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Principal's Blog

Even Bill Gates Agrees

Even Bill Gates readily admits that kids need in-person social interaction as part of their schooling. As long as Covid-19 remains a threat, any in-person schooling will require high levels of creativity to mitigate risks. One consideration for education leaders, especially in cities where school buildings are small and student populations are large, is a rotating schedule. In-person learning might be possible only a few days a week to limit student interaction. Schools also need to seriously consider looping teachers or at least keeping cohorts of students together. What is a realistic hybrid model for in-person and virtual learning?


We at Newport Middle are looking at our options to solve this challenge. We have involved teacher leaders and continue to research the best practices that benefit and promote student success in a hybrid model of learning.  We ask that our community support us and know that we have the best interest of your child at heart. While there are still many unanswered questions, our teachers take their jobs of educating children seriously and want every child to succeed.  As a principal, safety and success of Newport's students is my priority but I also have the social and emotional wellbeing of my faculty to also address. My teachers all have families that they worry about daily. 


Nothing can replace face to face learning - it is the best model to provide children with all the supports they need. It is our challenge however, to make this current process of hybrid learning work and it does take a village to teach children. 


Click here for Bill Gates Comments

Lessons from Cross The Line by Sam Parker

"BOUNCE BACK!   Embrace your challenges. Learn from your mistakes and those of others. Remember your choice to cross the line and make good things happen for yourself and the people around you."


I witness my faculty at Newport Middle "cross the line" daily as they interact with students and approach teaching in ways they never thought possible. On one side of the line is a greater chance to make good things happen ( better relationships, more opportunities, better results). This is where you'll find all those people you admire and right now, I admire the heroic effort of our teachers at Newport Middle School.  On the other side of the line, there's less of a chance.  


Our Newport greater community can rest assured that at Newport Middle School, every employee here has chosen to Cross The Line and continue digging deeper into our strengths to meet the challenges we face at this time in history.  We thank you for your continued support at Newport Middle.  

Blended Learning - What is this?

There’s no reason to feel intimidated by the concept of blended learning. Simply put, blended learning is the combination of teacher instruction and online technology that enables student-centered learning. So, what does blended learning look like in practice? 

The definition of blended learning is a formal education program in which a student learns:

  1. at least in part through online learning, with some element of student control over time, place, path, and/or pace;
  2. at least in part in a supervised brick-and-mortar location away from home;
  3. and the modalities along each student’s learning path within a course or subject are connected to provide an integrated learning experience.

The majority of blended-learning programs resemble one of four models: Rotation, Flex, A La Carte, and Enriched Virtual. The Rotation model includes four sub-models: Station Rotation, Lab Rotation, Flipped Classroom, and Individual Rotation.

1. Rotation model — a course or subject in which students rotate on a fixed schedule or at the teacher’s discretion between learning modalities, at least one of which is online learning. Other modalities might include activities such as small-group or full-class instruction, group projects, individual tutoring, and pencil-and-paper assignments. The students learn mostly on the brick-and-mortar campus, except for any homework assignments.

a. Station Rotation — a course or subject in which students experience the Rotation model within a contained classroom or group of classrooms. The Station Rotation model differs from the Individual Rotation model because students rotate through all of the stations, not only those on their custom schedules.

b. Lab Rotation — a course or subject in which students rotate to a computer lab for the online-learning station.

c. Flipped Classroom — a course or subject in which students participate in online learning off-site in place of traditional homework and then attend the brick-and-mortar school for face-to-face, teacher-guided practice or projects. The primary delivery of content and instruction is online, which differentiates a Flipped Classroom from students who are merely doing homework practice online at night.

d. Individual Rotation — a course or subject in which each student has an individualized playlist and does not necessarily rotate to each available station or modality. An algorithm or teacher(s) sets individual student schedules.

2. Flex model — a course or subject in which online learning is the backbone of student learning, even if it directs students to offline activities at times. Students move on an individually customized, fluid schedule among learning modalities. The teacher of record is on-site, and students learn mostly on the brick-and-mortar campus, except for any homework assignments. The teacher of record or other adults provide face-to-face support on a flexible and adaptive as-needed basis through activities such as small-group instruction, group projects, and individual tutoring. Some implementations have substantial face-to-face support, whereas others have minimal support. For example, some Flex models may have face-to-face certified teachers who supplement the online learning on a daily basis, whereas others may provide little face-to-face enrichment. Still others may have different staffing combinations. These variations are useful modifiers to describe a particular Flex model.

3. A La Carte model — a course that a student takes entirely online to accompany other experiences that the student is having at a brick-and-mortar school or learning center. The teacher of record for the A La Carte course is the online teacher. Students may take the A La Carte course either on the brick-and-mortar campus or off-site. This differs from full-time online learning because it is not a whole-school experience. Students take some courses A La Carte and others face-to-face at a brick-and-mortar campus.

4. Enriched Virtual model — a course or subject in which students have required face-to-face learning sessions with their teacher of record and then are free to complete their remaining coursework remote from the face-to-face teacher. Online learning is the backbone of student learning when the students are located remotely. The same person generally serves as both the online and face-to-face teacher. Many Enriched Virtual programs began as full-time online schools and then developed blended programs to provide students with brick-and-mortar school experiences. The Enriched Virtual model differs from the Flipped Classroom because in Enriched Virtual programs, students seldom meet face-to-face with their teachers every weekday. It differs from a fully online course because face-to-face learning sessions are more than optional office hours or social events; they are required.


