Excellence can be Scary!

We seek excellence by constant trial and error.  ~Master Kwon

The sad truth is that excellence makes people nervous.                                               ~Shana Alexander

Week 11 in Review

With Parent/Teacher Conferences in our rear-view mirror, it’s a little bit frightening what we learn when we contact parents.  We learn to be simultaneously pragmatic and empathetic.  “Persistence” and “Pursuit” become our last names.   But one week later, with our parents having heard “the news” and given us their feedback, we have excelled in our personal communication reaching over 90% of parents or guardians to share grades and ask them if they have any questions.  It’s such a tremendous improvement from the industrial, less personal, Parent/Teacher Conferences of old.  I realize it takes so much of your time, and it is often a nerve-racking event, but we get incredible feedback from our families. I promise you, they appreciate it more than you can imagine.  Thank you again for your time and effort in reaching our parents.

Week 11 was filled with pride and prejudice for me – just so you know.  I tried to explain it in my “Celebration Announcement Speech” last Friday morning.  Turns out everyone just thought I was sad, and the crazy thing is that I was so far from that!  So, that little soliloquy you heard was me getting choked up with pride in my staff.  I can’t begin to delineate every area of creation, innovation, extra effort, teamwork or personal growth I have witnessed so far this year.  It is overwhelming when the memories of things each of you do come crashing into my brain.  I never meant to leave anyone out – it’s the price paid for listing events or people – but I truly could have spent all day celebrating how far we’ve come and how amazing you all are.  I shared with a few people this week that I finally feel we are righting the path – controlling the world we should control so that creation and innovation can burgeon where it should.  So again, I thank you all for the incredibly hard work you do daily.  It’s working.  Look inside the eye of that pumpkin…there’s a glow in there that hasn’t been there for a long time.

Week 12 – A Look Ahead

Boo.  Monday is going to be fun.  Keep your cool and enjoy the day.  No masks are allowed.  That’s the hard and fast rule of the day.  And don’t forget to DONATE TO BACKPACK BUDDIES this week.  As soon as we reach our goal of $250 as a staff, you can wear blue jeans for the rest of the week.  Seriously – even starting Tuesday. I’m starting with my $10.  Join me in a great cause.  And you will look “maah-velous wearing jeans, daah-ling”

Speaking of Tuesday, we are ready.  We are absolutely, categorically, unequivocally ready for our District Data Consult.  Your data teams work has been phenomenal. It really has.  Remember, our process in itself is about growth in data teams.  It is also an incredible exercise in differentiation of learning – a lot of trial and error approaches.  We’ve had some very serious, extremely hard conversations about teaching and learning this last few months.  I know for a fact that I have learned more than I could have imagined when we started this venture. I feel confident I can say that about our staff as well.  Without question, the front line implementation of the data teams process as a whole school looks very different than anything we have ever seen.  We have worked hard not to allow this to become the next “hoop jump,” and I am dedicated to ensuring it never does.  This is about growing as professionals.  It’s hard, but it will be worth it if we stay the course.  I heard from many of you how important that aspect is of our work.  I whole-heartedly agree with you.

Wednesday we have Leadership Team at 0700 in Room 106.  Then at 10:00 a.m., Dr. Smith and Dr. Curry, a visiting Superintendent, will be in our school touring the library facilities.  Please introduce yourself if we are in your area of the school.

On Friday we have a Pep Assembly at 2:10 p.m. for Phantom of the Opera, choir, and JROTC.  We will also announce any fall sports accolades that have been awarded thus far.  On Friday night, from 7-9, the administration and support staff are hosting a Sadie Hawkins Dance for the students.  This fundraiser is for our staff so you are not expected to work the dance (in case you wondered).  Miss Carlene and Miss Debby really wanted to provide some nice things for each of you this year for school, so they brainstormed this idea to raise the funds.  Please, please encourage your students to attend this dance.  It’s for a VERY good cause – YOU!

Finally, Saturday is EdCamp KC.  If you are in ANY way nervous about your laptop skills or instructional ideas going 1:1, or you just want to learn some new crazy skills from some new crazy friends, you should attend this FREE, LOCAL event.  EdCamp was a huge hit with many of our staff members last year.  Again this year, it will be held at Lee’s Summit North High School starting at 8:00 a.m.  We could and should car-pool and ride together.  It will be more fun that way.  Let me know if you want a ride or are willing to drive.  Make sure you hit go to the site to register.   Remember, only 37 school days until we roll computers out to our kids.  Are you ready?

~ Excellence is a journey not a destination ~

Photos available CC in Flikr:  “2011 Jack o lanterns”” by pat o rama; “Halloween – Pumpkins”  by YAXZONE; “Carving Pumpkins for Halloween” by adem80; “The whole famdamily” by John Carleton; “oooOOOOOoo…” by M. Christian; Twenty eight by nigel@hornchurch.


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