Monday, December 9, 2013

The General: December 2013 Edition

An important part of our vision at Thomas Nelson is parent and community partnership. To that end, I work with The Citizen Advisory Team each fall to develop a partnering with parents survey. The purpose of the survey is to learn from you and determine how we can continue to grow as a school community in supporting parents. The results of this survey are shared with in the January Edition of The General and TNHS staff members will use the data to set goals for the coming year. Your voice is important to our continued growth! Please take 4 to 5 minutes to complete this survey. 

Click Here - Partnering with Parents Survey to share your voice. 

Achievement week will be held from 12.16 to 12.20 culminating in our 2nd Interim Assessment of the year! The theme for this semester's Achievement Week is "I'm on top of the World" denoting the great opportunity that our Generals have in shaping their future story by excelling on both their Final Exams and the Interim Assessments. Join me in celebrating this opportunity for our Generals. 


Monday, November 18, 2013

The General: November 2013 Edition

We have much to be thankful for this November at TNHS. Supporting our community members in actively giving gratitude is a part of our school culture vision. Importantly, research on schools shows that taking time for gratitude is correlated with cultural success. Read more here. 
I'm thankful for the continued contributions of students, parents, teachers, and community members in continuing to lay the foundation at Thomas Nelson High School. There are so many of you that have the courage to contribute and make TNHS a great place to be. The most recent contributions from our Project Lift-Off planning team is a great example of courage in our community. 

November marks college application month across the state of Kentucky and at Thomas Nelson High School. To continue aligning our work to the TNHS mission of college, career, and citizenship preparation we are ensuring that all seniors are actively pursuing college and career applications each Friday during LEADER Prep. Aligning with the College Board's recommended best practices of applying to four or more colleges, our seniors are evaluating their options with KHEAA's matching assistant. It's work like this that our college and career LEADERship team continues to learn from in supporting all Generals being prepared for lift-off in May of 2014. 

December 16th - Parent Financial Aid Workshop: Paying for College 101
Paying for College 101 will help high school students and their parents understand the nuts and bolts of the financial aid application process.  Participants will walk through a detailed case study of how a college financial aid package is put together and will learn the methods used to award aid.  Parent and student signups will be available for individual sessions on Thursday, January 9, to complete the FAFSA (Free Application for FederalStudent Aid). More information on how to sign-up will be given at the December 16th workshop. 

Our project lift-off planning team has taken shape and is being chaired by Rick Greer. Currently, meetings take place on Monday evenings from 6:30 to 7:30. Please see the TNHS Daily Announcements for continued updates concerning project lift-off planning. The answer to how is YES!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

January 28th Citizen Advisory - 5:30 -6:30

1. Celebrate Growth - What are we Learning?
A Message from Kid President - Implications on our Work (10 min.)

2. Parent Survey Results (10 min.)

3. Student Survey Results (10 min.)

4. Operation Exploration (30 min.)
     a. What is it?
     b. Planning for Success 
5. Next Meeting

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The General: October 2013 Edition

To further celebrate the ACHIEVEMENT of our Generals we are having a fall and spring Dean's List Breakfast. All Generals that achieve a 3.25 GPA in quarter 1 and their parents will be invited to our first ever Dean's list breakfast. First time Dean's list students will receive a G letter and "lamp of knowledge." All student Parents or Grandparents, and students will enjoy breakfast, music, coupled with motivations from College and Career LEADERs Jessica Sekulski and Julia Thomas and other Thomas Nelson LEADERs.  

See the image below for dates and times for each grade level.  
Is your son or daughter interested in the Governor's Scholar program? Enhance their readiness by attending the Governor's scholar night next Thursday the 24th of October to get an edge on the competition. 
Interested parents stay tuned to the TNHS Daily Announcements for more information on Project Lift-off. I will be asking for parent LEADERs interested in chairing the project lift planning team. The majority of students have voted for their preference at both TNHS and NCHS and we should have a clear path by the end of this week. 

