Sunday, August 24, 2014

Best Year Ever!

We just completed the first week of school and it was quite a success!

Monday was Jumpstart Day for our 6th graders.  It was an optional shorter day, organized to be fun yet allow the 6th graders to feel comfortable with lockers, class location, teachers, etc. before the 7th and 8th graders arrive.  IT WAS A GREAT DAY!  Smiles everywhere!  It ended with a tug of war competition between some of the 6th graders and the teachers.  Everyone in the gym was cheering on the 6th grade players.  I loved watching the teachers right behind the players as they cheered, encouraged, supported, and offered tips in the hopes of winning the competition.   AND when the 6th grade players were losing their footing and started to slide, the teachers jumped in and helped pull the rope!  :)  What a great metaphor for the teacher-student relationship!!

Tuesday was our first "real" day.  We have a little over 600 students in our 6-8 building.  How exciting to see them come in, ready for a new year!

Over the first few days of school, the teachers are required to teach several PBIS lessons to make sure our entire school knows the expectations.  This might not be the most exciting thing to teach, but it is definitely a necessity.  The students are doing very well with following directions as the teachers are using common language and are really working hard to be consistent.  It sure pays off!!  As I was walking in the building last week, it just FELT GOOD!  Students were engaged and learning was taking place!  :)  I hope we keep this positive energy up all year long!!

How was your start to school?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Back to School! :)

I am back!  Took a summer vacation both from the blog and from school.  Am feeling refreshed and ready for another year!  :)

Last week was the first week back for counselors in my building.  One of our jobs at this time of the year is scheduling students.  Wow!  What a tremendous responsibility!!

Last year, as a brand new counselor and new person to my building, I was not a part of the beginning of the year scheduling.  My colleague is very good at chunking my responsibilities so I am not overwhelmed all at once.  :)  This year I am taking a much more active role in the process.  Wow!.  So much to figure out!  So much to take into consideration!  Lots of creativity needed with some schedules.

We've had a lot of hiccups in the scheduling process.  Last night our assistant principal, the other counselor, and myself worked on schedules from 8:00 a.m. until 9:30 p.m. with about a 20 minute lunch around 11:00 a.m.  My eyes got tired from reading all those names/numbers/classes.  There were a few students I had to call to ask for their preference when it came to hard decisions regarding electives.  I called one young lady last night and she said she would call back with her response.  She didn't call back before I left to go home.

This morning I thought about this girl.  Before I could call her back, one of our secretaries told me that her family was here to talk to someone about her schedule.  The girl's last name was hispanic (this is important for later on in my story).  When I saw the girl's family I greeted them and explained the situation to the mom and the girl.  Both listened intently.  When I finished, the girl translated my explanation to Spanish for her mom.  Her mom then asked her to ask me a question about one of the classes.

So I switched from speaking in English to Spanish and explained it all to them.  It was a great opportunity for me to practice my Spanish and make the girl's job a little easier, as well as put the mom at ease.  This was the first time in my counseling role that I've gotten the chance to really use my Spanish with families.  It felt so good!  :)

So tonight was Schedule Pick Up Night.  I have been dreading this night a little.  Not just because it is a late night for us, but because this is one of the responsibilities our assistant principal gave to me when I started last year.  I was in charge of organizing everything.  Pretty overwhelming by itself, but then throw in working for several days on schedules and trying to tie up last minute details all at once.  I am not good at planning events.  I am a last minute girl so this is just really not my thing. went off well tonight!  :)Yeah!!

As much work as goes into nights like tonight, it still is so very rewarding to me.  I LOVE greeting new families and reconnecting with previous ones.  There is something about starting over each new year!  The kids and parents are excited...and so am I!!!!!  :)