Candid Photos

Once again, the Lifetouch photographers came into the school and took candid photos of the students throughout the building to help fill in the pages of our yearbook. As much as I love the formal pictures of our students and staff and seeing everyone dressed up and looking their best, it’s more fun to see the candid photos.  These unplanned photos really capture the spirit of the building, the joy of the students, and the excitement that only happens in an elementary school!

As a principal, I often think of observations in terms of our school pictures. Formal observations are like the fall pictures, where everyone looks their best, wears their nicest outfit, and has a perfect smile.  The lessons are neatly aligned to the targets and students respond on cue to the perfectly timed questions of the teacher. They also make great social media posts to share what’s happening in classrooms. However, I prefer the walk-through observations that are like the candid photos that show what really happens throughout the day and captures the true culture of a classroom. The candid photos, just like the walk-throughs aren’t as pretty, but they are real. They show the mistakes, the funny looks, and even things we didn’t know were happening. They also capture the magic that happens in a moment that we may have otherwise missed.

Staged photos and formal observations are often prettier and always safer. I prefer the candid shots and informal walk-throughs. I want to see our students, staff, and our school through a realistic lens and celebrate who we really are, even when nobody is looking. The real beauty is in truth and accepting who we are, while always striving to be better each day. So enjoy those candid photos and the magic they capture!

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Photography is the art of observation.” – Elliott Erwitt

“In photography there is a reality so subtle that it becomes more real than reality.” – Alfred Stieglitz

“There is one thing the photograph must contain, the humanity of the moment.” – Robert Frank

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  • Monday, January 27: Students of the Month Assembly 9:05 AM, 4th Grade Debrief at Central Office 8:30-11:30 AM, REED (Pisko) 3:20 PM
  • Tuesday, January 28: IEP (Ringler) 8:15 AM, 2nd Grade Roll Out at Central Office 8:30-11:30 AM
  • Wednesday, January 29: Jon & Kristen to Roosevelt in the afternoon
  • Thursday, January 30: Staff Meeting 8:05 AM, Staff Luncheon in the Lounge, Skate Night 6:00-8:00 PM

 

  • Monday, February 3: Celebrate Monday Assembly 9:05 AM
  • Tuesday, February 4: Achievement Team (Hurula) 8:15 AM
  • Wednesday, February 5: Math Assemblies in the gym 1:30 PM (2-4) 2:30 PM (K&1)
  • Thursday, February 6: PLC – Looking at Data 7:50-8:50 AM
  • Friday, February 7: REED (Medellin) 8:15 AM, VIP DANCE in the gym 6:00-8:00 PM

The Whistle

Over winter break, we had several family members at our house who are teachers. Their service and experience spanned across Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, and California. As the only administrator, I did more listening than talking, because I wanted to see how teachers saw the current state of education. Let me start by saying that each member of this group had at least twenty years of experience and were all positive and motivated teachers. Of course we spent some time discussing the changes and trends in salary and benefits for teachers across the country, but the majority of the discussion was on the climate in the world of education…and it wasn’t good.

If I could sum up in one word what I captured from the conversation about what it is like to be a teacher in today’s world, it would be “exhausting“. Teachers are tired and not the kind of tired that a good night’s sleep will remedy. They are tired of continuously shifting targets, curriculum, and assessments. They are tired from a knowledge that children need social and emotional support, but aren’t given the time or the tools to address those needs. They are tired of having things added to their plates, while nothing ever comes off. Most of all, they are tired of not being treated like the dedicated professionals they are. Here are some examples that were shared.

One teacher shared that she felt like everything she had been doing for twenty years was all wrong. Another felt that every observation or meeting with the administrator ended in a critique or a “gotcha” to demonstrate the superior knowledge of the administrator. The most shocking story shared was of a principal who brought a whistle into the staff meetings and would blow the whistle if teachers were talking or getting off track. Seriously!

Let’s be clear, I do believe that we need to keep up to date with the best instructional practices. Actionable feedback IS important for teacher growth and continuous learning. And yes, staff meetings should be kept on track to honor everyone’s time.  However, it’s the way we do things and the spirit they are given and received that creates the climate. As we shift instructional practices, give TIME and training to staff while still respecting the years of experience they bring. When giving feedback, ASK teachers what they feel went well and where they would like to grow. Most teachers are harder on themselves than a principal ever could be. Finally, be RESPECTFUL of educators. Teaching is a calling and all who have answered that calling deserve to be treated like the professionals they are.

