Westwood Way

Happenings In Panther Nation - September 2020

Over the last several weeks, I have been focusing on pushing through limits in my professional and personal life. In the previous two weekends, I decided to extend my bike rides to help relieve stress and increase my activity.

On Labor Day Weekend, I had a long ride of 8.29 miles, and then this last weekend, I pushed my distance to 9.32 miles. These rides were a challenge since the longest ride I had attempted before this was a 6-mile ride.

As I began the 9+ mile bike ride, I found myself doing a great deal of positive self-talk and convincing myself I could survive it. This self-talk helped get me going down the road and allowed me to envision the end goal. After riding for a while, my legs began to ache, and I shifted my focus to being comfortable with the aches and pain. This slight shift in focus enabled me to push past the initial pain and continue my pace.

As I approached the ¾ mark, my determination and desire began to fade, and I found myself struggling to maintain the same intensity as I had on the first part of the ride. At this point, I knew I had to shift my focus to pushing harder and concentrating on establishing a consistent rhythm as I peddled. Even though I maintained the pace during the last part of my ride, I became worried about the very end because I faced a long gradual incline to our house. As I began up the ascent, my thoughts shifted to the WHY behind lengthening my bike rides: to increase activity and, ultimately, begin losing weight. This shift in thoughts allowed me to have a strong finish!

As I reflected after completing my ride, I realized that the journey I experienced on my long bike ride is very similar to the struggle we all are facing as we are forced to push through our professional limits. As we grow in our profession, we also experience hesitations, aches/pains, and concerns. Like my bike ride, we will have a successful journey if we will center our efforts on the following areas:

1) Adjust Our Mindset - Our mind is a powerful tool and can be our biggest asset or our biggest hindrance. The mind naturally works to protect us, and as soon as our journey becomes difficult, our first response is to give up. This is why it is essential that, just like the positive self-talk I practiced, we must fill our thoughts with positive messages as we attempt to push through professional limits and try new things.

2) Accept The Discomfort - Pushing forward in your profession can be filled with discomfort just like I faced during my ride. We are naturally wired to avoid pain and pull back or stop entirely when we experience it. We must begin not only to accept but expect discomfort, and this will allow the fear of these feelings to disappear. And once we reach this plateau, we can establish a new comfort zone.

3) Push Yourself To Take One More Step - On any journey worthwhile, we will face a time that we don’t think we take one more step or come back one more day. On my bike ride, this point was at the ¾ mark. We typically refer to this as hitting our limit or hitting the wall. Every time you feel that you have reached your limit, go one more step. Every time you think you have hit the wall, push against it as hard as possible until you go a little further.

4) Have A Greater Purpose - Sometimes, the first three tactics are not enough to keep pushing. This was the point I was at as I faced the long gradual incline to my house. The pain, discomfort, hesitations, and concerns are too significant to continue on. In these moments, when it is too uncomfortable to continue on the journey, we need to have a purpose. Something more important than the feelings that we are experiencing or the complete fatigue we feel. If we can recall that purpose, it will spark our WHY and provide the strength to continue pushing through our limits.

I encourage you to consider where you are on your journey and contemplate which of these tactics could help you continue on that journey of pushing your limits. I would love to hear about your journey, so feel free to share it with me!!


Big picture

School Board Update

During the September Board Meeting, the following items came before the School Board:

Christine Bedre presented the monthly Curriculum Update in which she gave an overview of asynchronous and synchronous learning.

Kyle Johnson presented the monthly Finance Update, which he discussed the 2020-2021 budget, audit preparation, and CARES ACT funding.

Kyle Johnson presented as a First Read, a quote for bus purchases. This item will be placed on the October agenda as an Action Item.

Christine Bedre presented the 2020-2021 Accountability Update.

The Board discussed the Proud Panther selection process for the 2020-2021 school year.

The School Board unanimously approved adding ten (10) local COVID-19 leave days. These days will follow the same guidelines as the days authorized by the federal government. Human Resources will send out additional information on the use of these days.

The School Board unanimously approved the contract with Fitzpatrick Architects.

The School Board unanimously approved the Class Size Exception Waiver for one section of 2nd-grade asynchronous learning.

Teacher contracts were acknowledged as presented.