Archive for May, 2017


Many people have asked me lately what is the number of days left for school. These people may be casual acquaintances that know I work in a school to our parents that walk in each morning. They are surprised when I often cannot offer the number of days left. My response is usually that I am too focused on what we have to get done today to look ahead too far.

When I reflect on this reason why I haven’t begun to count down, I know that each day is precious. Each day is an opportunity to finish a lesson, push to the next level, make that connection that is almost there, help make solid a new concept and so much more. Each day is our opportunity to have our children come together in this community and grow. Each day is an opportunity to reach another concept of learning. Each day is an opportunity.

I cannot start wishing these days away. We have the hurdle of completing our assessments. These end of year opportunities give us data to see how our efforts in targeted instruction are working for our students. The assessments are some of the measures we use. We also have the hurdle of taking advantage of the many moments still left.

We do not ignore the fact that some sport seasons have ended for the summer. Tournament weekends close the season. Dance recitals are on us. Swimming pools are opening. We know that the fireflies are starting to keep us outside later in the evening. The thoughts of long summer days without school are in the future (for those of us in traditional calendars). I know there is a buzz of all things to come.

But right now, I want to keep school going. We have too much time that we cannot lose. We have precious weeks left and I look forward to seeing all the learning that can come. Teachers have so much sitting on their plates in these last weeks. But I also see teachers truly reaping the rewards of hard work.

This morning I was in second grade classrooms while they were broken into small groups exploring their scientific wonderings about the critters in their classrooms they were observing. These rich conversations and shared learning comes from this whole year of building collaboration skills. Kindergarten students explore ideas with each other and understand the expectations of school now. They offer ideas and give each other support. They are learning to listen to each other and ask questions. Our fifth graders navigate their own curious work with such assurance and confidence. This is that time that we see the growth and enjoy the bonds that classrooms have made after a year together as a class community.

I am not going to begin counting the days yet. I will leave that for maybe the last week. Until then, let’s keep enjoying the learning and time we have together as a Joyner school family this 2016-2017 school year.



This morning was our Kindergarten Orientation. Many families walked into Joyner this morning, some for the first time. Eager faces. Nervous faces. Confident faces. Worried faces. I noticed tight holds on parents hands. I enjoyed the cell phones at the ready for pictures. And saw the fun of seeing perhaps a familiar face in the crowd.

As I prepared to move to the gym to begin the orientation, I ran into a fifth grader as he made his way back from breakfast. He asked me about what was happening. I shared with him that it was orientation. He began to smile with remembering the songs he sung five years ago to welcome new Kinders to Joyner. We had a moment of disbelief that we are preparing to say goodbye as he moves to middle school. As we parted for the day, we agreed that we would just enjoy this last month together and have fun thinking of all the memories made here.

What a great conversation to hold on to as I walked in front of our newest Joyner family members. I could speak confidently of the amazing place that Joyner is. I carried the fifth grader’s love of this space and his love for the many memories as I looked out to everyone sitting and knowing memories were about to be built.

Joyner is a special place. Having six years to watch and help children grow is a gift that elementary school gets to experience. We see these small little faces grow. We build relationships with families. What seems so overwhelming and unknown becomes so familiar it is like home.

Welcome to our newest Joyner family members. And I also am starting to prepare myself for the sweetly bitter moment of saying goodbye to our fifth graders.

Good thing we still have a month!