Lind, Denny - High School Principal

Spring Hill High School Mission Statement
 To develop all students to be lifelong learners, thinkers and productive citizens

Spring Hill High School Vision Statement
Together, the parents, community, and staff of Spring Hill will provide a positive learning environment that builds creative individuals and life-long learners in our ever-changing global landscape.

We can…..We will……We are Spring Hill!

Letter Dated 11/19/15

Focus on Instruction 

That students differ may be inconvenient. But it is inescapable.”

 -Researcher/reformer Theodore Sizer 

Carol Ann Tomlinson is a renowned educational scholar and profes­sor at the University of Virginia. She has written extensively on the topic of differentiating instruction to better meet the needs of stu­dents. Tomlinson (2012) states that three trends are central to the goal of effective curriculum and instruction for contemporary learn­ers:

·         Todays classrooms are more diverse than at any time in our past—and we are seeing only the early stages of the diversity that will increasingly typify schools. In the face of burgeoning diversity, it is increasingly clear that one-size-fits-all teaching will fit fewer and fewer students.

·         We have a compelling need to learn to teach in more flexible and personalized ways.

·         There will continue to be an escalating demand that the vast ma­jority of students leave high school with high-level knowledge and skills. We need to move nearly all of our students from knowledge acquisition to knowledge creation.

In essence, teachers need to teach high-level curriculum in flexible ways to ensure that each learner is prepared for a fast-paced world, where problem solving, self-directions, reasoning skills, and endur­ing knowledge are requirements for successful participation in society. Teaching flexibly means teaching with student variance in mind. It is our reality that some students learn far more rapidly and deeply than the prescribed curriculum anticipates—and that some students learn much more slowly and with great difficulty.

At Spring Hill High School, we are also finding that flexibility is neces­sary due to the reality that some students don’t speak the language of the textbook. From this, you can see that flexible teaching is assessment driven: it responds to variance in student readiness, student interest, and stu­dent learning preferences.

 

Differentiation provides multiple approaches to content, process, and product. It requires that we adapt what we teach or how we give stu­dents access to what we want them to learn. It is also the way to a deeper understanding of the standards—what we want students to know, understand, and be able to do. Lastly, we hope it causes stu­dents to think about, apply, and expand the key

 




Letter Dated 2/18/15

Love, Serve, and Care for OUR STUDENTS

 “Each of us is called to make the world a better place. To do so, our lives must be creative.” Father Edward J. Lavin, Jesuit priest 

How do we manage our students learning and behavior on a continu­ous basis? Each day, I find myself questioning how I am relating to our students, both on an academic level and on a personal level. How can I improve the exchange that takes place between us? How can I pose questions to make students want to think for themselves? How can I show students how to communicate their needs effectively? How will that impact the exchanges they have with their peers, with people in the community, and with family and friends? 

How often do we merely direct students to perform a task or complete an assignment? So much of what our kids learn from us is modeled behavior. The importance of students learning how to express themselves using language is monumental and is often times much longer-lasting than the specific curriculum objectives we teach.

 There are three basic tenets according to the Responsive Classroom philosophy (Horsch, Chen, & Wagner, 2002) for showing our stu­dents how to use language that will empower them and provide en­couragement. These are called the Three Rs: reinforcing, reminding, and redirecting. I hear many of us using language that accomplishes this, providing our students a strong foundation for making good choices in school and beyond on a daily basis. Some of the general characteristics of encouraging and empowering language include the following: 

·         Be specific and direct. (We will start when I see everyones eyes on Jason.)

·         Speak to the students rather than about the students. (Leila, I no­ticed you stayed in your seat while I talked to Derek. Thanks for your cooperation.)

·         Stress the deed, not the doer. Describe actions and deeds rather than making judgments. (“I notice a lot of paper on the floor. We cant leave the room until it is clean.)

·         Give students the opportunity to follow through with appropriate behavior. (Show me how you can do that appropriately.)

·         Frame a positive action and choice. (You can walk slowly and qui­etly with your friends, or you can walk next to me.) 

In a perfect world, we would use constructive language (and meth­ods like the Three Rs) during every exchange with our students, yet I still find myself sometimes reduced to Just do it because I told you to! Reality dictates that we do the best we can in each and every situ­ation we encounter. We have the most dedicated, professional, stu­dent-oriented staff imaginable at SHHS—you all do a fabulous job managing the interactions you have with your students. Keep doing what it is you do best—exhibiting passion for our kids and their learn­ing!

LOVE, SERVE, CARE

Denny


Letter Dated 11/7/14

Dear SHHS Students and Parents/Guardians: 

Happy Holiday Season!  We hope your child’s year has been enjoyable.  Spring Hill High School has an excellent staff that works very hard to provide a positive learning environment that supports effective instruction and promotes learning.  Our number one priority is the success of our students.  If you commit to always giving your best effort, you will have tremendous academic and social gains during the school year and in your life.

