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Letter from the Superintendent

Greetings Arrowhead Community,

I have good news and bad news to share, through two, seemingly unrelated bits of information. However, indeed a connection does exist between these topics; they both (citizenship and trustworthiness) are pillars of character education. Volunteerism and honesty at school are excellent opportunities for our students to see and emulate, and will help prepare these young adults for their futures.

The good news:  

April 10 - 16 is National Volunteer Week.  Arrowhead is extremely fortunate to have dozens and dozens, even hundreds, of volunteers whose time and efforts significantly contribute to the success of our school.  From the volunteers in structured organizations, such as the Arrowhead Scholarship Fund (ASF) Board or the Booster club, to periodic volunteers who serve as a chaperones or guest speakers in classes, Arrowhead staff members greatly appreciate all of you. Thanks!

The bad news:

Although certainly not a crisis-level problem at Arrowhead… some students cheat. One opportunity we all have is reinforcing the importance of academic honesty and the value of learning over grades. During the 2014-15 school year, approximately 40 incidents were referred to administration for ‘academic dishonesty,’ including copying answers, using someone else’s work/plagiarism, forgery, sharing test information, etc.  This school year has yielded 16 referrals to administration for cheating.

This raises the question: Why do students cheat?  The NorthStar for Principals journal states, “A good argument is that students cheat because they are focused on grades and other external rewards rather than on learning.”

National facts about cheating:  

  • 73% of all test takers, including prospective graduate students and teachers, agree that most students do cheat at some point. 84% of high school students agree with this premise.

  • In the 1940s, 20% of college students admitted to cheating in high school. Today, between 75% and 98% of college students surveyed each year report having cheated in high school.

  • Math and science are the subjects in which most cheating occurs.

  • Academic dishonesty seems to begin at the high/middle school level, where 2 out of 3 students report cheating on exams, and 9 out of 10  report copying others’ homework.

  • Cheating is seen by many students as a legitimate means to a profitable end.

At Arrowhead High School, I hope we all (students, staff, families and community) stress that effort and meaningful learning are more important than grades. Effort and learning are important life-skills. These will impact life-long happiness and success far more than obtaining high grades will.

NorthStar for Principals.  Vol. 9, October, 2013. 



Laura Myrah

Superintendent
myrah@arrowheadschools.org

Learning Matters:
Reading Academic Focus

One area of focus for Arrowhead High School for the 2015-2016 school year is in reading, we call it our ‘Academic Focus.’  An Academic Focus means that teachers and students across the curriculum are honing in on various reading skills that connect to reading in certain disciplines. Social studies classes may focus more on how to read primary source documents while other content areas may be learning how to build confidence with reading discipline-specific or challenging texts.  Students are learning and practicing strategies that will help them grow as readers and prepare them for college and career reading.

In elementary school, young students learn to read. In middle and high school, students read to learn.  Generally, the focus on reading at the high school level is on comprehension and making meaning from what is read. Although we highly encourage our students to read for pleasure, a lot of the reading students do in high school is for a purpose- to develop background knowledge, prepare for class discussions, to research, or to engage with course topics from a different perspective.  Dale Destache, math teacher at South Campus, is passionate about students reading for learning in math.  He says, “Reading is a very big part of upper level math.  It is  necessary that students carefully read every assignment and try to understand the concepts on an elementary level before we discuss the material in class.  Reading will enable students to ‘catch up’ when they are absent or ‘go ahead’ when they wish to. Reading is essential for becoming an independent learner, and pre-reading allows us to cover the material in class more efficiently allowing for time in class to work on problem solving.” Furthermore, as many more reading-related activities take place on electronic devices (ipads, laptops, etc.) students continue to learn what the best strategies are for reading online/interactive text.  At the same time, many students and staff continue to share the importance of preserving some of the traditional reading strategies that remain relevant for all different types of readings.  As students prepare for reading after high school, they need to have practice learning to read in both online and paper texts. Helping students understand the thinking they are doing while they are reading is the key.

