Tuesday, September 25, 2007


CALLING ALL STUDENTS: Key Club, sponsored by the Kiwanis Club, is a student led organization that teaches leadership through community service and service learning. Students will brainstorm, create and participate in community service projects as well as have opportunities for international exchange, college scholarships, summer volunteer experiences at Camp Kiwanis, and opportunities to attend leadership conventions. Key Club is the largest service organization in the world for high school students. Let us know if you are interested by responding to this post, sharing your community/service learning ideas. Come join Ms. Slaughter at the first meeting, MONDAY, OCTOBER 3RD IN ROOM 106!!

Monday, September 24, 2007


Calling All JUNIORS! Our theme for this year is preparedness for your future. With that in mind, I know that many of you are already preparing for the PSATs and SATs by taking the Saturday Kaplan's Review Course at our school or working with other tutors outside of school. If you have not started to prepare, please go to Barnes and Noble and at least buy a review book and do some practice exams. It is important to have the stamina to complete the test, to be familiar with the format of the test and with the timing to be able to do your best.

In addition to SATs most top notch colleges and universities require at least two SAT II subject area tests. These are tests given in particular subject areas at various times during the year. SAT IIs are one hour long multiple choice tests that do require a considerable amount of studying. I know that some juniors are interested in forming study groups for the SAT II tests, which are very different from Regents Examinations and AP tests. These groups could meet at determined times before or after school or during lunch (based on what students decide) and we can arrange to have a teacher come to help sometimes. If you are interested in joining an SAT II study group, please let me know by posting a response with your name and the subject(s) you are interested in working on. (It would great to have students form a study group for US History as well as for MATH 1--possibly for Mandarin as well).

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


As I write this entry I am reflecting back on the wonderful day of team and trust building, fun and adventure that the freshman, the freshman advisors and I experienced today at the Ring Homestead Camp. From the initial team building activities with hula hoops to trust falls and levitating and then to the ropes course, the day was truly a bonding experience. I can honestly say that you all gave me the courage and support to try two things (the trapeze jump and the tight rope) that I never would have dared if you weren't there. I can still hear your cheering, your support and your guiding comments to help me get to the top of that trapeze! I know from talking to many of you individually and then in the advisory debrief, that you also felt the same way; it is wonderful to feel so supported! So, I would love to hear your thoughts on the day; what did you like; how can we make the experience better; what did you learn about trust and about being a team member; did you meet new people from your grade; and do you think we should do this with next year's incoming freshman? I am really excited to hear your thoughts about the day! Please share, and of course, if you have pictures, you can use the tool bar to upload them to your post and share them with the community!

Friday, September 14, 2007


According to eSchool News Online, The Alliance for Excellent Education convened a panel on September 12, 2007 to discuss the disconnect that exists between the way high school teachers prepare their students for the future and how students actually achieve success. An emphasis on college readiness, panelists said, is needed to inform, assess, and improve high school teaching for the 21st-century. Read excerpts from the article below about the skills and competencies the experts believe high school students need to be prepared for college. Think about our Graduate Profile and instruction at CSIHSIS. Let us know what you think about how we helping our students be college ready! Where are we doing well? How can we improve?

Contents Copyright 2007 eSchool News. All rights reserved.

Read the article in its entirety!
Report: Schools aren't preparing kids for college
Better alignment is needed between high school and college standards, panelists say

By Meris Stansbury, Assistant Editor, eSchool News
September 13, 2007
Students are taught to believe that earning a high school diploma means they are prepared to enter college, and many policy makers and school leaders still believe that multiple-choice assessments are adequate measures of students' skills. But at a panel discussion convened by the Alliance for Excellent Education (AEE) on Sept. 12, researchers and education professionals said this is too often not the case.

"Recent studies have shown that the skills needed to succeed in college are similar to the skills needed for good-paying jobs," said Cyndie Schmeiser, president of the education division at ACT Inc., which administers the ACT college entrance exam.

Only 34 percent of students graduate from high school ready for college--and that number is smaller for minorities. Overall, it says, only 18 percent of high school freshmen graduate in four years, go on to college, and earn an associate's or bachelor's degree.

Also, one-third of those who make it to college must take remedial courses, costing the nation more than $1.4 billion every year at community colleges alone, according to the report.

