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Friday, January 14, 2011

Pumped Up, Locked Down

The day began early and on a positive note, with a post-observation conference. I appreciate the opportunity to observe classrooms because I always learn new pedagogical techniques that enhance my instructional leadership skills, and it's a reaffirming experience. Watching a teacher effectively orchestrate the many variables that influence the successful implementation of learning objectives serves to remind us of the importance of our work and news our commitment. This experience sustains our meaning and purpose, despite the omnipresence of distractions in the form of fiscal concerns, questionable state and federal policies and mandates, and other extraneous issues that occasionally intrude on our path.

Later in the morning I was surprised by the entire learner population and staff of the elementary school as they greeted me with a rousing chorus of "Happy Birthday" when I entered the cafeteria. There were all sorts of handmade cards and entertaining posters displayed on the walls. Every child had a smile and a cupcake of equal sweetness. The kids joined together for an extended version of the song in which they started with the number one and sang - "Are you one? Are you Two? Are you ...? I eventually was forced to interrupt them for fear they would lose their voices before they counted up to the actual number of my age! It was a pleasant surprise that really boosted my spirits and represented another reason why I have enjoyed becoming part of Heatly. Where else could the superintendent of schools feel so connected with the learner population? All of the kids know me, and by now I know almost every one of them as well.

Another distinguishing part of the day involved a Lock-Down drill. This was our second of the school year. It involved a member of the local police department. As soon as the signal was broadcast the school instantly became as quiet and still as a ghost town. Not a person could be seen or heard. The building administrators and the policeman then checked all of the doors up and down the hallways on all three floors, and looked inside to see if we could detect anyone. This drill also provided the law enforcement with the chance to become more familiar with the nuances of the building in the event they ever had to respond to an emergency in the school. The cooperation of the staff and learners was evident in the efficiency they demonstrated  while conducting the practice session.

There were a great many other experiences before and after these events. However, the day seemed to have ended as quickly as it began. The kids were anxious to start their three day weekend and the staff were just as excited to cash their paychecks. We are a little shy of the half way mark of the school year as semester exams approach. I've been so busy I can't imagine where the time has gone. It seems like my first day at Heatly, July 1st, was a recent memory. So much has happened, yet so much more remains to be done.

I'll close this Blog with an inspirational and thought provoking quote that I found yesterday amid the vast number of articles written in the wake of the Tucson shootings last Saturday. One of the journalists who penned an essay reflecting on the tragedy closed the work with a reference to Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords improved medical condition and the need for our society to recognize the importance of civil discourse instead of vitriolic and divisive exchanges -

"Gabrielle Giffords opened her eyes today. We all need to open our eyes as well."

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