The Sentinel Legacy 12/11/17

The Sentinel Legacy: 12/11/2017

“It Never Made Sense to Me”

A crucial component of being an educator is developing a strong sense of empathy and sympathy for students, while focusing on the key factors that will develop this student into a successful person. The recognition of students’ perspectives is an important piece in order to lead to this success. Whether it be academic, personal, or emotional, we are called to meet students where they are in order to lead them to where we want them to be. Every so often, I reflect back on the days when I walked the hallways of my high school. I find it amazing how seeing a situation or hearing a song can trigger vivid memories from yesteryears. I remember the anxiety of adolescent life, whereby your social persona was the ultimate factor in navigating the mire of high school. I remember the teenage angst which called for rebellion against whatever (current psychology research the healthy and necessary function of this in establishing one’s own identity: Rebellion Article). I remember the impassioned calls of emotion from life’s struggles and triumphs, and certain songs that encapsulated teenage musings (Smashing Pumpkins wrote most of my personal teenage anthems). I remember that simply being a teen was glorious and tragic and boring and exciting and lonely and connected and disillusioning…all at the same time.

Above all, I remember the feeling of wanting to crawl out of my skin at times from the pressure of academic expectations, and the boredom of sitting for upwards of six hours a day. I understand that this is not everyone’s recollection or experience, but if asked how many of us would do high school all over again, there would be a sizable proportion with hands by their sides. It never made sense to me that we would take these people with a massive range of excitable emotions, and have them sit and listen for upwards of six hours per day. What I’m thankful for is that educational practices (widespread throughout the country) are truly beginning to change where this is not the case. At Smithfield High School, we strive to focus on interactive and engaging programs to teach students through experiences. We work to harness the energy and enthusiasm of our students, and utilize their passion to create a meaningful impact on our community. My hope is that as, twenty years down the line, as our current students are reflecting on their high school experiences, they are able to reminisce fondly of a time that engagingly pushed them to become the successful leaders of tomorrow.

A few items to note:

Academic Updates:

-11th graders will have access to their PSAT score report on Wednesday, December 13th. Score reports are available by logging into his or her college board account. All students will participate in counselor-led informational sessions on how to interpret their score report, and ways to improve their academic skills for future testing. For a more detailed perspective on the score report, please go to http://www.collegeboard.org.

Additionally, 9th, 10th, and 11th graders will be participating in PSAT and SAT testing in the spring (April 10). College Board, in conjunction with Khan Academy, offers instructional, educational videos that are tied to students’ score reports. Please refer to the college board website for additional details.

-In addition to the resources at Code.org, a MIT program named Scratch provides some phenomenal interactive programs to learn coding. If interested, please check out: https://scratch.mit.edu/.

-ASCD article about the need for Mental Health training for educators (correlates with our work with NAMI during Respect Week): “Who in Your Class Needs Help?”

Administrative Updates:

-The Smithfield High School Music Department proudly invites you to their winter concert on Tuesday, December 12, at 7 PM, in the Smithfield High School Auditorium. Donations are welcome, but not required. Delicious Holiday Cookie Trays will be for sale to benefit the Music Department. Hope to see you there!

-Please see this important message from Tri-Town Community Action regarding aid with heating costs this winter: Tri-Town Community Action

-Please consider awarding SHS A+ fundraising donations through the simple use of your Stop and Shop card! Information on how to link your card to SHS fundraising Stop and Shop Fundraising Program:

Stop and Shop A+ Fundraising Instructions (English)

Stop and Shop A+ Fundraising Instructions (Spanish)

Stop and Shop A+ Fundraising Instructions (Online)

-We have begun the winter athletic season! Please check out our Athletics Page for additional information, including schedules.

