Happy Thanksgiving! I felt the need to share a few items before the holiday so here we go!
You do know that our streets were built during the horse and buggy days, right? That being said, did you know that when you drop your kids off at school (by door #5) that you can drive on our sidewalks? YES–please do!!! We have a yellow line (which may be under the snow now) but the purpose of that is for you to drive on the sidewalk in order to make room down the middle of the street for cars to pass while you drop your kids off. It’s OK….don’t worry about what you learned in Driver’s Ed.
Do your kids need a tutor while they are home doing their homework (or maybe I should ask if you need a tutor while your kids are asking you for help on their homework?) Well, I have just the thing for you and it’s sponsored by your local library. All you need is a library card and you can log onto http://www.virginia.lib.
Don’t forget Khan Academy https://www.khanacademy.org/ if you need help with math or science. The on-line teaching videos can relieve the stress of parents trying to help when none of us have had math for a few years. Save some of that stress for the holidays….
And talking about the public library, did you know that they just added a new feature called Learning Express Library? http://www.learningexpresshub.
In working with students over the years, I have always been worried about the kids who don’t have good attendance. I’m not talking about the kids who are missing school for school activities–I’m talking about the kids who skip school. I came across this startling statistic from Get Schooled’s Skipping to Nowhere report: They reported that “kids who miss more than 10 days of school in one academic year are less likely to graduate from high school.” Wow…then they went on to say the “those same kids have 25 percent lower likelihood of ever enrolling in college. ” Another shocker. And the final shocker was this—“42% of the chronic truants said their parents rarely knew [they skipped.] ” Keep hounding your kids to “get to school.” It’s worth your time.
And finally, it’s the time of Thanksgiving. What are you really thankful for? What really matters to you and your family? What are your kids thankful for? Go around the Thanksgiving table and take a moment to tell each other what you are thankful for. You might be surprised.
I’m thankful for young people. There are times I question whether their heads were with them all day, but in the big picture, they are our future. They are kind and good. They are not wise but they will learn wisdom–some the hard way. I hate to even tell you that I was in McDonald’s again the other day, but I was……and what did I see? I saw a young man put his change from his meal into the McDonald’s donation box that you see at all of the registers. He did not have to do that…..but he did. He looked like a poor college kid. He put me to shame because I did not put my change in the box. You see….this young man taught me something as well……he taught me that all is not lost in this world. We do have a bright hope in our young people.
Happy Thanksgiving…….and give thanks for all of the many things you have in life.
Classical Minnesota Public Radio is doing a series of stories on local music teachers. These stories give their audience a look into what brought these influential music teachers into their field of teaching. Mr. Krage was recently interviewed for one of these stories. We are very lucky to have Mr. Krage as part of our teaching staff. The work he does with our students gives them a great musical foundation and provides opportunities to showcase these skills not only to our community, but to others across the country.
Listen to an audio excerpt below.
A word to the wise – if you see the snow, pretend you didn’t. Don’t even talk about it. It will pass.
I have a lot to talk to you about….so here we go.
Here’s what I need–I need about 50 of you to send back the contact info sheets. We are missing about 50 kids’ info sheets–the ones you just had to look at and send back? You have to send them even if there are no changes. Why? So we absolutely know we have your emergency contact information. We use this to make sure you get contacted in case of any emergency. The kids might tell us the dog ate it……
Did you know that we do not look at the child’s age of “18” like the law does? This means, 18-year olds still have to abide by the school rules like bringing a note from you when they are sick. They can’t write their own notes. Isn’t that nice? You guys get to be the boss (with regard to school) until they are 21.
Did you know that it’s easier and better for you to access your child’s school information on Infinite Campus via the Parent Portal through the high school website? https://arcc.infinitecampus.
Have your kids checked out library books from the public library on their iPads? They have the Overdrive App already on their iPads and the only other thing they need is a library card. No late fees for you!! One less thing to worry about on your calendars!
