“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.
By Tommie Saylor
Kennedy High School Principal
For those of us back in the office, I guess this week was the unofficial start of the 2016-2017 school year. We just finished our first week back.
Though the time off this summer was enjoyable, it feels good to be back in the office doing something productive. Speaking of which, I know that back in June I sent out a series of questions regarding the dress code, backpacks in the classroom and this year’s open house. To make a long story short, the dress code will remain the same; backpacks will no longer be allowed in classrooms; and our open house has been scheduled for Friday, September 9, just before the Kennedy–Truman football game.
I really don’t have anything to say about our dress code, since nothing has changed. But no longer will backpacks be allowed in the classroom (of course, exceptions will be made for Special Education students who have IEPs that specify differently).
The “no backpack rule” is for both health and safety reasons. For over 10 years, the Michigan State Police has asked schools not to allow backpacks in the classroom, because the staff really has no idea what the students may have in their backpacks, potentially creating a dangerous situation for all those in the classroom. Secondly, for health reasons, we don’t want backpacks in the classroom. Over the last couple of years when we would occasionally have an issue with a bed bug, these bugs were often being found on student’s backpacks. So, a student who brings their backpacks in class and sets it next to another student’s backpack creates a potential health risk. In addition, the middle schools in our district have not allowed backpacks in the classroom for years, and it is about time that we “get on board” and follow their lead.
See attachment regarding backpacks and the dress code sent home in the August mailing.
Also see the attachment regarding the Kennedy Open House on September 9. We picked this day because it is the day of the Kennedy–Truman football game, and we hope that this will draw a bigger crowd. We want the open house to be a carnival-type atmosphere, and to this end, we want to have games such as “corn hole”, “ring toss”, and such in the halls for all to play.
We also want to display last year’s senior projects, trophies earned and impressive student work. I envision having the band in one corner playing a few selections, perhaps I can talk Mr. Green into another corner of the hall playing the piano, our JROTC demonstrating their drilling expertise as they march through the halls and displays showing our various clubs to include the NHS, chess club, D&D club, culture club, etc.
I can also envision Ms. Hall presenting the wonders of our Interwrite Boards to our parents, Ms. Phillips explaining and demonstrating our credit recovery and PLATO programs, and Ms. Russell showing off past art projects. In essence, I want to entertain and inform our parents, while at the same time showing off all that Kennedy has to offer the students of our community.
As for the instructional staff (teachers, ATAs, and the such), the first day you are required to report is the September 6. But, we have activities in which you are highly encouraged to voluntarily attend taking place on the August 30-31. Kennedy’s opening staff meeting will take place on the August 30 starting at 8 a.m. in the Media Center. At this meeting, the administration’s expectations for the upcoming school year will be detailed, as well as a review of procedural and structural specifics. At 10 a.m. we have representatives from Wayne Mediation coming in to explain their program and referral process. In the afternoon, starting at 12:15, we will gather at Hoover Middle School to examine the Thoughtful Classroom Teacher Evaluation process that will be utilizes this next school year.
On August 31, District level Curriculum PD will be held at Truman from 7:30-11 a.m., and in the afternoon, from 11:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m., everyone will have the opportunity to work on a PD video assignment on your own back at Kennedy High School.
I cannot express enough the importance of these two days, how these two days set the tone for the rest of the school year, and how these two days can get you off on the “right foot” for that which awaits ahead. In addition, please see attached regarding this year’s bell schedule.
Finally, this year at all times please keep in mind, that though we often spend a lot of time discussing the “nuts and bolts” of our profession, the underlying purpose and the very foundation of all our efforts are the students of our community.
Each and every school day, for 180 days, we make a promise to the parents of our students as they send their children off to school in the morning, that in the afternoon we will return their children to them safe, sound, and better for their experiences with us. Dedicate yourself to keeping this promise, take solace in the knowledge that you will be helping your students to find their greatness.
Helping students to find their greatness. Making Kennedy the school of choice. Excellence by design.