Saturday, October 5, 2013

The More Things Change, The More We Appreciate The Things That Don't

This week was our annual trip to Mystic Lake for 5th grade camp.  All four years I have witnessed and experienced change at Mystic Lake which is near Clare, Michigan.  Most of the changes have been very positive.  Our students love the giant swing, our parents appreciate the uploaded pictures and the upgrades to the facilities are nice. As I took in the changes it struck me that I really appreciate the things that haven't changed.  For multiple years we have had three outstanding Mystic Lake counselors.  It should come as no surprise that the people are what truly matter.  

The first is Mundo.  Mundo is a veteran at Mystic Lake and it shows with his patience, understanding and leadership.  5th grade camp is full of adventure, challenges and teamwork.  Mundo is the consummate teacher.  He has a unique way of provoking thought and involving EVERYONE.  I truly appreciate how he mentors our high school counselors; he's always trying to help prepare them for college and beyond.  Camp wouldn't be the same without Mundo.  He is a constant that helps make Mystic Lake a wonderful place to learn and grow.

The second is Ezra.  Ezra is another longtime Mystic Lake Counselor.  Ezra has always struck me as "over qualified".  He's great with the kids and high school counselors and he has a nice blend of fun and seriousness.  I appreciate Ezra because he can easily run any Trail (activity) and make it a memorable experience.  Each time we travel north to Mystic Lake, I'm always relieved to see Ezra. Ezra has this way of sharing stories, promoting independence and keeping calm.  His leadership is a true asset.

The third is Grant.  Every camp needs a Grant!  Grant is the livewire, the energizer bunny, the practical joker.  Grant keeps everyone smiling and on their toes.  Without a personality like Grant, camp would be missing something.  When our students return from camp many of the stories will involve crazy stunts that Grant did.  I see Grant as someone that loves to give back.  He is very loyal and I imagine he once attended camp and I would venture that it made a huge difference in his life and he's now trying to make a difference.  Grant is a good guy- it takes a lot to be constantly "on" and Grant is always going full blast!

These three I appreciate because they haven't changed.  They truly make camp special and memorable. I'm not looking forward to the day they aren't there.  

All of this created a deeper reflection.  I began to think about all the change that has occurred at Warner Elementary.  I do believe it has been positive change and I do believe we will continue to move forward.  Yet the things that don't change we truly appreciate.  The lifeline at Warner is our very own Mrs. Katie Powers.  Mrs. Powers is the front line.  She deals with all parents, staff and students.  What I'm grateful for is her consistency, loyalty, dedication and calmness.  Mrs. Powers is the first person people talk to at Warner and she is often the first person people see at Warner.  Her warm smile and nature are qualities we come to expect and depend on.

On a daily basis I appreciate Katie more and more.  I believe we can all agree that our secretary is critical to what we all do.  She's a friend, a confidant, a supporter to all and a key ingredient that has not changed at Warner Elementary.  

We live in a time of constant improvement and growth, and we know that change is a process and that we will need to embrace it.  Yet I truly believe we appreciate the positive things that don't change. Every organization has key individuals that are the constants.  I hope you are as lucky as we are to have a Katie Powers.

This week has reminded me that change is inevitable, but the things that don't change can be what we appreciate the most.

• It's People, Not Programs - Programs are only as good as the paper they are written on without the people who implement them. A school culture doesn't exist because of a program. It exists because of the people within the building. That includes aides, secretaries, food service, teachers, administrators, parents and most importantly, students.

This week's big question:  What is it that we appreciate about the things that don't change?  

Next Week At A Glance:

Saturday, Oct. 5:  Happy Bday to Jeff Kinney
Saturday, Oct. 5:  Happy Bday to John Raymond
Monday, Oct. 7:  Tech Leadership Meeting at 1pm (if you have a question, concern or suggestion let me know before I go)
Tuesday, Oct. 8:  PTO Meeting at 7pm
Tuesday, Oct. 8:  MEAP testing begins grades 3, 4 and 5
Wednesday, Oct. 9: No assembly due to MEAP testing
Wednesday, Oct. 9:  Happy Bday to Carmen Hinkle
Friday, Oct. 11: Assembly grades 3-5 at 8:45 (moved from Wednesday to Friday because of MEAP)
Friday, Oct. 11:  Staff Meeting 8am in Mrs. Nash's classroom
Friday, Oct. 11: Picture Day
Friday, Oct. 11:  Homecoming Football Game!
Saturday, Oct. 11:  Happy Bday to Deb Trudell

*  Mrs. Archer shared an excellent idea last week.  Starting this week I would like to include, "App of the Day" on the student led morning announcements.  I would like to see a class a day have a couple students sharing an App they enjoy.  

Articles Worth Reading:

Feel, Function and Flow by +Brad Wilson @dreambition

Lost Time Capsule from 1960 Found at Western High School by @Gibbychip

Guided Reading Organization Made Easy shared by +Jessica Johnson @PrincipalJ

What Does It Mean To Be A Leader? (5 yr old Geniuses Respond)  +Angela Maiers @AngelaMaiers

Changing Face of Classroom Instruction +Justin Tarte @justintarte

You Can Close the Door (Sometimes) +George Couros @gcouros

StoryBoard Apps to Inspire +TeachThought @TeachThought

Who is helping you get Better, or Better Yet, Be Great? by +Jimmy Casas @casas_jimmy

Power of a Positive Learning Environment by @jlh842000

One of My Least Favorite Questions... +Daisy Duerr @daisydyerduerr

8 Chances Unhappy People Never Take +Marc Chernoff @marcandangel

Phlegm Friday by @ShutUpRun

Videos Worth Watching:

Authentic, Touching. (7 min) Worth your time...

12 year old App developer. (4 min)

Sammy the Squirrel at the President's Cup. (30 seconds)

Mystic Lake Pics! 

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