Monday Message


Taking Risks

This time of year can be challenging for many in schools across the country. The third quarter, typically one of the toughest for students academically, is coming to an end, state tests are on our doorstep, and we're ready for the consistent warmth of spring. Those factors coupled with the length of time between winter and spring breaks (especially this year) could possibly have some of us looking for that extra jolt of inspiration here at school. As I thought about my own challenges (many self-imposed as an over-thinker), I began to reflect on how I can re-frame my late-March mindset.

I know when I'm getting stagnant because my entire persona begins to shift. I lay in bed at night running over all of the mistakes I made on a given day. I spend way too much of my energy on menial tasks because my focus is off, and I find myself stuck at my desk when I really want to be out with all of you and our students. It turns out that jumping in and trying something new with the understanding that the something new may or may not work as expected, also known as ready-fire-aim, is one way that I can keep myself from getting stagnant. Now, this "something new" isn't always a big deal. Maybe it's creating specific times of the day when I'm allowed to look at emails. Perhaps it's starting my day with a new routine, my latest one being short mindfulness exercises first thing in the morning. It can even mean re-affirming my involvement in something that's gone by the wayside (mobile desk, anyone?). What I'm saying is this does not have to be life-changing.

Of course the most meaningful opportunities come when working together with all of you to implement a new approach like After-School Academic Success, R.A.C.E to Bulldog Pride, blogging in the classroom, or even applying for a 21st Century learning space. The thing that binds all of these together is that jumping in and trying them rather than just talking about trying them is what makes them successful and, in turn, energizes me as an educator. Talk is cheap. Actions speak louder than words, as they say. I am a better principal when I am acting along with you, taking risks, trying that thing I've been wanting to, reflecting on why it did or didn't work, and collaborating to make it better. If we just talk about the changes we want to make, the only thing that's going to expand is our breath-capacity.

Do you have something new you've been wanting to try out? Now is the time! Jump in. Try it out. If it doesn't work, that's OK! Let me know how I can help, and we'll try together.

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Calendar (AKA Where Will Tim Be This Week?)

State Assessments Testing Schedule:

Monday, April 4:

  • SchoolTool unlock for the end of the 3rd Marking Period
  • Admin Cabinet Meeting, 9:30 AM, HS LGI

Tuesday, April 5:

  • NYS ELA Assessment: Day 1
  • The faculty meeting is moved to April 19th for a budget presentation from Dr. Patton.

Wednesday, April 6:

  • NYS ELA Assessment: Day 2

Thursday, April 7:

  • NYS ELA Assessment: Day 3

Upcoming Dates:

4/11 - BOE Meeting

4/12 - Faculty Meeting Budget Presentation

4/12 - SchoolTool lock for Marking Period 3 at 11:59 PM

4/13-4/15 - Math Assessments

4/16 - Senior Citizen Dinner

**If you're looking for me, don't forget to check the big calendar hanging on the wall outside of my office, updated for April.

R.A.C.E. to Bulldog Pride Reminder

So far since we started these recognition letters home, I have sent out nearly forty to parents, grandparents, and other family guardians. I know they are having a positive impact in the community, and I wanted to include a brief reminder with a link to the submission form. It's always helpful, although not so easy this time of year, to focus on those positive things happening with students. I would urge you to think about a student or two who deserves to be recognized as we move from the third quarter (typically a lower one for many kids) into the fourth. Not only will it give them and their parents a jolt of positive energy, but I know it will do the same to you.

R.A.C.E. to Bulldog Pride Submission Form:

Kathleen Skellie's Instructional Coaching Blog Part 2

Note from Tim: In an effort to mix things up, you'll remember that I've asked Kathleen to share some takeaways from a recent literacy training with Dr. Tim Shanahan. Linked below are both the first and now the second part of a three part series that focuses on helping our students develop a growth mindset by encouraging them to stretch while still offering support.

Part one reflection

Part two reflection (NEW - I had to link it because Kathleen has very nice charts that wouldn't carry over to Smore)


Not every innovation needs to be a technological one. I love how this teacher is using very large graphic organizers to engage students and turn the idea of textual evidence on its head!
You all know why it's awesome to work at the middle level, and here's one more post that talks about why we do what we do!
Jerry Blumengarten, also known as @Cybraryman1, has a PROLIFIC amount of resources dedicated to too many topics for me to even mention here. His website started as a middle school library resource, and heas grown a great deal since then. It may appear dated, but the information contained within is anything but. Take a look at the information he has stored over the years for parents, educators, students, and what he calls "general interest."
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