In just a few months there will be a major ribbon-cutting at Dublin High School. As part of the multi-year, taxpayer funded Dublin High School renewal project, a brand new, state-of-the-art Center for Performing Arts and Education will open in support of visual and performing arts programs. Most of the major construction is now complete with the attention now on completely all the detail work. Superintendent Dr. Stephen Hanke: “When we designed the theatre we ensured it would have all the elements of a high quality regional theatre, and it does. It is a magnificent facility. Not only will the school district benefit from the programs we have, but we will also see benefits extend into the Dublin community and regionally.”
Take a few minutes and join OneDublin.org on a photo tour of the new theater:
If you’ve driven up Village Parkway in the past six months, you will have seen the theater taking shape on the north side of campus:
Stepping inside the theater, you are welcomed by tiered seating with capacity just shy of 500.
Winter percussion, percussion ensemble, drumline – all of these phrases fill me up with more excitement than words can describe. However, they didn’t always. When I entered middle school in 6th grade, like many, I didn’t have a single clue of what winter percussion was. I knew that it involved marching, drums, and competing, but other than that, I had no idea what drumline entailed. Despite my slim knowledge, I decided to take part in winter percussion, and I have ever since.
My name is Evelyn and I currently attend Fallon Middle School as an 8th grader. Presently, I play the snare drum and serve as co-drum captain for the Fallon Drumline. Over these three years of participating, I’ve met many people that have never heard of winter percussion. This lack of familiarity with the activity has motivated me to inform everyone I know what drumline is, and what it is like to be a part of. Whether it’s my peers at Fallon, parents, or you, the reader – I aim to inspire more students to give drumline a try.
While the drumline season begins in late fall, my band director, Mr. Carpenter, brews on theme and song ideas long before the season begins. When the first practice comes, everyone has a shot to try out different percussion instruments such as bass drums, snare drums, and tenor drums (quads). Students even have the option to be in the pit where they can play instruments such as a piano, guitar, xylophone, drum set, and countless others. Everyone has a chance to learn how to play different percussion instruments and are informed of the correct technique and approach. Mr. Carpenter arranges and provides the music that corresponds with the theme of our show. Fallon’s theme for 2014 is “surfing”, so we play songs such as Wipeout and Pipeline.
A special tradition is quickly growing legs with each passing year. The Special Olympics games that had been traditionally held in Contra Costa County have now gained a solid footing in the Tri-Valley Region. The 2nd annual school-based Special Olympics Basketball Competition for pre-K to 5th graders took place last Friday at Harvest Park Middle School in Pleasanton. Thanks to an invitation from Eric Hamilton, Adaptive P.E. Specialist from the Dublin Unified School District, OneDublin.org was able to witness this event.
The primary schools involved included those from Pleasanton, Dublin and the Livermore Unified School Districts. The games/competition is moderated to accommodate more than 400 student/athletes with differing abilities. The primary purpose is to ensure that all participants have the ability to join into the activities. The Harvest Park site was entirely appropriate as events took place both inside their gym as well as on the adjoining blacktop surface.
Friday was a bright day and weather was not a negative factor. Cars, buses and neighbors on foot made their way into the primary gymnasium. After a rendition of the National Anthem, the pledge of allegiance and a reading of the Special Olympics credo, the games commenced. The courts were differentiated by skill set. Inside, there were competitive games occurring. Outside, skills exercises were executed. One of the stations featured a set up by the Dublin High School Robotics team which allowed participants to lead a basketball into a funnel which was mechanically launched towards the hoop. Many students took great pleasure in this activity.
OneDublin.org sat down with Dublin Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Stephen Hanke late last week for an in depth discussion of the opportunities and challenges facing Dublin’s rapidly growing public school system and what it takes to build new schools, the upcoming parcel tax renewal vote, what inspired him to devote his career to education, the role of parents in education and what’s in store for Dublin with the opening of Dublin High School’s Center for Performing Arts and Education.
OneDublin.org: Before we talk about the opportunities and challenges facing Dublin schools, what inspired you to enter the field of education and ultimately pursue leadership roles?
Dr. Stephen Hanke: “From the very beginning I’ve always really liked kids. That’s what got me into teaching. I taught for seven years, teaching a variety of subjects, history and social science as well as P.E and coaching. As a lifelong learner, it was important for me to go back to school, and it made sense to pursue a master’s degree and then an administrative credential. It was a natural progression moving from teaching to administration – I had served in leadership roles as a teacher. I was an assistant principal, then a principal and held positions in a couple of school districts before ultimately arriving in Dublin.
