News & Events
Read Across America
High Road Academy celebrated Read across America Day by having a Dr. Seuss week and a Reading Expo, The Reading Expo took place on Friday, March 2, 2018.
Read Across America Day is an annual observance in the United States inaugurated by the National Education Association. It falls on the school day closest to March 2, the birthday of American author of children’s books Dr. Seuss. The National Educational Association (NEA) is a U.S. professional organization and labor union that represents educators and college students preparing to become teachers.
It created the Read Across America initiative on reading to encourage children to read more books and get them excited about reading.NEA came up with the idea of creating a day to celebrated reading in 1997. Read Across America Day was first celebrated on March 2, 1998. It has been held every year since then.
The holiday focuses on motivating kids to read as reading helps do better in school. On Read Across America Day, numerous events are hosted by schools, libraries, churches, community centers, bookstores, and even hospitals. The holiday is supported not only by NEA members but also by some 50 national associations and organizations.
Students and staff made Dr. Seuss themed treats such as “Lorax” Truffula tree treats made with Trix cereal and marshmallows; “Cat in the Hat” treats made from Oreo cookies, frosting, and gummy Life Savers; and “Green Eggs and Ham” treats made from melted white chocolates, pretzels, and tiny green chocolates. Students also completed reading fluency assignments that included rhyming and nonsense words, staples of Dr. Seuss books and difficult reading tasks for students with exceptionalities. Several students read aloud two Dr. Seuss books to the group of students and staff. One student, Zye Jackson, read aloud “The Cat in the Hat” in French to the group to highlight her bilingual ability and how Dr. Seuss influences multiple cultures.
Gold Level Aquarium Trip
On March 27th, students in the lower school on blue and gold level went on a trip to the aquarium in Baltimore City. Students and staff were able to participate in many fun activities including viewing a dolphin training, visiting the living seashore that allow visitors to touch some of the animals such as jellyfish and stingrays, and making a trip down “Shark Alley”. The trip was the first of two trips scheduled for the 7th grade Life Science curriculum. The trip was a fun way for them to learn about marine life forms and ecosystems. In May, students will be going to the Maryland Zoo for the 2nd part of their Life Science curriculum.
Computer Repair Class
A small class made up of juniors and seniors at the High Road Academy were provided the opportunity to pilot a new class in the school’s Work Force Development Program. The Work Force Program is a co-op between High Road Academy and Prince George Community College. Students can earn a certificate and the knowledge needed to better understand how a computer works. A few highlights from the class include students learning how to remotely control a secondary computer from their own and of course getting the chance to take a computer completely apart and rebuild it while learning about how each part works. One student we interviewed commented that, “The class was great. There was a ton of information, but Mr. Hall broke it down well.” Computer Repair was a complete success and the demand for next year’s participation is staggering. Skills gained in this class correlate so much to the changing nature of the job market and the constant advancement of technology. With unique classes like this, students only stand to become more marketable after graduation.
Inaugural Jalen White Regional Spelling Bee
Spelling Bees are a popular and effective way to have students become better spellers. It allows them to practice spelling words they might not ordinarily use while mixing in some fun and competition. This the High Road Schools of the Maryland South Region decided to create a regional spelling be that would comprise of the top 2 spellers from each program in the elementary, middle, and high schools.
Early in planning for the process, our schools were dealt a blow with the tragic passing of one of the Regional Spelling Bee participants, Jalan White. Jalan was an 11th grade student at High Road Academy of Prince George’s County. He was an eager learner and literary craftsman. He not only had a refined vocabulary, but also was able to skillfully express his unique perspective using the most colorful collection of words. He was a shining light who was undeniably noticed by both students and staff. He participated in all events that allowed him to exhibit his creativity and talents. The spelling bee was one such event. He won 2nd place in the high school division of his local school spelling bee last year and confidently entered, once again, during this school year where he won 1st place. He wore a sense of accomplishment as he looked forward to competing in our very first regional spelling bee. Due to his untimely passing he is not able to be physically present with us, however his memory will continue to live on through this display of hard work and dedication. With this tribute, that is a reflection of what Jalan so beautifully embodied, we have chosen to officially declare this ceremony: The Jalan White Regional Spelling Bee. Through this annual event his light will continue to shine forth as his memory will be cherished for years to come.
In its inaugural year, the spelling bee delivered suspense and competition in each division (elementary, middle, high). The elementary spelling bee kicked it off with amazing display of spelling and ended with a several round face-off between Zye’ J (High Road Academy – Laurel) and Evert A. (High Road Lower School – Lanham). Eventually, Evert edged Zye’ in a battle of middle school words that had the audience captivated.
The middle and high schools spelling competitions continued to provide the audience with anticipation and amazement as our older student competitors exchanged correct spelling with correct spelling. Ultimately, Mariella M. (High Road Academy – Lanham) outlasted the competition to win the Middle School Spelling Bee. Dashawn R. (High Road Academy – Lanham) scored a victory over Kendra R. and Wesley R. (tied for second).
