Archive for the ‘From the Principal’ Category

Thank You

Monday, December 14th, 2009

I would personally like to send a very large Thank You to Linda for pulling everything together for our first ever 6th Grade Fair. She was like a bee gathering pollen- just all over the place making sure everything ran smoothly and checking to see if anyone needed anything.  She was a great ambassador for Steller, talking to parents and 6th graders alike.

I would also like to send a big thank you to all of the students that volunteered for the evening’s event.  Students were very helpful in getting across what being a Steller Student means.  They also were very effective at communicating to the 6th graders about all of the different services and programs we have to offer at Steller.

Also, thank you to our teachers and counselors that attended and participated in this event.  Each teacher and counselor had a very nice table set up with examples of what the 6th graders should be prepared to do if they become a Steller Student.    I heard more than a few very excited 6th grade students speaking about what they wanted to take when they began attending Steller.

To our parents, what can I say that has not already been said many times over.  Our parents are simply the best in this District.  I want to thank them for providing the Sundaes [which were a very big hit with the visiting students and their families] to setting up an informational table in the MPR and communicating with the visiting parents about what being a Steller parent means.

This was one of the best evening events I have ever attended.  There was laughter, good feelings, respect and even a bit of awe wafting through the air in our MPR.  We all should feel extremely proud of ourselves for a very successful 6th Grade Fair.

_Harlod

Principal’s Report

Sunday, December 6th, 2009

H. Green

Topics of Discussion

1.  Small Committees:

RECESS – Where do we go from here?  What is the problem we are trying to solve?  Find out at our next Philosophy meeting and then figure out how to get there.

2ndSemester

Recruitment – Next Thursday is the day; have your table/people-power ready!  There was a snafu at the elementary level as far as notification so we are asking parents to distribute flyers for us to their neighborhood schools.  Staff: please take a few flyers to post up around town.

Senior Projects - How can we support self-directed learning?  Schedule issues, senior project ideas and programs from other schools.  Problem:  how to develop self-directed learners via our curriculum, how do we get those courses into the schedule?

Advisory Handbook

Alternative Fair Jan

Process for 2nd Semester Registration

2. Advisor meets with advisees in their rooms for schedule building during first hour.
Teachers start to sign up students in their rooms during the second hour.
Students proceed to MPR for administrative computer input / final check out.

8 – 10am    12th/8th
10-12pm    11th/7th
LUNCH
1:00 – 3pm    9th/10th
All registration forms are to be legible! Or they will be sent back to the advisor.

3. Two new language classes offered at Steller for Second Semester.  Please see descriptions:
Urdu Language Class
Russian Language Class

Change Is Inevitable

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

Life is a precious commodity, organisms are in a constant battle for survival.  Yet, an integral part of that battle is change.  The longer the organism exists, the more changes that occur.

At Steller we strive to create change because by doing so we stay fresh.  Ironically, change is one of the hardest things for the human organism to adjust to.

Each time I look into the mirror I remind myself, this is change, this is inevitable.  What used to be a lean and mean young man has become the opposite of those characteristics.  I am reminded of that fact each time I climb the stairs to my bedroom.  Once I would bound up the stairs without giving it a thought, not so now.  Each step I take is a reminder of the inevitable changes in my person.

A school is an organism, full of complex parts that are interdependent upon one another for survival.  When one of those systems is no longer present, the entire organism is affected in some way.

Steller has come to an end of an era.  We are about to enter into a monumental change.  Part of Steller’s system is moving on to the next phase in their educational evolution.  After 25 years Larry Nevada is leaving Steller.  Larry is moving into the next change in his educational evolution.  He will be a building Tech for the Continuation program.  There he will be involved in the creation of the District’s next evolutionary change – Online Classes.

We will miss Larry immensely and we will wish that he would change his mind and stay with us for another season.  But, change will not be denied, it is how we deal with the change that determines whether it is a detriment or serendipity.

