After deep discernment, prayer and reflection and following a process that saw almost 20 candidates - both internal and external apply - We are very pleased to announce that Liz Castellano has agreed to join the Leadership Team as Mullen High School's newest Assistant Principal.
Graduation will take place on our school campus at De La Salle Stadium at Mullen High School on July 14, 2020 at 6:00 p.m. We believe that this option allows for the largest number of people and also provides space for social distancing.
As our history has illustrated for over 75 years, Mullen High School's commitment to providing our students with a Lasallian and Catholic faith-based, rigorous and college preparatory education, exemplary athletics and activities and a community based on the Five Core Principles of the Brothers of Christian Schools has not changed. Though our community has weathered many changes in the past few months while our country and the entire world has battled the pandemic and has engaged with significant questions of injustice and race, we know that the best place for our students is on our campus, together and united in our diversity. Our entire community is desperate to be back in person for the 2020-2021 school year, and our teachers and administration are working diligently to prepare for this. As our parents, you are our best partners in this work and we want to receive your direct feedback. Your responses are critical to help us better understand our parent community’s mindsets and realities, assess any unique needs some of our families may have and to inform our discernment. The plans we create for the fall will be informed by the data we collect from you.
This year, we want you to have a choice in summer reading. Our hope is that you choose something you can’t put down! Each English teacher recommended a personal favorite to share with you. Log into MyMullen and click the Summer Reading block on the Resource Board for more information!
It is with a heavy heart that I write these words to you. It is my hope that, through them, I can express to you my concerns, prayers, and support during a time that is testing our strength as Lasallians and as Americans.
The ugly reality of racism and division in our nation is again bringing injustice and tragedy into the lives of our brothers and sisters, as well as unrest, anger, and violence to our cities and neighborhoods. I know you share my sense of shock and sadness over the terrible events of these past days. However, we must not let ourselves or each other – especially the young entrusted to our care – sink into their darkness. We must hold tightly to God, to each other, and to our vision for a better world. This is because we have work to do.
For the past 15 years, Rita Niblack has been a spiritual guide and educator at Mullen High School. In our last and 40th issue of Mullen Today's Unordinary Times, she reminds us that during these times of frustration and isolation brought on by the coronavirus (COVID-19) to think of others as our founder, St. John Baptist de La Salle did.
Let us remember...that we are ALL in the holy presence of God
Over the last days we have watched our city, our country and our world react to the death of Minneapolis, Minnesota resident George Floyd. Some have responded with love, some with anger, some with fear, some with restraint and some with abandon. Incredibly, it was less than a week ago when his life was taken too young, too lightly and far too soon. Incomprehension has washed over us all as we have tried to come to terms with the images we have seen and the sadness we have felt.
One of the greatest in a long list of outstanding student-athletes at Mullen, Maverick Handley has his own version of dealing with the coronavirus (COVID-19). The former outstanding Stanford catcher, now with the Baltimore Orioles organization, had his professional baseball world shut down, too, but revisited a few special memories and lessons as a Mustang. He shares his thoughts and doings in the latest version of Mullen Today’s Unordinary Times.
Congratulations to the 225 students in the 85th graduating Class of Mullen High School! Since we couldn't celebrate in person, our Valedictorian and Salutorian prepared speeches at home and recorded them. Today, May 24th, on the day of our senior graduation drive through, we celebrate the #Classof2020 and the speeches that should've been.
Emergency Remote Learning Week THE LAST - Hope Is Not Cancelled
We have made it through the last week and summer, albeit a changed summer, is on the horizon.
I, for one, am grateful to see summer coming but also grateful for the weeks that have just passed. These weeks have changed our lives, challenged us in ways we couldn’t have conceived or believed and have made us stronger, more resilient and more aware - I hope - of the blessings we have. We have come together as a community though we have been apart and we have continued to live in the spirit of St. John Baptist de La Salle, working together to continue our shared mission. For all of this, I say “thank you.”
As we move on into summer, my prayers will be with the entire community for the changes the days, weeks and months ahead will bring us all. I will pray for our Class of 2020 as we hope to gather again and celebrate them in July. I will pray for our Class of 2021 as they become the leaders of our school. I will pray for our Class of 2022 as they come into the pivotal junior year. I will pray for our Class of 2023 as they return not as the newest Mustangs, but as Mustangs who can help shape the tone of the school. And I will pray for our Class of 2024 as we are so excited to have them join us this fall!
