Volume 19

This Week at South Vol. 19


Good Morning South Students, Parents, Staff, and Community Members,


Please find the Weekly Bulletin for January 27th to February 1st (Also Attached)


Part I: The News


Two Opportunities to Support South Music Programs:


This Friday, January 31st, the Orchestra is hosting a Swingin’ Night Out: Swing Dance Lessons and Live Music. The event starts at 7 pm and tickets are $10. Come out and learn to swing dance!


Next Friday, February 7th, the Music Booster Club and Department will be hosting Pasta and Pops. The event starts at 6 pm and tickets are $10 per person. Come out and enjoy a good meal and music provided by South’s Music Department. 


Tenth Grade Health Screenings:


With the help of several wonderful volunteers, the nurse’s office will be conducting the annual 10th grade health screenings on 1/28 and 1/29/2020. The health screening consists of vision, hearing, height and weight. While the goal will be to screen all sophomores during this two day period, screening will continue until the end of the school year for those we miss. Our goal will be to provide a quality screening while minimizing class disruption and protecting students’ confidentiality. Please don’t hesitate to contact Nurse Whited if you have any questions via email at whited_susan@asdk12.org or by phone at (907) 742-6289. Thanks!


2020 School Climate and Connectedness Survey Information


In the coming weeks, South Anchorage High School and the Anchorage School District will administer the School Climate and Connectedness Survey. The purpose of this survey is to collect feedback on how well our school is serving students and families. Students will take the survey on Tuesday, January 28th, during third period. A link will be sent to families in this newsletter for the family survey, and will also be available on the District’s website. More information is available in the following letter.


South Girls’ Hockey Vanquishes Service/East & Recognizes Seniors:


The South/Bartlett Girls Hockey Team beat Service/East 6-1 at Friday's Senior Night game.  South Seniors Olivia Carman, Laney Millar, Alys Korosei, Carter Nelson, Nicole Ness, Guadalupe Martinez and Alex Donald were honored during the game. Congratulations Ladies! 


eSports Season is Coming Up!


The Spring season of eSports is quickly approaching. If you would like to participate in eSports, please sign up on www.planeths.com, both student and parent need an account that are linked to each other. After you sign up, see Mrs. Cravens in the activities office for eligibility. The fee is $193, which includes the $62 to register with PlayVS. 


The first eSport practice will be Monday, February 3 starting at 2:30 in the library to determine teams. We will then move to the CTE lab at 3:05.  Practices are Monday and Wednesday 3:05- 4:10, Tuesday 3:05-5:15 (League of Legends competes on Tuesdays), and Thursdays 3:05-4:45 (Rocket League and SMITE competes). If you would like more information about eSports, please see Ms. Frankenburger in the library or email her at frankenburger_lydia@asdk12.org. You can also visit http://asaa.org/esports/


Looking for More Sports/Activities Results!


If you have scores, standout performances, or other winter sports and activities news, please share those with me so I can include them in this section of the newsletter. Since I have little to report this week, please take a look at this week’s bulletin (linked at the top of the newsletter and attached) for a list of events, including multiple hockey and basketball games, bowling and DDF tournaments as well as cross country skiing.

Part II: Big Ideas & Their Application

This week’s big idea is a continuation of Part II last week, which built on the ideas in Daniel Coyle’s book, The Culture Code. The first part of Coyle’s book focuses on the first skill for creating and sustaining highly effective groups: creating safety. Safety is important for learning and growth because students and teachers need to be able to take calculated risks, make mistakes, and feel the group surrounding them will support them in working through mistakes in pursuit of a common learning goal.


In a related study, a group of learning-motivation researchers, Walton, Cohen, and Spencer (2011), tested whether social connections with fellow students could increase motivation and performance in college math. Their findings suggest that making connections and finding common ground with other students, even if those students are initially unfamiliar, tends to increase motivation through a sense of belonging. In their own words,


  • This research suggests that people draw motivation from a sense of belonging in an intellectual community. They (students) are sensitive to subtle cues that suggest whether they and their group belong, and respond to such cues with large shifts in motivation. 


They tie their own findings to that of Walton & Cohen (2011a) who found that, 


  • Effective strategies to enhance a sense of social connectedness to others in a school or work setting may raise people’s motivation and achievement. 


The researchers’ findings align well with ideas in the The Culture Code, in which Coyle argues that creating a sense of group safety and belonging is the first skill in creating high performing groups.


Looking at both Walton et al.’s (2011) research, and the findings in Coyle’s book, we can start to make choices about how we send social cues that create safety and belonging. To that end, here is a short list of actionable steps we can all take to increase safety and belonging, and in doing so, hopefully raise our school community’s motivation and achievement:


  1. Actively listen and affirm others ideas. Make eye contact. Ask follow up questions.
  2. Ask for help when it’s needed, and give help when given an opportunity.
  3. Overdo Thank Yous. Thanking others causes a chain reaction of generosity.
  4. Work in small groups toward common goals. Proximity and a common task increases belonging.
  5. Give everyone a chance to share, participate, and/or provide feedback.
  6. Embrace humor and fun. Laughter is a foundational sign of safety and connection.


*The above list is adapted from The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups, Chapter 6: Ideas for Action.


Have a Great Week South!