June 9

Census Reminder

Dear Parent(s),

Every year, billions of dollars in federal funding go to hospitals, fire departments, schools, roads, and other resources based on census data.

For a better future of our city, schools, and students , please click on the link now and fill out the census. It only takes a few minutes from your time to make a difference.

Complete the Census application here: 



Dr. Kassem

June 7

Final Week for 2019-2020 School Year-Final Reflections

June 7, 2020

Dear Juniors: 

     Last week, I asked you to reflect on your experiences this past school year. And I just got around to reading all of those that were turned in. I skimmed quickly through some-familiar cliches of roller coasters and bittersweet memories and sentiments of missing a big part of junior year and such. I gave these students their points quickly-like they gave me their words- and moved on. I moved on to those that offered me more-deliberate detail, dedicated drive, and insightful nuggets of thought.  What they deliberated on, I delighted in. I smiled at the turn of some of some sentences, or summoned an image or emotion that their words stoked. I appreciated each earnest effort. As I reflect today and share with you all my revised reflections, I hope that you find in them some earnest attempt at reminding you to detail, deliberate, and delight.  

    Like all of you, I began this year with goals and a plan. I shared those often with you and invited you to help in carrying out the details as my educator vision cannot succeed without your full engagement. I invited it, cajoled it, demanded it, and summoned it daily. For most, it was a Big Bang, and we profited together from your input and growth.  I admit too that I did not 100% succeed but I think most of you can attest that I tried again, often, and daily.  I tried earnestly and all hour. It was my duty to you, my moral obligation, and my expectation of myself. And I would have done so all year- had the year taken its expected course. It did not as you all know. So, we found ourselves scavenging for different methods and manners to continue our learning journeys. I had so many expectations of our new learning medium and of you. However, my expectations were curtailed-for many reasons that I can share if you like-and I found them humbled, humiliated, and honed down. For that, I was initially disappointed. I know that you are always the first to pay most for humble expectations. However, something happened that changed my course of thought. I opened the door for you to select your way of reading and composing and much poured in: poetry, painting, sculpting, music, fiction, photography, food preparation, gardening, finger painting, and more. I was heartened to witness your investment in yourself and your ability to dwell in the freedom of your choices. It was all good. And I intend to still put all of your submitted work in one place and begin next year showcasing it. That is next year’s plan. 

Speaking of plans, I reflect with you on my next point-  Making and keeping them. So many of us often delay making them, abhor living by them, or bereave losing them. This year, I learned that while I make my plans, other plans are in the making. Our lives are the intersections of many plans. As you all know, I was planning on flying to Lebanon this summer to attend my daughter’s graduation from The American University of Beirut’s Urban Planning Master’s Program. Together, we were planning to visit several neighboring countries and bask in cultural and creative offerings. I had planned on joining a friend from high school who now lives in Toronto on a trip to Vancouver in August and driving my youngest son to his driving lessons and tournaments. I was planning on get togethers, reunions, projects, and more. And now, today, I see that many of those plans have faded. We are sanctioned and stationed, and must therefore shift our views to new shores and new plans. I am in the process of doing so. My plans are not yet final, but I am finding that they may hold in their folds promising prospects. I think I will mold them into something good. 

Yes, it is true that life as we have known it shifted fast. And it is also possible that what we have known may never be our normal again for quite some time, if ever. But it is equally true, I believe, that we may be pleased with our new normal as we fashion it. So, let us live it. Let us live it with every morsel of mind and intention and authenticity possible. Let us live with purpose and  passion. With a goal of healing ourselves and the world around us. Let us not take without giving and let us not be mere riders in someone else’s bus. You each have a voice in you that speaks your story. Live it as you help others live theirs. 

Here is one of my absolute favorite poems for times of struggle: 

Spend your summer with purpose!

Best Wishes

Dr. Kassem

May 30

Week of 6/1-6/5: Reflections on School Year


I hope you are doing well…I am sure you are in the summer anticipation phase and it is a short one now. One full week and some days. For this week, I am asking you to reflect on your past school year. Make sense of it, and make plans, set goals, for your last year of high school. The assignment in detail is in google classroom.

I know there is much uncertainty about our coming school year. The fact is uncertainty often is life’s most definitive character. We remain agents in our lives. We take the uncertainty, and mold it, make it, master it as best as we can to fit our collective vision for a better tomorrow and a better world. That is our business in education.

I ask that as we end this school year, you tie loose ends, you live up to your responsibilities, you reach out to me and others, and you build a plan for your summer that continues to see you better, brighter, and healthier.

I will do the same,

Dr. Kassem

May 26

Week of 5/26-5/29: Post AP Exams

Greetings All:

I hope you enjoyed your long weekend post AP Exams…and are ready to roll through the last few weeks of school. As of today, you can consider that your curriculum for this year is done. As I suggested to you before, you may choose to work on your college application essays or you may continue on with your personal or research project.

For those of you who are, at this point, at an A or close to it, you also have the choice of calling it a wrap. Your current grade will be used to assess you for this semester and you would only need to check in for the next three weeks. I will answer any questions you may have during our video conference today (5th period) and tomorrow (1st period). I will also still be posting our articles of the week to google classroom, in case you want to read any.


Dr. Kassem

May 17

Week of 5/18-5/21: Four Day, Two Holiday Week

I hope you noticed that this is a four day week…and the next one too. For this week, I am not assigning new work. Instead, we are focusing on giving students who have AP exams time to study and ask questions. We are also giving students who may have missed assignments in the past few weeks a chance to work on making them up this week and next. If you are all set, you earn full credit for this week. You may prepare to celebrate your Eid Al Fitr عيد الفطر and/or Memorial Day Break with your family. You will still check in on your scheduled day (either via video or google classroom). Again, the goals for this week are:

  1. Make up any work you may have missed in the past four weeks (In class we called it Workshop Day/Week). Contact Me if you need help.
  2. Study for any AP Exams you may have.
  3. Enjoy the holidays of Eid Al-Fitr and Memorial Day.