And we will be together, in whatever fashion is safe and as soon as it is possible. We will be together!
The Torch Award is Mullen’s most prestigious scholastic award. It is presented every year to those students who best exemplify the Mullen ideal of excellence and achievement in all areas of school life. Congratulations to this years winners!
On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, May 27, 28, and 29th, members of the staff of Mullen High School with assistance of officers from the Denver Police Department will allow students to enter the school in a controlled, metered process in accordance with Denver Mayor Michael Hancock’s Safer at Home orders. We are grateful to the Denver Police Department for their assistance in developing this plan. The schedule for these days is as follows:
Wednesday (5.27.2020) and Thursday (5.28.2020):
Students with last names beginning A-L 9:00am to 11:30am
Students with last names beginning M-Z 12:00pm to 2:30pm
Students with last names beginning M-Z 9:00am - 11:30am
Students with last names beginning A-L 12:00pm - 2:30pm
As a catcher in softball, Avery Panozzo knows how to take charge, serve as a kind of quarterback and maintain her composure. It’s how she’s handling herself during the coronavirus (COVID-19). Centering on the memories she has from the school year, the junior also writes for Mullen Today’s Unordinary Times about seniors who were robbed of finales, staying in shape the best she can, staying optimistic about the future, missing her classmates and teachers, and remaining determined.
Junior Lindsey Sowitch was staring at quite promising opportunities as a swimmer over multiple months. But when the coronavirus (COVID-19) hit, precious pool time went away … along with a lot of everything else in her world. No matter. In writing for Mullen Today’s Unordinary Times, the Mustangs star covers making the best of bad situations, never giving up and looking confidently toward the future.
Emergency Remote Learning Week EIGHT - Hope Is Not Cancelled
Though I felt a little like a criminal sneaking around in the early morning on Thursday, it was a pleasure to deliver surprise packages to the homes of the Class of 2020! They made it to the last day of classes and we couldn’t be more proud of them! I am grateful to Mrs. Abeyta and the entire Community Life team for coordinating this amazing effort. We are equally indebted to the MPA for their ensuring everyone had a yard sign! If we missed any student, please let us know!
The Class of 2020 moves next to their Drive Through of the school and the planned Graduation Week events in July and I have been so gratified to be with them these last two years. They are forever a part of Mullen High School and we will be talking about this class and this spring and their special place in our hearts for years to come!
We had over 40 faculty and staff members along with parent volunteers taking their Thursday mornings to let this class know how special they are. Frankly, we had more volunteers than we could use! That speaks so well of our amazing community. It is a real example of who we are and how we care.
For Joe Welling, assistant principal and multi-sport running coach, he writes for Mullen Today’s Unordinary Times from the heart. With years of experience as a Lasallian Educator, he has broken down this difficult stretch of the coronavirus (COVID-19) into running on faith, love and hope. He also cites the resilience of the Mustangs community, its ability to continue to produce outstanding young people in the midst of joy at Mullen and operating under the Grace of God.
An open letter from educator Lauretta Ruppert, a second year theology teacher at Mullen teaching Comparative Religions and Morality, writes for Mullen Today’s Unordinary Times about remembering first moments and saying goodbye.
As a Mullen graduate in 2005, she was known as Ashley Tait, one of only two Colorado schoolgirls to finish as medalist three times (it’s now three schoolgirls). She went on to play in college as well as professionally and moved to teaching lessons and heading Mustangs girls golf. Now known as Ashley Tait-Wengert, she shares her thoughts on Mullen Today’s Unordinary Times about quarantine during the coronavirus (COVID-19), how it was for her when she ran into a roadblock in college and what we should look forward to in the future.
Sports Information Director Neil H. Devlin, in the latest Mullen Today Unordinary Times, writes about the unmatched speed and devastation of the coronavirus (COVID-19); the relentless boredom of staying home; missing the Mullen community and all that comes with it; and the void of working at a high school that was suddenly taken away. However, there’s hope, we need to follow it and we’ll keep putting up a fight. It’s one we can win if we’re smart.
Mullen High School is very pleased to announce our search for a new Athletic Director, introduce the search committee and present our timeline. We will conduct an online and virtual search until we are allowed by federal, state and local guidelines to engage in person. This process is based in our Core Principles, involves members of the community both in and out of the school and will identify candidates who we anticipate serving our student athletes proudly and well.