As principal, my message to you is one of high expectations.  You have a responsibility of taking advantage of the many learning opportunities you have for academic, social and emotional growth.  We expect you to work hard to meet the expectations set forth for you.  As high school educators, our job is to prepare you academically for future learning while you transition from a student to a young adult who is college or career ready.

You must prepare yourself by:

·         Setting high standards for yourself and by going beyond the minimum requirements for any assignment given to you.

·         Take advantage of advance/dual/AP opportunities

·         Challenge yourself by taking STEM classes

·         Seek CTE certifications

·         Don’t take the easy way out!

·         Prepare for school each day by doing homework, studying for your classes, getting a good night sleep, and being on time to school

·         Taking advantage of the many opportunities we provide for you to maximize our achievements.   It is important that you have an avenue to open communication with your teachers.

·         Making the best of every day and every opportunity

·         Follow our rules: Be Responsible, Be Respectful, and Hands off of others and their property.

·         Most important rule of all is Do Not disrupt the learning environment for you and others.

As Principal of SHHS, I consider myself very fortunate to get the opportunity to work with such a great community and staff.  I am looking forward to a great 2015 and am encouraging you to participate in all aspects of this great school. 

“Teacher’s learn best from other teachers in settings where they literally teach each other the art of teaching”                        - Judith Warren Little

 Denny



2014 SHHS Summer Focus

“Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” Stephen Covey

“To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.” Henry David Thoreau 

Students with learning problems need constant motivation in order to learn. For the teacher, this task can seem nearly impossible and ex­hausting, especially when students enter your classroom with no ma­terials but lots of baggage—past failures, academic frustrations, and less-than-ideal attitudes.  

Robert Harris (1991), a writer and educator with more than 25 years of teaching experience, writes about how what we do in our classrooms can be compared to the game of baseball: 

Think about a group of young people playing a baseball game. The very things that motivate them to work hard and do well playing baseball can be adapted to the classroom:

·         Teamwork: Young people like working as a team. Yet often the learning activities we assign call for individual effort. By designing more team assignments, we can reap the benefits of teamwork. The weaker students will learn by having others help them. And, since teaching someone something is the best way to learn, the students who teach each other will learn better than if they were learning alone.

·         Fun: Sports are fun, exciting, and highly emotional. Learning expe­riences should be, too. Strong and lasting memory is connected with the emotional state and experience of the learner. People remember more when the learning is accompanied by strong emo­tions.

·         Enjoyment of Success: Playing a game provides a constant flow of accomplishments. Even the players on the losing team enjoy a strikeout, a good hit, a great catch. Breaking learning into smaller parts that can more easily be conquered, producing feelings of ac­complishment and success, will help motivate students to go forward, even through very difficult material.

·         Activity: A baseball game is definitely not passive—it requires both mental and physical activity. Teachers should strive to make learn­ing always mentally active and often physically active as well.

·         Flexibility and Creativity: Baseball has rules, but within those rules the players have a range of choices and strategies for accomplish­ing a given goal. Students learn better when the directions have some flexibility and they can put some of themselves into the as­signment.

On a more personal level, I have tried countless strategies to moti­vate low-performing students with varying degrees of success. The one strategy that consis­tently works for me, though, is caring. I do know that we are all caring individuals, or else we wouldnt be in this noble profession called teaching. What I’m talking about, though, is taking caring to the next level:

·         Allowing ourselves to be human in front of our students. Share sto­ries, lessons learned, mistakes made. Young people are quite insecure at this age—they need to see the person, not just the teacher or authority figure.

·         Developing a relationship with our students. Try to learn about your students’ lives outside of school. It can make a world of differ­ence, especially when their home situation is less than ideal.

·         Setting goals with individual students. For one student, it might be an attendance goal. For another, it might concern disruptive be­havior. And remember to check on their progress—your concern and approval might be the only reward needed.

·         Enlisting the help of your colleagues. 

It truly takes a village to raise a child.  Just dont give up, for long after the content has been forgotten, the teacher will be remembered.  

Wishing everyone a safe summer! 

Denny                                                 


April 1: Extraordinary Teachers 

When I was an undergraduate, I once confided to a favorite professor that I was interested in becoming a teacher. He immediately re­sponded, And if you lose your passion for it, make a change. Prom­ise?     I promised.

 Extraordinary Teachers, edited by Dr. Fred Stephenson (2001).

