How National Honor Society Prepared Me for West Point

Just two weeks after I graduated from Central High School in Philadelphia, PA, I began basic training at West Point. After six weeks of push-ups, pull-ups, battle drills, and walking uphill with weights for what seemed like hundreds of miles, I successfully completed cadet training known as “BEAST.” I returned from the woods and immediately started my first semester of college.

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CMU CS Academy provides free computer science curriculum

Is your school looking to expand its high school computer science offerings? Carnegie Mellon’s CMU CS Academy might be the right fit for top-notch resources. An online, graphics-based computer science curriculum taught in Python and provided by Carnegie Mellon University, CMU CS Academy offers novel, world-class computer science education for the secondary classroom. And it’s entirely free.

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Top Five Blog Posts of 2021

For a snapshot of what resonated with School of Thought readers in 2021, check out the five most popular posts. Because the year was incredibly stressful and far from normal, it’s no surprise that topics such as well-being and collaboration top the list. Our four-legged friends are honored here, too. Happy reading!

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Pausing to Reflect on a Stressful School Year

At the end of 2021, Beth Houf wrote about the extremely challenging school year she and her school leader colleagues faced across the country. Her reflections were posted on the blog of the Albert Shanker Institute, and we are sharing them here. Besides reminding principals and assistant principals that they are not alone in this work, Houf offers concrete ideas to act on in the new year.

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American Heart Challenge Provides Accessible Service Opportunities to NHS Students

Since the beginning of the pandemic, National Honor Society (NHS) advisers have faced the challenge of finding service activities that don’t involve big crowds (like charity walks) or extended close contact (like in-person tutoring). When they heard about a volunteer opportunity that students could do through social media and a smart phone app, sponsored by the American Heart Association (AHA), NHS advisers in two school districts near Houston, TX, welcomed the chance to involve their chapters.

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Breathing New Life into One School’s NHS Chapter

2021 marked the centennial of National Honor Society (NHS), a program of the National Association of Secondary School Principals. Since its founding in 1921, NHS has recognized and encouraged exceptional student leaders. One such chapter, established a few years after NHS was born, is now gaining new life. Sterling High School (SHS) in the rural community of Sterling, CO, had an active NHS chapter from 1925 through 2013. After eight years of dormancy, the school proudly reinstated its chapter this year.

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Taking Stock of Where We’ve Been—and Where We’re Going

With the holiday season and winter break fast approaching, you as school leaders have time to reflect on where your schools have been and where they’re going. This halfway point of the school year gives you a well-deserved breather where you can take stock of your accomplishments in serving your students, teachers, and communities and confront the challenges that remain.

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Four Strategies That Increase Student Opportunity in Advanced Courses

Advanced coursework and career and technical education (CTE) pathways provide high school students with the opportunity to learn and practice crucial college and career readiness skills while earning college credit and career certifications. According to The Education Trust, “Research shows that when students are given access to advanced coursework opportunities, they work harder and engage more in school, leading to fewer absences and suspensions and higher graduation rates.” Despite widespread understanding of the important opportunities provided by Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), Dual Enrollment, and CTE, schools continue to struggle with addressing opportunity gaps by supporting all students in accessing and succeeding in these courses and programs.

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