Monthly Archives: May 2015

MS Weekly Staff Memo – May 10, 2015

Leslie’s newsletter was so perfect this week that I asked her permission to share it with ms staff as well.  To me, this is #whatmatters . Thanks for the inspiration Leslie and Shawnee!


Relationships…

I have been thinking about them a lot lately.  Maybe because it’s that time of the year when things are winding down, we are getting ready to say goodbye to our students for the summer, and some of us will be saying goodbye to a group of students we have had for two years.  And then this happened….if I were techy enough I could very smartly insert the photos right here where I want them to go.  Alas, I have failed yet again in the technology area.  Never fear…I do know how to attach photos, at least I hope I do!  Please, please, please take a look at the attached photos or this email won’t make sense!  🙂  (But I have actually fixed this for you, sweet Leslie.)
 

The photos and the post happened on none other than Facebook! 🙂  The picture you see is of one of my dearest friends in the world.  I met her my very first year teaching at David Cox Elementary.  This is a picture of her in her first  year teaching with her first class of 5th graders.

IMG_0256 The post you see in the next photo is from Zhykia, the cute little girl in the gray shirt under my friend Shawnee’s right arm. 

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In the beginning of 5th grade Zhykia  had a lot of gaps in the areas of reading and math.  She did not consider herself a reader at all.  In fact, it is probably safe to say she wasn’t a huge fan of school because she lacked confidence in herself.  Lucky for her she got Miss Voelp for a teacher that year!  She spent the year building her up and forming a relationship with her that was important enough for Zhykia to find her seventeen years later on Facebook to say thank you!  WOW!  Isn’t that what we all want?  To make a difference in someone’s life, to be that someone who helped him or her gain the confidence to know that they could read and think about text and grapple with numbers, but more importantly do it while having fun and with someone who they know deeply and genuinely cares about them.  She changed this child’s life and knowing Shawnee as I do, feel confident in saying has changed many more along the way.  I attached the next photo because I wanted you to see what Zhykia’s mom posted on Facebook.

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“She was great, a true teacher…dedicated!” Now, what you don’t know about Zhykia’s mom is that when she found out that her daughter had a new, young teacher she tried to have her moved out of that classroom into another class.  The principal refused to move the child, and two weeks later Zhykia’s mom came into the classroom in the middle of math hugged Shawnee so hard that she lifted her off the floor and told her that this was the first time Zhykia had wanted to come to school and that she was sorry that she had made a quick judgement about her, she was a fine young teacher!  Pretty amazing, especially for a first year teacher, right?  Or is it?  There was no magic to what she did, or maybe there was.  Magic in that she took the time to really get to know Zhykia.  She understood how she learned and what worked best for her.  She formed a relationship with her, one that Zhykia has remembered for seventeen years!  As you wrap up the last few weeks of school with your students I hope you will think about Zhykia and Shawnee and the relationships you have with your students.  Are they the kind of relationships that students will hold on to for seventeen years or longer?  If not, what can you do with these last few weeks to make them ones that they will remember you as a game changer in their lives?  Remember laughter and fun go a long way with our sweet kiddos, especially when they get stressed about EOG’s, getting new teachers, the hectic pace of the end of the year.    Read books, sing songs, dance, go on walks, stop and really listen to what they are saying.  You may not realize the impact you are having.  You never know when your thank you might come, or in what shape, form, or fashion.  When it does I know it will mean more to you than any score on a test, award or paycheck! 

Finally, check out the last photo, it is of Zhykia all grown up.  She is a speech pathologist in Charlotte, and beautiful to boot! 

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Have a fantastic week, and I can’t wait to spend time with all of you at the retreat!

Looking Ahead….
5/13/15 – Admin depart for retreat; Dorothy Pagan teacher leader
5/14/15 – Last day of MS Electives classes; 5th Grade Science EOG in Media Center; clean out lockers!
5/15/15-5/16/15 – CSD Staff Retreat (arrive by 10 on Friday and leave at dinner time on Sat)
5/18/15 – 8th Grade Science EOG – carpool begins at 2:15 (all week this week!)
5/19/15 – Reading EOG – carpool begins at 2:15
5/20/15 – Math EOG – carpool begins at 2:15
5/21/15 – carpool begins at 2:15
5/22/15 – Math 1 EOC for 8th graders taking Math 1 carpool begins at 2:15
5/22/15 – Practicum Sharing Celebration
5/25/15 – NO SCHOOL – Memorial Day Holiday
5/26/15 – 5/27/15 – 7th Grade Ropes Course
5/27/15-5/29/15 – 8th Grade Kanuga Trip
5/27/15 – 6th Grade Holocaust Museum
6/1/15 – 7th Grade Change Project
6/2/15 – State of the School Address and Volunteer Appreciation 8:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. at HS Black Box
6/3/15 – Last day of school!
6/4/15 – HS Graduation – Belk Theater
6/4/15 – 6/6/15 – Teacher Workdays
Nuts/Bolts/Reminders/Tips:
Go ahead and begin to think about year-end close out.  The close out list will come to you soon but the NUMBER #1 challenge is collecting all EOG books, novels, and calculators.  It is critical that you begin to figure out NOW if students have lost things so that they can be paid for before school is out.
Please read these important notes from the Staff Meeting that was held on Friday’s workday.  This document contains important information about student safety and injury protocol as well as overall procedures for student supervision during these last few weeks of school.  Let me know if you have any questions.  https://docs.google.com/a/csdnc.org/document/d/1HdlhcahJWDrDcUMHdpmlEQUADMh-06CrShcIACG_uWc/edit?usp=sharing
Here is the link to the MS May Calendar which contains events as well as staff and room assignments.  Make sure you are familiar with this document and have this information at your fingertips over the next few weeks!
Gumby

