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Principal's Corner

25/10/2020 - Espanol
 
Estimada familia LISA:
 
El rincón del director de esta semana es un poco corto esta semana. Hay muchas cosas que suceden en LISA West Middle - tuvimos el Pink Walk el viernes pasado, esta semana es la Semana del Listón Rojo y la próxima semana es la Feria del Libro Scholastic. Todos ellos se mencionan aquí en el rincón del director, pero el mejor lugar para buscar es el boletín semanal. Si no recibe el boletín, comuníquese con el Dr. Durand y avíseme para que podamos actualizar su dirección de correo electrónico.
 
Ya estamos en el segundo trimestre y es realmente importante en este momento del semestre ayudar a los estudiantes a mantenerse activos y comprometidos con el trabajo y las actividades escolares. Incluso los estudiantes virtuales pueden participar en la Semana del Listón Rojo y la Feria del Libro Scholastic. Para un breve viaje por el carril de los recuerdos, estaba mirando algunas cajas viejas en mi casa esta semana, y me encontré con "The Bunjee Venture", uno de los libros que obtuve de una Feria del Libro Scholastic durante mis días de escuela secundaria. No lo había pensado en años, pero me traía todo tipo de buenos recuerdos, así que me dispuse a leerlo de nuevo. Sigue siendo igual de bueno. Una cosa que he aprendido a lo largo de los años es que un buen libro es un amigo de por vida.
 
Quiero agradecer a todos por trabajar tan duro para hacer este año difícil un poco más fácil para nuestros estudiantes. Su salud, seguridad y educación son nuestras principales prioridades, y sé que las comparte. Cuando camino por la escuela, veo que los estudiantes y maestros son muy diligentes con el distanciamiento social, usan máscaras y usan desinfectante. ¡Sigamos con el buen trabajo!
 
Paz,
Dr. Durand
El Dr. Durand está leyendo "The Bunjee Venture"
10/25/2020
 
Dear LISA Family,
 
This week's Principal's Corner is a little short this week.  There are lots of things going on at LISA West Middle - we had the Pink Walk last Friday, this week is Red Ribbon Week, and next week is the Scholastic Book Fair.  All of those are referenced here in the Principal's Corner, but the best place to look is the weekly newsletter.  If you are not getting the newsletter, please contact Dr. Durand and let me know so that we can update your email address.
 
We are well into the second quarter now, and it's really important at this point in the semester to help students stay active and engaged in the school work and activities.  Even virtual students can participate in the Red Ribbon Week and Scholastic Book Fair.  For a brief trip down memory lane, I was looking through some old boxes in my place this week, and I ran across "The Bunjee Venture" - one of the books I got from a Scholastic Book Fair back during my own middle school days.  I hadn't thought of it in years, but it brought back all sorts of good memories, and so I set out to read it again.  It's still just as good.  One thing I've learned over the years is that a good book is a friend for life.
 
I want to thank everyone for working so hard to make this difficult year a little easier on our students.  Their health, safety, and education are our first priorities, and I know that you share those.  When I walk around school, I see students and teachers being very diligent with social distancing, wearing masks, and using sanitizer.  Let's keep up the good work!
 
Peace,
Dr. Durand
Dr. Durand is reading "The Bunjee Venture"
10/16/2020 - Espanol
 
Estimada familia LISA:
 
Bueno, hemos recorrido una cuarta parte de este año tan extraño y desafiante. Sé que la mayoría de la gente está particularmente interesada en las notas, así que empezaré por ahí. Todas las boletas de calificaciones estarán disponibles en el Home Access Center (HAC). Los padres / tutores recibieron la información de inicio de sesión en septiembre y los estudiantes han tenido acceso todo el tiempo. Si por alguna razón puede poner sus manos en su información de inicio de sesión, comuníquese con la oficina principal (preferiblemente por correo electrónico), y las secretarias podrán enviarle la información de inicio de sesión. Esas personas son el Sr. Broyles ( rbroyles@lisaacademy.org ), la Sra. Cullers ( acullers@lisaacademy.org ) y la Sra. K. Miller ( miller@lisaacademy.org ).
 
Con el primer trimestre deslizándose hacia el espejo retrovisor, el segundo trimestre brinda nuevas oportunidades para aprender, trabajar duro y tener éxito. Sé que he dicho esto antes, pero vale la pena repetirlo: estoy muy, muy agradecido por todos los adultos en la vida de nuestros estudiantes que están trabajando tan duro para que este año escolar funcione para nuestros estudiantes virtuales y presenciales. Sé que surgen nuevos desafíos casi a diario y puede resultar muy abrumador. Y cuando esas cosas suceden, los nervios se tensan y siempre existe la tentación acechando en el fondo de rendirse. Recuerde que superaremos esto y que un pequeño estímulo más para nuestros estudiantes puede significar la diferencia entre el éxito y no completar el trabajo y las asignaciones. Estamos trabajando para hacer algunas reducciones en la cantidad de trabajo requerido de los estudiantes, incluida la eliminación fundamental del trabajo fuera del tiempo de clase (virtual o presencial). Me gustaría mencionar algunas cosas que he visto que funcionan para mejorar las experiencias de los estudiantes durante este tiempo.
 
