Thursday, December 18, 2008

Merry Christmas from the Bateson Family

Dear family and friends,
Merry Christmas from the Bateson’s. The year 2008 will be remembered for three significant and life-changing adjustments. The first major change was our move from Deming where we have lived for the past 25 years to Rio Rancho, an Albuquerque suburb, to be nearer to our kids and grandkids. We were fortunate to purchase a modest adobe home three blocks from Jordan and Tammy’s. The second big change was Mike’s hiring as principal of Taylor Middle School with Albuquerque Public Schools. He had been a principal with Lordsburg Municipal Schools for the past five years. The third and biggest change was Lynn’s diagnosis of progressive bulbar palsy in June at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale. Each change has been both a blessing and an opportunity for prayer and growth. In addition to the Big Three, the lives of our eight kids and seven (soon to be eight) grandkids continue to grow and unfold.
On June 2, we welcomed a new granddaughter, Sophia Rose Quinonez to the family. She was born to oldest daughter Courtney and husband Fernando. Sophia joined siblings Nathan (5 yr) and Adam (2 yr). Courtney teaches with Rio Rancho PS and Fernando manages the Hastings store in NE Albuquerque.
Christian and his wife Connie continue to live in New York City. Like so many others, Christian’s job as a hedge fund manager was a victim of the credit market meltdown. The drama began last March when JP Morgan Chase purchased Bear Stearns. The drama ended several weeks ago when JP Morgan sent termination notices to 3,000 employees including Christian. He is currently in touch with a number of financial recruiter firms and we pray his job search will eventually land him out west.
Kelly continues to teach AP English at Palmer High School in Colorado Springs. She is active in the Regnum Christi movement. She continues to work in the church in a variety of capacities and we are very proud of her willingness to serve.
Katie and her husband Devin are still in Austin, TX. One exciting development in their lives has been their dream of adopting a child. This dream appeared to take shape this month when an opportunity unfolded to care for twin nine-month olds Tobias and Leo. They have had the boys for a week now and have found the addition of two new members to be exciting and challenging.
Jordan and his wife Tamara are now our neighbors in Rio Rancho along with their identical twins Ava and Addison (age 2). Jordan works for Rocky Mountain Construction and Tammy is a dental hygienist. Together, they are expecting their first son in March.
Bethany works as a labor and delivery nurse Banner Good Samaritan Hospital in Phoenix. She seems to have made the transition from Boston’s snow and ice to the triple-digit heat of the Valley of the Sun. We are proud to see her following in her mother’s nursing footsteps.
Emmanuel (Manny) finished his second summer as a member of the USFS Lassen Hot Shots. He spent the bulk of this forest fire season in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Manny moved back to Rio Rancho and will be attending UNM in January. He plans to study civil engineering when he isn’t shredding the pow.
Benjamin is a senior at Rio Rancho High School. He made a smooth transition to the much larger school and was a hard-hitting wild man on the Ram’s district-championship football team. After graduation, Ben is considering following his big brothers to the University of New Mexico. He and Manny have been skiing twice this month and he spends hours reading weather reports waiting for the next big storm to dump more snow on the Sangre de Cristo’s.
One high point of this year for Lynn was the visit of her four sisters in October for their annual Sisters’ Weekend. Sisters Evelyn, Carol, Kathy, and Debbie made the long flight from Oregon to spend a weekend filled with laughter, conversation, and story telling. We were very blessed to have their company and were grateful for their visit. The second wonderful high point happened Thanksgiving week when our incredibly generous children sent us to the Grand Hyatt Resort on Kauai for our 35th Anniversary. It was a wonderful week of relaxation in the South Pacific sun. We pray to the Lord Jesus that all of you have a blessed New Year. We would love to hear from you by mail (1013 27th St. SE, Rio Rancho, NM 87124) or email. Our address is

Mike and Lynn

Fasten your seatbelts!

The Principal’s Corner with Mr. Bateson

Fasten your seat belts moms and dads because in January and February, we will:
• Begin a new locker policy. This will require parents to fill out a locker use form to get the locker. We will pass these out in early January
• Implement our new In School Suspension program. We will share the new discipline matrix via the website in January.
• Hold a 5th Grade Parents’ Night on February 3 from 6 – 7:30. This will be an opportunity for all incoming 6th graders to visit Taylor with their parents and learn about our wonderful school.
The school will be closed from December 20th through January 4th. We will reopen on Monday, January 5th. I will be available via email if you have questions. I will do my best to answer them. My address is Have a great holiday!