English teacher and enthusiastic reader, Terri Carnell, explains that “reading is thinking.”  She says, “When students are reading, they are questioning, connecting, predicting, summarizing, synthesizing, interfering and interpreting… they are THINKING!”

Terri Carnell leads the Arrowhead staff once a month in professional learning surrounding new strategies that support students’ growth in the area of reading. She is passionate about students building their confidence with reading, learning how to make strong connections to what is read, and helping staff further refine the strategies they teach to help students grow.  Mrs. Carnell also facilitates the Word of the Week (W.O.W.) program for students and staff.  The idea behind W.O.W. is for students to build vocabulary.  Teachers and students are encouraged to use the W.O.W. words in class and every day discussion.  Students who use the word can participate in regular drawings for prizes like Culver’s gift cards and gas cards.

Outside of reading activities at school, parents and students can continue to build lifelong, strong reading skills and habits by doing the following:

  1. Practice. Practice. Practice. Sometimes students try to avoid reading difficult material that is assigned or they wait to hear “what the teacher tells them” the next day in class.  Students who are getting ready for college level reading need to struggle through complex text.  The strategies we teach are designed to help students when they engage difficult types of texts.  Practicing will also build confidence, so when students are faced with challenging reading, they will know they can tackle it!

  2. Find a time and a place for reading.   Consider “unplugging” and take time to read something together as a family or discuss interesting things that you have read in books or magazines.  Maybe go to a library or bookstore together. If you haven't been in a while, it is a cool place to hang out! When reading, find a quiet place to read without distractions. Having a quiet place in the house that is distraction-free can help students concentrate on what they are reading.

  3. Reading should be active. Interact with the text, and by all means, do not be afraid to re-read! While reading, ask questions in the margins, underline, highlight, circle, and make exclamation points next to something you find really cool, interesting, or important. Rereading when you do not understand something is an important skill. Do not underestimate the importance of rereading.

  4. When reading a scholarly article or academic text, do not skip the pictures, charts, graphs, and diagrams. These parts of the text supplement the main idea as important evidence and can help students comprehend what they are reading at a higher level.

  5. Students need to read text that will stretch and challenge them. They need to try more challenging texts that are difficult in vocabulary and concepts, but they also need to learn how to read and comprehend larger volumes of text to prepare for college. The AP College Board website has some strategies for reading difficult college-level texts;  many of these strategies are taught in various classes throughout our curriculum.

Sue Casetta


Director of Learning
casetta@arrowheadschools.org

Student Services Matter:
The Arrowhead Way

Throughout the year in this section we have talked a lot about connections, which has been primarily personal connections between students, staff, and families. This month we focus on a different kind of connection, connecting our students and staff to businesses in the community.

  • Academic and Career Exploration - Earlier in the year you were introduced to the idea of Academic and Career Planning. Since that time faculty at Arrowhead has worked to develop its programming around this topic and has concluded that Academic and Career Exploration is a more appropriate title given what we believe will benefit students the most.

With an emphasis on exploration Arrowhead will be moving from Naviance to Career Cruising as its hub for exploring preferences and opportunities within the academic and work world. Please note that if your student has developed documents in Naviance that they would like to keep, they will need to have them save as a Word or PDF document on their computer by April 19.

Career Cruising has an excellent component to it called “Inspire” which allows students to view specific business profiles in southeast Wisconsin to find out if they are interested in exploring opportunities or openings at a company. Arrowhead has joined with other southeast Wisconsin school districts to apply for a state grant involving Inspire to increase opportunities for our students.

If you would like your company to be profiled to students in southeastern Wisconsin on Inspire, please contact Sue Casetta at casetta@arrowheadschools.org

  • Theme of the Month - April’s theme is brought to us by the English department encourages students to “Knock it out of the park in the home stretch.” In the upcoming months weather will turn warm, days will becoming longer, and students will begin to eye-up summer vacation. It is important to remind our students to continue to push their academics all the way through the end of the year.

