Monday, April 13, 2015

Welcome back!

Welcome to the final marking period of the year!  I trust that everyone had a very restful Spring Break, and I’m excited to have everyone back in school as we begin our sprint toward the end of the year.  Time will be flying as these next few weeks go by, and it’s important that everyone keep their academic focus as the days get longer, the weather warms, and it becomes more tempting to put school work aside for other activities.

Our kids never fail to impress me at Henley, and these past couple of months have been no exception.  We’ve seen tremendous success from our robotics team and our academic bowl team with both having opportunities to move to high levels of state and national competitions.  Our students had great showings at the annual science fair and National History Day competitions with some moving on to the next level in a few weeks. 

We’ve got a lot of things going on a Henley during these final couple of months of school.  In April we have our last full-school dance of the year, our annual Track and Field Day, a model UN field trip to Washington DC, and visits from our rising sixth grade students.  In May comes SOL testing, the Wallops Island trip, the eighth grade dinner dance, and our annual spring plays.  We’ll wrap things up in June with some end of year field trips and our eighth grade awards assembly which will take place on the last day of school at 10:00 in the Henley gym.

There’s lots to be proud of at Henley this year, and many great activities and events to come.  I look forward sharing all of these with our Henley students, and know that we are going to finish the year in a great way.  Go Hornets!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Golden Apple

I am very happy to announce that this year’s Golden Apple award winner for excellence in education is Diana Pace.  There are so many reasons that I can think of which make Diana a deserving recipient of this award, and I’ll try to name a few of them here.   What immediately comes to mind is her selfless dedication to so many of the neediest children that pass through our doors.  She is always thinking of ways that she can reach them better, giving up her personal time to meet with them or their parents, or advocating for them in IEP meetings.  The list of the ways she devotes her time to kids could go on or a long time.  Above and beyond that, however, are the relationships Diana builds with her students—she really loves each and every one of them, even though some days they make it harder than others.  Diana is also continually looking for ways in which she can get better as a teacher.   She is willing to try new things with instruction, technology and classroom management.  She’s been at Henley for quite some time, and her love of and dedication to the school is always evident.  Whenever we need volunteers to talk about issues that impact the school and to come up with ideas to solve a problem we are facing, we will usually find Diana volunteering for that group.  Staff members often look to her for guidance and support as well, and she is always willing to listen and make suggestions that can help them along the way.  I’m so glad that Diana’s hard work and dedication are being recognized this year.   Congratulations to an outstanding teacher.

Loved Lessons

Here's one from Eric Betthauser's Guitar class:

It was several weeks ago that I saw this lesson, but I wanted to make sure I got a chance to write about some of the work that Eric Betthauser’s guitar students did this year.  I stopped by his classroom and students were paired up both in the room and out in the hallway to write their own blues songs.  They were learning some blues riffs on their guitars and were working together to develop lyrics and music to perform for their peers.  The kids I saw working together were having a great time and learning an incredible amount.  They were critiquing their own and their partners work, revising and improving their lyrics when something didn’t seem quite right, and writing music that was incredibly meaningful and personal to them.  This was one of those great lessons in which the teacher in the classroom really is just a facilitator of learning.  Eric had given the kids all of the tools they would need to create this music, and then he let them go.  If they hit a wall or didn’t understand how to do something, he was there to help, but for the most part they were on their own creating, analyzing, revising and performing their original works.  They were highly engaged in a lesson and were learning a skill that will stay with them forever.  Great lesson, Eric!