Every Summer something occurs that leaves me in awe of our staff.
My first year at Warner I attended a PLC Summit in Lincolnshire, Illinois. I spent days connecting and learning from/with Warner teachers. We went to dinner together, we talked about family and we discussed education (we even scrunched into a cab together... boy that was tight quarters). As a professional it was the first time I had ever attended a multi-day conference with so many team members.
My second year I remember teachers spending hour after hour in curriculum camp. Teachers developed calendars, activities, assessments and strategies. It was once again an eye-opening event to watch the dedication of our team!
Summer number three was a critical time. Teacher evaluations had taken place and it was vital to take the time during the summer to meet with staff and let them know I care about them. That summer I had several heart felt conversations. The efforts made that summer by our staff helped build our culture to new levels.
My fourth summer literally blew my mind...we had committed to creating inviting spaces at Warner Elementary. The plan was to paint the restrooms (beginning our Leader in Me journey). By the end of the summer the restrooms, the entryways and most classrooms were painted. That summer I remember walking past teachers and staff and listening to the conversations. That summer I was so impressed with what I watched. The building transformed! The surface looked beautiful, but the connections and relationships are what grew the most.
This summer I fully expected most staff members to getaway and recharge. Last year's changes simply zapped us. I knew people needed time. But then it began to happen. One by one I began seeing staff come in to the building. Some came in to get their hands on the new math curriculum. Others came in to paint and still others came in to redesign their classrooms. I walked the halls and talked to many staff. In those conversations you could hear it...you could hear the excitement, the passion and the anticipation in their voices.
Last Thursday was our Back 2 School Night and I can say, in my five years at Warner I have never been to a better Open House! Families came in droves and the positive energy was simply amazing.
I can't tell you how often I hear people share negatives about public education. I hear people talk about testing and funding. I hear people talk about educators leaving the profession. Most of all I hear people talk about the stresses of teaching. I may be naive, but I believe Warner is simply different. Our focus is on relationships. We have endured challenges and the beauty of it is that we went through the challenges together. You find out a lot about people in times of crisis.
Everyday we continue to build our culture, we take risks, we put relationships first and we pride ourselves in strong communication.
In three short days our kids come back. I know this will be a great year! I know this because I know our staff. I know we can handle adversity, we can handle challenges, we can handle bumps in the road...because we love kids! I can't wait to walk side-by-side with all of you.
NEXT WEEK AT A GLANCE:
Tuesday, Sept. 2nd: Make Sure SafeSchools Online Training is complete
Tuesday, Sept. 2nd: Boo-Hoo Breakfast for parents (in cafeteria from 8:30-9:30am)
Tuesday, Sept. 2nd: First day of school! 8:30am arrival and 3:35pm dismissal. If you can assist with bussing and dismissals that would be wonderful.
Wednesday, Sept. 3rd: No assembly (early release begins on the 10th)
Friday, Sept. 5th: Happy B-Day to Jenny Shearer
* A few reminders
- discuss fire drill, tornado drill and lockdown procedures with your students
- please do not leave doors leading outside propped open, if you need a key please see me
- please be patient with lunch (remember we have a brand new Kitchen Assistant and she doesn't know the kids yet
- the bus situation is always a test at the beginning of the year, please prepare your students early for dismissal
- remember patience...your technology may not be where you want it for day one...but we will get there!
* I will be posting the lounge schedule on Monday, Sept. 1st
ARTICLES WORTH READING:
Why Have a Classroom Site +Beth Still @BethStill
Finding Our Element +Dennis Schug @DJrSchug
The Issue With Comfort Zones +Joe Sanfelippo @joesanfelippofc
The Power of Branding +Tony Sinanis +Joe Sanfelippo @TonySinanis
Change Your Mindset... +Angela Watson @Angela_Watson
The Obsolete Tech Director +Tom Murray @thomascmurray
What if... +Geniene Delahunty @GenieneD
20 Things Life is Too Short Not to Appreciate +Marc Chernoff @marcandangel
VIDEOS WORTH WATCHING:
Every Kid Needs a Champion! Must see for ALL EDUCATORS. (7 min)
If you watched this each morning it would be tough to ever have a bad day. (10 min) Music starts at 4 min mark.
The Tale of Two Brains... (13 min)
Morgan Freeman on the Tonight Show. Great stuff! (3 min)