Wednesday, September 14, 2016

4 fingers pointing back at you

Today was a great day and a not so great day all wrapped up into one.  I was excited to discuss data with our staff, pushing their thinking a bit, and continuing our journey to do what's best for kids every day, even if it might not be clean and easy.  Sometimes doing what's best is dirty and messy.  The best way to get at the work is to get at the work.  I look forward to getting to work with all of you, moving forward for the benefit of our kids.  But I digress.  Let me go back to the first line.  Today was a great day and a not so great day.

Today was a great day.

  • I got to learn with the staff.
  • I got to have deep conversations with a couple of staff members regarding the data.  I need to have more of these conversations, but today was a great start.
  • Mike and I got to be with all 800 kids today to talk about being a bucket filler.  I was a little nervous, but the kids, as is most always the case, met our expectations and even exceeded them.
  • I got to be in classrooms all afternoon and I got to share out some awesome learning the students were doing.
  • I got to be a part of our 5th grade Family Information Night, a time for our staff to make more connections with family.
  • I got to be husband and father while learning about what Lauren's junior year is going to look like.  I'm proud of Lauren and her vision for her future.
Today was a not so great day.
  • I was nervous, and I mean nervous, about how our assembly was going to go.
  • I was nervous about the conversations that we would have about our data.  As this is our first look at the data for this school year, one never knows how it will be perceived.
  • I had a staff member make a comment to me that hit me between the eyes.  "Jay, I don't know what school you're talking about when you make comments on Twitter about our school, but it isn't the school that I know.  When you find that school, I would love to come and work for you there."
As I reflect on the day, all of the "great day" stuff was about kids and doing what's best for kids.  All of the "not so great day" stuff was before the kids even got to school.  And then it hit me.  I need to look deep within myself, reflect, and do all that I can to work with students, staff, and families to make this the best school learning environment that I can.  This quote comes to mind.

Honestly, if I'm going to make changes in our school, it has to start with me.  In looking at our school data, I know that I must be more involved in the reading and writing in our school.
It started today with these items.  It needs to be something that becomes a part of my daily interactions in school.

  • Writing this blog while in class.  I was modeling but I don't know if the kids, or the staff, knew what I was doing.
  • Reading while in class.  I know the kids and staff saw me reading so modeling was evident.
  • Carry a book with me everywhere I go, except for lunch and recess duty.
  • Fully listening during a mini-lesson.
  • Providing specific feedback when I visit classrooms.
  • Listening in on conversations students are having about their reading or writing.
  • Conferring with students about their reading and writing.

 I know that there is so much more that I can do so I'm up for your suggestions.  I'd also ask you to contemplate what you can do with and for our kids to foster a love for reading and writing.