Thursday, March 22, 2007


Yesterday we held our annual PBS Day at the High School. Two general speakers and four breakout sessions involved and spoke to students on a variety of subjects.

Our first speaker was Ted Weise. The CAM FFA program stepped up and paid to get him for the high school and middle school after seeing him present at National FFA Conference. "Ted", as he asked to be called, kept the kids moving and laughing for two hours while delivering a message on several topics including: Teamwork, overcoming the fear of failure, paradigm shift in attitude, being involved, and being part of the solution rather than part of the problem. His presentation was an overwhelming hit and had everyone having a good time.

Miss Iowa 2006 talked about Character Counts and their eight pillars as well as her background. She performed for the student body singing "Somewhere over the Rainbow".

During a split lunch the students watched a video that spoke about the global economy, technology and the effects these things will have on their future.

The four afternoon breakout sessions were: JEL (Just Eliminate Lies), St. Jude's in Adair, Eldora State Training school and Cass County Hospital. The students heard messages about health and the dangers of smoking as well as from students in the Eldora facility and people who are in treatment and who have made it out of treatment at St. Jude's.

There was fantastic attendance at school yesterday, so most everyone was part of a successful day.

A big thanks goes to the student council and Mr. Hunt, the FFA and Mr. Miller, the teachers and their involvement with the students during the program and all of the speakers involved with the day.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Parent Teacher conferences this week

Parent teacher conferences are very important. Whether your student is doing well or needs to improve, sitting down with your student(s) teachers is vital to their education.

It demonstrates that you are paying attention to them and what they are involved in. Do not fall into the "You don't have too," or "I'm fine, don't worry about going," or even "conferences are dumb and the teacher hates me" trap. It's the tendency for most teens to down play conferences and especially if they're struggling.

Getting to know teachers is important. Asking them questions, even if it's "why does my son think you hate him?" Or, "she's getting an A but do you feel she understands the work." Any question is good and setting up a dialog about your student(s) education is important.

After conferences talk to your student(s) about them and come up with real ideas to improve their experience at CAM High School and set some goals. The goals do not always have to be, "To get an 'A' or a 'B'".

Start with organizational things such as "for the rest of the year I will write down assignments." There's things like doing homework at a certain time and if it's done doing some free reading.

But first, please take a couple hours and attend conferences this Spring. You'll be glad you did!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Attendance and tardies

Students will be receiving a letter if they have 4 or more unexcused tardies, or two or more blocks of unexcused absences. It will explain how many of each and how much time they owe to make up for the time missed.

Students may have had time from last semester unserved or detention time a teacher assigned and they didn't serve (among other disciplinary things) tacked on and a total time the student owes in on the letter.

If a student has 3 or less hours to serve they may use detention after school in 1/2 hour increments, serve time in Saturday school or serve time doing community service. Dates for Saturday school or community service are provided on the letter as well as a space for alternative ideas from parents and/or students.

There is a process for appealing unexcused absences in the Student-Parent Handbook. We currently have two people working on absences and tardies and all parent calls and notes have been taken into account. Some days, changes from a teacher's original entry, takes the full day if not into a second. This can be confusing if you're checking online through the parent access link because your student's record can change.

Students who come in late, or without an excuse are unexcused. If a student sleeps in and a parent calls to tell us they'll be late doesn't excuse the student. We want that call, but the absence is still unexcused. Students who leave the building without signing out of the office are absent unexcused.

There are dozens of examples of unexcused absences. The state excuses only a handful of things (suspensions, college visits and field trips) for compulsory attendance tracking, and our school excuses some more (illness or injury, family trauma, health appointments, prior approval of vacation or work, verified emergencies, religious services).

Generally things that are communicated ahead of time are excused.

If you have any questions please call the office. Otherwise, ask your student if they received a letter Thursday or Friday.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Blogs, blogs everyhwere

You can't swing a dead cat (not sure where that phrase was first coined and why) around the world-wide web without hitting a new blog by a teacher at CAM High School.

Blogs about the DC Trip, the Vocal department, FFA are just a few floating out there right now with more being developed and written.

This helps step up the level of communication between teachers and patrons while giving everyone another opportunity to express themselves.

With this freedom of expression comes a level of responsibility on both the poster and the blog writer. While having a difference in opinion is healthy, the way that opinion is expressed is vital. Personal attacks and inappropriate or slanderous comments are not acceptable.

The district is looking into other communication tools as part of the ILTC Grant that was awarded to CAM High School this winter.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

End of the Quarter approaches- check grades online NOW!

If you are reading this, you can access your son/daughter's grades online. I'm guessing you all know that, but for anyone who doesn't (or for anyone you know who doesn't and has internet access) it's useful information.

The quarter ends Wednesday, March 14th. Grades are due at Noon on Friday from teachers. Teachers updated grades on Tuesday, March 6th and some update more frequently. You can access how your student's doing now and get some last minute push to improve their standing before the door closes on the quarter.

I know many of you have tried earlier in the year with no success. Please call Linda at the high school office (762-3231) and she'll get you your username and password. They will work. If they don't let us know. Usually it's a server shutdown problem, but we need to know if there are problems.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Blizzard of '07 ... extend quarter 3 days

I wish I had more readership at this moment as I could be letting everyone know that we'll probably be extending the quarter 3 days. The quarter will end March 14th, grades are due by noon on Friday the 16th.

It would only be fair for those students needing to raise their grade and giving teachers a chance to get units wrapped up and grading done. Regardless the 4th quarter will get three extra days tacked on most likely, so it would only make sense to extend the 3rd quarter.

This year's seniors are pleased as punch I'm sure as they will not be here to make the days up. Last year we had one or no days off (can't recall).

I'm not familiar with this area so I do not know it's blizzard history. But I was my son's age (8) when the blizzard of '72 shut school down for 4 total days. We're lucky we have a weekend coming up as well as a weather change.

Stay safe and see you next week!