As the rumble grows outside, that can only mean one thing (besides the necessity of hiding inside for 10 days): school is almost here! I hope you all enjoyed your summer and are ready for the next round. Personally, I had one of my most productive summers ever, finishing so many projects that were left hanging during the school year while discovering how to wrangle our now-one-year-old son. He definitely makes things interesting, and I've enjoyed spending the summer with family instead of textbooks! As with the start of every new semester, here's the need-to-know:
The Class Stuff
Grade distribution for the past 3 years is shown. With the exception of those kids who were required to take it but quit trying (so glad for our grad standards changing that!), we approximate a normal curve. That means, especially if it's been 9 months or more since Algebra I, you are going to need to put more in to get a higher grade. Particularly for our underclassmen, remember to put your best effort forward because all juniors are required to take a math course and there is a "C" prerequisite to move on to PreCalc. Typically, Algebra II material is the backbone of the ACT, so this is showtime!
I'm a little apprehensive at all the sophomores on the roster this year, even more so given that many of you had group tests in Algebra II and didn't finish 1/4 of the curriculum. There will be a lot of students who come into PreCalc with a 95% in Algebra II that struggle to earn a "C" due to that shaky foundation. PreCalc is a course beyond the high school general curriculum (above College Algebra, actually), and you will need to put in much more work to achieve similar results as in the past. That's a lot for an underclassman to handle, but I think you're up to the challenge. Also note that our grades trend to a normal curve, so please remember that a "C" is NORMAL. While it's nice to brag about a GPA, we can't all be captain of the team. It's about what you learn and your ACT scores that really matters!
The Non-Class Stuff
A big welcome to the newest crop of fresh meat... I mean, freshmen! I got to meet most of you last spring and look forward to the next four years as your adviser. Unfortunately, freshman year of Spartan Time isn't the greatest, as you are stuck in class the whole time, no matter how good your grades. However, I am huge on letting you figure things out on your own, so at 1405 every day, if your grades are all at C or better, I'm ok with students reading or pulling out a game (I have over 100!). My class is also a haven of informality, so food and drinks are fine until you make me regret it. Students are able to use my fridge and microwave, fight over the couch and chair, maybe even the occasional Mario Kart tournament. Again, IF you handle your responsibilities, my room can be a nice chill zone at the end of the day.
We will have an informational meeting for anyone interested in Game Club on Wednesday, 8/29 during lunch (pizza served!) and our first game session will be Thursday 8/30 after school. Typically, Game Club meets from 1530 - 1730 every Thursday, and hosts daily Magic: The Gathering lunch leagues. In previous years, my room has also been a nerd haven during Spartan Time, too, but having freshmen this year precludes that. While there is a page for Game Club on this site and I'll occasionally put up an update on the Current Events page, your best bet to stay current is to follow us on our Facebook page. Lastly, we work very closely with Spearfish's local game store, Lookout Games, so be sure to check them out for various events. It's a great place to hang out that doesn't involve bad teenage decisions (unless you count spending money on "cardboard crack").
So, I hope this all helps, especially for new students/parents. I will be around the week of orientation, so stop in if the door is open. Otherwise, I'll see you all on the 23rd!