Monday, March 21, 2011

Shining Moments

Recently one of my math teachers experienced a personal tragedy, which resulted in her missing over a week and a half of school.  A day or two later after this tragedy, first year math teacher Jeff Fiscina approached me about being relieved from his lunch duty.  He explained to me that he wished to use this time to develop video lessons for the Geometry and Algebra 2 classes of the teacher that, at the time, was out indefinitely.  In his verbal proposal he stated that he would seek out fellow math teacher April Millian as she is our resident expert on using the AverMedia document camera to record the solving of mathematical problems (April uploads these to her Google Site for her class to use outside of school).  I was so blown away by Jeff's initiative that I immediately approved his request.  
For the next week Jeff spent time during his duty period and after school developing these video lessons that were 7-8 minutes in length.  Each lesson completely covered the topic that would normally have been presented that day.  He then personally made sure that the videos he created were viewed in class. Check out this one example:
(You can view 6 of the videos HERE).  

As a Principal I was so proud of Jeff and his commitment to his fellow colleague as well as NMHS students that he did not even have in class.  Then I received this email from one of the students that was a recipient of the videos:

Dear Mr. Sheninger,

Please forward this email to Mr. Fiscina to let him know that I appreciate his math videos, and I appreciate how helpful he has been.  He has been very nice, and giving to all of Mrs. H's classes. 

Thank You! :)

Teachers like Jeff and moments like these truly define our profession.  Education is so much more than just standardized tests, lesson plans, and teacher evaluation methods.  It is about the embedded lessons that we might not realize at the time are being taught, inspiring others, and making the time to help all students succeed.  Thank you for this shining moment Jeff! You are an inspiration to New Milford High School and beyond!


  1. Eric,

    Teamwork makes the dream work! Congratulations to you for creating an environment that encourages and supports collaboration and initiation like this.

    Be Great,


  2. The work we do is simply a reflection of who we are. Who we are is most certainly a reflection of our heart and soul. It's inspiring to know you have staff like this, and they work in an environment you help cultivate that promotes this as the norm. It's even more inspiring to be reminded that we are fortunate enough to work in a profession where people love one another. It's why we do what we do.

  3. Jeff taught those students something much more important than Algebra 2.

  4. Thanks for sharing this vignette of your school! What an awesome environment you have there. Not only is Jeff an inspiration, but of note is how students noticed the efforts made on their behalf!

  5. Great initiative in using technology to problem-solve. Kudos as well to you as principal for supporting this.

  6. Can you post some of the videos? Thanks.

  7. What a wonderful story...modeling for students what is truly important not only in school, but in life!

  8. Teachers do not share their work. They develop their lessons and if great, keep the ideas to themselves. So it is said! This does not represent Jeff or your Maths Faculty or you... what it does represent is the basic tenets of a learning community: empathy and trust, leading to knowledge creation and sharing. Leadership at all levels is operating at your school.