Jules PetersonEach year the Leadership Committee of the DSHS faculty have two Leadership Retreats in order to focus on how to further improve our school. At the most recent retreat, which took place on February 1, 2016, they discussed creating a new instructional model.

“At the retreat we focused on bigger picture academic issues like different types of curriculum and aligning that with the middle school,” assistant athletic director, Marissa Parks, said.

Principal Joe Burns believes that the new model will enhance the learning experience.

“The different instructional model will have to involve more student design in curriculum,” Burns said. “A lot of time was spent looking at how we make that happen.”

Yvonne Kaatz, head of the English department, explains how the team is always looking ahead to the future of DSHS.

“For instance, in the summer we look at that first week of school and Tiger Day,” Kaatz said. “That was where we came up with the idea for the day where we go over the things that we want everybody in the school to know as well as trying to build a good atmosphere in the first week of school each year.”

They also focus on other issues that affect the daily lives of students.

“In the spring, this year we discussed having days designated for PBL’s or summative grades,” Kaatz said. “There is a testing day that we have for each subject and we may need to adapt that so that kids don’t have too many things that are summative grades all at one time or on one day imparticular.”

Parks agrees that testing days are an important topic, especially in relation to sporting events.

“We, as the athletic department, don’t like to have Tuesday’s and Friday’s as testing days because a lot of kids are gone these days for sporting events,” Parks said. “So kind of just pulling those the academic and athletic worlds together because they really do align.”

Furthermore, the retreat was a time where the leadership team was able to bond and refocus on the vision of the school.

“It’s a day to bring everyone together,” Parks said. “Dr. Gering came and talked to us and brought us together as a campus to help focus on our vision and focus on if this is what we want to do and this is what we need to happen.”

Bonding is an important part of making any leadership team stronger.

“One of the challenges of progress is finding the time to get people together and come up with new ideas and reflect on your practices,” Burns said. “Really that day is an opportunity to do a lot of that.”

Written by Jules Peterson