Sunday, March 26, 2017

Changes

Change.  It's never easy.  Sometimes it comes unexpectedly, sometimes we see it coming from miles away.  But in spite of change, good things always come!

As the campus principal, I have to make decisions that may not always make sense to everyone.  It kind of makes me feel like the CIA.  That there's so much information I'm privy to, yet I can only share bits and pieces with certain parties.

I lose sleep over our kids.  I lose sleep over you guys.  I want so badly to make sure that every decision I make is one that will leave an impact that is positive and changes lives for the better.

An opportunity arose recently to continue some changes.  As you know, Aaron Marvel is leaving us at the end of this school year.  A unique opportunity presented itself for us to be able hire an "interim assistant principal".  Someone who would assume all the roles of an Assistant Principal for the rest of this school year, and learn the ropes from Aaron before he leaves.

When making this decision, there was someone who reached out within district and expressed interest in the AP position (before they even knew anything about the Interim possibility).

So after interviewing and discussing with Aaron and Melissa, we have named Marylee Argueta as our interim Assistant Principal.  Marylee brings passion, a wealth of knowledge, and a strong connection to many of our families and students.  I know Marylee will help us as we continue our journey into building Webb to be the best school in the country.

Marylee will begin her duties on Wednesday.

But you may be thinking, "What about her class of students?"  Well over the weekend we also hired Ivonne Garcia to take over those duties as acting teacher.  Ivonne worked with me at Navasota Intermediate before leaving work to go full time to school to be a teacher. She graduated in December with her teaching degree. She is a hard worker, loves kids, and so ready for a challenge!

I am excited about these changes and hope you join me in welcoming these changes and having all of us work together to do what's best for our kids.

Week at a Glance

Monday - School Board Meeting - 6:30pm
Tuesday - 4th and 5th Grade STAAR
Science Vertical - 3:30pm - Library
Workout - 4pm
Wednesday - 5th Grade STAAR
Thursday - Boenker off Campus
Community Bridges Mtg - 3:30pm - Library
Workout - 4pm
Friday - House Games
All staff Mtg with Musick - 3:45pm

Friday

Please know that Dr. Musick would like all staff to be present at a brief staff meeting on Friday at 3:45pm.

STAAR

STAAR is taking place on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Let's work together to celebrate our kids hard work, to encourage them, to remind them they are prepared! The schedule will be sent soon.

TP Time

Please come ready to discuss a TEK being covered next week using the form shared with you from the district.

Monday - 1st Grade
Tuesday - No One
Wednesday - No One
Thursday - 4th Grade
Friday - 3rd Grade

Birthday

Debbie Abke - March 28

Kids Deserve It

Here is this week's episode with Assistant Principal Joshua Stamper


Blogs/Articles








Rockstar Educators

Sandra Smith - Sandra is one of our Instructional Aides.  I love who Sandra has rotated through different things I've asked her to do.  From working with PreK, to covering classes, to now working with Kinder Teachers.  Sandra always can make me laugh and really works at connecting with kids and getting to know them on a personal level. I'm thankful to have the opportunity to learn from Sandra daily.


Doris Banks - Doris helps in Art and PE.  I love seeing Doris get to be creative and express some of the brilliant ideas she comes up with.  Doris doesn't let excuses get in her way and so often I even find her purchasing her own materials to do things with our kids.  I'm thankful for creative minds like Doris on our campus


In Closing...

When one door closes another opens.  It's a phrase we hear often.  But life is all about perspective and using EVERY experience as a learning opportunity. I love how this video below shares just that.





Sunday, March 19, 2017

Refreshed

I hope everyone had a WONDERFUL spring break and that you spent a little time resting and getting refreshed! You deserve it!