October 4th, the last day of quarter one, not only marked the first house pride rally of the year (Survivor) but it also was our first senior future story day. While the rest of Generals took the quarter 1 interim assessments all of our seniors took part in college and career resume building workshops and met with community business leaders to gain further insight into how to be prepared now for employment beyond high school. Before lunch each senior had a draft of their college and career resume accompanied by next steps on how to continue to build their resume further while in high school. This future story day builds off of the work going on in LEADER Prep classes on a weekly basis.  Through this work we continue to strive towards our mission of college and career readiness for all. 
The first house pride rally promoted the SURVIVOR theme!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The General: September 2013 Issue

Books Change Lives - Creating Independent Readers
There is perhaps no more powerful impact on student engagement and learning than a student's ability to read and makes sense of what they're reading. I see the power of reading in the lives of our Generals on a daily basis. At Thomas Nelson we are blessed with great access to reading material, both print and non-print, and continuously encourage our Generals to read independently. Independent reading is powerful because it gives students CHOICE and allows them to learn from the PERSPECTIVES of others and see the world anew. Additionally, active independent readers are more likely to fulfill our mission of college, career, and citizenship preparation. I found the video below from John Maxwell to provide a meaningful summary of additional benefits of independent reading for parents - it also makes a couple of recommendations for books. 

Project Lift-Off Initial Meeting  -

September 25th (NCHS Media Center)

Mrs. Shelley Hendricks (NCHS Principal) and I will be hosting any interested parent for an initial Project Lift-Off (Project Grad) meeting on Wednesday Sept. 25th from 5:30 to 6:30 in the NCHS media center. If interested please click on the following link to sign-up. Project Lift-Off Interest Form

Senior/Junior Future Story Symposium - October 2nd  - 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM
All Junior and Senior Parents and Generals are invited to our first Future Story Symposium of the year. During this time we will be hosting a number of college and career future story partners in the media center, commons area, and college and career cafe. Confirmed participants include: 
Confirmed Participants:

Career/Technical Schools:
  • Paul Mitchell School-Louisville

    • ECTC
    • Brescia University
    • Spalding University
    • McKendree University--Radcliff
    • Campbellsville University
    • Lindsey Wilson College
    • Bellarmine University
    • Berea College
    • St. Catharine College

    • U.S. Army National Guard

    Future Story Supports:
    • Balfour
    • KHEAA
    • UPS Metro College Program (JCTC, University of Louisville)

Also Invited:
Kentucky Wesleyan
Morehead State
Murray State
St. Catharine
School of Art @ Spalding University
Thomas More
Northern Kentucky
Sullivan University
Sullivan School of Technical Design
Empire Beauty Week
Brown Mackie College
Daymar College
Devry University
Galen College of Nursing
Indiana Wesleyan
Kentucky State
Strayer University
University of the Cumberlands
Army National Guard

Upcoming Future Story Events
Paying 101: KHEAA senior/parent workshop presented by Jo Newton: December 16, 6:00 p.m., Media Center

FAFSA 1:1 workshop for senior parents facilitated by Jo Newton: January 9, 5:00-7:00 p.m. (30 minute sessions), Washington House College & Career Center. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The General: August 2013 - Towards Continued Growth

Learning from ACT Growth - G20 Making History
Our class of 2014 cohort made history with an ACT composite average of 20 this past March. While the data was just published through the Kentucky Dept. of Education we had a good sense throughout the past year that our juniors, now seniors were working towards history. As a community of professionals, our classroom LEADERs continue to learn from the ACT data in order to support our upcoming class of 2015 cohort with continued ACT success. 

As we met with our seniors during the first week of school they expressed not only pride, but a sense that they're not quite finished making history yet. Students within our first graduating class continue to work diligently on college preparatory coursework, industry certification in a career trade, college acceptance, and resume building. We will continue to support each student with their future story through our weekly LEADER Prep course! 

PROJECT LIFT-OFF and Future Stories
We will be meeting with interested parents in the next four weeks to form a "PROJECT LIFT-OFF" parent and student leadership team. Traditionally deemed "Project Graduation," our end of the year event will focus not only on the celebration and the rite of passage that is high school graduation, but will also focus on providing our Generals with the inspiration to lift-off into their future story pathways.
The symbol of the aircraft carrier has been used throughout this year with both students and teachers to convey the role that Thomas Nelson plays within student's lives. We are an essential platform for students to be prepared to lift-off into their future stories. If you or anyone that you know are interested in being a part of the Project Lift-Off planning team please click here to fill out the interest form.


