Richland Middle School

Our Mission is to create a safe, nurturing environment rich in opportunities for students to learn and grow.

Incredibly Proud!!!

Dearest Ram Family,


Here we are wrapping up the end of week four of the 16-17 school year! Where has the time gone? You have been busy crafting professional goals, building relationships with your students, and making pure magic happen in your classrooms. I am so proud of you.


In a few short weeks you have impacted the lives of people all over the world, literally! Not many people can say that they have had a video go viral and spread worldwide. But I think it is extremely important that we remember the context of what really happened that day.


We began with a goal of making the first day of school something different and truly magical, something that was not the average come to school, get your schedule, go to class, do the “get to know” games in each class, repeat. It is evident that the parents and students, alike, saw that this was not going to be your average first day, or school year, for that matter. Your love, joy, and passion was not only on display for the community of RMS, but the entire world due to the quick thinking of Mrs. Hediger J How amazing is it that a small school in Richland Hills, TX, population 8,000, is making such a profound impact on the world. It is not that we’ve done anything costly or extravagant…we simply showed our love, joy, and passion for our kiddos and what we do in a very visible and open way. People got a chance to see education in a light that day that they often do not get to experience. Hats off to you!!!


I have been completely blown away by the response and extremely proud of you guys. You have reshaped the image of RMS by the efforts and huge hearts you approach this amazing work with. Are we where we want to be, just yet? No. We are just scratching the surface. But how cool is it that this feeling of pride, community, family, and love is just the beginning? The possibilities are endless as to what we will continue to do for our students, families, and each other!


I am thankful to serve you all. I hope you know how extremely pleasurable you make my job. I know you work is tough and things are not always perfect, but you always respond with grace and an unyielding support for whatever the needs of our campus are. You are truly the epitome of greatness and I know that we are destined for great things!

Have an amazing weekend, get some rest, and enjoy your families. Know that you are loved and appreciated more than I can express in words!

Sincerely,

James

First day!

The Rams are on the MOVE!!!

Dear Ram Family,


Words cannot adequately express how PROUD I am of each and every one of you!!! This video has, at the time of this newsletter, almost 700 shares and 50k views!!!


Your passion and enthusiasm for this work is being recognized by the masses...literally!!! What you have done to spark hope in the educational system is touching the lives of many across our country!!! How special is it that a group of educators in little ole Richland Hills is impacting lives everywhere! This, my friends, is the power that you hold. You are in a unique position to impact the lives of so many people!


I am beyond honored to serve with you guys! Our team is truly phenomenal! I told you last year that we were going to make sure that people across the district saw the great things going on here at RMS...that we were going to shape their perception. Well, my friends, you have now done this on what very well be on a global scale!!!


You guys ROCK! Let's keep pushing, innovating, and loving each other and our community. I am telling you...we haven't even scratched the surface of what we are going to accomplish together for our students and the many generations to come! Let's BUILD that LEGACY, RAMS!!!


EXTREMELY PROUD,

James

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Just...WOW!!!

Dear Ram Fam,


WOW!!! I cannot thank you enough for the heart that you entered the Capturing Kid’s Heart training with. You guys put it all on the line this week and it was greater than I could've ever imagined!!! I hope you all enjoyed it as thoroughly as I did. What an incredible opportunity to begin our year in such a unique fashion. I am PUMPED to see how these processes and tools will impact the lives of our students, helping them step up to the plate and take responsibility while helping you have more time to focus on relationships and student learning.


I know we all, most likely, did NOT want to get up Wednesday morning to get to Legacy...but aren’t you glad we did? As I wiped my eyes upon reading your thoughtful sentiments from my affirmation bag (you guys are too sweet!) I couldn’t help but feel extremely honored and humbled to get to be part of your lives. What an AMAZING and IMPACTFUL 3 days together!!! This marks the beginning of year 12 in education for me and I have never been part of a full staff training that was as moving as this one!


I hope you know how deeply I care about you all. You are more than special to me. We have a chance to do something truly special, guys and gals! Mr. Simmons was not giving lip service when he spoke to us yesterday. I have heard him, on numerous occasions, applaud the work you are doing each and every day. Team, we’re starting to get a reputation for being a beacon of HOPE and LIGHT. A place where people are happy to work, kids can’t wait to walk through the doors, and parents want to send their kids. You’re making it happen! We have work to do, as we always will (it's the nature of our work), but you guys are truly MAKING IT HAPPEN!!!


What a fine group of folks I get the honor to serve. I so proud of you!!!

Don’t forget the staff get together at Keara’s tomorrow! http://tinyurl.com/jsyekpx I hope to see you there if you are able to attend. Hope the rain holds off, but a little rain won’t hold us back!!


Also, Monday, August 22nd is a special day!!! It is the first day of school and we are looking to make it a special day for our kiddos and RMS staff. For planning purposes, don’t expect to have your class load that day. More info coming during staff development next week. I will be rockin’ out front with a DJ we will have on site so I would love to have you join me in welcoming our little Rams!


Again, I appreciate you making Capturing Kid’s Hearts a priority in your summer scheduling. I know we will see HUGE benefit from the tools, insight, and resources we gained over the course of these past 3 days together. Not only that, but we are so much closer as a unit. I am so very proud of you!!!


I am truly honored to serve such an amazing group of people!


Sincerely,

James


(Below is the agenda for staff development week. Please be sure to go into eduphoria to register if you have not done so)


August 15th

8:30 – 10:00

Doughnuts, coffee and juice and CELEBRATIONS!!

10:15-11:15

Speaker, Dr. Nate Hearne

(Dr. Brown and his cabinet will be here!)

11:30 -12:45 Lunch and Fellowship (The Chicken Place!)

1:00-4:00 RMS Staff development

August 16th

8:00 Breakfast Tacos!!!

8:30 -9:00 Ritz Carlton

9:00-10:00 Staff Olympics

10:00-1:00 personal organization in your rooms and lunch on your own with your peeps!

1:00-4:00 T-TESS Training!

August 17th

8:00-4:00

District Staff Development

August 18th

8:00 -11:30

Continental Breakfast &

T-TESS Goal Setting

11:30-1:00 Lunch on your own with your peeps!

1:00-3:30 RMS Housekeeping

August 19th

Teacher work Day!

Back at it AGAIN :-)

Dearest Ram Family,


I trust that the summer is treating you well and that you are able to enjoy your time with your loved ones. After a long year of serving the community in the most noble of ways, you deserve it. I truly hope that you’ve found time to relax and recharge for the 16-17 school year.


I know that many of you have already begun to take steps to take your game to the next level for the upcoming year. I’ve heard from content coordinators about your eager participation in the various trainings offered. I’ve seen your facebook posts about various trainings you've attended on your own. I’ve fielded questions from many of you about various ways to look at data, ideas for your classroom setup for next year, and things you would like to try instructionally. I’ve seen you put together funding campaigns so that you can better meet the needs of the students in your classrooms. I must say...I am more than impressed with your willingness to always go above and beyond the call of duty for our students and each other.


This level of commitment has landed us in a pretty good place. Our eighth grade STAAR scores were the only ones that either remained even (only one test) or went up out of all BISD middle schools in both level II (met standard) and level III (advanced). These scores are not the end-all-be-all to education, but can be useful indicators of potential gaps in our instructional delivery and student progress, in general. We must keep at it...you see, all we have to do is be better tomorrow than we are today in all that we do. That’s it. No secret potion. No special resource that is going to make everything easy. No magic pill that is going to fix all the issues that face us in public education. We must simply improve upon what we do each and every day both in our professional and personal lives. No one can ask for more than that.


As we move forward into the 16-17 school year keep that at the forefront of your thinking. We are not out to be better than anyone else, only ourselves. If we go about this work all year with the goal of being better each day I have no doubt that we will even further move the needle of progress for RMS in the positive direction.


You are to be commended and celebrated!!! I hope you all know how very much I appreciate you and all you do to be the very best for our kiddos! Enjoy what’s left of summer and I will see you all on August 10th and Legacy Church in North Richland Hills for Capturing Kids Hearts training. Again, I appreciate you making this a priority in your scheduling. I know we will see HUGE benefit from the tools, insight, and resources we will attain during these 3 days together (8/10-8/12). (These days also count towards flex time and more info is attached in Remind message with regard to time, dress and what to bring).


Additionally, I want to thank Coach Osborne and her husband for offering to host our Back to School Social at her house in Keller Saturday evening. I hope to see you and your families there, if you can make it. This will be a TON of fun!!!


I am truly honored to serve such an amazing group of people!


Sincerely,

James

(The Evite for the event on the 13th at Coach Osborn's is below)

One Month To Go!!!

Wow!!! Can you believe we only have one month of school left? This school year has seemingly flown by. What an amazing year we have had, thus far.


As usual, I think it is important that we stop and reflect upon where we've been, where we are at, and where we are going. We started off this year as a little more than strangers, most of us sitting down to visit one-on-one at the Starbucks off of Pipeline Road. Here was "the new guy" asking you about the things we were already doing great, the opportunities we had for improvement, and your expectations of him.


You opened up and gave me insight into the inter-workings of RMS, and I am so very thankful for your advice and guidance of what we needed to take RMS to the heights we endeavored to take them. We used these gleanings to craft our focus areas for the year and I hope that you have noticed that this has been the guiding force for our core work throughout.


When I think about where we are now I stand so proud of all of you. Your dedication, belief in our students, commitment to excellence, hard work, and delving into some very tough work has propelled us into positive conversations around the district and area. From gains in academic achievement, to numerous fine arts awards, to Touch of Class nominations, to teachers being highlighted in the BISD digital newsletter, to several athletic programs having better seasons than they've had in years, to being there for each other and student's families through some pretty trying times...YOU have made a profound impact on the culture and climate of RMS and people are taking notice.


I am so very proud of you! As we come into Teacher Appreciation Week let me be the first to say "YOU ARE APPRECIATED!" There are no words sufficient to describe what you do for our youth and future generations, but I'll try :-). You are HOPE. You are SAFETY. You are COMPASSION. You are SELFLESS. You are DARING. You are INNOVATIVE. You are FLEXIBLE. You are AWESOME!!! You are the most IMPORTANT people on the planet!!! Please know, and always remember, your worth. I know the days can be long and the challenges many, but the impact you are choosing to make is one that will last for generations and change the trajectory of thousands and thousands of lives. How AMAZING is that?!!!


With much power comes much responsibility, though. I know it is a heavy weight to bear. We still have some hard work ahead of us, but please know that you have myself and a whole army of people behind you as you prep for the fast and furious end of the 2015-2016 school year. YOU GOT THIS!!! As always, if there is anything I can do for you do not hesitate to ask. Let's ROCK these last few weeks of school and enjoy this time together before we all go off to bask in summer bliss :-)


You're the best, Ram Family! I couldn't have asked for a better group to begin this journey with. You all forever share a special place in my heart! Have a great Teacher Appreciation Week! Let's GO!!!!


Sincerely,

James

Spring Break

Dearest Ram Family,


Here it is!!! Spring Break is upon us! As you head off into a week of rest and relaxation I just wanted to remind you that this is exactly what the week is supposed to be...a week of rest and relaxation. Please enjoy your families and take care of yourself as we get ready for the next leg of our journey.


Let me, again, give you my deepest appreciation for the work you do each day. I know there are days when you don't feel like you're making progress, but you are! I know there are days when you don't feel like you're making a difference with kids, but you are! There are even days when you may sit back and say to yourself "am I really cut out for this?", but trust me...YOU ARE!


This noble profession chose YOU! You are here for a unique and specific reason. You all have varying strengths and abilities and it takes each one of you to make this place as great as it is. We have made tremendous growth throughout the year and I am so excited to continue this journey with you!


I'm thankful for you! Have a safe and amazing spring break!


Sincerely,

James

2/10/16

https://clyp.it/5u4xxanj (for the auditory peeps) :-)



Dear Ram Family,


Not a day passes where I’m not amazed by the work you do. I cannot thank you enough for what you do for kids each day. Here recently you all showed your true colors, once again. When one of our own was down you stepped up to the plate and came through with dinners, gift cards, groceries, bedding, mattresses, and other items to help out. This family was in despair and you came through and gave them hope. I cannot thank you enough for having the huge hearts that you have!


With high student achievement as our priority it is always good for us to remember that there is one other priority that comes before we can get there, and that is the needs of our students. I know we are all familiar with good ole Maslow, but all-too-often in education we can get sidetracked and miss this vital fact. Before we can get students to achieve those great and mighty things we speak of we have to ensure that their social and emotional needs are met.


Our students come to us with stories that are hard to imagine.

From the student who is having a serious surgery;

to the student who has witnessed the most heinous acts of violence,

to the student who is struggling with who they are;

to the student whose family cannot afford clothing or shelter;

to the student whose family makes great money, but to do so the parents aren’t around as much as they’d like to be;

to the student who has been beaten down by the standardization of the educational system and has checked completely out;

to the student who has been told time and time again that they are not good enough;

to the student who doesn’t feel like they fit in with their peers;

to the student that feels like they are completely alone in the world.


My friends, you are the people that stand in the gap for each of these students, and more! You are the CHOSEN ONES! Many times you will not know the complete extent of your meaning to these wonderful kiddos until after they have left our care. Some of you will never know the full extent, period. But please know that each and every day there are several of these kiddos in your classroom and they are counting on us all to be at our very best.


A lot of pressure, right? I know it is no small task to do what you do each day. It is the most challenging work in the world. On top of all these other variables we then go on to talk about how to get students to achieve academically at high levels, and that brings about a whole other level of conversation, and level of difficulty, to what you do. I assure you, though…if you take care of the heart of the issue, let students know you are here for them, let them know you care, let them know they are worth knowing, help them to believe in their abilities and strengths, and show compassion the other stuff will take care of itself. For there is not a bubble sheet to fill out in the real world. We live in real time and we are tasked to address the real issues that persist in our society in order to form a better place for our students and future generations.


I applaud your efforts! Keep fighting the good fight! Go Rams!

Sincerely,

James

12/18/2015

Happy Holidays!


As I reflect on where we started and where we come to, I am overcome with joy. Over the past 3.5 months we have poured into each other and our students.


We have cried together;

We have seen each other through the loss of family members;

We have been there for one another when various challenges sought to overwhelm us;

We have encouraged each other to grow in our profession;

We have celebrated new additions to families through weddings, new births, and news of those expecting;

We have celebrated success;

We have stuck to the core of what we said we were going to do;

We have laughed til' our faces and bellies hurt;

Ultimately, we have created a climate and culture that exemplifies that of a true family!


This is huge, my friends! For what you've created as an environment of trust, respect, collegiality, and family has undoubtedly provided a strong foundation for us to accomplish our main goal: Making a Positive, Lasting Difference in the Lives of our Youth!


As you head off into the Christmas break please know how very thankful I am to serve as your principal. You make me proud each day! I hope you take this time to relax, enjoy your families, and embrace all that the season brings. You are the difference in this world! Their is no greater calling, no greater responsibility, than that which you are tasked with...to commit to helping others believe and achieve great things!


Additionally, many of you have experienced great pains with the loss of loved ones this fall season. Please know that your Ram Family holds you in our thoughts this holiday season. While it is easy to fall into the emotions of pain, despair, and sadness, I ask that you seek out the joy in the memories and moments you had with them. Allow those emotions to carry you through. It took me so long to figure this out after losing my mother as a teenager, but I realized I was shortchanging her memory and legacy by getting stuck in despair. When you choose joy it completely changes not only your outlook, but your ability to positively affect others.


Stay safe. Stay warm. Remember those less fortunate. Choose joy. Be thankful for your loved ones. Recharge for the next leg of our journey!


Sincerely,


James

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11/20/2015

Dearest Ram Family,


While I am thankful each day to be part of this wonderful team we have assembled here at RMS, this time of year tends to bring THANKFUL to a whole new level. The current social climate in our world seeks to point our attention towards all of the vile and destructive things that are happening, but I feel so blessed to be in a place where I get to see the beauty in the world each day. As we get ready for a much needed break I wanted to express to you, again, how important your work is for the betterment of our society.


As I told you at the beginning of our journey together I was that kid:


  • Who some thought would never be much.
  • Who wondered where his father was all the time, fearing he was dead or in jail.
  • Who grew up in an environment riddled with drugs, domestic abuse, alcohol, and violence.
  • Who longed for his mother to be able to follow her dreams of being a teacher, rather than working her fingers to the bone at the local K Mart just to try to make ends meet.
  • Who didn’t have the nicest clothes, often went without food, and had the “lights” turned off more times than I can count.
  • Who had to jump out of the window of the passenger door of our rusted, beat-down, 1982 Buick Regal because the door didn’t work (this often meant asking to be let out down the road from school for fear of embarrassment.)
  • Who had to sit in front of a portable heater on those cold west Texas winter mornings to stay warm while getting ready for school.
  • Who was afraid to turn on the light at night for fear of seeing cockroaches scatter around me.
  • Who wondered why anyone would break into a poor person’s home and steal every child’s toy in the place, including his smurf curtain (who does that…really?)
  • Who was angry at the world.
  • Who thought fighting was a normal way of handling conflict.
  • Who was often the last one in class to grasp the concepts that were taught (especially in math.)
  • Who yearned for acceptance.
  • Whose mother was diagnosed with Leukemia when he was sixteen.
  • Who took on responsibility of raising his younger brother (10 years younger) when mom got sick because dad was not around.
  • Who questioned why life had to be so dang hard.
  • Who fathered a child at the age of seventeen.
  • Who lost his mother, his best friend, his everything, at the age of nineteen after her courageous 3 year battle with Leukemia. She had only turned forty 17 days before her passing.


At every turn, at every stage in my life, I can think back to an educator that helped guide me towards a better path. That I’m here today is, in large part, due to their guidance and support, and I am so THANKFUL!


From my elementary principal, Mr. Hightower, who was a great man of integrity who would do anything for anyone; to my middle school science teacher, Mrs. Duffy, who took the time to really get to know a scrawny, nappy headed, 7th grade pool team basketball player, fulfilled my need to be accepted, and helped me believe in my abilities (I went on to be the "A" team starting point guard the following year, starting point guard all throughout high school, went on to play college basketball and even semi-pro basketball.); to my high school basketball coach, Jack Stephenson, who loved us all like his own and would drop anything to help us out; and to many of my college professors,who were truly a blessing during a very trying time in my life.


They were all placed in my path along the way to help guide me to something greater than I ever dreamed possible. I get the extreme pleasure of giving back to the profession that saved my life! I truly feel like I am living out my calling and it’s all because of people like each and every one of you.


I don't list all of those things for self-pity or self-importance. It’s the hand I was dealt and I am THANKFUL for every lesson learned. I listed all of this to let you know that you have students like me in your classrooms day in, day out. Some with more challenges, some with less. Yet you are tasked with teaching them all, as they come to you. It’s not an easy job. You have to make up for so many of society’s ills in addition to the content you teach, but you do so with a smile and tenacious grit. It’s because of you that a poor little nappy-headed kid like James Whitfield can dream and believe he can achieve anything he puts his mind to!!


Never underestimate the impact you have on your students! Especially the one’s you think aren’t hearing a word you say. They are listening and watching. They just need guidance and someone to believe in them, someone who won’t give up on them. Keep fighting the good fight!! I am THANKFUL to serve with each and every one of you! You are the difference in this world! Without you, we are all lost!!!


May you all have a blessed and restful Thanksgiving break with your families!


Sincerely,

James

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10/23/15

Dearest Ram Family,


Here we find ourselves at another mile marker along our journey. It is hard to believe 9 weeks of school have already come and gone. Yesterday I met with several district leaders and I just want you to know that they are very appreciative of your hard work and efforts towards excellence. While we know we have challenges to address it is important that we recognize how far we've come. Each day I cannot help but reflect on how lucky I am to be a part of such an amazing group of dedicated individuals.


It is my hope that you always feel supported here at RMS. We began this year with a few goals:



  1. Expand our knowledge of Kagan Cooperative Learning structures and strategies to help make learning visible.
  2. Provide structured support for our English Language Learners through the use of the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP) which, in turn, supports ALL learners.
  3. Implement CHAMPS Behavioral Expectations to provide a structure, safe, and responsive learning environment for our staff and students.


As I walk your classrooms it is clear that we are on-target with our goals and it excites me to see the passion and skills you exhibit each day. These are all great things for us to do to serve our students and help build capacity within our school, but there is something you have all done, as foundation work, to make these things possible:


YOU HAVE MADE THIS A TRUE LEARNING COMMUNITY! There is a sense of FAMILY and TOGETHERNESS that exudes from the building like bellowing smoke. The eagerness to LEARN, GROW, and reach out for help is unlike anything I've ever experienced. The feeling of TOGETHERNESS and CAMARADERIE is comparable to that of goal-driven squadron on a highly important mission. For the mission you have is one of great importance.


Most anyone who's asked the question "who had the greatest impact on your life?" will answer the question the same.


The WON'T answer:

"Kevin Durant"

"Michael Jordan"

"Miley Cyrus"

"Taylor Swift"

"Tony Romo"

"Drake"


The WILL answer:

"Mr/Mrs....., my 6th grade math teacher."

"Coach....., my 7th grade basketball coach."

"Mr/Mrs....... the school nurse."

"Mr/Mrs......, the school secretary."

"Mr/Mrs......, the school counselor."

"Mr/Mrs......, the school librarian."

"Mr/Mrs......., the Assistant Principal."


Your impact on this world is great beyond measure. In education we will never touch the amounts of money that the Michael Jordan's and Taylor Swift's of the world, but the impact you have on a daily basis with the students you serve is far greater than any dollar figure.


I'm thankful to serve such an amazing group of educators. Keep up the great work and remember, Rome wasn't built in a day. Keep on keeping on! Keep fighting the good fight! Keep being AWESOME!!!


Sincerely,


James

10/2/15

Dearest Ram Family,


As I had my music blaring in front of school this morning, while welcoming our students, I couldn't help but be overcome with joy about the position we find ourselves in. The biggest part of what we are about, and what we do, seems to have taken hold. We have made RMS a place that people (staff, students, parents, community members) want to be at, a place where people feel valued, appreciated, and have a smile on their face coming and going.


It is your hard work that has brought us to this place. The great Zig Ziglar once said "go as far as you can see; when you get there, you'll be able to see farther." That could not be more true of our journey. Always remember that Rome wasn't built in a day. We have some tough and challenging work ahead of us, but with the level of commitment and dedication you show each day I know we will reach the heights we aspire to reach.


We've now come to the end of our first six weeks together and I just want to commend you on staying the course and owning the goals we committed to reach. People often talk about getting people to "buy-in" or "subscribe" to you what they are trying to do. We all know that buy-in doesn't last. Buy-in works when things are great and running smoothly, but fades the moment there's a bump in the road. Ownership is what we have. Ownership is looking each other in the eye, saying "that didn't go so well, what can we do to make it better", pushing each other towards excellence, and having a sense of responsibility towards that which we say we must do in order for us to meet and exceed our goals.


On behalf of Mr. Nelson, Mrs. Johnson, and myself I would like to extend a huge "THANK YOU" for the work you're doing to ensure RMS is the very best it can be. Your spirit and attitude has created a positive environment that we can build success upon.


You're the best!


James

9/18/15

Dearest Ram Family,


Happiest of Fridays to you all!! There are no words sufficient to tell you how grateful I am for the work you have done to begin this school year so productive and positive! Your commitment to excellence is unmatched. On behalf of the entire admin team a very deep and sincere "thank you"!!!


We are wrapping up the 4th week of school and it seems like we just started yesterday! Progress reports went out yesterday with our students. I encourage you to evaluate your grade book to ensure grades in are an accurate reflection of where students stand academically in your class (should have a minimum of 4 daily grades and 1 major grade at this point, as the minimum for the six weeks is 8 daily and 3 major). Ensure that parent communication is such that we alleviate any surprises to families as we near the end of the six weeks. Additionally, please do a self-check on your progress of every student's family receiving a positive, introductory phone call from you about their student by the end of the first six weeks.


Your hard work and efforts are being recognized by the masses. People are taking notice of Richland Middle School and all the great things you and our students are doing. I want you to know that YOU have made all the difference in the world!!! From Mr. Cammarata (Assoc. Superintendent of Staff and Student Services); to the substitutes that visit us each day; to the Director of SpEd, Dr. Holt; to the parents that pull up to drop their kiddos in the morning; to the content coordinators...they all comment on the positive buzz and atmosphere that you've all created on our campus.


Will there be tough days? Yes! Will there be days you want to bang your head against a wall? Yes! Will there be days that you don't agree with Mr. Whitfield or your colleagues? Yes! The beauty lies in the fact that you have set the foundation for us to get through these challenges that will undoubtedly arise from time-to-time, while having a mutual respect and collegial dialogue built on trust. Our work is challenging, yet so rewarding!


As educators you will undoubtedly feel the pressures of the educational climate we find ourselves in. It is easy to get caught up in the bureaucracy of it all and lose sight of our real purpose and mission. What we are tasked to do is unlike any other profession.


In our classrooms we find the minds that will create the next cure for various diseases, spark innovation, and carry on our legacy. While we must follow the TEKs and do what we must do to meet and exceed the state standards measured by STAAR, let us not forget that we are preparing students for a much higher standard. We are preparing them to be productive citizens with the ability to think critically, solve problems, and work collaboratively in a respectful manner.


I encourage you to revisit your purpose often. Why on earth would you sign up for lesson planning until all hours of the night? Why would anyone commit to stacks of papers to grade outside of school? Why would you spend your own money on supplies and buying lunches for students that do not have money? Why would you sign up to attend numerous student activities beyond your contract hours? Why would you choose a profession that requires you to be ultra-flexible, and in a moment’s notice, to change everything you had planned when unexpected things happen?


Remember what we are here to do and why you do it. Remember those that sparked that passion in you to do this noble and amazing work. Remember that you have the ability to impact lives each day. Never underestimate the influence you have on kids, even the ones that may not seem to have the least bit of concern about school…they’re watching you.


My charge to you is to revisit that “why” often. What legacy are we leaving? Is it for them to remember all those years they did or did not do well on that STAAR test? Or is it to remember the experiences they had, the opportunity to learn by problem solving, and the relationships they made that all contributed to them becoming successful human beings long after they have left Richland Middle School? I’m humbled to serve such an amazing staff! In the words of the great Muhammad Ali, lets’ go “SHOCK THE WORLD”!!!

Committed to the Ram Family’s success,

James

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