Denim and Diamonds, y’all…

Denim_And_DiamondsIt’s that time to saddle up again in preparation for our Miller PTO Denim and Diamonds Dinner and Auction Event on Friday, May 10th at 6:00 p.m!  Our PTO partners have been rustlin’ up goods to auction again in hopes of raising money to add new playground equipment to accommodate our growing campus!  Area merchants are sharing wares and we welcome anything you might wish to add as well.

If mama doesn’t feel like cooking, join us early for yummy grub catered by Babe’s Chicken House.  Dinner tickets are $10.00 each and are selling out fast.

Supper is optional, but round up the kids and join in the hoedown dancing and fun between dinner and the live auction (because you don’t have to eat to attend the auction).   The silent auction will run until the live auction starts.  Lots of great items will be in both the auctions, including a TV, Big Green Egg, SWAT car rides, go-cart, trampoline, sports tickets, a beautiful diamond, and so much more.

Even if you don’t eat or shop, please come by to visit and join in the fun with us ’cause it’s Denim and Diamonds, y’all!  🙂

Open Mic Day!

openmic5thOur fifth graders enthusiastically enJOYed a great experience this morning…open mic day.  As they rotated through various classes, their stop in Mrs. Bly’s room honored their creative, dramatic, and productive side.  Students composed and performed original poetic selections individually or in small groups.  The coffee house atmosphere and leisure ambiance provided a soothing setting for sharing in a risk-free learning environment.  Learners received positive praise and accolades for clever personal selections while sipping on cocoa and “chillin’ to the vibe” (as one learner shared).  The whole idea was to celebrate National Poetry Month in unique fashion and the theme was “keep calm and get your poetry on…”  We are truly blessed with creative, sensitive, and thoughtful writers (as well as performers!).  Great job, 5th grade!  🙂

Act of Kindness

One of our Miller Essential 5 is “surprise others by performing Random Acts of Kindness.”  bellaMy little friend, Bella, (and her mom) did just that today!  This little voice comes skipping into the front office with a big package saying, “I need to see Mrs. Van.”  When Mrs. Worley found me, Bella had a big bag filled with huge cookies (because it’s no secret how much I adore cookies). More importantly, Bella’s mom helped her to perform this act of kindness (she did have to drive her here after all).  You see, Bella has big brothers (who attend other campuses now), but we still keep up with each other. Bella is two…”more than two.”  🙂  She is becoming fluent in Spanish and counted for me today.  Our office truly enJOYs watching her grow, learn, and participate with us.  She is doubly blessed with amazing parents and siblings who nurture her natural curiosity and zest for life.  She is taught to love others and to share…just like her random act of kindness with a big bag of cookies today.  Thanks Bella and Jill; there’s a big glass of cold milk in our immediate future, ’cause if you give Mrs. Van a cookie…  🙂

Note:  Don’t forget about a PTO Boys Night Out tomorrow evening, April 26th from 6:00-8:30 p.m.  See you then!

PTO Boys Night Out

It’s your turn, guys…no tutus or ties allowed either!  Our amazing PTO will PTO-logo-blue-verticalsponsor their wildly popular Boys Night Out this coming Friday, April 26 from 6:00-8:30 p.m.  Join us for lots of football, soccer, basketball, wall ball, disc golf, and more.  Visit and play ball with some of your favorite Panthers from MHS.  Bring your blankets and lawn chairs to chill out and eat treats with your friends.  If you bring your own sports equipment, please make sure you have your name on it.  Concessions will be available as well.

One important note:  every boy needs to be accompanied by a parent or guardian during the entire event.

Reservations went home last week, so get yours in today and join in the fun once again.  We look forward to another outstanding event; thanks PTO for all you do!  🙂

Shine on, STAAR gazers!

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!  Everyday is game day at LME and testing days are certainly no exception.  Shine on, STAAR gazers!  🙂

I am one…

A young friend shared this powerful poem by Edward Everett Hale with me today:badge-campus

I am only one, but still I am one.

I cannot do everything, but still I can do something.

And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.

We were talking about her work this past weekend in West, TX, where she spent time helping family members sift through what’s left of their home.  She talked about the fact that at least they were given the chance to go through belongings while others still cannot survey the damage to their homes.  She discussed the tremendous outpouring of support, encouragement, and love being shown to the entire community as they search, sift, honor, memorialize, and begin to build their new normal, “much like the strong folks in Boston right now.”

On another note, we also talked about Earth Day and those things we need to do everyday to protect the only home we know, our Earth.  She shared these powerful words with me too:

If you can, plant a tree or a garden to suit; Be good to the soil, and the seed will bear fruit.

Even one small green plant will help cleanse the air; indoors or outdoors—it helps everywhere.

No planet is like it, not Venus nor Mars; our home has such beauty it outshines the stars.

Treat it with thoughtfulness.  Treasure its worth.  Tend it with loving . . . Long live the Earth!  (Meighan Morrison)

So, accept the challenge on both fronts today (and everyday) because here’s hoping you find multiple ways to do something to help others in need and take care of Earth…even if you are only one!  🙂

Help and Healing

Our learning community stands in support with our friends and families in West, Texas, in the aftermath of the tragedy.  Our students in particular want to help their fellow learners in various ways.  The following official press release is from West ISD, which includes information OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAon what can be done now and in the near future as the community begins to recover.  Here’s hoping as you talk with your child this information will be useful to you.

The West Independent School District is deeply grateful for the outpouring of support we are receiving from our fellow Texans, as well as communities from across our great nation. Our goals at this time are very simple:

•    To support the work of first responders.
•    To return our students to their schools and the security that comes from normal routines as soon as possible.
•    To repair our school buildings to the safe and secure buildings our community takes pride in.

Many are seeking meaningful ways to assist our community at this time. Here are three ways you can assist:

•    For those who are geographically close to Waco, donations are being collected at the McLennan County Extension Office. Water, Gatorade, food, toiletries, baby wipes, baby items, blankets, towels, wash rags, clothing and shoes for men, woman and children are among the many things needed. Please bring donations by the extension office: 420 N 6th St, Waco, TX 76701-1315,,~Office: (254) 757-5180; Fax: (254) 757-5097
•    Blood donations will eventually be needed, which is one way to provide support in our local areas through Carter Blood Care.
•    Baylor University has organized a West news page and Relief Fund, which includes links to other organizations responding to the tragedy.

Many school districts have been reaching out to assist as well. If you are with a local school district and have an offer of assistance please email that offer to  Grand Prairie ISD will compile the master list and make it available to West ISD Superintendent, Dr. Marty Crawford.

As we learn more about our needs, we will work to update our district website at

We appreciate the many offers of support and assistance that are coming in. Please know that your thoughts and prayers are deeply appreciated and are a great comfort to our community.

World’s Best Office Team!

In the midst of much campus activity, we stopped this week to celebrate and show appreciation to our amazing office ladies.  Our star office team, Vanya Worley, Kim Huff, and Shannon Gossett, make everyday game day here at LME!  It’s true; these gals work as one well-practiced team with big smiles and thoughtful ways throughout each school day…no matter what!  This week, classrooms of learners, parents, staff members, and community volunteers have stopped by to say thanks, share treats, and give lots of hugs.

IMG_0074Today, the fifth grade team shared a special song with the group (and will repeat their performance tomorrow morning during Miller Rally!) as a musical tribute to Nurse and Cute-Tips (of which they participate each week).   Pictured are Dr. Garippa, Mrs. Huff, Mrs. Worley, Mrs. Gossett, Mrs. Gunter, and Mrs. Garippa.

Yes, we are blessed in so many ways everyday by our Miller Family…we remain incredibly thankful for the world’s best office team!

Note:  Don’t forget to join us this evening from 6:00-8:30 for the PTO meeting, Fine Arts Show and Gallery Walk, the Book Fair, Miller Ringers and Singers, refreshments, and so much more!

The ARTS have it!

bunny statue flyer011It’s time for our 5th annual Fine Arts Show, Musical Extravaganza, and Book Fair at LME.  Join us tomorrow evening, April 18th from 6:30-8:30 when each learner will showcase extraordinary original pieces of artwork, our Miller Ringers and Singers will perform, PTO refreshments will be served, and everyone is welcome in the Spring Book Fair for some great summer reading bargains.  There are amazing examples of creative elaboration and astounding “works of heart” on display.  Most importantly, this is a family event where, as one learner shared, “the ARTS have it!”  🙂

Note:  Congratulations to Marissa on her colorful interpretation flyer for this year’s event!

One Smart Cookie!

It’s simply no secret how much I adore a great cookie–making them, smartcookiebaking them, and especially eating them…and if chocolate is involved in any way, it’s a no-brainer!  🙂

So imagine my excitement when this precious jar of homemade chocolate chip cookies landed on my desk while I was out-and-about “doing some principal things” (as one learner noted).  A fellow colleague stopped by seeking some advice and we took a little walkabout to chat.  In the middle of our conversation, a little voice says, “Mrs. Van, I know you’re busy, but I forgot to stick this note on your jar so here you go!”  I smiled, got a big hug, and she was on her way again (with me not knowing exactly what jar she meant).  Back in my office, the cookies were waiting and everything fell into place.

One Smart CookieThis child’s special note thanked me for spending time these past few weeks with her as we talked, played a game, or ate some lunch together.  She’s new to our campus and her transition has been a challenging one at best.  During our first “meeting” we read the book One Smart Cookie by Amy Krouse Rosenthal (it’s part of a clever “Cookie” book series of “bite-size lessons on life”).  We’ve managed to read all the books during our time together and even talk about the “big vocabulary words in cookie terms.”  The last sentence of her sweet personal note was the best:  “Mrs. Van, thanks for always being fair and tough and really one smart cookie!”  Now you know why I love my work AND a really great cookie!   🙂

Note:  Speaking of “really smart cookies,” we have a building full of them at LME!  Our learners will showcase their amazing art skills this week in our annual LME Fine Show and Gallery.  Join us on Thursday, April 18 from 6:30-8:00 p.m. for refreshments, a gallery walk, the book fair, a PTO meeting, and performances by the Miller Ringers and Singers.