I realize it has been a while since I have added to this blog. The winter weather, closings, delays, and the semester switch, as well as the hustle and bustle of the high school has kept me quite busy. Now that the second semester is underway, I wanted to take a few minutes to talk to you about planning for the future. As Abraham Lincoln said, “The best way to predict your future is to create it.” Part of the academic initiatives this year are focused on student-centered learning where students are working on projects to solve their own problems. This is being done to increase critical thinking skills and help prepare students for what lies ahead after high school. Students coming in to 7th grade have great ideas about what they want to do once they graduate from high school, yet, this usually changes drastically by the time they enter their senior year. Here at Redbank, we try to offer a variety of courses so that students are able to get a feel for some of the topics and careers that they might want to pursue and have a solid plan before graduation day. In the next few weeks, guidance counselors will be sitting with your students to decide what courses they would like to choose for next year. Many of the elective courses are based on interest at the 9th and 10th grade level. When students move toward 11th and 12th grades, they begin to choose courses to prepare them for their future. For instance, a student who wants to go into the science field may schedule two science classes and the same could be possible for math or English. Please remember, however, that there are only eight periods per day. While we wish we could give every student every course that is requested, sometimes this is just not possible. It is vitally important when the guidance counselors meet with your students and they bring home the scheduling form, that you review these courses carefully with your child to make sure that they fit into the plans that you and your child have for the future. Counselors are available to talk about scheduling throughout the rest of this year as well as over the summer. There will again be days over the summer where schedule changes will be available for students prior to the start of the school year. It is never too early to start discussions with your child regarding their future endeavors. I just want to make sure that we are having these conversations early and that you feel comfortable reaching out to any of the many resources that are available to you at Redbank Valley High School.
On another note and in light of the recent incidences of school shootings in our nation, I wanted to let you know that all of our faculty and staff are trained and have a guide for emergency procedures for safety issues that may occur. We conduct drills throughout the year so that students are aware of the procedures should we need to follow them. We strive to keep everyone as safe as possible, and the in-depth training and guide provided last school year has allowed us to take every precaution to ensure safety. As we send our prayers to the families in Florida, it is hard not to imagine the “what ifs” here in our small town. I want to encourage you to keep your eyes and ears open and continue to alert us to any concerns that you may hear. We take every threat seriously and will address in a swift manner. I appreciate the positive communication and feedback that I have received in the recent weeks. Thank you for your support of the high school teachers, staff, and administration. Together, we can make a difference!