Antonio Corral has dabbled in many classes, sports and programs while at Mullen. So when the coronavirus (COVID-19) hit and wiped out what his final months with the school, he decided to use the resilience he developed as a Mustang. Indeed, he misses what could have been, but he’ll always be with Mullen, always be counted among the Mustangs.
If Trey Sieradski can remain positive about what’s currently going on in the world with the pandemic, then virtually every Mullen Mustang is more than willing to take his word for it. The interesting, resilient senior and baseball player writes for Mullen Today’s Unordinary Times about the uncertainty that came out of left field, dealing with a second personal quarantine, putting aside pettiness, getting back what everyone has missed and truly appreciating life that really is a gift.
Emergency Remote Learning Week SIX - Hope Is Not Cancelled
Today is May 1 and we are moving headlong into planning for the 2020-2021 school year. As I mentioned last week, I am not sure what the school will look like, how we will begin or, in fact, exactly when, but I wanted to share with you some things on which you can count:
Plans for the Class of 2020 continue to develop. We remain very hopeful for these celebrations.
In the coming weeks, we will release information and a detailed protocol for students who must return to campus to pick up any personal items they left in March to do so. This will not occur until state and local government allow this kind of gathering and our procedures will reflect best thoughts and practice. Please watch for further information.
We will be surveying the full community - faculty, staff, parents and students - concerning experiences with distance learning and will incorporate feedback into our planning going forward.
We are working very hard and very diligently on a series of plans for the fall. As I noted last week, we do not know what our context will be when we return. My sincere hope is that we are back as planned and in person in August of 2020. However, we will be ready for as much as we can possibly anticipate. We will be ready if we return and have to go back out to distance learning. We will be ready with potential plans for social distancing. We will be ready to keep your students safe. We will be ready. And those plans are forthcoming.
Like most ice hockey players, Aidan Cashman works at humility and implements it. The junior, in his turn contributing to Mullen Today’s Unordinary Times, understandably feels the pain and disappointment of schoolboys and schoolgirls in this time of the coronavirus (COVID-19); is doing his best to pass the time intelligently; knows he’s fortunate to have finished his sports season; and issues a heartfelt thank you to Mustangs seniors.
Molly Gilbert plays attack in lacrosse, so she’s doing the same thing during this difficult and unprecedented time. Her spring season lasted not much more than a week, but as the Mustangs junior outlines in her Mullen Today Unordinary Times offering, she’s feeling for those who lost their seasons, turning season-enders into positives and relying on her Mustangs lacrosse team to help get stronger for the future in the face of the pandemic.
Hector Rodriguez, impressive in speech and debate, wonders how he’ll speak and debate during what has turned into distance everything. Having qualified for the national tournament that will be contested online for the first time, Rodriguez’s offering for Mullen Today’s Unordinary Times covers his apprehension as well as pushing through this tough time, staying motivated and centering on the positive in what he terms as ”coronacation.”
Alek Elges had no idea that Mullen’s first baseball game, played on opening day of spring last month, would be the program’s only one of the season. The 12th-grader, one of many Mustangs excited about their chances in 2020, instead had to settle for one of life’s lessons. In writing for Mullen Today’s Unordinary Times, Elges, who is part of a large family contingent to go through Mullen’s doors, also notes about impulsive moves while staying at home as well as moving on to college and hoping to get back to normal.
Emergency Remote Learning Week FIVE - Hope Is Not Cancelled
I am incredibly grateful to the community for all the faith and trust in us and our determinations about how we are conducting Emergency Remote Learning. I have heard from many of you about your reactions and questions and I have passed them on to department chairs and the administration. We take your reactions very seriously as you are our best partners in educating your students - especially now!
J.P. Starkey, a multi-sporter and champion for the Mustangs, writes about lost opportunities, including back-to-back seasons in lacrosse and his turn as a mentor. But in the latest edition of Mullen Today’s UnOrdinary Times, the senior instead chooses to center on his entire four-year experience, including his first day at Mullen, schoolmate and teammate bonds, winning in doubles tennis and looking forward in 2020 with 20/20 vision.
I have been a part of Mullen ever since I can remember. As a kid, I remember playing on the cement “M” during football games. I didn't have any other school in mind when I looked at high schools. My family was literally there with me. Growing up at Mullen was the best thing that could have happened to me. Mullen is my home and will forever be.
