Monday, November 25, 2013

My Thanksgiving note to staff #SAVMP

As Thanksgiving is only a few short days away, I sent this out to all staff this morning in an effort to show my thanks for all that they do for our students, our families, and each other.  Here it is in "smore" form.  What follows is the text of the message.

It sounds cliche, but I cannot thank you enough for all that you do for our students, families, and each other. You always step up to the next challenge with great effort and a true belief that what you do is ultimately what is best for kids. Your conviction to get better for our students is incomparable. In the following paragraphs, I will try to explain what my "THANKS" stands for not just during the Thanksgiving season but all of the time.

You are a thoughtful group. You reach out to support our students and one another. Last week, many of you came to me to see how I was doing. I cannot thank you enough for taking the time out of your busy day to talk with me, either in my office or in the hallway. This is my own personal example of your thoughtfulness. I'm sure that our students and our colleagues have a multitude of examples of how we support our Merton family.

You are a helpful group. There have been so many times that you have stepped up to help out a student, a colleague, or me. Just this last week, six of you joined me on a Friday night to chaperone our 7th and 8th grade dance. You could have stayed home and spent time with your own families, but you knew that I needed your help here. Once again, like the examples of your thoughtfulness, I'm sure that there are many more examples of how you step up, daily, to help our students and one another.

Never in education has attitude been more important. The changes to the landscape of education, from curriculum to schedules to negative perceptions of teachers, could have stifled and altered your attitude. You have not lost your positive attitude. You say your piece, vent at times, but your attitude always returns to the belief that we are doing what is best for our students.

No matter the grade level, I see the nurturing nature that you have for our students. You want what is best for them and they, in turn really do their best for you. You may get frustrated with a student now again, and I do too, but then you take them under your wing, develop a plan to move forward, and celebrate their new found success. Just last week, a teacher came to me to show off a test score from one of her students. I have seen how hard she worked with this student, and in turn the improvement in the effort and understanding of this student, and it was truly a celebration of their work and perseverance. I know that you all have your own personal examples of this and I encourage you to celebrate these as well.

You are a kind lot. You truly believe in and encourage one another and our students. It's so much easier to be kind than mean and the benefits you reap from being kind can carry you through the day. Let's continue to be kind, and foster that in our students. They learn a lot more from us than just curriculum and whether you realize it or not, they model nearly everything we do.

You are all superb. What else can I say? The dictionary definition is excellent, superlative, first-rate. This definition fits you all perfectly. Continue to share with one another, push each other, and support each other. Together we will keep working on becoming the best that we can be.

I hope that you enjoyed the message.  I truly mean it from the bottom of my heart.