Monday, July 29, 2013

The General: July 2013 - Back to School Edition

Back To School Bash - B2SB2013 
We will be kicking off this school year with our first annual "back to school bash" B2SB this coming Monday the 5th of August. This event will couple an introductory open house for all Generals from 5 to 7 along with a back to school bash on the football field from 7 to 9. The open house will afford all parents and students the time to walk through their schedules, get into their lockers, meet teachers, and get a better feel for the expectations at TNHS. 
B2SB2013 Offers Choices for All
In large part due to the planning of Vice Principal Mrs. Heather Warrell, Parent Volunteer Coordinator Amy Durbin, and House LEADERs the back to school bash will offer choices for everyone. Miniature golf, human jenga, bocce ball, corn hole, an obstacle course, and pugil sticks are just the start of what is an array of options for parents, Generals, and teachers to celebrate the opening of Thomas Nelson High School's second year. Grade level house teams and athletic teams will be hosting events, selling TNHS apparel, and giving away items to those who compete and win. You are invited and we hope to see you there to celebrate the opening!

Tips for Transitioning "Back to School"

The transition from summer break back to school is an important one for all of us at Thomas Nelson. We are here to partner with you throughout this year to ensure that your General has a remarkable year. Here are a few tips for parents and students for taking charge of going back to school. 
  • Visit the school and introduce yourself to all of your teachers at the open house.
  • Ask any clarifying questions you might have to teachers about course visions,syllabi, homework, etc.
  • Sign-up to be a part of the parent volunteer team.
  • Begin transitioning back to school sleep schedules. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

10.22.13 Agenda

1. Celebrate Growth 

  • What's the good word in the community? 
    • Still resistance. 
    • Students are supportive.
    • Sports Programs
    • Celebrating Achievement.
    • Dean's List, GSP, 
    • Future Story Symposium.
  •  Data Review
    • K-PREP
    • PLAN
  • LEADER Prep Progress
  • Dean's List Breakfast
  • Governor's Scholar Nights

2. Parent Survey Results from Last Year
  •  What areas of growth do you see? 
  •  What recommendations do you have?

3. School Improvement Planning Team

  • Interested parties? 

4. Project Lift-Off Recommendations

Action Steps
- Consider ways to communicate with SOC over meeting times. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

7.24.13 Meeting

Citizen Advisory Committee Meeting, 2013
July 24th 
Agenda (5:30-6:30)
Principal’s Office

1.       Welcoming – Celebrate (10 min.)
    1. Celebrate – G20!
    2. Student Enrollment 
2.       Review of Group Norms, LEADER Values, and   Purpose of Committee
3.       End of Year Parent Survey Decision and Feedback (5 min.)
             a.  Parent Volunteers
4. Revisiting LEADER Prep
5.      Back to School Bash Brainstorm - Community and Parent Involvement  (30 min.)
             a. Implications for Citizen Advisory Annual Event Planning.
6.       Future Meeting Dates Established (2 min.)
7.       Focus Areas and Action Steps (5 min.)

Saturday, June 29, 2013

The General: June 2013

Keeping Our Minds Fresh - Avoiding the Summer Slide
The summer provides myriad opportunities for teenagers to continue growing as students. The extended freedom throughout June and July offers our Generals a time to read, write, and think that aligns directly with their interests. The often referenced "summer slide" points to the loss of learning when young minds sit idle. Indeed, enrichment of the mind comes in a variety of forms and it is essential that we continue to find ways to support our children with an environment that nurtures their own academic and social interests within the context of reading, writing, and thinking. 

The article below is a thoughtful discussion of this issue as it relates directly to parental supports for summer reading enrichment.

Summer Reading Tips: How to Support Your Child as a Reader

History Making Events - Mark Your Calendar

Opening Community Event - Moved to August 5th
We are set to continue making history in early August with our first ever community event taking place on Thursday, August 1st from 5:00 - 7:00 at the TNHS Football Field. This event will serve as an opening to the school year and allow our Generals, parents, teachers, and community members to meet and greet, while enjoying some contests and games hosted by each of our houses. Please join us on the the 1st of August for this event. 

General Orientation - August 5th 
Student orientation for all grade levels will be from 5:00 to 7:30 on Monday August 5th. Student orientation will allow all students and parents to learn more about our college and career culture, review course expectations, while also receiving locker assignments and hard copies of student schedules. More details will be shared about orientation in the coming weeks. 

