Excellence is Change

“Whosoever desires constant success must change his conduct with the times.”  — Niccolo Machiavelli

Week 7 in Review

Data Teams.  I am guessing you are already tired of talking about them.  I want to urge every department not to get discouraged.  This is a part of the work we do as educators to improve our practice, our school, and our students’ learning.   The learning process stretches us out of our comfort zone and causes us to endure growing pains.  Our students understand this feeling; it’s common to them.  If you  find you need support, advice, ideas or just someone to listen – do not hesitate to contact Luke, Jeremy or me… or your instructional coach Amy.  We are very seriously invested in the work you are doing.  The success of our students and ultimate success of our school is counting on it.  Don’t be sad or frustrated.  Tackle this like you would any process of constant improvement and change – with a great attitude and a commitment to be better tomorrow than you are today.  These are the times that try men’s souls  (Thomas Paine, 1776).

Mr. Knight is an example; he is now very happy.  He completed yet another StuCo Homecoming Week.  And what a great week it was!  Thank you StuCo for your hard work and feisty spirit.  Thanks for the great candidate slideshow and pep assembly.  Thanks Coach Tabor and football staff for a great game – win or lose – those young men always leave it all out on the field.  They never gave in, and they never gave up.  That is the Cardinal spirit.  I saw it this week in our softball games, cross country races, and tennis matches.  We never once gave in.  I saw it this weekend as our cheerleaders competed flawlessly.  When struck by a technical casualty, the girls did not let that hold them down.  They completed their routine with grace and solid will.  They were true Cardinals.


Week 8:  A Look Ahead

We are in the season where there isn’t a day or week that goes by where we are not all extraordinarily busy.  This week Luke, Jeremy, Karen and I will present at the Missouri Association of Principals (MASSP) Conference.  We were one of only eight presentations chosen to present at the state level.  Additionally, Luke will be presented his NWMASSP Assistant Principal of the Year Award by the state governing board.  I hope you know we are honored to represent Benton as we share with the state’s principals about our CAMP program and the successes we have seen in the last three years.

Also this week our PE Department, under Annie Roseberry’s innovative leadership, has launched the Pound Plunge at Benton.  I was excited to hear how many participants we had, students and staff alike!  I am proud to celebrate everyone who dedicates himself to something so difficult to accomplish.  It takes great dedication and spirit to get fit.  Thank you PE/JROTC department for taking us all under your wing and making us leaner learners.

This Wednesday we will have a two hour early out for building professional development.  We will focus on Common Core State Standards (CCSS) looking at them and getting a foundational feel for what’s about to come our way.   I will share with you an idea I had about increasing our parent communication during our parent/teacher week.  I think you will really love the ideas for our students to reach out to their parents.  We will also talk through information I have recently learned about our upcoming laptop roll out in January.  And with the time left in the session, departments will be able to work on their data teams plans.  Bob Dylan was right, “Times, they are a changin’.”

Thursday, October 6th, we will have our next session of CAMP Congress.  Please send your student representative after you have taken roll.  This week, please have a conversation with your CAMPs about this question:  “What do students need or need more of to be successful at Benton High School”  (academically, athletically, and in preparing for life after high school)?  Please have your representative bring the thoughts and comments from your CAMP to the meeting.  They also need to remember to bring paper and a writing utensil to bring back information to their CAMPs.

Before we close, I do have two very cool opportunities to share with you in preparation of our laptop pilot program roll out.  Opportunity number one is an exciting chance to travel to an exceptional one to one laptop school – Science Leadership Academy – where you will see an inquiry driven, project based high school focused on 21st Century learning.  Mike Dial actually gave me the idea that there might be teachers in our building who were willing to travel somewhere to learn about going one to one and would be willing to pay for their own trip.  So here’s the deal — click “EduCon 2.4” and see if you might be one of those interested people.  Airfare to Philadelphia right now is  $300 round trip.  Registration for EduCon is $150.  A hotel room (for 1-4 people) at the Embassy Suites is $215 per night.  The trip is from 26 Jan – 30 Jan, although you could return on Sunday to save a night’s hotel fee.  So, here’s the deal…if you want to go and are willing to pay your way – Benton will cover your sub cost for Thursday, Friday and Monday.  Last year, Melissa and Luke went from Benton, and Melissa presented at the conference.  So, if you are interested and willing to fund your travel, let me know as soon as possible.

And if you are interested but tapped out on funds right now, there is another crazy fun opportunity — “EdCamp KC” is just around the corner.  The one-day, powerfully intense “unconference” is held at Lee’s Summit North High School and is TOTALLY FREE!  We sent a rather large contingent of teachers last year all whom claimed amazing learning at the conference.  I would love to arrange car pools and team travel for the November 5th event.  Let me know if you will be going.  It’s going to be a great day!  I missed it last year.  I won’t miss it again!

So, as it turns out…we are good at change.  I guess you get better at something that you practice often.  It’s a good thing, because in our profession in this day and age – it’s standard practice.  I hope you know that I thank you for being professionals day in and day out.  And for being darn good at it!

Excellence is a journey not a destination

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