-Check out our SHS Interactive Map, provided at the SHS Showcase, that has interactive links to highlights from all SHS Departments: SHS Interactive Map

-A special thank you to the Senior class, and to the Senior class advisors: Mr. Snow, Mr. Thibodeau, and Mr. Russillo, for an outstanding SHS Fashion Show! Rave reviews from all! The amount of work and time put into this event is incredible, and it is truly appreciated! Fashion Show Valley Breeze Article

Other Important Dates:

-Tuesday, December 12: SHS Band and Choral Performance: 7-9 PM

-Wednesday, December 20: Alumni Day

-Winter Theme Days:

Monday, 12/18: Red and Green Day

Tuesday, 12/19: “Swinter” (Summer/Winter) Day

Wednesday, 12/20: Polar Express (Flannel) Day

Thursday, 12/21: Holiday Character Costume Day (and the return of Elf on the Shelf…looking for other elves for this year)

Friday, 12/22: Ugly Holiday Sweater Day; Assembly 9:25-10:52; We will have social advisory the entire last period of the day; Schedule forthcoming

Highlights:

-SHS students and staff participating in the Smithfield Holiday Parade:

-Spanish 3 students participating in a virtual museum project:

 

 

 

“Youth has no age.”

-Picasso

#SHSLegacy

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The Sentinel Legacy 12/4/17

The Sentinel Legacy: 12/4/2017

“More than a Week”

-Today we wrapped up an outstanding RESPECT week with a presentation by Cindy Elder, Exec. Director for the RI chapter of NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness). Our speaker series, coupled with our RESPECT day, which focused on mechanisms to increase self-respect as well as outward respect, provided an incredible jumping off point to increase awareness and discussions on a variety of topics related to acceptance, inclusion, and well-being. Some personal reflections on the week:

-Being a person with an academic background in social studies, I was intrigued with Dr. Almandrez’s statements regarding the hidden narrative of society related to elements of diversity, especially the connection to the blanketing over Native American history and tradition within local areas.

-Empathy often begins with a call for help.

-Respect for oneself is fundamental to respecting others, and personal well-being is crucial to developing positive interpersonal interactions

-Tai-Chi, Yoga, and mindfulness exercises work, and work well, in managing stress

-Conflicts can and should be avoided, unless there is injury to a person or people mentally, emotionally, or physically.

-There is a difference between being civil and being polite. Civility can exist in conflict, whereas, in certain instances, emphasis on being polite can undermine the necessity for honest discussion

-Kindness can be the silver lining that shines in the midst of tragedy

-The most important step towards inclusion is to identify when someone is struggling, say hello, and include.

-We are a Sentinel community!

In the wake of a rejuvenating and thought-provoking week, we must recognize that this week only encapsulates a snapshot of the larger picture. For us, as a community, the concepts of acceptance, inclusion, and respect must live on for more than a week, and be the foundation upon which our community grows and endures throughout our lasting legacy.

-On Friday, the Smithfield school community lost an exceptional educator and person, as Kathy Walsh, long-time teacher and librarian, passed away.  Her obituary can be found here: Kathy Walsh.

I was honored to know Kathy as a truly caring and compassionate person, who was devoted to children and education.  She is a true Smithfield legacy, and she will be missed.

A few items to note:

Academic Update:

-This is a great article about the necessity for a shift in professional practice in education: “It’s Time to Throw Out the Playbook”

-On Friday, 12/8, SHS will be participating in the annual “Hour of Code”, which teaches basic programming to students throughout the country. More information can be found here: https://code.org/. Currently, according to NEIT (New England Institute of Technology), there are over 2000 IT jobs currently unoccupied in Rhode Island due to the lack of qualified applicants.

Administrative Updates:

-Please see this important message from Tri-Town Community Action regarding aid with heating costs this winter: Tri-Town Community Action

-Please consider awarding SHS A+ fundraising donations through the simple use of your Stop and Shop card! Information on how to link your card to SHS fundraising Stop and Shop Fundraising Program:

Stop and Shop A+ Fundraising Instructions (English)

Stop and Shop A+ Fundraising Instructions (Spanish)

Stop and Shop A+ Fundraising Instructions (Online)

-Representatives from NAMI (National Association on Mental Illness) will be conducting a presentation for parents, entitled Parents and Teachers as Allies, from 5:30-6:45 in SHS Media Center. This presentation is similar to student and teacher presentations being conducted by NAMI this week at SHS.

