate of 86%. This is a remarkably high pass rate on college level coursework.
Beyond reaching the highest designation for AP Course success in our school, there may still be some room for improvement but it may take additional support from parents. Last year we had 62% of our graduates plan on going to college, so with only 35.5% of those testing themselves with college level academic standards, we still have 27% of our college bound students who have not challenged themselves at the college level while in high school. Some of those students have taken AP classes, but opted not to take the tests because they felt unprepared for the high standards. We want to continue to encourage all students who plan to attend college to take at least one AP class and test as part of their high school preparation. Parents, if you have a child who plans to go to college, please talk to them about the importance of preparing for college by taking on college level coursework with an AP class while in high school. Nothing will give them more confidence about their ability to be successful in college than proving they can do college level work on an AP test. For the most ambitions students academically, there is the opportunity to earn in excess of 30 college credits via AP courses and other dual enrollment courses here at OHS. These students have the ability to set themselves up to graduate from college in three years because of the college coursework they have completed while in high school.
The fact that we had an 86% pass rate on all AP tests with our class of 2018 students provides some pretty strong evidence that these classes are extremely well instructed. We would love to see all of our college bound students take advantage of as many of these opportunities as possible as they prepare for their futures. If you have questions about Advanced Placement courses at OHS, please call me at (920) 564-2346 x4001.
Have a great week.
One of the primary ways we define College and Career Ready (CCR) is an ACT score of 22 for a college track student, 18 for a technical school track student, and 18 for a workforce bound student. Since it is our goal to have all of our graduates college and career ready, those are pretty ambitious standards. However, they are also logical standards because a student going to college will probably not need to take remedial coursework if they reach the benchmark score of 22, and likewise, students on a technical school track will not need to take remedial courses if they score 18. Not only is taking remedial classes, which don’t count toward a degree, expensive and time consuming, students who have to take remedial coursework are considerably less likely to graduate according to research on that issue.
The class of 2018 had 76 students and 55 of them were CCR by these definitions. That is 72%. That means 21 students, or 28% were not ready. Of the 21 students who were not CCR, 12 were college bound, 3 tech. school bound, and 6 workforce bound. This is true even though our 2018 graduates had an average ACT composite score of 22.88 which ranked this class in the top 5% of the State of Wisconsin. (Ranked 13th of all the high schools in Wisconsin.)
One program we have in place to help us guide students toward being college and career ready is our mentor program. However, we have to continue to improve our ability to help each student fully examine their career dreams. Doing this really well will require the direct assistance of parents working with mentors to guide students in deepening their understanding of their career choices, and the skills necessary to achieve their dreams. The class of 2018 did not have a structured mentor program with a student to teacher ratio of 5/1 similar to what is now in place for freshmen and sophomores, and I think it shows in what appears to be somewhat unexamined career choices even as they graduated. While it is not our job to “rain on anyone’s parade” in terms of their career dreams, it is our job to guide them in assessing their personal career plans honestly and as completely as possible. There is a reason that about 50% of the students that begin college never finish, and academic readiness is a central part of that reality. The last thing we want, and the last thing parents want, is a student who goes to college for a year or so and drops out. If we can help avoid that conclusion by doing a better job of helping students honestly examine their child’s career plans, that is a worthy goal for parents and mentors working together.
Of our 12 students from the class of 2018 who going to college not fully CCR, some will likely graduate with a bachelor’s degree with hard work, but the odds are stacked against some of them as well. To be successful, this shared mentoring process must start in the freshmen year or earlier, so students can take full advantage of high school offerings as they prepare for their futures. While examining student career dreams may require some honest and direct conversations both at school and at home, it can also help some students avoid a couple costly years in college before changing paths. I hope this is an area where we all find parents and teachers can work together to guide students as they prepare for the next chapter of their lives.
Have a great week.
Good morning, Parents.
Good morning, Parents.
