Sunday, November 28, 2010

Gearing up for the Stretch Run...

I hope everyone associated with OHS had an enjoyable and restful Thanksgiving.  Our family was busy with dinner, traditions that include decorating for Christmas, watching the first Christmas movie of the season, and lighting the Christmas lights we hung outside the house back when the weather was still warm.  [In case you hadn't noticed, we are kind of into Christmas at our house.  :-)]  A trip to the Winter Wonderland at Falls Park and watching the Festival of Light Parade, both in Sioux Falls, were highlights for us as well.  If you have never been I highly recommend it! 

The break was enjoyable and restful. Transitioning back from a break is always a challenge for students and staff alike.  I like to call this time between Thanksgiving and Christmas "The Stretch Run."  It is easy to overlook this next 3 1/2 weeks.  They go very fast.  A wide variety of winter athletics and activities, coupled with Christmas concerts at all levels make these 18 days of school go by in a blink.  Many students would say that is just fine with them.  They got a little taste of break and it has whetted their appetite for the granddaddy of breaks - the coveted Christmas vacation. 

There is just one problem with trying to close your eyes, shut off your brain, and wish away the time between now and December 23rd - a lot of teaching, learning, and assessing happens in this short time.  We are in the heart of 2nd quarter.  In fact our midterm is coming up in just a few days.  Courses that have been building sequentially from the first unit are well into their curriculum and the work has become more and more rigorous.  Due to the small number of days in 1st semester after Christmas break, a lot of courses focus heavily on these next few weeks.  Most teachers are only able to complete one small unit and then begin preparing and administering semester exams in January. 

All of this means that the next 3 1/2 weeks are very important.  Students; do not attempt to disengage your brains between now and December 23rd!  Your grades and more importantly, your education, will suffer for it.  I promise Christmas Break will come...that is for certain.  What is up to you is how well you apply yourselves between now and then.  Parents, encourage your sons and daughters through this busy time.  Help keep them focused on the goal and try to keep healthy routines established. 

This is a great time of year with lots of school events and family traditions to keep us all busy.  Thank you for all you do to keep a focus on priorities so all of these wonderful events don't become a stumbling block on the road to academic success for all students.  

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