This past Thursday evening, WLMS hosted our annual Open House. In addition to allowing our community members an opportunity to walk through our newly upgraded building and meet our staff, the PTSA held an ice cream social in the cafeteria to introduce me to the Wilde Lake Middle School Community. We had over 400 students, parents, community dignitaries and friends of WLMS attend this important event. I want to thank everyone who was able to visit our school including the HCPSS Superintendent, the school system's Chief Operating Officer, 5 Board of Education Members and one of our State Delegates. Wow, we couldn't have asked for more support.
This past Wednesday, the WLMS staff participated in a "history mapping" activity designed to capture the many success of our school. This activity was led by Tom Payne, Coordinator of the Howard County Public Schools' Advanced Programs and Fine Arts and Razia Kosi who works in our Cultural Proficiency Office. During the hour and half session, staff members were given the opportunity to identify the year they came to the school and were grouped with people of the same era. Once they were grouped, participants were invited to share the highlights and issues that were important the year they began working here at WLMS. Once the staff had a chance to talk in small groups, they were brought back together as a large group to discuss the history from their perspective
As different eras presented, Tom and Razia captured our history on the large map posted on the back of the stage. It was amazing to hear the various stories that were told and how newer staff members began to understand the proud history and traditions of our school.
At the end of the faculty meeting, we talked as a staff about how we will move forward and build on the proud history of WLMS. In addition, staff members were given the opportunity to write a "Dear Me" letter to themselves talking about their goals for the year and how they will help WLMS move forward successfully.
I thought it was an outstanding activity to do this week since I am the new leader of this school. By the end of the meeting, I had a better understanding of where our staff has been, some the of the issues we will need to discuss, and provided me with thoughts and ideas of how we will move forward as a school. I want to thank Tom and Razia for their group facilitation talents and the time they shared with us. I also want to thank the WLMS staff for participating in this powerful activity and creating such a powerful history map of WLMS. The map will be on display at our 40th Anniversary Celebration scheduled for October 15th.
Without question, middle school teachers are amazing educators. Recently, I was asked to describe the characteristics of the best middle school teachers I know. Sheesh, this was not an easy task. I believe the best middle school teachers are able to:
Leap tall buildings in a single bound...
Share content in an engaging manner
Discuss content with authority because they are content experts
Use a variety of teaching strategies
Create a positive classroom learning environment
Employ technology as a tool to engage students
Use humor in a positive manner avoiding hurtful sarcasm
Demonstrate genuine concern for all students
Write exciting lessons
Establish positive relationships with parents
Constructively communicate with colleagues and administrators
Reflect on their own performance and work to improve based on their own self-analysis
Receive feedback in an open and gracious manner
Did I miss any characteristics? Please tell me other characteristics I should add to my list.
As the baseball season begins to get interesting, or at least so I hear (Since I am both an Oriole and Nationals fan, I can only dream about next year). I thought I would share some great quotes from some famous ball players that can be applied to the upcoming school year.
A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.
Jackie Robinson (1919-1972) Hall of Fame baseball player
“Every day is a new opportunity. You can build on yesterday's success or put its failures behind and start over again. That's the way life is, with a new game every day, and that's the way baseball is.”
Bob Feller Hall of Fame pitcher
Hitting is timing.
Pitching is upsetting timing.
Warren Spahn (1921-2003)
Hall of Fame pitcher
Never let the fear of striking out get in your way.
Babe Ruth (1895-1948) world’s greatest baseball player
This selection of 18 "Teaching Secrets" articles were written for Teacher Magazine by members of the Teacher Leaders Network eager to support new colleagues. For the price of free registration, novice professionals can take advantage of several hundred years ofaccumulated wisdom. The collection covers the fundamentals of classroom management and discipline, tips for your first parent meetings, and the secrets of student engagement.
In his article entitled Students as Contributors: The Digital Learning Farm, Alan November says, it is essential to restore the dignity and integrity of children as contributors to our communities and society.
In the past, the education futurist says, "children were essential to the very survival of the family... (and) jobs taught children the value of hard work, leading them to become more productive citizens." With the coming of the industrial economy, "students were required to attend school where teachers became central figures and where children took on more passive roles." Some pioneering teachers are now working to help children regain their active involvement in work and learning, says November. He describes six meaningful jobs that students can do as schools seek to achieve this goal. These jobs are:
Tutorial Designers Official Scribes Researchers Collaboration Coordinators Contributing to Society Curriculum Reviewers
I continue to learn many lessons in the middle! I have learned that middle school teachers are some of the most amazing people I know. I have learned that despite the widely held belief that public schools in America are not succeeding, I see children working hard and meeting rigorous academic standards on a daily basis. I have learned that if I were to be accused of a crime (I hope this will never be the case), I want a jury comprised of 7th and 8th graders. Without question, students in these two grades believe deeply in fairness and justice for all. I have learned that creating positive relationships with students, staff and parents is the key to success. I have learned that being a middle school educator allows me to have a front row seat to witness some pretty hilarious situations as well as those issues that are very sensitive and often life altering.
As a veteran middle level leader, I can say that I have the best job in the world. I have the opportunity to touch lives, teach valuable life lessons, plant seeds of hope, develop innovative programs and sip from the fountain of youth on a daily basis. Often, I have been told by my friends that I should write a book about my experiences. Since I don't have a lot of spare time these days, I have decided to BLOG instead. I hope to share various experiences, opinions and beliefs on a regular basis (probably less than regular basis).
If my writings should be of interest to you, I hope you will drop me a comment or two in the appropriate place. In this era of being able to reach the entire world through the world wide web, I am counting on the fact that I will attract a few comments.
I am the Instructional Director of Middle Schools in Frederick County Maryland. From 1987-2012, I served in various roles in the Howard County Public School System, including: teacher, team leader, assistant principal and Principal. In 2007, I was awarded the Washington Post’s Distinguished Educational Leadership Award/Howard County Principal of the Year and most recently I received the 2008 Howard County Outstanding Technology Leader in Education Award. I am a member of two boards: Past President of the University of Maryland’s College of Education Alumni Board and the McDaniel College’s Teacher Education Advisory Board. In 2008, I started teaching one of the Intro to School Administration classes at McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland.
I am a life-long Washington Redskin fan and I love to root against the Cowboys. I am also an avid blogger.
But most importantly, I am the proud father of two wonderful and amazing kids! I am also fortunate to have a very supportive wife who also happens to be my best friend.
I am always excited to share and collaborate! I have been asked to present to students, teachers, parents and leaders in the educational world and beyond. As both a trainer and a keynote presenter, I have had the opportunity to deliver workshops on topics like:
Leadership Engaging the Millennial Learner Leading from the Middle School Improvement Made Easy (Well Sort Of…) High Impact PD
Some of the organizations I have had the privilege to work with are: Iksan City Public Schools, South Korea University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland McDaniel College, Westminster, Maryland Michigan City Public Schools, Michigan City, Indiana National Middle School Association MSET/MICCA NECC/ISTE Montgomery County Department of Recreation, Rockville, Maryland Maryland Association of Student Councils
For more information about these programs and others I can offer, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
This is a personal blog. The views represented herein are that of the blogger, and do not represent the views of the blogger's employer(s). Furthermore, the views expressed herein should not be imputed to any volunteer boards or other community associations to which the blogger may belong. Comments presented on these pages may be attributable to outside users. If you have questions or concerns about this blog, please feel free to contact me at email@example.com. Thank you!