Archive for November, 2012

Data to Students

This morning I attended our School Improvement Committee meeting. School Improvement is a process guided by our state to focus schools in reflecting on how we are doing in the areas of academics, teacher recruitment and retention and community involvement. We do a lot of data collecting and digging to build a sense of where our school is and then talk about where we want to grow. We have a School Improvement Plan that is written and guides many of the decisions we make as a school. The School Improvement Leadership Team is the acting body that collects ongoing data towards our goals. This team is composed of staff members from every grade level and area as well as parent representatives.

This morning was our first quarterly data review. We charted our progress, talked about next steps, etc. The team was involved in conversations and parents included were offering ideas and suggestions. As the principal, I keep an entire data notebook watching our progress of student achievement. In the end, there are a LOT of numbers.

But there is something that I often tell the teachers as they talk about student data at their weekly Professional Learning Team meetings, it is not just the data that we seek. It is the conversation of what we want to do next for students. And this morning, again, Ms. Taylor took it one step further to clarify to everyone, all of these numbers represent our students. And truly all of the work that we do is for individual students.

How lovely to be reminded and to continually keep our focus of success not on numbers but students. And I am proud to work with a team of educators that keep that in mind. When we meet to talk about support, we want to look at as much of the big picture as possible. We have classroom teachers, counselors, intervention folks, special education teachers, a social worker, instructional experts all sitting around the table together continually reflecting on how we can meet the needs of our students.

And when we celebrate our success, it is the success of our students that we celebrate. It truly is a group effort. Thank you to our School Improvement Team, and to all that are involved in each of our children’s successes!

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Giving Thanks

Can it really be one week before Thanksgiving??? Really? Pinch me. Surely I am still in September and someone just changed my calendar without my knowing! How does time fly so quickly? I turned the page of my weekly calendar and sure enough, there looking back up at me is Thanksgiving week next week. Just having celebrated Veterans Day, I suppose it is time.

I truly cannot begin to list the many things I am thankful for this year.  I cannot believe the incredible students I get to serve every day. These students who brighten our purpose as educators. These students who drive us with their questions and curiosity. These students who demand knowledge. These students who bring an energy and delight in our every day moments. These students I am most grateful for.

And I am so thankful for the staff. I love to serve the staff at Joyner. They push me to be better. They drive me. I keep my expectations so high for our students, and the teachers and teaching assistants run past me with their energy and motivation. The activity and buzz in this building is directed by these incredible folks. The teachers at this school give their heart to their craft and their students. I am amazed and encouraged and inspired at the real moments I see everyday the adults in this building and students connecting and laughing and learning.

And I am thankful for the community that I work with. Parents who give of themselves in time and effort and love and support. Parents who smile every day. Parents who share their worries. Parents who celebrate. Parents who encourage. Parents who are there at night helping figure out the mysteries of learning. Parents who go to the library to find a new book. Parents who are just hugging tight these little ones. Thank you for all that you do for our community of learning!

As I mentioned, how could I list it all out? I am glad that I have more than a day to give thanks for being at Joyner and being present with the people around me. So one week early, I say Happy Thanksgiving. Thank YOU to all who make Joyner what it is. Thank you for your commitment.

May you  have a great week before Thanksgiving!

Blogging

I received my first “comment” on this blog. It was really positive. And for that, I say thank you. This is my first experience in creating digital material in this way. It was really my husband that encouraged me to try it. As a teacher, he has always stayed at the forefront of digital media and uses in the classroom. He has guest blogged on different sites in regards to one of his passions, Kid Lit. He has a focus and is driven to infuse technology in his world. I, on the other hand, haven’t.

I have always been proud to see how well educators engage our students in this 21st century skill. Our students are always at the frontlines in learning and playing with technology. But I have not. So I am always still learning. I run slightly behind trying to keep up with what is new. So learning to blog is a process.

I reflect weekly on this opportunity to write. I still am honing in on my purpose. I enjoy taking the moments though to communicate about my school. I enjoy stopping in the midst of the action to consider what should I highlight or reflect on.

At the end of the last week, I spoke with my fifth grade leaders in the school about an issue that came up. I talked with them about pride. I shared how proud I am of Joyner. They too lifted their chests and in full agreement responded with their pride as well.

I suppose I find myself looking for those proud moments to share. But also I want to reflect on our purpose at Joyner. So I will continue to practice this new art of mine in writing. And I thank you again for the support those that take the time to read this give.

Magnetic

This past Friday was Joyner Jamboree. I was overwhelmed with the participation! Over 700 wristbands were on children that were running around laughing, playing and being together. I met Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles who came out for the event. And what else that struck me was the number of alumnae that also came back. There was an atmosphere of homecoming. This is an event truly for the family of Joyner to come together. It is not about fundraising. It is about being together and celebrating!  The festive atmosphere was everywhere from the Spanish Dancers to the DJ rockin’. Our chorus performed and our second graders shared their talents in wristband making! Teachers danced and played. It was quite an event.

This Saturday is the District’s Magnet Fair. This is an opportunity for families to learn more about the magnet programs we offer in our school district. I have always enjoyed this opportunity to talk with families about what makes the school I work for unique. This year, I have Joyner to share. How wonderful to share just this past week’s experience of the Joyner family and community with perspective new members. How easily I have always been able to speak to the incredible teachers and curriculum we have at Joyner. But what will be even more fun is to bring that family feel as well. I am a proud family member of Joyner.

Thank you to everyone who made the Joyner Jamboree so successful. And that includes all of the students, former students, teachers and families that came out to celebrate our community. These are the moments that pull us together.