Monday, December 15, 2008

"You better not pout, you better not cry..."

“You better not pout,
You better not cry,
You better watch out,
I’m telling you why…”

Think you know the next line? It has nothing to do with Santa Claus and everything with being naughty or nice. After a long discussion with Taylor teachers and staff at our staff meeting on Monday, we identified three areas of needed improvement in our student discipline approach. I want to share these areas with you and advise you of what we are doing to address them. Three big areas of concern were:

Lunch Detention: Staff was concerned that the setting of detention (office conference room) and relative lack of structure made lunch detention less effective than it could be. We have made the following changes to detention:
• It was moved to the Home Economics room 208 which is quieter and easier to supervise.
• We implemented stricter rules for student behavior in detention
• We will increase adult supervision in the room

Lunch Supervision: Staff was concerned that there were not enough adults in the halls and on the patio at lunch and during passing periods. Teachers have redoubled their efforts to be in the hallways during passing periods to make sure student behavior is appropriated. Teachers have also volunteered to give up their lunch break to help with supervision. Finally we have redeployed custodial staff to the patio at noon to assist with supervision. Finally we need parent volunteers to assist with supervision. If you want to help us out, please call Mr. B if you are interested.

In-School Suspension: We are going to begin our ISS program on January 7th. We have purchased the prep periods of four teachers who will supervise students assigned by the principals to ISS. The new room will be housed in the 100 wing in space currently used by our OT/PT staff - they are moving to room 310. ISS will largely take the place of Saturday School which is being phased out.

These improvements will require changes to the Taylor Discipline Matrix. Mrs. Meyer and I will be working on this over the holiday and will post the new matrix on the Taylor website in January. We are also working on the plan to give lockers to students – more on that in next week’s issue. I hope you all have a wonderful week.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving from Taylor!

The Principal’s Corner with Mr. Bateson

"If we meet someone who owes us thanks, we right away remember that. But how often do we meet someone to whom we owe thanks without remembering that?"
-Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Being the principal of a school is akin to being the conductor of a symphony orchestra. Each musician is vital to success of the orchestra. If one member is missing or one instrument is out of tune, the performance is compromised. And so it with deep thankfulness that I acknowledge the contribution of each member of the Taylor school staff for their contribution to our success this school year. Running a successful school requires teamwork and a willingness to put the needs of the students ahead of ones personal needs. Our teachers and staff do that every day and for that I am in their debt. As Goethe implies, we need to focus less on who owes us thanks and focus more on those to whom we owe thanks. Therefore, I want to thank the following members of the Taylor team for making this a great year:
Office, Counseling, Library, and Nursing Staff: Pam Meyer, Lindsay Estes, Officer Steve Aldredge, Suzanne Levison, Ellen Concini, Angela Aragon, Michele Chapman, Peggy Sanchez, Evelyn Martinez, and Melissa Garcia.
Custodial Staff: Peter Tapia, Albert Jaramillo, Manuela Delgado, Jose Marquez, and Anna Sedillo.
Cafeteria Staff: Shannon Rippy, Joyce Lyngen, Martin Ortiz, Jolene Martinez, Patricia Gonzalez, and Christina Rodriguez.
Special Education Administration and Ancillary Staff: Yolanda Sanchez, Rachel Molina, Debi Yocky, Heather Bolton, Jennifer Campos, Lorraine Griffith, Chris Kinney, Susan Thompson, Helena Gouws, Nancy Lovato, and Elaine Isaacs.
Educational Assistants: Carla Carrillo, Arlene Farley, Geraldine Garcia, Lisa Sedillo, Caroline Wells, Mariette Labonville, Linda Meadows, Roxanne Pacheco, Emily Parker, Geri Romero, Debi Romero, Bryant Johnson, Bryant Hammonds, and Janelle Stevenson
Teachers: Joellen Beller-Hudgins, Denise Brissey-Cohen, Renee Bustos, Karen Chertok, Tina DiChiara, Robert Fabert, Michelle Fencl, Darla Fields, Elizabeth Freysinger, Robert Gibson, Christy Green, Janice Hagerty, Karen Hall, Ann Hawks, Mark Hillmeyer, Susan Hillmeyer, Scott Hudgins, Laura Hurlbirt, Tim Isaacs, Mary Clare Janowski, Ashley Kasparek, Tammy Lodge, Helen Maloney, Karen Miller, SueAnn Miller, Vince Montoya, Jamie Munsey-Leyva, Theresa Muxworthy, Meghann O’Leary, Nichole Pennington, Gerri Reese-Smith, Carol Sharp, Roxanne Sikes, Margarita Smith, Maria Stefanova, Regina Szczypiorski, Lisa Todd, Rachel Trujillo, Mark Williams, and Susan Winchell.

