NASSP President Gregg Wieczorek’s latest stops on Leading Forward: The Listening and Learning Tour included two school visits in his home state of Wisconsin as well as stops in Kentucky, Missouri, and Tennessee during February and March. Below are brief highlights from the latest stops.

Holmen High School, Holmen, WI
Wayne Sackett, Principal

Farm-to-School Project
Through its Future Farmers of America program, the school uses various items that students themselves cultivate, which gives them firsthand knowledge of their products’ various uses. The day I was there, they ate a meal that included beef from cattle the students had raised. In their Agricultural Science class, students learn to grow lettuce using a hydroponic system, which is served at lunch. They also have an asparagus field on school property so that students can plant, cultivate, and harvest asparagus for lunches. The apples that are served are grown at a local orchard and harvested by students.

LaCrosse Polytechnic School, LaCrosse, WI
Garrett Zimmerman, Principal

Transdisciplinary Learning
All student work is done using a transdisciplinary approach, which means students choose their projects and determine how to meet academic standards while completing the work. This allows them to take ownership of their learning and sparks passion, purpose, and agency. There are structured opportunities for students to collaborate and offer each other constructive feedback. Teachers arrive 90 minutes before the students each day. That adds up to 7 1/2 hours a week of collaborative time for educators to help them develop lessons and activities because everything is team taught.

Positive Post-its at Murray High School.

Murray High School, Murray, KY
Tony Jarvis, Principal

Positive Post-its
The principal started a campaign where teachers write short, positive comments on Post-it notes about other teachers and then stick them on their colleagues’ classroom doors. The messages can be anonymous or signed. Students liked the idea so much that they wanted to join the campaign, so the notes are now also available to them for posting about teachers or other students.

Jackson Senior High School, Jackson, MO
Seth Harrel, Principal

Greeting Tardy Students
Every student who comes late to school must meet with an administrator before going to class. The school personnel do not use the meeting time for discipline; rather, the aim is to make sure everything is all right with the student and that they are emotionally ready to be in school to learn. Since the program began, the school has seen a drop in tardiness, and administrators have helped solve problems before they manifest themselves in more serious ways.

Gregg Wieczorek with Principal Leisa Justus at Blackman High School.

Blackman High School, Murfreesboro, TN
Dr. Leisa Justus, Principal

Blackman Collegiate Academy
In order to provide more rigorous opportunities for students, the principal created the Collegiate Academy. Students who choose to be in the academy must take at least 12 honors, dual credit, or AP courses. They also must take either a speech or critical thinking class. In addition, these students are required to participate in co-curricular activities, demonstrate leadership, and complete a 40-hour life experience shadowing. They complete their time in the academy by doing a capstone activity that involves an independent research project.

About the Author

Gregg Wieczorek is the president of NASSP and the principal of Arrowhead Union High School in Hartland, WI. Follow him on Twitter (@gregg_wieczorek).

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