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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.