A Personal and Professional Challenge

Back in September 2015, I had the privilege of speaking with the mother of one my students who challenged me professionally and personally. Unknown to me at the time I dialed the phone, she had just returned minutes earlier from a visit with an oncologist who had told her that she would likely not survive to the summer.

She had asked me to call her about the performance of her son in my 4th grade math class for the first six-weeks. A minute or two into our phone call, she broke down and asked if she had raised a good boy. She then told me the life-changing news she had just received and that they were not telling their son at this time the severity of her illness.

While she was understandably upset at the news she had received, she just wanted reassurance that she had raised a good boy who had a good start to being a fine and upstanding man.

I told her the full truth about her son and assured her that he was a very caring and energetic 4th grader who looked for the interests of his classmates. I told her that she had done an outstanding job raising him and that I felt that he had a solid foundation to develop into the man she wanted him to become.

Since entering education in 2002 and after countless parent phone calls over those years, that call was the most challenging for me both personally and professionally.

Earlier today, I received word that Viki Sprabary lost her battle to cancer on December 31, 2016. She fought back against the disease that ultimately took her and was able to see her son finish 4th grade and the first-half of 5th grade.

I am extremely honored to have known this family.

STEM Program Update – Draft 1

While on my Christmas Break, I have updated the proposal for the STEM program at Ferris High School.

CTE STEM Proposal Update – Draft 1

The proposal update makes several changes from the original proposal submitted at the conclusion of the 2015/2016 academic year.

The proposal, at it currently exists, calls for the following:

  • REMOVE Principles of Technology – TRANSFER to Science Department
  • RENAME Computer Programming I to AP Computer Science I
  • RENAME Computer Programming II to AP Computer Science II
  • RENAME Computer Programming III to Computer Science III
  • ADD Engineering Design & Problem Solving
  • ADD Robotics I Pre-Requisite Course – AP Computer Science I
  • ADD Robotics I Pre-Requisite Course – Engineering Design & Problem Solving

The proposal also makes a strong effort to provide a STEM Endorsement as outlined by HB5.


HB5 requires that the student must complete 3 required science courses:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics

In addition, students must complete 2 additional science courses of their choice. We would recommend:

  • Principles of Technology
  • Engineering Design & Problem Solving


HB5 requires that the student must complete 3 required math courses:

  • Algebra I
  • Geometry
  • Algebra II

In addition, students must complete 2 additional post-Algebra II courses of their choice. We would recommend:

  • AQR or Precalculus
  • AP Computer Science I


HB5 requires that the student must complete 4 courses from a pre-selected list. We would recommend:

  • AP Computer Science I
  • AP Computer Science II
  • Computer Science III
  • Robotics I

The plan also calls for eventually expanding the offerings of additional “overlap” courses such as:

  • Discrete Mathematics for Computer Science (additional math course)
  • Engineering Mathematics (additional math course)

Currently, the proposal is under review by both internal and external sources to verify compliance with HB5.