Thursday, September 25, 2014

In the Name of Good Communication

Yesterday's Incident in Morrisville

As you probably have read by now, the suspect in yesterday's incident in Morrisville has been apprehended. This morning we reviewed the incident in our regularly scheduled Crisis Team Meeting. I would like to share some thoughts about security procedures at Stowe Middle & High School. 

  • First, we take security very seriously. The safety of your children when in our care is our first and always concern. We drill regularly. One other irony: I had originally planned a security drill for yesterday morning, but, cancelled due to conflicts. We will have one next week. We conduct these drills every other month. 
  • One item we discussed is the  difference between our secure the building/clear the hallways procedure and a lockdown procedure. If a perpetrator---God forbid---should ever threaten our campus, we would use the secure the building procedure where everyone goes immediately to a secure interior area. If we had been notified by authorities to lockdown---which we were not yesterday---we would initiate a lockdown procedure of all our perimeter doors. In this case, classes would continue unless new evidence of a more immediate threat became known. 
  • During a lockdown procedure (as well as during a secure the building procedure) the red light on the side of the main canopy above our school entrance would be flashing. Please, whenever you see this light flashing do not try and enter the building. We cannot open doors to allow anyone to enter. Please remain calm and wait for information to be distributed by authorities at the scene in the event of an incident, or, for the light to stop flashing to indicate a drill is over. 
  • Following next week's secure the building drill, we will review with faculty and students our procedures. Please help us by stressing to your child how important it is to cooperate and participate in drills with a serious attitude. 
We live in an evermore complex world; threats to our safety do exist---but, joy, compassion, and kindness also abound and are easily found. Help us to convey a balanced message of attention to prudent drills and procedures while reassuring students to not live in a perpetual state of fear. 

Thank you, 

Jeff Maher 

Monday, September 22, 2014

 Seasonal Change

Just as we begin to see change as calendar autumn begins today, so does the school year have its cyclical rthymn. The hurly-burly of opening days, the 'newness' of each new school year has settled. With the establishment of routine and schedules though, comes substantive progress as we work with students by class, subject, and school-wide. 

Last Friday afternoon all students in grades 9-11 spent the afternoon working on their personal learning plan which we call Anagnorisis, an ancient Greek word meaning 'Discover your Identity; Plan you Future'. We are working especially hard with students on coaching them to improve their skills associated with reflective thinking. To view the materials we used on Friday, and, to help you follow along with our Anagnorisis initiative, we have created a website on Anagnorisis which is located on the existing school website on the left side of the page. The link to the site is:

We all should be proud of how Anagnorisis is taking hold in this school. I think we can now begin to see its transformative power and not just potential. As students are graduated from Stowe High School each year, we will have confidence they have not only reached standards in our academic curriculum; but, they also will leave as problem-solvers, decision-makers, and communicators---and will have practiced taking the initiative and giving back through service to others. 

Focus on Instruction

Ms. Wells explains the telemetry of the rocket launch to a student in one of her earth science classes. The launch was the culminating activity of an inquiry lab which emphasizes the concept of 'experimental design'---HRICCD---or, hypothesis, repetition, independent variables, constant variables, control, dependent variables. 
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And did you catch last Friday's Girls' Soccer game at P.A.? What an exciting win! Go Raiders!!

Have a great week, 

Jeff Maher

Monday, September 15, 2014


Hi Folks, 

It's mid-September already and frost is in the air. Stowe High School has been a busy place since we started the 2014-15 school year in late August. At the end of last we week we joined forces with Stowe Middle School to accept the Ice Bucket Challenge. A hardy crew took their medicine for a good cause in front of the assembled schools. 

I also want to take a moment to communicate what we will be doing this Friday, September 19. As usual, our seniors will be leaving in the morning to take senior pictures at various sites around Stowe. One site will be selected for publication in the yearbook. Seniors will then gather at McCarthy's for lunch courtesy of their class. They are not required to return to school that afternoon. 

Following Period 4 and lunch, students in grades 9, 10, and 11 will spend the afternoon working on Anagnorisis preparation. Please recall, especially if you are a grade nine parent/guardian, that Anagnorisis is our version of a personal learning plan. In addition to helping students to structure their Google portfolio, we will also conduct practice to develop quality written reflection within the portfolio. It is very important that all students be in attendance except for genuine emergency. Please see the website for further information and resources on Anagnorsis:

The schedule for the day is as follows: 

 September 19, 2014 - Freshmen, Sophomores and Juniors

Abbreviated schedule with periods 1 - 4

                               11:45 - 12:15                                Cafeteria
                               12:15 - 12:55                                Auditorium
Overall presentation of Anagnorisis, why, timeline, stories of success, expectations, video of one senior - all students in the auditorium
                               1:00 - 1:30                                TA locations
Reflection Training -definition, set of questions, and discussion in groups by T.A.
                               1:35 - 2:05                                TA locations
Video Viewing - discussion by TA, throughout the video
                               2:10 - 2:34                                TA locations / auditorium
Organization time - sophomores and juniors by TA 24 minutes
Q and A and processing for freshmen (freshmen and senior TA’s) in auditorium