Archive for March, 2014

Science Go Round

One of those favorite days at Joyner is tomorrow, Science Go Round Day. A PTA committee of committed parents coordinate with local scientists, university students and environmental educators to create a day full of hands on science for our students. Content is differentiated for each grade level that aligns with the Essential Standards. Students move around the building for science presentations and fun. Our students become active learners and are highly engaged to see learning of content they have experienced through the year turn to real life.
I am amazed by the effort our team of parents put into creating such an incredible day. Our staff looks forward to this day almost as much as the kids. We found that holding it a little later into the spring, our students are even more highly motivated as they have learned the majority of the content that comes up in the presentations. Students will have their hands on the learning all day.
This year, we have the privilege to participate in the We Plant It Forward organization. Our third grade students will prepare seedlings that every student and staff member will then bring home. Our teachers are sharing this program with the students. I will share with parents that the tree seedling is coming. I encourage everyone to find a home for this plant. If you don’t have space in your own yard, find a friend to plant it forward! One step at a time, we can create a better environment for our children’s future.
At the end of tomorrow, our students will be filled with new ideas and experiences. They will have plenty to share. They might even have funny stories about an animal or two. And my hope for them as well is that they understand that they have a community at Joyner that wants amazing things for them. Our PTA creates activities like Science Go Round to enrich their learning, support the instruction in the classroom and continue to build real life experiences. What an amazing opportunity for our children to have this much love and support around them to learn! Thank you to our parents who work many, many hours for coordinating this event. Thank you to those that join our school on this day to celebrate science!
Have fun tomorrow!

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March Book Drive

I walk around my house and I have noticed that there is NOT a room that does not include a book. We have books of every shape, size and genre. We even have book posters signed by authors hanging up! Some might even say that my family has a book problem!
Reading has been the gift that our family treasures and values. Friends know that is the best gift to give us. We are so lucky that we have been able to find ways to bring literature into our home as my children grow.
And I know that we are lucky. I know the challenge it can be to invest in those words on a page. I remember my first board book I bought and my jaw dropped at the price I would pay for my baby to chew and read!
I firmly believe that every home should have the gift of books. I believe that we should share this gift with as many children as possible. I love the joy that I get in reading with children. I find any opportunity that I can to share a new story. I love to visit old characters from my childhood and explore new ones introduced to me by our students.
This month our staff has challenged our families to join in the efforts of Wake Up and Read to gather books for all children. We want to share the gift of reading to as many children and families that we can.
I have been so proud and humbled by the response of our children as they brought literacy to share.
We are half way there. Our goal was 2,000. We really want to break through that goal and fly higher. We, as a staff, know how open our children and families are to helping others. I want to thank everyone for your support.
And I also firmly believe that it is not just the motivation of seeing me in a chicken/rooster costume next Friday that motivates everyone! But if it does, Cock-a-doodle for Reading!

A Joyner 5K story

This past Sunday afternoon was beautiful. The weather shined warmly down on Joyner. And hundreds of children, families and community members stood together ready to run JYJ’s third annual 5K. Many more stood ready to cheer every child and passing runner and walker. I could fill so many blog posts of individual stories and celebrations from this day.
But let me share one now of three young men, fourth graders and best friends. These are gentlemen  who have made this 5k a part of their brotherhood. They stood ready at the starting line ready to sprint. I remembered their blur last year as they passed me as they made their way back while I felt like I was still starting. From the outsider’s perspective, you would guess that these boys were ready to compete with each other. 
But instead these fast young lads sprinted off together. Throughout the race, they kept their eyes on each other to make sure they were together. When one needed to slow for a moment, the others slowed. They kept each other going. And they were fast. Again, a blur past me!
The beautiful moment finished when they eyed each other as they came to the finish line. They made sure their steps were in sync to cover that line together, as a trio, as a team.
Beautiful moment, snap!
As their grade level winner was about to be announced, a parent approached me to be certain I understood what had happened. These young men wanted to step on the outside stage together, as a team. They wanted to be certain that it was all three together that finished together.
The Joyner 5K holds such a special place in my heart. It is in a story like this that tells the power of this day. We come together as a community and a family to celebrate life. Healthy living! 
Thank you to everyone who made Sunday and the build up to it possible. Thank you to our kids, who get it. Thank you to these three young men, who make me so proud to be your principal. 

Rolling with the bumps

This week we once again navigated another act of nature that caused our normally smooth schedule to change. As soon as we heard the call to dismiss early on Monday, our teachers quickly acted. We called, emailed, tweeted and sent the message out. What was even more amazing to me was that as I walked around that last half hour of school, I saw learning and teaching. First graders sat with their book boxes engaged in their Daily 5 Literacy activities. Third grade students were discussing text with their teachers. How amazing that we have learned to keep moving.

Parents came to pick up their children. Instead of expressing frustration, they shared their funny and not so funny stories from the last storm. Even as they navigated their own work schedules to respond to the weather, they rolled with it and had smiles on their faces as they gathered their children to get home safely. Within a short time of dismissal, our children were on their way home. Our staff wrapped up their day. We had once again made the unconventional day run smoothly.

I continue to be amazed with our students and staff as life throws surprises. This morning on our return to school, we participated in the state-wide Severe Weather Drill. Our students listened quietly to the directions of their teachers for what to do to remain safe in case of emergencies. The entire building moved quickly and quietly to their safe locations and waited for the all clear. As Ms. Taylor and I moved through the building to monitor, we were so pleased at our student and faculty focus on the event. Even after two days of out of the norm schedules, we had a successful drill.

The rest of our day ran smoothly as we tucked right back into school and learning. We did what we do best each day. And I am so thankful to our students who listen and trust their teachers to keep them safe. I am so thankful to our teachers who remain calm and assure our students. Life throws many curve balls and these last few weeks with the weather, we sure have learned some strategies on how to navigate them and keep rolling!