Weekly Round Up 9/25/2016


At Ballard High School, our mission is to maximize every minute with our students to provide them high level, responsive, engaging instruction in a safe, student-centered environment where all are treated with dignity and kindness.

It’s no secret that I think we need to work hard on the adult side of our school culture, and it’s why I have made positivity a theme for the year and invited you all to sign a Positivity Pledge.  We have exceptional students in our school, strong programs, experienced colleagues, and a positive reputation in the community.  There is so much to celebrate that it really takes me aback when I hear of people talking hatefully about their colleagues or becoming outraged at some perceived slight.  We have got to get our priorities together!

Our colleague in the Math Department, Rob Donaldson, is incredibly ill in the ICU.  His father shared how excited Rob was to be coming to Ballard when we offered him a transfer in the spring, and it was the happiest they had seen him in awhile.  That is how much people want to come to Ballard.  Tragically, Rob is now so ill that he will probably not return, and we need to provide support to his students during this difficult time.

We also have a very sick young girl in our school, and it has been so heartwarming to see our students and staff reach out and offer support for Amzie and her fight with cancer. What is even more uplifting is Amzie and her positive outlook and determination to fight. She has influenced and impressed many in the school and in the community.  Again, we need to be able to pull together as a staff to support our kids and each other in the coming weeks.

I received the most wonderful e-mail last week from Amzie’s mom that I want to share with you all now:

There aren’t words to adequately express my thanks and gratitude for the tremendous love and support shown Amzie by the entire Bruin family!  It is truly adding to her energy and strengthening her will to keep fighting.

Amzie loves encouraging others and gets so much joy seeing others being kind and encouraging.  The Ballard students are certainly bringing her joy by their actions!  Not just their kindness towards her, but feeling like her message of “kindness to everyone” is making a difference. And it means a lot to her sister Kyndal (freshman) too, seeing all the people that love or care about Amzie.

Amzie absolutely loves learning, loves Ballard and loves her classmates.  On more than one occasion she has told me that she wants to keep going to school as long as she possibly can.  I appreciate how the teachers are being flexible with her schedule and understanding her inability to complete all her assignments due to her declining health.  But I can tell you she still works so hard on homework and assignments and she HATES that she can’t do all the work!  There are many nights I have to make her stop working and go to bed!  I have to give credit to the teachers for making the subjects so interesting and fun that it engages her even when she doesn’t feel well.

A huge, heartfelt thank you to administration, teachers, staff and students for all you are doing to make Amzie’s days fulfilling and happy!  I have been brought to tears over and over seeing the huge smile on Amzie’s face and the twinkle in her eyes as she talks about her day at school!  The BEST school… Ballard!

I implore all of you to remember these words and keep working on our pledge to stay positive and lift each other up.


images (1) At our last staff meeting we discussed cognitive engagement in the context of Component 3C of the Framework for Teaching – Engaging Students in Learning.  Here is an article on the Golden Rules for Engaging Students.

images (1)This is another good article describing important components for a classroom that is cognitively engaging.

Power of Positivity

Please watch: 10 Ways to Be More Positive Everyday


√ Congratulations to Michelle McKelvy, who received a Golden Oar Award from Dr. Hargens based on a lovely e-mail from a student!

√ I wanted to inform you all that I got word that Susan Hanks decided to start her retirement this fall, so congratulations to her.

√ I need to thank the many members of our Math Department for their hard work on behalf of our students in Rob Donaldson’s classes.  Since Rob has been out, they have provided lesson plans, graded work, entered grades, and communicated with parents during this difficult time.

√ I got this message from a parent, who signed the e-mail “Proud Parent:”

I saw members of the football team walking the grounds picking up trash and debris. The outside of school has never looked better!  Thank you for this activity promoting school pride!  Keep up the good work! GO BRUINS!


Happy Birthday in September to: Michelle Miller (4th), Kim Barber (9th), Mark Catlett (9th), Gladys Akrong (10th), Kerri Dixon (13th), Terri Sgro (15th), Chris Ann Cherry (19th), Lesli Poynter (19th), Alissa Hebermehl (21st), Annie Katzman (23rd), Elle Bond (25th), Myra Collins (28th), Natalie Waddell (30th)!

Happy Birthday in October to: Glenda Jones (1st), Dave “Sarge” Hill (2nd), Greg Willis (7th), Suzanne Taylor (11th), Kathy Cail (16th), Sarah McClanahan (20th), Chris Osters (23rd), Terrie Gupton (25th), Todd Howard (26th), Vicki Conley (29th), Mariana Tackett (29th), John Bunting (31st), and Naresh Keswani (31st)!



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