August 9, 2019

Jeffrey M. Howard
Abandon Me Not

I have been thinking and praying a modernization of a prayer that the Christian Brothers shared before school each day beginning some time after 1850. It has its genesis in the eighteenth century Traité des Étudesby Charles Rollin. I am sure you will be able to see why it has been turning over-and-over in my brain: You, O Lord, are my strength, my patience, my light, and my counsel. It is you who touch the hearts of the children entrusted to my care. Abandon me not to myself for one moment. 

Please know that I am praying this with and for our faculty and staff as we approach next Thursday!

9th Grade Parents
Monday, August 12, is, of course, a VERY big day! We look forward to welcoming you and your students to campus! Freshmen arrive for Orientation at 12:30 and parents arrive for Parent Orientation at 2:30 followed by a prayer service for all at 4:30 and the New Family BBQ at 5:15! See you then!

New Bell Schedule for 2019-2020
Those among you who have looked at some of the materials that have been coming out from the school in recent weeks have noticed a change in the bell schedule on a typical day. At the end of last year, I mandated a low pressure time period be created in the daily schedule because I felt it was very, very much needed for the health and wellness of our students both academically and emotionally. Students' lives are programmed now more than they ever have been and our students have, by-and-large, experienced very few minutes to breathe during their days at school. Though lunch has been something of an unstructured time, it has - for many of our students - been taken up by review periods, activities and sports meetings, make up assignments and other "duties" of the day. Students have not had much time to come up for air. And, for most of them, their days don't end at 3:00. Rather, they are going to practices of some kind or jobs or other responsibilities. Additionally, alarmingly and critically, the number of students reporting experiencing increased stress in their lives has risen almost exponentially. 

This unfortunate development is not anecdotal in nature. Judging by my conversations with our academic and personal counselors, the amount of Safe2Tell calls the school receives and my own research on this subject, I know it to be true. I am concerned and I am engaged. 

Therefore, I determined that the student body and the adult community at the school would benefit from some protected time during the school day, some unstructured time. In fact, providing our students an opportunity to responsibly learn to navigate this kind of time at the high school level strikes me as very college preparatory. 

The challenge, then, became how to create that time. There are only so many minutes in the school day. Something had to give and we took minutes from classes and from lunch to create this protected time. 

The entire faculty and staff was invited to gather for conversation about my "find time" mandate and an ad hoc committee came together over the summer to discuss this issue and determined that protecting time at lunch was the best course for our students. This would be the best down time for them. 

Therefore, we created Resource Period to use as an academic time. In the words of the committee: Resource Period is designed to be beneficial to our student body, supporting their well-being and academic enrichment, providing opportunities for student success and protecting student time in the classroom in an equitable manner.  This is a 30 minute period on most days without a Late Start, Early Dismissal or other schedule adjustment during which students can find their teachers to request help, make up assignments, review material, begin or complete homework or take on individual or small group work. Teachers will designate 3 Resource Periods a week as their Office Hours periods and a fourth Office Hours period at a time before or after school. Food will not be served. The gyms will not be open. We will work to create an academic culture around Resource Time. This is a model followed in many Lasallian schools in one form or another and I am confident it will support the health, well being and academic life of our students.