Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

I had the privilege of participating in O'Rourke's 8th Grade Community Service Day yesterday. Middle school teachers did an awesome job organizing dozens of service opportunities for the entire 8th grade class. Seven students and I traveled over to the Crossroads Center for Children, a school in Rotterdam that specializes in teaching autistic children. I watched a young special education teacher named Brian working with his group of 12 little people in his "kindergarten readiness" class. The classroom was filled with tangible kindness and patience. At the same time, lessons were differentiated, many behaviors were seamlessly addressed, and the class flowed beautifully.

My visit reminded me how thankful I am to be part of a profession where we fact we MUST.. mix technical expertise with personal connections and relationships... I see it every day in the classrooms and workspaces of BHBL. I recently observed a high school math teacher who incorporated a rigorous lesson design and instructional technology with humor and caring questions for her students. The other day, I sat behind a bus driver who demonstrated technical skill and caution as she drove, yet told me stories about her riders that made it obvious how well she knew them and how much she cared. 

The examples go on and on... in the last two weeks alone, teachers continued professional development on incorporating Common Core Learning Standards, the Leadership team developed comprehensive instructional program reviews for the Board of Education, working teams were formed for Phase 1 of the Capital Project, our security team and the School Board worked on passing a resolution seeking improvements to the Lakehill Road high school crosswalk, and the IT Leadership team devoted significant time to discussing some exciting ideas related to classroom technology. Amidst all of the technical work, our staff and students participated in a huge community wide Thanksgiving food drive, a great Fall drama production, a robotics scrimmage, a highly successful athletic post-season, and a student-led Veteran's Day ceremony just to name a few things.  

Success in our line of work requires highly technical and precise work blended with heart, enthusiasm, and connection with our kids and with each other. That's a tall order. I am thankful to be able to work with and get to know individuals who fill that order everyday. Connecting with Kids. Connecting for Kids. 

Have a great Thanksgiving holiday with your family and friends. 


PS: A little advice on fixing your Thanksgiving Dinner from Heather Mosall's Kindergarteners. I wonder if you can tell which part of the district each student lives in... :)

Go to the store to get a turkey. The store gets it from a farm. Get a turkey that is as big as the chair. Put it in a big pot and get a squirter to squirt juice on it. Cook it for 50 minutes. Mommy needs to get it out because it is hot. Eat your turkey with rolls, stuffing and rice. -Jayden

Get a bag. Go to the woods. They hide up in trees somewhere. So get a big ladder and go up and get them as fast as you can. Turkeys are fast. Put the turkey in the bag. Put it in the car and buckle the bag up, so the turkey doesn’t go crazy. Bring it home and cook it and eat it.