When you see Larry, please congratulate him on this new phase of his life and wish him the best.  I know that this is not an easy thing for him to do.  We can make this transition into his next change as painless as possible by not reminding him of all the reasons we would like for him to stay but rather wish him well on his new journey.

Harlod Green

Principal’s Report – October 22, 2009

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

Steller Parent Group Meeting

· The big issue is the H1N1 shot clinic that will be set up at Steller on November 16, 2009.  Information regarding the clinic, called a POD, has been given to every student to take home and share with parents [10/19/09], a robot call was sent on 10/19/09 regarding the POD, links to the District’s website containing the permission slips and information regarding the types of vaccinations that will be available, and we have copies of these documents in the main office as well.  Please go the FLASH and download the forms and info or pick one up from our office if you son/daughter did not bring one home to you Monday.

· The letter writing on behalf of the kitchen has been successful.  I have gotten lots of phone calls from people I have never heard of in the District.  I am fairly certain that money will be set aside for Steller’s kitchen in next year’s budget.  However, we cannot let up on the pressure.  There should be a plan to periodically write letters to keep it on people’s minds during this long dark winter.  So that in the spring heading into summer when monies are being earmarked for various projects- we get our share.

· There has been some concern about why Steller’s teachers do not post homework etc on the website for parents to view.  We discussed this at our staff meeting on Monday Oct. 19th and we talked about having a panel of teacher’s to discuss parent concerns re: homework and other issues at our next All Community Meeting.

· Due to what appeared to be a drop in enrollment this year plans have been made to host a couple of Sixth Grade Fairs at Steller for the purpose of recruiting more sixth graders.  Linda is heading up this process.

· October 29 is Steller’s Halloween dance.  We are looking for parent chaperones.  Please get with your child’s advisor and signup to assist us with this SCARY dance.

· Up Coming Events:

Plan / ACT    Grade 10 October 28 & October 29, 2009

Career / Interest Inventory  October 28, 2009

Academic Testing  October 29, 2009

Explore Grade 8 November 9-13, 2009

Principal’s Letter October 2009

Sunday, October 18th, 2009

Harlod 10-20-09As the frenetic pace begins to slow we find ourselves in the Month of October.  And, with October comes the beginning of a testing season that promises to be extensive if not exciting.

First comes the fall HSGQE  [Oct. 6th – 8th] which is only for juniors and seniors.  Also, coming in October are a couple of new assessment and evaluative programs.  One is called EXPLORE.  EXPLORE is only for 8th grade students.  The test materials will be delivered to our school on or about October 14th. Shortly after delivery of the testing material [October 15th] all testing coordinators will be trained in administering the EXPLORE test.  The information I have at this time is that Explore will be administered between November 9th-13th.

The next new test is called PLAN.  Training for PLAN will begin as well as the distribution of PLAN on October 14th.  PLAN comes in two parts.  The first part is called a Career/Interest Inventory and will be administered on October 28th.  The second phase of PLAN will be administered on October 29th it is the Academic Testing portion of PLAN.

October also marks the end of the first quarter.  This year we will not be following the District’s end of the quarter date.  The District plan designates October 16, 2009 as the end of first quarter.  However, Steller is having its end of the quarter on October 23.  This means if you have students at other schools you will get their report cards sooner than Steller’s.  Also, this means that we will have school on October 16th, but not on October 23rd.

I would like to reiterate the importance of consistent attendance as it relates to successful completion of student requirements and moving on to the next grade level.  To have a productive 180 days students must attend school on a regular basis.

Parents, you are an invaluable asset to the school.  We need your help in assuring that your student is at school on time and ready to work every morning.  Only by working together can we accomplish this goal.

Please remember to call your student in if he/she is going to be either absent or very late.  Also, if you would like for your student to leave during the day please call and get him/her excused prior to their leaving the school

We are very happy to have you as our clients and we hope that you and your student have fun and exciting learning opportunities this year at Steller.

