Monday, June 13, 2016

We Are Proud!

Principal ponderings...

A few weeks ago, I asked teachers and paraprofessionals to think about and share what they were proud of from this school year.  It didn't take long for people to fill up sticky notes and chart paper.  I wanted to share with all of you some of these accomplishments; a list like this makes me proud to be the principal of Florence Roche!

We are proud of...

  • the number of staff who took SEI endorsement courses and/or ELL classes
  • completing my first year as a new teacher
  • being flexible and patient when dealing with schedule changes
  • the hard work and progress with the new math program, Eureka
  • piloting several Units of Study for Writer's Workshop
  • persevering with a challenging group of students
  • working and raising our own families
  • gaining an understanding of a student that I have worked with all year
  • the progress made in year one and two of a co-teaching model
  • leading PD in the multi-part series
  • transitioning from a different school district to Groton-Dunstable
  • progress made by our ELL students
  • coming back to work after being a stay-at-home mom
  • accomplishments and progress of many different students
  • forming a new building leadership team
  • our awesome music concerts
  • surviving the school year and watching a student thrive
  • helping out in a challenging classroom and learning from the experience
  • creating and implementing a rubric for placement
  • our grade level teams
  • my own children and all of their accomplishments this year
  • passing the MTEL!
  • student growth in social emotional skills
  • student growth in academics
  • making a break through with a student
  • 2nd year of Student Council
  • participation in the Variety Show!
  • collaborating on implementing new curriculum
  • working at FloRo with dedicated teachers and administrators 
  • working with a student who at the beginning of the year would not look at me, now he gives me a hug everyday :)
I know that there are even more things that happened in your classrooms, in the hallways, on the playground, that you are proud of.  So many special moments.  So many times where you had an impact on one student or many students.  So many times when you surprised yourself with a plan that worked or an 'aha' moment that caught you by surprise.

I am proud of all of the dedicated educators in our school.  You have worked extremely hard this year with new curriculum and regular daily challenges.  I am proud of the students in our school.  They have worked hard with the new curriculum and regular daily challenges.  And now, the school year is quickly coming to an end.  Keep all those proud memories tucked away.  Reread the above list as you relax this summer.  Let all of your accomplishments and hard work from this year guide you as you plan for next year.  Pat yourself on the back for a job well done, put your feet up and take a break, take pride in what you have done all year for our students, and get ready to do it all over again next year!

Currently reading:
My husband is wondering why we keep getting Amazon boxes in the mail.  Well...because I have to gear up for summer reading of course!!  Here's a new to be read pile that just came over the weekend.  It's got a mixture of some MCBA books, some professional development books and a recommendation from Mrs. Guernsey for a personal read...

Events this week:
Monday - Dr. Rodriguez visits FR in the pm, Kindergarten Meet the Teacher @ 4:00
Wednesday - FIELD DAY!!  Teachers should have report cards entered and checked over by today.
Thursday - 4th Grade Moving Up Ceremony @ 9:30 in the PAC, End of Year Assembly @ 2:00 on the back field, Staff Party at Maureen's house
Friday - Last day of school!!  Half day of school, 12:15 dismissal, Step Up Day @ 10:00

Great things I noticed last week:

  • Loved watching Mrs. Spiczka's kindergarteners perform for their parents.  It's amazing to think how far these kids have come since those first days back in August!
  • I had two first graders pop into my office and read to me what I wrote for the Memory Book.  Definitely loved hearing them read the A.A. Milne quote I included: "You are braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem and smarter than you think!"
  • On Wednesday, I got to go on the Williams Barn field trip with Mrs. Pierantozzi and Mrs. Fournier's class and learn about school days of long ago and how soap and butter was made back in the late 1800s!
  • To practice penmanship on their slates and learning a valuable lesson, 3rd graders copied this poem from the board...hey, that sounds like growth mindset to me!
  • What is Mrs. Fulreader doing?!  Tap dancing her way into the last week of school with a smile on her face! :)

Check it out:
What's on your summer writing bucket list?
Here's a great list of professional resources for literacy:

Monday, June 6, 2016

Summer Assignment You Will Want to Do!

