Archive for November, 2013

We Build a Community

I have recently been reading 27 Views of Raleigh. If you are not familiar, it is a collection of stories and poetry by authors that live in Raleigh. They share different view points and perspectives. I have enjoyed the unique slices of history. As a school that has been established for nearly 60 years, I find it even more interesting to read the stories that connect to our neighborhood around us. I have enjoyed some of the selections that talk about Raleigh’s history and its present.

Earlier this year I met two women helping at our Open House. Both were delighted as they began to share their history tied to Joyner with me as former Joyner parents so happy to be welcomed back and felt completely at home.

One of the things I enjoy about Joyner is how connected it is to the community. We have families that generations have attended. We have parents who walked these halls as students themselves years ago. They bring stories. We have grandparents who taught here. Teachers who once were parents of Joyner students and loved it so much they came to teach. Because of our magnet status, we welcome families from all over Wake County who continue to build our community connection. I have always enjoyed running into Joyner families on the weekends, no matter where in Wake County I might be.

School is one of those foundational places that build community. I watch our students connecting with each other. I see friendships that are budding. I often wonder which will be the ones that will continue to grow. I am so proud of the community that we have at Joyner. I appreciate the friendships that bloom, the relationships that build and the connections that have already been made.

I am so thankful how our Joyner family continues to welcome new families and builds new friendships. I am proud of how our fifth graders welcome a new face with excitement and embrace these new students into Joyner family. Thank you to everyone who has embraced our community and supports the relationships we continue to build.

And I look forward to perhaps someday reading in a new anthology, stories written by our students about this community they have been raised in.

Balancing Act

It is finally getting colder outside! New sports are in the air. Many of our students are transitioning into their winter mode. Recitals are coming up. Performances to tune up for. Holidays are starting to gear up as well. The temptation of snow last night was our first of many exciting days ahead for our children. I look forward into the next two months and close my eyes and just breathe! So much to anticipate and yet we must balance all of that with living in the moment right now.

I often remind myself to stay balanced in the energy that is popping. The staff has been living in transition with the new report card system and walking carefully in manipulating the system and controlling what they can. I am so proud of their professionalism through this change. We have test scores that have come out. Conversations have focused on what that data can tell us and help us to learn and grow. The expectations and requirements are loaded onto our plates. But we also know when we walk into the door in the morning, we come for the joy of children. We come to provide them the best learning. We come to take their energy and put it to use! There is a balance that we seek.

We continually look for ways to balance our work as we help teach our children to do the same. Our students have expectations from school with homework and practice and projects. They go home to many other expectations as well. It is important to remind not only ourselves but our children to stay in the present while enjoying the anticipation of what is to come. Practice those reading skills now as we look forward to the reading we will do soon!

I encourage us all to remember to stay balanced in the days ahead. We can move forward step by step and enjoy each step along the way. I encourage you to look for balance of what is ahead and what is with us now. And don’t forget to breathe!

Tell me about Joyner

This past weekend was our district magnet fair. It is always an incredible experience to talk about Joyner with potential families. Some of the families knew what schools they wanted to talk with while others meandered around the magnet fair listening in to other conversations or following their own path.

And very often, a parent will walk up to me and say, Tell me about Joyner. Where do I begin? First I have to smile. I truly love my school. The students and staff that walk into our building is a defining piece of our fabric. They are the multi-colored fabric. We have sown that fabric together by the creative work we do with instruction and connections with family.  I am proud of the quilt that is Joyner.

We learn about the world through the lens of the International Baccalaureate.  We express ourselves through not only the English language, our art and creativity, but also our Spanish Language program that is top-notch! And we recognize that our actions impact our community. We look for ways we can make a positive impact and allow our community to impact us. We learn and share together. We engage and question and wonder. We allow our children to ask tough questions and we allow our teachers to ask them too!

It is difficult though sometimes to put into the words the feeling I have when I walk through Joyner. The laughter that comes down the hall is electric. The student energy when working through math problems. Teachers are there every step of the way, encouraging, teaching, and allowing lessons to be learned.

At the end of talking with each parent, I encourage them to consider stopping by our school. Come walk the halls with our magnet coordinator and just feel. Enjoy seeing the learning. We look forward to hosting the many families and look forward to adding to our own family at Joyner! Welcome!

Spirit Week

What a fun spirit week we have had at Joyner Elementary School!

I have enjoyed seeing all the colors and “looks” our students and faculty have shown as we moved through the week. This is one week of the year that the visible energy that our students and staff share is everywhere dressed in cosmetic, over-the-top form. I love that our staff jumps full feet into each day. I enjoy seeing their creativity shine as they were dressed tacky. Students were introduced to so many cultures as our teachers shown their dress from the many places they have traveled and worked. Staff tried to outdo their team spirit on Thursday. Students learned again the colleges that their teachers went to.  And today we show off our fitness energy.

And on Monday we will be back to our “normal” dress. But I truly believe that the spirit that we see this week sits in the classrooms and flows down the hallways every day at Joyner. I continually am amazed and inspired by the relationship the teachers build with the students to get them excited to learn. I say often that I have the joy of seeing the global view of Joyner. I am able to walk the halls during instruction and see and feel the energy of learning.

We might not be wearing our kilts and African dress on Monday, but the spirit of Joyner still will be there.  Thank you for helping bring the spirit of Joyner along!