It was an A-M-A-Z-I-N-G display of academic skill and stellar sportsmanship both befitting the legacy of Jalen White
ELEMENTARY SCHOOL PARTICIPANTS
Malik C. – High Road Academy (Laurel)
Zye’ J. – High Road Academy (Laurel) 2nd Place
Dayshawn K. – High Road Academy (Lanham)
Toryonna B. – High Road Academy (Lanham)
Anthony P. – High Road Lower School (Lanham)
Evert A. – High Road Lower School (Lanham) 1st Place
MIDDLE SCHOOL PARTICIPANTS
Emma C. – High Road Academy (Laurel)
Rachel M. – High Road Academy (Laurel)
Charlie B. – High Road Academy (Laurel)
Mariella M. – High Road Academy (Lanham)
Faith W. – High Road Academy (Lanham)
Sean H. – High Road Lower School (Lanham)
HIGH SCHOOL PARTICIPTANTS
Miracle S. – High Road Academy (Laurel)
Lily R. – High Road Academy (Laurel)
Wesley R. – High Road Academy (Lanham)
Deshawn C. – High Road Academy (Lanham)
Kendra R. – High Road Upper School (Lanham)
DeAsia W. – High Road Upper School (Lanham)
Dashawn R. – High Road Upper School (Lanham)
Black History Month
Led by Mrs. Adrienne Lyon and her dedicated team of volunteers, High Road Academy made Black History Month memorable. Students were able to engage in various activities that highlighted the contribution of Africans and afro- American individuals and their culture. Every week students chose between a cooking project that highlighted African southern cuisine, watched a movie that celebrated the moments, memories and people in black history, or attended a class for the history of African dance and music. Fun Friday Black History Month also included field trips for the weekly behavior incentive, which included a basketball game, roller skating, and bowling. The students had a great time and one student was even overheard commenting “why don’t we keep doing this after February?” It was a wonderful celebration.
Reading Support Specialists
Kathy Martin is in her 18th year at High Road Academy. As a lower school teacher for eleven years, she worked diligently in helping children to develop adequate reading skills in an effort to further their progress towards academic goals and objectives. For the past six years, Kathy has been part of the Related Services team as a Reading Support Specialist. Phonics is her passion and she cheerfully exclaims that she looks forward to coming to work each week. Using a variety of reading programs and supplementary aids, she has crafted a program that addresses the basic aspects of the reading process, specifically: phonics instruction, which supports word recognition, automatic sight word recognition, reading comprehension, spelling, and reading comprehension. She is greatly appreciated by students and staff for her cheerful and helpful attitude.
Adrienne Lyon has been at at High Road Academy for 11 years as a Reading Support Teacher working with both lower and upper grade students. She is well known around the school for creating a positive atmosphere for learning and growth. Mrs. Lyon earned a degree in Early Childhood Education and currently lives in Howard County Maryland. Over the years she has experienced different teaching opportunities and states that “each experience has helped me grow as a reading teacher and understand the importance of quality education in the early years of a child”. A very important belief of hers is “to reach a student is to teach a student to read.” In her leisure time, she enjoys spending time with her two children and husband doing various activities. She also enjoys shopping for unique jewelry and of course reading a good novel. Her favorite teacher quote: “Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education”.
Exploring the National Holocaust Memorial Museum
After months of anticipation and hard work, Ms. Errico’s 11th grade class finally had the opportunity to go back into Washington, D.C. to visit the National Holocaust Memorial Museum. Being the first visit for many of the students, it truly was quite an eye opener for them. At the beginning of the self guided tour, each of the students received their own passport. Each passport was linked to a specific individual that was effected by the events of the Holocaust. One of the students received someone who was not Jewish and they were very surprised that the Concentration Camps were filled with people other than those of Jewish decent. “I couldn’t believe the amount of different people that were forced to go into those horrible death camps.” one student exclaimed. Then, on the top level of the museum, when looking at pictures and models of devices used to torture and kill people who were determined to be the “lesser race,” the students were disgusted. “I felt mentally exhausted after seeing all those pictures,” admitted one student after finishing the top level. “I was surprised at the student’s response to the atrocities of the Holocaust,” admitted Ms. Errico. “But it is such a needed area to study in order to not repeat the horrific events of the past.” Even though it was an emotionally difficult museum, the students really seemed to enjoy their learning experience.
What Are You Thankful For?
Almost the entire school, students and staff, helped create a beautiful “What Are You Thankful for?” Thanksgiving themed bulletin board that hung in the front lobby of our school. Each person traced their hand, cut their hand out, and then wrote and/or decorated their hand print with what they were thankful for. The hand prints were then used to create the feathers of the turkey. Mrs. Silverman Kline says she got the idea off of Pinterest, and that she was truly amazed and humbled by what everyone wrote. “It was very touching to read students notes when they mentioned that they were thankful for our school or their teachers or other staff members at High Road Academy. We were also touched by the strong foundation many have for appreciating the truly basic and important things in life like food, good health, family, friends”.” Mrs. Silverman Kline is already working on a new Winter themed bulletin board and hoping to get everyone to help make snowmen, snowflakes or penguins to contribute to the Winter Theme idea she wants to do. Keep an eye out for the bulletin board when you come to the school, because we are sure the next one will be just as awesome as the Thanksgiving one.
