It’s been a year

I have officially been a “Connected Educator” for one year. So much has happened, and so much has changed. The pivotal moment for me was when Cherie Stanley (@WISDTechGuru) invited Karen Ford (@karenford92) and myself to visit a school in Houston. The school was the epitome of what a 21st century educational facility should look like. I’m so thankful that Cherie had a vision for our school, and that she knew teachers and administrators needed to see what we had the potential to do. I will be honest, I did not want to go. I hate traveling. I get severely car sick, and I did not want to be out of my classroom. I really did not see the point. Cherie kept telling me all these things that they were doing, and I thought it was NUTS! I could not fathom in my mind how all of this worked. But we went, and it changed everything. We left in tears because we wanted more for our school. We knew that we wanted to do something to boost morale and grow the communication between parents and teachers. We wanted to build community. We wanted something more for our students. So we started brainstorming. We did Google Hang Outs. Karen called and emailed the school in Houston and asked for information on their incentive program for kids….and our Power and Pride program was born at WES. Several teachers gave us input and suggestions. The same thing with the VIPS (Volunteer in Public Schools). I could never list every teacher, parent or administrator that helped us with this, gave ideas, or gave us encouragement when things got overwhelming. So this is a big thank you to everyone that has helped along the way. All of this would not have been possible without a great support system. When we started all of this someone on Twitter gave me Gwen Pescatore’s name (@gpescatore25) who is the go-to person for parent/teacher communication. I can’t thank her enough for everything that she has done for a school she has never even visited. I was a complete stranger to her, but now we are friends. Family. Twitter has also been my sounding board for ideas on everything school related. Twitter is a wealth of knowledge. Educators all with the same goal, and the goal is to build a better tomorrow. It’s not just about my kids, my class, it’s about all kids. With all that being said here is a list of things that have taken place this year at WES:

1. Cherie and I had the privilege to organize Tech Camps for teachers before school started

2. Wild Warriors headed up by Angela Moses (@angelakmoses) Students chosen from each grade level based on weekly citizenship were able to run out of the football tunnel on Friday nights

3. Power & Pride incentive program

4. VIPS (Volunteers in Public Schools)

5. Monthly Family Reading Nights

6. Family Walk Nights at the track (Coach Faircloth ROCKS!)

7. The Critterkin Collaboration

8. School Facebook page

9. Admin use of Remind101 to get messages out quickly to us

10. Classrooms (especially mine) flipped upside down in a good way

11. Technology being used in classrooms in so many different ways

12. Family Science Night (Mrs. Buckner ROCKS!)

13. Lego Robotics (Mrs. Moses)

14. Nerdy Book Club (Ms. Nicotre)

15.Family Math Night being planned for next year

I could go on and on. I am so thankful to my principal, Mr. Applewhite, for always letting me run with whatever crazy idea I have. He always lets me think outside the box. He always trusts me. Although morale is at an all time high and teachers and students are thriving, it does get hard. Somethings we’ve tried have not worked. Some programs are not 100 percent supported or understood. We get tired.  BUT, we have a ton of parents and faculty that always help. They always say thank you, and they are always supportive. When it gets rough Karen and I look at each other and say, “Remember why we started this. Remember who it’s for.” Then we just keep moving forward. We already have a list of things that need to be revamped or scratched off totally for next year. But that’s what we are doing at our school and in our classrooms. We are learning as we go, picking each other up, laughing, crying, praying and just supporting each other in any way that we can. It’s all for the kids. It’s all about the kids. And I would not turn back for anything in the world.


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