Open Campus: What does it mean?

Saturday, October 17th, 2009

There has been some discussion lately about the issue of whether Anchorage High Schools should have open or closed campuses. Open-campus means students can leave the school premises at lunch time, closed-campus means they cannot. If there was an initiative question on the April ballot that asked whether Anchorage high schools should be open-campus, or whether they should be closed-campus, how do you think you would vote? No Kidskids chart

Campus issue supportI bring this information to the forefront to re-iterate that “Open Campus” refers to lunch times only.  Open campus does not mean that a student can leave the building at any time they choose to do so.  If a student needs to leave school for any reason before lunch or before school lets out a parent/guardian must contact the school to arrange for their student to leave prior to the student leaving.  If this is not done the student is considered truant.  There are no sanctions for truancy however it does alert parents that their student has left school without their knowledge or permission.

Parents please speak with your students and encourage them to have you contact the school if you are excusing them to leave school before designated times to do so.

H. Green

Zangle and Attendance

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

Attendance is requirement for all ASD schools this year, no exceptions. This will require re-thinking how we have done things in the past. We have two categories of absences- Excused and Unexcused.

  • Excused absences: When a parent calls in the absence to the school
  • Unexcused absence: When there is no communication from a parent/guardian

Parents should call to excuse absences no later than the next day following the absence. When calling to leave a message please speak slowly and clearly and spell the last name of the student. The importance of calling in an absence is that when an absence is excused your child can get make-up-work. With an unexcused absence the teacher does not have to give make-up-work for the absent day(s).

In addition if your child needs to leave school for an appointment, you should call the main office at 742-4950 and notify the school. At that point it will be noted in Zangle. This will allow your child to leave school at a designated time and return to school late without consequence. Calling in and letting us know if you child is going to be late or absent is a pro-active measure if you know he/she will be coming back late from a Dr. appointment for example.

I know that sometimes parents like to take their child out for lunch as a treat for a birthday, if this is the case it would be best to notify the office, that way it can be noted as an excused absence or tardy.

New procedures will require two things:

  1. If your child is absent for any reason call it in as soon as possible that day so it will go in the books as an excused absence which requires they get make-upwork.
  2. If, anytime during the day, you need to take your child from school the call will serve as an excused absence that allows them to get any missing assignments due to the absence.

If you have to leave a message please speak slowly, clearly and spell the last name.

We are glad to have you with us this year, and we want to assure you that we will do our best to help your child experience academic, social and emotional growth. With your help and cooperation, this will be an excellent school year.

Welcome Back

Saturday, August 8th, 2009

A new school year presents opportunities for various beginnings- new classes, new faces, sometimes-new courses, and often-new materials.  Summer and vacation can be great healers; and as we approach the opening day of a new school year, the end-of-year pressures that plagued us in June seem quite remote and inconsequential.

Newness alone, however, cannot produce transformation.  We ourselves must be willing to be caught up in the rebirth that is possible with each new year.  Starting a new year gives us the opportunity to make new plans, design new strategies, and implement new ideas.  There is a special kind of joy and satisfaction in planning lessons and activities for new classes; for although the subject or grade level is the same, the students are new, and they appreciate the planning that is done for them.  Whether one’s responsibility is administrating, supervising, teaching, maintaining a building, or managing an office, there is always room for improvement and for new ways to do a good job even better.

We can be proud of what we achieve in Steller- in our classrooms, in our offices and on our stages- but our achievements are not due to complacency and satisfaction with the status quo.  Our program is what it is because a staff of dedicated, aspiring men and women have a common goal- to do what is best for students and are always looking for ways to achieve that goal.

This year, as in the past, we must concentrate on the processes that spur continuing advancement; evaluating what we have, determining what we can do to improve, and identifying what we need to make those improvements.

Let us make 2009-10 our best year yet!

