Archive for October, 2017

Time Well Spent

A good middle school principal friend of mine once said that middle school is fast and furious. Before you know it, it is over because after taking six years of time in elementary school three years feels just too quick. And as I look at the calendar and see the end of October standing before me, I believe it.

I notice that my days also fly by. Having an early start school, we have to get our rhythm going early or else the bells ring and our day is over. I also wonder if it is the nature of the day having the movement from class to class that offers moments to be checked off. Students offer great insight on their days. They talk openly with me about what they enjoy about schedules and what they don’t. Students can see classes pass along and perhaps either see a sense of accomplishment of completion or build a sense of worry of the next class ahead. In typical middle school student form, they talk about liking to come to school to be with friends and to see some teachers and not liking the rest. They have strong opinions of certain subjects. They like different classes for different reasons. At my last student leadership breakfast there was even a debate about adding minutes to the day just to offer more downtime to just hang out with friends. As much as our students may be happy for the weekends and the end of the day, they tend to linger and talk. They don’t mind the conversations with their teachers. And they are always there in the mornings before the bell ready to come in to start the day before we even have begun.

I like hearing our students talk about the importance of relationships when they talk about time at school. Every conversation I have with students they remind me of what is important to this age of student. When they talk about their classroom experiences, they talk about opportunities to collaborate. They talk about the stories their teachers share. They talk about connecting. When I sit with students in the cafeteria, they ask questions and want to know more and want to continue to build relationship.

Time is moving quickly this year. And I continue to be surprised at the pace of the days and weeks that fly. As I pause to write tonight about time, I consider what our students also tell me about time and that it is important to take that flying time to build relationships and be sure to be connecting. Use that time wisely because it will be quick.

And it is my hope that these connections we build as a school community will help us in our learning. Perhaps our learning can be deeper because it comes through that connection. And that will be time well spent.



Taking Pause to be Present

I have taken some time away from this blog with purpose and reflection. During the month of June, I wrapped up my work at Joyner Elementary. To leave five years of life work is a challenge and one that emotions don’t link with words well. I am honored that I have become a part of the 65+ years of learning and teaching story of the school. I am grateful for the many fingerprints that have been left on my heart by an amazing group of passionate educators and students that worked towards honoring each other with respect and building a community that went beyond the four walls. The community of Joyner will be a part of me.

As I took pause from all things with electronic footprints, I found it important in the transition to Centennial Campus Magnet Middle to be present. I wanted to give all energy and attention to those I began to meet over the summer. I wanted to listen and be mindful of the many stories I was beginning to be shared in. Learning my new school’s story has been something that takes time and attention. I entered this space with little time before we jumped into actual school days. Meeting my students and beginning to hear their stories has also been a part of this journey in being present.

It has been strange to not automatically go to Twitter to share a shining moment of our work at Centennial. I have missed the weekly time to pause, write and share reflections of this work that I do. But I also am glad to clear away from the tech noise in order to learn in the space I have gladly joined. I needed the relationships that were beginning to be built to stay in an authentic place.

I am building a story of teachers that truly have a desire to support middle school learners in their growth academically, socially and emotionally. I am impressed to work with the teams of teachers eager to learn together. Every time we have the opportunity in workdays, staff meetings or early release days, the professional learning and collaboration is electric. One afternoon as we stood outside ending a staff meeting of learning, I recognized the length of the meeting and honored that intensity of the teachers to continue to be willing to learn and share.

I also see students who are ready to lean into connecting. I have laughed at the honest questions that have been thrown at me. I have had several meetings with students who have requested time to talk about ways we can continue to build our school community. I notice parents that have a strong desire to see their children succeed during this challenging time in life.

I am grateful for the band of volunteers in our PTA that want to encourage our teachers and do amazing things for our students.

I am committed to building on this program that we have on NC State’s Centennial Campus. We are building university connections that allow our students to see the possibilities that sit in their future and be a part of an innovative community seeking greater opportunities in the present. I also look forward to nurturing our leaders and understanding this stage in life when their leadership skills begin to step out into a more independent light.

We have work to do at Centennial Campus as we do in all of our schools. And I look forward to my opportunity to serve in this new leadership role. I am hopping back into the technology world slowly as being present is still a part of this growing work. But I look forward to stopping by my blog and clicking into Twitter to share the work we are doing.