Reporting on Student Achievement

“At the end of reason comes persuasion.”
Ludwig Wittgenstein – On Certainty

the past week
This was another busy week at Henry Wise Wood.

Alberta Post-Secondary and Career Fair
We held a very successful post-secondary and career fair this Tuesday.  Many large and small post-secondary institutions from across the province were represented, as were some service groups and other organizations.  I was encouraged to see the number of teachers who saw this as a valuable opportunity for their students and chose to spend some of their class time at the fair.  Thanks to our career practitioner, Ms D. Grabill. for her efforts to make this opportunity possible.

Terry Fox Day
While the weather was a little chilly, many of our staff and students participated in our Terry Fox walk/run Thursday morning.  Thanks to those who participated and to Mr. M. Hanna for all his work in organizing this event.

Our Fall athletics seasons continue.  Follow our athletics Twitter feed at and visit the Calgary High School Athletics webpage for schedules, result and standings.

from the School Council and Parents Alumni Association
Annual General Meeting
The Annual General Meeting our our School and Parents Councils will be held Monday, October 7 beginning at 7:00.  The main purpose of the AGM is to appoint the year’s executive.  As well this year, proposed changes to our by-laws will also be considered.

The proposed changes to the by-laws are found in the following documents: HWW School Council By-Laws and HWW Parents and Alumni Association.

reporting to parents
Teachers at Henry Wise Wood are committing this year to reporting student progress to parents online in ‘real time’ this year, rather than relying as much on traditional periodic paper report cards.  Student marks will be posted for their parents to see as soon as teachers have completing grading each item.  This approach is explained in my September 28 letter to parents.

Parents will view their child’s grades – as well as attendance information, student timetables, and some of the demographic information we have on file for their child – through HomeLogic.

Parents who are not already connected to HomeLogic will find information online at: HomeLogic FAQ and HomeLogic Self-Registration.

parent teacher interviews
Our first round of parent-teacher interviews will be held Thursday, October 3 and Friday, October 4.  Interviews will be held by appointment only.  Parents are invited to book appointments to speak with their child’s teachers.  Because this is the first opportunity of the year, and time is limited, we are hoping especially to see those parents who have current concerns regarding their child’s achievement.

Information on how to book an appointment is found on our website at Student/Parent/Teacher Conference Booking.  Appointments are booked on the SchoolSoft Conference Manager site, which will open at 9:00 am on Monday, September 30.  You will find more information in assistant principal Ms H. Mann’s letter to parents.

As I wrote written here earlier this school year, we have been reviewing our TLC Uniform Policy and Dress Code.  After consulting with students and their parents, are taking the step of placing the responsibility of deciding how to dress for school with our TLC students and their parents.  As described in the letter to parents that went to all our TLC families this week, TLC students will now follow the same dress code as other HWW students.

from the CBE Chief Superintendent
The October message from Naomi Johnson is now available: October Chief Superintendent’s message.

best of @hwwprincipal
The following represents a small sample of the links tweeted this week on @hwwprincipal. If you are on Twitter, you can follow @hwwprincipal; if you are not, you can see all the tweets at

3 big shifts necessary for schools | via @mcleo

Every Every Every Generation Has Been the Me Me Me Generation | via @TheAtlanticWire

Our broken economy is making young people miserable | via @Salon

Teacher Education in Finland via @DianeRavitc I am currently reading Finnish Lessons, which chronicles the change in Finland’s schools. I know we, in Alberta, are taking some direction from this model.

Persistence is the essence of creativity | via @bigthink

SHIFT Happens – this is a recent offering in a series of videos that seek to put into perspective the change that is happening around us. This video focusses on these changes from the point of view of the state of Iowa, but is relevant much more broadly.

Elmore Leonard: 10 Rules Of Writing
via @farnamstreet

The Flipped Classroom Boosts Grades 5% We are offering this approach to some students in selected mathematics classes. No student at HWW is put in a position of having to learn in this way, but it is an option we would like to make more widely available.

The Flipped Classroom Salman Khan’s TED Talk that really got this idea started:

Encouraging Courage Author and lecturer Alfie Kohn is an educational-aggitator who makes convincing arguments that standardized tests and too much homework are both stifling our students’ learning. This article appeared in a different form in Education Week.

For Teenage Brains, the Importance of Continuing to Learn Deeply | MindShift via @MindShiftKQED

Intuition Pumps: Daniel Dennett on the Dignity and Art-Science of Making Mistakes | Brain Pickings via @brainpicker

The illusion of consciousnessDaniel Dennett is a contemporary philosopher [yes, there are contemporary philosophers!] who has played a prominent role in work on consciousness since the late-sixties. In the following TED talk, Dennett presents an intuitive view of some of his thoughts.

on the principal’s turntable
My wife and I have five grandchildren. Our oldest grand-daughter is a big Serena Ryder fan. We planned a trip to Banff in June to see Serena Ryder play an outdoor concert, but the concert was cancelled because of the flood and rescheduled to September 21st. So, we sat in the rain Saturday afternoon and enjoyed four hours of music from Danny Michel, Adam Cohen, and, then, Serena Ryder.

I play the LP Harmony whenever Milla visits. She sang this song, from that album, as we walked along Banff Avenue following the concert:

on the principal’s bookshelf
Like many people today in many professions, I find it hard to keep-up with the fiction I would like to read, especially outside of my vacations. I feel that it is important, though, and am fortunate that my wife loves to read, as well. We encourage each other to find the time.

The book that I am currently [if, somewhat slowly] reading is A Thousand Splendid Suns by Afghani-born writer Khaled Hosseini. Hosseini’s first book was The Kite Runner.

I am finding that there is much to enjoy about A Thousand Splendid Suns [I am currently 21% through the book], but find myself this morning – as I am thinking about the on-going attack on the mall in Nairobi, a city we visited just over one month ago – that we have such a limited view in the West about how most people in the world live today. Of how they think, and what they feel, and of what their daily routines consist in.

As educators, we need to be aware of the circumstances from which many of our students emerge to become students in our schools. At HWW, we have a LEAD class for students new to Canada who have limited – or no – experience in formal schooling. Their stories are varied, but all have in common experiences that are very unlike those of children who have grown up in Calgary. As their teachers, we need to begin with this context – with the experience these students are having in coming into this strange city with its different culture, values and conventions. The more we can travel and read, the better we can understand this context and the better we can support these students in their transition and in their learning.

I can be reached by email at I have Twitter account that I will use to share ideas and information. If you are on Twitter, you can follow @hwwprincipal. If you are not, you can view the posts at

Be sure, as well, to keep up to date by checking in regularly to our school webpage at and follow our athletics program at

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