Can we talk about state testing? It’s alive and well–not my choice of words exactly. Here’s a quick list of what’s ahead. (I don’t have exact dates yet but I will shortly.) If you have an 8th grader, gently pull those poor souls aside and tell them, “It’s going to be OK. You are very special this year. The state wants to know everything about you.” As you will see, 8th grade is bombarded with testing.
November – 8th Grade EXPLORE Test, 10th Grade PLAN Test (both tied into ACT testing)
March – MCA Reading and Math – test window opens for 7, 8,10,11 (7th and 8th take both)
March – MCA Science – test window opens for 8 and 10
April 28 – locked in date – All 11th grade students will be taking the ACT Plus Writing College Entrance Exam – NO CHARGE TO PARENTS – This is now a state requirement.
May – All testing windows close
I feel the need to share a few technology tips with you this week. First of all, I have 4 Tips for Parents to Embrace Digital Education–you can do this. Trust me. ( I took these from a site called The Online Mom.
1 – Show and Tell – If your child is using something you don’t understand, ask them to tell you about it. They love teaching you “stuff”. (I seem to have lost my Master’s Degree vocabulary skills today for some reason.) Don’t try to learn this yourself….take the short lesson from the child.
2 – Google It – Google your kid’s names–Google your name–see what’s out there. Do you need to have a talk with your kids about what you find?
3 – Keep Their Device in a Public Area – it sets the tone that you are watchful and care about what they are doing.
4 – Get Excited – Your child will be a part of a new generation and I don’t believe there’s any “going back.”
OK….that’s the positive tech info….now for some things you need to look out for. If your child has the following apps on his/her phone, you might want to take a closer look. Your kids may not be doing anything bad on these sites, but it’s worth a look by mom and dad. Check for: Yik Yak – kids can do anything anonymously; Snapchat – I’ve talked about this one before; Vine – the danger is possible pornographic 6 second videos; Chatroulette – must be 18 to use this app (and how may I ask can you prove that on the internet?)–this site allows video chat with strangers; Secret Folder – allows users to hide photos, videos, or text messages. It’s disguised as a “group of apps.”; Kik Messenger – allows use around your wireless provider’s SMS service so nothing shows up in your kid’s history.
Did you know that you would have to do all this when you signed up to be a parent? It just never ends! Settle yourself in for the long run because I’m sure things will get even more “techy” over the next few years. And I know that wasn’t very reassuring but it’s true.
And finally, for the parents who have kids who are going attend the special dances this year like Turnabout and Prom— Now listen, these dances are important for the kids–yes–but they should not be about who has the most expensive dress or tux or about who has the biggest limo, or about who drove to Duluth for dinner at the top of the Radisson, should it? Shouldn’t it be about a nice pretty dress, a nice suit, and an old “55 Chevy car that the girl or guy spends the afternoon washing and waxing???? Shouldn’t it be about having the time of their lives with friends? Try to keep things in perspective. Try not to stress about it. Let me also share this–it’s not really a good excuse to be gone from school on the day of the dance to get a manicure or a hair appointment or a hair cut. It’s a dance, not the Miss or Mr. America Pageant. Mr. Kowalski does not stop class for manicures, hair-do’s or haircuts. Not on your life.
Don’t forget conferences next Tuesday and Wednesday! 3:15 – 6:15 both days. A-L the first night, M-Z the second night. If those days don’t work, just come when you can!
Have a great weekend!
Hello! It’s Homecoming so I will be brief. I want to see Mr. Vukmanich duck-taped to the wall. What? Yes, it’s a fundraiser and the kids bought rolls of tape (many rolls of tape) in order to try and “stick” Mr. V to the wall. This is a must see.
