Sunday, June 14, 2015

Here we grow again...

Principal ponderings...
Once again, it's hard to believe that I am sitting here writing my last blog post for the school year.  As I said in our staff meeting, this is been quite a different year for me.  Personally, it has been the best year of my life.  At the beginning of the school year, I had one job, being the instructional leader of our school, and now, at the end of the school year, I have two jobs, still the principal of the school, but now I have the privilege of being momma to this amazing little lady...
While it has certainly been a disjointed year for me since I was here and then on leave and then back again, I am gradually growing into my new reality.  Like the little seed in the picture above, I know I still have a lot of struggling to do as I grow into a better instructional leader.  But I am ready for the challenge!  I am excitedly looking forward to spending time this summer planning for next year.  This will be my 5th year at Florence Roche, and I want to make it a great one!  I will be compiling all of the notes you provided during our reflection last week, looking for trends and using the information to set goals.

Thank you.  Two small words that never seem enough.  Thank you to all of you for coming to work each day and doing what you do best...educating our students.  Thank you for being so supportive when I took time off to be with my family.  Thank you to Dianna Fulreader, assistant principal and way more!  Thank you for supporting Dianna in my absence.  Thank you for all of the extra time and energy that you put into providing the best learning experiences for our students.  Thank you for going above and beyond to support more than just the academic needs of our students.  

We have begun to talk about having a growth mindset for our students.  At the same time, we need to also think about having that same growth mindset for ourselves.  Just like in the seed image, for us to grow, we are doing to have to get dirty, we might feel like we are covered in darkness at times, we are going to have to struggle.  But eventually, we will reach the light, and we will be even better educators for having gone through that process.  Besides watching the students grow and learn, the best part of my job is watching all of you grow and learn and helping you improve skills you already have and develop ones that you never knew you could have.

As I was reading some blog posts of other principals that I follow, I came across one that definitely resonated with me and I wanted to share it with all of you:
"Many leaders believe that the way to sustain change is to communicate a vision, and then monitor compliance.  They use evaluation, write-ups, or walkthroughs as a hammer to ensure 100% compliance.  This philosophy will never lead to sustained change...we have to realize that change doesn't get done in the faculty meeting or staff email.  It gets done one conversation at a time.  It gets done in one-to-one relationships.  It gets done with a lot of talking and a lot of listening.  It gets done inviting disagreement and conflict in a safe environment. It gets done addressing the concerns and obstacles of the people closest to the change.  It gets done over the long haul." (
I am excited about the possibilities of what we will accomplish together over the long haul.  In a few more days, it's time to put your feet up, maybe sleep in or don't set your alarm, read some books for the fun of it, be with your families, reflect on the year, wonder about the future, enjoy the lazy days of summer.  Take a break and recharge.  And then get ready to do it all again, even better than this past year.  

What will your growth look like next year?  What will our growth as a school look like?  I can't wait to see!

Currently reading:
Definitely looking forward to scheduling in some regular reading time as soon as the school year comes to an end.  Here is just one of my 'to be read' piles...
Came across this list of fiction recommendations for teachers for summer reading:
Came across this list of nonfiction recommendations for teachers for summer reading:

Events this week:
Monday - Meet Your Teacher for incoming kindergarteners @ 4:00-4:30 (am K 3:40-4:00, pm K 4:10-4:30)
Wednesday - Field Day!!
Thursday - 9:15 4th grade moving up ceremony, End of Year Assembly @ 2:00 on the back field
Friday - Last day!! Step up day at 10:00, Dismissal at 12:15, Staff get together @ 3:30 at Maureen's house

Great things I noticed last week:

  • School Council had its last meeting of the year.  We participated in a reflection activity where we shared things we were proud of, things we need to still work on and questions we have.  We looked for some common themes in those categories.  We also started to look at the parent survey results. 
  • The middle school assistant principals, Mrs. Russo and Mrs. Mancini, came over to talk with our 4th graders and answer questions as they prepare to transition to the middle school.
  • Two of our 4th graders from Mrs. Mills' class and Mrs. Nissi's class did a great job presenting at the School Committee meeting on Wednesday night.
  • I was able to pop into Mrs. Miln's class and see some of their amazing projects they did to go along with a book they read.  
  • Thanks to Sue Wynn for presenting at our final staff meeting all about Eureka math and giving us some ways to get our kids excited about the math they have learned this year and how they can keep thinking about math this summer.  Thank you to the staff for put lots of thought into our reflection activity.  I will be compiling all of your sticky notes and posting them to the drive for all to review.  We will also be able to use the information from this activity to drive our work next year.

Check it out:
Great idea for summer journaling!
Here's a great video clip of an interview with one of my favorite authors, Kate DiCamillo:

And another healthy dose of laughter from Jimmy Fallon kid letters:

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