Wake up; go to school; go to practice; do homework; grab something to eat; lift; try to squeeze a few minutes in with the family; sleep; repeat. Athletes’ lives revolve around routine, so when the threat and spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) caused a screeching halt to life as we knew it, athletes were left with whiplash and uncertainty. At first, a little alleviation from the grind seemed a tolerable slow down, but when it became apparent that sports weren’t coming back any time soon, hiccups turned into a complete halt. As championships were canceled and entire seasons were left in the dust, anger, sadness and uncertainty set in … in essence, student-athletes were grieving.
Ellie Bixenman writes about discovering track a couple of years ago in Mullen Today’s Unordinary Times. It seemed insignificant at the time, but, boy, was she wrong. Over the past years, she has learned to compete, she has learned how to peak as a runner and she had all of it taken away for her senior season … and yet she refuses to complain. She yearns to be with her Mullen classmates and teammates, but understands what’s going on during this difficult time. And she won’t be intimidated by fear.
Emergency Remote Learning Week FOUR - Hope Is Not Cancelled
Whew! We communicated A LOT this week because we had a lot of important things to say. With the announcements about our Emergency Remote Learning Plan and End of the Year Events that went to the whole community this week and our message to the Class of 2020 about Service Learning (more on that below) that they received, you might think I would be all “worded out.”
I almost am… but I do have a few brief comments this week.
Wilson Yee, a pilot and soon-to-be Air Force Academy Cadet, is attempting to fly through the time of coronavirus (COVID-19) while missing the end of his Mullen career. A place-kicker, Yee writes about the American people, their country and making everything better.
Senior Alexander Price is feeling the stress, disappointment, and sadness that a majority of Mullen Seniors are feeling at the moment. To them, Mullen was a home. To them, it was a place where they could all come together to be one family. But now, they don’t have that chance anymore.
It has been more than four weeks since students and staff were at Mullen. I hope everyone is staying healthy, staying on top of their work and finding the positive in our current situation. I wanted to reach out to all our students and recommend ways we can all stay healthy during our homebound time. In conjunction with the Wellness/Physical Education Department, here are some things EVERYONE can be doing during this time to remain healthy.
Ben Martinez, a sophomore, writes about tough times and ways to deal with them. The footballer and baseballer discovered he doesn’t have to wait for weights, neighbors rule and more time at home than usual shouldn’t be taken for granted.
Training for Will Chavez has turned from surf to turf. In the time of coronavirus (COVID-19), the swimmer writes about being unassuming, surprised and staring at reality. His end-of-high-school road has gone from highway to alley, a before-and-after shot still very much in the works for him and every other senior.
I begin in the hope that your family is in the midst of a blessed Triduum and that you have a lovely Easter on Sunday. The miracle of the Resurrection feels to me almost tangible this year as I continue in hope… hope in Christ, hope in our Mullen community, hope in all of you. On Sunday we will sing from our apartments and homes “Alleluia! Christ is alive!” He surely is. May that knowledge touch all of our hearts with hope. God bless you and your families.
Our Sad Announcement
Obviously this week we announced that Mullen High School will not return to in person classes this year. While we are greatly saddened by this development - especially as it affects our Class of 2020 - we know that this difficult decision was the right thing to do and that, as members of a Lasallian community, we have to do our part to help in this crisis. We look forward to being back together in groups small and large as soon as restrictions and recommendations are lifted. We live in hope of that day.
For Mullen teacher-coach Matthew Guglielmo, dealing with the ramifications of the coronavirus (COVID-19) is proving challenging on all levels. Below, he has shared the aspects of a routine vs. no routine. Days with the same tasks; and days with different tasks. Unusual teaching and no coaching, but more family interaction and time at home. Learning something new, yet doing many of the same things. Like everyone else, he realizes’s in the same boat …
Megan Pohs, a junior, is arguably the best point guard as well as player in Class 4A girls basketball. A three-year starter, she has been all-Centennial League three times, twice named to the first team. The recognized Mustangs leader who has led them to 40 victories the past two seasons writes about her strong relationships with teammates, working their way to another title shot, dealing with unannounced disappointment and trying to come through the pandemic as a better, stronger person.