Did you know that you parents are getting your kids in trouble at school? How, you might ask? Well, you are texting them during class. Yes–it’s true! The kids’ pockets are buzzing and tweeting and it just happens to be “you” on the other end of that text. Now picture this……here is your child….sitting in class….trying to pay attention….or trying to take a test….and you text them. They can feel the buzz in their pocket. Now what? They are no different than you or me…..they have to know who just texted them. So what do they do? They take their phone out of their pocket during the class to see what was so urgent that they had to be interrupted in the middle of a test. Mom? Dad? You have put your child in a no-win situation. They know they should answer you when you text them……and they know we don’t like phone/text interruptions in the middle of class….so what do they do? Do they risk having their phone taken away to make you happy? Or do they make you mad and not answer the text? Hmmmmmmm. Just a little something to think about……
Important: We have a drop class policy and the kids are close to that deadline. After October 3rd, any class dropped will receive an NC (no credit.) It comes with a penalty. It affects the student’s GPA in that it is the same as getting an F in the course. If your child is going to drop a class, now is the time to do so without penalty.
Did you know that we beat HIBBING in the Don’t Text and Drive Campaign? WE DID! And not only did we beat Hibbing, we took first place in the entire state!!! Thanks to all of you who helped and more importantly, thanks for pledging NOT to text and drive. You just saved a life or two.
Something new coming your way–The 7th and 8th grade students are going to be bringing home a Character Report Card. We want to give you a more complete report of what your child is doing in school. Students will be graded on their persistence, attitude, classroom expectations, person-to-person behavior, kindness, social situations, open-mindedness, and their love of learning. The students will get regular grades in their classes (as usual) but what does an A mean anyway? The letter grade is just one aspect of your child’s school life. Look for one of these report cards to come home every quarter. Students need your signature before it gets returned. Let me know if you like this or not.
Don’t forget Parent/Teacher Conferences are on October 7th and 8th. They will be from 3:15 to 6:15 both days. We will split the alphabet–A-K the first night and L-Z the second night. Conferences will be in the teacher’s classrooms this year. They believe that conferences will be more private. We invite you to walk the same hallways as your children do. You will literally walk a mile in their shoes. More detailed info will be coming your way on that. I’d also like some feedback on whether or not you liked this new way of conferences as well.
I have one more important message for all parents: There is a scam out there and it goes like this: You get this urgent call from someone who says they are from some hospital and they say that your child was in a terrible car accident and they need urgent information. Parents immediately start giving out information–STOP. It’s a scam. Don’t fall for it. Call the hospital back. Ask them questions. The scammers will probably hang up. Talk to your kids about not giving out any personal information to anyone they do not know for sure. It’s important.
And finally, have you reached out to anyone less fortunate than yourself this week? No? There’s still time. Do you have an elderly neighbor who could use some help raking leaves? Is someone in need of their grass cut? Is someone in need of food? Look around you and find someone in need. It will make you feel good……for a very long time.
It was just announced at the Virginia vs. Hibbing football game that WE WON the “It Can Wait” Don’t Text and Drive Contest!!! We had 1000 pledges and Hibbing had 412. When the announcement was made at the game, the crowd went wild!!!
Thanks to all of you who helped out the kids. You really made the difference. Your support showed the kids that you support them in all that they take on.
You guys are the best.
Good Friday afternoon,
There is a lot going on so let’s get to it~
Did you know that our After School Tutoring Program is starting Tuesday, the 23rd? It’s primarily for 7th and 8th grade students but all are welcome. We have 2 certified teachers helping your kids with all kinds of homework. We will also have high school student mentors in there to lend a hand as well. Tutoring is available every Tuesday and Thursday –and starts at 3:15 and goes until 4:15 –and will be held in Room T-216. Flyers will be coming home and will be available at conferences. Call with any questions. 749-5437, Ext. 1216.
Did you know that there’s going to be a Food Fight tonight at the football game? Well, it’s not like what you are thinking….it’s actually a Food Drive, sponsored by the Virginia Women of Today. Students and fans are encouraged to bring in non-perishable food items to the donation bins outside the football game. If you donate, you receive an entry form for a chance to win some spirit wear –PLUS if our school brings in the most food, the school will receive a cash donation. “Help Tackle Hunger” is their theme.
Do your kids need a FREE Graphing Calculator? There is an app for iPhones or the iPads and it is called, “Free Graphing Calculator.” Catchy name. Now here’s the deal: Of course you can download this to your own iPhones, but if you have a school device (iPad), you will need teacher permission to download the app. The school did purchase a graphing calculator app for those kids who need them in their math classes, but now you can put one on your own device at home as well. Check that out.
