Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Communication is Everything

Martin Luther King is Much More than a Holiday: I hope that everyone had a great long weekend. It is important to continue to remember that this long weekend happened in recognition of the great Dr. Martin Luther King. It is difficult to believe in today's world that someone had to stand up for the rights and equality of others and that he was assassinated for his beliefs. That was very unfortunate for all of us. I have always felt that no human should judge another human based on their race, orientation, or beliefs. That is the way I have always led. It is equally embarrassing that we can visit other parts of the United States and still find work to be done, which is why we will continue to educate our children about the power of equality.

In-Depth Dialogue Includes Common Core: Last week we held the annual Dialogue with the Superintendent. It was very well attended and was the best "Dialogue" that I have been a part of.  We spent the first hour or so interacting with parents about a variety of topics. Parents wrote questions down on index cards, and I would read them and then answer them sight unseen. A "stump the band" of sorts. It was a blast. We spoke about the capital project, food service, clubs, activities, and a variety of other topics. We spent the second portion of the evening speaking about the Common Core Learning Standards (CCLS), implementation of the "CCLS", testing, and data collection.

While I did use many references that can be found on our website (http://www.westgenesee.org/District/District/District_CommonCore.cfm), we also had a panel of internal experts available to help answer questions.  I would like to thank Brian Kesel (Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction), Bill Roberge (Director of Technology), Sean Fahey (District Data Coordinator), Michelle Gipe (Math Literacy Specialist), Heidi Beverline-Curry (Special Education Reading Specialist), and Heather Silvia (Literacy Specialist) for their insight and assistance.

I would also like to thank the entire audience for how they conducted themselves. The Common Core and related subjects has created some tense and passionate situations. Our audience consisted of those in favor of the "CCLS", those against, and those who just wanted more information.  There was also a media channel there as well trying to create some animosity as the evening started. Fortunately, none took the bait and the evening ended up being informative, powerful, and a true two-way conversation. Thank you to all who attended!

When an Athlete Gets Hurt: My wife and I had an interesting situation Friday night at the boys basketball game. Our sons have been involved in athletics for a long, long time. They have been injured on several occasions in a variety of sports. When they were young and got hurt we did not think twice about running out onto the field or court to help, and they were always relieved when we showed up.  As they have gotten older we have found that it "isn't cool" to go out to help them right away when they get hurt.

Our son took a shot and missed and as he went to the basket to follow his shot, he and two players for the other team jumped and collided. The shoulder or elbow of another player hit my son near his eye. We couldn't see it at first, but play was immediately stopped. We could tell from the reaction of the players and referee that something was really wrong. Our son headed calmly to the bench but then it became apparent judging by the reaction of the coaches and players on the bench that he was bleeding badly. He turned around and we could see a lot of blood around his eye from across the gym. We got that tense parent feeling but held tight in the stands as the coaches tried to stop the bleeding. It didn't stop. When the coaches turned to the crowd to try to find us, we of course worked our way over to the opposite sideline in a hurry.

Long story short, he ended up with a large cut over his eye, five stitches, and no broken bones or concussion. We were fortunate it wasn't worse. We reminded ourselves just how much our roles as parents change as they grow, but how much they also stay the same when we stopped at the store on the way home from the ER to get him his favorite comfort food just like we did when he was in elementary school!

Upcoming Events: Please remember to check our District Facebook page for updates about our sports teams, fine arts programs, and the recent spelling bee. There is a lot going on right now, and if I tried to cover everything here I would be sure to accidentally miss something. Mrs. Russell never misses a thing on Facebook!

Community Book Dialogue: Lastly, please remember that the Community Dialogue for the book Petey is happening tonight, January 21, starting at 6:00 p.m. in the high school library. Mr. Newvine is going to lead the group through a second discussion about the book. The author, Ben Mikaelsen, will visit on February 7 to discuss the story during the day with middle and high school students and talk with the community that evening at 7:00 p.m. in the high school auditorium.

Enjoy the week!