Friday, February 24, 2017

Gratitude

Lessons Learned


Last week, I had such a fun time watching our first and second grade students perform their yearly choir concert.  For me this is so magical to see all my kids up on the stage singing and having fun in front of their parents and grandparents.  I want to see each child performing and making sure I do not miss anyone.  I was so proud of our wonderful music instructor, wonderful teachers, wonderful students and fantastic parents.  I am always amazed at how good our kids sound when they work together as a team.


It seems that every year at this time I see people struggling to hang on.  Little things become distorted and become big problems.  I listen to their frustration and hear about how everything is wrong in their life.  I do experience days that it seems like one more thing will put me over the edge but, have learned over the years to pause, listen and practice gratitude.
Each morning before I get out of bed I think of all the things that are right in my life.  If I focus on the many people, kids, family, friends, job and so much more that I am truly thankful for I find that  most problems do not seem so big.  I remember a commercial on TV that showed how one act of kindness and being grateful can cause many people around them to also do a good deed and pay it forward. I find that by practicing gratitude I drive slower, listen better and have a much better outlook on life.  I try to practice this daily and find myself smiling more and realizing that life is pretty good for me.

 I thought this picture might be a good example on how many of us feel this time of year.
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Friday, January 27, 2017

East Oakview Family

January 27, 2017

Last night over 400 parents, students and teachers enjoyed a spaghetti dinner and bid on beautiful art work that was created by students and staff.  To me it felt like a family reunion with a lot of smiles, laughing and celebrating life.  Our event warmed my heart to know that our school is so much more than a place to learn academics, but a place that is safe, fun and family oriented.
Our world moves way too fast, we spend so much time running from place to place and we are often so fixed on our phones, that we fail to take notice of what is happening around us.  Last night was a time for families to slow down, have fun and get connected with other people!  I am so thankful for the community in Northview.

The other day I was watching the news and saw many disturbing examples of pop stars, leaders and other people saying and treating others in wrong and unkind ways.  The words and actions that were being demonstrated were flat out wrong!  I wondered how many of my kids at school were exposed to this on the news, YouTube, radio or any electronic device?  It is the exact opposite of what our school is trying to teach our kids!  When I walk into classrooms I hear our staff  teaching our children the correct way to treat another individual.  Teachers are teaching how to agree to disagree agreeably!  You do not fight, swear or yell foolish words to others or get on Facebook and drag someone through the mud.  Our teachers partnered with our children to learn how to address each other with words of kindness, please and thank you,  and to solve their differences with civil words.  Some of our children struggle to learn these lessons because of what they see and hear.  The song, Watching You, by Rodney Atkins (https://youtu.be/2uzK3VwzraM) is a great reminder to all of us that our little ones  are watching the adults around them and often copy the behavior that they see and hear.  

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Lessons Learned
November 22, 2016

East Oakview is a family and that is demonstrated through our behaviors and actions each day.  This week we were short subs and it was  powerful to see teachers jump in and help each other so that our children could have the best possible learning environment. 

A few weeks ago having my office on the roof was one special experience.  I was met with squeals of delight knowing that my office was on the roof.  Each recess I was asked the same question again and again, “How did you get your office up there?”  For some kids it was almost magical to see their principal on the roof.  I shared with a few kindergartners that I flew up and I heard, “He can fly!”   “No you can’t!”  One thing that I learned on the roof was how well our kids played together and how well our adults monitor our kids. 


Having tough meetings with parents is never easy for anyone.  I learned a valuable lesson last week on my response to a parent.  The mom was emotional and distraught and was sharing her story with me.  I failed to listen and put myself in her shoes and responded with a flat response.  While I did address the issue and solve it I missed the connection with this mother.  She left hurt and not listened too.  In reflecting on my actions I saw how I missed an opportunity because I was so busy solving the problem I missed the personal connection.  Our world moves so fast and is in such a hurry to do we miss enjoying each precious moment.  Taking time out to build a relationship is more important than checking off my list of to do’s.  

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Lessons learned from positive energy.

This week I was very worried about a student and their behavior.  I started to make some assumptions based on what I had heard and read in his CA 60.  I found myself worrying more about what might happen instead of focusing on the child and their needs.  I found out that this child had much to offer and was pretty neat.  I noticed that when I put my energy in the right place better things were happening for this little guy.  He still has many concerns, but my outlook and support is so very different than those first few days. 

I continue to be impressed walking into classrooms and reading to our kids.   They are ready to learn, attentive and such great listeners!  This is the work of caring teachers who understand the needs of our children.  Thank you.


