Archive for August, 2016

Shared Spaces

It is amazing and wonderful to have children fill our hallways again for a new school year. Truly an elementary school feels so empty without the sounds of teachers teaching and children actively engaged in learning during the summer.

In the first week, I visit each of our classrooms. In that time, I share our expectations for all shared spaces on campus. These are moments where we talk about how we keep our whole school family safe and share respect and show care. The first thing I enjoy doing is seeing these classrooms with children. I love seeing the faces that I have been imaging all summer as we build class lists.

I begin talking about those promises our classroom students make to their classroom family. These promises are commitments that the classmates make to create a safe learning environment. I enjoy hearing about the process each teacher takes in building these expectations. The students are able to share their ideas of what is important to them in feeling safe and being able to learn.

I then begin to talk about the different areas in the building that we share with our whole school family. We discuss our voices and movement in hallways. It is rare to have empty hallways in Joyner. So often that space becomes a place to also learn and create. But we talk about the volume of our voices and how our actions impact others.

We also talk about bathroom expectations, cafeteria and the playground. I believe at the end our students are clear that I begin always in decision-making with safety. I want to keep your children safe. We recognize and honor that trust that parents give us as we care and teach their…your children every day.

Our last expectation that exhibits how we respect our school family is about respect. During these moments, I ask students to think about the adults they know in the building. Even students who only have joined us this year are able to begin to express what they notice about the adults. They agree that they notice that the adults care for them. We then discuss that we want to express our respect to these adults as they respect each of us so much.

It is always an amazing moment to see our whole school family together at the beginning of the year. I enjoy connecting and reconnecting. But I also enjoy seeing how our families connect with each other. Parents reach out and talk with other students. They ask about summer, they are curious about what teacher they have, they truly show their care.

Our building is filled with the gift of relationships. I look forward to continuing to build that respect and care and support this coming year. We are off to a great first week! Thank you to everyone who has helped us get there!

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Preparing

Summer is a busy time at school. Although there is an emptiness in the building from the lack of children and teachers and families, it still buzzes with preparations for next year. We look, we reflect and we make some changes. And there are changes that come that are unexpected.

Staffing changes are a part of the response. Every year, there is movement. We have staff that take on a new journey and growth in other areas of the building. Some staff move into a new journey outside of Joyner. We wish our Joyner family well in their next steps of their growth. We feel a sadness and excitement at the same time for these staff members who are beginning something new perhaps a move, career change or addition of a family member.

As we respond to these changes, a team begins the careful process of finding new members of our JYJ community. We hold tight to the core beliefs of what makes our school so special as we talk with those interested in coming to Joyner. We look for people that value the same core beliefs of kids and community.

One change that I want to share with our community is that Ms. Childress, our assistant principal, will be moving back to the Charlotte area with her family. We are excited for this opportunity for her. We are grateful for the care that she has given to our students, families and staff. We celebrate how much she has helped us all grow and wish her well in her next journey.

As new staff join our team, we will be sharing bio’s on our website of these new Joyner family/staff members. This will allow our larger Joyner community begin to welcome these new members.

I am excited to begin to make the last final preparations to the 2016-2017 school year. We will continue to drive forward for success for our students. I look forward to welcoming our new families and welcoming back so many of you! Thank you for your welcoming spirit as we say hello to the new school year!