Tag Archives: Burns

Block schedule on the horizon

Jules PetersonThe Dripping Springs School Board voted to move DSHS to a block schedule on March 4, 2016. The switch is to take place in the 2016-2017 school year.

Principal Joe Burns is excited about the change and believes that it will benefit the whole student body.

“Block schedule will give students four new periods throughout their high school years, but we are not going to increase the graduation requirements,” Burns said.

This means that students will be able to personalize their learning experience and potentially decrease their workload.

There are some difficulties that will come with going from our standard schedule to block schedule so abruptly.

“Writing out our new bell schedule and how that will look is going to be a lot of work,” Burns said. “There are a couple of different options that we are looking at.”

The schedule will most likely be in the A/B format but how Friday’s will look is still up in the air.

“We could do a day where you hit all of your teachers,” Burns said. “Or we could have a flexible day where we can make up for lost days. We are also looking at how to build in advisory days in at least once a week.”

Hopefully block schedule will also allow sports and band to have more in school time to practice.

“We will end up double blocking subjects such as band or athletics and that will give them more time to get things done during school hours versus outside of school hours,” Burns said.

This schedule gives us the opportunity to change our instructional model.

“We’ve moved more towards constructivism type education approaches,” Burns said. “We have become inquiry based with socratic seminars and things like that which lend themselves to larger blocks of time. Especially when you try to become more cross curricular in nature.”

Written by Jules Peterson


Leadership retreat to improve DSHS

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


Upcoming: meet the teacher night

Jules Peterson
Jules Peterson: Editor-In-Chief

Meet the teacher night, an annual event put on by Dripping Springs High School, will be held on Monday, September 13.

Principal Joe Burns explains that this meet-and-greet night gives the teachers and parents a chance to meet face to face at the beginning of the year.

“Meet the teacher is really just an opportunity for our parents to put a face with the name,” he said. “It is also a good way for parents to hear the basics about the class and ask any questions they might have.”

Dripping Springs High School parents tend to be pretty involved with their students and the school has an impressive turnout each year.

“We get a pretty good turnout, even at the high school level,” Burns states.

Written by Jules Peterson