It takes a long time to bring excellence to maturity. ~Publilius Syrus
Inspiration doesn’t recognize boundaries. Interestingly, my inspiration for insight into Benton’s progress so far this year along our journey toward excellence came from the sermon in church this morning. I’m guessing “inspiration” isn’t interested in separation of church and state, so if that is a boundary for you, please know you do not need to read any further. If you are open to inspiration from every venue of life, you will understand that in the process of reflecting on today’s message from my pastor, Dr. Darrell Jones of Grace Evangelical Church, I realized the message did not apply only to my family – as timely and perfect as it is – but that it also applied to my work family for all the same reasons.
The inspiration in the message came in a nugget where Dr. Jones shared how efficient, hardworking, smart people look at a successful journey as the shortest route from “Point A” to Point B,,” so much so that we often look for a formula for efficiency. I agreed; in education, we live our lives as efficient, hardworking people attempting to wisely map out that successful route day after day. But where the insightful “Aha!” moment in the message came for me was when Dr. Jones shared how God has a different measure of success for the journey. His goal is not as much about reaching the destination, but about the JOURNEY taken to get there. It is along the journey that we learn things – big things – and that we grow in relationship with God. For me, His model for relationships extends to all relationships grown along my journey. I learned this today…I need to relish that journey. I need to make sure I take notice of the incredible lessons learned along the way (some at a great price), and I need to grow, honor and value the relationships that I make along the path toward growing Benton’s excellence.
Week 28 in Review
We met with several more data teams, and the final work continues to show signs of success in your efforts. Thank you yet again for staying with us along this crazy journey. It’s exciting to see how much everyone has grown. In this next week, we will begin taking score (see “A Look Ahead” below). As I shared with our Special Services Directors on Friday, who by the way were blown away with the data teams work and progress made by our Special Services department, how if they (directors) had talked with our teachers about the data teams process during first quarter, the teachers in that department would have told you what they have now accomplished was not possible Not only was it possible, the journey offered us all deep learning and great insight into one of the toughest areas to break through with a teacher – examining pedagogy.
Week 29 – A Look Ahead
We are entering the season of measurement. It’s now time to take score on all our work we have done this year. It is my hope that our score reflects our wins along our journey of excellence. Our students take most of the assessments/measurements, but a few significant measures completely belong to us. We need to really consider what that means.
First of all, we will begin TSA testing this week and next. Students in FACS and Business who have completed a DESE designated set of courses take this exam. The test is rigorous, but we feel like we will perform solidly. Once the testing list is released, please encourage these students, even if the test isn’t in your department. If we learned anything this year through our data teams study it’s that we each have an impact on student learning. If you have any of these students, you helped contribute to his or her success. I am sure that child would love to hear that encouragement from you.
This Thursday is our District Walkthrough. We, as a staff and administrators, completely own this measure. After meeting with each data team, I feel we are prepared and know our work is true. More than anything, I know we can show your work and explain it thoroughly. You have really worked hard this year. It is my honor to represent you, your work, and our school to district leadership. Before we get to Thursday, I want to thank you for your work. Thank you for trying. Thank you for taking this journey with us. No one tells you enough, but we are so grateful each day for your efforts with our students. Thursday’s review will affirm that work. Stay posted. We will let you know.
One last measure we will start giving this Friday and the beginning of next week is the DESE AQ Survey. This is also one measure that we own completely. As I was reminded just this morning, it is the journey that is important. The learning and relationships are a part of that journey. It didn’t come without hard work, but it has made an incredible difference. It is my hope for each of you that the results from our survey reflect our school’s journey toward excellence. You deserve that affirmation.
~Excellence is a journey, not a destination.~
“Points A, B” from me; “Hands of God and Adam” available in CC from Wikimedia file; “Comments and faves” available CC in Flikr by cessami; “Priorities” available CC in Flikr by catd_mitchell; Graded by me.