I don’t have all the answers, but I do feel that education is a difficult enough profession without us belittling or attacking one another. Principals need to support teachers, so that teachers can support students. Everyone wants to be a on a winning team and I look at a winning team, as one where everyone supports one another, challenges one another, and respects one another. Making our profession the best it can be starts with us!

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“A good teacher can inspire hope, ignite the imagination, and instill a love of learning.” – Brad Henry

“One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world.” – Malala Yousafzai

“Teaching is a walk in the park….Jurassic Park!” – Anonymous

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  • Monday, January 20: No School in observance of MLK Day
  • Tuesday, January 21: Achievement Team (Allmayer) 8:15 AM
  • Wednesday, January 22: Data Dives (Rotating Subs)
  • Thursday, January 23: Staff Meeting 8:05 AM, IEP (Banter) 9:00-12:00 in the Art Room
  • Friday, January 24: Lifetouch will be doing candid shots for the yearbook

 

  • Monday, January 27: Students of the Month Assembly (Confidence) 9:05 AM, 4th Grade Debrief on Integrated Units
  • Tuesday, January 28: IEP (Ringler) 8:15 AM, 2nd Grade Roll out for Integrated Units
  • Thursday, January 30: Staff Meeting 8:05 AM, Staff Luncheon in the lounge, Skate Night 6:00-8:00 PM

 

  • Monday, February 4: Celebrate Monday Assembly 9:05 AM
  • Wednesday, February 5: Math Assemblies in the Gym (PM)
  • Thursday, February 6: PLC – Looking at Data 7:50-8:50 AM
  • Friday, February 7: VIP Dance in the gym 6:00-8:00 PM

Who Am I?

One of the most basic questions every child asks is “Who am I?” The answer is usually provided early on from parents sharing about their family, their heritage, and history. As an adopted child, I didn’t have any of that information and was left for many years with the question of “Who am I?” remaining unanswered.

A couple of years ago, I resolved to seek an answer to that question. After a lot of work, I was able to obtain my original birth certificate (They are sealed when a child is adopted). Having only a name and birthday, I sought out to find my birth mother. As the new year began, I made a phone call to a person in Phoenix, Arizona, who could potentially be my biological mother. I got an answering machine and left the awkward message that I was born on July 7, 1972 in Chicago and I think she may be my birth mother and to call me if she would like to communicate with me.  Nearly a week later, I received a return phone call. She  told me that she knew this day would come eventually and was glad that I had reached out. For the next two years, we called each other on holidays and birthdays, but the conversations were always short and sometimes awkward. As the new year approached this year, I took a chance and offered to fly out to Phoenix to meet her if she was willing. She said yes!

On Friday evening, January 3, I got on a plane and flew from Detroit to Phoenix. I arrived at midnight and prepared to meet my mother for the first time. On Saturday, I called her house and asked where she wanted to meet. She said she would pick me up around noon and we would go to a park, where we could spend the day together and talk. Around 2:30 she arrived to pick me up. After an embrace, I asked if we could get our picture together to remember the moment. She explained that she had tried to gather the courage to walk out the door for several hours. I knew how she felt, because I was nervous as well.  Both of us had been thinking the same thing all morning….What if I am a disappointment?  

As we sat on the bench under the Arizona sun, I asked if I could write in a journal as I asked her questions, because my mind was so scattered, I wouldn’t be able to remember a thing. She agreed and I asked questions ranging from her childhood and adult life, to the family history and our heritage, to the details of my adoption. I felt like a reporter getting information and it actually helped take some of the emotional stress off both of us.  She then asked about my life and my adoptive family. During the visit, I shared a picture book I had made for her of my years growing up and a CD of music I had written and performed several years ago. She then shared with me pictures of herself through the years and gave me three stones that represented meaningful moments in her life. After several hours, we went to Olive Garden, where we enjoyed a meal together and continued our conversation. After the meal, we took another picture together, this one feeling much more comfortable with one another. She dropped me off at the hotel and I told her I would call her when I landed in Detroit the next day. I did and we agreed to continue visits each year.