In the introductory chapter, Stephenson indicates that through re-search, he has identified more than 300 different traits that distin­guish excellent teachers. He condenses these into six key character­istics of extraordinary teachers:

1. Extraordinary teachers have great passion for their work.

Spring Hill High School teachers are passionate about their subject matter, their students, learning, and teaching. They feel responsible, even obligated, to help all students. They want to share the thrill of discovery with their students. They wear the title of teacher” with pride; finding their work exciting and meaningful is the chief driving force that motivates them to suc­ceed.

2.    Extraordinary teachers know what to teach, how to teach, and how to improve.

Exemplary (Spring Hill High School) teachers see their primary task as preparing their students for life. An ultimate goal is to produce honorable and productive members of society. They have a craftsmans ability to choose the best tools for each particular task. They use their research knowledge as a powerful source of energy for both teaching and student learning. Top teachers will look anywhere and everywhere for help. They have the courage to accept risks and defy conventional wisdom.

3.    Extraordinary teachers excel at creating exciting classroom envi­ronments.

Exceptional (Spring Hill High School) teachers capture student in­terest with boundless energy and enthusiasm. Outstanding teachers grasp the importance of the first classroom meeting. They realize that by the time day one is over, most students will have already formed opinions about a teachers interest in teach­ing them, whether the teacher wants to be there, if the instructor has passion for his or her field, and whether the teacher likes stu­dents. As a result, extraordinary teachers seize the opportunity to set a positive tone for the entire course during the first class ses­sion. Top teachers are cheerful individuals; their classroom is their stage and they relish the opportunity to perform for their stu­dents—not necessarily for laughs or popularity, but to excite a stu­dent response toward learning.

4.    Extraordinary teachers connect exceptionally well with students.

Highly effective (Spring Hill High School) teachers have an uncanny ability to connect with students. They get students to trust them, to be more receptive to their advice, and to believe in what they are trying to accomplish. Their goal is to create a bond, an educa­tional partnership, with their students. They know that under-standing,

 

acceptance, compassion, and fairness carry much weight with children.

They comprehend the importance of a teacher’s character and credibility and try to be good role models.

5.    Extraordinary teachers challenge students to reach their full po­tential.

Outstanding (Spring Hill High School) teachers are demanding in­structors who teach rigorous courses. Students are worked hard and held responsible for finishing assignments on time and for de­livering quality performances. Such teachers have high stan­dards, which are not compromised. Their motto seems to be, “I welcome any and all to my classes, but dont sign up unless you are serious about learning. Despite the widespread knowledge among students of the academic rigors that lie ahead, students flock to get into extraordinary teachers classes.

6. Extraordinary teachers get extraordinary results.

The ultimate characteristic of acclaimed (Spring Hill High School) teachers is that they get results that far exceed the teaching norm. These teachers receive accolades from students, colleagues, and parents. Their students perform well, year in and year out, despite the fluctuations in student ability levels. Top teachers teach students many more things than other teachers. They reach a greater number of students than other teachers. Excellent teach­ers change the way students approach and value education. They influence attitudes and behaviors. They open minds and hearts and help students find direction, meaning, and satisfaction in their lives.

Spring Hill High School teachers are indeed extraordinary. Thank you all for striving each day to demonstrate what preeminent, exemplary, exceptional, highly effective, outstanding, and acclaimed teachers do. We are truly a tight-knit family of teachers, and we learn from one another how to become even more proficient in our craft. At SHHS, teachers are extraordinary because we Teach with Passion each day!

Denny

 

Friday Focus! - December 15, 2013

Things that matter most should never be at the mercy of things that matter least.” Goethe

At this very busy time of year, both personally and professionally, I thought a reflection on the never-ending dimension of time would be very relevant. My message is not one that delves into the Christmas theme, but rather one that has ample application to the holiday season. It happens not only at this time of year, but throughout the year—there just doesn’t seem to be enough time to accomplish all that we desire to. Time always has lapsed and continues to lapse for each of us from minute to minute, class period to class period, sunrise to sunset, throughout our lifetime. Do you ever feel stretched for time, like me? Do you leave loose ends at the end of the day? Wonder how you are going to get it all done? I have come to the realiza­tion that time constraints will always be present and that I will never get it all done. I know that we all strive to be the best people that we can be. In order to be our best, it is necessary that we take care of ourselves. So what can we do to manage all of our life activities, both professionally and personally? I have come to find comfort in one of Richard Carlsons (1997) many strategies from his book titled, Dont Sweat the Small Stuff—And It’s All Small Stuff. His strategy (slightly tweaked) is as follows:

Learn to Live in the Present Moment

To a large degree, the measure of our peace of mind is determined by how much we are able to live in the present moment. Irrespective of what happened yesterday or last year and of what may or may not happen tomorrow, the present moment is where you are—always. Without question, many of us have mastered the neurotic art of spending much of our lives worrying about a variety of things all at once. We allow past problems and future concerns to dominate our present moments, so much so that we end up anxious, frustrated, and hopeless. On the flip side, we also postpone our gratification, our stated priorities, and our happiness, often convincing ourselves that someday will be better than today. Unfortunately, the same mental dynamics that tell us to look toward the future will only repeat themselves so that someday will never actually arrive. John Lennon once said, Life is whats happening when we are busy making other plans. When we are busy making other plans, our children are busy growing up, the people we love are moving away, our bodies are get­ting out of shape, friends and family members are dying, and our dreams are slipping away. In short, we might miss out on life.

