Principal “Reflections & Projections”
PREPARING FOR ANOTHER GREAT SCHOOL YEAR…
The floors are waxed, the paint touched up, supplies in the rooms, all meaning that another school year is close. Everyone at Spearfish High School is looking forward to a very successful start to the 2011 - 2012 school year. Spearfish graduates remain among the best prepared in the nation and the continued improvements to our curriculum and facility allows us to continue to take the important next steps in preparing students to meet the goals of an ever changing society.
Please keep up on all school events, dates, etc. by opening letters and emails from the school in a timely manner. Our school website is a very informative and up to date way to stay informed. Make it one of your “favorites” and bookmark it if you have not already done so. Most every piece of vital information, rather from staff or the office is posted on either the district or the high school website. If you have not registered for a Campus account, please contact our Technology office to do so. It is important to stay on top of your student’s grades, absences and educational achievement. The High School will also continue to use School Reach phone messages to inform you of all important events that affect the students and their parents. Please make sure your contact information is up to date. Communication is vital to the success of any school system. The faculty and I are more than willing to communicate to make the school year progress as smoothly as possible. In many cases, open lines of communication will prevent and clear up potential problems before those problems reach a severe level. We want the school system to be the “foundation” of the community. To do that, we must all work as one cohesive unit.
Schools today are heavily involved with assessments and accountability. Students at SHS are very fortunate to have some of the best teachers in the State of South Dakota. The teaching staff will do everything they can to make sure your child is successful – but they can not do it alone. Your help, as a parent, is needed. High School students did a fine job with Dakota Step testing last spring. SHS met Adequate Yearly Progress in all categories and areas and surpassed state averages across the board. That does not mean we are satisfied, nor does it mean that we don’t have areas that we must and want to improve in. We have a lot of work ahead of us to guarantee student success and will work hard on the modifications necessary to make that happen. With many states, including South Dakota, moving to Common Core Standards this will become more and more important.
Students and parents will not see many changes this school year. For the most part only minor modifications to the handbooks were made. All handbooks are available on the high school website. If you would like a paper copy, please contact the school office.
Please keep in mind that the school handbooks are not “all inclusive” documents. Many rules and regulations are dictated by Board and State policies, thus not included in the handbooks. Many times we also need to use the “common sense” approach of right and wrong. Isn’t that what society should move back to??
One of my recent readings included exerts from Lincoln on Leadership by Donald Philips. Abraham Lincoln was a man way ahead of his time. The author lists and discusses 15 leadership lessons that Lincoln based his life on. All can, and should, be utilized today. Those include: Get out and circulate among the troops, Build strong alliances, Persuade rather than coerce, Honesty and integrity are the best policies, Never act out of vengeance or spite, Have the courage to handle unjust criticism, Be a master of paradox, Exercise a strong hand and be decisive, Lead by being led, Set goals and be results oriented, Keep searching until you find your “Grant”, Encourage innovation, Master the art of public speaking, Influence people through conversation and storytelling, and Preach a vision and continually reaffirm it.
The author goes on to list historical and building points under each of the 15 lessons which are very relevant to all aspects of 21st century education and life in general. It is amazing that we can continue to learn from a man who led and lived such a long time ago. Considering the tough times we are going through right now, those pale in comparison to what Lincoln had to endure. Lesson number 12, Encourage Innovation, includes the following talking points (among others): When the occasion is piled high with difficulty, rise with it. Think anew and act anew. Don’t lose confidence in your people when they fail. If you never try, you’ll never succeed. Be quick and decisive at employing new advances and make every attempt at getting weapons into your soldiers’ hands immediately. Let’s continue to learn from Lincoln and use his lessons as a guide to success, especially as we begin a new school year.
A new school year brings on a sense of excitement even to those students who may not classify school “as the thing to do”. Rather kids admit it or not - most every student likes something about the upcoming school year. We are very excited about the move into the Black Hills Conference and to Class A. School activities remain an integral and important part of education. Students involved in extracurricular activities on average have better grades, better attendance records and develop a sense of pride in their school system that others do not have. It will be an exciting year for Spearfish High School and I am proud to be part of it. I hope you are as well!! Keep this quote from Abraham Lincoln in mind – “Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other.”
Until next time,