Friday, September 24, 2010

You're in BIG Trouble...NOT!

Traditionally a trip to the Principals' office is not a good thing.  It happens as the end result of a poor choice made and at worst - a referral!  On Wednesday of this week eight anxious third graders entered my office unsure of why they had even been called to the office.  I immediately informed them they were there because they had a received a referral - a positive referral!  As part of our effort to create citizens of character we have implemented a Positive Recognition Referral at Chets Creek.   Teachers are encouraged to use them to acknowledge students who have:
_____A. Shown RESPECT for self and others: Is attentive and careful of others' feelings and stops and thinks before acting.
_____B. Shown RESPONSIBILITY: Brings appropriate materials and homework daily; has set a goal and has a plan to get there; decides what is important and does it.
_____C. Shown KINDNESS: Treats others the way he/she wants to be treated and cooperates with others.
_____D. Shown SELF-CONTROL: Is trustworthy; listens, follows directions, and chooses to do what he/she knows is the right choice.
_____E. Shown a POSITIVE ATTITUDE: Looks for the best in self and others.
_____F. Has shown GREAT IMPROVEMENT in: _______________________________!
The actions I may take include verbal acknowledgement with the students, phone contact with the parents or public acknowledgement in the school.  I loved talking with this first group of students about how they ended up in my office - no one fretted or cried and no dreaded phone calls were made.  In fact, we celebrated their outstanding displays of character and everyone left with a big smile on their face and a one of a kind "My Principal is Proud of Me!" pencil.  I can't wait for the the next student to get a refferal - the Principal's Office may never be the same again!

Friday, September 17, 2010

BUDs Club - A Tiny Little Division of the PTA

All the research shows that male involvement in the education of our youth has a powerful impact.  Male role models are needed and appreciated in schools.  Six years ago our PTA President and her husband led the charge to get more males involved in our school by organizing the BUDs Club.  BUDs stands for Brothers, Uncles, Dads but is inclusive of any male figure of importance to our children's lives.  This "tiny little division of the PTA" quickly proved what a BIG impact it could have.  In 2007 our BUDs Club was honored with a coveted Parent Involvement Award by the Florida PTA. The small group of charter members has grown to be 100 strong today!  Over the years they have shown up in force to help with the heavy lifting, participated as guest readers in our classrooms, and held movie nights.  Their biggest and most anticipated event each year is without a doubt the Pancake Pigout Breakfast.  The BUDs get up early to cook thousands of pancakes and sausage links, cut up fruit, pour juice and prepare our dining room to host hundreds of Chets Creek students and their BUDs before school.  They even let moms, grandmas and aunts eat, too! And throughout all the fun they plan they have accomplished the goal of getting more males involved - our number of males volunteering has quadrupled!  And as for me - there's nothing like seeing the happy faces of our children as they proudly introduce me to their BUD!   

Friday, September 10, 2010

Fuel Up To Play - It's Team Spirit Day!

Today was Team Spirit Day at the Creek! Many donned the colors of their favorite NFL or college teams, and some wore their CCE spirit shirts, but all the Creekers celebrated the fact that they were part of a special team that works together and supports each other. Our PE Team approached me about implementing a Fuel Up to Play program this year in an effort to compete for a $10,000 NFL Play 60 grant that will be awarded to 34 Super Schools this year. I immediately became excited about the activities they had planned for promoting nutrition and exercise with our students. They kicked off their program today with Back to Football Friday that included football activities through PE classes this week and culminated in our entire school committing to completing 2 laps around our track immediately following lunch today. This whole school effort resulted in a whopping 700 miles logged during the event! Twenty lucky participants were also awarded either a football autographed by one of our local Jacksonville Jaguar players or a Jaguars program book! Aside from the health and wellness grant the winning schools also receive a visit from a NFL player. The kids were excited to have accepted and exceeded the goal for our first challenge. The Creek's got sprirt - yes we do - the Creek's got spirit - how 'bout you???

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Book Fairy's Magic

I vividly remember the first day I met KK Cherney. I had been surplussed from a school I loved and had been sent to work at a new school being built. I was nervous about meeting my new principal and so uncertain about what my future held. She greeted me with a 1000 watt smile and the warmest hey and sincerest welcome you’ve ever heard at the door of our first assembly as a faculty and my life has never been the same. The pit in my stomach turned to anticipation of something that was sure to be exciting if she was involved. In looking back over the last 13 years, exciting isn’t quite the right word – the experience is more like electrifying! I fell in love with her instantly. I can also promise you that everyone, grown or not, who has met her could share a near identical story.

She understands the importance of relationships and seeks to know and love every child she serves. She is routinely sought out by students for celebrations of a goal achieved, help in completing a difficult task, or for a hug and reassurance that everything will be ok during times of disappointment and sadness. One of the greatest honors I receive is when a child mistakenly calls me Mrs. KK – I wish! She engages authors, illustrators, business partners, and community members in joining our mission to create truly meaningful learning experiences for children. She doesn’t know the word “no” and sees every obstacle to success as a mere challenge.

I have never known an educator more passionate about creating a love of books in children. Her passion for the written word is contagious. From enthralling story times, that almost surely involve costuming or props, to her engagement of students in the use of Web 2.0 tools every child loves the learning time spent with Mrs. KK. Our “Book Fairy” routinely spends every dime of the profits from our Book Fairs each year buying and placing books in the hands of those who might not have them otherwise. She worked this past year to create an offsite library in one of our largest neighborhoods so that families could get their hands on books after the school day and throughout the summer.

I was not surprised to find out this summer that she had been nominated for and selected as one of the five finalists for the Alferd Williams Literacy Award given by Scholastic to honor those who inspire a love of reading. Alferd Williams enrolled in first grade at the age of 70 after a lifetime of illiteracy to make good on a promise he had made to his mother to learn to read. In my book there is no one more more suited for or deserving of this honor than KK Cherney. Please visit to place your vote for Chets Creek Elementary’s Book Fairy, KK Cherney!