Category Archives: Blue Shirt Khaki Pants – It’s a Thing

I’m not saying I started a fashion trend by wearing a blue shirt and khaki pants almost every day, but ever since I started, I’m noticing more and more people sporting this no-nonsense combination.

Blue Shirt Khaki Pants – It’s a Thing – 5th Grade Graduation

Today was my younger son’s 5th Grade Graduation ceremony. These are the clothes he picked. I’ve never been more proud.

Blue Shirt Khaki Pants – It’s a Thing – Chris Gollner

Assistant Principal Chris Gollner is a joy to work with. Whenever we cross paths in the hall, he’s always got a positive comment and a sincere smile on his face. His work as an AP is exhausting, but he takes it in stride, and doesn’t let it interfere with his interactions with others. It’s only recently that I’ve discovered that Chris and I have a lot in common: For instance, we are both “middle children” and we both have an appreciation for a clever sense of humor.

I look forward to any conversation with Chris because I know I’ll leave either smiling or laughing, and ready to face the day with a positive attitude. Thank you for sporting the blue-and-khaki, Chris. You look fantastic!

Blue Shirt Khaki Pants – It’s a Thing – Principal Laura Springer

Coppell High School Principal Laura Springer is one of the few people who can sport a blue shirt and khaki pants better than I do. But then again, she does pretty much everything better than I do. She is a constant inspiration to me, due to her ability to love students and have high expectations of them at the same time. She supports me whenever I take risks with the educational process in my classroom, because she knows that I do these things with a similar balance of love and high expectations, in order to push my students to do great things.

Laura Springer has led our campus through the pandemic years, and has done so with an overwhelming sense of support and positivity. Whether it’s a daily hug in the hallway, or blasting uplifting 80’s tunes on a Friday morning, she loves her work and all of the people she works with, to the point where we all feel like family.

It’s an honor to work with the great Laura Springer, and an even greater honor to see her wearing my traditional colors, even though it’s purely by coincidence.

Blue Shirt Khaki Pants Day

Thank you to all the students who dressed (reluctantly and uncomfortably) in blue and khaki today! I’m so lucky to have such wonderful students!

AP Calculus BC – Vedant B.
Not my student, but a frequent visitor to my class – Dia A.
AP Calculus BC
Back Row: Neil S., Natasha B., Anusha S., Alex J., Manasvi N., Devika K.
Front Row: Vedanti K., Trisha A.
IB Math Analysis SL – James S.

Blue Shirt Khaki Pants – It’s a Thing: Crayola Experience

After receiving comments about how sometimes my blue shirts aren’t “VanderSchee blue” or my khaki pants aren’t “VanderSchee khaki,” I decided to make it official with a visit to the Crayola Experience, in Plano, Texas.

Blue Shirt Khaki Pants Day

I got a big surprise for my birthday this year. Seven of my former students, now at college, decided to visit me. And in case their presence wasn’t enough, they brought bagels.

Thank you Anitta, Dwija, Rishi, Shruti, Shruthi, Sahana, and Yue, for helping make my day truly special!

Blue Shirt Khaki Pants – It’s a Thing: Jan Bourg

Jan Bourg has been teaching Calculus brilliantly for many years, and it’s only recently that I’ve been invited to be her teammate. And what a team we make!

Our personal lives and interests are as different as can be – she’s a proud grandma who coaches the Golf Team and stays in excellent shape, and I’m a middle-aged dad who coaches the Math Club and watches TV – but each time we meet to create meaningful learning experiences for the kids in our classes, our minds are very much in sync as we come up with incredible activities that neither of us could create by ourselves.

I rely on Jan heavily for her knowledge of the curriculum. After all, she has taught Calculus BC for many years, and has graded the AP Calculus exams, so she knows all of the nuances and specifics of what will be tested and graded each year. She also has a library of resources from other Calculus teachers across the country that can inspire us to create something original. In return, I provide some technological know-how when it comes to modernizing instruction, by creating online resources and activities, with our own website to house all of it. I also create higher-level intuitive questions beyond what the AP exam would ask. It’s that combination of give and take between Jan and me that makes it a true pleasure to work with her for my second year in Calculus BC.

Jan and I share a philosophy that a college-level course like Calculus should be challenging for students, but the experience of learning it in high school should be fun and forgiving. Whenever one of us wants to take a risk in changing the assessment style, the lesson order, or the grading method – even if it’s a last-minute decision – the other is always on board, and that’s the kind of trust and respect that should come with every team. And even though we take our role as educator seriously, we also know how to laugh at ourselves, each other, and the silly things that our students do year after year.

I am truly honored to be working with Jan for a second year, and have nothing but admiration for her as a teammate and friend. She is one of the reasons I am excited to come to work every day.

Blue Shirt Khaki Pants – It’s a Thing: Sean Bagley … again!

The new school year has begun, and who should I see wearing a blue shirt and khaki pants (again) but the irreplaceable Sean Bagley. Sean is an Associate Principal at Coppell High School, and it’s a proven fact that the building would simply crumble without him. He is a rock, a pillar, a constant entity of dedication and joy. He never fails to greet me, and everyone else, with a smile and a witty comment. With every action, he exemplifies our role as educators to be there for the kids, building them up when the do right, and correcting them when they do wrong, helping them become the best possible version of themselves.

I look forward to yet another year working with Sean. And I hope this isn’t the last time I see him exercising his impeccable sense of fashion. See you in the halls, Sean!

Blue Shirt Khaki Pants – It’s a Thing – Lowell Johnson

I remember being the Math Department Chair, sitting in the room as we interviewed Lowell “Dr. J” Johnson. Within seconds, I knew that he was a talented, insightful, and unique individual, and would fit in with our math department perfectly. Since then, he has become a pillar of wisdom and humor on the campus as a whole. His classroom standards are unwavering, and his abundant kindness and pensive wit are always refreshing. I’m lucky to be in the same hall as him this year, and I’m honored to be his colleague and friend.

Blue Shirt Khaki Pants – It’s a Thing – Michele Zugaro and Don Kemp

There are very few math teachers that would choose to teach AP Statistics. And there are even fewer who would be so enthusiastic about it that they would inspire students by the hundreds to enroll in the course. I’m so very lucky to work with two such people. They are both passionate teachers who love their students as much as they love statistics, to the point where the program has grown more in the past 10 years than any other course in any other subject area at Coppell High School. These two are simply magical, and it’s a joy to watch them work. I still have no desire to teach statistics myself, but if I ever do, I’ll have two of the finest role models right around the corner.

(Note: I am not snubbing Dr. J. He is just as amazing as these two. He just wasn’t in this particular photo. I will give him his props next time.)

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