That is 86 full and part-time staff members in case you counted and each one is vital to the functioning of Taylor. I also want to thank Tanya, Cheryl, Jean, Annamarie, Mary Ann, Jason, Kathy, Karen, Monica, Tiana and the many other PTO members who are such a blessing to Taylor. Have a Happy Thanksgiving from all of us!

Technologically Challenged?

Luddite: An individual who is against technological change. Luddite comes from Englishman Ned Lud, who rose up against his employer in the late 1700s. Subsequently, "Luddites" emerged in other companies to protest and even destroy new machinery that would put them out of a job. A neo-Luddite is a Luddite in the Internet age. Source: Computer Desktop Encyclopedia
Sometimes I fantasize about life without computers, cell phones, and IPods. Like Henry David Thoreau, I dream of a simpler time before Al Gore invented the internet and Steve Jobs invented the IPods. No, I am not really a Luddite or even a neo-Luddite. I confess to having two cell phones and broad band internet at home. No IPods yet though but only because I get XM over the internet. Ten years ago, I had none of these accoutrements of the Digital Age. Now, they feel indispensable. And like any good thing, they have a dark and troublesome side which is the topic of this week’s chat.
Cell phones, MP3 players, and IPods: The student policy handbook clearly explains our policy on the use of cell phones, MP3 players and I-pods on page 8.
Cell phones may be used during lunch outside the school building. IPods and MP3’s may never be used on campus. Lately we have seen a rash of lost or stolen devices. I know this because when a student loses a device, s/he writes an announcement requesting its return. This lost/found process has become a big distraction for us in the office and we are no longer going to announce missing devices. Students have been clearly advised that such devices may be brought at their own risk. As the handbook states: The school assumes no responsibility for the theft of recovery of cell phones. If a student feels his or her device was stolen, the proper course of action is to notify Officer Steve Aldredge and complete a report. Officer Steve will investigate and if a student is found to have stolen a device, he will report it to the principals who will take appropriate disciplinary action per the school discipline matrix. Again, I remind parents that it is the child’s responsibility to keep track of cells and IPods. We aren’t against any of these devices like old’ Ned Lud would surely have been. We just want to make sure they don’t distract the child from getting a great education.
Internet Bullying: Does your child have a My Space page? Do you know what’s on it? Did you know some students use their page to threaten and bully others? I had several students in my office on Thursday over threats and allegations made on just such a page. The students were angry at another student over an incident at school and published their threats on line. Thankfully, a concerned parent forwarded the pages to Officer Steve who brought them to my attention. With the children present, I phoned the children’s parents and asked her if she knew what was on her child’s page. I then asked the child to read to her parent what she had posted on-line. To say this was uncomfortable for the student would be an understatement.
Parents, I bring this to your attention because some kids are using the internet and text messaging to bully other kids. You may remember the recent case of a Midwest teen who committed suicide after being bullied by a girl half a continent away. As I recall, prosecutors sought to hold the bully’s mother culpable for her daughter’s actions. We want to avoid anything like that here at Taylor. Please talk to your child about this. If you don’t know how to get to My Space, learn how and check it on a regular basis. Bullying is bullying is bullying. Help us stamp it out.
On the whole, I believe we are having a very productive and instructive school year. Some examples of this include:
• Students’ proficiency on the RACED writing process is steadily improving.
• We are bringing back student lockers next semester.
• We are working to implement pre-AP strategies in more classes this year.
• We are considering pre-AP classes in math and language arts next year.
• We have purchased digital projectors and “Elmo’s” for almost every classroom and we have purchased digital “clicker” systems for all science classrooms.

We still have room to improve and this is where we continue to stress the importance of our partnership with you as parents. We really do value your suggestions, phone calls, and emails. And while sometimes I daydream about living in a one-room cabin on the shores of Walden Pond disconnected from technology, the here-and-now challenge is to make sure our students use technology in a way that is safe. Let me add this proviso: the vast majority of our students are using technology safely and much of the credit for this goes to you, their parents. Thanks for your ongoing support during this hectic season. I hope to see you at the upcoming musical performances next week!