Gumby

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MS Weekly Staff Memo – May 3, 2015

What’s On My Mind:
This weekend I read an article that really moved me, and then this morning I heard a really interesting sermon that I have been thinking about all day.  I think these two things go in hand-in-hand, so I hope you’ll indulge me as I try to recap and pull the two together.  In a nutshell, my priest made me think about something that hasn’t crossed my mind in years.  He alluded to the “games” that children make up when they are little.  I’m sure you all experienced this.  It’s impromptu – not planned – but out of nowhere you now have a new game or “drama” that you enact with your friends.  And as the game unfolds or the plot thickens, the set of rules become more complex.  Is this ringing a bell?  I totally remember doing this as a child – both with made up games and with dramas!  His point was that he was watching his own children do the same thing and he had an “aha” moment as I like to call them.  (Okay, I stole that from Oprah).   He said that at some point, it becomes too much…the rules are too overwhelming and complex…and kids tend to abandon the current situation and declare a “new game.”  How often do we do the same thing as adults?  I know in my role as administrator, I see more and more constraints being placed upon us, all with good intentions of course, but at what point do we throw our arms in the air and scream “Uncle?”  My Rector’s point was that it’s in these moments that we have to recalibrate and focus on #whatmatters.  Why are we doing what we’re doing?  Why does everything have to be so complicated?  This lined up beautifully with an article I read this weekend, and I wanted to take this opportunity to share it with you.  In the craziness of May and testing season, I hope that we all will pause and take deep breaths to remember #whatmatters.  What are we trying to accomplish here?  Are we focused on our mission and vision or are we losing sight and falling victim to the rat-race?  I’ll be the first to admit that I need to take DEEP belly breaths on some days as I have a tendency to get swept away in the rules we impose on ourselves.  I encourage each of you to stop – take some time – and be with your students in the upcoming weeks.  This time will pass us by ever so quickly, and not only do they deserve our presence and awareness, we deserve these gifts as well.
Here’s the link to the article.  It resonated deeply with me, and I hope it will resonate with you.
7 Things Every Kids Should Master:
Upcoming Events:
Monday, May 4th
Tuesday, May 5th
Wednesday, May 6th
MS Drama and ShowChoir Show Case in MS Black Box
Thursday, May 7th
MS Band Concert – 6:30 in MS Gym
Friday, May 8th
Teacher Workday – Kindergarten Screening
Looking Ahead….
5/14/15 – Last day of MS Electives classes
5/15/15-5/16/15 – CSD Staff Retreat (arrive by 10 on Friday and leave at dinner time on Sat)
5/18/15 – 8th Grade Science EOG – carpool begins at 2:30
5/19/15 – Reading EOG – carpool begins at 2:30
5/20/15 – Math EOG – carpool begins at 2:30
5/22/15 – Math 1 EOC for 8th graders taking Math 1
5/22/15 – Practicum Sharing Celebration
5/25/15 – NO SCHOOL – Memorial Day Holiday
5/26/15 – 5/27/15 – 7th Grade Ropes Course
5/27/15-5/29/15 – 8th Grade Kanuga Trip
5/27/15 – 6th Grade Holocaust Museum
6/1/15 – 7th Grade Change Project
6/2/15 – State of the School Address and Volunteer Appreciation 8:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. at HS Black Box
6/3/15 – Last day of school!
6/4/15 – HS Graduation – Belk Theater
6/4/15 – 6/6/15 – Teacher Workdays
Nuts/Bolts/Reminders/Tips:
Go ahead and begin to think about year-end close out.  The close out list will come to you soon but the NUMBER #1 challenge is collecting all EOG books, novels and calculators.  It is critical that you begin to figure out NOW if students have lost things so that they can be paid for before school is out.
 when they leave me

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