January 24, 2017
Dear Wahconah Families:
We have officially surpassed the half way point of the year now that we’ve entered 3rd quarter (2nd semester). I last wrote in the space in November as we were completing the process of settling into a new school year. It’s absolutely amazing how fast the time is flying by. We have many plans in motion for the remainder of the school year, some of which are explain below.
New Program of Studies
While our students and staff are hard at work in class, our Guidance and Main Office staff are already planning for next school year. We just recently updated our Program of Studies for the 2017-18 school year and will be posting it on the Wahconah website, presenting it to the parents of the incoming Class of 2021, and our guidance counselors will be reviewing it with all of our students in grades 9-11 in their English classes. We’ve added two new science classes and have updated our Performing Arts offerings as well. Students will be taking part in Advising Day on Feb. 8th where they will sign up for their courses for next year. In the meantime, we encourage all students to talk to their current teachers about their options for next year with regards to their specific courses. We also encourage all students to seek advice from their guidance counselor in the days leading up to Advising Day.
Wahconah’s First-Ever Electives Fair
We will be holding our first-ever Electives Fair for students in grades 9-11 the morning of Feb. 6th in the gym. Each class will be invited to the gym for one period to meet our elective teachers and learn more about what we have to offer. Each teacher will have a display complete with interactive opportunities and handouts for students to review as they begin to consider what courses they want to take next year. Then, two days later, students will sign up for their courses on Advising Day. We hope this new approach to informing our students about our elective programming will help students decide what to take next year.
School Advisory Council
Early in September I informed every one of our intent to breathe new life into the Wahconah School Advisory Council. I am happy to report that we’ve accomplished that! Many thanks to the following parents for helping to make our school a better place for all: Adam West, Kelly Rinaldi, Beth Frederick, Amanda Garceau, and Billie Henderson. We meet once per month from 6-7pm in the Library. While other district schools have PTOs, this group does not take part in any fundraising or work of that nature. Their role is purely to advise me and our staff (indirectly) as we seek to make necessary improvements at Wahconah. If this is something you think you could contribute to, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can give you more information.
Student Shadow Challenge
School administrators across the country are constantly trying to find ways to pull the right lever and push the right button to ensure the overall school experience for each student can be improved. Consequently, more and more school administrators are taking part in the Student Shadow Challenge. While this is typically conducted nationwide in February, I’ve made it a goal of shadowing up to four students this school year (one per grade) for the entire day. Back in November I ditched the tie, walkie-talkie and dress shoes for jeans and sneakers to become a Wahconah senior for the day (for the first time in 25 years). Senior Jonathan Bailey was gracious (and brave) enough to let me follow him throughout his day starting with homeroom right through our very last class in Accounting. I took a test in Spanish V (though I never took the course in school) and I shook off some rust to solve some Pre-Calculus problems as well. It was one of the most professionally rewarding experiences as an educator that I’ve ever had. And I’m doing it again! On Jan. 30th I will be shadowing 9th grader Mikayla Lenski which means I’ll be taking PE and joining the Wahconah band in the afternoon.
Why is this important? This is a student empathy project. As an adult working in a school, it’s very easy to occasionally lose sight of what it’s like to be a student on daily basis. Therefore, the overarching goal is to learn what school feels like for our students. At the conclusion of the day I organize my notes and report back to our staff to inform them of my experience. This is not intended to be evaluative in any way. It’s simply informative. We are very lucky at Wahconah to have a teaching staff who are comfortable with their Principal engaging in this sort of endeavor, so I am forever thankful for their support. And I’m forever thankful for our students who are accepting of the new “kid” who shows up in their respective classes.
Aaron M. Robb, Principal