I spent some valuable time at Reed High School meeting with Principal Josh Rosenbloom and his counseling team, visiting classrooms, talking to students and teachers, and learning all about the Reed Raiders. My visit started with the principal and counselors sharing a wealth of data about the school culture, student population, interventions, programs, resources for students, CTE, extracurricular participation and activities, and graduation forecasts. The school staff members strive to build strong relationships with all students and are finding success with their individualized support systems. I was also intrigued by the information they shared with me about their goal of having a school-wide definition of academic rigor. Additionally, they are digging deeper into not just which students are struggling, but why they are struggling so that they can provide the support they need to be successful. It is evident that the entire staff is diligent in their efforts to help students and their goal-oriented approach is helping them to continue to show great improvements.
I spent time visiting classrooms and was impressed with the student engagement in every class. I also enjoyed seeing the rapport that the teachers and students had with one another. This dynamic definitely contributes to the academic experience for students in a positive way. My first visit was to Chad Coley’s and Garrett Hughes’ algebra class. The students were working on problems independently and comparing the solutions with their groups. The teachers were both walking around and engaging with students as needed. The students were self-directed and focused throughout the lesson.
Leigh Metcalfe and her environmental science students were busy completing posters showing the causes of rising sea levels. They students were incorporating data to show the causes. They also used pictures and graphs to make the posters clear and understandable. Several students talked to me about the data and information they were showcasing. They had a lot of information and were able to clearly express the scientific results. The students were then tasked with asking questions of each other to compare data and discuss results. This exercise challenged them to push their thinking forward.
I had a very interesting visit in Timmothy Conley’s classroom. During this class, he had both manufacturing and biomedical engineering students working on a wide variety of tasks. Students were working on computers, using the 3-D printer, welding, building, working on circuits, and programming, to name a few of the tasks. I observed a relaxed, calm atmosphere in the huge lab setting with quite a few students. It was impressive! Welding students and an aspiring aviation engineering student detailed their projects from start to finish so I had a thorough understanding of each and every step. I really learned a lot from these CTE students and was pleased to see them working on such high level projects.
Richard Brown’s “Literature Through Film” students were in the process of editing video footage on IMOVIE software to produce a rough draft of their documentary projects. The students were also tasked with reflecting on this process to determine the value of it. These honors students were supporting each other and talking about their projects amongst each other. The software was impressive and I enjoyed seeing these talented students at work.
I joined Janet Sawyer and her honors Earth Science students for a lab to make seawater. They were working on the impact of salinity and temperature changes. Some samples were placed in ice baths, some were left at room temperature, and some were heated. The students were using this data to determine how the variations in the flow of energy on Earth result in climate changes. The students were exercising precision and accuracy to collect the data. I loved interacting with the groups as they were completing this lab and noticed that they were all very serious and intent.
What a treat it was to visit Ron Eichstedt’s music classroom! One of the school’s Jazz Bands was practicing and then treated me to a mini performance. They are a talented group of musicians and I enjoyed their performance immensely. I was also touched by the group presenting me with a pillow made from the old band uniforms.
Next, I hosted a group of ninth grade students for lunch. I talked to the students about the importance of graduating from high school. My main message was the importance of perseverance and never giving up regardless of the obstacles. We also talked about how critical it is to stay on top of their education and make up missing credits sooner than later. We all shared high school memories with the students and talked about the opportunities to be involved and participate at Reed High School.
After lunch, we visited a few more classrooms. The students in Mark Towell’s Government class were playing a game focusing on the power of the Constitution. They were applying the article, section, and clauses that pertained to potential real-life situations. These kids were quick and well-versed on the Constitution.
In Lauren Conner’s psychology class, the students were finishing up their journals followed by a discussion about dreams. The kids were giving their analysis about a dream and it was really interesting to listen to their interpretations. Finally, the students were given a dream and had to analyze and explain it using two different theories. It was a very enlightening discussion.
My visit ended with a presentation by NJROTC Cadet Amelia Glowinak. She detailed their upcoming Battalion AMI (Area Management Inspection). During the inspection, they will perform their Annual Pass and Review and provide a briefing to highlight their accomplishments this year. Based on the presentation by this amazing young lady, I feel confident that the Reed Battalion will succeed and excel!
My visit to Reed was action-packed and fun. I enjoyed visiting with students in the hallways during passing and seeing them work hard in their classrooms. The teachers were able to keep all the students engaged and were having a positive impact on their learning. Principal Rosenbloom enthusiastically shared information about Reed High School and I can tell that he is proud of all the students and staff!