December 4th, 2015

Semester Exams, Christmas Break

I have had some of you ask about starting your exam a day early. That's fine. Do whatever you need to do to get it done. Again, this is a Data Day for core teachers. We will be using this data when we return to determine how we plan the 2nd semester and how we prepare for STAAR.

I will only be announcing the importance of finishing the exams and doing their best. I know this is a little different, having tests on that Friday. However, I feel like that day becomes less and less meaningful each year. I think "Free" days (for kids) are counter-productive. If they are here, they have work. I know this gives you less time to get in grades, but I think it's a bit easier, as a teacher, so that we aren't all-calling kids out at 8:15 to go home.

Any kid missing or leaving town early is free to take their exam early. If they don't come at all on Friday, that is fine as long as they are done with exams.

This will be the last "Fri-YAY" of 2015 as next week we will be having some short days and leaving early Friday.

Wednesday and Thursday are regular days for teachers and Friday is early release for everyone. Let me know if you have any questions regarding next week.

Next Week

Monday 14th: Boys basketball HOME VS. Crandall; Board Meeting (GEMS for Lion's Roar)

Tuesday 15th: Basketball pics in Lair; Band Christmas Concert @ Gray's 7:00 p.m.

Thursday 17th: JH Band to the Meyerson at 7:30 p.m.; Christmas paint party for Kudo's

Friday 18th: Early Release for District

Dress code for next week: Casual/Spirit week - All week

RETURN January 4th: Teacher Workday. We will have a faculty meeting from 8:00-9:30 a.m. in the library. Remainder of day will be planning, etc.

Zuzu's Petals

It’s been a great semester. As principal, this has been my BEST semester. Grant will tell you though, that I’ve started to lose some of my relationship abilities with the kids. I didn’t want that to happen, but that is the nature of things. Some things you have to break, so you can fix them.

The longer I’m in this building, the faster time seems to go.

It’s a privilege to spend so much of my life with each one of you and the kids in this building.

I think about “It’s a Wonderful Life” often and the terrible gift George receives by getting to see how much his life has mattered – or possibly how little.

That movie, to me, is so true to everyone’s life – but particularly for teachers.

One of my favorite parts of that movie is when George calls the teacher at home, angry because she sent Zuzu home without wearing her jacket. Zuzu, of course, was trying to protect her flower and George is angry about other things. The teacher takes the brunt of it…..The more things change, right?

For me, Zuzu is Charli, carrying around that flower, saying “Fix it Daddy, fix it” when the petals come off. I’m like George. In order to “fix it”, I would have to put the petals in my pocket.

Until Charli was born, Christmas had become a chore for me. I had great family memories of Christmas as a child, but by the time I was 14, Christmas was a sad reminder of a broken family.

I know many of you have the same experiences. I know many of our kids have the same experiences.

It’s easy to lose the spirit of Christmas, and what a shame it is when it happens.

I remember Christmas Eve of 1992, I was 16 and splitting time between my mother’s apartment in Carrolton and my dad’s apartment, right down the street. I had skipped 3 straight weeks of school, but no one knew yet.

We didn’t have much money at the time, so we charged a dinner at Olive Garden and went to Food Lion to buy a discount tree. There was hardly anything but broken and dying trees left. I remember picking one out and having to carry it to the car. My dad had always done that. That was a very symbolic moment in my life because it was the first time I remember the expectation of “being the man”. It was also incredibly sad. I remember both me and my mother crying as I put the tree in the trunk. We put it up at home, and when I woke up Christmas morning, it had fallen over. It was the saddest tree I’ve ever seen. That tree was us.

One thing my mother said to me that night has stayed with me my whole life. Sitting at Olive Garden (which was nearly empty), she said, “Jeremy, it’s not always going to be like this.” I think about that often.

Over the next week, take a look at your students. Try and think about how much you may mean to them. How much they look up to you. How their little lives might be different without you, and how much, one day, they may hope to have the type of Christmas that you will get to have with your families.

Put their petals in your pocket.

After George says, “I wanna live again, I wanna live again. Please God, let me live again.” His mouth starts bleeding and he looks for Zuzu’s petals.

George needed the “broken” things to remind him that he is alive.

All of you are here in this building on purpose. God makes no mistakes, and whether you find your Christmas meaning in the manger and Christ coming to save a broken world – or in the sanctity of your family and close relationships – you are all people put here to carry the petals in your pocket for the children of this building.

Merry Christmas, Y’all.

Zuzu's Petals - It's a Wonderful Life (1946)