Many people live life as if it were a dress rehearsal for some later date. It isnt. In fact, no one has a guarantee that they will be here tomorrow. Now is the only time we have, and it is the only time over which we have any control. When our attention is in the present mo­ment, we push fear from our minds. Fear is a concern over events that might happen in the future—the copying machine might break, or our students will not meet the stan­dard on the standardized test, and so on.

To combat fear, the best strategy is to learn to bring your attention back to the present. Mark Twain said, “I have been through some ter­rible times in my life, some of which actually happened. I dont think I can say it any better. Practice keeping your attention on the here and now. Your efforts will pay off in great dividends.

In addition to this strategy, it was very timely (get the pun) that Jeff Zoul and Beth Richardson would share an excerpt from Stephen Covey and colleagues’ (Covey, Merrill, & Merrill, 1996) work, First Things First, with the leadership team. I would like to share it with you. It is nothing earth-shattering, and perhaps it is nothing that you havent already heard, but it is worthy to bring once again to the forefront of our minds. The story is called Put the Big Rocks First.

At a seminar, the presenter pulled out a wide-mouth gallon jar and placed it next to a pile of fist-sized rocks. After filling the jar to the top with rocks, he asked, “Is the jar full?

The group replied, Yes.

He then got some gravel from under the table and added it to the jar. The speaker jiggled the jar until the gravel filled the spaces between the rocks. Again, he asked, “Is the jar full?

No!” shouted the group.

Finally, the speaker filled the jar to the brim with water and asked the group the point of this illustration. Someone replied that you could always fit more things into your life if you really worked at it.

No, countered the speaker. The point is, if you didnt put the big rocks in first, would you have ever gotten them in?”

As you go through this year, think of the big rocks in your life as the things you can do to make this a happier and more productive year for yourself and others. What are your big rocks? Can you identify and define them? List your big rocks, not only for this holiday season, but also for the time to come.

Have a Peaceful and Blessed Holiday Season!

Denny

 
 


September 13, 2013

 

As WE move through our day and school year, I want to challenge everyone who has an investment in Spring Hill High School to make an emotional investment in every single person in our learning community.  The greatest investment we can make is in people.  Many in our school community need our attention and guidance, whether it is a few minutes of our time, a supportive glance, a smile on our face, a quick note, or a hand on the shoulder.  It is up to us to foster and actively promote an atmosphere of positive support for one another.  We set the tone by our words, actions, and expectations.  Imagine a school community where this was the standard, and was clearly communicated to all staff, students, and parents.  Not only would everyone know that they can expect our full attention, but a clearly articulated policy of mutual support allows us all to expect caring support in return.  Every conversation, every interaction, is an opportunity to invest in someone-let us not lose the opportunity!

Denny

 

 

August 27, 2013

“You never fail until you stop trying.” – Florance Joyner

One year at a high school all-star game, a former NFL player came in and talked to the players.  He told them he knew that every player there had high expectations and dreams of playing professional football.

He also explained how athletics had been his very best friend and had given him self-worth and a positive self-image.  Because of his friend, Athletics, he was the big man on campus.  He dated the prettiest girls and was invited to the best parties.  After college, the player was drafted and Athletics, his best friend, made him rich and famous.

Then one day his best friend deserted him.  His coach called him in and said he could no longer play football.  His friend, Athletics, was absolutely nowhere to be found; it had abandoned him.

If his college coach had not forced him to go to class and get a degree, he would have been left out in the cold.  He found out his best friend was really academics, especially his degree, because no one could take that away from him.  The knowledge he had acquired and the degree he had earned was truly his best friends.   Today, he is a successful businessman, not because of athletics, but because of his good friend, Academics.

Athletics may receive the spotlight, but academics endure.  Athletic ability will eventually deteriorate.  Academics and knowledge never will.  Athletics and extracurricular activities are available at public schools and enhance academics.  Unfortunately, some schools and students have put these activities ahead of academics.  Those who only value athletics/extracurricular activities pay a terrible price later.  Knowledge is a student’s true friend, and knowledge comes from academics. 

Thanks to our parents, community, and teachers that stress academics each and everyday.  Our kids value academics.  Our scores show this as we strive to be the best school in Texas!