(1) Mantente en línea durante las sesiones en vivo que realizan los profesores. Los estudiantes que inician sesión y trabajan junto con los profesores tienden a hacerlo mejor que aquellos que intentan hacerlo todo por sí mismos. En el caso de que las sesiones se pierdan, es mejor ver la grabación que nada, y siempre se alienta a contactar al maestro para pedir ayuda.
(2) Cuando esté en línea, ya sea virtual o en el sitio, manténgase enfocado. Es tan fácil querer abrir esa pestaña de YouTube y dejar que la mente divague que permanecer en la tarea en cuestión. Estamos utilizando el sistema Securly para ayudar a reenfocar y redirigir a los estudiantes de deambular en línea cuando las sesiones en vivo están en curso o cuando los maestros están trabajando con estudiantes con Chromebooks para conferencias, demostraciones o tareas de clase.
(3) Manténgase al tanto de las cosas: sé que empiezo a sentirme abrumado cuando pospongo las cosas o pienso: "Llegaré a eso más tarde", y luego viene "más tarde" y otras cosas se deben, y luego solo construye. Uno de mis libros favoritos es "Ben y yo", sobre el padre fundador Ben Franklin y el ratoncito que vivía dentro de su sombrero (es ficción, pero es divertido). Pero, en ese libro, se cita una de las "palabras por las que vivir" del Sr. Franklin: no posponga para mañana lo que se puede hacer hoy. Es difícil vivir con eso, pero definitivamente me ha ayudado a mantener mis propias tareas en orden.
 
Entonces, esencialmente eso equivale a (1) estar presente, (2) mantenerse enfocado y (3) mantenerse al tanto de las cosas. Todos esos son más desafiantes durante este año hasta ahora, pero realmente ayudan.
 
Una actualización sobre un par de cosas que mencioné en anteriores Esquinas del director: a partir de la próxima semana, los clubes de competencia cuyos patrocinadores hayan terminado todos los preparativos apropiados permitirán que los estudiantes virtuales vengan al campus solo durante el tiempo del club. Entonces, por ejemplo, los estudiantes que son virtuales y están en el club Quiz Bowl podrán venir al campus para Quiz Bowl. Sin embargo, no vengas hasta que te contacte el patrocinador del club. Cada uno de los patrocinadores sabrá cuándo han completado sus tareas para ayudar a garantizar la seguridad, y cada patrocinador se comunicará directamente con los miembros de los clubes. Seguimos trabajando en formas de incluir estudiantes virtuales en eventos de socialización virtual.
 
Se acerca la semana del Listón Rojo, y hay más información al respecto en el boletín, así que por favor revise esos anuncios. El boletín también tiene otros datos importantes que ayudarán a todos a estar al tanto de los eventos y las próximas actividades. Se publica todos los viernes, así que esté atento.
 
Me gustaría concluir dando las gracias nuevamente a todos los que están trabajando tan duro este año: estudiantes, padres / tutores / abuelos y maestros. Con todos trabajando juntos, superaremos esto. Permítanme recordarles a todos el chat del director que se lleva a cabo en Zoom el martes a las 5:30 pm. La información de la sesión se encuentra a continuación.
 
Paz,
Dr. Durand
El Dr. Durand está releyendo "Ben and Me". Es un librito alegre y maravilloso que recomiendo mucho. Lo leí por primera vez cuando era un estudiante de primaria y lo obtuve en la Feria del Libro Scholastic (que está por venir, por cierto). Es un libro divertido para todas las edades.
 
 

 

Kevin Durand lo invita a una reunión de Zoom programada.
Tema: Chat principal
Hora: 20 de octubre de 2020 05:30 p.m. hora central (EE. UU. Y Canadá)
ID de la reunión: 963 4125 5938
Código de acceso: 743755
10/16/2020
 
Dear LISA Family,
 
Well, we've made it one quarter of the way through this very strange and challenging year.  I know most folks are particularly interested in grades, so I'll start off there.  All report cards will be available in the Home Access Center (HAC).  Parents/Guardians received the log in information back in September, and students have had access all along.  If for some reason you can put your hands on your log in information, please contact the front office (preferably by email), and the secretaries will be able to send you the log in info.  Those folks are Mr. Broyles (rbroyles@lisaacademy.org), Ms. Cullers (acullers@lisaacademy.org), and Ms. K. Miller (miller@lisaacademy.org).
 
