It's hard to believe we are down to the final two weeks of the school year. Time flies, and there is still a great deal to get accomplished in the next ten school days. This time of year is filled with excitement, but also a fair amount of anxiety, as teachers work diligently to get everything wrapped up.
I have been thinking a lot about many things as this year closes while preparing for 2015-16. Assessment results, leadership teams, Response to Intervention, Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports, collaboration time, schedules, instructional coaching, staff morale, etc, etc, etc. All of these items are very important and plans will need to be made to enhance what we're doing to serve kids on a daily basis, but they were not in the front of my mind in later part of last week.
We had two events that truly displayed the power of community, engagement, connection, and pride. The Epworth Elementary Parent Teacher Organization hosted the second annual walk-a-thon event on Wednesday and our physical education teacher, Mr. Ball, organized and facilitated a track meet between three elementary schools in the district.
Local businesses donated money and prizes to the walk-a-thon and students collected pledges to earn money to support school improvement efforts. It is truly amazing that 210 students (60 of whom are 3, 4, and 5 year-olds) raised more than $13,000 to support our school! It was incredible that four-time all-pro and Super Bowl champion, Marshal Yanda from the Baltmore Ravens, participated in the event and talked to our students about work ethic, perseverance, and academics. It was so very enjoyable to see 240 third and fourth grade students competing against each other in a track meet while also cheering each other on at the same time. The most impressive piece of these events was the clear connection that could be seen between students, staff members, community volunteers, families, and other participants. As I observed during these two fantastic events I took a little time to appreciate what school is all about.
Community | Engagement | Connection | Pride:
"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much" Helen Keller. Families send their children to school to learn important content, deal with challenging situations, develop friendships, and make connections in the school community. School is about being part of something bigger than ourselves, and it is our responsibility to enhance these connections with students, families, staff, and community members. There are many tools available to enhance this work whether it is Facebook, Twitter, Remind, face to face conversations, Instagram, blogs, or a traditional paper newsletter. When school personnel and those outside of our system are engaged, feel ownership and pride in the work, then we are in a really good place.
I feel fortunate to lead two schools in two communities that value education, and are extremely supportive in our daily work. School is so much more than assignments, assessments, data, and progress. As we close up another successful school year, let's not forget what school is all about. The relationships and connections that we establish with students, families, and community members will last a lot longer than the "A" a student received in Biology class. Be great.