Thursday, May 27, 2010

It was a very good year!

One of my favorite Frank Sinatra songs is “It Was a Very Good Year.” I love how Sinatra goes through the progressions we encounter as humans from young love to middle age to “the autumn of life”. One thing that helped make it a very good year for our school was the wonderful parent volunteers who helped in so many ways including Cheryl Howard, Tanya Lattin, Kathy Vargas, David Vargas, Frank Wirtz, Mary Ann Kay, Gary Cosper, Tiana Crollett, Anna Garcia, Marcos Diaz, Carlos and Sarah Torrebiarte, Sarah Sherk, and the countless band, chorus, and orchestra parents who volunteer their time to help our programs.

While I think this year was successful, I think another Sinatra lyric - “The Best is Yet to Come” - expresses my hopes for the future. Next year, we will:
• Combine 6th grade parent night with the 7th-8th grade parent night to have a single “Meet the Teacher Night” in late August- (Date TBA).
• Create a Parent Resourced Center in our Library where parents can access the Internet and a library of resource materials
• Use Title One monies to pay for fingerprinting and criminal background checks for 20 parents who want to volunteer here at Taylor.
• Create more signage in both English and Spanish.
• Use Title One Parent Involvement funds to provide food for two parent nights during the school year.
• Offer conversational English classes for parents who want to improve their English skills.
We want all parents to feel welcome at Taylor. We are your community school and we are here to be of service. Thanks to Title One funding, we are going to be able to offer new services we could not provide this year. We will share more information about these ideas at registration.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Happy teacher appreciation week and Mother's Day

One of the singular joys of being a middle school principal is seeing new life emerge at your school. To wit:
• The newly planted elm, ash, and desert willow trees sending forth leaves and providing the first shade on our western quadrangle.
• Our newly reestablished girls’ soccer team finishing the regular season undefeated and then coming within a whisker of winning the Metro Middle School Soccer Tournament before losing in the last minutes to Cleveland.
• Seeing new clubs and activities such as Builders Club, Razzle Dazzle, and AVID be made available to our kids.

A bumper sticker on the back of a Taylor teacher’s car reads as follows: Those that can DO; those that can do more TEACH! Growing up, I heard the version of this saying that said that those that can’t do teach. I now realize that this is a grossly unfair and ridiculous statement. Teachers really sow the seeds of democracy in our children and lay a strong foundation, in cooperation with parents, for civil society. I would like you to consider some quotations about teaching and teachers:
• “I am indebted to my father for living, but to my teacher for living well”. – Alexander the Great

• “He who opens a school door, closes a prison”.—Victor Hugo

• “A good teacher is like a candle – it consumes itself to light the way for others”. – Author unknown

• “A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops”. – Henry Adams

• “Smartness runs in my family. When I went to school I was so smart my teacher was in my class for five years.” – George Burns

Speaking of the importance of teachers, it is commonly acknowledged that mothers are their children’s first teachers. Children who grow up with strong maternal support and instruction generally become stable productive adults.

Interestingly when a student ends up in the principal’s office with a discipline referral, 9 times out of 10 they want me to call their mom (or grandma or auntie). Why? Because they know mom loves them and will ALWAYS love them. As we celebrate Mother’s Day this Sunday, I encourage all of you to reflect on the important role moms play in our lives and in our society. Thank you to all Taylor moms, grandmothers, aunties, great grandmothers, and foster moms for the powerful impact you have on our students.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

No news is good news

There are times in life when it is wonderful to see your name in the paper but believe me there are times when it is nice to not see your name in the paper. Wednesday was such a day. This was the day when the Albuquerque Journal published the list of APS principals who had been reassigned to different schools. Several parents called frantically to say they had heard a blurb on the Tuesday evening news about principals being transferred. They asked if Pam or I was on the list. I was pleased to report to the parents that we were to remain at Taylor next school year.

The good news is this will allow us to provide leadership continuity into next school year as we move to the new six period schedule. We have made strides this year to increase extracurricular activities and we hope to continue to make improvements each year. We continue to believe that Taylor is the best middle school in town and we want to become even more responsive to the needs of our students and parents.