With the first quarter sliding into the rearview mirror, the second quarter provides fresh opportunities to learn, to work hard, and to be successful.  I know I have said this before, but it bears repeating - I am very, very grateful for all of the adults in our students lives who are working so hard to make this school year work for our virtual and on-site students.  I know that new challenges arise almost daily, and it can feel very overwhelming.  And when those things happen, nerves fray and there is always the temptation lurking in the background to give up.  Please remember that we will get through this, and that one more little encouragement to our students can mean the difference between success and not completing work and assignments.  We are working to make some reductions in the amount of work required of students, including essentially eliminating work outside of the classroom time (virtual or on-site).  I would like to mention some things that I have seen that work to improve student experiences during this time.
 
(1) Be online during the live sessions that teachers are doing.  Students who log in and work along with the teachers tend to do better than those who try to do it all by themselves.  In the event that sessions get missed, watching the recording is better than nothing, and contacting the teacher to ask for help is always encouraged.
(2) When online, whether virtual or on-site, stay focused.  It is so easy to want to open that youtube tab and let the mind wander than it is to stay on the task at hand.  We are using the Securly system to help to refocus and redirect students from wandering online when the live sessions are ongoing or when the teachers are working with students with chromebooks for either lectures or demonstrations or class assignments.
(3) Stay on top of things - I know that I begin to feel overwhelmed when I have put off things or thought, "I'll get to that later," and then "later" comes and other things are due and then it just builds.  One of my favorite books is "Ben and Me" - about Founding Father Ben Franklin and the little mouse that lived inside his hat (it's fiction, but it's fun).  But, in that book, one of Mr. Franklin's "words to live by" is quoted - Don't put off until tomorrow what can be done today.  It's hard to live by that, but it has definitely helped me to keep my own tasks in order.
 
So, essentially that amounts to (1) be present, (2) stay focused, and (3) stay on top of things.  All of those are more challenging during this year so far, but they really do help.
 
An update on a couple of things I've mentioned in previous Principal's Corners - beginning next week, those competition clubs whose sponsors have finished all of the appropriate preparations will allow virtual students to come to campus for the club time only.  So, for example, students who are virtual and in the Quiz Bowl club will be able to come to campus for Quiz Bowl.  However, don't come until contacted by the sponsor of the club.  Each of the sponsors will know when they have completed their tasks to help insure safety, and each sponsor will contact the members of the clubs directly.  We are continuing to work on ways to include virtual students in virtual socialization events.
 
Red Ribbon week is coming up, and there is more information about it in the newsletter, so please check those announcements.  The newsletter also has other important bits of information that will help everyone stay on top of events and upcoming activities.  It comes out every Friday, so please be on the lookout for it.
 
I'd like to conclude by saying thank you again to everyone who is working so hard this year - students, parents/guardians/grandparents, and teachers.  With everyone working together, we will get through this.  Let me remind everyone of the Principal Chat that takes place on Zoom on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.  The information for the session is below.
 
Peace,
Dr. Durand
Dr. Durand is re-reading "Ben and Me."  It is a lighthearted and wonderful little book that I recommend highly.  I first read it when I was an elementary student and I had gotten it at the Scholastic Book Fair (which is upcoming, by the way).  It's a fun book for all ages.
 
 
Kevin Durand is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Topic: Principal Chat
Time: Oct 20, 2020 05:30 PM Central Time (US and Canada)
Meeting ID: 963 4125 5938
Passcode: 743755
10/9/2020 - Espanol
 

Estimada familia LISA:

Las primeras nueve semanas casi han terminado, solo una semana más. Sé que el final de las 9 semanas trae algunos problemas para asegurarnos de que todo el trabajo esté hecho y los estudiantes estén al día antes de que cierren las calificaciones. Quiero agradecer a todos los que han trabajado tan diligentemente para que sus hijos participen virtualmente . Esta ha sido realmente una experiencia de aprendizaje para todos nosotros. Sé que valoro a nuestros profesores y el trabajo que hacen ahora más que nunca.

 

Sé que una de las luchas de este año ha sido mantener a los estudiantes concentrados y comprometidos (y en algunos casos, lograr que se involucren). Sé por observación que los estudiantes virtuales que participan en sesiones en vivo e interactúan con sus profesores son los que están disfrutando de la mayor cantidad de éxito. No es sorprendente que esto se haya mantenido así, ya sea en línea o en persona; a partir de mis muchos años de experiencia, está claro que los estudiantes que están trabajando con sus maestros, están presentes e interactuando son los que disfrutan del mayor éxito. Por lo tanto, supongo que no es de extrañar que ocurra lo mismo en este nuevo mundo en el que tantos estudiantes también son virtuales. Estoy muy agradecido con todos los que han abordado esta nueva situación de frente con nosotros.