And speaking of iPads, did you know that we have the ability to shut off the cameras on the iPads? We do….and we will….and we have…when they were misused. The proper etiquette of using cameras is a basic lesson and it needs to be learned quickly. No permission to take someone’s picture? Then no picture. End of discussion. That should go for all of us when you think about it.
We have had the iPads now for a while and last year we were fully implemented 7-12. Do we have a perfect system? No. Do we have all the textbooks on them? No. Do kids use them every single day? No–not in every class. Yes–in most classes. Do all my teachers have the same skills on the iPad? No. Are they all learning and moving forward? Yes. Does the iPad work for delivering curriculum in all areas? Probably not on a full time basis–say for example PE. I guess what I’m trying to say is that there is a time and a place for this tool. It’s a tool for kids to have instant access to the world. Learning doesn’t have to stop when they go home. Do my teachers feel pressure to do everything on the iPad? Yes. Do we have an iPad integrationist? Yes. Can we afford to put all of our textbooks on the iPad? No. Did you know that the digital textbooks are as expensive as the paper textbooks? We have a curriculum cycle that we follow in order to keep up with state testing and books are purchased in a rotating order. Did you know that when your child goes to college, he or she will be asked to do part of their learning in an on-line class? They will have to download, drop papers in dropbox, submit electronically, use digital libraries, do on-line discussion groups, etc. Your kids will have a headstart on all of that. Our students have reported to us that when they went to college, there were kids there who were handed an iPad and those kids did not know or have any prior experience with that technology. Many schools are not as technologically advanced as we are. If anyone would like a close-up look of how kids work with the iPads, I would be happy to have teachers meet with you and show you exactly what they are doing.
Finally, I want to thank ALL OF YOU who helped us with the “It Can Wait” Don’t Text and Drive Contest. We reached out to you and you responded in full force. If we win the competition against Hibbing, it will give the kids a boost. Sportsmanship is alive and well at VHS! We all know that texting and driving is not safe….and for sure we know that “It really can wait.” Choose life and not the text.
Here’s a final thought: Have everyone in your family—for one day—put down your devices (phones, ipods, Xbox’s, etc) and just take a day off from all of that. Do you remember what it was like to have to use your friend’s parent’s telephone –the one that was hanging on the wall in the kitchen with the long cord–to call your own mom to see if you could stay at your friend’s a little longer? Maybe you have to ask Grandma about those days…..
Have a wonderful weekend. Go Blue!!
Wow, two weeks down already! We are pretty much settled in….I almost said “for the winter” and then bit my tongue. What in the world? Flashbacks of last year have not cleared my memory banks.
What’s happening? Well, first of all, we’ve been challenged. By whom? By Hibbing High School. The students will find out more about this next week but we REALLY need the help of you parents as well. You’re up for a little friendly competition, aren’t you? Just for the bragging rights? Of course you are. I’ll be sending you an email next week with a code in which we would like you to text once a day. It’s a Don’t Text and Drive campaign and we want to win. (And of course, you don’t text and drive, do you?) We play Hibbing in football the final night of the competition and the winner will be announced. Stay tuned on how you can help. This has no cost to you, no paperwork, and no bake sale for you to do. You can sit in your favorite arm-chair and just text. If only everything in life were that easy.
Next, we have 2 big events for families on October 4th: First, there is a Blue and White Fun Run,Walk, or Crawl for all ages, scheduled for an 8 a.m. registration at Olcott Park. What a beautiful time of the year for this event! Also on the same day, there is another event at the Miners Memorial Building sponsored by Mind Trekkers. You and all of your kids are invited there to see people walk on water, make ice cream in 60 seconds, see robots, see a hovercraft and experience many other science phenomenas. This event is put on by the Michigan Tech University and is an amazing show that travels around the United States. Come and see what that’s all about. All the fun starts at 9 a.m. and goes until 4 p.m. It’s open to the public. It’s free. (And there’s food there!)
