News: Students have huge success with the debate team!

Coach Molly Pittman passed the following great news along!

Five students competed at the CFL City Championship tournament and four of them qualified to go to the national CFL tournament held in Washington DC this May.

Tiffen McAlister (’13) qualified to the national tournament in both Student Congress and Extemporaneous speaking, in which he placed seventh and third, respectively.  He will be competing in Student Congress.

TaiWon Kim (’12) and Bizzy Margolin (’13), after reaching the semi-finals this weekend, have qualified to the national tournament in Public Forum Debate.  Bizzy also placed third in student congress, but will be competing in Public Forum.

Matthew Meyer (’14) has qualified to compete in Lincoln-Douglas Debate at the national tournament.  He will be the youngest representative in this category representing New Orleans!


NAIS: Geoffrey Canada

The closing session of the conference was a talk by Geoffrey Canada. Many of you will know him from 60 Minutes and from the film, Waiting for Superman. He is the President and CEO of Harlem Children’s Zone, and he made the case that we as a nation are facing a dramatic crisis that needs immediate attention. He was compelling, interesting, and at times controversial. His comments about the need to remove underperforming teachers have caused a stir.

NAIS Conference: TED Talks

2011 NAIS Annual Conference

The NAIS planning committee tried to re-create the format of the famous TED presentations with three interesting speakers. Liz Coleman, the Bennington College present, made an intellectual argument on the need for colleges and universities to redefine the liberal arts to match a society that demands a more generalist and integrated approach to study. Anya Kamenetz, an “Educational Futurist,” shared why education is sure to change in the coming years, but although technology will dramatically change the learner’s experience, there will still be a premium on direct teacher-student relationships. Finally, Sal Khan shared the story of Khan Academy. He started off by creating some online lectures and presentations to help his cousin strengthen her math comprehension. The irony is that the school his cousin attended was Newman. His online Academy has grown to include lectures on thousands of topics, and now he is integrating assessment systems and working on gamin structures to enhance the online learning experience. Because of his Newman connection, we asked if he would be willing to come speak to our community, and we hope to arrange a time in the near future for him to share this important work at Newman.

NAIS National Conference

This week I am attending the NAIS National Conference. Leaders from around the country gather each year for this development experience. We have a few folks here from Newman who will interviewing teaching candidates at the enormous job fair, and I will be working with my colleagues from around the country in several capacities.

This afternoon I will be attending the town hall meeting on financial sustainability. Here is a description:

“Introducing the first-ever virtual town hall meeting between NAIS Annual Conference goers and the National Business Officers Association (NBOA) Symposium attendees! As NBOA members assemble across town at the Capital Hilton, we’ll gather at the Gaylord National and together we’ll meet virtually to explore “Financial Sustainability: Where Are We Now?” Guided by a panel of experts, we’ll uncover how independent schools can cultivate their financial sustainability to survive – and thrive – in these turbulent times.”

Then this afternoon, I will be joining the Heads of School from all of the schools who have received the $2MM endowment gift from the Malone Foundation. We will be visiting the Maret School and then having several discussions about issues we face as school leaders. I love visiting other schools, seeing their programs, feeling their culture, and looking for great ideas to bring back to Newman. Each trip reaffirms for me what a wonderful place Newman is, and yet I am always reminded that we can be better.

Later this week, I will also be meeting with our benchmark schools. Many of you have heard me refer to JRPO, and I find working closely with these nationally recognized schools to compare data and best practices immeasurably valuable. Of course, the conference itself will have fascinating speakers and interesting presentations from educators from all over the world. I look forward to sharing the ideas with you.

Event: Boys Basketball Playoffs begin Friday at 7:00

Newman finished its regular season with a #7 power ranking in AA. By earning a 7th seed, our kids are not only guaranteed home court advantage for its first round playoff game this Friday night (2-25-11) in the Palaestra @ 7:00pm vs. Dunham High out of B.R., but with a victory over Dunham the Greenies will also host its second round playoff game next Tuesday night (3-1-11) @ 7:00pm in the Palaestra.

Michael Oher book signing

Michael Oher's "I Beat the Odds"

I had the privilege this week of interviewing Michael Oher at Newman when he came for a book signing. Our middle school students submitted questions for the short Q&A portion of the event, and then Michael signed books for several hours. He talked about growing up a Cowboys fan, and he talked a bit about the The Blind Side. He thought the movie did a pretty good job of portraying the events, but he did want to point out that Leigh Anne did not teach him how to play football.

Newman Alums Missy Sutherlin and Erin O'Brien with Oher

As many of you know, Sean Tuohy, went to Newman. This spring we will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of when Coach Tuohy, Sean’s father, started at Newman. It will kickoff our alumni weekend and should be a lot of fun.

News: Newman Hires New Biology Teacher

Matt Jones will be teaching Biology next fall at Newman

Matthew Jones will join the Newman science department as a teacher of Biology. Matt is currently a teacher and science department chair at Stuart Hall High School in San Francisco, California where he has taught AP Biology, AP Environmental Science, Biology, and Anatomy & Physiology since 2003. He has a Biology degree from Washington University in St. Louis and a masters degree from George Washington University. Over the years, Matt has also coached soccer, cross country, and wrestling. Matt’s wife, Mary works for the New Teacher Project on a Gates-funded grant to develop school systems throughout Louisiana.  He has a son, Ethan (8) and a daughter, Amy who is 5.  They are living on St. Charles Ave. close to Newman, and the family loves New Orleans- although Ethan misses the SF fog! We are excited that this dynamic, experienced teacher is joining the family.