 

Otra de las luchas que sé que experimentan muchos estudiantes virtuales es la falta de socialización con sus compañeros. Si bien tenemos clubes de competencia en funcionamiento, estamos buscando formas de tener otros clubes disponibles para los estudiantes que no están en ellos. Me gustaría pedirles, como un favor, que si alguno de ustedes tiene ideas para clubes que creen que su estudiante disfrutaría, por favor hágamelo saber por correo electrónico - durand@lisaacademy.org . Si bien las cosas no pueden ser "normales" en este momento, creo que podemos trabajar juntos para al menos mejorar las cosas.

 

Por último, me gustaria recordarles dos cosas. Primero, la próxima charla con el director será el martes (la información de Zoom se encuentra en la parte inferior de este rincón del director). Y, en segundo lugar, no puedo animar lo suficiente a la gente a leer, leer y leer. Sé que las noticias no siempre son la fuente de lectura más edificante, pero hay tantos libros y revistas tremendos e incluso  de ciencia ficcion que son interesantes, convincentes y amplían nuestra visión del mundo y de nosotros mismos. La herramienta más importante en la educación es la lectura.

Paz,
Dr. Durand

 

El Dr. Durand está comenzando la serie Hercule Poirot de misterios de Agatha Christie. El primero del set es "The Mysterious Affair at Styles".
10/9/2020
 
Dear LISA Family,
 
The first nine weeks is almost over - just one more week.  I know the end of a 9-weeks brings some scrambling to make sure all work is done and students are caught up before grading closes.  I want to thank everyone who has worked so diligently to have their kids involved virtually and on-site.  This has truly been a learning experience for us all.  I know that I value our teachers and the work they do even more now than I ever have before.
 
I know that one of the struggles of this year has been keeping students on-task and engaged (and in some cases, getting them engaged).  I know from observation that those virtual students who are logging in to live sessions and interacting with their teachers are the ones who are enjoying the greatest amount of success.  Not surprisingly, this has remained true whether online or on-site - from my many years of experience, it is been clear that the students who are working with their teachers, are present, and are interacting are those who enjoy the greatest success.  So, I suppose it is no surprise that the same is true in this new world where so many students are virtual as well.  I am very grateful to all who have tackled this new situation head-on with us.
 
Another of the struggles that I know many virtual students experience is the lack of socialization with their peers.  While we have competition clubs up and running, we are looking into ways to have other clubs available for students who are not in those.  I would like to ask, as a favor, that if any of you have ideas for clubs that you think your student would enjoy, please let me know by email - durand@lisaacademy.org.  While things can't be "normal" right now, I think we can work together to at least make things better.
 
Lastly, I'd like to make two reminders.  First, the next Principal Chat will be Tuesday (and the Zoom information is at the bottom of this Principal's Corner).  And, second, I can't encourage people enough to read, read, read.  I know the news isn't always the most uplifting source of reading, but there are so many tremendous books and magazines and even fan fiction out there that are interesting, compelling, and broaden our views of the world and ourselves.  The most important tool in education is reading.  
 
Peace,
Dr. Durand
Dr. Durand is starting the Hercule Poirot series of Agatha Christie mysteries.  The first in the set is "The Mysterious Affair at Styles."
 
 
Kevin Durand is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Topic: Principal Chat
Time: Oct 13, 2020 05:30 PM Central Time (US and Canada)
Meeting ID: 976 9286 2931
Passcode: 517041
10/2/2020
 
Dear LISA Family,
 
I would like to thank everyone who took time out of their schedule on a Saturday to attend Parent Teacher Conferences.  Even though it was completely virtual, it was good to see so many people engaged with teachers building the teamwork required to make education work in this strange school year.  I am grateful for the dedication of parents and teachers!
 
The next few weeks are the last ones of the first quarter.  Grades will come out after October 19th.  I know that this year has been full of challenges.  I'd like to offer a couple of reminders for helping to make it a successful one in spite of the challenges.
 
- For virtual students - please make sure to log in for the live discussions each day.  Teachers are also available during office hours, and during the class periods after the live teaching has concluded to answer questions through Schoology Conferences.  Please, if students are having difficulties of any sort, reach out to the teacher and they will do everything in their power to help.  
 
- For all students - please make sure to keep up to date on assignments.  We realize that access is sometimes an issue, so we have asked teachers to leave assignments open for students to work on them, without a late penalty.  From my own educational experience, I remember that sometimes I would fall behind and begin to feel overwhelmed, like the mountain was just too big to climb.  Reach out to your teacher.  They can and will help.  In fact, I have spoken with nearly all of our teachers during PTC and in the days following, and the one thing that they have said over and over again is that they want to help.  So, again, whether virtual or on-site, please reach out to your teacher if you are having any difficulties, and they will work with you!
 
I would also like to remind everyone of my weekly Principal Chat on Zoom.  We generally do them on Tuesdays, but in the upcoming week, it will be on Wednesday due to another meeting commitment.  I've included the information to log into the Zoom below.  I am happy to answer questions, and if there are questions for which I do not know the answer, I will find one.
 
Lastly for this week, I would like to introduce Ms. Refia Celik.  She will be the counselor for all of our 8th grade students.  As you may know, we help students develop Student Success Plans every year, and then we help them track their progress as they go through high school.  We are using School Links to provide information to students on everything ranging from personal career interests to preparing for college or university.  Through keeping up with records and envisioning the future and broadening horizons for students, we aim to make as many post-secondary educational and career options available as possible.  Ms. Celik will be reaching out to all of our 8th grade students and parents about virtual meetings that will begin taking place very shortly. 
 
Again, thank you for all that you do to help make LISA Academy the premier choice for students who want to learn, grow, and succeed.  And, I will point out again one of my nearly weekly suggestions - the best way to become truly educated is to read, read, read.  I cannot stress enough how important reading is to broadening horizons and envisioning and preparing for the future.
 
Please stay safe and keep reading.
 
Peace,
Dr. Durand and Mr. Dilber
Dr. Durand is reading "Caste."  I confess I had to take a brief break from it last week to read something a bit lighter, but it is a phenomenal book.
 
 
Topic: Principal Chat
Time: Oct 7, 2020 05:30 PM Central Time (US and Canada)
Meeting ID: 995 9100 5774
Passcode: 635931
 
 
9/25/2020
 
Dear LISA Family,
 
We've made it half way through the first nine weeks - Progress Reports are available on Schoology.  I wanted to take a brief moment to say thank you again to all the parents, guardians, staff, faculty, students, admin, and friends of LISA who have worked so hard to make this year workable.  Things aren't perfect, and we are always looking to improve, but without many hands doing so much work, our students would suffer, and I am deeply thankful for everyone who has been working so hard!
 
I want to correct something from last week's Principal's Corner.  I had said that Interim Progress Reports would be available on HAC.  I misspoke - or mistyped.  At any rate, any confusion is my fault, and I apologize.  Interim Progress Reports are available on Schoology.
 
As we are moving into the second half of the first nine weeks, I suspect folks are feeling the strain of all of the competing responsibilities.  I know we've said it before, but this is truly a challenging year.  At the same time, I am really proud of our teachers and parents and guardians working so well together - there are always bumps, but together we will continue to work to provide the very best for our kids.
 
Next week, I will be hosting a Zoom session for parents/guardians to discuss questions and concerns that may have arisen.  Sometimes, it's just better and more effective to talk (even virtually) than to read emails or newsletters.  The Zoom info is below.
 
Have a great weekend, and I hope Parent/Teacher Conferences tomorrow go really well for everyone!
 
Peace,
Dr. Durand
Dr. Durand is reading "The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley"
 
Kevin Durand is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Topic: Chat with Dr. Durand
Time: Sep 29, 2020 05:30 PM Central Time (US and Canada)
Meeting ID: 979 1850 7718
Passcode: 880017
9/18/2020
 
Dear LISA Family,
 
We're rounding out the fourth week of school, and there are a couple of very important observations that I would like to share.
 
NWEA testing - as I'm sure you know, we've been doing NWEA testing this week.  This is a critical snapshot of how your student is doing, the concepts that they have mastered, and the material with which they are struggling.  One of the biggest difficulties, though, has been perseverance.  What I mean is this - there have been a couple of technical problems that our Virtual students have encountered with the NWEA website.  However, these have generally been quickly resolved.  However, if students give up after only one or two tries because they have encountered an obstacle, then they end up not completing this.  Please, please encourage your students to hang in there and never give up.  I have personally observed all of our Virtual teachers during testing and they are working really hard to help students overcome difficulties.  This brings me to the next observation...
 
We all know that this is a weird and strange new teaching and learning situation.  One of my children is home doing her college work online.  One of my children is going to school every day and doing her work at school.  I'm sure ours is not even remotely the most complicated situation - juggling jobs, school, family.  I am truly in awe of the commitment and the work that our parents are doing right now.  And, I know that there must be times when it feels all too much.  Obviously, our students feel that, too.  Students can reach out to our counselors and their teachers any time about concerns they have or feelings of being overwhelmed, and they will get help.
 
Some reminders - Virtual students need to show up for their regularly scheduled classes at the time they are scheduled.  Teachers are doing Schoology Conferences and, while there are recordings and students can do catch up work, it is far better for them to see the information, hear the information, and be able to interact with the teacher during the regularly scheduled class period.  If students don't show up for class time, they are risking being less successful.  I've noticed already that the students who are on the Conferences and working with the teacher during the assigned time are not falling behind, but those who aren't showing up to their Conferences sessions seem to be struggling more.  While all of the information is posted, it is so much easier to master it if one hears it, sees it, reads it, and interacts with the teacher about it.
 
Progress reports will be going out next week - they will be available through the Home Access Center.  Information regarding accessing HAC was sent out almost three weeks ago by Mr. Dilber.  If for some reason you do not have access to HAC, please contact the front office of either building and they can help you get your info to log in.
 
Oh, I should make one other comment about Schoology.  Our teachers monitor the student activity, and we have seen some students log in for just a minute or two for the day.  Attendance for Virtual students will be taken based on showing up to the Virtual Conferences for their classes OR by completing their work for the day.  We will be contacting parents/guardians of those students who are logging in, but not completing work.  Thank you.
 
As always, keep those kids reading!  
 
Peace,
Dr. Durand
 
Dr. Durand is reading "Caste" at the recommendation of Ms. Baroni.  It's a brilliant book so far.
 
9/11/2020
 
Dear LISA Family
 
The third week of school ends on a somber note as we remember the tragedy of 9/11 nineteen years later.  It's an event that has shaped so much of our students' world. It's an occasion that has given me pause today as I think about all of the factors that have such a profound effect on their lives but yet is outside of their understanding.  After all, they were all born so very long after that fateful day.  Folks of our age (early 20s and well beyond) know a lot about how that day has shaped our lives ever since.  And, the words of William Faulkner in Requiem for a Nun, "The past is never dead. It's not even past" resonate on days like today - where memories spring up, sometimes unexpectedly.
 
I think that there is great wisdom in Faulkner, and perhaps in the understanding that so much of our students' lives is not only beyond their control, it is often even beyond their knowledge.  It is part of why I and so many others have felt called to education - to help others understand the world around them, to make sense of the wonders of the universe, to grapple with complex problems, and to carve out a niche in the world where a difference can be made.  This is part of the education that I see LISA providing to young minds that are only just beginning to have an understanding of their place in the world.  And, this is why I am proud to have been a part of the LISA family for over a decade.
 
This Principal's Corner is a little light on announcements and the like this week - there are several in the weekly newsletter.  I wanted to take this moment to reflect on education and how every one of us can help to make our children's lives fuller.  For me, even though my my formal studies were mainly in mathematics and later philosophy, my true education began with being encouraged to read.  I will never forget my second grade teacher, Ms. Wilson.  She was tough and she had high standards, and one day she was very blunt with me and with my parents about me not living up to my potential.  My parents backed her all the way, and they and Ms. Wilson challenged me to read 20 books by the end of the year.  This was in early October of that school year.  And, they didn't do it just once.  It was weekly and sometimes daily.  And I thought, at times, "why won't they just let me do what I want?"  But, that wasn't Ms. Wilson's way.  She held me up to the standard that she knew I could meet, and she didn't waver.  Sure enough, by the end of December, I had not only gotten with the program.  And by Spring Break, the librarian knew when she heard my footsteps that I was coming for another book.  Some of them I read were truly boring.  But so many of them opened up worlds that I never dreamed had existed, and opened my mind to new horizons.  My fifth grade teacher, Ms. Hale, was just the same in expecting us to read and to explore.  Those two teachers are, as much as anybody else, why I am where I am today. 
 
I said all that to say this - there will be times when students grumble and don't really like the work that is before them.  There are times when they will much rather do anything than that math assignment or that English reading.  But, I am reminded of Ms. Wilson and Ms. Hale when I see teachers working with parents and students, holding up high expectations and not being satisfied with less than sufficient work.  Those sorts of teachers change lives.  I know, because my life was changed by teachers who cared.
 
The other lesson I learned early on from teachers and the adults in my world was that reading was the doorway to my future, and that the more I read, the better and brighter that future could be.  So, let me encourage everyone to read, read, read.  Students, parents, grandparents, step-parents, aunts, uncles, teachers, administrators - everyone grows through reading, and it's the quickest way to an education that I know of.  So, thank you all for working with your children and with your children's teachers.  Thank you for supporting the teachers in holding high expectations.  And thank you for reading with them, or having them read to you, at every opportunity.
 
Peace,
Dr. Durand
 
Dr. Durand is reading "Death Masks" by Jim Butcher.  I'll be honest - it's a fluff read, but not every book has to be great literature - sometimes, they are just a fun ride.   
9/4/2020
 
Dear LISA Family,
 
Well, we've made it to the end of Week 2.  I know there have been some bumps along the way, but I very much appreciate the ways everyone is pulling together and patiently and diligently working to solve problems.  I've gotten to visit some classrooms this week, and I've been really impressed with how our virtual students are engaging with their teachers and learning. We are going to be putting together some incentives to reward students for being fully active with their classes going forward very soon.  Keep encouraging them.  And, by way of reminder, the IT department phone number is 501-295-9464 and can be found on the front page of the website - https://tinyurl.com/yaodg5g7
 
One change that should make things smoother is that we are migrating all of our live sessions from Zoom to the Conferences feature in Schoology.  The vast majority of our teachers have been using Conferences already, and now that we have completely trialed it, we will be using it universally within West Middle.  Also, chromebook cameras should be enabled for all students.  If your student is still having difficulty with it, make sure that they power it off and then turn it back on so that it can receive the updates to the permissions.  If trouble continues, please contact our IT folks at the number above.
 
