November 25, 2013


Thank you for ‘attending’ this brief but very important all-school meeting via the PA.

This afternoon I would like to address the present controversy involving the NHS nickname and a separate issue involving our school newspaper, the Playwickian.  Although the issues are related in how and when each arose, the enduring understanding of this meeting is that these two issues are separate and different in terms of principles and legal standards being debated.

Editors of the Playwickian, your classmates, have written an editorial stating that the majority of the editorial board believes the moniker is derogatory.  In that editorial, they did not advocate for the changing of the NHS nickname. They simply expressed their opinion.  Editors of the Playwickian support their school and are advocating for their ability to run the school newspaper, just as so many of you support and lead your teams, clubs and other organizations at NHS. 

I, along with many others, have often bragged about the NHS student body; the maturity, the leadership, and the resilience that have helped lead and transform the NHS school culture to the adult-like environment we all enjoy today.  I have witnessed the NHS student body lead our school through much adversity over the past several years. 

Well, once again, we find ourselves in two different controversial issues.

As you are well aware, the third Overarching Expectation at NHS is “Accept and appreciate differences among us.”   Please use this ‘expectation’ to help guide you through these issues.

As we continue to discuss such issues, please make certain you remember that ‘debate and disagreement’ are what make us great as a school and society.  It’s not good versus bad. And not necessarily right versus wrong.  It’s simply debate and disagreement on the best ways to advance the same ideas and American principles that we all cherish so deeply.

On the NHS Website, you will find this announcement along with a set of ‘habits’ I find very helpful to me during passionate debate.  Please take a moment to review these habits.  As in the past, I am confident that we will grow from these debates as individuals, as a school and as a community.

As always, with Neshaminy Pride,

Rob McGee, Ph.D.


 Neshaminy High School


Habits of Mind(1)


 Critical Thinking:

  • Be accurate and seek accuracy
  • Be clear and seek clarity
  • Maintain an open mind
  • Restrain impulsivity
  • Take a position when the situation warrants it
  • Respond appropriately to others’ feelings and level of knowledge

Creative Thinking:

  • Persevere
  • Push the limits of your knowledge and abilities
  • Generate, trust, and maintain your own standards of evaluation
  • Generate new ways of viewing a situation that are outside the boundaries of standard convention

Self-regulated Thinking:

  • Monitor your own thinking
  • Plan appropriately
  • Identify and use necessary resources
  • Respond appropriately to feedback
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of your action

(1) Marzano, R.J., and Pickering, D.J. (1997).  Dimensions of Learning (2nd ed.).  Alexandria, VA:  Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.