Week at a Glance

Monday - Teacher Workday
K-5 Teachers - Cafeteria - 8am
IAs - Office - 8am
STAAR Training at 2pm - All Staff - Gym
Tuesday - Delic on Campus (for all 3-5 Teachers)
Math Vertical - 3:30pm - TP Room
Staff Workout - 4pm
Wednesday - Bible Study - 7am
Fire Drill
Thursday - Nesloney Off Campus
Staff Workout - 4pm

Monday

K-5 Teachers will need to be in the cafeteria by 8am. Please do not be late.

You will need to bring your laptop, lesson plans, and any Lead4Ward Materials you may have.

IAs will report to front office for assignments.

There will be a STAAR training for ALL staff at 2pm in the Cafeteria as well.

TP Time

Monday - 1st Grade (at 1:30pm)
Tuesday - 2nd Grade
Wednesday - 5th Grade
Thursday - 4th Grade
Friday - 3rd Grade

Birthdays

March 22 - Kevin Haliburton
March 23 - Eric Ceballos

Kids Deserve It

Episode 63 with Erik Qualman



Blogs/Articles






Rockstar Educators

Shelia Nelms - Shelia is one of our IAs on campus.  What I love about Shelia is that she will step up wherever I ask her to.  Whether it's been with car duty, PreK, Kinder, or even 1st Grade! And she is so great with our kids.  She shows up ready to work and our students really love seeing her and working with her. I'm so thankful we have compassionate and passionate educators like Shelia.

Theresa Sanders - Theresa is an IA in our Life Skills 1 room.  I admire Theresa so much for the work that she does and the difficulty of her position.  Theresa has one of the more thankless jobs in our school as so often she works tirelessly for the littlest improvements.  But Theresa is patient and has such a heart for our kids.  We need people like Theresa on our campus so much!

In Closing....

I wrote a blog post this week called "Speaking Louder than Words" and I loved this video that shows just how our actions affect those around us.



Saturday, March 4, 2017

Almost Here!

That's right, Spring Break is almost here! I can smell it!

As we go through this week please be cognizant of the messages you send.  Yes we are all very excited to get a well earned break!  But when you post online how much you can't wait to be out for a week, or when you're telling your students that, it sends a underlying message to parents and students! So just be wary :-)

Week at a Glance


Monday - Start of National School Breakfast Week

Becky Harrison on Campus (to meet with 3rd-5th)
Staff Meeting - 3:45pm
Tuesday - Dinner with a Gentleman 5:30-7:00pm
Wednesday - RTI Meetings
Bible Study Meeting - 7am
Crawford Bridal Shower - 3:30pm - Library
PTO Meeting - 5:30pm
Thursday - RTI Meetings
Boenker Off Campus
Friday - Boenker off Campus

Becky Harrison

Becky will be on Campus on Monday.  Teachers who will be meeting with her need to come with the materials prepared that we said would be discussed.

Dinner with a Gentleman

Our 2nd Annual Dinner with a Gentleman is Tuesday at 5:30pm.  Even though the women are not allowed to attend, we can definitely use a lot of help getting things set up on Tuesday after dismissal.

Loss in the Family

One of our own, Mrs. Longabaugh, lost her husband Saturday morning.  Please keep her and her family in your thoughts and prayers.  We will give you more info as we get it.

Birthdays

March 7 - TJ Longabaugh
March 10 - Maria Alcantara
March 11 - Brenda Parker
March 16 - Annie Walker
March 18 - Jeannie Robertson

TP Time

CHANGE OF ORDER: We will discuss Morning Routines, Discipline, and further discuss the article shared with us by Delic.  As well as the last chapters of Energy Bus.

Monday - 2nd Grade
Tuesday - 3rd Grade
Wednesday - 5th Grade
Thursday - 4th Grade
Friday - Kinder

Kids Deserve It

Episode 62 with Texas Principal, Dana Boyd.  And shirts are back up for sale here if you want one.


Blogs/Articles






Rockstar Educators

Cewilla Thomas - Cewilla is one of our counselors. She is a wonderful addition to our school family.  She connects with and knows just about every parent.  She is passionate about reaching every child and she always brings a smile to my face. I am so thankful to have the opportunity to learn from Cewilla and her compassion every day.