Part of me was glad that it was such a whirlwind trip, with a return to school the very next day. It helped me process the experience, without too much downtime. What did I discover? I discovered a lot of facts about my biological parents and my heritage. I discovered that I really miss my parents who raised me and who have since passed away. Most importantly, I discovered the answer to the question, “Who am I?“. I’m a person who is grateful for the blessings and people in my life. I’m a person who makes A LOT of mistakes, but wants to continually improve myself. I’m a person who now knows that who we are is not defined by our past, but by our hearts, our dreams, and our actions.

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Waiting to meet for the first time.

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Famous people who were adopted

Steve Jobs, Ray Liotta, Dave Thomas, Sarah McLachlan, Faith Hill, Moses & of course Superman 

One Word 2020

In 1966, John Lennon was visiting a modern art exhibit. While making his way through the museum, he came to a piece that consisted of a ladder that led to a magnifying glass hanging from the ceiling. John made his way up the ladder and grabbed the glass to see the message that was written on the ceiling. There was one word – YES. In many later interviews, he credited that positive message to a turning point that led him to meet the artist, Yoko Ono, who would become his partner and true love. He had been expecting a joke, or something negative, but that simple affirmation inspired him.

TED Talks and podcasts are filled with examples of successful people who talk about the power of YES. One of my favorites is “My year of saying yes to everything” by Shonda Rhimes. She describes the transformative power of saying yes and how it helped her overcome fears, open new possibilities, make her a better parent, and a “titan” in television writing. She shares how saying yes brought color back into her life and contrary to logic, saying yes to everything didn’t overload her, it helped bring back balance and joy through focusing on the things she said yes to, starting with playing with her daughter.

For the past five years, I have selected One Word to be my focus for the year. They have been a trait that I want to develop or an act I want to perform. They have included “Inspire, Gratitude, Kindness, Patience, and Light“. This year, I have selected the word YES! My goal is not to make everyone happy, but to explore new possibilities. Saying yes can open doors, create new opportunities, and make our world bigger. I plan to record my journey of saying yes and documenting along the way the new experiences it leads to. Will you join me in being open to new ideas and new adventures? I hope you said, YES! 

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“Just say YES and you’ll figure it out afterwards.” – Tina Fey

“When you say YES, the universe helps you.” – Dan Brule

“The big question is whether you are going to be able to say a hearty YES to your adventure.” – Joseph Campbell

YES officer, I saw the speed limit sign, I just didn’t see you.” 

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  • Monday, January 6: Celebrate Monday Assembly (Confidence) 9:05 AM
  • Tuesday, January 7: Achievement Team (Tanner) 8:15 AM
  • Thursday, January 9: PLC Session 7:50-8:50 AM, Lock Down Drill 9:30 AM, Jon & Julie at CO for Secretary Interviews 12:00-4:00 PM
  • Friday, January 10: School Improvement Committee 8:15 AM

BIG DATES

  • Friday, January 17: F&P due in Data Profile for all K/1 students and those below grade level 2-4. 
  • Monday, January 20: No School for Teachers (MLK day)
  • Wednesday, January 22: Data Dives (Rotating Subs)

 

Taking Charge

The gods are best served by those who want their help the least“. This quote is from the classic film of Jason and the Argonauts. In the film, the hero Jason has the opportunity to meet with the gods on Mount Olympus. When they ask him if he wants a ship and a crew for his voyage, he shocks them all by declining their offer.  He shares that he will rely on the courage and skill of men.  He will announce that the ship must be the strongest ship every built and that the crew will be selected from an Olympic contest and only the bravest and strongest will be allowed to share in the great adventure. At this point, Zeus says that he has chosen well with Jason and shares the quote above. As educators, I feel that we are best served when we follow Jason’s example and take charge of our own development in the following areas.

Professional Learning Networks (PLN): There was a time when educators were limited to connecting with only those they worked with in the same building. For some, this meant being the only person at a grade level. It can be challenging to be isolated in your own classroom or building and not have the collaboration that educators so desperately need to grow. Fortunately, with the advent of social media, teachers are only as far away from other educators as their mobile device. Through blogging, Twitter, Voxer, and a host of online educational resources, teachers can connect with like-minded professionals across the district and across the globe. If you are fortunate as I have been, many of your online PLN members will develop into support networks and even friendships as you meet in person at conferences!