Did you know that we are making our building even more secure? We are installing devices that can instantly shut our whole building down, call 911, and make an emergency announcement –all at the press of a button? Research says that the more hurdles you put in front of an intruder, the safer your building will be. We just added one more hurdle. Why am I telling you this? I want people to know that we are well-protected. I want the bad people to go somewhere else. And for sure, I want the bad people to go away mad.
Did you know that we are moving our high school conferences to October 7 and 8? Here’s the reason: We used to do conferences at the end of the quarter. Grades were in. Kids had no chance to “save” their grade or turn it around. By moving the conference dates up, maybe parents will be the motivating factor in helping kids get back on track. Mark your calendars. More info will be sent home to you soon.
Have you wondered why your children don’t answer their phones? I don’t get it either. Did you know there is an app out there to encourage your child to answer your calls or texts on the phone you bought for them, gave them, and continue to pay the bill on? It’s called “Ignore No More.” It’s only on Android phones currently–sorry iPhone users. If your child doesn’t answer your call, it gives the parent the power to shut down the phone except for emergency calls. Tempting, isn’t it? (By the way, it was created by an angry mom. Heaven help us.)
All in all it’s been a great start to the year. Your kids are nice kids. They are respectful. They are kind. They reflect what you have taught them over the years. Keep encouraging them to do the very best they can, every day. We, too, will encourage them to do the best that they can–every day. It’s an honor and a privilege to be the Principal of Virginia High School.
Have a great weekend. Get out and enjoy what’s left of summer……hurry!
Good Afternoon!! How are you? Are you basking in your freedom or has your life just gotten busier due to all the school activities? Wherever you are at, just sit back for a few moments and collect your wits.
For those of you who are new to my weekly article, I use this venue to inform you of things you may not know or of things you may need to know. It’s usually a repeat of what we told your kids but somehow, it never makes it home to you.
First of all, I’d like to encourage all of you who have not turned in your “beginning of school paperwork” to get that turned in as soon as you can. It is important information to us. Thanks for that.
Secondly, Did you know that we publish the daily bulletin on our website? You can find it here: http://www.vmps.org/vhs-
If you are the parent of a PSEO student, checking the daily bulletin is vital to staying informed. We don’t want parents or your PSEO kids to miss any events or deadlines. This daily bulletin is sent to each and every one of your kids as well– so really, they should always be “in the know” as well.
This particular message pertains to 7th grade parents: Many of you are calling the high school office and saying, “Can’t you just give my son/daughter this message?” Well, in all honesty, we can’t. There are 700 students and 3 part-time secretaries. Those kids could possibly be in 7 different places at any given time–not like in elementary school when they are all in one spot. Please, please, please plan ahead for changes in who is picking your kids up or dropping them off. That being said, in a real emergency, we will find your child. Kids can check their phones during their lunch hour time as well–just a thought.
Did you know that picture day is Friday, September 12? Mark that down….
Did you know that if your child is gone from school, you MUST call us? We made it easy. You can call any time you want prior to the next school day—-and leave us a message. Just call 749-5437, EXT 8025. Be sure to leave your child’s name and tell us why they were gone. Simple.
What’s new this year? Well, we have an updated Bullying Law from the state. We are studying it and a presentation will be given to all of our students. We will train all staff from bus drivers to custodians to teachers–virtually anyone who has contact with children. From what I have read, VHS is doing what we are supposed to be doing. Our guarantee to you is that we will address every issue (that we know about) and get back to you in a timely fashion.
Did you know that parents and teachers are the Bosses of the iPads? The students have iPads and they use iPads, but I’m telling you that when they come home and those iPads are in your house, you have the con. You have the power to say, “Put it away.” Or “The iPad will be charging in the kitchen–not your bedroom.” You can say, “No iPad tonight–it’s a family night.” We will have the same type of rules here.
OK….one final thought…..Imagine living in a house with 700 children, 50+ teachers who have to be like their parents, and then imagine them all having to get along every day for 180 days. Do you think it’s even possible? We live in the house I just described to you and believe it or not, we all get along for the most part. We learn to share……we learn to tolerate others……we learn to make the best of situations…..and we learn more than math, English, and science. We learn about life and what it takes to be successful. We learn that none of us are perfect.