Harlod Green

Staffing Issues

Saturday, August 8th, 2009

I am sure many of you are aware that we lost some very good people last year.  I have been interviewing throughout the summer trying to find quality people to hire.

We have a very good Social Studies person in Leigh Ann Bonney.  Leigh Ann comes to us from Romig.  She taught at Polaris for several years and is very familiar with our system.

Chemistry/Science, the position held by Shennon is frozen.  I have someone perfect in mind however I am unable to submit her name due to Science being frozen throughout the District.

As of yet we do not have our Special Ed. teacher.  There are not that many high school special education teachers out there.  The District is working on a plan to fill all of the special Ed slots throughout the District.  More information on that as it comes in.

Finally, the full time counselor’s position is still unfilled as of the date.  I have some really good candidates I am interviewing this week 8/3- 8/7.  Hopefully I will find someone from this group.

Zangle is still coming online as planned.  It is changing how all schools conduct business, however, the biggest changes will be to Steller.  These are changes that do not have to create problems if we don’t let them.  I see us being able to operate as usual with the addition of a few responsibilities that will fall to teachers, students, administration and parents.

I hope you all had great summers and look forward to seeing you all again.

Harlod Green

Zangle!!!

Saturday, August 8th, 2009

Welcome to Steller Secondary School!   2009-10 will see many changes in the way student information will be gathered and kept.  Some of these changes will necessitate a change in how we have been keeping track of attendance.

If you have not heard about ZANGLE you will!  Zangle is the Anchorage School Districts new “Student Information System”.  It replaced the old “VAX” system.  By now you should have received a form from the District asking for updated information- phone numbers, address etc.  If you did not receive one of these forms please let me know.

Zangle will require all teachers to take daily attendance. Therefore, it will be critical that if you know your child is going to miss school for whatever reason you call that into the school no later than the next day [742-4950].  At the end of this letter I have added brief directions on how to go about notifying the school

If you are a new family to Steller Secondary school you will quickly learn that being at Steller is a time of change.  The workload and social adjustments are greater here than any ASD school.  Your child will be expected to attend school regularly, complete all assignments, and behave appropriately.  Their year will be exciting and filled with many new opportunities.

You will receive a student handbook [if not please contact the main office] read all items carefully.  Students are responsible for knowing the contents of their handbooks. It does a good job of explaining a typical year at our school and what the expectations are for all of our students.  By reading it, you will have a better idea of what those expectations are.  Also, take a moment to look at the school website and then go to the community website (Steller Flash).  There you will find a plethora of information that will assist you in navigating Steller.

We are pleased to have you as partners for the 2009-10 educational school year.  As the year progresses, and as you become either more informed or more puzzled we encourage you to come in or call the school and talk with those who might be able to help.

The importance of school attendance in relation to achievement, engagement, and educational success has been well researched and documented.  The pervasive thought is that the more time students are in school [Alternative setting, internships. Community services or educational trips] the better chance they have to be personally and academically successful.

As stated before, attendance will be a requirement for all ASD schools next year.  Excused absences: Parents should call to excuse absences no later than the next day following the absence.  When calling to leave a message please speak slowly and clearly and spell the last name of the student.   The importance of calling in an absence is that when an absence is excused your child can get make-up-work.  With an unexcused absence the teacher does not have to give make-up-work for the absent day(s).

In addition if your child needs to leave school for an appointment, you should call the main office at 742-4950 and notify the school.   At that point it will be noted in Zangle.  This will allow your child to leave school at a designated time and return to school late without consequence. 
No student has to have a “Blue Pass” ever.  It is a pro-active measure if you 
know he/she will be coming back late from a Dr. appt for example.  

I know that sometimes parents like to take their child out for lunch as a 
treat for a birthday, if this is the case it would be best to notify the office, that way it can be noted as an excused absence or tardy.