Annie Walker - Annie is our receptionist and attendance clerk, and so much more.  Annie also is never afraid to speak her mind! She always makes me laugh and is never afraid to ask a question when she doesn't know how to do something.  Annie does so much more than most realize and I am thankful we have her working on staff with us!

Amanda Reyes - Amanda is one of our PPCD IAs.  I love watching Amanda interact with her students and work hard! PPCD is no easy job, and Amanda shows up every day ready to do what's best for the students she works with. I am thankful we have Amanda with us!

In closing...

I just loved this video I found today online! As someone who has a friend with a son who is deaf, this video moved my heart.  Enjoy!


Sunday, February 26, 2017

Gratitude

This week's post is gonna be short....and all it is, is a challenge.

This week I challenge you to show gratitude to 5 different people on our campus.  To stop by and give them a hug or ask how they're doing.  To cover their class for 15 minutes during your conference.  To write them a note.  Get them their favorite snack or sonic drink.  For no other reason than to tell them they mean something to you, and that you "see" them.  And even more importantly, do it to 5 people who wouldn't expect you to notice them.

And you can even start today by using our "Webb You Matter" form HERE that you've all seen before!

Week at a Glance

Tuesday - Delic on Campus
Team Leader Meeting - 7am - TP Room
Social Studies Vertical - 3:30pm - TP Room
TELPAS Calibration 3:30-6:00pm
Staff Workout - 4pm - Gym
Painting with a Twist - 7pm - College Station
Wednesday - Bible Study - 7am - TP Room
5th Grade Mtg with Jr. High Counselors - 8am - Gym
Thursday - Nesloney Out
Black History Program - 7:45am - Gym
Staff Workout - 4pm - Gym
Black History Program - 6pm - Gym
Friday - Nesloney Out
2nd Grade Play for Prek-1st Grade
Attendance Bingo - 2:15pm - Cafeteria

Delic on Campus

Delic will be on Campus on Tuesday.  We will be looking at your display of student work in the hallway, current data (including benchmark breakdowns for upper grades), as well as intervention plans with struggling students.

Birthdays

February 28 - Julie Brooks
February 28 - Sharon Ganske

Painting with a Twist

PWaT is Tuesday at 7pm!  If you haven't already give me your money please do so, so I can be prepared to pay!  Thanks!

Energy Bus

We will not be meeting to discuss Energy Bus this week.  But you will need to have the book completed by next week, as we will be having meetings next week to discuss the rest of the book!

TP Time

This week, your TP time is yours for planning! Please take advantage of this time to utilize materials you've been given and plan with them, as next week we'll be going over what you did during this time. PLEASE STILL SHOW UP TO HELP WITH MORNING DUTY.

Monday - First Grade
Tuesday - Kinder
Wednesday - 5th Grade
Thursday - 4th Grade
Friday - 3rd Grade

Happy Dreamer

In case you needed the link again, here is a recording of me reading Peter Reynold's new book "Happy Dreamer" HERE.

Kids Deserve It

Here is Episode 61 with Travis Crowder


Blogs/Articles








Rockstar Educators

Maria Alcantara - Maria is one of our PreK teachers.  Maria is phenomenal with her students.  She is calm and loving at all times.  She is a team player and does some of the most creative things with her students.  Maria is also great at connecting with parents.  I love watching Maria interact with her kids because it's clear she views each of them as her own child.

Liz Griesbach - Liz is one of our 5th Grade teachers.  Liz is a powerhouse.  Not only is Liz always full of ideas, but she's always willing to share with others, and to step up in a moments notice.  Liz is a natural leaders and someone who brings a lot to our team!

Ashley Dietert - Ashely is one of our Kindergarten teachers.  I have loved watching Ashley grow even more this year with her students.  She takes advice well and has really stretched herself.  She is also great at getting some of her parents to come in and volunteer as well in the classroom!  Ashley has been such a powerful asset in Kinder!

In Closing...

This week, brighten someone else's world with a few acts of kindness.


Sunday, February 19, 2017

Ask Me

The closer we get to Spring it seems like the shorter our fuses get and the more rambunctious and misbehaving our kids become.

As a classroom teacher I loved having "those kids".  The ones that the teacher from the year before would warn you about.  The ones who pushed every single button you have, and those you didn't even know you had.  The ones who scream, who curse, who run, who say they hate you.  Those are "my kids".  Those are the ones I'm drawn to.

As teachers, we all have some of "those kids" in our class every year.  What I've learned though is that often we can let our own emotions over take us and the way we interact with students.

Time and time again, I've watched a teacher get upset with a child over a choice the child made.  The teacher would yell, or tell them they were a liar or loser, or send them out in the hall without another thought, or make them walk laps at recess, or sit at lunch detention, or more!  But sometimes, the piece I've seen missing has been this....actually talking with the child.

We work with kids who don't know how to control their emotions.  With kids who are taught at home that you scream back at someone when you're upset with them, that you shut down when someone is yelling at you so you can "hide" from the yelling, that you use your fists instead of your words, and more.

Oh how quickly we forget that.  Yes, we teach them otherwise at school.  We teach them school expectations. But they're children.  Those lessons are never "one and done" or even "twenty and done" lessons.  They are lessons we must teach again and again.

I worked with quite a few children this week in my office.  And this week, every single child that was brought to me, I sat down with the, spoke in a calm and quiet voice, and asked them what happened. Asked them to tell me their story.

And do you know what some of them said?
- This morning my mom told me I was her stupid child.  It made me so upset that all day I've been angry at everyone and can't figure out how not to be angry.
- He said something about my dad.  My dad is in the hospital and I haven't seen him in 3 days, so when he said that, all I could see was red.
- Yes, I made a bad decisions, but when my teacher saw, she screamed at me and told me she was sick of my behavior and brought me up here. She didn't even give me a chance to tell her I was sorry and that I knew better and wasn't thinking.

And that is just the tip of the iceberg.

Will kids frustrate us? Yes!  Will they lie, manipulate, get angry, and disappoint us? HECK YES!

So what can we do?  We only have on choice.  We have to be the adult in the situation.  We have to put our own emotions away and stop and talk to them.  Not every poor choice from a child HAS to have a consequence.  Many times you can talk to a child and see they understand their choice, and then move on with the day!

I mean, come on, look at who we have at lunch detention and walking laps at recess?  If it's the same kids, it clearly isn't working as a consequence.

Will having a conversation with a child fix the problem overnight? No. But it's our jobs as educators to grow every part of a child. And getting angry at them and sending them straight to the office before you have even had an opportunity to calmly talks to them, destroys your relationship with that child because they see you as the one who's not really in charge, the office is.

Let's take time this week to stop and talk to our students.

Week at a Glance

Monday  - Nesloney and C. Thomas Out
Inservice (info below)
Tuesday - Nesloney & C. Thomas Out
Writing Vertical - 3:30pm - TP Room
Staff Workout - 4pm
Wednesday - Nesloney & C. Thomas Out
Bible Study - 7am - TP Room
Thursday - Lock Down Drill
Moreland On Campus
Community Building Mtg - 3:30pm - Library
Staff Workout - 4pm
Friday - House Games (with Houston ISD visitors)

Monday

ALL Staff should report to HS at 8:00am for a district wide elementary training until 9:15am (4th Grade Writing Teachers will still report to Webb)

After the meeting you will return to campus.  IAs will meet with Aaron to discuss work for the day.

Lunch is on your own and shouldn't be more than an hour.

Kinder and 1st Grade teams will need to find a 45 minute period to meet with Melissa to go over some of our curriculum materials since we won't have a TP Meeting with you this week.

This should be a day spent organizing lessons and activities for the next few weeks leading up to Spring Break!

Nesloney and Thomas

Myself and Cewilla will be out Monday-Wednesday but will still have access to Email and Voxer if you need us.

