Memes found in my phone pretty well sum up the semester. I'm sorry for the lack of activity here, but Domestic Terrorist #2 here is adamant, even nearing 9 months old, that we shall not sleep! I've barely kept pace with keeping instruction and assessment on time, so everything else (including parent contacts) have suffered. With my primary focus on students and instructional hours, all the other things a teacher should do (including maintain this site) have taken a back seat. My hope is that I will be better about keeping people up to date second semester, now that 5.5-6 hours of sleep is finally reasonably reliable. On to the post-game show:
The Good: PreCalc
Our only class of Precalculus students knocked it out of the park this semester! This is a tough course, as it has to cover the base prerequisites for Calculus, Trigonometry and Statistics. It's past College Algebra in terms of content and (for most SD colleges) rigor. Typically, we have a small number of kids each year that simply aren't ready for that. A normal curve of grades centered on C is to be expected, yet this semester's group ALL made it through, with 17 of 19 getting the green light to move on to Trig! That is unheard of and they set a new record for highest individual class performance, too! Notably, these kids had a 93% collective homework completion rate and readily asked questions. There are so many resources, including nearly 24-hour access to the teacher via Remind, online solutions and retests. These kids used them and it showed!
The Bad: Algebra II
It hurts to put this out in public, but I believe in transparency. The 32 kids of Algebra II very nearly tied the total number of Fs from the past four years combined. I explained, begged, bribed and still they had a collective 37% of all assignments missing. That's nearly 1 in 3 assignments not even attempted. We slowed down to ensure students felt confident before moving on, so much so that one class didn't even get to the final chapter. Our units reviewing Algebra I took twice as long as normal. Still, all the way up to the final there were only 5 students in 2nd hour even pretending to do the work. 3 in 1st hour hadn't completed an assignment since October. I was working with our other Algebra II teachers and administration, wracked with worry and self-doubt, for the past 4.5 months... but in the end, those students made a choice. To those who made it, congrats on enduring one of the most challenging terms of my career and I only hope we can all do better in the second half.
The Nerdy: Game Club
Every day, I am so proud of the inclusive gaming community we have built at SHS. We have a rotating roster of about 40+ students of all ages, academic abilities, backgrounds and life choices. All we care about is having a fun time! A huge thanks to Mr Bauerly of BHSU's Buzz Arcade and Bill Termes for volunteering, plus our "sponsors," the Hofmanns! There's so much more happening in Game Club than I could possibly list here, so please check us out on facebook.com/shsgames!
Second semester starts on Tuesday, 1/21. It is required that students have a C- (73%) to move from Algebra II into PreCalc or PreCalc into Trig, so plan accordingly. New parents and students, please, PLEASE read through the syllabus and peruse this site because the overwhelming majority of questions can be answered here. While Algebra II had a rough time in first semester, please take into consideration the performance of PreCalc and past classes (above charts), particularly the abundance of resources available. In the words of Chancellor Sheev Palpatine, "Use my knowledge. I beg you!" I am more than willing to accommodate, change requirements, alter assignments, provide alternative testing, work 1-on-1 or anything else that may help a student be successful, so long as they talk to me!
Please let me know if you have any questions, and I look forward to a positive, productive Spring 2020!
Sullivan, King of Nerds
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