New procedures will require two things:

 1.  If your child is absent for any reason call it in as soon as possible
 that day so it will go in the books as an excused absence which requires 
they get make-up-work.
 2.  If, anytime during the day, you need to take your child from school the 
call will serve as an excused absence that allows them to get the
 make-up-work they missed. The student will need to check in the office prior to leaving and a “Blue Pass” will be issued to the student.  A “Blue Pass” is a type of excused absence which means your child can get make up work for the times they are gone due to appointments.  If you have to leave a message please speak slowly, clearly and spell the last name.

We are glad to have you with us this year, and we want to assure you that we will do our best to help your child experience academic, social and emotional growth.  With your help and cooperation, this should be an excellent school year. Steller   Secondary School offers complete academic programs with the flexibility to meet your student’s individual needs.   Your concern, your involvement, your support, and your parental guidance have never been more important than they will be over the next few years.

Good luck on your journey through the hallowed halls of Steller Secondary School.  We hope this will be one of your most successful years ever.

Harlod Green

Next year- a change in what we do

Monday, June 1st, 2009

Next year Zangle [the new student information system] comes online. This will mean big changes in how we conduct business.

One of the biggest changes will be how we do attendance. Each teacher will take attendance at the beginning of class everyday. Any student that is 20 min. or more late will be considered absent. Depending on whether it is an excused absence or not could affect the over all grade of a student.

In the case of unexcused absences- the teacher does not have to issue make up work. However, if it is an excused absence they will give make up work. What determines whether an absence is excused or not depends on one thing- did the parent call their child in.

To call a child in the parent must contact the school [742-4950] and let us know why and for how long the child will be absent. If a child goes to lunch and does not get back to school in time- a parent after being contacted by their child cannot then call the child in as excused.

However, if a student is having lunch with the parent the parent needs to call the student in for a blue pass prior to the student leaving. Also, if the student has a Dr. appointment or any other type of appointment the parent can call in a blue pass for the student to go to that appointment. Blue passes also count as an excused absence which means that there will be make up work assigned as needed.

All of these changes are due to the new system that is coming online in the fall.

I will have more information for you at the beginning of the year.

Enjoy the summer with your child.

_Harlod

Principal’s Report – April 2009

Thursday, April 16th, 2009

Reminder: The Seniors are requesting that you bring snacks and breakfast items for the Activity Night as part of your contributions to our ongoing community activities here at Steller.  The following is a list by Advisory Groups for the items:

Bagels/Veggies

  • Bob
  • Jean
  • Ken
  • Nina

Fruit

  • Danielle
  • Jen
  • Larry
  • Philip

Juice/Drinks

  • Frank/Toni
  • Jennifer
  • Michelle
  • Shannon

Chips and Dip

  • Gerald
  • Jim/Dennis
  • Natalie
  • Troy

On going: We now are in the process of hiring for 3.5 positions.  We are currently interviewing Social Studies applicants.  We have J. Banta, K. Varee, J. Krimp, J. Steele and myself on that committee.  We will also be interviewing for a full time counselor, a Science/Chemistry person and a half time Drama person.  I have the students and parents lined up for these interviews and we are hoping to get quality personnel.    Normally the number of questions on any interview does not exceed 10-15 questions, usually the former.  However, there are 35 questions for the SS position,  25 for the counselor, science and drama.

4/22/09: Two orchestra students, Liz Tix and Laura Jungreis, will play their cello duet for the parent meeting.

Principal’s Report – March 18, 2009

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009

Testing is coming up the first week in April. Students will be assessed in the area of science for grades 7-10:

· Thursday, April 2 – Science Standard Base Assessment [SBA]

Students in grades 7-9th will be taking the SBA and the 10th grade students will be taking the combined HSGQE/SBA. In addition any juniors or seniors that have not passed the HSGQE will have an opportunity to retake it between April 7th and 9th.

