Friday, September 18, 2015

Our first 5 day week...with students

Interesting title, wouldn't you say?  We are ending our first full week with the students but I know all of you too well.  This isn't your first 5 day week of the school year.  I would venture to say that you have had 7 day weeks since some time in August.  That's just who you are as an educator in Merton.  I appreciate it, but more importantly, the students appreciate it.  They might not thank you with words, but their actions this first three weeks say it.  Students are on task, engaged in their learning, and putting forth an effort that I haven't seen in a long time.  Keep the students engaged and provide them some choice and great things will happen.  Do me a favor this next week.  Share the great things you are doing with your colleagues.  Share them with me.  Let the school community know the great things you are doing.  If you do that, the 'thank yous' will come pouring in.  At last week's Principals' Chat, two people thanked the entire district in front of the 40 or so in attendance.  One was a mother new to Merton.  The other was a grandmother, the guardian of her grandson, and mother of Merton graduates.  They praised the work that you do each and every day with their children.  The kids might not thank you with words, but I can do that for them.  THANK YOU!

Calendar
Friday, September 18                   7/8 dance 7:00-9:00
Saturday, September 19              Golf outing (2:30) and Barn Bash (6:00) at Ironwood GC
Monday, September 21                BLT meeting 4:15-5:15 (STEM lab)
Tuesday, September 22                CPI training 7:30-8:30 (IS library)
                                                        Practice 4:15-5:15 (IS library)
Wednesday, September 23           A-team meeting 1:30-3:30 (Primary School)
                                                        CPI training 4:15-5:15 (IS library)
Thursday, September 24              School Board member Phil Spindler is joining us for lunch
                                                        Practice 4:15-5:15 (IS library)
***At team meetings next week, please bring examples of student work that you are proud of in order to share with the teams.  We also need to share #OneNewThing with our teams.  Let's make our meetings "extra" collaborative and fun this week.

A note from Phil Spindler
We are a few weeks into the school year now and have hopefully started to settle in (at least that's what I hear from Mr Heinze).  I want to come in during your lunch break to make myself available for conversation (sorry about commandeering the brief respite you have during the day).  There are a few new faces that I have yet to meet and would love the opportunity to introduce myself and get caught up with any new concerns or ideas that are floating around.  I will be at the Intermediate school Thursday, September 24th so please come by to chat or just say hi.
Phil Spindler
School Board Member

Practice starts next week
We will be starting Practice after school on Tuesdays and Thursdays beginning September 22nd.  Practice runs from 4:15-5:15 in the Library.  If you are able to help out, you will be compensated $20 per session.  Just let me know if you are available.  Thanks!

Beyond the Bake Sale book discussion
Starting in October, I'm going to be hosting a book discussion about Beyond the Bake Sale.  You can find a review here.  But don't buy the book!  I'll be buying one for you.  The entire idea behind the book is to develop partnerships with our families and community to make Merton an even better school.  We'll have face to face discussions and we're even going to be having a discussion with schools from Connecticut and Missouri thanks to my PLN.  Even if you don't read the book, you can join us for the discussion with the two schools.

Tweets, quotes, and blogs
"If you are successful, it is because somewhere, sometime, someone gave you a life or an idea that started you in the right direction.  Remember also that you are indebted to life until you help some less fortunate person, just as you were helped."- Melinda Gates, philanthropist
Strategies for Reaching Apathetic Students (from edutopia)

"Fortune sides with him who dares."- Virgil, poet
"We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."- Will Durant, historian and philosopher
"Listening is being able to be changed by the other person."- Alan Alda, actor and director
"The greatest mistake we make is living in constant fear that we will make one."- John Maxwell, author and speaker
"If you work really hard and you're kind, amazing things will happen."- Conan O'Brien, entertainer
#mertonint on Twitter
@mertonint on Twitter

Thanks, Jolie!
I don't normally point out specific staff, but I felt inclined to this week.  On Wednesday morning, Jolie stopped by my office looking for me before school.  I was meeting with a family and once I was done, I went to Jolie's room to see what she needed.  What happened next is the interesting part.  It wasn't what Jolie needed, it was what I needed.  She and I had a great conversation about the start of the school year and with it came the "change" that she says some of you have noticed in me.  Let's just say, if Jolie hadn't mentioned anything I wouldn't have had the chance to reflect on my behavior and attitude, and I would have never known how I appeared to some of you.  I have a number of things on my mind, not unlike each of you, and sometimes it's the timing of a discussion or a meeting that have an impact on my behavior and attitude.  I want only what is best for all of you and for our students.  That is a fact.  In the coming days and weeks, I hope to show all of you that I am dedicated to you as a staff and that I have your best interest in mind.  Above all of that, I have the best interest of our students in mind.  I am so glad to be a part of this Merton family.  And thanks again, Jolie.

Have a terrific weekend.  Let's renew and refresh for next week!
Jay