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Principal's Message

Summer 2016 Message

What are you doing for your summer vacation?  If you are a Homestead teacher, then you are most likely going to be taking part in some form of professional development to help make the educational experience for our students the best it can possibly be.  While it is true that summer is reserved for re-charging the batteries and trying to get away from it all, Homestead teachers are truly a dedicated group of professionals who understand the importance of continually seeking out ways to improve their instructional strategies.  Here are a few examples of what our teachers are up to now that school is out.

Starting on June 6th, we have 34 separate course-alike teams from every department on campus meeting for between one and five days from June to August to continue our transition to Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards.  This is also a time for teachers to collaborate and evaluate the effectiveness of their goals and instructional plans from the past year.  The course-alike teams are working on fine tuning the essential learning outcomes needed for students to be successful not only in that course but in the courses to follow, refining or designing new common assessments, analyzing student work and results to gather data regarding what has been effective and what has not, and developing interventions when students don’t get it or extensions when students have learned the material and are ready to move on.

Another group of teachers will be headed to the Professional Learning Community conference in San Jose during July.  With this group, we will have sent almost 70 teachers and administrators to this powerful professional development opportunity, which has been proven to be one of the most effective tools in increasing student learning.  Other teachers will be headed to Advanced Placement (AP) conferences to learn to latest techniques and strategies for helping students be successful on the most rigorous of courses and tests.  Many other teachers take this opportunity to attend classes on their subject matter, educationally related topics or to find time to finish their masters or, in a few cases, their doctorates.

Our district also provides professional development opportunities during the summer months. English teachers will work with one of our district curriculum leaders on a PD session that focuses on providing students with effective and efficient feedback.  The Biology team will be continuing work on using digital tools to develop curriculum and build 21st century technology skills.  Several teachers from each site have started working on the Skillful Teacher program, which was designed and implemented to continue to build instructional strategies for newer teachers.  Teachers new to the profession or to our district will be participating in orientation workshops just before school starts.  Many of those new teachers are already participating with their course-alike teams in the summer curriculum work mentioned above.

We are also busy planning a series of workshops for our Homestead teachers when they return on August 10th, including classes on Differentiation, Personalization, Interventions and Building Effective Teams to support student learning.  These are workshops that will be taught by Homestead Teachers for Homestead Teachers, so those presenters will also be working over the summer to prepare the best possible learning opportunities for their colleagues.  The HHS Admin Team will also be joining in on the learning as we have several days set aside in June to collaborate on goals for the 16-17 school year; analyze data such as grade distribution data, the FUHSD Parent Survey, and the HHS Admin survey; as well as participate in the District Management retreat during the last week of July to ensure the new school year starts smoothly.  

While the teachers and administrators are busy learning and developing, our campus will also be busy with improvement projects.  We have already started the third and final summer phase of our utilities trenching program.  This phase will entail multiple crews working on several locations to make the final connections of our utilities.  It is messy, noisy work but once completed will be something that we do not have to think about for another 50 years and will provide more reliable and effective services to our campus.  Our Auditorium will also be undergoing some major upgrades to replace the current lighting system with a more energy efficient one that is easier to control.  We will also be installing a new high quality LCD projector, video system and sound system with wireless microphones.  We are also putting a fresh coat of paint on the floor and adding new color to the foyer.  The band and choir rooms are also getting new carpet as well.  The S Building, which houses most of our science classes, will be receiving new HVAC systems and a new sealant on the roof.  On top of all that, our custodial crew will be deep cleaning the entire campus so that when your students return in August, the campus will be welcome and inviting.

From the entire Homestead staff, we wish you all a safe, relaxing, and productive summer.