The problem, panelists said, is that high school standards, assessments, and course requirements are not aligned with those of colleges. In a recent ACT poll, 65 percent of college professors said they do not believe high school standards prepare students for college.

In terms of assessments, multiple-choice tests rarely ask students to explain their reasoning or apply knowledge to new situations. "High schools are increasingly boxed in by assessments," said Linda Darling-Hammond, professor of education at Stanford University's School of Education. "There's just a huge mess of expectations."

To help solve these problems, AEE and ACT have outlined definitions for college readiness. AEE defines it as "the knowledge and skills students need to succeed in entry-level college coursework without remediation." ACT's definition consists of four parts: habits of mind, key content knowledge, academic behaviors, and contextual skills.

"Habits of mind" refers to the skills that professors consistently identify as critical-thinking skills, such as analysis, interpretation, problem solving, and reasoning skills. Key content knowledge is the essential knowledge of each discipline that prepares students for advanced study, or study of the "big ideas" in each content area.

Academic behaviors include skills such as reading comprehension, time management, note-taking, and self-awareness of how one is thinking and learning. Contextual skills are skills needed to get into college, such as understanding the admissions process, placement testing, financial aid, and the expectations of college life.

To prepare students for success in college, panelists said, teachers must believe that all--and not just a few--students can succeed; make honors courses available as electives for all students; create rigorous work assignments using collaboration and problem-solving; teach reading comprehension and writing skills; and, most of all, motivate students to achieve.

Finally, teachers need helpful, longitudinal data and the skills to interpret this information as a tool to drive individual student instruction. "With a sustained focus on college readiness, we hope to inform, assess, and improve high school teaching for the 21st-century," said Ayers. "We're trying to fundamentally change the culture and beliefs of high schools across the country."

Kim McClung, an English teacher at Kent-Meridian High School in Washington state, said most teachers teach to the "lowest common denominator, but they need to expect the best from every single student."

But the panelists acknowledged that teachers must receive support to make this happen.

For example, teachers must be given more time to collaborate with colleagues and talk with individual students. They need time to "give feedback and ask for work revisions," Darling-Hammond explained.

Teachers also must receive ongoing professional development to know their subject at a college level and to update their knowledge regularly, in order to incorporate critical-thinking skills into the classroom. For instance, a chemistry teacher not only must know the principles of chemistry, but also should encourage reading and writing skills for comprehending text, as well as preparing a lab report and analyzing results.

Thursday, September 6, 2007


I would like to share a poem that I shared with out students and staff that really speaks to me about our school community and the power that we have. This year as we work as community, with students, staff and parents to define our values, I would love for you all to reflect on this poem from Turning to One Another by Margaret Wheatley. Share your thoughts and think about the power you have as member of our community!

There is no power greater than a community discovering what it cares about

Ask “What’s possible?” not “What’s wrong?” Keep asking

Notice what you care about.

Assume that many others share your dreams.

Be brave enough to start a conversation that matters.

Talk to people you know.

Talk to people you don’t know.

Talk to people you never talk to.

Be intrigued by the differences you hear.

Expect to be surprised.

Treasure curiosity more than certainty.

Invite in everybody who cares to work on what’s possible.

Acknowledge that everyone is an expert about something.

Know that creative solutions come from new connections.

Remember, you don’t fear people whose story you know.

Real listening always brings people closer together.

Trust that meaningful conversations can change your world.

Rely on human goodness. Stay together.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

First Day of School Jitters/Excitement

Students, teachers, parents, and other staff, please share your thoughts about the first day of school. We would love to hear your reflections about the day, what you think abut your classes, what your thoughts about advisory are, and what you think about our new schedule.

I would like to thank the junior class for moving to 1P for their advisories today to so that we could have all advisories meet at the same time. I would also like to thank all of the students and staff who helped to make our opening ceremony a success! Many thanks to all of our student speakers! Ms. Fisher, you and your crew did an incredible job on short notice.

It was great seeing all of our juniors and sophomores and hearing about some of your summer adventures. It was also wonderful to finally meet our new freshman. In the coming days I look forward to meeting and getting to know each of you.

Looking forward to hearing from many you!