As always, stay safe, and make the right choices. My next post will be for the week of 5/26-5/29.

Eid Mubarak and Happy Memorial Day!

Dr Kassem

May 10

Week of 5/11-5/15

I am happy to see that the majority of you are moving right along, doing well, and attending to your responsibilities. At this point, you should either be working on the research project, practicing rhetorical writing, or if you had an idea that was approved, working on that. All of you should be turning in a weekly AP quality write-up (1-2 typed pages) no matter what your choice is. This week is no exception. My expectations are as follows:

  1. Check in with me (video BBB or a google classroom message that you post on the day of our scheduled meeting)
  2. Finish and submit Assignment #4-Either Research Part II (details on google classroom), your rhetorical analysis essay,  OR your project write up (1-2 typed pages) by 10: 00 am Friday. I posted two prompts for the rhetorical essays for the next two weeks.
  3. Enjoy your mothers’ day and find meanings and memories to savor together.

Stay Safe and send me your questions,

Dr. Kassem

May 3

Week of 5/4-5/8:


Hope you are all fine… We’re now into May and that means that the light is at the end of the tunnel!  Just keep pushing into June and then it’s Summer! This week requires you do the following:

  1. Check in with me to let me know you are doing fine. Google classroom will have the link and information for that.
  2. Continue on your research Project (Part I due Friday 5/8 by 10:00 am). I will provide an exemplar part I for you on google classroom.
  3. If you opted to work on your rhetorical analysis essay, I posted prompt 1 last week. It will be due in revised form this week, no later than Friday by 10:00 am . Please make sure that you share with a feedback group so you can get feedback. I will feedback to you as early as you get it in to me.
  4. If you received an OK for another proposal to work on, you must also turn in a part by Friday of this week…Remember, your work must reflect reading/writing benchmarks.
  5. All Work will be turned in as Assignment #3 on Google…Due by 10:00 am on Friday 5/8.

I look forward to working with you through your ideas and questions,

Dr. Kassem

April 25

Week of 4/27 through 5/1:

Greetings AP Lang Students:

I am confident you are staying healthy and well. To those of you who celebrate Ramadan, may the month bring you its offerings of peace and many blessings. For this week, the plan is as follows:

Research Source #5 (If you did source 2, you may substitute your source #2 grade for this source’s grade).

Starting next week, you have one of three choices:

  1. You may continue to work on your research project. Directions per week will be posted here and on google classroom. OR
  2. If you choose to review for the AP Lang Exam, you will write one rhetorical analysis per week and engage in peer feedback with your peers and teacher. I will post one prompt to google classroom/week. OR
  3. You may submit a proposal to me via email by this Friday 5/1 detailing what you would like to work on and I can respond to you via email. The proposal must reflect reading/writing 11th grade benchmarks and must be approved by me. Some of you are already working on this type of reading/writing project and we will be sharing some ideas.

Remember though, all of you should have research sources completed before you move to any of the above choices. Most of you do 🙂

I wish you a great week,

Dr. Kassem

April 18

Week 4/20-4/24 (Under New Grading Policy)

Greetings AP Students:

I hope and pray that you are all safe with your families. I look forward to seeing you this week (video). By now, you should have gotten my letter outlining our district’s grading policy for this cardmarking (and semester) and also Mr. Martin’s video which encapsulates what you need to know for the next eight weeks. Our goal for this week is threefold again:

  1. Meet/Check in virtually according to the schedule in the letter I sent which I will post at the bottom of this entry. Monday’s/Tuesday’s meetings will focus on our week’s learnings/questions/discussion. Wednesday’s/Thursday’s meetings will be optional and will be used for a discussion of our weekly readings/subject to our experience with this tool 🙂
  2. Finish Research Source 4 (those of you who did Source 3 last week can use it for this week’s grade) which will give you another week to turn in the next source :). In other words, if you did source 3 and turned it in, your grade will be used for Source 4. Just Relax and Read.
  3. I will also post a memoir (The Glass Castle) in google classroom under Independent Reading…Read chapter 1 for this week and see what you think 🙂

1st hour meet: Mondays and Wednesdays: 1:00pm to 1:40 pm (link in google)

5th hour meet: Tuesdays and Thursdays: 1:40 pm to 2:20 pm (link in google)

I look forward to a productive week. Please email with any questions.

Dr. Kassem

April 13

Welcome Back to On-Line School:

I hope your break allowed you the blessings of rest and reflection…I missed talking to you even if it is only online…We will start light this week and move to our regular schedule for next week. Here are our three fold goal for this week:

  1. Finish Reading Responses for Nickel and Dimed and post one each day…Beginning today 4/13 and ending 4/17 and I will be checking those daily (submit all 5 to google classroom by Friday)_
  2. Based on the peer feedback you received, go back over your rhetorical analysis essay and make any revisions/edits you need to as I will check them for a grade this week and next. Remember this was an assignment that was due 3/12.
  3. Begin work on source 4 for your research…That will be due on Friday 4/24. Always use the feedback I gave for source 2 as your starting point.

While you are working on your assignments and/or catching up, please remember to forward any questions you have for me…I will answer them promptly. I am also working on creating a meeting time for each class/at least once a week. Stay tuned!


Dr. Kassem