-We have begun the winter athletic season! Please check out our Athletics Page for additional information, including schedules.

Meet the Sentinels: Ep. 4: Coach Jackson and Nakayah Dagraca

-Congratulations to 7 of our SHS Music students for being accepted into an Rhode Island Music Educator’s All-state ensemble! The audition process is highly rigorous and selective. These students will participate in a festival concert with students from around the state in March. Congratulations!

  • Maia Bowker – Band
  • Max Votolato – Band
  • Zander Semerjian – Orchestra
  • Meghan Mitchell – Chorus
  • Abby Sayles – Chorus
  • Darianna Perez – Chorus
  • David Alexander – Chorus

-Check out our SHS Interactive Map, provided at the SHS Showcase, that has interactive links to highlights from all SHS Departments: SHS Interactive Map

 

-Congrats to Alex Collins, Ryan Lane, and Alec Devine on their Academic All-State Honors for Cross Country! Well-done!

 

-Our annual SHS Senior Fashion Show will be on Friday, December 8, from 7-10 PM! Tickets for the show are available at all lunches!

-Very thankful at our SHS Showcase to have guest chef Jonathan Poyourow, an Assistant Professor in the College of Culinary Arts at Johnson and Wales University, cook alongside our students as part of our Family Consumer Science program. He, along with JWU and SHS students, made pasta from scratch, with three different sauces alongside it. He was formerly a division dietician in the US Army,and can articulate how different sports require different nutritional needs, what — and when — athletes should eat for optimal performance, food’s healing factors and the proper balance of proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Poyourow also hosts biweekly Cooking with Class segments on Providence NBC affiliate WJAR Channel 10. His areas of expertise include Athletic Performance Cuisine, Culinary Nutrition, and Military Fitness Nutrition.

 

Other Important Dates:

-Monday, December 4: NAMI Presentation Ending the Silence: See above; Parent Presentation Parents and Teachers as Allies from 5:30-6:45 in SHS Media Center

-Thursday, December 7: No School: Professional Development Day

-Friday, December 8: SHS Hour of Code

-Friday, December 8: SHS Fashion Show: 7-10 PM

-Tuesday, December 12: SHS Band and Choral Performance: 6-9 PM

-Wednesday, December 20: Alumni Day

Highlights:

 

-RESPECT Week:

 

-Dr. Almandrez, Dean of Students at Brown University, speaking to the SHS student body on the topics of diversity and inclusion

-Positive student affirmations from a session on Eating Disorders and Body Image

-Presentation on creating a safe, supportive, and respectful school for LGBTQ students

-Presentation from US AG Investigator and Retired State Trooper, David Neill, on the effects of substance abuse and substance abuse prevention

-Anti-Bullying presentations side-by-side with a “tinkering” as a positive stress management mechanism

-Self-Defense session with SRO John Ricciarelli, and his father, assistant director of the municipal police training academy, David Ricciarelli

-Using Art as a stress management mechanism

-Session on Diversity and Inclusion with Mrs. Santana and Mrs. Daniels

-Yoga Session with Mrs. Janani Sakthivel

-Respect Day Presentation by representatives from Mastery Martial Arts

-Pictures of multiple sessions from Respect Day, with our Respect Day coordinator, Mrs. Barry!

 

 

-Ernie Jean-Baptiste, Presenter from Sandy Hook Promise, teaching our students about kindness by Starting with Hello!

 

 

-Cindy Elder, Exec. Director of NAMI RI, speaking to our students about Mental Health Awareness:

 

 

-SHS Showcase Pics:

 

“Respect was invented to cover the empty place where love should be.”

-Tolstoy

#SHSLegacy