Have a Blessed Day!

Denny

Welcome Back Students and Staff Members

 

August 7, 2013

What makes a good school has very little to do with how rich or poor the students are or the type of curriculum that’s taught. It has very little to do with special programs, expansive playing fields, huge endowments, snappy uniforms, celebrity alumni, or whether the school is wired to the Internet. What makes a good school, whether it’s public or private, religious or nonreligious, charter or noncharter, is a feeling. A feeling shared by the entire staff that their particular school is special. The feeling that their school really belongs to them. (Manna, 1999).

The above quote may not directly tie in to the subject matter of today’s Welcome Back topic, however, I thought of Spring Hill High School teachers when I came across it. The feeling here is nearly palpable. It truly is special, and it fosters a feeling of ownership among staff and students. Thanks to our teachers, we have created and maintained such a feeling.

I came across an article titled “What Makes a Good Teacher?” (Traina, 1999). The author sought to identify characteristics that are consistently cited by students and parents as those exhibited by their very best teachers. They are as follows:

Command of subject matter

Effective teachers know their subject matter inside and out. In addition, they convey a love of, and passion for, their subject matter.

Caring deeply about each student and about that student’s accomplishment and growth
Effective teachers take time to consider each student as an individual and a unique learner. They take the time and make the effort to get to know about each student, inquiring of their interests, family, and so forth. 

Distinctive character

Effective teachers add a special flavor and zeal to their instruction that creates a memorable impression on their students. Whether it is an eccentric sense of humor or a tragedy overcome, such teachers stand out in the minds of their students.

At Spring Hill High School, we are obviously staffed by teachers with distinctive character who care deeply about each and every one of their students. It is equally apparent that SHHS teachers possess a superior command of their respective content areas. As a result, your students will remember you long after they leave us.

I hope and pray this is the best year at Spring Hill High School for all involved!  Welcome Back Everyone! 

Denny Lind

Principal

Spring Hill High School

  

 

 

July 1, 2013 - Summer Focus 

“Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for the rest of his life.” Ancient Chinese proverb

 

"Teach child content and he will pass a test. Teach a child HOW to learn all content and he will pass ALL tests.” Beth Richardson

A good teacher teaches students how to become their own teacher.

Remember that the highest level of learning is evidenced by being able to teach someone else. This is why some kids and adults are successful and some aren’t. Some know how to teach themselves (learn) whatever needs to be learned; others don’t have that skill.

You and I share a great and honorable mission in life. We are here on the planet to help people "learn how to learn” and, in effect, become teachers. Now, I know all of our students aren’t going to major in edu­cation, but can you honestly say that as an adult they will live even one day without having to be "the teacher" in some way for themselves, their own children, their colleagues, their family, or their friends?

Thanks for all you do to make this the best place I have ever worked!

Be blessed as you bless the future.

Have a Great Summer!

Denny

 

 

 

5/23/2013

Dear Senior Parents:

 

It gives me great pleasure to offer my congratulations to you and your senior child as their graduation draws closer. These past 12 years, I am sure, have flown by just as quickly as this year has come and gone.  It seems that only yesterday they began school and between all the activities and the ups and downs, these past 12 years have passed by like a blur.

Graduation Practice will be 1:30 sharp Friday, May 31st at the Belcher Center.  Graduation will take place at 8:00 PM that same day, again, at the Belcher Center.  Please have your senior arrive to the Belcher Center at 7:00 PM to line up for this wonderful evening.

Graduation from high school is a ceremony which comes only once in a person’s lifetime.  We attempt to make it a memorable experience for the graduates of Spring Hill High School.  I wish that you as parent or guardian, who have long awaited this day, will help us to impress upon your child the dignity and honor of this occasion so that his or her behavior will be the very highest that we all expect. 

If I can be of any assistance to help make graduation a success for you, please feel free to call me at anytime.

 

Denny Lind, Principal

 
 

Friday Focus- April 19, 2013 

The following was printed in The Speaker’s Sourcebook Prentice Hall, 1988

“When Do I Die?”

            In 1910, Dr. George Crane’s daily newspaper column carried the following story: 

Jimmy, age ten, was devoted to his little sister, age six.  He nearly panicked when his little sister fell off her bicycle and cut a large artery in her leg.  The bleeding was profuse, and by the time the doctor arrived at their house, the little girl was falling fast.

            In the early 1900s blood transfusions and other medical miracles were not yet common.  However, the doctor managed to clamp the cut ends of the artery with his hemostat.  The little girl’s heart was still failing.  In desperation, the doctor turned to Jimmy and asked, “Jimmy, will you give your blood to help save your little sister’s life?”