Principal ponderings...

I had a different post written for this week, but then a friend shared this article from Huffington Post, and I filed my other post away.  Take a look at this Italian professor's summer assignment list.  Now those are assignments that I definitely support!  Reading his list, made me think back to several summers ago when I spent my summer in Florence, Italy.  I signed myself up for a creativity workshop in one of the most creative and beautiful places in the world.  The workshop was amazing, and everyday we would spend time doing activities that stretched our thinking and got those creative juices flowing.  We would end our workshop session in time for a relaxing lunch together, and the afternoon would be left for exploring and completing our assignments.  Our assignments were often things like: go sit in a cafe for at least an hour and watch the people that come and go.  Sketch a picture of someone or write a description of them.  I have to say it was one of the most inspiring, relaxing times of my life.

So when I read this list from this Italian professor, it took me back to those wonderful days, and it reminded me that I can give myself some of those assignments from my workshop or add some from his list.  Of course, I love that he says read as much as you can because "it's the best form of rebellion you have."  And you know that I will be reading as much as I can over the summer.  Hope you get a chance to as well!  I love the idea of sitting and watching the sunrise and just being thankful in that moment.  And whether you are alone in your kitchen, at a wedding or having dinner out with friends...think about dancing shamelessly.  I guarantee you will feel better afterwards.

After reflecting with all of you last week, it is evident that you have all worked incredibly hard this year.  You have been dedicated to helping our students be successful.  You have been studying and unpacking new curriculum until your eyes hurt.  You have planned, implemented, redesigned and reimplemented behavior plans to help students learn how to be their best.  You have pushed your students and each other.  Always striving for growth.  But what was also evident after our reflection all need rest, relax, rejuvenate this summer.  You need this assignment list!  We all need this assignment.

Read over the assignment list a few times.  Think about which assignments you will do this summer.  And maybe add some of your own for extra credit!
And be sure to...
"In sparkling sunlight or hot summer nights, dream about how your life could and should be. During the summer, always do everything you can to avoid giving up, and everything you can to pursue your dream."

What is on your summer assignment list for yourself?

Currently reading:
I am making my to be read piles for this summer.  What's on your summer reading list?  I am going to be helping run a book study of Reading in the Wild.  I ran one last year that involved face to face meetings.  This one is with people all over the country through Voxer.  Let me know if you are interested!  And don't forget to check out the PD books in the curriculum office that are available for book clubs.  Maybe you want to organize your own!
Here is one of my many book piles...

Events this week:
Monday - 3rd grade Williams Barn Trip
Tuesday - 3rd grade Williams Barn Trip
Wednesday - 3rd grade Williams Barn Trip, 4th grade library trip
Friday - Liz and Dianna @ SLT meeting in the am, 3rd grade library trip, 4th grade Scout presentation during lunch

Great things I noticed last week:

  • Thanks to John Wiesner and the 3rd grade team for putting on a fabulous concert!  I'm always amazed at the talent that shines at the concert. 
  • I enjoyed listening to teachers reflect on what they were proud of from this year, goals for next year and how they are going to relax and rejuvenate this year.   I think having ice cream available helped everyone get in the reflection mode!
  • Thank you Mrs. Wilkins' class for inviting me to see your Reader's Workshop performance.  They traveled to different kindergarten classrooms to share their performance!
  • I forgot to snap a photo, but I also enjoyed reflecting and celebrating the year with all of the paraprofessionals on Friday.  They also talked about what they were proud of, goals for next year and how they will be relaxing this summer.

Check it out:

  • If anyone is interested in some motivation to write this summer...check out this community of teacher writers that Kate Messner organizes.  I signed up and hope to do some writing and learning from other writers.
  • Here is the quote that I shared at both the staff meeting and the para meeting: