Finding EXCELLENCE…

personalexcellenceI finally grabbed the book off of St. Michael’s nightstand to peruse one afternoon while waiting for the plumber at home…Walter Isaacson’s 2011 book on Steve Jobs. Why did I ignore this book for so long? Yes, it was homage to the monumental contributions of Mr. Jobs, but certainly not the guy I thought I knew either. While his accomplishments are impossible to ignore, he allowed the writer to give an unflinching portrait into his world.  Most interestingly, Mr. Jobs ultimately believed his personal excellence started on the shoulders of the prior generation.

Here were my takeaways:
1. Be bold.  Young Steve needed a Hewlett-Packard part at age 12 and called the CEO, Bill Hewlett to get it; Hewlett gave Jobs his first job a couple of years later.
2. Make your own rules (sometimes).  When his college classes got too expensive, he talked the Dean into letting him audit for credit; he earned a free college education that way.
3. Pay attention to (every) detail.  Quality craftsmanship out performs every time; you pay for the quality, thus Apple products may be more expensive but worth it later.
4. Hire the A-Team!  “A” performers only want to work with “A” performers; under-performers get the boot; teaching and practicing collaboration and cooperation early in life is critical to long-term excellence.
5. Make something beautiful and simple.  Create with beauty and simplicity in mind every single time.
6. Master the art of persuasion.  This is critical in the classroom; you have to persuade learners to play along daily!
7. Leaders need to get out of the way.  Know when to let the experts do their work…teacher are more facilitators in project-based and challenge-based learning now.  Embrace the
8. Customers (learners) cannot always tell you what they need.  Raw intuition and active listening are critical; taking risks and leaps with hope works wonders in teaching and in learning life lessons.

Here’s hoping you find application into your own leadership role as parent and caregiver for our future generation; after all, they are standing on our shoulders in search of their personal excellence every day!  :-)

Note:  Day #2 this week is done!  WHEW!  Thanks for your patience!  :-) 

To our STAAR gazers…shine on!

State assessment…another week started…today is done!  As we continue this staarnext assessment week, we encourage our learners to rest, eat well, and do those calming techniques that allow them to focus, concentrate, and do their personal best no matter what.  Thanks to all our learners (testers and non-testers), all our LME staff members, and especially Mrs. Bass, our campus testing coordinator, for giving your personal BEST everyday!  Special thanks to our parents and learning community for your patience, smiles, and hugs this week!  Everyday is game day at LME and testing days are certainly no exception.  Shine on, STAAR gazers!  :-)

Long Live Earth!

I had the opportunity this morning to visit with a group of young learners writing Earth Day poems and thoughts.  They wanted a story about Earth Day and why we need to take care of our environment so I chose a favorite book of mine called Long Live Earth by Meighan Morrison.  The author/illustrator combines beautiful hand-pieced quilt squares with poetry to tell a reflective tale about what generations of people have done to our planet and the current conditions we must address.  The story also carries a strong message of hope for the future: “This magnificent Earth deserves far better care; we can help in its rescue if we each do our share.” 

There was great discussion following the story and now these young learners are wanting to plant more trees (for shade as well as natural growth) and even a special garden here at LME (I see a grant in our future!).  :-)

We continue to challenge all learners to think about their responsibility to not only personal spaces, but to our natural environment at large.  One quick example:  we recycle many items here daily at school and encourage you to do the same.  Yes, we must each do our share and here’s hoping you join us in this ongoing and critical endeavor…Long Live Earth!  :-)

Note:  It’s a testing week at LME, so we appreciate your support as we remain a closed campus to visitors; we look forward to seeing you next week.

Fine Art Form and more…

sign1The annual Fine Arts Show and Gallery with our Family Book Fair event was another huge hit this year.  Each child displays seven completed personal masterpieces thanks to the talented vision and execution of our art teacher extraordinaire, Scott Fiorenza.  Whether it’s a Head Start student or an Art Club master student, Mr. Fio knows how to create and deliver artistic magic each year!

Thanks also goes to our entire Specials Team of educators artshow1who not only support each other through programs, shows, exhibitions, 5K runs, and more, but have so much fun along the journey too!

We are blessed with the most amazing PTO Volunteers who spend time and creative talents arranging, organizing, and hanging each child’s artwork throughout the hallway galleries for this big show.  These ladies also host the refreshment table each year…yum!

