Archive for January, 2014

Power of Play

Last night I was a part of the refresh club as I watched Wake County Public School’s twitter feed. Looking for news about the snow day today, I enjoyed the banter that has become a part of the weather watch for the winter on Twitter. There might be debate when it comes to the “#sassy”-ness of our Wake County Public Schools’ Twitter feed. But what I witnessed last night was that our students were interacting with their school system. I watched videos that Wake students made performing music about snow days. I enjoyed seeing messages in snow. And I was encouraged. These kids were “playing” and interacting with their school system!

The power of play is something that is necessary to us all. Amazingly, playtime is a boost for our brains. Allowing laughter and fun be a part of our lives helps us all to grow. As we all sit at home today while the snow hopefully melts outside, I hope that everyone finds ways to do some playing with their kids.

I bundled my two up this morning and the family took off for the snow. We were outside playing and laughing. We mapped out our sled runs. We discussed where might be the best hills in our neighborhood, debated how far we would be willing to walk. We encouraged each other to be brave and try different challenges. What a fun morning we have had. I enjoyed walking through our neighborhood seeing so many families doing the same thing.

My heart smiled to think of Joyner students and families all over Wake County right now hopefully finding some joy in the snow. Whether you are using pizza boxes, plastic box tops, sleds or boogie boards, I hope everyone has found a way to “slide” in some memories today. And while everyone is playing, the memories and stories we have made build our brains and our capacity.

Safely We Move Forward

As a leader of an elementary school, I often find myself declaring first and foremost safety. I want our children to be welcomed and feel at home. I want them to be able to focus on the learning they are experiencing and the joy of being at Joyner. As we learn in our Conscious Discipline training as well, children must first feel safe. This feeling of safety comes from knowing and understanding the procedures, the schedule for the day and what to expect.

We have added many features to our facilities to ensure safety as well. We constantly reflect and review our plans. We collaborate with safety officials. We listen to parents’ feedback. The staff attends training to maintain a safe and secure environment.

I believe that keeping our children safe is a part of a community effort. I am so thankful to our parents who follow the rules of the road as they drive around the school. I am so thankful to the parents who drive extra slowly knowing our children don’t always pay attention as they walk across the street. I am so thankful to all that have learned the procedures of our arrival and dismissal to school.

I encourage parents to continue to identify themselves when they come to volunteer or stop by the school. It is so important that each time a parent signs in at the office, they receive a visitor’s badge and wear it at all times in the building. So many of you are familiar faces, but it still builds a sense of security when you wear your identification.

Thank you community, for helping ensure that our children can focus on what counts, learning and being children. And thank you for your efforts in building a safe community in and around Joyner.

 

Marching towards Kindergarten

Kindergarten registration opened for Wake County Public Schools on Monday. This is always a significant date on my calendar, but this year it is even more. My young one is a part of that Class of 2027. He and his father brought the completed registration packet into school yesterday. His father very proudly watched as he spoke with the data manager registering him and even shared his excitement. Next year seems so far away, but this first step starts to turn our hearts and minds towards the next step in life.

It is an exciting time in a little one’s life. And it is an exciting time for the parents. I have talked to many parents these last few months as they prepare to make possible magnet or calendar selections. I share in the excitement and nerves. I understand that wonder if your child is ready. How can this little 4 turning 5-year-old be big enough? All these other kids are so BIG!

I can tell you that it will be amazing. I am so happy that my son will share the joy of learning with other children. I cannot wait for him to fall in love with his teachers. I will swallow my pride as I no longer am the expert but his teacher is. I look forward to watching those words begin to jump off the page as he builds his reading skills. And I know how fast all of this is going to happen.

I watched my fifth graders come in this morning to school. Full of confidence, they walk the halls of their school as it is their home. It will happen before I blink my eyes that my son will be one of those big fifth graders. And so I plan to enjoy each moment as much as I can. As I march with my youngest towards his new journey and as I celebrate my 700 plus kids at Joyner each day, I want to savor it all.

Happy 2014!

When I lived in Cameroon, the first day of the New Year was filled with joy and celebration. I always wanted to be out, walking in town hearing and seeing the celebrations. Everyone was filled with joy in the fresh start of the new year. Everyone wore their best clothes. The world was decorated in that happy. The idea of a new year brings that celebration of new beginnings.

As an educator, our “year” is always a little off. Our fresh year starts in August when our new pencils, fresh notebooks and clean desks are ready to welcome our children. But we are lucky because we also get this new calendar year that everyone celebrates. I enjoy hearing the teachers talk with the students about their goals for the new year. These last few days I have heard the question raised to the students, “What will you now work towards this rest of the school year?”

We have the opportunity to re-visit our school year goals in January and amend and grow. The relationships our teachers have made with the students help the goals become even more focused and grounded.

With an even greater focus on all students’ reading growth, I encourage everyone to consider making a New Year’s Goal to read more. Read with your child as often as you can. Listen to them read. Read aloud to them. Ask questions about what you read. Talk about your feelings and response to the books. And model reading by reading for pleasure yourself. Your child is always watching you. Be that role model of a reader.

I wish everyone a wonderful 2014. Embrace all of the possibilities and continue to enjoy your children. Their energy and happiness keeps me motivated. Thank you for supporting our school and our community.