Remember that high school is a very small part of your children’s lives. Try to keep it all in perspective–try to always look ahead at the big picture.
Have a great weekend!!
I want to send a “Welcome Back” to you and your kids! I know….it’s shocking that the summer is nearly over. I see those little smiles on your faces when you stop in at school. Sometimes I wonder who’s more excited when school starts! I tease, of course.
I will continue with my “Did You Know?” articles this year because people found them useful. That was my goal so I will do my best to keep you in the loop of school information. “Pick and Choose” what pertains to you.
First of all, I want to invite all of you–Parents and Students–to the OPEN HOUSE, scheduled for Thursday, August 28th. This is new this year. We are opening the doors at 8 and are gently closing them at 3:00. The teachers will be out for lunch from 12:30 to 1:00 in order to allow you to come in on your lunch time. We have 10 new teachers in the high school so please come and meet them, welcome them, and just stop in to say hi. Again, all are welcome.
One thing though…..we are not printing any class schedules for anyone except the 7th graders on the Open House day. Please take a screenshot of your schedule and put it on your phone so you know where to look for your classes. Printed class schedules (for everyone) will be handed out on the first day of school.
Students will be bringing home a fair amount of paperwork for you to fill out. I know….I hear you….but you guys keep moving around and changing your phone numbers. We are gathering information from over 700 families. If possible, please send that back as soon as you can. We enter that information into our system so that we have quick access to your contact information. When we work with kids, we never know when an emergency might arise. Thanks in advance.
Did you know that I had all the classes in place at the end of the school year –with perfectly even class sizes, and now students are making changes? We try to accommodate this but there does come a point where we just can’t overload a teacher. Our main goal is to get the classes a student needs. I also tell parents at this point, that everyone–well, not everyone–but a lot of parents want their kids to have a 7th hour study hall? I can’t do that either for obvious reasons. Trust me, the kids will learn how to work that study hall to their advantage… and I don’t think I have had a student fail due to not having a 7th hour study hall.
Did you know that we have worked out a process in which your students–unless they are new to the district this year–will receive their iPads the first day of school? iPads are key to our students. They are loaded with textbooks, email access, the Schoology system, and much more. The sooner they have those iPads, the sooner they get rolling in class. If you are new to the district, our goal is to get your kids outfitted during the first week of school. It just depends on how many new students we have to set up. Just a heads up on that item.
Did you know that we don’t allow backpacks to be carried from class to class? We don’t have the classroom capacity to hold them. They are tripping hazards in the case of an emergency. Now…..in an effort to get around that policy, we have seen “skinny backpacks”, very large purses (the size you would put on a small pack animal), and “man bags.” We’re on to this, you know. We’re asking you to leave the bags, packs, and oversized purses in your lockers. Please.
Remember the dress code–and that includes no hats. Our students are the most respectful students. We watch as they come in–and as soon as they enter our doors, the young men remove their hats. It is a sign of respect. If we do see students with hats on in our building, it is a signal to us that these students are not our students. We check it out. I want to see who is under that hat so the “no hat” rule will remain. We get many favorable comments on our students about how respectful they are in our school. That is a direct reflection on parents.
Thank you for sending us your best. We will take good care of them and only call you if we need you. Go put your feet up now and have that cup of coffee all by yourself. We’ll take it from here…..
Please click here for the STUDENT/PARENT 2014-15 HANDBOOK
Click here for the REGISTRATION BOOKLET FOR GRADES 9-12. This booklet contains course descriptions as well as information on graduation requirements, concurrent enrollment, and PSEO information:
Click here for the REGISTRATION BOOKLET FOR GRADES 7-8:
Click here for the VIRGINIA PUBLIC SCHOOLS’ STUDENT INTERNET POLICY:
Click here for the STUDENT TECHNOLOGY USE AGREEMENT FORM:
Click here for the 2014-15 ISD 706 iPad POLICY: