The Cardinal Way

Sharing and Learning at Southport Middle School

Student Success is a Team Effort!


This post is one I have been working on since last semester when Brooke Nelson led our staff through the process of writing our own, personal, mission statements. Although, I am a very driven person with strong beliefs, I had never taken the time to write out something along these lines. Going into the staff meeting, I thought, “I know what I am about; this will be easy.” It wasn’t! I struggled to identify the right words to express what I knew I felt about my purpose in life.

Since that meeting, I have continued to pull out my mission statement and rework, rethink, and rewrite it. I tried inserting words like empower into my mission statement, but then after thinking about it would stray away from the words I was using. I found through this process that a word like empower insinuates that I have the power to bestow on people. I did not feel like my life's mission was about changing people. Those were not the ideas I felt drove my life and my decisions. So, I continued to struggle with the words. While working to find the right words, I have come across the idea of a living a mission driven life in many of the books I have read this past few months. This concept of having/developing a mission statement seemed to be recurring in many places in my life, and I felt I needed to focus and finalize my personal statement. So, here is what I have come up with:

My mission for my life is to: love, honor, and serve people, while pursuing excellence in everything I do.

So, why is this important? Why do I feel such a need to create and share my mission statement? I think Joshua Medcalf sums it up well in his book, Chop Wood, Carry Water: “Goals actually allow you to shirk responsibility. But a mission? Only the person in the mirror can stop you from living that out.”

My mission gives me purpose and room for growth. Goals set checkpoints that perpetuate our desire to need more. Once I have achieved _(fill in the blank)_, then I will be a success. The funny thing that happens in this situation is once you do achieve whatever it was that you picked to fill in the blank, it only brings fulfillment for a short time. There is still a need to do something else. Accomplishments have endings, which lead us to the need for further accomplishments to find our self worth, then another and another and another...

Love People. Honor People. Serve People. Pursue excellence in everything I do. That is something I can live every single day of my life. There is no end to this mission. If I spend every day trying to do those things, success will soon follow and so, naturally, will accomplishments. But, in those accomplishments will never be where I find my value.

I plan on spending the next few weeks discussing each aspect of my mission. I hope my journey through sharing my mission will also help you to identify your own personal mission. Only the person in the mirror can stop you now…

Keep learning; keep growing; keep sharing!

This is cross posted on my Principal's Blog


  • Thank you to Amy Gaisser, Ashley Koontz, Georgina Mayorga, and Melinda Weiss for running our staff meeting on Thrusday.
  • Thank you to Matt Bush, Kelly Barnhart, and Shannon Leber for the work they have put into the SMS Brag Board. It is fun to walk by and see those kind notes to kids displayed publicly. Kindness is our strength!
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Week 20 Grateful Friday Challenge:

Use the alphabet as a format for making a list of things for which you feel grateful. Write out each letter in the morning and as the day goes along see if you can come up with something for each letter of the alphabet.


  • Great Blog Post: This is a short post, but very powerful post by Seth Godin - It's All A Mistake

  • Great Video: Before you die - JUMP, just JUMP

Before you die!!!!!! JUMP, just JUMP


Each day we share a story of learning taking place at Southport Middle on our 180 Days of Learning Blog. Below are this week's stories of learning.

Angie Chisham

Students in Mrs. Chisham’s class are continuing to learn about minerals! By using their Chromebook and accessing the online presentation, students were able to complete their notes. They started their research over their mineral using an information rubric. Once the research was completed they began to create their visual display of the mineral with information from the rubric.

Dennis McAllen

Students in Mr. McAllen's 8th grade social studies class are learning about the Declaration of Independence. Groups of students were assigned portions from the "Declaration of Natural Rights" and the "List of Grievances" sections of the Declaration. Students paraphrased their section and then started working on a way to present their portion to the class. Students will finish presentations tomorrow and begin to present the information to the class.

Janette Collins and Yancy Crawford

Mr. Crawford's class has been in the IMC preparing for a career based research project. Mrs. Collins, SMS Media Specialist, worked with the students today to help them determine the reliability of information on the internet. Mrs. Collins helped the students determine if different internet sites were C.R.A.P. Students used this method to think about the sites Currency, Reliability, Authority, and Purpose/point of view. This method helps students identify sites that are good sources to use in their upcoming research. Over the next few days, students will begin to research careers and use this research to complete a paper about their career interests.

Brooke Nelson

Mr. Nelson's 8th grade science students are studying genetics. Today, students looked at multiple examples of genetic scenarios. Students determined what was similar with each example to come of with their own ideas about how dominant traits can be expressed in offspring. Students used these ideas as a comparison as they continued to learn about and look at other examples co-dominance and incomplete dominance throughout the class period.

Michael Tygrett

Students in Mr. Tygrett's 7th grade Social Studies class are studying the Syrian Civil War conflict. Students began class by generating ideas on ways they could solve a conflict like this one. They then compared those ideas to one's from Syrian presidential candidates. The students then read and learned more about the conflict . At the end of class, Mr. Tygrett went back to the predictions to see if they could come up with better solutions to this war.


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