Westwood Way

Happenings In Panther Nation - October 2020

I’m not sure about you, but I love popcorn! And I’m not talking about the popcorn you pop in a microwave; I love movie popcorn!! Freshly popped popcorn straight out of the popcorn machine is fantastic, and I can eat a large tub of it by myself!!

The best part is standing in line and watching the popcorn pop and knowing that you are getting a tub of that fantastic popcorn. You get the opportunity to watch the attendant pour the kernels in the kettle after allowing the oil to heat up. As you patiently wait, you begin to hear a kernel pop and then another until kernels pop right and left, and popcorn spills out of the kettle. The smell of popcorn begins to fill the concession area, and in anticipation, your mouth begins to water as you can almost taste popcorn.

Something that many of us miss as we watch this is that even though the kernels are poured in the kettle all at one time, they pop at random times. Even though all the popcorn kernels entered the same environment simultaneously, each one pops at different times. When popcorn is spilling out of the kettle at the end of the cycle, the kernels are still popping individually.

This school year seems to be very similar to the popping of popcorn!! As we think about it, this year is just like the kettle with hot oil in it, and we are the kernels of popcorn. Like the kernels, each of us feels the pressure of this year differently and at random times. Some have experienced the stress early in the school year, while others seem not to be impacted by the pressure.

The reality is that this stressful experience will eventually impact each of us. Just like each kernel popping, each of us will eventually reach that point that the stress and pressure are too much to handle. My encouragement is for us to be intentional about noticing our teammates’ anxiety and being there for them. None of us can handle extreme stress by ourselves, but we can overcome so much more standing together.

As we enter this stretch before Thanksgiving and Christmas break, please be mindful of those around you and be ready to offer the help they may need. For over four years, I have been talking about being a part of something bigger than ourselves, and I can’t think of a better way to accomplish it than being there for somebody struggling!

As always, I would love to hear your feedback.


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School Board Update

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

Kyle Johnson presented a finance update in which he discussed the 2020-2021 budget, preparation of the 2021-2022 budget, and COVID expense reimbursements from the state, City of Palestine, and Anderson County.

Tiffany Carwell presented an ESL update in which she discussed the academic progress of our ESL students and learner proficiency of our students.

Christine Bedre presented a curriculum update in which she discussed synchronous learning.

The Board unanimously approved the TEA Homebound Instruction Waiver.

The Board unanimously approved the purchase of two school buses for the 2020-2021 school year.

The Board unanimously approved the budget amendment as presented.