Agur Dwol, a sophomore, is the defending Class 4A Colorado champion in triple jump. She also was ranked as high as No. 4 in the country this year and was recently named All-America indoors for schoolgirls by National Scholastic Athletics Foundation-New Balance. She writes about conflicting feelings of anger and relief, getting some down time, a shrinking season, prep goals and how the sport provides her a much-needed outlet:
Today as we begin what is likely the strangest Holy Week we have ever experienced we remind ourselves that God is with us - always. As our Lenten journey reaches its end this week, we continue to live our lives in a spirit of hope.
Hope is a powerful force and one we embrace in this amazing Mullen community.
By now, many have seen that the majority of public schools in the Denver Metro Area have announced they will be continuing remote learning for the remainder of the school year. Mullen High School has been following the guidelines instituted by the state of Colorado and has paid close attention to decisions made by surrounding public schools.
With those examples in mind and because minimizing social contact is working and we want to help lead our community's participation in the solution, Mullen High School will continue to operate in a distance learning model for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. We will not return to in person instruction this year.
All in person school activities (ie. athletics, graduation, prom, etc.) are cancelled, however, please know that we are actively exploring creative alternatives for graduation, prom and end-of-the-year events for seniors. We will keep our families informed as we develop potential options. We will celebrate the Class of 2020.
Distance Learning… there is still so much to learn, but the staff and faculty and students of Mullen High School will not shrink from the challenge…
I am so very pleased with and proud of the Mullen community for the manner in which we are engaging in Distance Learning. Our transition to this new world has not, of course, been perfect and we are learning as we go, but I have to say that early results are, on the whole, very positive. Teachers are discovering what works well, what does not and what needs to be adapted. Students are doing very much the same thing. The administration, the department chairs, the Distance Learning Task Force and academic departments are meeting, discussing, adapting and growing.
The critical thing here is that we are engaging. That has been my priority as principal, that we continue to engage with our students, that we communicate with them, that we pray with them and that we remind them we love them.
As Pope Francis has reminded us, our shared Lenten journey has taken on new significance this year. As we move towards Easter and the miracle of the resurrection, we hope that your family is staying safe, healthy and peaceful. Though we are not physically together as a community, we continue to support each other during our time apart. Please remember to send us prayer intentions to Mrs. Niblack at Niblack@mullenhigh.com so that they can be shared in our daily prayers.
For the foreseeable future, it is my intention to use this space to provide some updates on how we are doing as a community with Distance Learning, what the new, temporary normal looks like and how the staff and faculty are working on behalf of your students.
As you know, we launched into the Distance Learning Adventure this week. Our preparation for it was most helpful for our faculty and staff. Having in person discussions on Thursday, March 12 and then two days of preparations earlier this week has helped our teachers feel as confident as they can be going into these next weeks. I am incredibly gratified by the work of the Distance Learning Task Force (13 of our teachers, counselors and staff) who planned for this work. I’d like to note that over 25 faculty and staff members volunteered to take part in the Task Force… such is the quality of educators who serve your students.
The Task Force spent time considering the best ways to begin Distance Learning with your students. We discussed the new reality we are facing and the best ways to address it. We debated content, context and collaboration going forward. We determined a solid course of action and handed the work of it over to the immensely talented faculty and staff.
I sincerely hope this letter finds you very well. Each time we have gathered to talk about this unprecedented situation, a teacher or staff member reminds us about you, our students, and that all the work we do is for you. Our prayers - the prayers of the faculty and staff of Mullen High School - are with you and will remain with you for the duration of this truly amazing time.
Just a week ago, I wrote that our plan at Mullen High School was to be back with the students we treasure in the place we love on Tuesday, March 24. Obviously, this has changed.
The world itself has changed a bit, has it not?
Please allow me to take a few moments of your time to write about what has not changed.
What has not changed is that Mullen High School is Lasallian and Catholic. What has not changed is that we provide a high quality, rigorous college preparatory education. What has not changed is that we know we are in the Holy Presence of God. What has not changed is that we give our students opportunities for prayer and community. What has not changed is our staff and faculty have deep care for and commitment to your students.
None of that has changed. None of it will during these weeks of uncertainty. We will do our utmost to have your students know they are Mullen High School Mustangs. We want them to be proud of that unifying fact - as proud of it as we are.
I cannot tell you what the coming days and weeks look like completely and I do not know what things will look like when we return to school. I cannot even tell you when we will do so.