We are proud of our work at Newport Middle and have excellent teachers who are very familiar with the technology to make the Blended classrooms work for our students.  

Standing Strong and Shining The Light For All

Find Your Strength

Who Are We?

Much like an invasion of a hostile alien species ( Independence Day movie etc...)  that we do not understand, COVID 19 is attacking humanity and won't negotiate with anyone.   COVID 19 cares not for your ideology, politics, nationality, race, beliefs, or anything sacred to you.


The enemy of us all requires a cooperative global effort to combat, guided by tools and methods of science, NOT by magical thinking or wishing or hoping things will just return to normal.  

Mankind has always envisioned themselves as if we are in charge of our own corner of the universe but every now and then a microscopic entity reminds us that we are not.


Our solar system takes about 225-250 million years to revolve once around the Milky Way.  This length of time is called a Cosmic year.  The last time Earth was in the current position as now, dinosaurs had just begun to roam the Earth.  The COVID 19 pandemic will hopefully end within a year - wonder if that is our Seasonal year or Cosmic year? 


Of all the given facts we know in science, it is that microscopic organisms are far more resilient and adaptable than our fragile species could ever hope to be.  


My thoughts are that we change now so that we can ensure our security later.  Social isolation and social distancing, while inconvenient, may be the simplest methods to defeat this microscopic viral entity that calls itself the Coronovirus.  Let's be smarter than the dinosaurs and heed the warnings, follow the guidelines set by the CDC and WHO to protect our species for the future.  

The Five D's To Succeed

To become a super star student, athlete or successful person and live up to your full potential, remember these five D’s. As a classroom teacher for many years, I reminded all my students that the As and Bs were not always what made any person successful or allowed them to achieve their goals - there was more - much more.  There are also the Ds in life that make you successful. 


Decision: You must make a conscious decision to take charge of your own life and future, if you want to grow. Change is difficult and not without risks. However, change is inevitable and, most of the time, represents progress. It’s said that people do something new and different only when the pain of doing nothing is greater than the pain of making a change. What’s the alternative? Five years from now, you’ll still be in the same place – just five years older.


Desire: All successful people have a burning desire to achieve their goals. How badly do you want to reach yours? Develop a passion for what you do and what it means to your future. Keep a mental picture of what your success means to you, both personally and professionally. Evaluate who you want to be and what does that look like.  


Discipline:. You get out of something only what you put into it. Develop your personal plan and work it. Do what you have to do – day by day, week by week and month by month – to reach your objectives.


Determination:  Most people fail because they’re not willing to pay the price to get where they want to be. Remember, if you do what you fear, you won’t fear what you do. Have a strong resolve to complete your goals even when there are set backs and those will come your way - just don’t give up. Be determined to find solutions, resolutions, compromises when you are faced with set backs but keep your eyes focused on the goal you set for yourself. 


Dedication: Don’t wait until tomorrow or next week to start. Dedicate your ideas your plans, your dreams to making things happen.  When you "stick to" your goals and have a solid plan, then success will come your way. 

In These Times Remember

The Principal's Blog

The Principal's Blog Page - My personal thoughts only

After many many years of working in education both as a teacher and administrator here is one aspect of teenagers being successful that I know for sure:

I'm Here To Promote Failure as A Learning Tool

Everyone wants their kid to do well.

I get it.

This is probably an instinct that goes all the way back to cavemen.  I can just imagine how proud the cave parents must have been when little cavekid, jr. came back from a hunt where he had captured the biggest rabbit.

So proud.

Parents live for their children’s successes.

Now, instead of rabbits, it’s games.  The more the better.

Travel this.  Club that.  All Stars.  Select teams.

The farther away a team is the better it must be.  Bonus points if your child plays out-of-state.

Double-bonus points if they play with older kids.

I think this is great, but we have forgotten half of the process.

Parents should also live for their child’s failures.

This may sound terrible, but it’s true.

Our children have to learn not to touch a hot stove.  Sometimes they learn this lesson best immediately after they touch a hot stove.

There are lessons to be learned in striking out, making an error, fumbling, hitting a ball out-of-bounds, and losing.

Failing has gotten a bad rap.

Our society wants to take it completely out of the equation.  We seem to have a need to protect our kids from the awful feeling of finishing second.

We might do this because we no longer have to protect our children from wild animals or any of the other unspeakable dangers cave people experienced.

We seem to believe if our kids always succeed, they will always succeed.

The truth is, if we want our children to be successful, they have to know how to fail and how to respond to failure.

Everyone is going to get knocked down sooner or later.  My fear is too many of today’s kids won’t know how to get up.

I continually see parents who are willing to do anything to make sure their child doesn’t fail.

They will spend any amount of money.  Put them on any team.  Drive them any distance.

Yell at any adult who doesn’t put their child on a pedestal and give them a trophy.

Make untold sacrifices just so their son or daughter can experience success.

And the truth is the best way for them to experience this elusive feeling of success is not more, it’s less.

Let them fail.  They will live.

Now, they won’t thank us for this.  In fact, as parents we may have to be the bad guy.

At least for awhile.

But one day, they will be happy their parents let them fail.

Just not today.