When we work together we can accomplish anything.  An example of this is when our school improvement team discussed fourth grade helpers on the first and second playground.  Our students have become leaders and have helped decrease many issues we were seeing on the playground!  I have enjoyed working with all the adults in our building as they are proactive, seeking solutions to problems that happen.  It is so refreshing and builds such positive energy in our thinking behaviors and actions.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Classroom visits

November 10, 2016

This week I was able to be in a kindergarten classroom watching a teacher assessing her students  if they had acquired the mathematical understanding of more than and less than.   Each child needed to demonstrate that an object was larger or smaller than a base 10 block.  What a powerful learning experience!  One boy was able to use his mathematical vocabulary to explain his thinking.  He could identify that an object was more than and then explain that it was 4 units more.  The teacher asked, "How do you know that?"  He said, "I can see that it is 4 more blocks bigger."  The teacher then stated you are thinking like a mathematician and making a prediction that it is 4 more blocks larger.  This teacher was able to make some great connections to the child's thinking and make learning fun as well as meaningful.

I enjoy being in classrooms and watching the learning flourish.  I was able to get into 3 fourth grade classrooms where they were learning how to multiply large numbers.  This task can be very difficult for many kids.  What I witnessed in all three rooms were engaged students that were able to break down a complex task into small manageable chunks so that they all could solve the problems correctly.  What intrigued me the most was that they were enjoying math and excited to solve the problem.  I attribute this excitement to our outstanding teachers and our new math program.  I have seen the difference our math program is having on our students and their curiosity to learn.  

Kurt Stroh decided to have our children experience the ability to vote on what book they like best this week during the presidential election process.  Each class got the opportunity to vote for the book, Duck for President or President Squid.  After every class voted he called off the winning book.  The excitement in our kids' eyes and squeals of joy when the book they voted for won was priceless.  Our kids were so excited and jumping for joy learning that they voted for the winning book.  I also heard some disappointment and how it was a bummer that my book did not win.  I'm pretty confident that our kids saw the power of voting this week.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Lessons learned
February 26, 2016

There is something special about a snow day that excites students, teachers and most parents.  It is like getting an unexpected gift that warms your heart and mind.  It was  fun to see the sparkle in our kids eyes Wednesday afternoon with the thought of having a free day.   For me it was the gift of time to visit a sick friend.

Eating in the lunchroom can be quite the experience.  It is one of my favorite times of the day when I can go around and listen to the kids tell me stories or share a "knock knock" joke.  Today, we played Let It Go, on the radio and our whole lunch room erupted in either singing...or frustration.  Our kids were seeing and learning how to have some fun on a Friday.

Today, I was lucky to sub in a fourth grade classroom as the teacher attended our Family Literacy morning event.  As the students came in the classroom they were excited to see Mr. Scogg in front of the room.  I could tell from their behavior and actions that they knew the classroom procedures and we were ready to begin within the first five minutes.  I got to share a story or two before the teacher came back to the room.  Our students were polite, respectful and attentive and much more respectful than the political debate I watched the night before!  I couldn't help but smile and think our elected officials could learn a lot for our kids.


This week we began selling bracelets for Chase.  Chase is a kindergarten student at East Oakview who is dealing with cancer.  We ordered 300 bracelets and sold over 100 within the first hour!  Many people want to help and join the fight!  We are blessed to have so many kind and caring children and adults.  Thank you for caring.

Friday, February 19, 2016

It is always difficult to understand how people we love get sick with cancer.  It is even more difficult for me to understand when a child becomes so sick.  A few weeks ago we learned that a child in our building has had a re occurrence of cancer. Today students and staff had the opportunity to wear a hat for a buck to help support our little friend.  As I wore my funny hot dog hat around the building it made students, staff and parents laugh.  It really warmed my heart to know our building had raised over $170 dollars in one day to help out our friend, Chase.  Caring about others and joining together is what our community is all about.  It is amazing what love can do and how it can lift your spirits and bring so many people together.

Last night I had the extreme pleasure to watch our first and second grade student Spring Concert.  As a principal you get to know your students' academic and behavioral successes and struggles quite well.  I know each human being has unlimited talents waiting to be discovered.  Watching the concert I had the pleasure to see another side of our kids.  I was able to see over 141 students dance, sing and enjoy the moment in the spotlight.  Our music program is second to none and Mr. Sinigos was able to develop another treasure inside our children.  I laughed, I came close to tears and celebrated each one of our kids up on the stage.  I also was deeply touched seeing Mrs. B. up on stage with our kids and found my smile grow extremely large.

February is a tough month for kids, parents and adults.  I like to refer to it as "helmet month" due to all the struggles that happen this time of year.  I have learned that I need to be a good listener and take time out for conversations and to pay attention to people's emotional needs.   I have also learned that being thankful is an important skill to have this time of year.  As I walked around the building and into classrooms in my hot dog hat I heard a lot of laughs, giggles and many jokes.  Hearing our kids and staff laugh was something that warmed my heart and brought great joy to my day.  Displaying IMG_2050.JPGDisplaying IMG_2050.JPGDisplaying IMG_2050.JPGDisplaying IMG_2050.JPG
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