Monday, May 27, 2013

The General: May 2013 Edition

The Lafayette House will be hosting our final House Pride Rally this coming Wednesday and have aptly labeled the theme "History Made." The event will include a number of activities that allow students to celebrate the history they've been making in their first year as Thomas Nelson Generals and will continue to make as they pursue their college and career future stories. Without question, we have a great deal to celebrate in our first year, but we have much more history to make in the years ahead. 

Generals LEADing the Way.

"The Ceiling Can't Hold Us' was the theme song for Achievement MAYhem.
Both students and teachers alike have been entrenched within Achievement MAYhem throughout the month of May. Over the past two weeks 10th and 11th grade students have taken state aligned End-of-Course examinations and select students have taken a variety of AP examinations. During this time our Generals continue to prove that the sky is the limit. I feel strongly that our Generals and will continue to prove they are capable of performing as well as any students in the state of Kentucky. It's our belief in our students and our community that will determine our success. The answer to how is yes.

What happens in the summer? Continuous cycles of Learning
I've had a number of community members and parents ask me about what our summer plans entail at Thomas Nelson. While we are always learning from our work, the summer offers a concerted time to evaluate the work from our previous year, revise and/or develop visions, and ensure that we are fully prepared for improved outcomes across the school in year two. Building off of the work from last summer, the following visioning teams are in place for the months ahead to ensure we are supporting all Generals. 

Planning and PD Team
Evaluate and revise planning vision.
Recommend best practices in planning for all LEADERs.
Evaluate planning documents and make suggestions about school-wide practices.
Recommend summer PD opportunities.
Evaluate and plan Summer PD opportunities.

School Culture Team
Evaluate and Revise School Culture Vision
Develop LEADER Prep Vision
Recommend use of school space ideas.
Plan parental involvement activities and strategies.

Assessment Committee
Review, evaluate, and revise TNHS assessment vision in alignment with best practices.
Outline best practices in assessment for school-wide practices.
Ensure that assessment practices align with state and national assessments.
Plan assessment PD for LEADERs.

Writing Team
Revise school wide writing vision.
Evaluate and revise vision.
Ensure that writing policies align with EOC outcomes and best practices in writing instruction.
Plan writing PD opportunities. 

I want to extend a big thank you from the Thomas Nelson staff to all parents and community members that have been integral in making our inaugural year a success. Your support for our work throughout this transitional year has allowed us to work with a great deal of confidence. In turn, we have been able to more directly align our work to the mission of college, career, and citizenship preparation. 


Monday, April 22, 2013

Next Meeting

7.24.13 - Yes!

4.16.13 Meeting

Citizen Advisory Committee Meeting
April 16th, 2013
Agenda (5:30-6:30)
Principal’s Office
1.       Welcoming – Celebrate (10 min.)
    1. Celebrate – Operation Preparation
2.       Review of Group Norms, LEADER Values, and Purpose of Committee
3.       Data Review (5 min.)
    1. Moose Quarterly
4.       End of Year Parent Survey and Student Survey w  (20)

    1. Revisions
5.       Focus Areas and Communicating with Staff (20)
a.       Parent Volunteers
6.       End of Year Event Planning Started
    1. Last Day of School
    2. Prelude to Project Graduation
7.       Future Meeting Dates Established
8.       Focus Areas and Action Steps

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The General: April 2013 Edition

College and Career Scheduling Nights 

We are inviting all parents of students in 10th,11th, and 12th grades to attend our spring college and career scheduling event this coming week. 

Monday, April 22nd - 5:30 - 6:30
Future sophomore and junior parents and Generals are invited to join the TNHS College and Career LEADERs for an overview of scheduling priorities and considerations for the coming year. The event will start in the media center and all parents and Generals are welcome to attend. 

Thursday, April 25th - 5:30 -6:30 
Future senior parents and Generals are invited to join the TNHS College and Career LEADERs for key details on senior scheduling and the path to graduation and beyond. Additionally, representatives from UPS and additional school to work organizations will be available. This event will also begin in the media center. 

