Thursday, May 14, 2009

End of year musings

A year ago yesterday, I was introduced to the Taylor staff and parents for the first time. I commented to my wife that I was impressed by the warmth of the welcome and I expressed a hope that I would not disappoint them. For whatever reason, it seemed to me at the time that expectations were sky-high and my biggest fear was that I could not meet those expectations.

A year later, it’s safe to say that I probably exceeded expectations for some folks and did not measure up to the expectations of others. That’s to be expected (no pun intended). I will say this: I have absolutely loved my first year as your principal and am as thrilled to be the principal of Taylor Middle School today as I was on May 12, 2008. In reflecting on the past 183 days of school, I have learned (and occasionally relearned):
• Parents, kids, and teachers expect the principal to consistent and fair at all times, but I also learned
• One size does not fit all kids, teachers, parents, or anything else that comes along.
• Math, reading, science, and social studies are important subjects that every student should master, but,
• Visual art, live music, and poetic expression make life beautiful and meaningful and cannot be ignored in building a middle school curriculum
• Kids are strong, bright, and eager to learn
• Except when they aren’t. And this is where we as a school community need to pull together to help those students who can’t or won’t succeed find a way to succeed.
• Middle school parents want to be involved in the life of the school and that we have a solemn responsibility to involve them.
Teams achieve success because key players make plays. I want to conclude this BPM by acknowledging some key players on our team for their contribution: Pam is the best assistant principal I have ever worked with; Officer Steve is a great guy and a heck of a cop; Suzanne, Ellen, and Angela are as good an office staff as exists in APS; Lindsay is a superlative instructional coach who almost single-handedly made data dialogues work; Christy is a courageous and courteous IC chair; Peter and his crew (Jose, Albert, Patty, and Anna) do an outstanding job of keeping the school and grounds beautiful; Michele, Evelyn, and Melissa run a safe, supportive, and efficient health suite. Joellen and Theresa are exceptional teacher coaches; Helen helped us focus on student success; Vince and Peggy kept our network running; our teaching staff is second to none and their contributions to our school’s success were heroic; our educational assistants did the really heavy lifting day in and day out and we owe you a lot – thanks! And we can’t forget our dedicated cafeteria staff that makes the best bread in town, thanks. The staff of Child Find and Audiology has been a great support. Lastly, I want to thank you, the parents, for your help and support this year: Tanya, Cheryl, Jean, Mariette, Dennis, Kathy, Jason, Tiana, Barbara, Mary Ann, Jennifer, Sarah, Monica, Karen, Becky, Rez, Sef, George, Nancy, Nora, Tom, Carmen, Renee, Heather and the many other parents who work tirelessly to make Taylor a great school. I appreciate you all and thank you for your service. I look forward to continuing our partnership next year and beyond.

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