Friday, April 11, 2014

Rumor has it ... 

... that spring is finally in the air. Let's hope---we could all use it. With some luck, we will get our spring sports teams out on the fields shortly after break. 

Before you and your family enjoy spring break, I just want to highlight a couple of events from the last week or so at Stowe High School. 

A World Cafe ... took place last Tuesday evening. Sponsored by the Parent-Student-Teacher Team at SHS, this event was addressed at substance abuse issues, within our community and around the state. Mr. Skip Gates was our keynote speaker. Mr. Gates is featured in the film The Opiate Effect, a somber, powerful examination of the tragic death of his son from a heroin overdose. Mr. Gates shared his perspective, as he has done for the last several years, to raise awareness of the danger of opiates---especially among individuals and families who you wouldn't consider 'typical' users. Productive discussion followed the presentation. Mr. Tris Coffin, US Attorney for Vermont, Chief Don Hull, and other area service providers participated in discussion with parents and community members.  Mr. Gates also presented to the high school student body during an assembly earlier that day. 

I would like to thank PSTT, the Stoweflake, and Pierre LaFlamme for all their hard work in making this event happen. Thank you too to the many parents and community members who attended. Please share what you learned with others---the dangers of these drugs are real and present. 

Anagnorisis Presentations ... for the junior class began last Friday and will continue on Friday, April 25. This junior  class is the first group to be graduated with the requirement that they demonstrate progress towards our building-wide expectations of communication, problem-solving, decision-making, service, and, initiative. Using their digital portfolios, juniors developed presentations evaluated by faculty committees. Following completion of the process on April 25, students will receive feedback and notification whether they received .5 of the Anagnorisis graduation credit. If notified they did not receive the credit, they will receive conditions by which they can attain the credit. The other half of this graduation credit will be awarded during senior year for a Senior Reflection Paper

We are excited by the implementation of Anagnorisis, a now 4-year process. Anagnorisis is our version of a personal learning plan---something the state of Vermont is now mandating. We are even more excited that our students are self-recognizing the value of Anagnorisis for 'discovering their identity' and 'planning their future'! 

Have a great break!! 

Jeff Maher

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Reminder: "World Cafe" Forum on Substance Prevention

Time: 6:45 p.m. 
Location: Stoweflake

*Speaker----Mr. Skip Gates, featured in the film The Opiate Effect. Following the video, Mr. Gates will speak about the effects of heroin on his family. Mr. Tristan Coffrin, U.S. Attorney and Chief Don Hull will also be in attendance to answer questions after the presentation. 

Mr. Gates made a powerful and relevant presentation to Stowe High School students earlier today. I hope you can join us tonight. 

Jeff Maher

Friday, March 14, 2014

Winter Ends With A Blast!

... and not just with a good ole March snowstorm. What a great winter athletic season! Congratulations to our alpine, nordic, and basketball teams for well-played seasons!! Girl's hockey played to the limit in an epic double overtime game in the semi-finals of the playoffs, and, then there is our Lake Division State Championship Boy's Hockey Team. Well done all Raider players, coaches, and, supporters!!!
If you had a chance to read the March 13 edition of the Stowe Reporter, I am quoted in the article with reference to observing both our team and fans conducted themselves to a high level of sportsmanship. I just want to take a moment to thank everyone for this behavior; it reflected well on school and community. While winning is sweet---winning as 'good sports' is sweeter still.
Nor has winter been solely about athletics. Raider thespians have been active and successful as well. On March 8 the Stowe High School Thespian Society hosted The Vermont Regional One Act Festival. Called 'Jailhouse Blues', thespians from area high schools attended workshops, and, performed their one-act productions for an assembly of theater professionals. Our performance of I Never Saw Another Butterfly earned Raider thespians a trip to States! Well done!! Congratulations to the actors and director Jane Harissis.
2014 World Café @ The Stoweflake
On a more somber note, we know from our data such as the Vermont Youth Risk Behavior Survey, that students at our school do not always turn to healthy pursuits like sports and drama as outlets in their lives. In our on-going effort to help inform students and parents on the dangers inherent to substance use, in cooperation with the SHS Parent-Student-Teacher Team, we are hosting an event called 'World Cafe' on the evening of April 1 from 7-9 p.m. at the Stoweflake. 
Please join us, area substance professionals, and, Mr. Skip Gates, the parent of a U.V.M. student who lost his life while using heroin. Mr. Gates will present to an assembly of students earlier during the school day. I hope I will see many of you at this important event. Parents of grade 8 students are encouraged to attend. Thank you.
Jeff Maher

