Weekly Round Up 1/22/17


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.

I hope everyone is staying healthy so far this winter. There are lots of nasty viruses going around, so keep washing your hands and drinking your OJ!

February will be a busy month for us. During that time we have to complete PGES peer observations; Comprehensive School Surveys for students, staff, and parents; scheduling for next year; ACT preparations; ILPs; and more. Oh yeah, and teach our students!!! This time of year it is easy to get distracted because so many distractions are thrown at us, but let’s vow to keep reminding each other to step back from the to-do lists and remember to focus on our students and their growth. I need those reminders too, especially during this time of year.

One of the things coming up will be budget plans for next year. The good news is that there are not supposed to be any new cuts to our budgets. The bad news is that we will not get back what we lost last year. I have not gotten our specific information yet – that will come in February – but we will convene a Budget Committee to meet next month. If you are interested in serving on the Budget Committee, please shoot me an e-mail expressing your interest. There are some of you out there in leadership programs, and this could be a relevant experience for you.


images (1) This article has some interesting information on education trends for 2017. It is mostly focus on educational technology trends, but in reading about them, there are instructional implications and reflections on where teaching and learning may be headed.

images (1) Here is an article about how a school in London is developing oracy/public speaking skills in students. There are some activity ideas as well as a framework for teaching and evaluating student oracy. We often have students do presentations in classes, and speaking skills are part of our literacy standards for all subjects, but there might be some ideas in here for you for speaking models, writing skills, and self-evaluation.

Power of Positivity

These 2 articles discuss how professionals can find ways to find meaning and purpose in their work:

People Want to See Meaning in Their Work

Seeing the Meaning in Our Work, Part 2



BIG congratulations to Chris Renner, who achieved his 500th win as Ballard Basketball Coach over the winter break. He was presented a trophy this past week to recognize this impressive accomplishment.

√ We have 3 staff members retiring this month, and that is coming up quickly! Please join me in congratulating, acknowledging, and thanking Chris Goodwin, Yvonne Riggs, and Ann Thiemann for all they have contributed to the students and staff of Ballard during their time here. We know they are excited about new opportunities, but I hope they will remember…Once a Bruin, Always a Bruin!

Please stop by the Counseling Suite conference room Tuesday afternoon to give Yvonne a Ballard send-off. Also, there will be a reception in room E254 after school this Wednesday to celebrate Chris and Ann.


Happy Birthday in January to: Teresa Baldwin (4th), Ann Thiemann (7th), Tracy Anderson (10th), Teresa Hinkle-Jones (10th), Vita Ohlmann (14th), Emily Forrester (18th), Geoff Lamb (22nd), Mark Gividen (23rd), and Pam Brakmeier (25th)!


Weekly Round Up New Year Edition!


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.

Happy 2017! I hope you all enjoyed the break and had a very happy holiday season with your families and friends. It always goes by so quickly, but I realize that we are fortunate in our field to have this opportunity to catch our breath and focus on our loved ones. We have a lot of work to do this semester to get our students ready for ACT, state testing, AP exams, and graduation!

I also need to let you all know that our sweet student Amzie Smith is now at Hosparus, where they can make her as comfortable as possible during her final days. This news is going to make the coming weeks difficult for our students and staff, and we have to remember to show kindness, strength, and support for our kids and for each other. We have all benefitted from knowing Amzie and experiencing her positivity and touching journey. Please keep her family in your thoughts (some of you have her sister in your class), and I will let you know as we get more information.


images (1) We know that we all have to be teachers of literacy within our own content to best impact our students’ ability to read and write proficiently.  Here is an article with some specific strategies to use in every classroom to teach reading skills.

images (1) I found this article interesting about the latest technologies that are starting to appear in classrooms. Some we are ready for now and some are interesting to explore their applications for our students!

images (1) One of the more difficult problems to handle in the classroom is student backtalk.  This article from Fred Jones provides some strategies and perspective for responding appropriately.

Power of Positivity

From Jon Gordon:

20 Tips for a Positive New Year

Updated for 2017

1. Stay Positive. You can listen to the cynics and doubters and believe that success is impossible or you can trust that with faith and an optimistic attitude all things are possible.