Birthdays

February 23 - Ashley Dietert
February 23 - Loriann Whitman
February 25 - Lisha Crawford

The Energy Bus

During your TP Time (or other scheduled time) you will discuss the next three chapters (Chapters 10-12). Please have them read as they are short.

TP Time

This week is an ELA week for TP Time

Monday - Kinder and 1st Grade at some point
Tuesday - 2nd Grade
Wednesday - 5th Grade
Thursday - 4th Grade
Friday - 3rd Grade

Kids Deserve It

Here is Episode 60 with Beth Houf


Blogs/Articles







Rockstar Educators

Brenda Parker - Brenda is one of our PreK Teachers.  Brenda brings such a wealth of knowledge to our campus.  Brenda is also someone who fiercely fights for what's right for our kiddos.  She is such a huge advocate and voice for our littlest students.  She loves them as her own but holds high expectations for them and wants them to be their best.  Brenda is also always willing and ready to share ideas and resources with anyone. I am thankful for teacher leaders like Brenda!

Allison Thomas - Allison is one of our 1st grade teachers. Allison loves on her kids so much.  She is patient and works really hard to connect with each of them.  What I love about Allison is that I don't ever see her give up when working with her kids.  Even though they'll push all of her buttons, she keeps trying to reach every one of them. I love that we have teachers like Allison.

Susan Ballew - Susan is our Life Skills 1 teacher.  I'm not sure I've ever heard Susan raise her voice.  She works so hard to keep calm and love on her students no matter what choices they've made.  She will also advocate for changes and doing what is best for her kids.  She works tirelessly and never gives up! Our students are so lucky to have her as a teacher.

In Closing....

This week, and the rest of this semester, let's remember to in the midst of our crazy day, stop and have conversations with kids.  Find out what's going on in their lives, why they make the choices they do.  Sometimes it may feel like we're talking to a brick wall, but that doesn't mean we stop.  Great teachers never stop trying!



Sunday, February 12, 2017

Look Down

This week has been a week of deep reflection for me.  Every one of us goes through periods where we doubt our gifts, where we wonder if the place we find ourselves in is the place we're best suited.  And for whatever reason I've always felt that February is by far the most difficult month of the school year.  It's that period where we're over the Christmas Break honeymoon, spring break looms around the corner but so does testing, and the kids (and adults) can sometimes act like it's their first time ever in a school setting.

It wears on us, it tears us apart.  I know I am so blessed to work at a campus with 81 staff members.  I work hard to connect with each of you, to spend time in each of your spaces.  I know I could do it better, we always could.  I know I am blessed to work at a campus with over 750 students.  I work hard to get to know each of them, to spend some face to face time connecting with each of them.  I know I could do better, I always can.

I was informed in late December and early January, by several staff, that this year they felt under appreciated.  They felt like I could be doing a better job to bring us all together.  That I could do much better at providing feedback.  That I could be more encouraging.  That I could find more ways to recognize more staff.  And you know what? They were right.  And that kind of feedback keeps me growing.  It led to me (and the rest of the admin team) sending emails every time we do a 10-15 min walkthrough to give more consistent feedback.  It led to the creation of a weekly workout, weekly bible study, and a monthly staff get together.  And it's helped me adjust other ideas I've had too.

When I took a position as a principal, I had high hopes.  I wanted to be the best there ever was.  And though I am not anywhere near where I want to be, I still work at it.  I look at Webb and the growth we've seen over the last two years.  The decrease in ISS/OSS placements, the increase in males being involved on campus, the increase in love for reading, the staff retention, and more.  I'm so proud of our work.  Of the work everyone has done, because this is by NO means a reflection of me or my leadership.  Everything this campus accomplishes is because of the hard work you all put in.

