February 15 2009
From the Academic Dean
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We are a little more than half way through the year.  Did I hear a collective sigh of relief?  I want to invite you to go back and look at the goals that you set for the year back in September.  What kind of progress has been made?  What else needs to be done?  Does your son/daughter need to add an item or two to the list? 


If you didn’t set goals at the beginning of the school year, it’s not too late to set them now.  I’ll be checking back with you again as we near the end of the year to prompt you to revisit those goals.  Good luck with helping your children to reach them!


Is Technology Producing a Decline in Critical Thinking and Analysis?  A recent study indicates that skills in critical thinking and analysis have eroded as technology has played a bigger role in our daily lives.  One of the reasons is that reading for pleasure has decreased among young people over the last few decades.  Reading fosters thinking and imagination in ways that visual media do not.  “Visual media (video games and television) … do not allow time for reflection, analysis or imagination.”  To see the entire article, go to http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090128092341.htm.


You will be interested to know that Marist faculty will benefit from a one-day workshop on critical thinking and differentiated instruction given by Mrs. Kathleen Kryza during pre-planning of 2009-2010.  Ms. Kryza is a nationally and internationally recognized speaker on the subjects.


Grades Online Updates:  Grades were updated online on February 11 and will be updated again by noon on March 3.  If you feel that grades have not been updated by one of your child’s teachers, please contact the teacher by email or phone.


A Warning about Facebook Predators:  Recently, a 30-ish man joined a couple of Marist Facebook groups and attempted to “friend” a number of Marist students.  He was a stranger who had no school or employment information listed on his page.  At least seventy Marist students “friended” this stranger.  When a Marist parent put in a friend request, asking “Who are you, and why are you contacting all these Marist students?,” the man’s Facebook site came down within twenty-four hours.


Talk with your child about who he or she “friends.”  It is a badge of honor for teenagers to have dozens or hundreds of friends on Facebook.  Check the personal information that your child has listed in his/her profile to make sure that there is no personal information that would allow a predator to come in contact with your son or daughter.  One Marist parent allows her child to have a Facebook account on two conditions:  1) she is one of his friends; and 2) the two of them sit down together periodically to talk about inappropriate content, etc.  That said, please be aware that some teenagers know how to beat the system; they have two Facebook accounts – one for the parent’s benefit and then another account that the parent doesn’t know exists.  

Texting While Driving: 
I want to share with you a personal story.  My daughter recently purchased a new cell phone that has a QWERTY keyboard on it rather than the letters embedded in the number keys.  The keyboard happens to run on the short side of the rectangle.  Her comment was, “I can’t text while I drive anymore.  Before, I could text without looking at my phone number pad.”  Having seen even adults type on QWERTY keyboards that were on the long side of the rectangle by spanning hands across the steering wheel and using thumbs to type, I realized that we had accidentally bought a phone with an unexpected perk!


Thanks!  I appreciate the spectacular attendance at recent parent evening meetings that spoke to scheduling issues.  Good questions were asked.  I expect the scheduling process to go smoothly this year because of your interest and involvement in the process.  If you or your child have questions about scheduling, please refer to the scheduling packet for answers.  If you still have questions, contact your child’s counselor or a subject teacher for answers.


What’s Going on in the Classroom?

·         Mrs. Liping Gui gave a presentation in Mr. Grindon’s World Religions class about how Confucian virtues and values are inculcated in her home school, Quzhou #2 School.  The presentation sparked discussion about the virtues and values that we hold at Marist.

·         On February 17, Spanish IV students will teach their classmates how to cook traditional meals from different Spanish-speaking countries.  The class will be in Spanish, of course.

·         If your child is in Mr. Fecas’ Choices class, the ten hours of direct community service are due soon.  This is a requirement for graduation, as well as for the course grade.

·         Mr. Negus’ Contemporary U.S. students (mostly juniors) are working on a group project that requires them to pick a piece of land (already developed, underdeveloped, or deteriorated) in the Atlanta area and put together a proposal for the redevelopment of the property in order to address some social, economic, environmental, or cultural need/problem.  They will present their proposals in class, justifying what they destroy and what they build.

·         A representative from F.C.D. (Freedom from Chemical Dependency) spent an entire week in Ms. Robicheaux’s 10th grade Christian Morality classes.  The homework for the entire week of February 2 – 6 was for students to go home and discuss issues that were brought up in class with their parents.  Did your son or daughter initiate these discussions?


We’re on the home stretch for Term II.  Encourage your children to remain vigilant about their studies and to create a plan for an early start on final exam preparation. 


Moving toward a successful end of Term II,

Mrs. Tricia Glidewell

Academic Dean