But I can assure you of all the above things to do not and will not change. Ever.
For me, there is amazing comfort and peace in that.
Let us remember…that we are in the holy presence of God.
We remain committed to keeping our students, parents, families, alumni, faculty and staff informed about these unprecedented events and our plans and responses to these complex times. We are deeply grateful to you for your prayers and know that you are very much in ours. We do always remain in God’s Holy Presence...
On Wednesday, March 18, as many of you did, Mullen High School leadership received word that Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed an executive order closing Colorado schools through Friday, April 17 due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. You may read the press release and executive order here.
From the Lasallian Prayer for Peace: “We pray for peace in our lives; in our towns, in our schools, in our families and in our hearts. We pray for a peace that the world cannot give us. We pray for a peace that will make us whole and transform us into ambassadors of justice for Your sake.” We hope you find in this prayer solace, comfort and strength.
Senior Citizens' Prom is CANCELLED for 2020. We are cancelling the SCP prom this year, but look forward to a terrific event in 2021. All students who signed up to volunteer should check their email for communication on cancelling their volunteer shifts and contact Dr. Daugherty to discuss options for volunteer hours. Families who have donated items already for this event, please know we thank you and will be using them for the 2021 event.
The last days and weeks have, as you know, been filled with questions, reflection, prayer and concern about the coronavirus, its potential impacts on our Mullen community and our extended family and how we continue to do our utmost to protect that community, keep it whole and keep it safe. It is not an exaggeration to say that the administration, faculty and staff have agonized over striking an appropriate balance between instituting reasonable, proactive measures and overreacting to this complex situation.
As we continue our shared Lenten journey, faced with the seemingly ever-changing challenges of the pandemic coronavirus (COVID-19), we begin this update in a spirit of faith and prayer, confident in our association within our Lasallian community. Know that we pray with you and for you.
The health and safety of all of our students continues to be our first priority in the wake of the evolving situation around COVID-19 in Colorado. We encourage everyone in our school community to continue to take note of facts and not to panic, but to take appropriate precautions. With Spring Break next week, we provide you this update on our response to COVID-19. This same communication has been disseminated to faculty and staff in addition to parents.
Mullen High School will be closing Wednesday, March 11th at 3 PM through Tuesday, March 24th.All classes, activities and spring sports are canceled as of 3 PM that day.
At this time, Mullen High School does not have any confirmed cases of COVID-19. The administration will continue to update the community if there are developments of confirmed cases of students or families.
Michelle Poffel said she talked about it with her mother.
If Mullen was going co-ed by adding girls to the all-boys school, she would be a Mustang when it occurred.
Already enrolled at Machebeuf in downtown Denver late in her eighth-grade class at All Souls Catholic School, Poffel, whose older brother, Matthew, was a Mustangs sophomore, didn’t want to get her hopes up and be overly disappointed if it didn’t happen.
However, it arrived at her Englewood home. The letter. Acceptance to Mullen. For real.
Dr. Cardenas and I sent out a series of communications this week concerning coronavirus. Please know that we are paying close attention to developments and our team discusses this every day. We want to be sure we find that very difficult space between under reacting and over reacting to this situation. At the center of our approach - always and ever - will be keeping your students as safe as we possibly can. Each decision we make is evaluated through that perspective. We will continue to communicate clearly about steps we are taking and we are very much encouraging you to monitor your students’ health - as you always do - and to keep them home when appropriate - as I know you do as well!
Due to the high alert around the world concerning the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Mullen High School has prepared a plan of response. We are monitoring statements and advice from the Center for Disease Control and the Colorado State Department of Health. As of now, even with the lower risk here in Colorado and the United States, steps will be made at the school to prepare students and staff in the currently very low chance that a breakout occurs in our buildings. These best practice procedures are designed to protect the safety of all parties involved and to prevent any further infections from occurring.
What a terrific four days in Houston this week! Joining over 100 chief administrators from the 55 Lasallian high schools around the United States, Dr. Cardenas and I heard 3 separate keynote speakers, attended a District meeting (and a wonderful dinner with our colleagues from the schools in the San Francisco/New Orleans District) went to breakout sessions (one of which I co-presented) and prayed with, enjoyed fellowship with and laughed with principals and presidents who are dedicated to our same mission. This was truly food for the journey and well timed as we head into the Third Trimester next week.
