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  • Writer's pictureThe Norman Howard School

Trying New Things

Trying new things can be scary, but can also be a catalyst for un-imagined growth...

I could spend many paragraphs writing about why I am proud to work at Norman Howard. One item near the top of the list is the amount of structure we provide and the sense of safety that our students feel. When they arrive at school they have a good idea of what to expect throughout the day. More importantly, they know that this is a safe place where they can be themselves. Many of our students arrive at NHS having lived through years of unpredictable placements within their home district with a rotating cast of teachers and classmates. Worse still, we hear of students in the interview process who have been bullied or ignored at school. It is very affirming when we hear parents tell us how their children prefer coming to Norman Howard where they know what to expect and that they will be treated with kindness and respect.


With that said our faculty met recently and agreed that we want to have our students take a small step out of their comfort zone and try some new activities. Ms. Bothner has created a new health and wellness initiative called “Try New Things For Spring”. Starting in April, students will have a chance to try out six separate offerings after school. These are swimming, cycling, disc golf, yoga, tennis, and hiking. Our plan is to have these be inclusive; students can participate if they have no experience in the activity or if it is something they have done for many years. We spoke to our students about it during assembly yesterday and we hope that many will get involved. While it can be scary to try new things, these offerings all have the possibility to become a healthy hobby for a lifetime. If a particular activity is particularly popular, we will make sure to offer it in subsequent years.

It will not just be the Norman Howard students who will be trying new things. Over the last several months, a cross section of our community has been formulating a strategic plan for Norman Howard’s immediate future. The plan is challenging our staff to step outside of their comfort zone. There is an emphasis on experiential education along with implementing a curriculum for nonacademic life skills that most schools do not provide. We plan on sharing the details of our plan at a reception with our extended community in May. Please look for dates and times as the date gets closer.


Trying new things can be scary, but can also be a catalyst for un-imagined growth. We hope that our students, parents, and other friends will join us as we boldly explore new opportunities for our community.

Paul D. Keller

Head of School

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