“The secret of joy in work is contained in one word – excellence. To know how to do something well is to enjoy it.” –Pearl Buck
Week 3 in Review
We delved deeply into data last week in all our department meetings. We examined our organization in a way we never have, and we were able to do that because we have a staff that is dedicated to students, learning, and improvement. I was humbled by how honestly every teacher committed to our journey of excellence. In summarizing the feedback, we were wise to conclude that there is a pattern to the data that we must understand in order to more accurately share with the public how solid our school really is. I also think it was refreshing to hear so many of us share how great we are at Benton, how well we have it compared to other schools, and how good our morale is — and how great it will be as we continue to build trust and relationships with each other.
Luke shared it best when he said improvement is excellence. I don’t think very many staff members would deny we are on a constant journey of improvement. Our improvement includes plans to increase our opportunities to get to know each other, routinely listen to the students’ voices about what is important to them, and continue to build our school spirit and recognition in our assemblies and games. I think we were all challenged to step up and make a difference. If we are all working toward improvement, then we should add one more game to go watch the kids or take the opportunity to smile more often at each other when we pass in the hallways. Those small things make such a big difference to us. How do I know? We said so collectively. What does it mean to be excellent in our school? It means to try to do better each day at reaching out, building up, and joining more. I want to thank each of you who reached out on Friday to respond to the email about starting a school store. From one staff member who asked to the many who responded with support and ideas – that’s what it’s all about. Thank you for taking the first steps in making a big difference in our school!
Before I move on from last week, I want to share with you two exciting meetings I was honored to be a part of. The first was a meeting of ALL the Southside principals in the SJSD. Our feeder schools’ principals from Hyde Elementary, Lake Elementary, Hosea Elementary, and Spring Garden Middle School visited Benton to meet about an opportunity to bring all our schools together for an exciting opportunity. We decided to have a Southside Rally at Hyde Park before our football game on October 21st (our game against Savannah). Our bands will play together, our Cardinelle Dance Team will dance with future pom pon girls, and 5th graders from across the Southside will sing the National Anthem at the game. We are hoping to offer hotdogs and chips at the park before the game then walk up the hill to bring everyone to our football game. This is a first for us. If you are interested in helping with this, please come talk to me.
The second meeting I want to talk about was our Benton Leadership Team (BLT) meeting. The leadership of this school is so good. Actually, it’s great. I hope you know that. Your department chairs are solid leaders. If you spend any time during this next week building up anyone, I hope you tell your department chair how much you appreciate him or her. They represent you with grace and compassion. They are such smart people. They know what is good for Benton, and they are not afraid to say so. Your leaders are here to represent you. Make sure they stay strong and know what you want. That’s how you build your voice, and that’s definitely how we make Benton stronger.
Week 4 – Looking Ahead
This is a busy week for us. Tuesday brings our BUS EVACUATION DRILL starting at 9:15 a.m. It’s the opportunity for all students to learn bus emergency protocols in the event of a variety of circumstances. The drill usually goes quickly, and this year Jeremy ordered nine busses to make the event flow quickly. Also on Tuesday, I will have our first CAMP representative meeting, so listen for me to call ONE student from each CAMP to meet me in the auditorium. This first meeting, we will ask student representatives to share ideas for areas of improvement at Benton. If you get a moment, open your CAMP with that question so your representative has something to contribute in our meeting.
Thursday is the last day to submit an application (to the counseling center) for the ACT ACADEMY that starting 29 September. This is the district ACT Academy (held at the NWMSU Center downtown), and we only get 8 spots for the 21 Academy and 3 spots for the Bright Flight Academy. If you think your CAMPer must get into this academy, make sure you encourage him/her to apply.
Finally, Friday we have a Pep Assembly to recognize our band, cheerleaders and Poms. Our game is against Lincoln Prep and it’s our last home game for two weeks. Our next home game is the last week of the month and it’s HOMECOMING week with our game against the Maryville Spoofhounds!
Thank you again for a great week last week. I will send out an all staff email this week and post on the Virtual Southside forum sharing ideas about your department walkthroughs that we talked about in our meeting (Science and FACS, I forgot to tell you about this). I want to open up the conversation and give everyone a chance to ask questions and keep this event POSITIVE. We are building each other — proving to ourselves how great we really are. I do not want it to be anything less than that. And thanks to all of you who shared your comments freely and who agreed that we really do have a great thing here at Benton. Sometimes, I think we just need to own that. It’s true. You really are amazing.
One Team Poster by Avinash Narula CC on Flickr; Logitech Marble Mouse by Jeremy Jenum CC on Flickr.