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Principal's Message

Homecoming Week Ahead, September 25-29

As we continue forward with developing our Proficiency Based Diploma practices at LRHS, an ongoing focus has been our work in developing "student agency"--the skills, habits, and mindsets that students are responsible for their own learning and able to manage it independently for the rest of their lives.

Developing this independence is arguably our most important task as an educational institution--the greatest marker of whether we have been successful with our students or not.  The challenge of that--as this article (thanks to Roger Smith for sharing something he is using in Psychology!) discusses--is that what we mean by independence is in many ways culturally and contextually determined.  

For example--I know many parents have communicated to me that they don't want their student present in conversations about the student's academic progress, for various reasons.  There are certainly conditions and situations where not including a high school student in a discussion of his or her progress might be appropriate, but it is certainly not a strategy that promotes the student's independence or agency.  

A "slower" growing up process should inform our efforts to develop student agency, and may actually cause us to pull back on some efforts, but the overall question is the one implied by the article--How do we make sure that teens eventually get the opportunity to develop the skills they will need as adults: independence, along with social and decision-making skills?

It is Homecoming week, with tons of activities scheduled throughout.  

Some of the particulars follow.

Dress up days:Monday 9/25 'Merica Day (red,white,blue)

Tuesday 9/26 - Tourist Day

Wednesday 9/27 - PJ Day

Thursday 9/28 - Trick or Treat Day (must be able to see face)

Friday 9/29 - Blue & Gold Day

Other Events:Parade is Thursday 9/28 at 6:30 at Highland Lake Beach to Stevens Brook Elementary with bonfire at 7:00 and back to high school for gym decorating until 10:30 PM

Pep Rally will be Friday at 12:50 in the gym

Dance is Saturday, September 30 from 7 - 10 PMT

Faculty Council will meet from 2:15 to 3:30, to hammer out action steps for the initiatives listed on the Vision and Growth Plan.

It will be a busy and fun week--everyone, have a great one!

A. Erik Good


Lake Region High School


One week ago, at almost exactly this time, I was hiking with the seniors up South Baldface.  For those who haven't been, it's a fairly strenuous hike, especially when you get to the part that is all rock.  At some point, I made a joking comment about being done climbing, and needing to be carried up the rest of the way.  One of the seniors in that moment through my opening day words back at me.  For those who weren't present, those words were these:

This is important.  You can do it.  I won't give up on you.  It's okay to make mistakes here.

The first three of these statements come from the Skillful Teacher course that many SAD 61 teachers have taken, and are intended to represent the fundamental messaging we want to establish from teacher to student.

The fourth I encountered in a workshop last May, and it stuck with me.  On the one hand, it doesn't quite fit with the simple boosterism of the other three; on the other hand, its message is in some ways the key to making the other three work.  

That is the central point of this article about studies showing the power of mistakes in the learning process--basically, that making mistakes actually increases our absorption of knowledge and skills.  

Of course, like everything in education, much depends on how we experience and process our mistake making.  Are we focused on the embarrassment (hopefully not the humiliation) of the moment, or are we focused on giving and receiving feedback that will help us move forward?  What does that kind of feedback look like, and what is required of us to help all the members of our community be okay with making mistakes, learning from them, and moving on?

Here's our daily schedule for the week:

TEACHERS:  We will meet from 2:15 to 3:30 in the LRVC Great Room; you will want your laptops.  Agenda forthcoming tonight.

PARENTS:  Parent Advisory meets Thursday at 3:30 in the Guidance Conference Room.

OTHER ACTIVITIES:  Schedule for the Week.​

Homecoming next week!

Everyone, have a great week.

Week Ahead, September 15-21

In a recent conversation, someone (I can't remember who, or I would be giving credit where it is due) told me that a recent report had suggested that sitting was the new smoking--meaning, the widely dispersed human behavior with terrible impact on our overall health and wellbeing.

I have seen lots of recent reports (none of which I can find now, of course) on research saying that teenagers should not sit for more than 15 minutes at a time, and adults for not more than 20.  The frequent physical activity keeps not only the body but the mind working effectively--cognition, achievement, and overall wellbeing are improved by frequent movement breaks.  