The one thing I never expected when taking a principal position was the constant barrage of anger, disappointment, and frustration.  I want to be very careful how I express this because I LOVE my job and am not complaining by any means.  One thing I never knew as a teacher, that I now know as a principal, is that every day no matter how scheduled and organized I am, is filled with unexpectedness.  On a daily basis I have several parents who tell me how I am the worst leader, I have staff who come in to tell me what I need to fix and how I should be doing things better, I have upper administration who reprimand me for making a decision I felt was best for kids, I have students who are hurt and lashing out, I have the state asking me to do more or making sure we're on the right track, and more.

I look at the work left to do before me and at times it feels overwhelming.  It feels too much. I feel I'm not qualified enough, that someone could do it better.  That someone else should be doing my job.

It's one of the reasons I really don't like winning awards or being recognized for things.  I know I am not "the best".  I know I have a lot of work to do to even be half of what I want to be.

I am always looking at growth.  I push all of you to keep growing and trying.  I see the hard work you're putting in and I'm blown away every day that I get to even share the same building space as you.  You are the game changers, you are the rockstars, and I am the one who is here just to clear the path for you and carry some of your load so you can shine brighter.

I don't share this story as a "woe is me" moment.  I share this to let you know that every one of us deals with doubt.  I love this school so much and want to create the best environment for these kids because they deserve it.  They have enough going wrong in many of their lives that they deserve to come into a building filled with love and the best education ever.

So when it seems too much, when you wonder if you were meant for this, take a moment to look down. Look down into the eyes of the children we serve every day. And remember, you may be the only adult in their life who shows up every day for them.

Week at a Glance
Monday - Staff Meeting - 3:45pm
Tuesday - 4th/5th Grade Benchmark (see info below)
Reading Vertical - 3:30pm - TP Room
Staff Workout - 4:00pm - Gym
Wednesday - 5th Grade Benchmark
Bible Study - 7:00am
2nd Grade Trip to Reed Arena - 8am
Thursday - Boenker & Jackson Out
Staff Workout - 4pm
Friday - Boenker and LaPlant Out
4th Grade Field Trip
End of Progress Reports Grading Period
Saturday - EdCamp Navasota

Benchmarks

This week we take Part 1 of our final benchmarks.  There will be no camp on the days of our Benchmarks as the students will be using the Gym to test.  That also means that you will need to have lunch in your classrooms (or out at the outdoor classroom) those days.  If you need more breaks during the day those two days please let us know.

Schedule is HERE.

Thursday

There will be a period of the day (1:00-2:30pm) where the admin will be out for a meeting.  Please be cognizant of that on that day.

Birthdays

February 18 - Maura Pavlock
February 19 - Susan Brak

The Energy Bus

We will be discussing Chapters 4-9 at the Faculty Meeting.  They aren't difficult chapters to read.  Please have them read before the meeting.

TP Time

This week we'll be discussing math materials again.  So math teachers will need to be present for the PLCs this week.

Monday - 1st Grade
Tuesday - 2nd Grade
Wednesday - 5th Grade
Thursday - 4th Grade
Friday - 3rd Grade

Reading to Classes

This week I would like to read to 2nd and 3rd grade classes.  Please contact me with two or three times/days that works for you.

Kids Deserve It

Here is episode 59 with YouTube sensation Gerry Brooks.


Blogs/Articles







Rockstar Educators

Tamera Boyd - Tammy is one of our 5th Grade teachers.  I have loved working with Tammy over the last 3 years.  I have seen her grow and stretch herself in so many ways.  I love that when she has to be out, she always texts me the next day to tell me how much she missed her children and how happy she is to be back with them.  Tammy loves reading and loves sharing that love with her students.  She cares so deeply and truly wants to see all of her students succeed.

Carolyn Hafley - Carolyn is one of our SPED teachers. Carolyn is a quiet force of nature.  I have loved having conversations with Carolyn where she shares her deep excitement the moments her students make connections or fall in love with a story they're reading together.  Carolyn puts everything she has into her students and always keeps her cool.  She is like a mother to those kids and they absolutely adore her.


