Dear Blake Families -
As we navigate our last week of school, I hope everyone enjoyed a nice weekend (in between planning, family activities, end-of-year parties, etc.). The Vaughns had a great (and full) weekend - Owen's baseball-themed birthday party (hard to believe he turns 7 this week!), yard work, and my 20th high school reunion on Saturday night. I was fortunate to find some quiet Sunday afternoon before we entered the last full week of school!
Towards the end of the week or early next week, after the students have left and some 'fresh quiet' is discovered, I will be sending along some end-of-year thoughts to our staff as we enter our summer months. We will be gathering as a staff Thursday for lunch where announcements will be made and goodbyes and well wishes conveyed. Once again I have copied the questions that I will have our staff reflect upon at our meeting...
- What was meaningful this year? What made teaching worthwhile? What mattered?
- Describe a positive interaction or experience you had with a student during this academic year.
- Describe or explain an accomplishment you attained or something you are proud of taking place during this academic year.
- Describe a particular student or situation during the school year who or that you feel you could have handled in a way that would have resulted in a more positive learning experience.
- What is an area that you would like to grow professionally?
Although I know it is not realistic, I wish I could personally connect with each of our students and families to wish them a wonderful summer and to thank them for their work this year. At his retirement reception on Thursday evening, Bob Maguire shared that he felt blessed to have spent his time in Medfield. I deeply share that sentiment and feel fortunate to be a part of the Blake and greater Medfield community. I recognize my bias but Blake is truly a special place - I want to thank both staff and families you for your commitment and dedication to help foster a nurturing, challenging, and supportive environment for our students. Your work does not go unnoticed.
I do believe it would be 'out of character' if I did not pass along a couple of posts/resources this week that I hope you will find of interest. I shared them with staff this week in my weekly memo as well. The first resource is a posting I came across Saturday morning via Twitter: A Teacher's Guide to the Perfect Summer in 15 Steps. The tips are not 'ground breaking', but I appreciated the intent and 'heart' of the guide, with this preface: “You’re a teacher? You must love having summers off!” Chances are, you’ve heard this line before. We know as much as you know this is NOT the case. Teaching is a year round gig-- planning, prepping, and organizing happens 365 days a year. But this summer, we want you to kick back and try to enjoy some “you” time. Sleep in, and catch up on those tempting Pinterest recipe treats. We’ve even included some painless, quick tips to help plan for the upcoming school year. Indulge in our favorite ways to enjoy your summer. You’ve earned it! You certainly have earned some time to indulge yourself and I hope you can do just that. The second posted resource is a post from Jill Berkowicz and Ann Myers in Education Week, entitled 'Care Deeply About Students is Mr. Woolley's Retirement Wisdom'. In this post Berkowicz and Myers resurrect a retirement speech given in 1992 by Richard Woolley, a retiring superintendent of 18 years. As they write, the message from Woolley reads as though it could be written today and pushes us as educators and caring, investing citizens to examine our practices: "His letter made June 1992 seem not long ago and far away. It has caused us to pause and wonder if we rail and rally too much. Is it that for each of us, our present time is the toughest and the most remarkable? We bring you his voice, looking back and forward, the soothsayer leader whose vision was not limited in time nor impeded by nets of change surrounding him." The end of his message regarding 'caring' particularly resonated with me, as I have shared many times my belief in the importance of relationships: "...nothing will likely fix our schools more than the caring people who work everyday with the children. Tinkering with class sizes, courses to cut or to keep, budgets to trim, etc., will not fix the roof and keep it from leaking. Caring, seems to me, to be the only 'stuff' which will allow us to prevail. The more we care about our students and what happens to them, the more well respected we will be and the more well fixed we will be. It is that simple. And that, dear friends, will require you and me to be different." This caring applies to students, staff, our community, and one another. I shared this with staff and conveyed my hope that they would be able find a few moments at some point this week before they depart for summer to read Woolley's words as I feel they capture the heart and essence of the work we are committed to do together for our students. Their care is greatly appreciated, and the care of our families is as well.
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