Professional Development: Throughout the year, teachers are offered building and district PD sessions. While they are great opportunities for growth, they are rarely individualized and may or may not be relevant to all the professionals in the room. Fortunately, teachers today have a myriad of options for professional development, literally at their fingertips. Through Twitter, TED talks, podcasts, and online resources, educators can access information on any topic they desire. In addition, they can connect with their PLN through Skype, ZOOM, or Google Hangouts to discuss topics and seek advice. Even book studies (both online and in person) can be done anytime by those who wish to know more about a subject. We truly live an amazing time for individualized learning!

Attitude: There are many things that we don’t have control over in the world of education. Fortunately, we DO have control of the most important thing: our attitude. We can choose to look at obstacles or find solutions. We can choose to dwell on our failures or celebrate our successes. We can choose to succumb to negativity or rise above with optimism. Every day we have a choice!

Education is a calling and it’s a tough calling. It’s exhausting, challenging, and ever-changing. It also can be the most important and rewarding profession in the world. If you’ve answered the calling, remember when things seem overwhelming that you have control over the most important factors and never hesitate to take charge of your relationships, your learning, and your attitude. The power lies within you! 

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“People who enjoy meetings should not be in charge of anything.” – Thomas Sowell

“If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in five years there would be a shortage of sand.” – Milton Friedman

“Take charge of your life! The tides do not command the ship. The sailor does.” – Ogwo David Emenike

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  • Monday, December 16: REED (Trantham) 8:15 AM, Students of the Month Assembly (EMPATHY) 9:05 AM
  • Tuesday, December 17: REED (Ringler) 8:40 AM
  • Thursday, December 19: Staff Holiday Celebration 8:00 AM in the LMC
  • Friday, December 20: iReady Window 2 closes

WINTER BREAK!!

 

Reflections on MEMSPA 19

We do not learn from our experience – we learn from reflecting on experience.” – John Dewey. In keeping with Dewey’s advice, I have always tried to share out my reflections after a conference or professional development event. My reflection process usually starts with a swirl of positive energy and excitement and then settles into concrete strategies and ideas that I can implement or share. This year, rather than focus on particular speakers or ideas, I wanted to share out some of the common themes or threads that I see demonstrated by my MEMSPA colleagues.

A desire to improve: Perhaps the dominant trait I see in those that attend the MEMSPA conference is the desire to be better. Everyone is there to improve their craft, find new ideas, and push their thinking. Even those that present are there to attend other sessions and share in the learning. Principals attending the conference aren’t trying to be “the best”, they are trying to be “the best they can be”.

A need to connect: Participants at MEMSPA conferences have a desire and need to connect with others. Some come from districts where they are the only person in their position and others come from large districts where they attend with their colleagues. They know that the best principals are those that collaborate with others who bring different experiences and viewpoints. We need people to push our thinking as well as support us. At MEMSPA, we get both!

A wish to be a part of something bigger: When an educational leader joins MEMSPA, they become part of more than an organization, they become part of a movement. One of the beautiful things about MEMSPA is that it supports principals locally, while making changes nationally. From regional gatherings across the state, to influencing policy decisions at the national level, members are invited to act locally and nationally. Together we are better, and together we make a bigger impact for our profession.

A longing for inspiration: We all know that you can’t pour from an empty vessel. One of the most important roles of a principal is to inspire those we work with. MEMSPA is a way to “fill our bucket”, so that we can continue to help motivate and encourage our building teams. I’m often amazed to learn that those that I seek out to gain inspiration from are also seeking inspiration from others. Those that provide inspiration at the conference also receive it. What a powerful example of synergy and making us better than the sum of our parts!

An example of humility and kindness: The attendees of the MEMSPA conference are movers and shakers. They are transformative leaders who impact their communities and our profession. They are also humble and kind. As I hear the accolades and the introductions of the presenters and award recipients, I’m not so much in awe of their accomplishments, but their humility and examples of servant leadership. Perhaps the best example of this, was the announcement of the 2019 Principal of the Year, Amie McCaw. As they read the description of the many ways she serves her students, staff, community and profession, it was inspiring. Even more inspiring was her humble and kind and acceptance and nearly disbelief of being recognized for the award. Having known Amie for many years, I know how modest and humble she is. She exemplifies the best traits that I see in our greatest servant leaders of MEMSPA.