            Jimmy swallowed hard but nodded his head.  So the doctor laid him on the kitchen table and began withdrawing blood from one of his veins.  Then he injected the blood directly into the little girl’s vein.  

            For the next thirty minutes, the doctor and the family watched over the little girl anxiously and prayerfully.  The doctor kept his stethoscope over her heart to note its beating.  Finally, she was over the crisis.  The doctor wiped the perspiration off his forehead.  Only then did he notice that Jimmy was still stretched out on the kitchen table, tense and trembling. 

            “What’s the matter, Jimmy?” asked the doctor.  “W-w-when do I die?” Jimmy replied through his clenched teeth.

            The doctor realized that Jimmy had misunderstood what the request for his blood really meant.  Jimmy had imagined that his sister was going to need all his blood.  Which meant that Jimmy, though hesitating a moment and swallowing hard at the doctor’s original request, had silently agreed to die for his little sister!

            The doctor had tears in his eyes as he reassured Jimmy that he had extracted only a little of his blood for his sister, and that Jimmy was not going to die.  Jimmy was willing to die so that his sister might live.

Teacher Focus! (Letter to Teachers February 8, 2013)

The ultimate goal of classroom teachers is to have a significant im­pact on the students, an impact that results in a measurable increase in students knowledge or skills. (Allen, 2002)

Students want to know how much we care before they care how much we know.”

 

The second quote above is one that you have likely heard before. I first heard this and took it to heart during my sixth year of teaching. I was teaching business classes at South Garland High School. Our principal was Thomas Poore, during one visit to my classroom; he shared this quote with me when he noticed my Quote du Jour on the board. Many of you are also likely familiar with Rich Allen, responsi­ble for the first quote above. Allen (2002) writes about what he calls “impact teaching,”offering five tenets concerning the nature of effective in­struction:

·         Teach people, not content.

·         Awareness leads to choice.

·         Learning + enjoyment = retention.

·         Application is everything.

·         Stories are great.

Each of these precepts is one with which I concur. The first one—teaching people, not content—holds special meaning for me.

No one is more passionate about their subject matter than I, yet I know that passion for any sub­ject matter is meaningless if I am not passionate about my students. I have many friends who teach high school and who are truly master teachers. One reason I value high school teachers, is di­rectly related to this concept.

How can we live this mission? First, we must realize that all learners are truly unique. We must get to know each individual learner as the year progresses in order to best serve them. Also, although we all feel pressure to cover” a vast curriculum, it is important to remember the teachable moments that naturally arise during the year—those moments that deviate from the lesson or even the curriculum, but which will be infinitely more valuable to students and the learning en­vironment in the long run. It is not only okay, but advisable, to cherish such moments in order to teach our kids a life lesson and allow for more productive learning later.

Getting to know each students interests outside of class is another way of honoring the teach people, not content philosophy. Caring educators do this by discovering students’ interests, sponsoring clubs, and attending their after-school events. In addition, effective teachers often teach with students, not to students. Create an environment in which all members of the group work together to learn ma­terial. Finally, having a sense of humor and letting students know you value fun as a logical companion to hard work is another way of mak­ing it obvious that you teach people, not merely content.

Curriculum content is of utmost importance and is our core business. However, if the needs of the group are interfering with learning the aforementioned content, these needs must be addressed. Respond­ing immediately to the needs of the group or an individual will allow for enhanced concentration at a subsequent point. Thanks for know­ing inherently that our students are people first and for respecting their needs as unique learners. Teaching people, not content, are another way We Teach With Passion each day! 

Denny

 

 

Focus on our Students (Letter to Teachers on January 7, 2012)

Teachers have tremendous power to inspire and encourage stu­dents, to become strong role models, and to make a decisive differ­ence in students’ lives. They also have the power to alienate stu­dents. (Spitalli, 2004)

Thoughtful teachers typically have two overall goals. One is to provide a productive climate for student learning and for academic achievement. The second is to foster student satisfaction with schooling. Both are critical aspects of a suitable classroom atmo­sphere. (Brainard, 2001)

As we begin a new calendar year here at school, I wanted to take a moment to revisit the issue of student discipline and classroom management at Spring Hill High School. First off, thank you so much for making this an ongoing point of emphasis throughout the first semester. Through a collective team effort, we have made prodigious strides in improving student behavior and address­ing student misbehavior. Obviously, we will never eliminate student behavior indiscretions at the high school level. However, we must continue to insist that all students adhere to conduct expectations each and every day while at school.

