Thank you for the opportunity to serve our students and I look forward to the continued success of both schools.
Now on to this week
Have a great week and go Titans!
Have a great week and Go Titans!
And on to this week:
Over the last month we have had a number of verbal altercations between students on campus which involved threats to hurt others. These verbal altercations were the result of both on campus and off campus communication both in person and online between parties. The security staff is able to follow up quickly and prevent many physical altercations, but it is clear that these disturbances are effecting our academic environment and our community. I am disheartened when I go on to Twitter and Instagram or any of the other online venues to see what students post about each other; their sheer lack of kindness and tone of judgement is remarkable. This is not the Titan community we want.I believe that all students need to feel safe at school. These actions, threats, bullying, extreme judgements, and tendency to want to "solve" issues through threats of physical violence are unacceptable. We are aware of that as a school and we are responding. We have a long-term plan to create a culture for everyone at HMHS that is safe, welcoming, and responds to and addresses conflict through mediation not insults, yelling, or fists.Here are some of the things we are doing:
- For the whole site we are working on a pilot launch of the Anti-Defamation League’s No Place for Hate® Initiative in the Bay Area. Although the Initiative will kick-off at the start of the 2014-15 school year, ADL staff will begin preliminary work during the current term.
- The health center is running a number of focused groups around anger, life skills, and copying, specifically coping with when someone says something about you or to you. These are now currently all for HS students, we are looking at MS funding for next year. No truly in need child, regardless of age, will be turned away.
- We now have 24 of our MHS teachers as well as support personnel trained in Restorative Justice practices, one of the practices is preventative-- creating community and connection in the classroom. Teachers are being supported by a part-time restorative justice coordinator as well as the administrative team which has all been trained.
- We have a GSA that is planning a campaign to support the school feeling safe for all our students regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
- A contingent from the HS leadership class will be attending a climate summit to get ideas on how to create a culture which supports connection and community
- We have a series of additional trainings planned with our staff from gender spectrum to the legalities of bullying in schools.
- Starting Monday we also are adding as additional Campus security officer and you will see that the campus is more locked down with only the central gate open once school starts.
- We are also cracking down on wearing IDs, with all students asked at the entrances to put them on and sent to the office if they do not-- ID wearing around the neck means we have only our students on campus and we know who everyone is.
- Talk to your kids and find out what is going on.
- If they feel unsafe or threatened urge them to tell an adult on campus or at home and to report if they see or hear teasing, bullying or threats.
- Monitor their online accounts for postings that are inappropriate or hostile
- Consider implementing a "pause before you post" policy in your house so that students are more considerate about what they post online
- Talk to them about bystander behavior-- it is really not ok to take out your phone to record a video when you see an argument instead of calling for help
For this week all I would like to remind you of is the Thursday night Local Controlled Funding Formula and strategic planning Community meeting at 6:30pm in the HS cafeteria. This meeting is your opportunity to give feedback to the district on the new way funds are being disseminated for schools in CA and how you would like them used here at HMHS. The Superintendent as well as board members will be in attendance. The meeting will have some small group time for you to give written and oral feedback.
And lastly, I'd like to remind you about our work on moving HMHS from Good to Great. We have a focus on 3 areas:
1. Building a strong school community
2. Creating a rigorous academic environment
3. Communicating effectively with allstakeholders