Students in Occupational Therapy enjoyed a special spooky treat this month. They made bloody eyeballs and creepy spiders during their occupational therapy sessions. This complex and fun task targeted fine motor skills, visual perceptual skills, and executive functioning skills. Manipulating the materials was a fun way to practice fine motor and visual perceptual skills. Executive functioning skills were challenged regarding: problem solving, visual memory, sequencing, planning, organization, time management and self-regulation.
Given support, all of these skills came together in order to complete the activity successfully.
Chemistry and Physics Fun
Learning should be fun! After completing assigned readings and questions, the seniors in the Introduction to Chemistry and Physics class worked with computer simulations building atomic models as they explored the Periodic Table of Elements. Students first learned about different atoms and where they fit on the periodic table with the assistance of PhET Interactive Simulations from the University of Colorado. They went online and played with the ‘Build an Atom Lab’ and learned how atoms get their atomic number and atomic weight, how they can be ions, how they are different from stable atoms and how the Periodic Table of Elements is arranged. After the computer lab, students participated in a hands-on project using Styrofoam, craft sticks, paint and skewers to build their own model of one of the atoms that they made with the PhET software. Students ended up with very colorful atoms and a better understanding of what they had read about earlier. They used their models to write about an atom that they had created, describing what someone would need to know. Writing was easy after building the models! Great job seniors!
Word to Live By
Abraham Lincoln once said, “Whatever you are, be a good one.” Ms. Errico’s 11th grade class worked extremely hard the past few weeks in order to live up to this quote. “The students put so much effort into being the very best version of themselves the past few weeks, they really did deserve to go on this fun outing, explains Ms. Errico. “And they were so excited to go!” So where was this great excursion? Ms. Errico’s 11th grade class had the opportunity to travel to Washington D.C. and attend a performance of “Death of a Salesman” at the historic Ford’s Theater. “It was really cool to be in the same place that a great president was shot!” explained one student after seeing the Abraham Lincoln’s box seat. With a smile and a quick picture, the lights dimmed and performance began! The play is a required read on the 11th grade book list, but, as one student said, “it is so much more fun seeing the play than reading it!” After the final bows were taken, the student’s grabbed a bite and Shake Shack and headed back to school. Ms. Errico stated as they walked off the bus, “I just hope the students remember that they can do amazing things when they work hard being the very best they can be.”
6th & 7th Grade Teacher Highlights
Laura Davis is in her 13th year at High Road Academy, and has served in both teacher and assistant teacher positions over the years. She is currently teaching 6th and 7th graders, but has mostly taught 6th grade. She particularly enjoys teaching earth science and ancient civilizations in the 6th grade curriculum, especially Ancient Egypt. She likes to include as many hands-on activities when teaching as possible and is a believer in the power of field trips to reinforce classroom learning. Ms. Davis has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and made the switch into teaching after a first career of working in the corporate and non-profit worlds. She appreciates the fact that there is never a dull moment in teaching, and loves that her job has sometimes involved playing laser tag or glow-in-the-dark mini golf with her students. In her spare time, Ms. Davis enjoys being outdoors, seeing a good movie, bargain hunting, reading, and escaping to the mountains or beach whenever possible when the weather gets warm. Her favorite teaching quote: “Children need to think that you care before they care what you think.”
Although not living in DC currently, Barbara Hill is proud to say she is a native Washingtonian. She as been teaching and tutoring for 20 years. Barbara graduated
from St. Mary’s College of Maryland with a bachelors in Human Development. While she always knew she wanted to be a teacher, it was not until she had an
internship at the Lab School of Washington that she decided to work with small groups of students with special needs. Barbara then went on to earn a masters degree in Special Education: Learning Disabilities at American University. Barbara has taught at three private schools for students with special needs and taught in a a county public school. Now she is happy to be at High Road Academy working as an assistant teacher with Ms. Davis in the 6th/7th grade classroom. Barbara finds that some of the best parts of teaching are being able to reach students through creative and hands-on lessons as well as using as many methods needed to find, and then teach, to each child’s learning style. When she’s not teaching, you can find Barbara cheering on the Washington Nationals, traveling, taking photos, and keeping up with her passion for giant pandas.
We Have Always Lived in the Castle
Ms. Errico’s 11th grade English class is at it again! After reading Shirley Jackson’s mystery thriller, “We Have Always Lived in the Castle,” this group of creative young minds built their own model of the castle depicted in the novel. After finding details of this run-down mansion scattered throughout the novel, the group of excited 11th graders set out to work on their masterpieces! They each put together lists of supplies they needed for their models and spent the next several days cutting, gluing and putting together, piece by piece, their own perspective of what the “castle” in the book may look like. “Most of the students put a lot of thought and effort into their models,” explained Ms. Errico. “They cut out so many little pieces to have it be realistic and extremely detailed.” Through this project, the students were able to learn about how different characters in a book can shape the perspective of the reader. “The so-called “castle” was really an old run down house. The main character really had us fooled!, said one student. “I thought a castle meant a rich place full of gold, and the castle ended up being just a house that was old and falling apart.” This 11th grade project was definitely full of surprises! A great learning experience for all!