Karla Hinojosa - Karla is our 1st Grade Bilingual teacher.  I love watching Karla interact with her students.  But this week I was even more blown away.  This week Karla took the idea of learning money and financial literacy and turned her room into an HEB where students had bags of money and had to decide what they wanted to buy, and then come to her checkout lane to check out with her and count their money and purchase their items.  It was brilliant!  And the kids were having such a great time. I am so thankful for teachers like Karla who provide those immersive learning experiences.


In Closing....

I love the book "Wonder" and I love this little video that RJ Polacio did while talking to kids about what kindness means to them.  This week, let's take the time to spread a little kindness.


Sunday, February 5, 2017

Read Me A Story

If you take just a minute to turn on the television or pull up a news article, you are bombarded with news and information.  Much of which has become a stream of gasp-inducing executive orders, mean-spirited Tweets/Facebook posts, or worse.
One of my favorite things about being a principal is the opportunity to go into classrooms and read stories.  There is nothing better than walking into a classroom and having a kindergarten student tug on my pants leg and ask me, "Mr Nesloney will you read me a story?".  

And I've read stories to classrooms since my first year as a Principal.  A few months ago, I wrote an article for Scholastic's Reader Leader Blog called "She Looked Like Me".  That post came from a new season of my life I had entered.  A season where now I feel so much more educated about providing opportunities for children to read and have stories read to them that include characters and storylines that are personal to them.  No longer do I ignorantly read stories that include predominantly white and/or male characters.

I know stories teach empathy, understanding, and acceptance. Stories can teach you how to deal with your emotions, handle difficult circumstances, and remind you that you're not alone.  And as a Principal I know the importance it is to introduce children to those stories.  And I'm not just talking elementary aged children either.  High School students are EQUALLY as important!

A month or so ago I was able to visit an incredible bookstore in Minnesota.  Instead of having all the picture books organized on one large shelf, it had shelves that were sorted by what country the author or story was from.  And the books were fantastically eye opening.  The distinct artistic and storyline differences.  The concepts, cultures, characters were vibrant and reflective of people from all over the world.

So I chose a variety of stories. I chose books from all over the world and spent way too much money. But I knew it'd be worth it.

This month I read "Seven Blind Mice" written and illustrated by Ed Young to the PreK and Life Skills classes.  A simple story of what seven blind mice THINK they are encountering at their pond.  Ed Young is a Chinese born illustrator and author and his story is filled with beautiful pictures and brief, but powerful story about understanding the whole picture before you make an assumption.

Then I read "My Name is Yoon" written by Helen Recorvits and illustrated by Gabi Swiatkowska to the Kinder-5th grade classes. Gabi is a Polish born artist and Helen's parents were immigrants.  "My Name is Yoon" is a WONDERFUL story of a little Korean girl just moving to America and trying to find her place in an English filled world where she feels alone and can't stand the English version of her name.

I read the stories to the children.  We talked about what they meant, the characters, the lessons.  Did it change their lives? Maybe not.  But what it did do was introduce them to characters that didn't look exactly like them, that didn't sound like them, or necessarily think like them.

Building empathy in children is about letting them see we all go through different things and handle things differently, but in the end we are so very much alike.

We live in a world where people feel more bold than ever before to scream out "illegal", or "learn english!" or "go back where you came from".  A world where 6 year olds stop me in the hall and ask if mommy will be here today to pick her up or if she is going to be deported before she gets home.  A world where a 4th grader stands up and says "I am more than the gangs and drugs you see on my streets".  A world where a 3rd grade girl asks me "Girls can do that too, right?".

As educators we can't waste a moment.  We must use books to teach stories and introduce children to a vast variety of characters and experiences.  Our future depends on it.

Go through your classroom books, seek to diversify and add new stories, and when that child looks up at you and says "will you read me a story?", find a story that will only add to their experiences.  It's easier than you think, but it will take an effort on all of us.

