CARE Labels: A Guide to CARdinal Excellence

“Without a sense of caring, there can be no sense of community.” ~Anthony J. D’Angelo

Week 1 in Review

Super start! Ha! Alliteration already.  You have to enjoy that for at least one minor magical moment.  Truthfully though, it really was a wonderful week.  Thank you to everyone for starting strong.  Every weekend, I spend a significant amount of time thinking about the week that has passed.  As I was doing laundry, I noticed the CARE label on one of the clothing items, and it made me think about all the correlations between those labels and what we do to CARE for our school.  Sometimes, I just wish those CARE labels were posted everywhere in our school as quick reminders of how to take care of everything.  I Googled “Care Instructions,” and that search took me to the Textiles Affairs site where their title page said:



 I chuckled as I starting thinking of the symbols and all the parallels they offered in our work place.  I think those will provide perfect bullets for this post.

 I appreciate everyone’s cooperation with the field house construction and parking issues. Please pass on to your students how their understanding and cooperation as a part of our school community made what could have been a rough start very smooth because they cared for what Benton was trying to achieve.


I also appreciate your efforts to care for each other during our first days of school.  I saw teachers making sure they made it to the hallways to help supervise during passing periods. I also heard from several of you ways that other staff members have taken the time to care of each other.  I want to remind everyone that as you continue to support each other through your random acts of kindness, words of encouragement, hugs as you pass by, it all adds up to make a big difference in how we feel about each other and our work day.

Great job on your department JEPD and a huge shout out to our Instructional Coach Amy Fowler for providing you the information to get started on data teams for this year. She worked hard to get the information delivery succinct for everyone.  We are working on the data teams courses and I will have those posted under the Data Teams section in Departments on our Schoolwires site.

Another shout out to everyone for getting those class changes in and especially to our counselors for going through the massive number of requests for change.  Please share with your students that just because they make a request, it doesn’t mean they will get it. They must meet our stated, established criteria for change.  We are still making changes in the master schedule to accommodate our students’ needs, and we hope to have your classes within reasonable sizes by the end of this week.  I hope you will smile gently when you know that reasonable to you is not necessarily what DESE thinks it is.


Week 2:  A Look Ahead

This week looks pretty standard from the start.  There will not be a lot of disruptions although we do have several activities I will remind you about.  One request I have for you to consider this week in our focus to CARE is that you call at least one parent.  Call to say how well the student is doing.  Call to share that your student has missed class and you were concerned.  Call to remind a student to make up a test or assignment.  Call to make that connection with a parent that is a deposit in the bank for a relationship bond you know you will need in the near future.  If all staff members make one call, then 100 contacts will be made.  Make this above what you would do already.  Make this special call to make a difference beyond what is good.  Jim Collins reminds us with his book that good is the enemy of great.  This week, let’s pick parent contact as a way to be great at Benton and show our CARdinal Excellence.

Events this week:

Tuesday – Fall Pep Assembly Planning Meeting, 7:00 – 7:30 a.m. in Room 106

Wednesday – Benton Leadership Team Meeting, 7:00 a.m. in Room 108; Freshmen will receive their laptops in CAMP.

Thursday – Tornado Drill @ 9:20 (Mr. McCoy will send out additional instructions if needed)

Friday – Pep Assembly Schedule – Football Team Intro/first home game

Monday, Sept 3 – NO SCHOOL/Labor Day

Wednesday, Sept 5 – JEPD White Postponed/Rescheduled for Sept 13

Textile Symbols from “Handle with care” available on Flickr by Victor Hertz


Showing We CARE

CARE:  CARdinal Excellence

 Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”  Leo F. Buscaglia

What a great start to the school year!  Thanks to each of you for your planning, implementation, and support of our first two days.  I appreciate each one of you for your dedication to our students and our school.  And thanks to everyone who was able to attend our Jamboree.  It was great to see you there!

There is no greater joy in a school than to walk down the hall or into a classroom and see a teacher caring for a student.  I personally witnessed numerous occasions when teachers took their own time to take CARE of students who were lost, had questions, or were just being kids and needed a reminder to do what was best.  As we move forward in the school year, I ask each of you to capture an opportunity to CARE that is different from what you would’ve done before this year.  As the reality of spending time together begins to show itself, remember the following:

  • Show patience; keep your cool
  • Don’t ever use inappropriate/foul language around students
  • Reword opportunities for a student to comply
  • Send students to buddy rooms when they need “time out.”
  • Don’t place students in the hallway unsupervised for any reason
  • Do not allow students to “line up” before the bell rings for dismissal; dismiss them from their seats to keep from having any discipline problems occur
  • Be sure students know your behavior expectations
  • Always send students with a pass if they leave your room for any reason
  • Keep a positive attitude – that always sets the tone of your interaction with students
  • Be a role model for good interpersonal skills – especially when confronted

Week 1:  A Look Ahead

Just like always, it doesn’t take much to start our crazy schedule rolling.  This coming week is no exception.  As we step away and look at the upcoming week as a whole, I remind you to have this week of lessons ready to go.  Make sure they are solid and well planned.  You only get once to make a first impression.  Be sure to have enough instruction/practice for students to stay engaged the entire class period.

Before I share the academic activities for this week, I want to alert all teachers to the policies for Project Connect – our laptop program – and the actual distribution of devices this week.  It is imperative that you remind ALL students of proper laptop use.  The actual rules review will be handled in the Humanities classes, but it is important for all teachers to “own” the policies and procedures.   One special reminder for the students is that if their parents have not attended a Project Connect Parent Orientation meeting, they CAN NOT take the laptop home with them.  They must turn the device in to the main office at the end of the school day by 3:00 p.m.  If they do not, one attempt is made to contact the student/family, and then the device is considered missing.  Police are contacted in order to retrieve the device as quickly as possible.

Monday – We will have students sign Project Connect User Agreements in CAMP.  Directions will be sent via email and forms are in your mailboxes.   Seniors will cover Technology Handbook and Digital Citizenship information in Comm Arts for their roll out on Tuesday.

Tuesday – Seniors will receive their laptops in CAMP.  Remaining Seniors and all Junior Humanities classes will review the Technology Student Handbook and Digital Citizenship in their classes today.  Fire Drill @ 9:00 a.m.  There will be a Project Connect Parent Meeting at 6:30 p.m. in the Auditorium for any parents who have NOT attended a parent meeting and have that attendance on file.  Encourage students to have their parents attend if they have not already.

Wednesday – Juniors will receive their laptops in CAMP.  Sophomore Humanities classes will review the Technology Student Handbook and Digital Citizenship in their classes today.  There are two Project Connect Meetings for Parents in the auditorium.  One at 8:00 a.m. and one at 2:00 p.m.  Teacher Job Embedded Professional Development (JEPD) starts today for Data Teams instruction.  (Red day department collaboration teams should attend.  See email for teams and locations for each period.)

Thursday – Sophomores will receive their laptops in CAMP.  Freshmen Humanities classes will review the Technology Student Handbook and Digital Citizenship in their classes today.  The last two Project Connect Parent meetings will be held in the auditorium.  One at 8:00 a.m. and one at 2:00 p.m.  Teacher JEPD for White days (departments with collaboration on White days only attend).

Friday –  Freshmen will receive their laptops in CAMP.

~Excellence is a journey not a destination.~

Images available in CC from Flikr:  “Always There for You” by FUNKYA