Friday, May 13, 2011

A Bend in the Road...

Honestly it's been a pretty bad week for me - in fact, one of the worst I can remember in a long time.  Our budget situation for next year is more horrible than I could have ever imagined, resulting the in the loss of $854,000.  Yep, you read that right, there are three zeros behind that 854, almost a million dollars lost.  Impact: Supplies, Instructional Materials, Books, and more importantly PEOPLE - Paraprofessionals, Office Staff, and Teachers.  This enormous sum has translated into the potential loss of as many as 28 of our valued employees and treasured CCE family members.  Devastating.  I am sad for the terrible loss of our part time employees who are just out of a job, disheartened for the full time employees who are being surplussed into uncertainty and deeply worried about how the loss of these critical stakeholders will impact our children.  The ways in which our precious future are touched and changed by these people each and every school day are immeasurable.

And then I was reminded of something very important by one of our baby teachers - one of the very teachers I had to bring into my office this week to tell that she may be losing her position here.  During a time when it would be easy to be wrapped up in how devastating these changes could be for her she instead thought of others and reached out to me in an act of selfless generosity.  The spirit of which epitomizes what has always made the Creek just a little different.  We are a family of people who care about and love each other, we rally in the tough times, lift each other up when necessary and stick together like no school community I've ever had the privledge of serving.

I dragged myself into my office Thursday morning, still reeling from the emotional conversations I'd had the beginning of the week, and worried about how we would manage.  On the middle of my desk was a large white box, covered in yellow and black CAUTION tape and inside this box were "rocky road" cupcakes complete with road signs, orange traffic cones and a note that began with this quote:

"A bend in the road is not the end of the road...unless you fail to make the turn." Author Unknown

The note continued with these precious words, "...I thought this week would be the perfect time to send you a little something to brighten your day.  I heard the above quote earlier this week and it really hit home with me right now.  I know I can't even fathom the long road we have ahead of us but I know this school will make the turn.  I am blown away by how many high spirits I see throughout the halls and I know that it is only happening because this school truly has something different and wonderful about it..."

WOW, out of the mouths of babes - she's right.  No matter what roadblocks are thrown in our way - and trust me there have been plenty over the years, we have not AND will not be deterred from our mission to create a learning community where caring individuals feel safe to dream of the unknown, experiment with ideas and experience the thrill of success.  Our children can't afford for us to fail, they deserve the very best we have to offer them.  It's not the end of the road, just time to start making the turn...


Christine Montero said...

I need one of those cupcakes.

It's nice to be surrounded by so many smart people who care about their colleagues and the whole community. Thanks for being the best principal I've ever known. It's because of you that everyone here behaves the way they do.

dayle timmons said...

They say that character is carved during the difficult times and I certainly have been one this week that has lifted my hands to say,
"Dear God - enough! My character can't handle any more!" But then Liz reminds us that it is in these dark times that are creative juices run on overdrive and we begin to have ideas that we might once have never imagined. Even through these challenging times and difficult decisions, we WILL rally around each other and we WILL make this an even better place. The BEST is just around that next turn!

Mrs. Bass said...

I totally agree with Christine! You are an incredible leader who has cultivated an incredible group of professionals!

Julie said...

"Out of the mouth of babes" !! But really my cheese is just fine!! No need to move it again!! I have had the blessing of working with this "babe" for a year and she has taught me more than I could imagine! This time last year I was in tears losing an amazing coteacher thinking how could I do it without her - I did and surpassed what I thought I couldn't. It will not be easy at all but I hope to surpass what I thought was not possible at this time next year despite the horrific changes we are FORCED to overcome! We have a great leader and support at Chets!! All I know is we will end up on top!

Meli Launey said...

I never knew a place like Chets existed before I came here. My first year I kept walking around thinking that I had died and gone to "school heaven". It wasn't because of the creative bulletin boards, beautiful theme decorations, or access to technology, which had drawn me here in the first place. Those things were nice, and added to the greatness of Chets, but they weren't the reason I felt so lucky. It was the PEOPLE. It was Stanley who helped me move in all my furniture and was the first one to give me all the "inside tips" at Chets. It was KK and Karen Willet, who were like "behind the scene" fairies..making our school a magical place. It was Rick and Angela and Dorry who valued my opinions and had the most amazing ideas I had ever heard. It was Suzanne who always knows what to say to make me feel better. It was a school full of people who were supportive and actually LOVED coming to work. They smiled and laughed and enjoyed each other (This seemed rare to me). It was a principal who understood, supported, and appreciated me through some pretty rocky times. We will bend, twist, turn, whatever it takes. I know it.