· Tuesday, April 7th – Reading

· Wednesday, April 8th – Writing

· Thursday, April 9th – Math

Spring Intensives course selections have been narrowed to one/two selections per teacher. Below are the offerings thus far:

Intensives offerings

  • Philip/Bob: UK Trip
  • Troy: Bball
  • Nina: BWPhoto/Orienteering
  • Gerald: Geocaching
  • Larry: Computers
  • Michelle: Quilting/Scrapbooking
  • Frank: Tennis, MyLife
  • Jen/Natalie: Global Warming
  • Toni: Indoor/Outdoor Sports
  • Danielle: Peace Garden/Write
  • Ken: Backpacking
  • Jennifer: Political Dr. Suess
  • Shannon: Oceanography
  • Jean: Aviation/Landscaping
  • Ray: First Responders Course
  • Guest: Video Production

Next step: Ad group needs to add to the list and suggest courses that they would like to see offered. What classes would kids like to see us do?

March 20, 2009 is the Friday Night Dance, sponsored by Jen’s counseling group.

· 7 – 11 p.m.

· The theme is the “green dance”

· More chaperones are needed

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Hear Ye! March 27, 2009 is the evening of the Steller Auction.

· 5 – 9-ish

· This year’s theme is “Rock n Roll”

· There will be a pot luck as well. See Jen for details

Ole Steller Yeller – January 2009

Saturday, January 24th, 2009

I hope that each of you had wonderful moments filled with sharing love, compassion and hope with family and friends during the recent holiday season.  We are once again in the process of beginning our Second Semester.  And, what a Second Semester it promises to be!

I am sure by now you all have read the RECESS proposal, if not you can view it here or pick up a copy in the office, and I am sure that you all have thousands of questions.  But, for now I’d like to focus on a couple components of RECESS. First is the APU College English course, “ The American Short Story”.  This is a wonderful opportunity for our students to have a college course delivered on our campus for both College and High School credit.  The course is an eleven-week offering and should prove to be very exciting.

Another aspect of RECESS is the offerings by VSA Out North Arts.  They will have someone in our school to actually work with students on writing and performing performance poetry.  This person, Faye Sikora, is also the proprietor of “Speak Easy” which is a venue for artists from around the United States and abroad to showcase their talents.  As part of Speak Easy being in the school Faye will bring these renowned performers to our school for our enjoyment pleasure.  In addition to Faye we will also have, at different times and dates, Allison Warden who is an Alaskan Native Story Teller, and Betsy Douds and actress of Film and Theatre who will share her talents with us.  In addition to being an actress Betsy is an English teacher and a certified yoga instructor.

I am very excited about this upcoming semester, it promises to be very exciting and challenging.

–Harlod

Why Attendance Is Important?

Saturday, January 24th, 2009

Every student should attend every class every day.  Regular attendance and promptness are expected in all classes and are essential for success in school. Learning to participate in group discussions, developing an appreciation for the views and abilities of other students, and forming the habit of regular attendance are legitimate objectives of any course.  “Learning” which is lost due to absence can never be adequately replaced.  Since regular attendance is one of the greatest single factors contributing to successful schoolwork, the first obligation of a student is to attend school regularly.

We know that good attendance is important for success at middle level and high school.  We have also seen a correlation between attendance and performance on standardized tests and assessments.  Additionally, good attendance is one of the life skills that will help students be successful in future education endeavors and in the job market. Let us instill in our children that good attendance is important.  Show them that you are interested in their school activities and want them to do well in school.  Support your child’s education. Steller offers exceptional learning opportunities every day we are in session. Help your child be at school, in classes working hard all day, every day!

Make sure they get enough sleep so that they are well rested in the morning. Talk with your child about his or her assignments. Establish a specific time and place for homework to be completed. Check homework for accuracy. Help your child create a special folder for finished assignments this will help them overcome some of the obstacles to regular attendance such as embarrassment for not having completed assignments.

Parents have the right to make the decision concerning school attendance for their children. As parents, you also have the most influence on your child’s behavior. However, when parents and the school work together, we can have the maximum influence on student attendance.