When I first started teaching first grade many years ago, I remember my team talking about the magic after the winter break. At that time, the magic of learning to read really sat as the work of a first grade teacher. I marveled at the fact that I was responsible to bring my little learners from learning letters to reading words, phrases, sentences and books! Such responsibility and worry! I remember learning from my peers, going back to my course work from college and just trying to learn everything I could on how to create these readers.

My coworkers kept telling me that I was going to see magic in January. Just wait. And when January came they were right. Not only did my students look older, stood taller, jumped into learning with such courage, they also were seeing the words jump off the pages. As hard as we both worked, student and teacher, I did believe in a little magic as well.

As the years have gone by and I taught many different grade levels, I noticed that each January there still is magic. The students are taller, fuller, more mature. Students are courageous in their learning. They always showed me something new they could do. The math we focused on started to click. They began to connect science or social studies concepts from earlier in the year to our new learning. They started to remember to put their name on their paper without me reminding them. In all my years, I still believe in that January magic.

As I walk into classrooms and move throughout the building this week, I see the product of January magic and the incredible work of our staff and students. Our children all must have grown those two weeks off in December! Everyone makes me feel a little shorter as they walk through the door. I am hearing words jumping off the pages, I see math making more sense, I enjoy the realization that it all is starting to click in their little learning worlds. I also enjoy watching the teachers celebrating this mid-year assessment data. It is encouraging to hear teachers dig into the data they are gathering and note the growth our students are making. The work we do together in making plans, targeting strategies, and creating interventions is critical at this stage in the school year.

This week closes officially the second quarter. We are now half-way through this school year. Parents will be receiving report cards shortly. Conferences will be set up. Crucial conversations are happening. Our goal at Joyner is to witness growth in all of our students. We want to celebrate their journey as they continue to realize their little worlds even more.

I encourage parents to continue to connect with us at Joyner. Continue to seek ways to support building the strategies your children need for success in their current school year. We are grateful for the partnership we have with you all. We look forward to continuing our work together to create that magic for our students.