Friday, February 21, 2014

By Winter Break It Is Time To ...
Take some Raider Pride in our recently released New England Common Assessments in English and Mathematics scores.
Thank our winter coaches, players, and fans for a great season. Good luck to all as the play-offs begin next week!
Think spring, especially for the junior class as they contemplate presenting their Anagnorisis  portfolios in April. Special thanks are due to the six juniors who presented over the past week as a pilot group!
Wish the Thespian Society well as they gear up to host the "One-Act Play Competition" on March 8!
Commend Ty Walker, our hometown Olympian, as she returns to her busy schedule!
Commend Sam Reed, recently notified as a Finalist in the National Merit Scholarship Competition, and, a nominee as a Presidential Scholar.
Vote at Town Meeting, March 4!
Wishing you rest and recreation with family and friends!!!
Jeff Maher

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Chinese Students Visit Stowe Middle & High School

During the week of January 27 Stowe Middle & High School enjoyed a visit by six students and a teacher from China. Amy McArdle, SHS Guidance Counselor and Mairead Harris SMS/SHS Chinese Teacher organized the logistics of host-families, events, a welcoming assembly, and classroom activities. The Dolan, Dunkling, Nicholson, Nuzzo, Reed, and Trowbridge families extended a warm Stowe welcome to our guests.

In addition to the assembly and classroom activities at both Stowe Middle and High Schools, students Zhou Weihao, Chen Nuoran, Xi Yuetong, Chen Qihui, Shu Yiming, and Ni Yiran, and, their teacher Li Di also enjoyed a State House tour in Montpelier, a pot-luck dinner with families and school personnel, and, our Winter Concert! A rich and rewarding week was had by all.

We are very excited about the growth of our Chinese program in both middle and high schools. I urge you to consider Chinese language study as you plan your 2014-2015 schedule.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

RAIDER PRIDE: "Janet Godin Named Coach-of-the-Year!"
Please join me in congratulating Janet Godin, who received word today that she was named Division III Twin State Coach-of-the-Year. Coach Godin led her team to victory this past fall to bring a championship trophy to Stowe High School.

We love Coach Godin, though, for far more than numbers in the 'win' column; she is that special coach and adult who makes a difference in the lives of students. As a role model and mentor she develops strong, positive relationships. Her kindness, empathy, and even the occasional 'raised eyebrow' have supported countless Stowe Middle & High School students in moments of need, or, to guide them to do the right thing.

Well done and much deserved coach!!!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Mid-Term Exams: "It's About Effort"

Dear S.H.S. Parent/Guardian & Student,

International exam performance is well, and, often publicized in the popular press. Sometimes it feels like a steady drumbeat: math scores, reading scores, writing scores, science scores; Singapore, S. Korea, Japan, Finland, Shanghai, etc.. You know how it sounds. It has a common, repetitive rhythm---'they' are doing better than 'us'. 

Now, you do have to discount for how these international reports are constructed. They can 'cook' and skew the data; but, let's put that aside. Discussion on how 'we' as a country are doing also usually turns quickly to socio-economic factors holding American students back. Poverty, the mother's level of education, community support for schools are all real, valid, and research-based variables that can hold American students back; but, let's put those variables aside too. Do schools, principals, and teachers make mistakes that can contribute to holding American students back? Yes, these mistakes happen, even here at Stowe High School despite our best efforts. Nonetheless, even with all these variables taken into account, we still have to put them aside. Something else is at work in other nations.  

Why talk about these international exams, though, in the context of Stowe High School's annual mid-term exams? Relevance for we who are students, parents, and educators in Stowe, VT, U.S.A. is the same as for every other student, parent, and educator in the nation. It has to do with what is at the very core of the issue: effort. 

When you unpack the international exam reports. When you read the fine detail of time-on-task, study schedules, and, expectations of parents for their students in other countries what emerges from the reports is a direct, clear, correlation between effort and performance. While on the surface this does not seem like it should be a startling revelation---I think we all understand and assume this correlation, the fact remains, students in countries that report high performance results on exams score high because they make the effort ... a greater effort than do students in the United States, even among many high-performing U.S. students.

Next week from Tuesday through Friday, Stowe High School will administer mid-term exams. There is no school on Monday. No extra-curricular activities are scheduled any night before an exam. Two exams are scheduled each day. Students only need to be here when taking an exam, though quiet areas are available should a student wish to stay through the day. The schedule is in the daily announcements on our website. Teachers have spent this week preparing students to take these exams.

Please join me and our teachers in supporting our students to set aside the next three days as study days. Social life should be put on hold; exercise as a break is encouraged. Good nutrition and sleep are important.

EFFORT, and only effort, however, will lead to success, for your student, and, for our country. Thank you. Good luck---and work hard. I have confidence each student can meet the challenge.

Mr. Maher