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Principal's Message

April 2017 Principal's Message

Dear Homestead,

No matter what is happening in education or on school campuses, you will always hear the word “change.”  Sometimes the change that happens is natural, such as when a senior class graduates and makes way for a new freshmen class.  Or a change is embarked upon because of new ideas or circumstances that came into play, as was the case with the process we are currently undergoing around possible improvements to our schedule that could positively impact  student wellness.  This month, I want to inform you about a change that is actually a little bit of both.

Our master schedule is built and designed around student choice.  Quite simply, if enough students sign up for a class (and we have the proper staff to teach it), we can offer that class.  If students stop signing up for a particular course , then we have to make decisions about whether to continue or cancel it.  Unfortunately, we have come to a place where student sign ups for our Auto Shop program have declined to the point that it is  impossible to fully offer the program. As a result, the 2017-2018 school year will be the first time we have not been able to offer Auto Shop at Homestead.  This has not been an easy decision as an administration, as Homestead has a proud history with our Auto classes.  This change does coincide with the removal  of the old F building, which houses our auto shop as well as other classes.  The design of the new Innovation Hub, or I-Hub, included room for a maker’s space that would have housed the auto shop program moving forward.  Now that we are ending the program, we will be making minor adjustments to that space in order to host other programs and classes.  We are also looking at the possibility of scheduling some students so that they are able to attend Auto Shop at Fremont High School, as they continue to offer this program.   So, while we hate to lose a long standing program like Auto Shop, we have to acknowledge that this is a change that has naturally occurred through our course selection process.

This information allows us to make some changes to our course offerings.  You might remember a survey I sent out in the first semester asking for the opinions of parents and students regarding some possible new courses.  Overwhelmingly, both groups stated that they were interested in Homestead offering a pathway in Engineering.  Some of the other suggestions included  courses in the biomedical field as well as augmenting offerings in the arts, humanities, sciences and mathematics.  Engineering, however, was far and away the top choice.  As a result, Homestead began having conversations with Lori Riehl, our District Coordinator of Pathways to Postsecondary Success, to research possible ideas.  With your input, we determined that what would work best on our campus was an Introduction to Engineering Design course that could serve as the first course in a Project Lead the Way pathway.  This course will appeal to students who are interested in careers in a variety of industries such as Architecture, Building and Construction, Product and/or Hardware Design, Engineering and the Sciences.  This course specifically will give students opportunities to learn the engineering design process, statistical analysis, 2D and 3D concept sketching, Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Engineering Materials and Design Decisions. More importantly, we feel that this new course can absorb some of our students who would have taken auto shop, as well as others who are interested in this area of study.  Depending on how many students take the new course, we can look to offer other courses to complete the pathway such as Aeronautical Engineering, Digital Electronics, Civil Engineering and Architecture or Computer Integrated Manufacturing.

I appreciate all those parents and students who took part in the survey first semester as it was your voice that helped us find a silver lining in this situation, and I would encourage you to continue to participate in any survey that comes from our District Office or from Homestead.  If you have not participated before, please take the time should the opportunity come your way, as this information is helpful in making our schools and our district a great place for students.  Research has shown that highly successful schools not only allow parents to voice their opinions, but encourage all stakeholders to engage in the decision-making process.  

We will always be grateful to the teachers (especially our current teacher, Thane Ferguson), administrators, volunteers, community partners and students who have kept the Auto Shop program running.  We are also excited about the possibilities that a pathway like Project Lead the Way can bring to our campus and are hopeful that this program will serve our school and our students as Auto Shop has done.  These and other changes will certainly continue to come to Homestead, but I am encouraged by our ability to adapt and to work together to ensure that all students learn at high levels.

Greg Giglio, Principal