Useful Links from Arrowhead’s AODA Counselor Barb Whyte:

8 Reasons Teens Do Drugs

 

Adam Boldt

Director of Student Services
boldt@arrowheadschools.org

Information Technology Matters:

Arrowhead School Libraries Transitioning to Learning Commons

If it has been a while since you have set foot in a school library during the school day, you may note that things have changed a bit since you have been in high school.

As teaching and learning transitions to more student-centered approach where creativity and collaboration are necessary and deeper learning is required, our learning spaces need to be able to support a variety of learners’ needs.

Yesterday’s libraries and computer labs are becoming today’s learning, collaborating, and creating spaces. This newly configured space is often referred to as a Learning Commons.

South students meet in the library before school begins.

WHAT IS A LEARNING COMMONS?

The Learning Commons has areas for student planning as well as quiet areas for concentrated study. This space has tools and materials as well as expert staff to support learning.

This space supports the learning relationships whether it be student to student, student to staff, student to tutor, student to coach, student to equipment, or student to information. And, the learning center supports staff in those professional learning relationships as well.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

The Learning Commons environment needs to be flexible to serve multiple learning needs as well as adapt for the changing needs of tomorrow’s learner.

Commons implies that the users dictate the space and the information. Therefore, designing this space begins with gathering information from both students and staff and studying their current library use.

Currently, the library is used for tutoring, small group work, presentation practice, tech help desk, professional development, interviews, private recording rooms, quiet study, independent reading and research, and equipment checkout.

North students use computers to complete a group assignment.

The libraries also house the technology support staff offices, computer labs for classes, student tech leader offices, laptop and equipment check out area, and, of course, books and other reading materials.

Before school the library is a meeting space for organizations and groups, a comfortable gathering space for individuals, and a last-minute study and print center for students.

 

Library

Learning Commons

Students access information here

Students use information here

Completely quiet atmosphere

Variety of spaces for quiet and group study

Access a computer here

Bring your own computer and wirelessly access needed information

Sit at prearranged seating

Arrange seating to match learning needs

Single teaching spaces

Flexible learning spaces

Teacher-directed space

Student- and learning-driven space

Dewey organized materials

Materials organized by genre and category

WHY THE LEARNING COMMONS IS IMPORTANT?

The Learning Commons supports current learning practices and provides students and staff a supported gathering space for today’s required work. Having this space for students and staff levels the playing field among our learners so all students have the tools and resources they need to complete projects and explore new knowledge.

The Learning Commons combines the traditional library and the computers labs with large, small group, and individual areas to create one community learning space.

WHAT ARE THE IMPLICATIONS FOR TEACHING  AND LEARNING?

The space allows staff more flexibility in assigning projects knowing students will be supported through access to information, equipment and other tools, and expert help to facilitate the completion of projects.

The Learning Commons invites students to make learnings decisions and tackle their learning in the way that best fits them and their tasks at hand.

The Learning Commons provides students the space and materials that they might not otherwise have: quiet space for that senior who just can’t study in the commons, a printer for that stressed freshman whose printer ran out of toner last night, a laptop for the student whose device is broken, a practice space for that student who wants to run through his presentation with his friend before English class, and a meeting room that a student can reserve for her blood drive committee meeting. These examples happen daily and highlight our students taking charge of their learning.

South students work together in the library.

The Learning Commons is a safe space where students own their learning. That is worth supporting.