Next week will see the beginning of our NWEA MAP testing.  The Northwest Evaluation Association Measures of Academic Progress is one of the very important tools that we use to individualize education at LISA Academy.  We have been using it for at least thirteen years and it is one of the best ways to get an understanding of where each student is academically in several disciplines (Math, Reading, Science), designing student achievement and growth goals, and measuring how students are growing over the course of a year (and even more).  Please encourage your student to do their very best.  This will be a different experience since so many students are virtual this year, but NWEA has come up with solutions to make online testing efficient.  Students should be in regular contact with their teachers about the test.  We will begin with Science testing on Thursday and Friday of next week (9/10 and 9/11).
 
Also, beginning August 31 (so, retro-dated to Monday of this week), ALL LISA students currently enrolled have the opportunity to eat breakfast and lunch at no cost on a daily basis until the end of the fall semester.  This is regardless of their Free/Reduced/Paid meal status.  Additionally, we encourage all parents to fill out the free/reduced meal application (regardless of whether or not you think you qualify) at http://ezmealapp.com/. There are several waivers and scholarship opportunities for students who qualify.  
 
We've come to to our first long weekend of the year.  Have a great Labor Day weekend and remember to be safe.  Masks on!  And, again, thank you for the privilege of working with you to provide your students all of the educational opportunities possible.
 
Peace,
Dr. Durand and Mr. Dilber
Dr. Durand is reading "The Book of Joy" by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the 14th Dalai Lama
 
 
 
 
8/28/2020
 
Dear LISA Families,
 
We have come to the end of the first week of school, and even though we knew this year would be like no other we've had before, I am reasonably sure that back in July, no one had "First Week Hurricane/Tropical Storm" on their set of expectations.  So, that's the way to start off the year in a memorable way.  As if we didn't have enough already!
 
So, as we've come to the end of the week, I wanted to reflect on a couple of things.  We have had obstacles - getting used to a new form of education, getting used to new social and classroom practices, navigating online platforms.  And, while there have been some stumbles along the way, I am so grateful for the diligence, persistence, and patience of our parents, staff, and students.  It is this kind of resiliency that makes LISA Academy a great choice for educating the next generation of students.  
 
I took a walk through the building this morning and visited some online classes and some in-person classes, and students and teachers were engaged in the task at hand - learning.  I watched as some of veteran teachers and new teachers alike guided students in doing math, English, science, and art.  And, I'm looking forward to seeing all of the great things we will do together this year.
 
We would like to make sure everyone has all of the resources that they need going forward.  We were planning for a chromebook pick-up day on Friday, August 28th, but Tropical Storm Laura had other ideas.  As soon as that is rescheduled, we will send out a text and email to all parents/guardians with the new details.
 
If anyone is still having technical difficulties (and I know that they pop up from time to time, even when you think everything is great), the numbers for our Technical Support are on the website, but they are here as well.  
 
         IT Support During School Hours: 501-295-9464
 
Please make sure to check the website and social media regularly for updates, especially if there is the possibility of inclement weather. 
 
I'd like to thank everyone who helped get this school year off the ground.  I hope everyone has a healthy and productive school year.  Remember, Mr. Dilber and Dr. Durand are always happy to help with questions and concerns.  I would also direct folks to the Contact Us page on the website for links to all of the staff here at LISA West Middle.  The website is also the one-stop shop for links to student log ins, the bell schedule, upcoming events, and district news.
 
Thank you for giving us the privilege of working with you and with your children this year.  We will strive to make every educational opportunity available to them. 
 
Dr. Durand will be hosting a chat with parents/guardians on Wednesday at 5:00 p.m.  The Zoom information is below.
 
Peace,
Dr. Durand & Mr. Dilber
 
Topic: Chat with Dr. Durand
Time: Sep 2, 2020 05:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada)
Meeting ID: 929 5612 1717
Passcode: 104935
 
 
Dear Parents,
 
Please see the message below from District about Hurricane Laura.
 

Thursday, August 27, 2020

With severe weather from hurricane Laura expected to impact Central Arkansas Thursday afternoon, LISA Academy has made the decision to dismiss schools early in Central Arkansas.  On Thursday, August 27th, all LISA Academy schools in Central Arkansas will dismiss at 1:00 pm.  The District office will close at 2:00 pm.  There will be no after school programs or activities.  No decision has yet been made regarding school for Friday, August 28th.  Virtual students will follow the same dismissal as on-site students.

LISA Academy Springdale will operate on the normal schedule.