I have tried to keep the need for movement in mind not only for myself in my workday, but in my planning for both student and adult events to start the year.  It is a completely different way of thinking about how to organize time, for sure, but not as difficult as I thought it might be to incorporate movement without completing disrupting the flow of our work.  

I don't know that it's necessary or even feasible to go as far as the schools in this article have gone to ensure that students have regular movement opportunities, but I have to wonder, as I did last week--to what extent is the lack of scheduled movement in the traditional schoolday impairing cognition and achievement in ways that we don't even realize?

I also wanted to follow up with one more article about projections of the vast economic benefits of changing to a later start time for school, just for another point of view.

This week ahead is a day ahead, because I will be moving with the seniors on senior awareness tomorrow and Monday; for the rest of us, the schedule will be as follows:

Faculty Council WILL meet Monday, 2:15-3:30.  I will send the agenda from the previous meeting, which featured many unfinished tasks, just as a reminder.

Don't forget Open House on Wednesday from 5:30-7:30 in the gym.

Everyone, have a great week.​

Week Ahead, September 5-8

As we all adjust to the reintroduction of "school time" at the commencement of another school year, I am always prompted to think about time and how we use it.

In particular, it wouldn't really be the beginning of a school year if I didn't talk about the issue of school start time.  At this point, as most of you know, many districts in Maine have transitioned to a later start time for high school, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control.  Articles about these start time changes at many different locations are collected on the LRHS website, and I add these two new ones for your consideration as well: Pediatricians say teens should sleep in. Schools won’t let them and, lest I be accused of only sharing one side of the story, Many Parents not Happy with Later School Start Times.

Change is certainly uncomfortable, if not painful, and I do understand that this change would ripple through with impact on other parts of our community.  I just can't help but come back, over and over, to the fact that this isn't a matter of preference--it's a matter of recommendations about health and wellness from doctors.  The current start time is longstanding, and many might contend that it has always worked fine--but I wonder--what impact are we having on students and learning by going against this medical advice?

I have more thoughts on time next week, but for this week, it's time to share the blue/gold calendar, and to note that we start our "regular" schedule this week:

Note Picture Days Thursday and Friday.

The schedule for athletics is attached below, but it does look like it will be a pretty stormy week, so watch out for cancellations.

Have a great "first week" of school!

Week Ahead, August 28-31

Is everyone excited for the start of the 2017-2018 school year?

While I definitely feel that my summer could have been longer and featured a LOT more relaxation, I am monumentally pumped for what we are going to accomplish this year in our first year of a true proficiency based system.

There are lots of pieces to that, and part of me feels like I should be using this time to try to convey them all to everyone--but in the Faculty Council meeting Wednesday, as we were talking through different ideas for what we might do on the first day with students, someone commented that we should KEEP IT SIMPLE.

There isn't much simple about what we have in front of us, but that reminder is potent, all the same.  And so, if I think about the simplest but most powerful piece of what's ahead, I would say, this year we are going to work hard to build powerful positive relationships with every student.  

We do this both because I have always believed in the power of relationships, and because their importance was reinforced for me recently in an email and infographic that was shared with me from Search Institute.

Many of us already feel the benefit of strong relationships; too many of us may feel that we are not really connected in a meaningful way with anyone at LRHS.  

What will it take for you to improve your relationship status?

Ok, on to schedule:


Monday, 7:30-11:30  Districtwide meeting, Auditorium and Gym

Monday, 12:00-3:00  LRHS staff meeting, LRVC Great Room.  Agenda to follow.

Tuesday, 12:30-3:00  LRHS staff meeting, LRVC Great Room.  Agenda to follow tomorrow.

Students and teachers:

Wednesday:  All students and teachers begin in gym; shift to advisory, and then to brief ~15 minutes) visits to all 8 periods.  Exact schedule to come.

Thursday:  All 8 periods will meet again, for ~35 minutes.  Exact schedule to come.

Regular class schedule--Blue Day--begins Tuesday, September 5, after the holiday weekend.

Looking forward to a great week!

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