Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Education is About Giving

Below is a message that I sent to my entire staff today prior to our holiday break.  

The Holiday Season is a wonderful time of the year.  It is filled with gifts, family gatherings, festive celebrations, and most importantly scrumptious food.  I would just like to take this minute to wish each and everyone of you a break filled with joy, peace, and rest.  The next week off will enable us to recharge our batteries and continue our efforts to make New Milford High School a model for innovation and student-centered learning.

As I further reflect on the holidays I find myself coming back to the old saying that it is better to give than receive.  In education our sole responsibility is giving to our students a sound foundation that will enable them to think critically, problem solve, and experience success in a variety of areas.  Together, we have made great strides to stray away from our comfort zones and take risks in order to enhance instruction, improve student achievement, and ensure that learning is taking place in every classroom. 
 During this school year we have collaboratively been a part of some integral reformations that in time will ultimately have a positive impact on teaching, learning, and achievement.  Some highlights include the following:
  • Taking control of our growth and development through the successful formation of Professional Learning Communities (PLC’s).  This process has allowed us to focus on areas in education that we truly value.
  • Embracing the role of technology in education and successfully integrating it into daily instruction.  We have also seen a movement to extending learning outside of the traditional day through the use of blogs and Google Sites, something that I hope more teachers will experiment with in 2011. The success of the Tri-State Educational Technology Conference (TSETC) held here this fall played a huge role in this movement.
  • Making our course offerings more rigorous and relevant in the 21st Century.  Through the hard work and dedication of many, the following new courses were approved the other night by the BOE: AP Physics B, AP European History, AP Language and Composition, The Civil Rights Movement of the 20th Century, Biotechnology, Bio-Ethics, Digital Photography, Digital Journalism, The World of Advertising, Chinese Language and Culture, Rock of Ages: Popular Culture Through the Prism of Rock and Roll, and Marketing: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion.  Additionally,  the stage is set to offer all students a specific concentration through the development of Academies into our program of studies.  These academies will include S.T.E.M., Arts & Letters, and Global Leadership. This is just the beginning of programmatic shifts that will undoubtedly have a positive impact on future NMHS students.

I am proud to say that I work for the students of New Milford High School and am able to stand side by side with passionate educators who are committed to giving a quality learning experience to all of our students.  As we move into 2011 let’s continue to make waves, break down traditional barriers, take risks, and collaborate for the benefit of all learners.  The stage is set for continued sustainable change to improve our craft.  I look forward to working with each and every one of you in 2011!

3 comments:

  1. Eric,

    I am a new AP in charge of professional development. Did you start your PLC's from scratch, or did they exsist informally and you provided support and resources to integrate them into the life of the school? Also, was the technology integration an intentional part of the PLC discussion? Thanks for all the great suggestions.
    Rob Peace

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  2. Rob,

    We started our PLC's from scratch and now provide the resources/support to integrate them into the school. Technology integration was part of the discussion, but not mandated.

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