Wednesday, October 10, 2012

It has been a while since I have posted, but I have been busy creating a Principal's website that reflects the professional development of our school and the work that students are producing in and out of the classroom.  I am very excited about the work that I am seeing and witnessing throughout the building.  It is fun to listen to or read student comments and reflections about their work.  I also enjoy hearing what the teacher thought about the work.  I know that there is much more quality work going on throughout the NSE building that I have not been able to capture, but I want the website to be another platform for us to have to publish and recognize student work.

Another exciting initiative that I am seeing throughout our building is students generating the ideas for the work.  I am seeing many teachers watching and listening to what their students are talking about in the classroom, in the lunch room, at recess, etc... and designing work around those conversations.  A couple of examples of this is when several students in Mrs. Hethcox's fifth grade class noticed a lot of trash on the playground during recess.  Well, the students took it upon themselves to ask Mrs. Hethcox if they could start a litter club.  Since then, the girls have created a commercial for NSE TV, created an application for students to complete, and have organized students to start picking up litter.  A second example, is when Mrs. Duggan was watching her second grade class eat lunch.  She noticed that when the students were finished they began to make things out of their chicken sandwich wrapper.  It was raining outside and she knew that the students would not be able to go outside for recess.  She asked the students to bring their wrappers back to class.  There the students were able to make whatever they wanted out of their chicken wrapper and write about it (during recess!). This was published outside Mrs. Duggan's door and it caught my eye.

There are many stories that I could tell.  I have tried to capture as many as I can on the Principal's web page. I am excited that I cannot keep up with all of the great things that are going on in the classrooms at NSE.  I am attempting to solicit some help with this by creating a student journal that will tell these stories not only at NSE, but at Summit Parkway Middle School which is our main feeder school.  I am hoping that we will have many students and teachers telling their stories in this professionally designed journal.

I strongly believe that these stories are a result of the reading of Ron Berger's book, An Ethic of Excellence, which all faculty and staff at NSE read this summer, our professional development with Eric White and Lindsey Ott on August 20, 2012, the building of our district's framework over the last several years using the Working on the Work framework, the establishment of our three beliefs here at NSE, and the many conversations that take place everyday in the hallways, design rooms, cafeteria, and scheduled meetings.  We are working to become a true learning organization.

Three Beliefs:

1. Every child comes to us with individual experiences and ideas that form the foundation for learning.
2. Every teacher designs authentic and purposeful learning experiences for all students.
3. School and community are committed to working together to maintain a mutually beneficial relationship.
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