This Week at South Vol. 28

Senior Recognition: In an effort to recognize South High School Seniors, we have been spotlighting them on South’s Facebook page, which can be accessed at facebook.com/SAHSwolverine.

All seniors should have received an email from Mr. Ruggles with the requested information for a post. If you have not responded to him, or did not receive the email, you can email him directly at Ruggles_Chris@asdk12.org with the following:

A Senior photo and answers to these questions: What are your plans next year? Who would you like to thank and why: classmates/teachers/coaches? What is your favorite memory? Favorite quote? Best advice to underclassmen?

CANVAS Content Clarifications: As we are getting into the core content in CANVAS, there have been some challenges. Initially, all of the content was pre-loaded by teams at the district level, which means that your child’s teacher was probably not directly involved in choosing or structuring the content in the course. While teachers cannot change the mandatory content for each course, they can decide how many points each assignment is worth, how many attempts students will get for each assignment, how much time is allotted for assessments, and other process-based functions. However, some teachers may not have changed these settings, which may result in frustration for students and parents.

This frustration likely arises from a mismatch between CANVAS settings and the idea that we are taking a mastery approach to learning, which means in many cases students will be given multiple attempts on assignments, and will be allowed to use their notes and other resources as they are completing assignments. In fact, some assignments in CANVAS ask students to access other content in order to complete the assignment, although the introductory content suggests otherwise.

Please have patience as we navigate these mismatches, and attempt to align CANVAS content and processes with the spirit of mastery-based, asynchronous education. You can always reach out to teachers via email with questions as they arise.

Library Resources & Help for Distance Learning: Ms. Frankenburger has been developing and collecting resources to help students as they work through online content. These resources can be accessed at the following address: http://bit.ly/south_library. The resources include audiobooks and helpful research tools. Ms. Frankenburger is also holding ZOOM sessions to help students on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 11 am. Please email her for a ZOOM invitation and additional details for secure access at: Frankenburger_Lydia@asdk12.org.

Personal Belongings in the School: We currently have no access to the building in order to retrieve or package items for student pickup. I realize this poses challenges and want everyone to know that we have already outlined and proposed a process for returning items, and will begin that process as soon as we are given district-level clearance to re-enter and start that work. As soon as we do, I will let everyone know.

A Final Thought w. Students in Mind:

When we think about those in United States history who have made the most significant contributions and overcome the most obstacles, we often think about the Greatest Generation. Members of that generation persisted through the Great Depression and World War II and their perspective was irrevocably changed because of it. For most, the hardships associated with those events led to increased confidence and abilities.

Although we are not facing the same kind of challenges the Greatest Generation overcame, our students have weathered significant changes and disruptions throughout their formative years. Among them are an earth shattering earthquake and the current COVID-19 pandemic. Undoubtedly, these events will shape their perspective and thinking just as it did their forebears. However, the degree to which they are positively or negatively influenced by these events may largely depend on the kinds of stories they construct about the challenges, and how they see themselves in relationship to those challenges.

Warren Bennis and Robert J. Thomas address this idea in their book, Geeks and Geezers: How Era, Values, and Defining Moments Shape Leaders.

In particular, the authors address how leaders use hardships, what they call crucible moments, to their advantage:

Whether the crucible experience is an apprenticeship, an ordeal, or some combination of both, we came to think of it much like the hero’s journey that lies at the heart of every myth. It is both an opportunity and a test. It is a defining moment that unleashes abilities, forces crucial choices, and sharpens focus. It teaches a person who he or she is. People can be destroyed by such an experience. But those who are not emerge from it aware of their gifts, ready to seize opportunities and make their future.

Bennis and Thomas (2002) p. 16

Our task is to see the current challenges we face as a test, and to try to discover what new abilities and gifts might arise from this test. Our students’ futures are likely to be directly affected by this experience. As their parents, teachers, mentors, and coaches, we can help them contextualize the current hardship as a means for mining new talents and abilities, which might have remained dormant under more comfortable circumstances.

Have a Great Week South!

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