February 2013

Dave McKee Selected as Prinicipal of the Year for the State of Utah

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The Utah Association of Secondary School Principals presented its Principal of the Year award to Dave McKee, Principal of Spanish Fork High School.

Principal McKee knows how to "Let it Shine". Mr. McKee started his educational career teaching Japanese, sports medicine, health, physical education, and driver education at Payson High School.  He also coached football, golf, track, and basketball. Mr. McKee has served in administration at Spanish Fork High since 2003. He earned his Master’s Degree in Athletic Administration from Idaho State University and his Administrative Endorsement from Southern Utah University.

Secondary Director, John DeGraffenried said, “I have worked with Dave for many years and have always been impressed with his extensive knowledge of education and clear focus on student learning. He is a great teacher, an outstanding coach, and a dedicated principal. Dave knows each student, attends their activities and encourages them to do their best. He is innovative and has the capacity to connect with individual students, parents, and teachers in a productive ways.”

Principal McKee has developed a highly successful attendance policy which has changed the culture of the school. The school vision statement is: Here, We Learn for Life.  He said, “This is not what we say we are; it is who we are, that drives us to improve and continue to improve.” He recognizes the value of professional learning communities which serves as a vehicle of collaboration with an emphasis on intervention and student success.  Principal McKee has worked hard to promote technology so that the school has over 400 combinations of laptops, net books, and iPads for student use.

Some of the state’s criteria required to be selected for Principal of the Year include:

✧    Providing direction and focus by involving teachers, staff, parents and the community in achieving the goals of the school.
✧    Model continuous professional growth and assists others to focus on student learning.
✧    Establishes and maintains a positive school climate and utilizes effective problem-solving techniques.
✧    Acknowledges achievement or accomplishments of students, teachers, and school community.
✧    Communicates effectively and models values, beliefs, and attitudes that inspire others to higher levels of performance.   

“Mr. McKee is a compassionate, dedicated principal who creates a welcoming learning environment for all students, supports teachers as they advance in practice and professionalism, and makes Spanish Fork High School a place of learning and growth,” replied Deon Youd, an English teacher at Spanish Fork High.

“Mr. McKee is deserving of Principal of the Year,” said Kippy Bishop, Spanish Fork High secretary. “He is a collaborative leader who involves teachers, staff members, parents, students, and the community in achieving school goals. One of his greatest traits is his ability to initiate change. He has created a learning culture that has been embraced by all stakeholders. Because of his Instructional leadership abilities, he has shaped SFHS into a great school that is focused on student achievement.”

Assistant Principal, Steve Dudley, said, “During the past few years Mr. McKee has seen Spanish Fork High School go from 1850 students down to 850 students.  During this time it became necessary to move half of the faculty and staff to other schools.  This was one of the most painful things that Dave had to do as a principal.  It was like losing part of his family.  Through all of these changes, Dave has maintained an excellent staff, a loving and caring school environment, and a school culture that promotes learning.”

Some of Mr. McKee’s past honors include Neumont University Excellence in Technology Education Award 2008 and Utah Foreign Language Teacher of the Year 1992-93. He has served as Payson High’s Foreign Language department chair and athletic director. He played football for BYU from 1976-78 and again in 1981.

Dave is married to Jodi; they have two children and reside in Elk Ridge.

The winner of this week’s "Where are we Wednesday?" challenge is Heidi Preece, a special education teacher at Spanish Fork High. Congratulations!

 

YOLO (You Only Live Once)

Attributions: 
Marty Sperry

If your friends jumped off a cliff, would you do it too? Um, no, probably not. But if your friends were distracted as they were driving you, say with texting or flipping through their music play list, would you sit back and let them do it? Would you do it too in your own car? This ongoing cycle of distracted teenage drivers is leading to 11 teen deaths per day. That doesn't even account for the thousands more who are seriously injured; often permanently.

The problem is most teenagers feel like they are the exception; that they know what they're doing because they've done it before and its no big deal. The social influences on driving inspire showing off  your driving skills by flying at extreme speeds, and blasting the most head bashing songs through your sick sub-woofer  speakers. Would all that be worth it if actual head bashing came as a result? As much as we think we are, TEENAGERS ARE NOT INVINCIBLE.  Its not the common thought when you get into your car that those who sit on your seats, are trusting you with their lives. Your life is not something to toss around and gamble with. Ask anyone who has been the cause of an accident because they were distracted if what they were doing 2 seconds before collision was worth the effects afterward. An accident takes one second to occur and a lifetime to recover from.

So what if you are that passenger and your friend who's driving is being reckless? Just imagine what you would be thinking if you got in an accident and you had done nothing to help your friend focus. Especially if one of your friends died in that accident, would you blame yourself? None of that even needs to happen. Think of how many accidents could have been prevented if passengers only took the courage to tell the driver to stay focused and let them take care of the music and mobile communications.

Be responsible. Step up and be safe. Risky and dangerous are not for thrills and excitement. That's what amusement parks are for. Driving is not meant to give the allusion of a roller coaster. There is no track and all the power functions are manual, not automatic. If you were to seriously injure or even kill someone because of one song, or one text, or one distraction, would you be able to justify it and be okay with changing so many lives forever? That somebody is somebody else's someone. To everything there is a season and a time. Don't mix driving time with texting time. Join teens all across America by going to www.KeeptheDrive.com and finding out how they are doing their part to keep our roads safe. Instead of being told to drive safe, you be the one to tell! Together we CAN make a difference in lowering the accident death rate. Lets protect our fellow friends out there who all have places to go, things to do, stuff to see; you know, live.