Please take the time to read the short message from our SEL folks. The topic is empathy and teenagers. This week we also have two teacher features. We hope you enjoy the article on empathy and the features about two of our finest.
Have a fabulous weekend as we conclude the month of March.
It's always a great day to be a Chaparral!
The Lesson Scenario:
Charlie Brown and Lucy were going to play a game of monopoly. Both of them wanted to be the banker. Lucy decided that the fairest way was to spin a spinner and whomever’s name the spinner landed on - that person would be the banker. Lucy spun a spinner and declared - “It landed on me. I am the banker” Once they started playing, Charlie Brown got suspicious - he thought Lucy may have cheated! He wondered if the spinner she used really gave each of them a 50% chance of winning...
Mrs. Ringwood and Mrs. Chong used this scenario to teach the various factors that can influence the power of a statistical test (effect size, sample size, alpha level). Each group of students was given a mystery spinner and divided into 4 roles:
As an extension some groups tried to use their data to predict the true probability that their spinner had of landing on Lucy’s name. Each spinner tested by students was different - see pictures.
Mrs. Ringwood and Mrs. Chong used this experience to review and reinforce the concept of a Type 1 and Type 2 error. In this scenario a Type 1 error would be if Charlie Brown concluded that Lucy cheated, but she really didn’t cheat. A Type 2 error would be if Charlie Brown concluded that Lucy did not cheat when she really did cheat.
In this simple and engaging activity Mrs. Ringwood and Mrs. Chong were able to teach some of the foundational concepts of a significance test. In a quick glance around the room one could see students laughing, collaborating and communicating with their peers. Students were discussing when enough data was truly enough to make an accurate prediction, and the nuanced difference between a Type 1 and Type 2 error. Students were actively engaged and applying their statistical knowledge.
Westlake is truly blessed to have teacher collaborators like Mrs. Ringwood and Mrs. Chong that build rich learning experiences for our students.
Mrs. Ringwood and Mrs. Chong’s dedication to create a rich and engaging statistics program is truly evident in the interests students take in the program.
Starting next year Westlake will launch a new course, developed by Mrs. Ringwood, called Beyond AP Statistics. This course is for students who have completed Advanced Placement statistics, and still have a passion to learn more about stats! Students will design and implement their own studies while applying more advanced statistical techniques such as ANOVA, multiple regression analysis and non-parametric tests. They will also learn how to use the statistics computing platform R, which is growing in popularity on college campuses.
Throughout my fifteen plus years in the district, there is one question that is consistently asked of me. This question has been asked by parents, opposing coaches, fellow principals, and even family.
“What makes Westlake so unique?”
My answer is what I call the "Westlake Mystique". It is the day to day interactions between our students, students to staff, and staff to staff. Our kids treat each other more positively than on most, if not almost all, campuses in Texas. Students treat each other with a level of respect that I did not see when I was at Austin High nor while I was spending time in Kingwood and Duncanville schools. It is not a perfect environment, but it is an exceptional environment.
We are just different. Our kids study in the stands between games at tournaments. Our kids are gracious to their teachers. Our kids are highly responsive to campus expectations. Our kids FaceTime into classes when they are home sick. Our teachers use technology to teach and make contact with students when they are home with the flu. Our students thank referees after games. Our students thank UIL judges after regional and state competitions. Our students constantly look for ideas on ways to reach all students through our clubs. Our students achieve at the highest levels while respecting their peers from other teams and groups. Our students pick up after themselves at breakfast and lunch. Our students even thank our assistant principals after visits about discipline and attendance.
There was an event that happened this past Monday that showed our unique student response to an event that could have led to “mayhem” at other campuses. Our electricity went out on the main campus for about twenty minutes. Our admin team went to the classrooms on our main campus to give an update as we sorted out how long the electricity may be out. As we walked into the rooms, we were once again, reminded about our unique culture. Students were using their cell phones and iPADs as light sources to keep on learning. Our students, unprompted, found a way to keep on keeping on! Discussions continued. Labs continued. We also were asked how the students could help us during this outage. We were also thanked for checking on them in their rooms. After I made the announcement that everything was back to normal, I was thanked between passing periods and during lunches for keeping us safe. That one small window is the latest example of our unique campus!
Please be sure to read the following Teacher Feature, highlighting Mrs. Jackie Compean.
It’s always a great day to be a Chaparral!
Minds in Motion
Westlake High School is lucky to have Mrs. Compean on staff. This is her 10th year in the classroom! She has 3 daughters, and spends all her spare time engaging in the joys of motherhood - driving them to sports and helping with homework. Growing up Mrs. Compean had a love of nature and human biology, and she loves sharing this passion with her students.