As I reflect on #MEMSPA19, I ask myself three questions. “Am I better after the conference?” Yes! “Did I help make someone else better?” I hope so. “Did I come away with something that I can share with other educators?” Yes, and my attempt to do so is in this post. I’m thankful for those who inspired me at the conference, I’m thankful for my district who supports my efforts to grow, and I’m thankful to my building team who make it possible for me to attend, by their leadership at the school while I am gone. The MEMSPA conference may only happen once a year, but the inspiration and ideas it provides will continue impact our team throughout the year!

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“A leader is best when people barely know he exists. When his work is done, his aim is fulfilled, they will say: We did it ourselves.” – Lao Tzu

“I want to say that I contributed more than I criticized.” – Brene Brown

“I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it means getting along with people.” – Mahatma Gandhi

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  • Monday, December 9: Celebrate Monday Assembly 9:05, REED (Williams) 2:30 PM, Santa Shop begins, iReady Window 2 opens 
  • Tuesday, December 10: REED (Mcguigan) 8:15 AM, REED (Ringler) 9:10 AM, Grades due in by midnight
  • Wednesday, December 11: IEP (Kaufman) 8:15 AM, IEP (Adams) 10:35 AM, Elementary Principals Meeting 12:30-4:30 PM
  • Thursday, December 12: No Staff Meeting, 3/4 Winter Concert 6:00-8:00 PM
  • Friday, December 13: Stevenson Winter Choir Concert (all students in the gym) 9:30-10:15 (Thank you Byron!!), Santa Shop closes, Report Cards go home

 

  • Monday, December 16: Students of the Month Assembly 9:05 AM
  • Tuesday, December 17: REED (Hurula) 8:15 AM
  • Thursday, December 19: Staff Holiday Celebration 8:00 AM
  • Friday, December 20: iReady Window closes

WINTER BREAK!!

Hope

This weekend, I was putting the final touches on my presentation for the #MEMSPA19 conference. My slides on “Leadership Lessons from the Man of Steel” were nearly complete (or so I thought). As I thumbed through the church program on Sunday morning, I noticed the sermon was going to be on “Hope”. As the sermon progressed, I kept thinking of all the ways that educators give hope to our students and how perhaps it is the most important thing we can instill in those we work with.

In education, it’s easy to get bogged down with all the things we can’t control in the lives of our students. We can’t control the trauma that may have impacted our students. We can’t control the environment they go home to each night. We can’t control the decisions they make when we aren’t around. What we can do, is provide them with the skills to help them deal with trauma, teach them techniques to adapt to other environments, and serve as role models to help them make good decisions. Most importantly, we can give them hope that no matter what their situation is, they can rise above it and that we will never give up on them.

I’m always keeping my eyes and ears open for inspiring messages to share with educators and this week’s sermon was just what I needed to hear. Oh, and how did it tie in with my presentation? I realized as I listened that the symbol that Superman wears on his uniform means “hope” on Krypton. I had forgotten that bit of information and perhaps the most important lesson that educators can learn from the Man of Steel!

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“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tunes without the words and never stops at all.” – Emily Dickinson

“All kids need is a little help, a little hope, and somebody to believe in them.” – Magic Johnson

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  • Monday, December 2: Celebrate Monday Assembly (Empathy) 9:05 AM, Jon at C.O. in afternoon for secretary floater interviews 12:30-4:30 PM
  • Tuesday, December 3: Achievement Team (Hurula/Parent) 8:15 AM
  • Thursday, December 5: Staff Meeting hosted by Katie Dodge & Sarah Jacobson 8:05 AM
  • Friday, December 6: Records Day (Optional Report Day)

 

  • Monday, December 9: Celebrate Monday Assembly 9:05 AM, iReady Window Opens, Santa Shop Begins
  • Tuesday, December 10: IEP (Mcguigan) 8:15 AM, Grades due at midnight
  • Thursday, December 12: No Staff Meeting, 3rd/4th Grade Winter Concert 6-8 PM
  • Friday, December 13: Stevenson Choir Winter Concert in the gym for all students 9:30-10:15, Santa Shop Ends, Report Cards go home

 

  • Monday, December 16: Student of the Month Assembly (Empathy) 9:05 AM
  • Tuesday, December 17: REED (Hurula) 8:15 AM
  • Thursday, December 19: Staff Meeting 8:05 AM
  • Friday, December 20: iReady Window Closes

WINTER BREAK!!!

Simon Says

In his popular TED Talk, Simon Sinek discusses the importance of finding our “Why”. In the talk, he uses Apple as an example of a company that knew their Why and reaped the benefits of it. He also gives examples of companies that did not know their Why and instead focused on their What (or product). He gives a compelling argument that until we focus on our Why (purpose), our What and How are irrelevant. I agree with him. It’s our purpose, our mission, that is important. Once people know that and a trusting relationship is formed, we can accomplish anything!

As an educator, I often contemplate my “Why”.  For me, it’s about making a difference in people’s lives and everything I do should be able to stem from that purpose. Why am I in education? To make a difference in people’s lives. Why am I a principal? To help support teachers and provide an environment to help make a difference in people’s lives. Why am I in a meeting? To discuss ways we can help create a system that supports learning and makes a difference in people’s lives. Why am I administering a standardized test for students? Because it’s a mandate that I must follow to keep my school in compliance that allows me to continue to create a structure that supports teachers and make a difference in people’s lives. Yes, some of my tasks are necessary to help me continue doing the important work of my Why even when they are not pleasant.

Knowing our Why is essential if we want to reach our full potential and achieve our goals. If you don’t know your Why, how can you share your passion and dreams with others and make them a reality? Worse yet, you may end up just serving someone else’s Why and never aspire to your own. My guess is that most educators can sum up their Why in a few words: To help others, to teach and inspire, to change a life, to change the world. Think about your Why and how your thoughts and actions help you carry it out. Better yet, teach your students to find their Why and help them develop the skills to carry out their mission and reach their dreams!

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“Listening is active. At its most basic level, it’s about focus, paying attention.” – Simon Sinek

“Great leaders don’t need to act tough. Their confidence and humility serve to underscore their toughness.” – Simon Sinek

“If you have the opportunity to do amazing things in your life, I strongly encourage you to invite someone to join you.” – Simon Sinek

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  • Monday, November 25: Students of the Month Assembly 9:05 AM
  • Tuesday, November 26: Achievement Team (Benson) 8:15 AM, Battle of the Books planning meeting 8:20 AM
  • Wednesday, November 27 – Friday, November 29: Thanksgiving Break!

 

  • Monday, December 2: Celebrate Monday Assembly 9:05 AM
  • Tuesday, December 3: Achievement Team (Hurula) 8:15 AM
  • Thursday, December 5: Staff Meeting at 8:05 AM (Resilient Classrooms presentation by Katie Dodge & Sarah Jacobson)
  • Friday, December 6: Records Day (Optional Report Day)

 

  • Monday, December 9: Celebrate Monday Assembly 9:05 AM, Santa Shop Opens, iReady Window 2 Opens
  • Tuesday, December 10: IEP (Mcguigan) 8:15 AM, Grades due by midnight
  • Thursday, December 12: Winter Concert Grade 3 at 6:00 PM/Grade 4 at 7:00 PM
  • Friday, December 13: Report Cards go home, PTA Skate Night 6:00-8:00 PM

The Cardigan

Superman’s cape, Thor’s hammer, Captain America’s shield. Each of these iconic items brings to mind strength, courage, and goodness. They are symbols that represent the best qualities in each of us. Recently, a new symbol made its way into the pantheon of heroes…the cardigan! This was the outfit of a different kind of hero, named Mr. Rogers. His strength didn’t come from cosmic rays or specially crafted weapons, it came from his boundless ability to show kindness. Mr. Rogers’ trademark cardigan has now become a worldwide symbol for kindness and last week, people from around the globe wore cardigans to celebrate World Kindness Day.

When I first heard about #WorldKindnessDay and #CardiganDay on Twitter, I thought it looked fun and posted several promotions for it on social media. Then, I started hearing people talking about buying cardigans to wear in their schools. Choosing not to be a bystander, I decided to jump in and participate myself. A few clicks on Amazon and my new cardigan was on my doorstep the following day. My family got a chuckle out of seeing me in a cardigan. The next day at school, I enjoyed sharing with the students why I was wearing the cardigan and about Mr. Rogers. One parent told me that I looked extremely comfortable in it and another told me it should be my new look.  To be honest, it was very comfortable and felt like wearing a uniform that radiated kindness.