Let’s all keep in mind some classroom management basics as we embark upon a new calendar year of schooling. Like most dedicated teachers, I firmly believe that engaging and challenging instruction is the best deterrent to misbehavior. Even our students will tell us that they do not misbehave when the work provided is challenging and in­teresting. Students also behave better when there is a classroom routine that everyone follows consistently. A well-planned, well-paced lesson will give students little time for disruptive behavior. Plan activities in smaller blocks of time. Set clear limits for your students. Decide what constitutes unacceptable behavior and adhere to these expectations firmly, fairly, and in a friendly manner. Be consis­tent in enforcing consequences and communicate regularly with par­ents regarding their childs behavior. Avoid reacting with anger to stu­dent misbehavior. Remember Todd Whitakers (2004) advice to never argue, never yell, and never use sarcasm in dealing with a high school student.

Remember that student misbehavior generally has some underlying reason. Try to identify and address the cause for the behavior. This lets students know you care for them and gives them a chance to explain and improve their actions. No one—including students them­selves—likes classrooms that are characterized by disruptive behav­ior. Needless to say, such classrooms are also characterized by low-achieving students. At SHHS, our students are blessed in that they receive quality instruction on a daily basis in safe and orderly classrooms.

I came across a survey over the holidays that I thought might be an effective way for us to reflect on our individual and collective disci­pline practices. You might respond with a 1–4 ranking, with 4 indicat­ing “almost always,” 3 indicating “frequently,” 2 indicating “occasionally,” and 1 indicating almost never.” I predict that our teachers will respond with primarily 3s and 4s; thanks again for taking the time to make classroom management an ongoing point of emphasis.

 

  • I am friendly but firm with my students.
  • I treat each student with kindness and respect.
  • When a student or students act inappropriately, I remain calm and composed.
  • I display enthusiasm and a sense of humor with my students.
  • During each passing period between classes, I am at the doorway to greet and chat with students.
  • I insist that students treat me with dignity and respect.
  • I interact with all students, not just a few.
  • I give my students a pleasing greeting each day and wish them a pleasant weekend.
  • During each passing period between classes, I am at the doorway so I can supervise both the hallway and my classroom.
  • So that I know what is going on in my classroom, I generally spend my class time on my feet.
  • I expect students to listen attentively when another student or I am talking.
  • When I correct student misbehavior, I communicate in a private, positive, and respectful manner.
  • I admit that at times student misbehavior is a result of something that was my fault.
  • I am able to motivate my students, including the reluctant learner.
  • I carefully plan each lesson so that there is no “dead time.”
  • I provide guided or independent practice during which I move about the room offering individual or small-group assistance.
  • During each class period, I provide a variety of learning activities. Rarely do I use an entire period for a single activity, as students need a change of pace.
  • I adjust my daily lesson planning to take into account my students span of attention.
  • I think through discipline decisions before acting.
  • I make only those discipline decisions that I can enforce.
  • I make discipline decisions after the heat of the moment has passed.
  • When a student misbehaves in class, I find a way to correct the be­havior privately, perhaps by moving near the student and whisper­ing a correction. 
  • While I take attendance or perform other necessary tasks, often at the outset of each class session, my students are working inde­pendently, perhaps on a brief assignment or problem on the over-head or board.
  • I establish time-saving routines for collecting papers and distribut­ing materials or supplies.
  • My directions for a learning activity are brief and concise.
  • I give directions one-step at a time. I avoid long and detailed direc­tions.
  • I show sincere enthusiasm for the subjects I teach.
  • I provide a neat classroom that gives students the idea of orderli­ness.
  • I present a professional appearance in the classroom.
  • I insist that my students maintain high standards in their work and behavior. In both areas, my standards are realistic and attainable.
  • Because there is no best teaching method, my methods and learning activities are many and varied.
  • My homework assignments have a purpose, are instructional, and are regulated as to the time it will take a student to complete the assignment.
  • I make my classroom attractive by having effective bulletin boards related to the topics being studied at the particular time.
  • During each class session, I summarize, or have students sum­marize, the days learning.
  • I use pretests or other procedures to ascertain what students already know.
  • I always review and return homework and tests in a timely manner.

Thank you for taking the time to informally self-assess your practices that affect student behavior; I hope this exercise reminds us of how best to manage the learning environment so that student misbehav­ior is kept to a minimum. Please let me know of any ideas you have in this area throughout the year. Teach with Passion each day this New Year!

Have an awesome week!

                                                                        Denny

 

 

What Makes SHHS So Special?

When asked to identify what made the school so good, every person, without fail, said it was the people of the school: the children, the fam­ilies, and, most importantly, the staff. Nobody said, “We have a really great computer lab” or “a brand-new reading textbook.”

