Athena Staff Update – Week 37

The Athena High School Mission: “Our graduates will be prepared for success in college and career in the 21st century.” 

Research Points to Ponder: We all know that student engagement is a critical factor in the effectiveness of our pedagogical practices.  However, what instructional strategies are proven to lead to increased engagement.  Recent research out of Michigan State University indicates the following. “Student engagement (versus bordem) is a key correlate of success in high school, and some teachers are much more successful at engaging their students than others..Connective instruction practices were seven times more effective at fostering student engagement than academic rigor and lively teaching.” This is powerful.  So, what exactly is “connective teaching” and how do we do it?  Check your mailboxes for more information.

Article of the Week: This week you will find an article in your mailbox titled “Research SummaryTeaching Strategies that Engage High-School Students”. This article is a summary of the research mentioned above by Kristy Cooper.  As you take time to look over this article you may find yourself surprised at what has been proven to increase engagement in high school students. I would encourage you to try out some of the strategies in this article.  You might find that you already employ some of them.

Need to Know:

  • May 27th is a Staff Meeting – We will meet in the cafe and cover the Senior Reflective Conference expectations, complete another close read on College and Career Readiness and complete our annual RtI survey.
  • Give Last Check Point # 3 to Jason– This was due to your Admin last Friday.  If you haven’t handed yours in yet, give it to Kathleen by Tuesday afternoon.
  • Turn in the College and Career Readiness Close Read – Please give your responses to the Close Read activity from Tuesday to Kathleen if you haven’t turned it in to an Admin yet.  If you missed the meeting, click here to complete it.
  • Senior Reflective Conference Day – Everyone will be scheduled to participate on the Senior Reflective Conference panels on Friday June 6th between 11:30 and 3pm. This will be a half day for students… we will only have the first 3 classes this day.
  • No Staff Meeting on June 3rd – There will be no staff meeting on June 3rd as the Senior Reflective Conferences on Friday might go until 3pm.
  • PLC Presentations During Exam Week – Next week Kathleen will be sending out a sign up sheet with a range of dates and times for each PLC team to sign up to present to the Admin team. Click here for a copy of the presentation description and expectations.

Nice to Know:

  • The Annual Awards Ceremony – Thursday night we celebrated the best and brightest of Athena academics.  We honored many incredible students and gave out literally hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships.  Thank you to all the staff who participated.
  • Leadership Positions for 2014-2015 – Click here for a list of extra curricular and leadership positions you may want to consider applying to be a part of next year.
  • Exam Week Calendar – Click here for this year’s June exam calendar.
  • Staff Meeting Calendar – Click here to view the staff meeting calendar for the rest of the year.
  • Important Year End Dates – Click here for the updated list of important dates to end the year.
  • Independent Course Proposals – These are due by June 1st.

Digging Into the Data:As you know, I periodically try to share significant data trends that indicate how things are going overall in our school.  Here are a few points worth pondering. This data is focused on the changes in our referral trends comparing this year and last year.

  • We Have Less Behavioral Incidents Per Day – Since February we have seen a significant decrease in the number of behavioral incident per day as documented by written referrals.  In particular in the month of May so far we have the lowest referral rate per day since September with under 7 referrals per day. Click here to see the month by month trends.  This also represents a significant decrease per day over last years rates for the same time period.
  • We Have Less Behavioral Incidents in Halls and Cafe – Earlier in the year many of you requested that we focus on addressing behavioral issues in the halls and cafe.  Compared with last year (during the same period of time) we have seen a decrease by 12% of the number of behavioral incidents that are occurring outside of the classrooms.
  • We Have More Behavioral Incidents in the Classrooms – During this same period of time we have seen and increase from 60% to 73% of all behavioral incidents occurring in the classroom.
  • We Have Less Incidents of Disrespect – During this same time we have seen a decrease in incidents of disrespect from 29% to 22%.
  • We Have More Incidents of Tardy – During this time we ahve seen an increase in the number of tardy referrals from 385 to 569 or 27% of all referrals to 36%.

Analyzing the Data:

  • Our Collective Impact – When we collectively commit to and focus on an issue we have a powerful impact.  This year the Athena Way Committee helped us as a staff focus on respect and increasing our hallway presence.  The data is clear that we had a impact in both of these areas.
  • Areas to Target Next – The combination this and the previous data sets indicate that the Athena Way Committee will likely focus its efforts for next year on aligning our classroom expectations and mini lessons for students around classroom behaviors and tardiness as those are clearly the areas of greatest concern.


We only have 14 more days of school with students! Finish strong!


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