The Time is Now…to Schedule.

And so it starts.

Student course requests are loaded, class sizes set, new room numbers secured, new teachers added, ex-teachers deleted, and course numbers changed…I guess it’s time to start scheduling students and teachers for the 2013-14 school year.

Preparing for the actual scheduling process takes considerable time, and it actually begins in March.  Let me give you the sequence, to this moment:

  1. By March 1, course offerings are confirmed for the next school year:  old courses removed, new ones added.
  2. Before the Course Fair in March, course approvals and recommendations are distributed to students.
  3. March’s Course Fair kicks off the course registration process.
  4. Students submit course registrations in April.
  5. Student course requests are loaded into the scheduling program.
  6. Based on student requests, department heads determine number of sections needed for each course; they also assign teachers to those courses.
  7. By July 1 (after a June grace period in which students and teachers might make level changes), the scheduling process begins.
  8. After working manually through scheduling conflicts to grant as many students as possible their maximum number of requested courses, final schedules are completed.
  9. By the end of July, if all has gone to plan, schedules will be mailed home…with a letter explaining course change policies.

Believe it or not, creating schedules for 500 students and 60 part- and full-time teachers is–dare I say it–fun.  It’s the ultimate puzzle, creating school order from schedule chaos.

It’s only ever disappointing when I can’t schedule everyone for every course he or she wants.  But if, say, 25 students request a course that can only fit 20, or if someone’s own requests block the path of his or her other requests, something’s got to give–and this is why students offer alternates, too.

Anyway, everyone will be receiving their schedules while I am hiking in Shenandoah National Park with Mr. Jordan, Mr. Cocco, Mr. Levine, and 32 (?) senior boys…on the fourth annual senior boys’ hike.  (The senior girls have their own trip, too.)  So, check your schedules, read the letter accompanying it, and get ready for school.

I guess that’s enough excitement for one blog.





And then there was St. Norbert Abbey.

One of the highlights of our trip to Wisconsin was a visit to St. Norbert Abbey in De Pere.  A year ago I would have merely appreciated this lovely Norbertine sanctuary, but having participated in the Heritage Tour last summer to Europe with Dr. Marinelli (and his wife, Diane), Mr. Nowaczyk (and his wife, Michelle), Ms. da Ponte, and Board member Bob Shields (and his wife, Mary Kay), visiting this abbey provided something of an American closure to Archmere’s rich Norbertine past.

Inside the church.

Inside the abbey church.

Though a more contemporary place, this abbey possessed much of what the abbeys we saw in Europe–Tongerlo, Averbode, Grimbergen, Leffe, and Mondaye–offered:  peace and simplicity surrounding lovely cloisters, the hearts of the abbeys.

Visiting Premontre, the remains of Norbert’s first abbey, in France, was a highlight of last summer’s pilgrimage; at that point, at that place, the path to Archmere became abundantly clear:  there really is a connection.  But visiting St. Norbert Abbey, knowing that its European roots are one step away from Archmere’s birth, closed in a different way the circle that began in 1123.  Archmere’s history is good.  We should all know it.  Really.

Here are a few more pictures.

I know I am not doing this abbey justice, but I truly enjoyed being immersed again, even for a few hours, in the bigger picture of Archmere’s Norbertine tradition.

We’re back from Wisconsin!

Hey, Archmere!  I have a blog.  Don’t judge me.

But I wanted to tell you…39 students, 7 teachers, and I spent a full week at St. Norbert College last week attending a leadership seminar designed just for our students.  We had a terrific time.  Not only did the students decide on a project to initiate at Archmere for the 2013-14 school year, they participated in a challenging ropes course–walking on a highwire, leaping off a telephone pole to grab a rubber chicken–and felt good about it.  It’s hard to explain, but so exciting….to watch.  From the safety of the ground.  They worked on an organic farm owned and run by the Oneida Nation, and they worked in a food pantry for people in need.  And in every instance, these kids demonstrated the very best of what Archmere has to offer.  Not to mention some mad texting and smartphone skills.  In all respects, they were leaders.

In the evenings, we attended a Timber Rattlers baseball game, drove go-carts (stay away from Madison Love!), played miniature golf (while Dr. Christy chased birds on Hole 12), toured Lambeau Field, and rode Elvis’s favorite roller coaster.  Some of us twice.  Others five times.   We ate deep-fried cheese curds, too.  Far too many.

St. Norbert College, our higher education relative (both Archmere and SNC were founded by Abbot Pennings), hosted us for seven days and six nights on their beautiful campus (more of our students should take a look), fed us far too well, and generally made us feel like Archmere does:  welcome at all times.

I’ll be adding pix as soon as I can do it right, but I’m saving most of them for an iMovie the students seem to think I’ll be creating for an assembly in the fall.  They should be careful what they wish for:   I write my own text.

Check back soon for the pix…and keep visiting now and then for more posts on all manner of school stuff I’m involved in.

Thanks, all.  (Sorry for all the hyperlinks.  Who knew they were so easy to create?)