Welcome to LME!

IMG_0908 IMG_0909A particular tradition I find most special each first week of school is our Welcome Party.  Following our Rally this morning, all our new-to-LME friends joined Mrs. Stanley (counselor), Mrs. Bass, and myself for several entertaining rounds of LME Bingo.  The Bingo cards have specific LaRue Miller Elementary faces and places to help everyone become better acquainted with our growing campus.  As we wrapped up the event, Ava shared her thoughts:  “You know, this school really knows how to help others and make them feel great; thanks!”  Thanks, LME learners and leaders for a stellar start to the 2013-2014 school season…STAND UP because everyday is game day at LME!

Note:  EnJOY a safe, fun, relaxing three-day weekend and we look forward to seeing everyone’s smiling face early Tuesday morning!  🙂

Parent Meeting and more…

Day #3…routines are running well; everyone is still smiling; Miller Morning Rallies this week rock (especially Nurse and the Cutetips this morning), and afternoon car line is flowing smoother now.  IMG_3166Team Miller is “Training Up For An All Star Future” this year!

During Book Tour today, our Kinder, 1st, and 2nd grade friends continue to astound me with their wit, keen insight, and clever responses.  The STAND UP conversation is in full swing and we can hardly wait to see where it goes from here!

Tomorrow evening, we start the first of several upcoming teacher-led team meetings to talk about our instructional day at LME.  Please make note of your grade level night to visit and go through a day in the school life of your child:

2nd Grade Parents on Thursday, August 29 @ 6:30 p.m.
5th Grade Parents on Thursday, August 29 @ 7:15 p.m.
1st Grade Parents on Tuesday, September 3 @ 6:30 p.m.
Kinder Parents on Thursday, September 5 @ 6:30 p.m.
4th Grade Parents on Tuesday, September 10 @ 6:30 p.m.
3rd Grade Parents on Tuesday, September 10 @ 7:15 p.m.
Head Start Parents on Thursday, September 12 @ 6:30 p.m.

All meetings begin in the Miller Cafe at the assigned time.  Staff and back circle parking areas will be available for your convenience.

As one young learner duly noted today:  “Mrs. Van, you may be the head coach of our school, but we’re all leaders on our team and in training everyday.”  It is important to remember it takes us all to build excellence and success for each leader’s all star future!  We look forward to an outstanding season this year!  🙂

UPstander or bystander…it’s your choice!

Day #2; reality begins to set in; routines and expectations continue to be established; Miller Team Rally starts our day…What a JOY to speak to smiling, eager learners and classroom leaders to start our second day of school!  We shared introductions, a little role play fun, some conversation, and a few Miller Moves.  One of my favorite stories of the day involved a Kinder friend.  The teacher asked him to turn around to face her at the calendar “unless you also have eyes in the back of your head.”  The child quickly turned around and commented, “No, but my mom sure does!”  🙂  Out of the mouths of babes…

A definite highlight today was the start of our STAND UP “Book Tour.”  I covered all our 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade homeroom classes sharing the story and reflecting on its powerful impact.  What a personal JOY to spend time UPstander1with learners of all ages, reading, talking, and collecting thoughts about how our learning community will become UPstanders.   Mr. Morgan’s class continued the conversation long after I left and later shared some of their creative, collaborative, innovative ideas with me.  Outstanding work, 3rd graders!

We are starting this powerful conversation at LME and invite our entire learning community to join us on this journey.  What will YOU do to be an UPstander instead of a bystander today?

Note:  Morning arrival traffic is going well.  We continue to work on afternoon dismissal and appreciate your patience–it was much better on Day #2!  Keep up the safe driving!

First Day Fabulousness and Sunshine to Spare!

First day…cheers and (some) tears…smiles and (a few) trials…overall, a great success!  As we started unloading big yellows in the early morning sunrise, a young friend bounded down the steps onto the sidewalk and threw herself at me with a big laugh:  “I just LOVE all this first day fabulousness!”  🙂  “What do you think of my fabulous first day outfit and new haircut?”  Eager to the get the year going, she volunteered to assist at the door to greet friends, share smiles, and help our Kinder friends find their way.  Later at lunch, she hugged me again, “By the way, Mrs. Van…everyone looks so fabulous in their new Miller staff shirts; teachers should wear uniform school shirts everyday.”  🙂  (We actually have several who would agree too.)  She even ended the day loading the bus again while telling me about her favorite part–“fabulous math games!”  🙂  I think it’s safe to say her day was “fabulous.”

Likewise several stories surfaced throughout the day of teachers spreading extra “sunshine” to each other in creative, innovation ways.  IMG_3170Ms. Daniell shared a basket of sunshine (everything in the basket was yellow) with each of her first grade teammates, including new LME teacher, Katie Bergvall.  Our PTO Board shared yummy treats and eats with our new parents during the annual BooHoo/YaHoo Back-to-School Breakfast following the morning announcements.  Several LME volunteers, including our own school namesake, Mrs. LaRue Miller, were on hand to welcome and greet learners and their families, share a hug, listen to summer stories, or give a high-five.  Yes, it was day of overall fabulousness with some sunshine to spare.  Welcome back to LME and to the 2013-2014 school year!  🙂

It’s time to STAND UP!

Are you an UPstander or a BYstander?  This is a question each learner and classroom leader will hear in the coming weeks.  On our educational journey this year, our social focus will include the powerful story Stand Up!  standupWritten by Dr. Lisa Roth and Dr. Karen Siris, the children in the story learn to recognize what is right and fair in the world while standing up to unkindness when they see and experience it firsthand.