Writing Vision and Authentic Literacy

Writing is an integral component to college, career, and citizenry preparation at Thomas Nelson. Preparing all Generals to communicate effectively within multiple contexts is the goal of our school-wide writing policy team. As we  revise the Thomas Nelson writing policy for the coming year we continually come back to the notion of "Authentic Literacy" and the importance of creating real-life applications as outcomes of the writing process. At TNHS we strive to create authentic applications and engage in writing that entails: 
  • Meaningful readings that connect to real-world topics and issues that we face in the world today.
  • Open-ended and engaging questions that allow for students to synthesize multiple sources of information to form their argument.
  • Giving students choices about the questions they address, the stance they take, and the sources they reference to form their argument.
I look forward to sharing the writing vision with everyone in the coming months. 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The General: March 2013 Edition

Generals LEAD into the 4th Quarter
Assistant Principal Heather Warrell with Lafayette House
Members Loren Schuler and Luke Cecil. 
As we move into the final quarter of our inaugural year at Thomas Nelson High School we continue to be impressed by the sense of community that our Generals have developed over the past seven months. The courage that our Generals have displayed throughout the year has been indicative of the support that the community and parents have showed for Thomas Nelson High School. As we move into eighth grade parent nights over the next week and upper class parent nights in April and May the narrative will be more clear this year. Not only do we have a building, but we have a school.  Thank you to all of you that continue to contribute to our school community. 

Perfect ACT Attendance!
Our only picture with all 162 Lincoln House Members!
162 out of 162 Generals had the courage to show up to our first ever ACT at Thomas Nelson High School. By choice, they wore lime green t-shirts that read "Keepin' it Classy." The day culminated in the "big chill" event that was hosted by the Lincoln House Leaders and a number of parent volunteers. The juniors want to show their gratitude for all of  you that made the event possible. 

Interim Assessment Reports Going Home With Report Cards 3.15.13
Interim Assessment Score Range aligned to ACT
Based on feedback from the partnering with parent survey results in December we have started to couple the release of the report card with the interim assessment results. The detailed subject by subject item analysis affords parents and students meaningful feedback about how students perform in relation to ACT college readiness standards. A major priority with this test is creating a growth mindset for our Generals by giving them clarity about what areas they can target for future growth. Naturally, our teachers will use this data to partner with students in this growth process in their given subject areas. Please be aware that scores on this test do not correlate with traditional grading scales. See the table to the right for more information concerning how to interpret scores for your child. Also, the IA scores only apply to 9th and 10th grade students during quarter 3 as the Juniors took the ACT and will receive their results in the coming months.

Friday, February 15, 2013

The General: February 2013 Edition


Over the past six months as visitors and community members have entered Thomas Nelson there has been a consistent theme that has emerged with the notion of "Generals Care." During our work preparing for the opening of Thomas Nelson High School over the past year our school culture team identified this mantra as a proactive stance against the forces of mediocrity that can inhibit meaningful commitment from high school students. Proudly, I can say that as we have moved into the second semester, the ideals within "Generals Care" are alive at Thomas Nelson in both students and staff. Opening doors for others, picking up trash, communicating courteously, and using class time wisely are all things that we expect from our students at Thomas Nelson.  As we continue to grow and learn as a community, we expect the actions associated withe "Generals Care" to become an even more predominant part of our culture

Wes Bradley - Principal 

OPERATION PREPARATION - A Future Story - March 20th

The notion of growth mindset is imperative for our
continued success at Thomas Nelson High School. 
Our Operation Preparation team has been hard at work over the past few weeks putting together a remarkable college and career event for all of our sophomores in alignment with the state of Kentucky's Operation Preparation movement. During this event, we are inviting local professionals to support students with dialogue about the work they do each day helping our Generals envision their future story. If you or someone that you know would be a good fit for sharing insights into your career field and the path that you took to get there please click on the following link to volunteer for operation preparation. One of the members of our "Operation Preparation Team" will follow-up for further detail on the event. 

The certificate along with the G letter and lamp of knowledge. 

145 Students Receive Academic Letter 

145 Generals made history during the first semester at Thomas Nelson by making the academic Dean's List. To make the Dean's list you must achieve a 3.5 GPA or higher. Accompanying that accomplishment is their receipt of an academic letter that will symbolize their achievement for now and into the future. The academic letter is similar to the athletic letter in that it could be placed on a letter jacket or be collected by a student over time as a symbol of academic success. The larger G letter can only be achieved once whereas the lamp of knowledge will be distributed each time a student makes the academic Dean's list. Hamilton and Lincoln House members received their letters this week and our Lafayette House, with 60 students receiving letters, will be distributed this coming week. This accomplishment is something that we expect all students at Thomas Nelson to strive for in the coming semester.