Friday, January 25, 2008

Make A Wish... Now BLOW!

WOW! What a week! I have enjoyed every crazy, hectic, fun filled moment of celebration this week as we have relived ten years of relationships, risk taking and results! I cherished the smiles of recognition as we journeyed through time on the Magic School Bus and by visiting the CCE Museum. I loved seeing new and old faculty and students alike sharing in our favorite books of the month. I celebrated as we danced the chicken dance and sang Happy Birthday with the most fun students on the planet at our birthday party. I swelled with pride as our family joined together in a human CCE for the fabulous aerial photo. I wept with gratitude as I read the wonderful C is for Chets Creek book that you and your students wrote. You captured our past, present and future beautifully.

Thanks to one of our business partners I am able to gift this very special frame to each on you. They were placed in your mailboxes today. (The crown frames are on back order so for those of you that didn't get yours' today - you will soon - I promise!)
No need for me to blow out the candles - I'll leave that job up to you. My wish came true a long time ago. I work in the best school in the country, with the most talented teachers in the world and spend my days with the most awesome students in the universe. What more could anyone ask for?
Believing is just the beginning...

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Happy Birthday CCE!

Ten years ago on January 20, 1998 I walked through the doors of Chets Creek Elementary as a young and eager Kindergarten teacher ready to christen Room 108 along with my 32 "precious" Phillips' Frogs. I was in the middle of what had certainly been one of the hardest, if not the absolute hardest, years of my career. I had been surplussed from a great school that I loved and was heavily invested in and had the largest, most challenging group of students I had encountered thus far. When I used the word eager earlier - well that really meant scared. I was full of anticipation in regards to my new educational home. Would I fit in? Would the faculty be nice? How would this school run compared to my previous experiences? Would my new principal think I was any good?

I threw myself into the excitement of opening a brand new school. I put myself out there and seized any opportunity to be involved, be a part of what I quickly realized was going to be a once in a lifetime opportunity. I was given my first professional read, Improving Schools from Within, by Roland Barth. This text is the foundational piece on which the collegial environment of Chets was crafted. We met together as teams - vertical and horizontal. We wrote the first CCE diagnostic and screening students three times a year. We celebrated each others' successes. We embraced a revolutionary new program called America's Choice that served to do nothing short of completely transforming the way we approached teaching and learning. We started new rituals and traditions. We created a learning environment that we would want our own children to attend. We laughed, ate, cried, partied, fought and loved on each other. We became a family.

I have a heart for these children, for each and every one of you - for this most special place. This experience has changed me - it has helped to define my life's work. Little did I know that stepping through those doors that day would be a total life altering experience!

I am FOREVER changed.

Believing is just the beginning...

Friday, January 11, 2008

Give Details Top Billing

"There are two words that make operations work around here... quality and pride. If you design, build, operate, and maintain with quality, people will take pride in what they do."
Dick Nunis, Walt Disney Attractions

It's time to take a careful look at the "attractions". Have our classrooms and hallways become cluttered, displays tattered, charts unused? Take some time during the next week or on the upcoming planning day to survey the site and make needed repairs to bulletin boards, visuals in the room, or put aways items no longer in use. Get a friend to look around and show you the details that need attention - it is hard to see areas of concern in your own space sometimes! Improving the quality increases the pride.

Believing is just the beginning...

Friday, January 4, 2008

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

The internet is such an excellent way to research and share materials, explore uncharted territories and socialize with folks from around the globe. The benefits of having a worldwide library of information available at your fingertips are far reaching. While we shouldn't fear the use of technology we should remain mindful of the ramifications of the freedom of information. Take a moment to look at this video below:

Once it is on the net, it is accessible forever. Think carefully about what you post and who may be checking you out - Colleagues? Parents? Or even your students? Take a few moments to check out your MySpace page (if you have one), personal blogs and websites or Google yourself and see what pops up. Remember, a picture is worth a thousand words - what does the internet say about you?

Believing is just the beginning...