Sunday, June 24, 2007

Summer Reading

My summer reading list usually includes a little thoughtless fiction, some good spiritually challenging books, and something about literacy and leadership. This summer, I'm starting with a book that was on my list last summer, but never made the nightstand. A recent staff developer tried to scare me away, stating that it was too dense, or something like that. Maybe she meant I was too dense! That was probably a little closer to the truth. The book is Becoming Literate: The Construction of Inner Control by Marie Clay. It's a classic about early literacy development, and I'm finding Ms. Clay, who spent her life researching and studying early literacy is a fine writer. She's practical and witty and summarizes lots of research with clear and insightful applications. I'll be sure to have more to say about what I'm learning in this space over the summer.

A Sigh of Relief

The dust has settled on another school year and a sense of relaxation and rest is slowly, and I do mean slowly, coming over our household. The end of the year is full of activities, end of the year events, ceremonies, goodbyes, and loose ends to tie up. This year at Halecrest was eventful and successful by many measures. It was great to end the year with a solid increase in our Local Measures Reading and slight increase in our Local Measures Math scores. To top that off, our district came to a tentative agreement with the teacher's union the final week of school. This should alleviate that cloud that was hanging over everyone's head this year during the stalemate negotiations.

As I reflect on how physically and emotionally drained I felt at the end of the year, I can only sympathize with my classroom teachers who have the daily pressure of molding, shaping, sometimes herding, and ultimately teaching 20-30 pre-adolescents 7 hours a day/180 days a year. Teaching is a demanding, complex proposition that is not for the weak, disorganized, or uncommitted. Effective teachers, and I'm glad to say that Halecrest has a cupboard full of these, are invaluable to our local community and greater society. I make every effort to pass along to the teachers I work with a sense of their impact and importance in the grand scheme of things. I know that I do that poorly at times, even adding to their frustration on some days. However, I hope they know that their efforts do not go unnoticed and the lasting impression they leave on their learners will authenticate their significance for years to come.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Whirlwind Finish

The end of the school year is upon us. We all jump from one event to another to bring a fitting conclusion to all the commitments and programs that we have nurtured and supported throughout the year. As for me, I fluctuate between exhaustion and exhilaration every 2-3 hours. Missing a deadline knocks me back a few pegs, then some strong assessment data pumps me back up. Culminating this year with quality commemorative events is balanced with the need to sow some seeds for the year just ahead. It's all just a little overwhelming at times. I woke up the other morning (After a late night of planning) and the first thought that popped into my dreary head was, "Why am I doing this?". The biggest treat I can give myself and my staff and students is a solid night's sleep, so that would be my next stop tonight. Cheers!