Dear Newark Memorial High School Community,
We are facing the beginning of the school year which is always a great time. Staff is usually rested and ready to return along with our students. I hope you are excited to begin the school year. I am excited. I have served in many roles in education at both the site and district levels. The role I absolutely had the most fun with was being a high school principal. For that reason, I am excited to be at Newark Memorial High School. I am hoping we can develop a positive and fun environment for the staff and students. At the same time, we want to ensure that our students are learning not only the academic lessons we are charged to provide, but that they will learn so much about life that academics are not able to teach them. Our students need to face life with social emotional support. Our students need to learn social interactions that perhaps can only be learned through student clubs or extracurricular activities. We have
the privilege of helping to prepare and launch our students into adulthood. Thank you for your willingness to help with the vital task for our students.
Because we are facing a lot of transitions and challenges, I want to keep our practices as consistent as possible. With that in mind, one challenge I will present to you has to do with Professional Learning Communities. I would like to make sure PLC time is effective. One factor that I believe is important is to see that each PLC group is constantly cycling through the elements of instructional inquiry. We need to ask how students are doing and what we are doing in response to their progress or lack of progress. We should be doing this as PLC groups and as individual teachers. Becoming effective at these practices is an area I want to focus on this school year.
One challenge I have often seen in my career with PLCs at the high school level is the use of common formative assessments. Using Common formative assessments is easier to accomplish in an elementary school environment because the teacher groups are typically easier to identify by grade levels. I have some ideas on how this can be addressed at the high school level. I will want to share ideas with you on this topic and see if we can develop a solution together.
Newark Memorial High School is an amazing place. What you have built through the years through programs and relationships with students is evident. We will always uphold the value of building relationships with students as a high priority.
Several of you have stopped by and introduced yourself to me. Please keep doing so. I will look forward to learning about you and what you do for our students, We will continue to make contributions to students. We will have an amazing school year together.
Richard Rundhaug, Ph.D.,