You may remember that last spring, we began sharing our plans to not allow cell phones in classrooms this school year. Our policy has always said that cell phones need to be in lockers during class time, but we had gotten lax with the execution of that policy. We also explained that our motivation to keep cell phones out of our classrooms was to protect the focus, attention, and engagement of students, which are all clearly distracted by their presence. Simply put, cell phones in classrooms have a negative effect on learning, so we feel the need to address this reality by completely eliminating them from that setting.
Parent responses to those messages were supportive at a rate of 20+/1. It seems pretty apparent that nearly everyone understands what a powerful distraction and addictive effect cell phones can have on our attention and focus. Of course, when we start implementing this rule, and taking phones away, that is the point where we will very likely get some push back.
I shared an article with the HS faculty this summer about Portage High School’s positive experience with banning cell phones from their classrooms last year, and I thought parents may enjoy a few quotes and ideas from this article as well.
“Portage High School’s ban on cellphones in classrooms is bearing fruit and inspired more than a dozen inquiries from administrators across the US.”
“Principal Robin Kvalo said, ‘Quite frankly, it is one of the best policies we’ve ever implemented.”
Portage HS has 830 students, and last year they confiscated 211 phones from students. 142 of those students were one time offenders who simply forgot to leave their phones in their lockers…a problem that clearly decreased as the school year progressed and students got used to the new expectations. 48 students had their phones taken twice, and 12 students had their phones taken 3 or more times.
At this point it is our plan at OHS to have teachers take away phones if they see them in a students’ possession in their classroom. The teacher will keep the phone until the end of the day when the student can pick it up. If a teacher observes a student using their phone during class and is clearly inattentive as a result, the teacher will take the phone and give it to me and I will keep it overnight—just as we have done the last few years. I return the phone to the student at the end of the next day of school if they have served the associated detention(s). A student who refuses to give the teacher or me their phone is not allowed to stay at school, and when they wish to return, they must give us their phone immediately upon their return and it is usually confiscated for two nights because of their refusal to comply as expected.
The article about Portage HS goes on to say that a recent graduate described the policy as ‘very difficult’ for her and her peers, at least at first, primarily because students are so attached to their phones. But as her senior year went on, she could clearly see the positive side of the rule. She also shared that it became easier to focus on things that needed to get done. It did make it easier to focus on school and become more productive in class.
Principal Kvalo admitted that most students, if polled, would prefer to have their phones and that there would be “loud cheers” if the policy ever got scrapped. But that is okay because we know when we are on our phones, we tune out what is going on around us, and we want students tuned in.
Kvalo also shared that she also put her own phone away, and insisted that teachers do so as well. She said she found it very freeing, and I have had teachers tell me they also feel better without their phones. Not a single teacher told me this is not a good policy.
If you have any questions about these changes, please give me a call at (920) 546-2346 x 4001.
We look forward to seeing your children next Tuesday.
Good morning, Parents.
A topic that is getting considerable discussion in the education world currently, especially with high school faculties, is the topic of cell phones in the classroom. It seems like this topic is being discussed in nearly every professional publication, and it is not uncommon to read about schools taking various actions to address these challenges in newspapers. And certainly, it has been a topic of discussion at our school as well.
In a recent article in Principal Leadership, the author made a couple of points that go right to the core of these discussions. He said, “Smartphones are the most engaging, versatile, useful, and entertaining devices ever created. But to put one into the hands of adolescents and expect they will pay attention to even the most engaging lesson is unreasonable.” He also made the point that, “If you believe teens are on their smartphones while paying attention, think again. Most neuroscientists will tell you that multitasking is a myth, with virtually no one capable of doing it, especially not adolescents.” He goes on to cite a study that found that banning cell phones from the classroom led to an average improvement in learning of half a letter grade over the course of the school year.
When we asked our teachers if cell phones were a distraction in our classroom and having a negative effect on learning, 95% of our faculty agreed or strongly agreed with that conclusion. We plan to continue to discuss the best approach to address this challenge, but it seems clear at this point that we feel strongly that eliminating phones from the classroom is necessary. We are still working through the specifics, but beginning in the fall, students will be expected to leave the phones in their lockers when they go to class.
If you have any suggestions as parents to help us address this challenge, please give me a call to share your ideas.
Good morning, Parents.