Excellence Envisioned

The road to excellence is always under construction.  ~Unknown source

“And I further pledge myself to Benton High School, whose ideas and traditions are worthy of all.”  We say it several times each week when we say the Pledge of Allegiance, but there are those times when we speak those words that it brings home how our goal for achieving excellence for our school and our students is really about honoring a more than 100 year tradition of our school.  I have quipped on more than one occasion that I am not in our business to be mediocre.  I feel we are all here to do what’s best.  What’s best for kids is something we say time and time again.  The old motto of our school used to be, “If it’s good for Benton, just do it.”  Here’s what our pledge opened my eyes to last Friday as we sat together honoring the excellent and honorary efforts of our seniors and senior most influential teachers – that it takes hard work to achieve excellence.

I know we worked hard this year to achieve excellence.  It means working and reworking our approach – and go from good to great.  We had to stay the course.  We could not cut corners.  We had to focus.  And we did it.  As we sit in the last days of school on the other side of the 2011-2012 chapter in our journey to excellence, I realize that our road is yet again under construction.  Years ago when I was a head coach, I always made it part of our tactical plan to evaluate what we did well and keep that as well as to take something that was stellar from our opposing team (consider this research) and incorporate that into our game plan.  It took time, and even with a year-to-year change in personnel (graduating seniors), we always got better.  I see that game plan for Benton as well.  As we close out this school year, it’s time for reflection on our tactical plan.  It’s time to look at what the other schools do that is so successful and see how that might help us achieve excellence.  It’s time for each teacher to bring that to an individual level so as to grow professionally.

This has been an exciting and rewarding year.  I wish you each a restful summer and look forward enthusiastically for what the next year will bring.  Ancora Imparo.

~Excellence is a journey, not a destination.~

Images are available through CC on Flickr:  “way ahead” by roujo.  “Benton Crest” from BHS. 

Excellent Countdown

Excellence is an art won by training and habituation.  We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly.  We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.     ~Aristotle

Reflections on the Week

Seniors.  They make our days lively.  These are their final days with us, and it’s imperative that we enjoy them together.  When you think back on the year with our seniors, I hope you are all thinking about the special moments shared.  These are moments and stories that both teachers and students alike carry for a lifetime.  In this finals week of making memories, be sure you show and share excellence with them.  Our students look to us to model what excellence of training and habituation standards will be.  They look to us to care for them and to care about them.  They beg us to hold them to high standards, which they are proud to achieve with our support, encouragement, and grace.

I want to state boldly that our seniors were amazing last week when under the leadership of their class officers, CheyennE , Boo and Trevor, they made decisions to lead their class into a level of solidarity and responsibility for Thursday night’s decorating party.  Within one hour of school starting, they cleaned up their party, whether they had attended or not.  They understood that as adults we are given freedoms with responsibility.  They won in this instance because of their training and habituation, and they were excellent.  I am very proud of them for acting rightly in response to the event.  I hope you are as well.

Last week was a huge week in respect to state testing.  Thank you to all students and staff alike who worked diligently to study and show your efforts of learning on the EOC assessments.  Thank you for the attending extra study sessions, working punctiliously through your reviews, and for ensuring our students were prepared and ready to test.  Now we wait for the results.

Final(s) Week/Final Week(s)

We are down to the last 8 school days.  It’s hard for me to believe the final days are really here.  Between Monday and our last day, we have enough work to fill a month of school.  But then that seems like the standard each week for these last few months.  I will send out as many communications as possible to keep us all informed and as lock-step as we can be so that frustrations are kept to a minimum.  At this point, my best points of advice include:  smile, remain flexible, ask questions, stay positive, double check, hold students accountable, finish strong, and enjoy this time with our students.  Because somehow, the world believes in irony, this is TEACHER APPRECIATION WEEK.  I have one word for that.  True.

Here is the week:

Monday:  Crash simulation for sophomores, JEPD (see meeting locations in staff email), Josten’s meeting with Class of 2013 officers during CAMP, IT @ state, Tennis team @ districts, PTA hosts TEACHER APPRECIATION LUNCH in Room 108 (Sharp’s room).

Tuesday:  Yearbook distribution, IT @state, Teacher Appreciation breakfast in mailroom

Wednesday: Freshmen to MWSU, Senior Red Finals, Senior checkout sheets distributed 1R(in your mailbox), Senior Red Check Out, Teacher Appreciation snacks in mailroom

Thursday: Senior White Finals, Senior White Check Out, W2 (for HTC students)/W4 teachers with seniors collect check out sheets, Teacher Appreciation snacks in mailroom, Senior Slideshow @630pm

Friday:  Scholarship Assembly @ 9:00 in Springer (special bell schedule will be emailed), Senior Survey taken after assembly, Senior laptop check-in (Modis Gym), Teacher Appreciation Pizza Lunch in Room 108.




~Excellence is a journey, not a destination.~

All images available in CC on Flikr: “Countdown” by Holster®; “Outnumbered” by Roger Smith; “New Year 2010 Fireworks, Singapore” by Eustquio Santimano.