Much appreciation goes to Melissa Bolgiano, our Library Media Specialist, and her volunteers who ensure our Book Fair and Family Night event goes smoothly.  Thanks for supporting our campus library and the new Maker Spaces in our 21st Century Media Center.

Our Miller Ringers and Singers along with some talented piano students shared beautiful musicartshow3 for gallery gazing throughout the evening.  Thanks, Mrs. Perez and friends, for setting the tone and mood for success.

It is so critical for our young learners to have these important creative, artistic, and musical outlets throughout their educational journey.  Judging from the turnout and the responses, our learners are most definitely in fine art form…and more!  EnJOY your holiday weekend!  :-)

Fun and Games

An unusual lunch conversation with a small group of learners believe2today (who asked to have lunch with me, by the way :-) ), gleaned some interesting ideas for families on-the-go these days.  Instead of DVD players, iPads, and other technology devices in the car between activities, these students engage in oral thinking games.  Here’s the idea:

One child shared how the family plays Would You Rather…” in the car between soccer games.  Two options are given and each person is asked which they prefer and why.  For example, “Would you rather live near the beach or near the mountains?” 

Another child explained what’s called “Three Favorites.”  Someone picks a category (like movies, outfits, books), and everyone shares their top three choices and why.

My own daughters would play “What Doesn’t Belong?” as we rode in the car between scheduled activities.  We took turns naming items and asking each other to explain which is the odd one out and why.  There can always be more than one right answer too.  For example, when I said, “owl, ostrich, and eagle,” one daughter said, “Ostrich…because it can’t fly.”  The other daughter said, “Owl, because it’s nocturnal and hunts at night.”   :-)

The important point here is how we spend time interacting with our children between the schedules and demands of life.  Just like my short lunch today with these learners, it’s not so much about the quantity of time as the quality of the time together.  Thinking through ideas, verbalizing opinions, sharing laughs, and engaging in meaningful conversations will go a long way in building critical thinking in fun, “gamey” ways.  Here’s hoping you try some of these ideas to create your own fun and games!  :-)

Rounding Up a Busy Week!

It’s a busy but short week here at LME.  Here’s the important scoop:

parentsurveyWe value your parent input and truly encourage you to participate today in the Midlothian ISD K-12 Parent Technology Survey.  This helps us make plans for future students’ technology education and needs (including instructional materials adoptions). All parents are encouraged to take the short survey by April 18. Take survey now 

Round-Up for all our incoming PreK, Head Start, and Kindergarten PleaseRegisterfriends starts today at each elementary campus from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm through Thursday this week.  Parents are encouraged to visit misd.sc/roundup-eng and register your child online, then bring the required documentation to the attendance-zone campus for final steps.  Required documentation includes a driver’s license, child’s social security card, official birth certificate (state-approved), complete immunization records, and two proofs of residency (mortgage statement, lease agreement, or closing document AND a current gas, electric, or water bill showing the physical address (within the last 30 days).  Campus staff will be on hand to help with all aspects of registration, including providing laptops for completing the online process in person.  We look forward to meeting our incoming learners this week!

Finally, it’s the week of our REALLY BIG SHOW!  Join us on Thursday, April 17th from 6:30 until 8:00 for the 6th Annual Fine Arts Show and Family Book Fair Event!  As Thoreau noted, “The world is but a canvas to the imagination.”  Please come enJOY the creative canvas of each learner at LME this year!

Our Vital Volunteers

You’ve likely heard the saying:  Kind hearts are the garden; kind thoughts are the roots; kind words are the blossoms; kind deeds are the fruit.  We are abundantly showered in daily volunteer blessings at LME with the BEST Volunteers in the MISD Garden!

volunteers1We celebrated our All-Star Volunteers today with a huge Miller Rally, presentation, and special breakfast.  Under the direction of music teacher, Amber Grant, the Miller Singers performed a delightful piece for all to enJOY.  Special grade level “speakers” shared various heartwarming words of thanks while the entire student body cheered on them on during the Rally. Everyone enJOYed the scrumptious breakfast provided our entire LME staff.

Team Miller was on their top game today.  Special thanks to volunteers2our Volunteer Committee who orchestrated this big event…Ms. Cole and team, you truly blossomed today!

There is something profoundly majestic in young learners gathering as an entire student body to show their appreciation to our daily volunteers.  THANK YOU seems so small compared to all they do for and with us…we are so grateful for the dedicated time, talents, gifts, and service our All-Star volunteers and MVPs provide each day at LME!  Here’s hoping you find a way to volunteer soon.  :-)