Mrs. Patricia Wallace said...

Thank you for sharing. It's giving me a new perspective on the situation. I'm still afraid of what's to come. I'm worried about not seeing so many faces gracing this building next year. My fear is that this could be at a great cost to our children.

Thank you for trying to carry the burden of our worries so that we would try worry less (which by the way is really hard to do when you're an expecting mama). This building isn't just a building. It really is a family and I feel very fortunate to be a part of such a wonderful community.

... time for me to make the turn...

Anonymous said...


Jenny said...

Anyone in business knows that your most expensive BUT MOST VALUABLE assets are ALWAYS your people. But, I Chets it's even more so. Twenty-eight such a big number. I definitely see what you meant when you said you were worried about having enough people to keep our 1300 students SAFE throughout the day. :( Life is going to change.

Melanie Holtsman said...

I am humbled to be a part of our community and am touched on your behalf by this gift. Praying and hoping for the best we can get and also giving thanks for all we have and all we are...

Angela Phillips said...

I am at a loss of words to say. My heart goes out to everyone. I love our Chets family!

Anonymous said...

I am trying to get there.

Most peolple do not embrace change. In fact most people abhor change like a trip to an oral surgeon. Most people do find out that change is never really as bad as we have scripted the change to be in our minds.

When I think about people that search out change as a way of life, like polar explorers, astronauts, and cupcake bearing K teachers, I find that those folks tend to lead full and rich lives.

But like I said, I am only trying to get there.



Dorry Lopez said...

Please read this inspiring poem:

The End Of The Road Is But A Bend In The Road

by Helen Steiner Rice

When we feel we have nothing left to give
And we are sure that the "song has ended"--
When our day seems over and the shadows fall
And the darkness of night has descended,

Where can we go to find the strength
To valiantly keep on trying,
Where can we find the hand that will dry
The tears that the heart is crying--

There's but one place to go and that is to God
And, dropping all pretense and pride,
We can pour out our problem without restraint
And gain strength with Him at our side--

And together we stand at life's crossroads
And view what we think is the end,
But God has a much bigger vision
And he tells us it's only a bend--

For the road goes on and is smoother,
And the "pause in the song" is a "rest,"
And the part that's unsung and unfinished
Is the sweetest and richest and best--

So rest and relax and grow stronger,
Let go and let God share your load,
Your work is not finished or ended,
You've just come to "a bend in the road."

Carolyn Swidorsky said...

Susan, I do not envy your position. However, I do have the utmost faith in you that you will, as always, do everything in your power for our CCE family.

amanda said...

I am so blessed to have had my first teaching experience at Chets. I came in with very little and have grown so much thanks to an AMAZING principle, a phenomenal office staff, very helpful Paras, and wonderful peers as mentors. This is such a scary time for new teachers like me, but I am so comforted to know that Susan will do anything in her power to help out a Chets family member. I have surprised myself with all that my Kindergarten children (and I) have accomplished and we have so much to celebrate as this school year comes to an end! Thanks for the prayers, love and support Chets Creek .

Dee Dee Tamburrino said...

Today, I am having to come to grips with the fact that I am losing half my team next year.

I feel like I'm looking through a slice of Swiss cheese showing gaping holes in the fabric of our day.

For the past four years, Susan has been warning us that this day was coming. It has arrived.

Up to this point, she has been able to offer a parachute in the midst of our free-fall. This year, her cord has been cut and there is no safety net to catch my co-workers.

It is heart-breaking to watch, but I trust her to do everything in her power to help us get around the bend and steady our course, once we've made the turn.

Blessed are the flexible for they shall not break when the winds of change blow harder and harder, trying to beat us down at every turn.

Thank you, Susan, for your leadership in the midst of this great storm.

Wanda Lankford said...

I am so Blessed to be apart of CCE!