Sunday, October 12, 2008

Week 8: October 13-17, 2008

October is NATIONAL BOOK MONTH! How will you celebrate???
(click on "Week 8" for a book ideas link!)

Upcoming Events:
Oct. 13 -- Search & Rescue Training (specific staff)
Oct. 14 -- Wellness Clinic & Flu Shots
AlertNow Training (specific staff)
Search & Rescue Training (specific staff)
Oct. 15 -- Leadership Team Meeting @ 7:00 a.m. in Room 103
2 Hour Early Out -- Content Prof Dev (information from coordinators)
Admin Business Meeting 8-11:30 @ TMC
Oct. 16 -- JROTC Review @ Lafayette; 5:00 p.m.
Oct. 17 -- Data Walkthrough @ 8:00 a.m.
Oct. 18 -- PSAT

This week brought me through the most diverse range of feelings I think I have lived with in some time. From my fear that I had pushed our staff too hard in my expectations for the data walkthrough to my meltdown for not being able to open a door in the building. I have never been one to feel overwhelmed -- it just doesn't happen to me that often -- but emotionally, I was extraordinarily fragile this week.

It started on Monday with a push for every "i" to be dotted and every "t" crossed. I will never forget my first walkthrough at Benton which set my schema for each event and it made me very nervous. It was ugly. I have been on pins and needles about walkthroughs every since. It had never been about what we had done well; it was always about what was wrong or must be better. I never felt justified, only defensive. All week all I prayed for was that our walkthrough showed the work I knew we were doing. Oh, I don't profess that we're perfect or that every staff member is on board with our school improvement. But I really felt like we have a very strong, vocal majority that believes. Teachers can go a long way on a little taste of hope. I am and will always be, no matter what my title states, a teacher. I had hope.

I experienced great trepidation on Tuesday and Wednesday pitching our School 2.0 Initiative and Library 2.0 work. I just want someone to believe in the power. Oh gosh, I know you believe Cohort 1 (and our newest converted members), but I mean I wish the power people believed in the power of TPACK. To really invest in this process, you have to know it. That takes time. Their time is as precious as ours; so it's hard to get them to give it to us.

Thursday brought an incredibly exciting breakthrough with our new ALERTNOW! system that we have accessed. Danielle Silvey is now the QUEEN of AlertNow. The system is a calling system that reaches students at home with auto-calling. It's such a powerful tool. On the first day, we had so many absent students contact us or send students to school. It was pretty impressive. Next week we will use it to invite our parents to our parent-teacher conferences. We can use it for so many wonderful things that are great for our students!

And then there was Friday. We were able to make it into so many great classes. Our debrief was fantastic. Mrs. Patterson and Dr. Dial were incredibly pleased with what they saw in their walkthrough. It felt more like a collaboration for Benton improvement. We had so many things we had done well, that all we worked on was how to refine or find ways to make that process more efficient or see greater gains. It was an amazing feeling, and I was so excited to tell the staff.

And with that, my week of extreme highs and lows closed. I can't imagine what is next...

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