(Eaker, DuFour, & DuFour, 2002)

Thank YOU!” (Peter Frampton, circa 1976, introducing the song, Baby I Love Your Way” on the Frampton Comes Alive album)

Many of you are probably too young to even remember Framptons classic live album; as for myself, I do vaguely recall spending a significant portion of my junior year of high school listen­ing to Frampton and thinking he was really cool. My knuckleheaded buddies and I would even imitate his seemingly forgettable, Thank YOU! whenever the opportunity presented itself. With the Thanksgiving holidays swiftly approaching, I thought I would offer heartfelt thanks to all of you for enriching the lives of our students and me.

I’m deeply thankful for our administrative team at Spring Hill High School. In many ways, their individual and collective greatness mirrors that of our overall staff. We have a returning veteran administrator in Terry Waldrep. With several years of experience as an assistant principal at SHHS, Terry possesses valuable expertise and insights that help us all. Terry offers consistently sound advice and judgment; his organi­zational skills and meticulous attention to details are unsurpassed. In Kayla Lindsey, we have a counselor who has the student’s best interest in mind.  Kaylas amazing ability to multitask never ceases to astound me. Finally, in Counselor Paige Childers: Paige has such a positive impact on our entire school community with her compassion, her intellect, and her overall com­mitment to excellence. In my short reign as principal at SHHS, I can confidently state that these three professionals are tireless workers and trusted friends, and I am deeply thankful that they are here each day supporting our teachers and students.

Our entire staff nicely parallels our administrative team: I applaud you for your flexibility and willingness to accept new challenges that benefit our kids. Finally, we have a solid core of teachers completely new to Spring Hill High School this year. Each of them has brought with them a multitude of skills and traits that are helping us all to grow continuously as professionals.

Whether you are a returning teacher, a teacher in a new role, or a teacher new to Spring Hill High School, I am sincerely thankful that you are here. I have the best job in the world because I am surrounded by the best teach­ers in the world. In the above quote, Eaker and colleagues have clearly stated what makes our own school great: it is not our pristine facility, or our world-class curriculum, or our many extracurricular of­ferings; instead, it is each of you performing great deeds day in and day out. As Peter Frampton said, Thank YOU! for teaching me so clearly what effective teachers do differently, and thanks for Teaching with Passion each day!

Denny

 

 

  
What a Great year we are going to have at Spring Hill High School.  It is such an honor to be selected as the new high school principal of a great school and community.  I want to personally wish every student, teacher, paraprofessional, custodial, and everyone associated with the school district a Spectacular Year.  Please do not hesitate in calling me at 903.446.3320 if you have any questions. If you drive by the high school, feel free to stop in!
Together, our students will be successful!
 
"You never fail until you stop trying." - Florance Joyner
 
One year at a high school all-star game, a former NFL player came in and talked to the players.  He told them he knew that every player there had  high expectations and dreams of playing professional football. 
 
He also explained how athletics had been his very best friend and had given him self-worth and a positive self-image.  Because of his friend, Athletics, he was the big man on campus.  He dated the prettiest girls and was invited to the best parties.  After college, the player was drafted and Athletics, his best friend, made him rich and famous. 
 
Then one day his best friend deserted him.  His coach called him in and said he could no longer play football.  His best friend, Athletics, was absolutely nowhere to be found; it had abondoned him. 
 
If his college coach had not forced him to go to class and get a degree, he would have been left out in the cold. He found out his best friend was really academics, especially his degree, because no one could take that away from him.  The knowledge he had acquired and the degree he had earned was truly his best friend.  Today, he is a successful businessman, not because of athletics, but because of his good friend, Academics. 
 
I love athletics and extracurricualar activities.  Athletics and extracurricular events may receive the spotlight, but academics endure.  Athletic ability will eventually deteriorate.  Academics and knowledge never will.  Knowledge is a student's true friend, and knowledge comes from academics. 
 
Thanks to our parents, community, and teachers that stress academics each and everyday.  Our kids value academics.  Our scores show this as we strive to be the best school in Texas!

 

Important Dates: 

PRINCIPAL’S COFFEE--  For Parents/Community 2nd Thursday of each month 7:30 am –beginning October
 

 

 
Happiness is a choice:
When you wake up in the morning, you can choose to be happy and enjoy that day, or you can choose to be unhappy and go around with a sour attitude.  It’s up to you.  If you make a mistake of allowing your circumstances to dictate your happiness, then you risk missing out on the abundance life has to offer you.  Happiness is a decision you make, not an emotion you feel!
 
 
 
Music City Texas has a new initiative called the PLAY IT FORWARD Project. Through this project MCT will give away musical instruments to area high school and middle school students to encourage them to pursue their interests in music. Recipients of the PLAY IT FORWARD Project will be invited to the theater to learn from the many extremely talented musicians involved with this project. Workshops and jam sessions will be held to encourage students to showcase their talents and to build a community of support for young musicians.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Student Bank Board
Longview Bank and Trust
 
 
 

2012-2013 Spring Hill High School Staff

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