Having welcoming and caring friends is important in life.  Stand Up! encourages young people to empower themselves as they take responsibility for teaching their classmates about the importance of inclusive and kind behaviors…no matter what.  The creative illustrations provide a brilliant visual reminder for all of us to walk in each other’s shoes and to STAND UP together to create a positive change.  The heart of this story lies with the children (not in the interventions of adults) who choose to take a positive stance to stop exclusion and unkindness in their school.

We can talk all day about bully prevention programs, ideas, and examples.  UPstanders learn to recognize unkindness and stop it themselves, thus taking all the power away from the person who is choosing to be unkind.  In fact, practicing the traits of an UPstander is common theme in our R Time series each week as we actively engage in character building.

I will initiate the conversation while personally sharing this insightful story in the first week of school as I hit the hallways of LME on a classroom book tour.  Each staff member has a copy of the book to use and refer to often throughout the year.  I challenge you, our learning community, to find exceptional ways to demonstrate your UPstanding behaviors to our young learners and become a part of the caring majority of UPstanders in MISD!  As a dear friend and mentor reminded me:   “Be a lamp, a lifeboat, a ladder; help someone’s soul to heal…walk in your shoes and in those of others like a shepherd who leads with the greatest of care.”  Stand Up, LME; welcome back!

Keep calm and STAND UP!

Our LME Office staff members are truly the BEST!  I’m so fortunate to work with passionate ladies who take their work seriously IMG_3153(but not themselves), who do what is in the BEST interest of learners, and who are completely committed to our growing learning community.  From the wee hours of each school morning to the final bell and dismissal completion, the choreographed “ballet” of this dedicated troupe is undeniable.  Our unwritten mantra is “Keep Calm and Carry On;”  they live this every minute of the school day!  They are also the first ones to Stand Up while keeping calm, thus the reason for our office shirt (I’ll discuss our school focus of Stand Up next week)…they are, in fact, true UPstanders in their work and lives.

Thank you, Christa Stanley (counselor), Kim Huff (office assistant), Joanne Sullivan (RN), Vanya Worley (secretary), Robin Bass (assistant princiPAL), and Shannon Gossett (PEIMS/Attendance) for choosing to serve our learning community.  A principal is only as good as the folks surrounding her; I’m blessed to be surrounded by greatness indeed!  🙂

Note:  Meet the Teacher is tomorrow evening from 5:30 – 7:00 p.m.  See you then!

‘Snow kidding!

IMG_3157Our LME Staff returned in force early this morning to spend a full day creating, collaborating, and sharing innovative work.  Through various iPad apps, our campus iBook Playbook, team-building activities, and special “tech talk,” each member actively participated in IMG_3156communicating consistently across the curriculum.  From homemade omelets at breakfast to sweet flavorful treats as an afternoon snack, our Miller Team flourished.  Special thanks to our Mt. Peak friends for a fun afternoon session with you!

We are ready to welcome our learning community in a couple of days and look forward to seeing our learners in action.  Here’s hoping you are savoring those last few days of summer because it’s nearly time…’snow kidding!  🙂

Let’s get it started!

It’s an exciting time…the office is buzzing with new families enrolling, packages and boxes of supplies arriving, the phones ringing, and lots of fun conversations (just to name a few).  Teachers are arriving early to work in classrooms and design engaging lessons for learners.  We officially badge-b2sstart “staff meetings” on Tuesday morning next week, but we could almost start school today the building is so full (remember, I said almost…).  🙂

In preparation for the big day on Monday, August 26th, here are a few items to consider:

  • Go online to complete your child’s registration packet of updated information with your child’s code (see previous blog and links).
  • Start the daily routines now with a set bedtime; rest is critical and “banking” some extra rest now will help when the reality of routine kicks in later.
  • Explore healthy meal and snack options for school days; busy brains need great fuel!  What about those important after-school snacks too?
  • Check out the MISD Dress Code so there are no surprises.  Get those hair cuts scheduled too.
  • Pick a special shirt, pair of socks, sneakers, or another clothing item for the first day of school–everyone likes a little something special that very first day (hint, hint, Mr. Van).  🙂
  • Finally, talk about school, set up a homework area, and pack up the backpack.

We look forward an extraordinary year, Team Miller!  As a new young friend said today, “Let’s get it started!”  🙂

Meet the Teacher Night is next Thursday, August 22…HS – 2nd grade from 5:30-6:15 and 3rd-5th grades from 6:15-7:00.  See you then!

Oh, the places we’ll go…

I had the honor today of reading to a sweet new friend coming to our Printcampus this year.  He chose the Dr. Suess book Oh The Places You’ll Go as his preference and we gathered together on the sofa for a few moments of shared reading time while his mom completed her “homework.”  I was instantly struck by this child’s questions, his curiosity, and his charming wit, not to mention his enthusiasm for learning to read in the days ahead.  “I will read with my new teacher on the first day, won’t I?”  (and believe me when I say I will make certain this occurs).  In fact, his entire attitude about starting school in a new place warmed my heart!  You see, this is his fifth school in one year of formal education; he is accustomed to moving and making new friends at a tender young age.  His resiliency and desire for learning are strong; he forges ahead with great passion.  His parting comment to me today: “We ARE off to great places so we’re on our way, Mrs. Van!”  🙂  Welcome to LaRue Miller Elementary little friend; oh the places we’ll go indeed!

Online Registration is here!

online_regBack by wildly popular demand, this quick, easy online process allows our parents to electronically sign-off on their child’s first-day registration packet (sure wish I had this option when my own children were in school!).

To register, parents will need their child’s code that was recently mailed home on August 5th. Then, click the button below to start the registration process, or visit our first day packet webpage for more details.  Here’s hoping you find time today to take care of this process!

Registration (English)

Registration (Spanish)