October Updates

As we close out October, I wanted to share updates on a variety of topics:

  • Homework: As you likely know, the faculty has been discussing homework this year, and we continue to work towards a common understanding about the purpose and scope of homework at Newton South. The conversations among both faculty and students have been both helpful and thought provoking. For example, one concept we are discussing is whether less homework necessarily means less curriculum coverage, and further would less homework impact different domains in different ways? I want to be clear that we are not working towards a set Policy (with a capital “P”), as we will never be able to predict the time that different students will take to complete the same assignment. However, we will be transparent with our developed homework guidelines when they are ready. Also, we will need your help to encourage students to put themselves in an optimal position for productive homework completion (starting early enough to finish by a reasonable hour, minimizing electronic and other distractions, etc.) I am hopeful that together we will all be able to approach homework in an more effective and meaningful manner.
  • Suicide Prevention Presentations: We completed SOS (Signs of Suicide) training with our senior class a couple of weeks ago, and the process was very smooth. Appreciation and gratitude go to our amazing guidance staff and school social workers (and, of course, our students!) Next up: Juniors SOS will take place the week of November 17 in history classes; look for parent permission forms to come home late next week. Sophomore and freshman presentations will be January into March.
  • Announcing a New Learning Community: Patterned on the very successful Global Communities program here at South, we will be introducing a new option for sophomores for next fall. Currently called the DaVinci Program, this STEAM learning community will be a joint venture of the science, math and art departments and will feature inquiry-based learning, multiple curriculum levels, a three-year sequence, and a small-learning community feel (similar to Global Communities.) We will start with sophomores in the fall of 2015, and add another grade each year after that. There will be more details to come as we approach registration in the spring. The other exciting news is that our PTSO will be helping us prepare for this program…
  • …and to that end, there is a PTSO sponsored community dinner on Saturday, November 8 from 6 to 10 PM where there will be a big announcement regarding the DaVinci program. The Community Dinner is a great opportunity for us to all come together for food and fun.  I hope you’ll join us! – click here for sign up information.

As always, thank you for your partnership!