Structure of this article was modeled after the 2011 EDUCAUSE  article “Things You Should Know About the Modern Learning Commons”  and adapted for the Arrowhead Union High School libraries. The article is covered under the Creative Commons Attribution, NonCommercial, NoDerivs 3.0 Unported. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/

 

Donna Smith


Director of Library Media & Technology
smith@arrowheadschools.org

Principal’s Corner

As winter ends and we look forward to spring and warmer weather, it is important to recognize some Arrowhead’s accomplishments over the winter months:

  1. The focus of this article will be on various group successes, but one individual needs to be recognized- Diya Ramanathan was recently named a Herb Kohl Excellence Scholarship recipient.  This is Arrowhead's first winner in 5 years.  Diya will receive a $3,000 scholarship and be recognized at the April 9 Herb Kohl luncheon.

  2. The Drama club put on a wonderful performance of “Caesar."  

  3. The Broadway Company put on “Musical Theatre Nights,” where students direct, choreograph, select cast members, design the set and lighting for a variety of songs from different musicals.

  4. Both the boys’ and girls’ Alpine Ski teams went to Mt LaCrosse and won state championships.

  5. The girls’ gymnastics took third at the State meet in Wisconsin Rapids.

  6. The girls’ basketball team won their regional and lost in the sectional finals, falling one game short of qualifying for state.

  7. The boys’ swim and dive team took tenth place in the state meet.

  8. At the state DECA competition, twelve students qualified for nationals in a variety of events in Nashville Tennessee in April.

These are just a few of the activities that are available to Arrowhead students.   Involvement in co-curricular activities have recently been found to have a significantly positive impact on students’ maturation and their potential career earnings as an adult.  You are encouraged to get your children involved in one of Arrowhead’s many opportunities.

Gregg Wieczorek


Arrowhead Principal 
wieczorek@arrowheadschools.org
Arrowhead is pleased to announce the introduction of the South Campus DEMC energy dashboard which is located in the DEMC corridor and was commissioned on March 23.

Provided by donations from contractors who performed work in the DEMC, the dashboard represents an effort to provide students with building performance information in the same manner the dashboard in a vehicle displays fuel economy and vehicle conditions. Real time data on utility use in the DEMC will demonstrate the impact HVAC, lighting, and process equipment have in a manufacturing facility. An updated South Campus Energy Star rating is also provided.


Kevin Lipscomb
Director of Buildings & Grounds
lipscomb@arrowheadschools.org
 

CALENDAR OF EVENTS

 

 

School Resumes Following Spring Break

Monday, April 4

School Board Meetings
Wednesday, April 13

District Board Room, District Office in South Campus

  • Special Meeting to discuss possible referendum at 6 p.m.

  • Regular School Board Meeting at 7 p.m.

Prom 2016

Saturday, April 16

6:15 p.m. @ Country Springs Hotel

Tickets required     http://ahsstudentsenate.weebly.com/prom.html

Wisconsin Forward Exam

April 18/19

State-required test for 10th graders in the area of Social Studies

(Classes as usual for 9th, 11th, and 12th graders)

19th Annual Cafe Arrowhead Lobster Boil

Friday, April 22

5:15 - 7:45 p.m. @ South Campus

Advanced tickets required

Proceeds benefit Cafe Arrowhead Special Education Program & AHS Special Olympics

AHS Athletic Hall of Fame Dinner & Ceremony

Saturday, April 30

5 p.m. @ Seven Seas, Hartland

Advanced tickets required

We hope you and your family enjoyed a well-deserved break!

APRIL Feedback:
How many hours of homework does your student have each night?
1. 0-1 hours
2. 1-2 hours
3. 2-3 hours
4. More than 3 hours

We Listen!

Traffic at the beginning and end of the school days at Arrowhead cannot be avoided, but you can help make the drive to Arrowhead a bit more pleasant and definitely more safe by using your turn signals. 

A 2010 study by the Society of Automotive Engineers estimated that approximately 2 million crashes per year were the direct result of drivers not using their turn signals.

Be safe and courteous, Arrowhead! Are YOUR turn signals on?

Photo Credit:
Arthur. (2010). Are your turn signals on? at Allegony National Forest. Retrieved March 23, 2016 from Flickr under Creative Commons license attribution 2.0 generic.

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