“Dublin has been an amazing capstone on my career, and my career spans more than four decades now. I’ve loved every position that I’ve had, because I’ve always had the opportunity to work with people who are working directly with kids. My heart’s desire has always been to work with kids, and to work with people who work with kids.”
OneDublin.org: Some districts in California have struggled with declining enrollment and school closures in recent years; in Dublin we’re going through a period of rapid growth. Talk about the opportunities and challenges of managing a district experiencing rapid growth.
On February 14, 2014, I had the chance to interview one of my favorite teachers at Dublin High School: Ms. Barbara Hall. Math is Ms. Hall’s forte, as she teaches the subjects Algebra II with Trigonometry and Trigonometry with Pre-Calculus. I sat down with Ms. Hall in her classroom and asked her a rapid fire series of questions, as she ate her lunch, about how she became a math teacher and why she loves math.
Sophia Bafaiz: So, how are you today, Ms. Hall?
Hall: “Just great. I love interviews. Go ahead.”
Bafaiz: So, where were you born?
Hall: “I was born in Michigan, in a suburb outside Detroit.”
Bafaiz: Which college did you attend?
Hall: “University of Colorado, majoring in math.”
Bafaiz: Are you married?
Hall: “Last time I checked, I was. I kissed my husband goodbye this morning.”
Bafaiz: Aw! Do you have any children?
Hall: “I have two boys.”
Bafaiz: What influenced you to become a teacher?
Hall: “I remember when I was a little kid, I always used to play school when I would come home from school and I was always the teacher. For a long time, I always wanted to be a teacher. Because when you think about it, when I was growing up, that was basically your only role model. It was either your mom or your teacher. And I just loved playing teacher.”
A well publicized and effectively designed program was presented at Dublin High on Wednesday evening. The event was an opportunity for DUSD parents to learn about the upcoming impact of the newly implemented Common Core Standards and Smarter Balanced Assessments. As has been mentioned in previous articles on OneDublin.org, the CCS and SBAC is a dramatic shift away from standardized testing in California and is a movement towards standards and testing that are being conducted in other states throughout the country. The primary philosophy is that students in North Carolina, California and Colorado should be mastering the same skills as they progress through school. Further, the hope is to have students in the U.S. eventually gain mastery in subjects similar to their international peers.
In order to do so, a set of common skills must be established. Further, the assessment of their skills must come with a component that provides additional support to attain a deeper level understanding of the material. The Dublin Unified School District understood that at least one impactful element of achieving this transition was to engage with its parent/guardian population. Wednesday’s approach included an opening session where Assistant Superintendent Tim McCarty explained the rationale for the night and then introduced the teachers and district staff that would lead the breakout sessions. The options available resembled a buffet style menu. Among others, topics included Elementary Math, Digital Citizenship, SBA in Primary & Secondary Education, Instructional Strategies and Critical Reading.
“A bit of fragrance always clings to the hand that gives you roses.” – Proverb
On Tuesday evening, Fallon Middle School hosted the Annual District Music Concert in their gym. The basketball court was packed with musicians ranging from 5th graders, to those from both Fallon and Wells Middle Schools and the Dublin High School band. Equally, the stands on both sides of the court were filled with supporters of all ages.
The evening’s program was robust and was complete with nine arrangements that spanned all grade levels. In many ways, the concert represented the immense growth that the Dublin Unified School District has experienced over the past decade. In the past six years, the DHS band has nearly tripled in size. This would not be possible unless there were successful music programs at the middle schools and at primary education. This growth has also prompted the addition of a new Elementary Music Director, Steve Silva and a new Choral Director, Jonathan Ullrich.
While digital cameras and iPhones were capturing the performances, there was certainly a heartfelt feeling and emotion that superseded this event. The quote at the beginning of this passage makes reference to selfless giving – at times for the benefit of a stranger. While the evening was a celebration of music, it was also an opportunity to support a member of the community. Ms. Nicole Malone is an eighth grader at Wells Middle School. Approximately four years ago, she was diagnosed with a fairly rare form of cancer that attacks young people. While the treatment that she received at the time appeared to combat her condition, it made a recurrence a year ago – and in a much more combative mode.