Week At a Glance

Monday - P/T Conference Week
Central Office Curriculum Walk at Webb
Tuesday - P/T Conference Week
Science Vertical Meeting - 3:30pm - TP Room
Staff Workout - 4pm
Wednesday - P/T Conference Week
Nesloney Off Campus
Bible Study - 7am - TP Room
TELPAS Training (Option 1) - 3:30pm - TP Room
PTO Meeting - 5:30pm - Library
Thursday - P/T Conference Week
TELPS Training (Option 2) - 3:30pm - TP Room
Staff Workout - 4pm
Friday - P/T Conference Week
100th Day of School

P/T Conference Week

This week is P/T Conference Week! Make sure we're meeting with all families.  A concern was brought up about parents with non-working numbers or who don't show up for their conference.  That means HOME VISIT!  As a staff we don't do enough of those.  If we need to do them during your conference time or after school an admin can attend with you. But we can't let ANY excuse come up on why we didn't meet with a parent.

TELPAS Training

Aaron will reach out to all those who require a TELPAS Training.  You can attend either the Wednesday one OR the Thursday one.  If you don't hear from Aaron, you don't need to attend.

100th Day

The 100th Day of School is actually Monday, but we didn't want to celebrate until Friday to keep our week as normal as possible :-)  Plan some fun activities to do with your students to celebrate the 100th day.

School Counselor Week

This week is National School Counselor week.  Let's find ways to celebrate our wonderful counselors, Geralyn Jackson and Cewilla Thomas.

Birthdays

February 7 - Angela Calkins
February 11 - Geralyn Jackson

Swivl Recordings

Please make sure you're getting with your evaluator as we've finished just about all Swivl Recordings.  I've only received Google Docs from like 6 of my 20 people, and I have only received requests to meet from two of them.  Please make sure you're getting with your evaluator THIS WEEK to plan a time this month to meet.  You also should have turned in your reflection this week.

Book Study

Due to P/T Conference week we will not be meeting to talk about "The Energy Bus" this week. But we will cover double the chapters next week!

TP Time

This time is to be used as P/T Conference time.

Monday - 2nd Grade
Tuesday - Kinder
Wednesday - 5th Grade
Thursday - 4th Grade
Friday - 3rd Grade

Reading to Classes

This week I would like to read to 4th and 5th grade classes. Please send me a few times/days that work for you and I will send you a calendar invite.

Kids Deserve It

There are limited edition KDI shirts if you want one HERE. Episode 58 with Olympian Christa Dietzen



Blogs/Articles

Margins

28 Ways to Celebrate Black History Month

Some Gifts Are Not So Obvious

19 Books to Help Children Find Hope and Strength

Rockstar Educators

Gerry Williams - Gerry is one of our 3rd Grade Teachers.  Where do I even begin with Gerry?  Whenever I need a volunteer, Gerry is always one of the first ones to step up.  She is encouraging, uplifting, and a huge prayer warrior.  She connects with kids, goes to their events, calls all their parents and works tirelessly to watch each of them succeed.  I am so thankful for leaders like Gerry who never quit and are always giving their all!

Eric Ceballos - Eric is one of our 4th Grade Teachers.  Eric is a continuous learner.  He is always seeking to get better and grow.  He isn't afraid to ask for advice and jumps right into trying something.  Eric is full of energy and is always one who isn't afraid of asking a question.  He loves spending time with his students and genuinely wants to be the best teacher he can be! I love seeing Eric grow and am thankful we have go-getters like Eric!

Lauren Neutzler - Lauren a 2nd Grade Teacher.  Lauren connects with kids on such a personal level.  So much so that whey they hurt, she hurts.  She attends their games, and checks on all her former students.  She's passionate and compassionate.  I am so thankful we have teachers like Lauren who give every single piece of their heart for our kids.

In Closing....

We are at a pivitol point in our education system's history with the potential voting through of Betsy Devos.  Her hearing is this week and it's ever so important for us to stand up, use our voice, and protect public education.  If you haven't already I encourage you to call or email our senator and share your opinions.