I think it's safe to say that we have all learned so much with the addition of World Language to our curriculum! I was so honored to be selected as part of the selection committee for next year's TCLP Arabic teachers. I traveled with two other people from the US to join an interview team made up of employees from the US Embassy in Egypt and the Ministry of Education in Egypt. We spent three days interviewing 46 candidates for TCLP. The interviews were fascinating and opened my eyes to a completely different culture. At the end of the three days we selected 10 candidates and a few alternates! I am still anxiously awaiting an email from the American Councils regarding whether or not we have been selected to host another exchange teacher. I will let you know as soon as I find out!
Here are a few pictures from my trip. I visited the Pyramids of Giza (and even went inside one), the Sphinx, rode a camel, went to the Egyptian Museum which was amazing, ate stuffed pigeon, did a lot of shopping, ate Koshari, drank sugarcane juice, rode the subway, took a boat ride on the Nile at Night, visited Cairo Tower and the Citadel. It was fantastic! I learned some Arabic too!
Here is your staff update for March 29th. Enjoy your long weekend.
In interviews I always ask teaching candidates what children in poverty need. For years and years, I asked that question and anxiously awaited the answers that potential teachers would provide. I never quite knew what answer I was hoping for and then one day, 3 years ago, Tasha Allen gave me the answer that I didn't even know I was waiting for. She said, "Hope!" In that moment I knew that she was right and from that moment on my mindset about children in poverty changed.
Over the past few years, our district has tried to find a tool to help us learn more about our students' social emotional wellness. This year we landed on Panorama, a tool that seems to have the potential to provide us with valuable information about our students' mindsets. After spring break we will embark on our very first Mental Health and Wellness Data Teams in which we will begin to analyze our students Grit, Mindset, Sense of Belonging, Compassion, and Hope!
Please take moment to watch this TED Talk by Rick Miller as he discusses HOPE! (At least watch the first 10 minutes!)
Here is your STAFF UPDATE for March 16th.
We have so much to do right now. This week started out with fail to fills in classrooms, an assembly and continued with sick teachers, OELPA testing, gifted testing, and all of the other typical hubbub of our days at J.W. I have done a lot of BCDing this week. I've caught myself complaining about lots of things:
OELPA tests that are developmentally inappropriate
Lack of subs
Too many tests
...and much more.
In those moments of BCD, I lost sight of the good that was happening; the reasons to smile!
As I think back on the week I am overcome with pride as I reflect on the teamwork that you all displayed to help each other through the muck and mess that this week was.
We gave OELPA tests to 22 kindergarten babies on Monday and Tuesday. Testing kindergartners makes me crazy. But, even though it was painful, the beauty was in the teamwork that was displayed to make it possible. SEVEN, yes SEVEN staff members pitched in and helped Amy get her little friends logged in and help keep them focused for the HOUR LONG testing sessions.
We had several fail to fills and EVERYONE of them was covered by a staff member with a smile on his/her face. Jeff, Amanda and I had a great time in Whitney's room on Monday. (You should ask her to show you the slide show she made for her sub! It was amazing and made it so easy to teach in her room.) And on Thursday, in the midst of me throwing what could be considered a "hissy fit," Mrs. Watson stepped up and taught kindergarten on Thursday morning. Then, poor Colleen who spent half a day at the allergist came into school on Thursday afternoon and happily covered kindergarten for the rest of the day. Through all of this, no one complained...except for me!
As for too many tests, I haven't seen much of Eric this week, but I am so thankful that he takes such pride in the work he does. He does not hand teachers tests and leave them to muddle through on their own. He stays, he helps, he's all in.
Even with all of this craziness we continued to do amazing things for kids!
Our first, second and fourth grade teachers planned field trips for their students. This is the first time since I've been the principal at JW that everyone of our grade levels will have gone on a field trip!
Jim and friends created a Coding Gallery that was so inspirational!
March Book Madness is in full swing and Scott is quite the superstar because of it! Just ask the Prati twins!
And, One Word along with #jwreasonstosmile are keeping us focused on becoming the best versions of ourselves. Thank you to Tasha and Whitney for making our ONE WORD hallway display!
So, THANK YOU! Thank you for being and amazing team!
Here is your STAFF UPDATE for March 9th.
It's easy for me to lose sight of why we do what we do. My days are crazy and sometimes I get so caught up in putting out fires that I don't take the time to find the JOY in the little things. (I'm still working on my word!)
Today I was visited by some 2nd grade friends who were beyond excited to share their words with me. (Well, actually they came looking for Eric and since he wasn't in the office they settled for me.) Anyway, the excitement in their voices instantly drew me in as they proudly shared their ONE WORDs with me! Each child could explain exactly how they chose their word, why they chose it and how they would live it out! As they were talking to me, I couldn't help but slow down and enJOY the moment. As I spoke to these 2nd graders I could feel that we had made a difference. Think about it! We are responsible for 500 children. We have spent a month teaching them how to be the best versions of themselves. It took me until I was in my 30s to develop a growth mindset and realize that I could become a better person! The skills that we are helping our students build by spending time working on R Factor and Mindset will truly become life changing for them.
The thing about teaching is that our impact is measured by generations. It is often years after students have passed through our halls that our impact is felt. But, today, I felt it. So, thank you! Thank you for believing in what we are doing. Thank you for taking the time to slow down and invest in your own mindset and the mindsets of your students. You are making a difference and that difference will be felt for years to come.
Here is your staff update for March 2.