The next day, I saw a post on Twitter that stated “#CardiganDay does nothing to fix the world“, but that those who wore them were the “helpers” in the world. I guess that’s true of many of our symbols. It’s not the costume, the tools, or the technology that change the world. It’s our attitudes and our actions that make the difference. Wearing a cardigan didn’t make me a hero, but it was a good reminder of the difference a little kindness can make in the world!

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“One of the most important gifts a parent can give a child is the gift of accepting that child’s uniqueness.” – Fred Rogers

“It’s not the honors and not the titles and not the power that is of ultimate importance. It’s what resides inside.” – Fred Rogers

“Young children can spot a phony a mile away.” – Fred Rogers

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  • Monday, November 18: Celebrate Monday Assembly 9:05 AM
  • Tuesday, November 19: Achievement Team 8:15 AM, REED (Trantham) 9:50 AM
  • Wednesday, November 20: All Admin Meeting at Johnson 8:00-12:00, Elementary Principals Meeting 1:00-4:30 PM
  • Thursday, November 21: Staff Meeting 8:05 AM
  • Friday, November 22: School Improvement Committee 8:15 AM

 

  • Monday, November 25: Students of the Month Assembly (Responsibility) 9:05 AM
  • Tuesday, November 26: REED (Benson) 8:15 AM
  • Wednesday, November 27 – Friday, November 29: Thanksgiving Break!

 

  • Monday, December 2: Celebrate Monday Assembly 9:05 AM
  • Tuesday, December 3: Achievement Team 8:15 AM
  • Wednesday, December 4 & Thursday, December 5: Jon at MEMSPA Conference
  • Friday, December 6: Records Day (Optional Report Day)

Waiting in Line

When I was eleven years old, I waited in line with my friends to see Return of the Jedi at the movie theater in Ludington. It wasn’t just any line, it was longest line I had ever seen in my life.  It went out the front door of the theater, down the sidewalk, and past the book store around the block! Nobody was complaining or upset. In fact, we took pride in the fact that we were among the dedicated movie goers ready to wait in the long line to see our beloved film. There have been many times in my life, where I gladly waited in long lines for a special event including meeting William Shatner (aka Captain Kirk), getting my driver’s license from the Secretary of State, and taking my daughters to their first circus. Some things are made more special by the anticipation of waiting in line.

Then there are things that aren’t so special and don’t give the same exhilaration by waiting in line. Sunday night grocery shopping doesn’t give quite the thrill when waiting in line. Nor does waiting in line to get gas or an oil change. Don’t even get me started on waiting in a line of cars to get on or off the expressway during rush hour. Waiting in line can add excitement or frustration, based on the activity or event that you are waiting for.  Standing in line on Black Friday shopping is my idea of a nightmare, but my daughters gladly stay up all night to do just that. It’s all in what is meaningful to us.

As educators, we are used to waiting. Waiting to go to the bathroom, waiting to meet with parents, waiting for staff meetings to end:) The biggest thing we wait for though is to see the effects of our efforts with students.  Sometimes we wait 10 to 20 years to see the fruits of our labor and sometimes we never get to see the end result. The point is that we continue to do what’s best for students not knowing the end result or how long we will wait to see them be successful.  It’s well worth the wait though, just like all things that have a special meaning to us!

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“Patience is not simply the ability to wait – It’s how we behave while waiting.” – Joyce Meyer

“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.” – Sharon Begley

“I grew up with six brothers. That’s how I learned to dance – waiting for the bathroom.” – Bob Hope

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  • Monday, November 11: Celebrate Monday Assembly 9:05 AM
  • Thursday, November 14: PLC session 7:50-8:50 AM, PTA Meeting 7:00 PM, Social Committee Event 7:00 PM
  • Friday, November 15: Pizza Party with the Principal for top fundraisers

 

  • Monday, November 18: Celebrate Monday Assembly 9:05 AM
  • Tuesday, November 19: Achievement Team 8:15 AM
  • Wednesday, November 20: Elementary Principals Meeting 1:00-4:30 PM
  • Thursday, November 21: Staff Meeting 8:05 AM

 

  • Monday, November 25: Students of the Month Assembly (Responsibility)
  • Tuesday, November 26: Achievement Team 8:15 AM
  • Wednesday, November 27 – Friday, November 29: THANKSGIVING BREAK