Kennedy Making Connections

10669170_470830239725772_8006725415111457045_oThis week was busy as always but punctuated by a very exciting visit Tuesday.  A delegation from Shijiazjuang, Hebei, China visited Kennedy to establish a Confucius Classroom within our Chinese classroom. The delegation, led by Mr. Zhiguo Lu and Ms. Guiqing Chen.  Mr. Lu serves as an associate superintendent in the Shijiazhuang school system while Ms. Chen is an associate principal at Number 25 High School.  They were joined by Ms.Shujun Zhou, who serves as the English teacher at Number 25 High School.

10704284_470830493059080_7027057569068602277_oWe spent the morning, taking a tour of Kennedy.  It was a lot of fun showing off our school.  They got to see our wood shop in action, they were floored by the size of our gym, and they gave a round of applause to the show choir rehearsal we walked in on.  They saw different kinds of classes and got to spend some time with our AP Chinese class.  We then held a ceremony in the foyer complete with a routine from our Dragon Dance Team!

10658530_470830236392439_2533458171128948292_oOne thing I gleaned from this visit is that there are clear differences between our schools.  First, class size.  The visitors were shocked by the size of the classes at Kennedy.  In China, they are used to classes of between 50 and 60 students.  Second, it is obvious that Chinese schools do not embrace discussion and collaboration the way that American schools do.  Ms. Chen was shocked when she saw a classroom laid out with the student desks facing each other. In China it is unusual to not have all student desks in rows facing forward. Finally, they were very impressed with all of our school’s offerings.  I think that the idea of a high school that serves so many different student needs is not the norm in China.

This exchange will be of great benefit to Kennedy. Our students will have the ability to learn Chinese by working with students in China. As well, their school will support our program with materials and even a teacher if the growth of the program warrants it.  Ms. Chen also spoke of hosting Kennedy schools in Shijiazjuang.  It is very exciting.

Dance Team

Dance Team

We had a lot of success this past week in the world of sports as well.  Our Swim and Dive team took 2nd place in the MCV Super Meet, our Volleyball team took 2nd place at the Conference tournament.  Cross Country has important races coming up next week to qualify to state.  And our Dance Team took 3rd in Jazz and 3rd in Pom at the Iowa Spirit Spectacular at the University of Iowa on Sunday.  Meanwhile, our Foundation for Performing Arts hosted an awesome Cabaret Night on Friday.  Thanks to all of our parent volunteers who help put on such a wonderful event!

Remember that there is no school on Friday for Staff Learning.  Also a reminder that school picture-retakes are on Tuesday during SMART Lunch in the Auditorium.  Have a great week!

SMART Lunch Speakers and Schedule

Dr. Christie-Pope

Dr. Pope

The SMART Lunch schedule for this week can be found here.  We have two guest speakers this week and both are all about the brain!  On Wednesday, we are joined by U of I Doctoral Candidate Ms. Amy Belfi  who will present ‘Neuroscience: Music and Memory.’  Ms. Belfi will help show the connection between how the brain processes memory and how it processes music.  This is open to all students on Wednesday. On Thursday, Dr. Barbara Christie-Pope,a professor at Cornell College, will do her annual ‘brain show’ for Kennedy students in the Blackbox.  She uses real human brains to help students learn how the brain functions.  Her talk is during the B tutorial and is also open to all students.

Looking for Students to Attend Confernce on Schools

The Iowa Student Learning Institute is looking for 200 Iowa high school students to attend a one-day conference on improving schools in the state.  The conference is on November 8 at Waukee High School.  Kennedy would like to send a contingent of students to participate in this event.  The theme of the event is “Students of Iowa: how can your learning change the world?”  Lunch is provided.  Students interested in participating should sign up in the main office.

Looking for Input on Improving the Kennedy Cafeteria

This week, staff from the CRCSD Food and Nutrition and Kennedy students and staff will meet to discuss ways to improve the Kennedy Cafeteria.  The goal is to make the food and food service more appealing to students.  The meeting will be Wednesday at 1:30.  If you or your student is interested in participating, please contact the main office to be added to the list.  Only individuals who are signed-up will be able to participate.

College Application Week

It is National College Application Week and our counseling staff is on the ready to help all seniors with their applications.  Everyday this week during SMART Lunch, the counselors are holding College Application Seminars in room 220 both A and B tutorial.  Students can learn about DOs and DON’Ts on College Apps and get help on specific applications they are working on.  All seniors are highly encouraged to stop by 220 this week.

Recommended Reading

These are some interesting articles.  I don’t necessarily agree with them, but I wanted to share.

Avoid These Big College Application Mistakes (US News and World Report 9/11/13)

Parents: Think Hard Before Borrowing for, With Your Student (US News and World Report 8/20/14)

Upcoming Events

Tuesday, October 21 – Picture Retake Day; PTA 11:30 a.m.; Band Concert 7 p.m.

Friday, October 24 – No School for Students – Staff Learning Day

Saturday, October 25 – ACT Test Date; Stack the Stands Dance Competition; All-State Auditions


About Jason Kline

Jason Kline is principal at John F. Kennedy High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Jason has three daughters and he and his wife Veronica live in Cedar Rapids. Prior to becoming a school administrator, Jason was a social studies teacher and debate coach. He is passionate about helping individual students find their potential by opening new opportunities for them.

One response to “Kennedy Making Connections”

  1. Bridget Clark says :

    Has powerschool for parents been shut down?

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