Early next week, Dr. Cardenas and I will travel to Houston to attend the Lasallian Association of Secondary School Chief Administrators (or LASSCA) gathering and I could not be more excited. Having been asked to serve on the planning committee this year, I know that there is much good work in store for us and I am very much looking forward to connecting with principals and presidents from Lasallian schools across the United States. I am most pleased to attend this year because, last year at this time, I was in the early stages of my bout with Shingles - that was fun - and this year I am feeling fit and ready to go! This will be a wonderful gathering.
A friend of mine, a veteran teacher with whom I used to work, told me once that the key to working in a high school was ambiguity tolerance - the idea that things do not always go as we plan them or as they were promised to go. I am not sure exactly about what we were talking, but it may have had to do with snow delays and snow days.
What a pattern of weather we have been in of late…
It was my pleasure, and that really is the right word, to be invited - along with many other administrators and faculty members - to meet with the senior class at a lunch last week. For my part, I thought the conversation and the exchange was terrific and I was impressed with much of what our students had to say and so impressed by their expressed love of the class and love of Mullen. I was also struck by the respect they gave to one another and to those of us who were speaking with them. I really enjoyed the chat!
One of the most fascinating parts of working in education is that, once the calendar turns to a new year, educators are really living both in the current school year and also in the next. That is very much the case at Mullen! While we are enjoying the end of the second trimester and looking forward to the third, we are also looking ahead to 2020-2021.
What this means right now is that your students have begun to select courses for next year. That is certainly exciting!
What it will mean very soon is that we will start the re-enrollment process for 2020-2021. In the coming weeks, you will receive an email with a link to re-enroll your students for next year. The re-enrollment fee is $400 which is applied to your tuition for 2020-2021. Please watch for the email announcing re-enrollment coming very soon!
Catholic Schools Week One of the most important parts of our identity at Mullen High School is that we are a Catholic school blessed to be in the Archdiocese of Denver! Next week is Catholic Schools Week, the 46th annual celebration of Catholic education in the United States. We will be engaged in this week in our daily prayer life and in consideration of the five themes of the week: Celebrating our community, our students, our nation, vocations and our faculty, staff and volunteers. I am looking forward to the week and a deeper focus on connections to Catholic schools across the US.
Yesterday, for the first time in many years, I was privileged to participate in Parent/Teacher Conferences as a teacher! I have spent this trimester with a terrific group of seniors in an Honors English IV class and I have had a wonderful time. On a great many days, the time I spend with them has been the best part of my day. I was grateful to meet many of their parents yesterday. I hope that those of you who attended conferences had gratifying and fruitful conversations.
For those of you who do not know me, I am Mara Dougherty. This is my sixth year teaching in the Science Department at Mullen HIgh School and I recently assumed the role as Director of Service Learning. Service learning is how students at Mullen live out the core principle of Concern for the Poor and Social Justice. As part of this, first year students will be introduced to service by attending a one day immersion trip. About half the students from the class of 2023 took part in the Freshman Service Day this fall. The remainder of the students will begin to serve at Senior Support Services in Denver starting next week. With the exception of the January 21st trip, students will attend a pre-service meeting in the weeks leading up to service and should expect to attend their first period class on their service day. Students will be notified of their service day when a packet of information is delivered to them at school. Included in this packet is the Immersion Registration Form and the Parent Authorization for Student Activity and Travel. A student may not attend the Freshman Service Day without these forms signed and return to Dr. Dougherty prior to the immersion trip.
Service learning is how students at Mullen live out the core principle of Concern for the Poor and Social Justice. As part of this, students are required to complete 70 total service hours while at Mullen, 50 serving marginalized groups and 20 serving your own Mullen community. If students do not complete these hours their diploma will be withheld upon graduation.
I trust you and your family had wonderful times together over Christmas Break and that you are looking forward to a happy and healthy 2020.
We started January at school with a full day of professional development for the faculty and staff on Monday, and it was a terrific way to get back together and to get energized for the rest of the school year. We discussed topics as practical as the learning management system we will be implementing next year (which I think is going to be great for students, parents and staff alike!) to our continuing efforts on humanizing our pedagogy to admissions to hearing an update from Dr. Cardenas. It was a full day, and a good one.
Then your students joined us on Tuesday… it’s great to be back together!