2. Take a daily “Thank You Walk.” It will create a fertile mind ready for success.

3. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and less foods manufactured in plants.

4. Talk to yourself instead of listen to yourself. Instead of listening to your complaints, fears and doubts, talk to yourself and feed your mind with words of truth and encouragement.

5. Post a sign that says “No Energy Vampires Allowed.” Gandhi said, “I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.”

6. Be a great team member. When you help your team improve, you improve.

7. Don’t chase success. Decide to make a difference and build meaningful relationships and success will find you.

8. Get more sleep. You can’t replace sleep with a double latte.

9. Don’t waste your precious energy on gossip, energy vampires, issues of the past, negative thoughts or things you cannot control.

10. You don’t have to be great to serve but you have to serve to be great. Look for opportunities to Love, Serve and Care.

11. Live your purpose. Remember why you do what you do. We don’t get burned out because of what we do. We get burned out because we forget why we do it.

12. There’s no such thing as an overnight success. Anything worthwhile takes time to build.

13. Trust that everything happens for a reason and expect good things to come out of challenging experiences.

14. Implement the No Complaining Rule. If you are complaining, you’re not leading.

15. Read more books than you did in 2016.

16. Don’t seek happiness. Instead live with love, passion and purpose and happiness will find you.

17. Focus on “Get to” vs “Have to.” Each day focus on what you get to do, not what you have to do. Life is a gift not an obligation.

18. The next time you “fail” remember that it’s not meant to define you. It’s meant to refine you.

19. Smile and laugh more. They are natural anti-depressants.

20. Enjoy the ride. You only have one ride through life so make the most of it and enjoy it.

Download these tips as a Printable PDF Here >

How will you make 2017 more positive?



We will have a faculty meeting this Tuesday at 2:35 in the Chorus room.  I will have the updated spring meetings schedule available for you at the meeting.

√ We have some new staff members to welcome to Ballard this week.  I hope you all will join me in providing a positive experience for these folks as they “jump into the fray” mid-year.

  • Karen Alcantara will be taking over for Mariana Tackett, who moved to St. Louis because of her husband’s new job.  Señora Alcantara is originally from Venezuela and is certified in Spanish and French.
  • Maureen (Mo) Riley is joining our ECE Department to replace Chris Engstrand, who had to resign suddenly to take care of family matters.  We are sorry to see him go, and he certainly did not want to leave us mid-year.  Ms. Riley just graduated from UL and is excited to be a Bruin.
  • Vanessa Brown starts Thursday as our new Order/Receiving Clerk. She is a go-getter, and you will enjoy getting to know her.

√ Please continue enforcing the new procedures regarding hall passes.  Working together we can reduce the traffic in the halls in order to provide a safer environment:

  • No hall passes the first 10 minutes or last 10 minutes of class.

  • No hall passes during 5th period. 

  • No hall passes after 2:00.

These also apply to teacher aides.  If you have specific needs during these times, please speak with me.

**Note: the 10 minute/5th period rule does not apply to students going to math tutoring.  Students who have a math tutoring note may report early in their class period so as to get enough time with the tutors.

√ Planning began last spring to create for Ballard an Athletic Hall of Fame in order to create an exciting event to bring alumni back to the school to be involved.  Many folks have worked to make this dream a reality, and I am happy to announce that we will host the inaugural Hall of Fame banquet on Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017, at the Marriott East ballroom.  Tickets can be purchased for the event at bhshof.eventbrite.com.  It is a public event, and all are invited to attend.  We have 11 in our first class of inductees to honor.  They are: Marty Bailen (longtime supporter), Pat Crawford (1st principal), Allan Houston (class of 1989), Jeremi Johnson (class of 1999), Jeff Lamp (class of 1977), Gary Plock (class of 1974), Jim Reuther (1st athletic director), Sally Sligar (class of 1975), Jeremy Sowers (class of 2001), Susan Stoddard (class of 1982), and Kent Taylor (class of 1973).


Happy Birthday in January to: Teresa Baldwin (4th), Ann Thiemann (7th), Tracy Anderson (10th), Teresa Hinkle-Jones (10th), Vita Ohlmann (14th), Emily Forrester (18th), Geoff Lamb (22nd), Mark Gividen (23rd), and Pam Brakmeier (25th)!