CARE to Change

I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them. ~Thomas Jefferson

This is indeed the season of change.  The time changes. The weather changes.  The season changes. We change our sports seasons from football, volleyball, cross-country, soccer, golf, tennis, and softball for basketball and wrestling. The leaves change color and then leave altogether.  We live in an era of change.  I guess I don’t have to tell you that.  But what I do feel compelled have you reflect upon is how prepared you are to embrace change.

At Benton, despite the anxiety caused by the process of change in education, our staff has engaged in the change process often enough to understand not only the need to change but to have embraced a process that allows you personally and us as a staff to navigate the differences and come out stronger and smarter.

The process is this:  research the change needed, create a plan for change, collaborate and learn about how to facilitate the plan, and measure the results in order to start the cycle over again.  In our courses, we use data teams.  In our departments, we used data teams. In our school, we use our School Improvement Plan (SIP).  In our district, we use our Comprehensive School Improvement Plan (CSIP).  In our state, we use Missouri School Improvement Plan – MSIP 5.  In a few months, our school’s summative assessment will  be shared with everyone  to see how Benton measures up in our ability adapt to change in educational expectations.  I look forward to those results; I know our work is solid.

Another exciting change I see in our school is happening internally. Not only can you see the positive climate growth, you can feel it.  Last week, I was able to spend significant time talking to our students.  First of all, it made me very happy.  We have amazing kids at Benton!  Oh sure, they certainly come with all the elements attributed to teenagers, but their words of affirmation of things happening at Benton speak volumes.  Children get their cues from the adults in their lives.  Despite the difficulties at home, in their classes, and with their friends, our students believe we are helping them be successful.  “Empowering Success,” they say. So simple and so smart.  I’m glad to be a small part of this change.  The students want the adults in their lives to believe in them.  They say you do.  They want to know they have a voice, have someone listen, and have what they say matter.  They tell me you do that.  I know you do.

They believe at Benton, we are a family – or perhaps better stated – a team.  We don’t have all the plays down perfectly, but we are willing to research and try better ones.  We are not afraid to look ahead and plan a course to make learning more valuable.  We are trying hard to make what they learn more meaningful and efficient.  We listen to what they need to be successful, and we make changes in order to get them on that path.  You know I like to call that path our journey to excellence.  Never a flat path. Never ever downhill. We have to CARE to change in order to maintain an upward journey.  Like anything worthwhile, that journey is rarely easy.  Change is never easy.  But when you CARE, it makes change much more navigable.

Week 12 – A Look Ahead

After our great work in JEPD last Wednesday, I think we need to continue our administrative walkthroughs looking for and providing feedback on use of technology.  Is your lesson today something a student would want to archive digitally?  If not, why not?  If yes, why?  Are your students using their laptops for appropriate educational activities?  What would change in their behavior if the instructional time with the laptop open/being used was specific, limited, guided and measured quickly? 

Monday – STUCO Blood Drive (passes only, not from Core classes); Data Team meetings/Red days (see schedule) preparing for District Data Consult (DDC); BLT Meeting @ 3:00 in room 108

Tuesday — Data Team meetings/White days (see schedule) preparing for DDC; Election Day

Wednesday – New Staff Meeting at 7:00 a.m. in Room 108

Friday – Opening Night for the Wizard of Oz

Reminder: Monday, November 12th is a two hour early out staff and students for Veteran’s Day.

~Excellence is a journey not a destination.~

Images are all available CC on Flickr: “SAF#2” by Roby Ferrari ; “Your Finest Moment” by Thomas Hawk; “Sign” by hlkljgk.



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