In the classroom her favorite thing to do is interact with her students. Her motto is: “a quiet room is a boring room”. Based on this she works hard creating engaging activities for her students where they can interact with their peers and the natural world. On an average day in Mrs. Compean’s room you will see students working in groups actively discussing biological concepts, and sharing their excitement for science.
Right before winter break 9th graders wrapped up their study of cytology, the study of cells. Mrs. Jackie Compean had students investigate cell processes in creative ways.
Video 1 (Drawing) created by
M. Szoo, R. Ireland, C. Halverson, and S. Wu.
Video 2 (Clay) created by
H. Didilake, E. Wood, D. Gourlay, and C. Bost.
As I was visiting with the Juniors last Friday in all of their English classes, there was a moment when we were discussing the flow of this most ominous year, academically, in their high school careers. I mentioned the number of school days left (37) for their first semester of their junior year and there was a collective sigh of hope, and astonishment, that was followed by a smile. While visiting with the teachers in our Faculty Meetings during the lunches on Tuesday, I mentioned the number of school days left before Winter Break (35), and there was the same reaction. With both groups, we discussed the importance of staying focused while remembering that there are always end-dates to semesters that mark the passage of significant periods of time. In these moments, with these two distinct groups, there was an instant look wherein each person took themselves to a place of peace and serenity. The message is simple this week for our parents: there are only 33 days left until Winter Break, which really means only 29 regular school days due to our Final Exam Schedule. The old adage is true, “high school is a whirlwind and goes way too fast for a parent”. Hang in there, and let’s all hope, as parents, that we are in a good place with our children and get to be a part of their happy place. The family relationship is of the most importance.
It’s always a great day to be a Chaparral!
As we move into the month of October, our students and community will be offered a wide array of events that are simply fantastic. We start the month with two weekends of Austin City Limits Music Festival which really impacts our community whether you are a music fan or not. Traffic wise, we’ll see lots of visitors from out of town, which can give those of us who call Austin home a feeling that we are in an unfamiliar place. Next Friday, we will have an early release day followed by the Lake Travis football game. Saturday, WHS will host the Marching Band Festival and the following Monday, 10/10 is a student holiday. Oh, yeah, it is also Texas-OU weekend. Tuesday, 10/11 is "No Homework Night". Mid October will see the end of our first grading period, Homecoming and the Formula One weekend. That is a whole bunch of activities outside of the normal school schedule/routine that we all keep as families.
As adults, we all know how to plan and prioritize. But even with all of our preplanning, we can get overwhelmed with trying to be a part of all that Austin has to offer. This month is a fantastic time to talk to your students about prioritizing and planning ahead. This might be the month to sit down, get out the calendar, and discuss all the options in front of them. The end of our first grading period is October 14th so this may need to be a part of the conversation. The important thought is to make this an engaged conversation as opposed to creating a calendar for them. As folks mature, they want to be able to show maturity by making good decisions and to be acknowledged for those decisions. This is true as people grow in high school, in their professional lives, and as they continue to develop throughout their lives personally. This month can be a nice stimulus for growth and praise. And if you have to rein them in a bit, do that as well!
It's always a great day to be a Chaparral!
Feedback, feedback, feedback-leads to fabulous conversations and discussions. Feedback is crucial in the educational practice and in any organization. If something is going on with your child or concerns you as a parent, please contact us at any time. Please feel free to stop by our administrative and counseling offices or to schedule a meeting. We believe this is the best way to support you as parents. I will am also available for the hour before our monthly PTO meetings. I will be in the CHAP Room from 11 am – noon on September 23rd. Stop on by, and we can discuss any school related items you wish. It is an open invitation and open ended forum.
One of the goals of our weekly newsletter is to highlight teachers doing what they love to do-teach! We have decided to call this our Teacher Feature. Our first feature is below. We also want to communicate how we are supporting your students in all areas-academics, social, emotionally, and in their 21st century skills. Please also read about our Base Camp for our students in the world of technology. These features will be presented by our instructional partners Valerie Taylor and Dillon Finan. Our educational technologists Lisa Johnson and Kacy Mitchell will be showcasing our campus as well.
The 2nd Annual iPad Base Camp for Freshman will be held Tuesday September 20th. All Freshman will experience hands-on stations (during their Science class) that will support them with reaching optimal instructional and organizational usage of their device and applications like Notability and Google Calendar.
Steve Ramsey: WHS Principal Blog
Principal's Weekly Reflections