I am honored to have been selected from a large pool of very qualified professionals for 3 wonderful awards. I have to admit that I was blown totally away when I received notice that I had been nominated for these awards. After receiving the nomination, I promptly piled it with a hundred other pieces of mail, information, and "stuff" that accumulates regularly on my desk. Weeks later, I was encouraged to work on the materials they needed to secure the award. There was a lot of "paperwork" needed for this and a lot of work had to be done in a short amount of time. Maureena was, as always amazing and made it all happen! I ended up getting everything in on time and in order (amazng for me as i struggle right along our students with material management). To make a long story short, the awards were awarded and I am now scheduled for dinners on April 27th, May 6th, and May 12th to accept them.
While I am happy that these were given to me, I have to be honest, these awards (Excellence in Administration, T. Walsh McQuillan Innovative Leadership, and Principal of the Year) are truly given to the Genesee Valley Elementary School. Our school, together has changed the way we deliver education to our students! It is the teachers, the aides, the teacher assistants, the parent, the maintenance crew, the bus drivers, and the office staff that has who deserves these awards! Without the thousands of little changes that they have made, I would be running around in circles with no one behind! They are the award winners and I so incredibly proud to be a part of who we are becoming.
In the end, it boils down to a single idea. It's not rocket science. It boils down to the philosophy that at GV, kids are first and foremost. Their needs, to move, to explore, to communicate, to use their excitement, will define what we do. We will put kids first. It's an honor to be part of this movement!
I know there is a great deal of angst around the Common Core Standards and our children. Just so you know we are in this together, I sat with my daughter (6th grade) a couple of times this year and had troubles helping her do her HW the way it was supposed to be done too!
In order to clear a few things up....the Common Core has been around for a few years and in my humble opinion, is a wonderful set of outcomes that really capture the many things that kids of this century need to be successful in a post-school world. So, if that's true, why the firestorm? I really think that the disconnect is in the way the CCS were rolled out in New York State. There was at one time a beautiful, 10 year plan to roll out new Modules first to grades K-1, the K-2, then K-3, then K-4 (you get the idea....)
This idea was changed when a great deal of Federal money was offered to States who implemented the Common Core Standards immediately. New York State, in an effort to put a large amount of money into education, took the bait and took their 10 year plan and reduced it to a 2 year plan. This left huge gaps in instruction which local districts have been trying to fill. Some of the gaps have been so wide that we have not been able to build bridges fast enough. Now, on top of this stress, the money was also tied to NYS making a connection between Teacher success and student success. This created a huge amount of stress as jobs that were once pretty secure, became attached to an accountability system that was not fully developed and left largely to local decisions. This is where the push for teachers to send home common core aligned homework (much of which is Greek to those of us who grew up in a different era), and where much of the stress has come from.
At Genesee Valley, we are trying very hard to find that balance between great test scores, which we need to show success for our school district and students (and consequently teachers) and the incredibly valuable parent/student time that is our short evenings at home. There are times that homework has been sent home that didn't make sense to anyone there, which just frustrates everyone involved. We are working on this.
An interesting note...there have been almost no issues with the implementation of the Common Core Standards at grades PK-2 as the kids (and parents) there haven't learned another way of doing things. As you go up in grades, the gaps become greater and greater and the frustration follows. As we continue to work on those gaps, we need your input more and more. If you don't understand HW, please call, let us know, and we will find a way to help.
We are exploring a variety of ways of bridging these gaps, and your input is GREATLY valued in this trip! Please be patient, help us find that fine line between frustration and success that our kids so richly deserve. Together we can do this!