8/24/2020
 
Dear LISA Families,
 
So, we are off and running on a new school year!  I want to say thank you to everyone for all of your support this summer and as we have begun the school year, because without the parent/guardian part of our education equation, everything would be for naught.  I will be sending out the Principal's Corner in the newsletter each week, but I will be posting it here, as well.  And don't forget, if you have questions please don't hesitate to contact Mr. Dilber (idilber@lisaacademy.org) or Dr. Durand (durand@lisaacademy.org).  We know that the first week of school is always challenging, and this one, maybe more than any previous year, is definitely a challenge.  Please keep working with us to iron out any bugs that we encounter.  
 
This is a brief message this week, because there will be another added later.  But, I wanted to give all of you a one-stop shop for some important links.
 
1. Bell Schedule.  It can be found at this link - https://tinyurl.com/y5eozw5e
2. Student Schedules. You will need to log in to HAC (Home Access Center).  If you do not have your HAC login, please email Ms. Miller (miller@lisaacademy.org), Ms. Cullers (acullers@lisaacademy.org), or Mr. Broyles (rbroyles@lisaacademy.org) and they will send your information to you.
3. Drop-Off and Pick-up.  Today went pretty smoothly.  Just a couple of reminders.  6th grade students should be dropped behind the 6th grade academy.  7th and 8th grade students should be dropped of in front of the 7th/8th grade building.  Please find the map and directions at this link - https://tinyurl.com/yyxvwlj8
4. If you are having difficulty logging in or linking your student's Google Drive to Schoology, you can follow this checklist - https://tinyurl.com/y5qgseqt
 
Stay tuned for Updates
 
Peace,
Dr. Durand and Mr. Dilber
8/18/2020
 
Dear LISA Families,
 
I would like to thank you all for your commitment and strength during this challenging time.  So many of you are inspirations to me, and I appreciate you all.  We are very close to the opening of the 2020-21 school year, and I know that there are lots of anxieties and worries about the upcoming year.  I'd like to take a little time to try to alleviate those that I can.  However, let me begin by saying that I'm very excited for the school year to begin, and I know, whether on-site or virtual, it will be a challenging and rewarding year.
 
Many of our students will be learning virtually for the first semester and there are a couple of very important items for those students and their parents/guardians to know.  The first of these is that the pickup for Chromebooks for those who indicated that they would need one at home is THIS Thursday, August 20th, behind the 23 Corporate Hill building.  Take Executive Court from Markham street and follow it until you reach the large school building on your left.  Shirts (for those who have ordered them), math textbooks, and art supplies will be distributed there as well.
 
If for some reason you have not checked your student in yet, please do so.  The links for the Check In Documents is here: https://tinyurl.com/yy99cx6b
 
This year, we are using the Learning Management System "Schoology" to deliver course content for both on-site and virtual students.  There are a variety of features that are a part of Schoology, and I've attached a powerpoint that goes through the various features that students and parents/guardians will need for the first part of the school year.  As we get further into the year, updated presentations will be made available.  The presentation can be found at this link: https://tinyurl.com/yyuu42rz
 
To help parents/guardians/students get back into the swing of the new year, and to answer questions about the new Schoology learning management system, I will be hosting three Zoom sessions this week.  The information for joining them is at the bottom of this Principal's Corner.
 
I would also like to introduce Mr. Ismail Dilber.  He will be the Principal of the 7th and 8th grade building, and he and I will work very closely together throughout the year to provide the best educational environment for all students of LISA West Middle School.  Mr. Dilber comes to us from LISA West High where he was the Dean of Academics last year.  He and I worked together two years ago when I was in the High School, and I can't wait for us to keep working together!  His email is idilber@lisaacademy.org.  Also, we will have a new Dean of Students in the 6th Grade Academy.  Ms. Alexandria Boyd joins us from Little Rock Preparatory Academy this year, and we all very much look forward to working with her.  Her email is aboyd@lisaacademy.org.  Ms. French will be in the 7th and 8th grade building, reprising her role as Dean of Students.  Her email is bfrench@lisaacademy.org
 
Please make sure to check the website and social media regularly for updates.  Thanks you.
 
Peace,
Dr. Durand
 
This week's virtual meetings with me will be Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.  Please make plans to attend one, but keep in mind that Zoom does limit our slots, so we ask that you plan to attend only one. The ZOOM info is below:
 
Thursday, August 20 - 2:00 p.m.
https://tinyurl.com/y2ts2l2s
Meeting ID: 937 6177 9908
Passcode: 209058
 
Thursday, August 20 - 6:00 p.m.
Meeting ID: 939 0331 8468
Passcode: 211515
 
Friday, August 21 - 3:00 p.m.
Meeting ID: 943 8282 0329
Passcode: 013578
 
Saturday, August 22 - 6:00 p.m.
Meeting ID: 954 3205 8649
Passcode: 952073