Hiberbation Sensation!

photoOur Head Start friends have been studying hibernation and the special animals who hibernate.  As a culminating activity today, they enJOYed a hibernation experience themselves by wearing their pajamas to school, cooking and eating special snacks, and then doing their own version of hibernation photo 01with a “long winter’s nap” (shared one little friend).  🙂  They also shared their special knowledge about a little hibernating friend in Pennsylvania who plans to make an appearance on Sunday to check out the weather for everyone…here’s hoping we get some good news that spring is on its way soon!  Have a safe, relaxing weekend!

Watt’s up?

There is a vital group of learners (under the watchful leadership of a special teacher, Mrs. Garippa), who take time everyday to check watts1on our campus’ initiative to save energy in MISD.  Known on campus as the WattWatchers, they have broken the campus down into zones and go about the building issuing green tickets (good) and red tickets (not-so-good) for remembering the WW Rules.

We have a unique, highly-effective geothermal HVAC system here at LME and we’ve been in existence long enough now for the system to really save us thousands of taxpayer dollars annually.  With the WattWatchers, they ensure everyone does his or her part throughout the day in the following ways (as shared by some WattWatcher friends):

  1. Turn off lights when the room is not in use.
  2. Use the natural lighting throughout the building when you can.
  3. Watch thermostat settings and dress in layers to stay comfortable in class.
  4. Have custodians turn off main area lights (like the gym and cafe) when not in use and other places (like hallways) right after dismissal.

watts2While these are just a few ideas, the list grows longer each year.  WattWatchers take their work and their message seriously, but they also have great fun throughout the building helping others to conserve costs.  In fact, they were most excited today to be interviewed by the MISD Communications Director on their important role in campus conservation efforts (she even filmed them!).  Conserving and maximizing our natural resources are critical to future generations; our WattWatchers are making certain we do our part everyday for tomorrow!  As one friend noted, “Watt’s up?  Hopefully NOT your electric bill but ways to conserve that energy!”  🙂

We’ve got talent!

cropped-kids-playing.jpgWe’ve got talent; have you?  Entry forms are now available for MISD’s Got Talent Show. High school, middle school, and elementary school students are encouraged to showcase their talent as singers, musicians, dancers, comedians, videographers, artists, and more.  Auditions will be held February 10-14.  The talent show will be Friday, February 28 for elementary students and Saturday, March 1 for secondary students.  A special performance will be given by guest judge, Brandon Chase, from “The Voice” on March 1. For more talent show details email for information at midlotalentshow@gmail.com and check out the flyer [PDF].  We’ll see you there!

HEARTy Conversations

candy heartDuring walkabout this morning, a small group of learners were working in a writing station.  The directions were to make a shape from the conversation hearts in a bucket and then use the words in the shape to form a concrete poem.  While this may sound easy enough, problem solving was involved since some words or phrases did not exactly lend themselves to the final product.  You can bet it made for some HEARTy conversations indeed!

I’m melting…

A special birthday treat and note landed on my desk first thing this morning.  No, it’s not my birthday, but I’m blessed to be the frequent recipient of littlesnowman treats on others’ birthdays…it’s a perk of the work!  Here’s the treat and the contents of the note:

A special birthday wish I share
Because you really always care
About our work and stuff we do
So here’s a melting snow princiPAL for you!

Fun, huh?!  It’s a Friday after a short but intense school week and I fear we’re all on the verge of melting.  Here’s hoping you and your child find a fun way to enJOY the weekend ahead!  🙂

Grant Award

It’s a special day when you’re presented a check for $1,000 checkfor math and science education materials!  Thanks to the forethought of the ExxonMobil Educational Alliance Program, Mr. Walid Alameddine, VP and COO of Victron Energy, presented us with a check today to purchase math and science resource materials to further expand and enhance our math and science learning opportunities. The Alliance is designed to provide all ExxonMobil retailers an opportunity to invest into the future of their communities through educational grants to neighborhood schools. Stringent requirements and special criteria must be met before grant awards are distributed; Mr. Alameddine ensures he secures grants for our area on an annual basis.

As always, we are so excited to put these funds to great use in our math and science classes.  STEM (Science/Technology/Engineering/Math) education is an essential component in 21 Century learning.  This continued support from our community partners is most appreciated.  As one young learner noted today once the announcement was made, “Yeah, Mrs. Van, everyone knows that math and science ROCK!”  Thanks and “rock on,” Mr. Alameddine, Victron Energy, and the ExxonMobil Educational Alliance Program.

Soup…stirring the pot!

Soup…it’s warm, hearty, nourishing, filling, comforting…  It’s a great day for some homemade soup in fact with the weather turning so cold once again, so the office staff did just that during our lunch time.  With two new members added to our LME office team since October, we started a book study by one of ourSoup favorites, Jon Gordon, called Soup…A Recipe to Nourish Your Team and Culture.  (Side note:  As a principal for many years, I should really own stock in Mr. Gordon’s company—we’ve managed to study ALL his books in some form or fashion over the years!  You can never go wrong with a JG book! )  🙂 

Soup is the story of Nancy, the CEO at Soup, Inc., a struggling company in steep decline.  Nancy is questioning her decision to run the company when she steps into Grandma’s Soup House one day, a little place that quickly becomes an unlikely source of great inspiration (often times, the answer we seek is right in front of us!).  With Grandma’s help, Nancy discovers the key ingredients to revitalize the company, the team, and herself in the process.

souptagSoup is a recipe for success for anyone in any position because it delivers the powerful message of how the quality of our daily lives (school, home, community) is really determined by the quality of our relationships with others.  The problem may be people, but the solution is also people…people matter and how we lead and work with them everyday matters most!  So, we’re positively stirring the pot with office team as we venture in 2014 in service.  After all, the one who stirs the pot is the most important ingredient in the soup…here’s hoping you stir your pot with your personal best everyday!

Thanks for those who came out today to participate in our LME Community Coffee with Dr. Stewart and his team; great job all! 

Thanks, Mrs. Williams!

January is School Board Recognition Month and Midlothian ISD always takes the opportunity to thank our community leaders who voluntarily serve countless hours in the best interest of the our entire learning community.

Great leadership begins with a willing heart, a positive attitude, and a desire to make a difference in the lives of others. We have seven individuals who exemplify these (and many other) leadership qualities in MISD:  Wayne Shuffield (president), Cindy Williams (vice-president), Todd Hemphill (secretary), Duke Burge, Keith Hitt, Jim Mentzel, and Matt Sanders.  Learn more about each board member here.

In appreciation for her work in MISD, our campus cw1adopted Cindy Williams for the month of January to celebrate her 15-year commitment and overwhelming contributions to our growing district.  Mrs. Williams participated in a special Friday Miller Rally (led by our Student Honor Council) where grade levels presented tokens of appreciation and notes, the staff prepared a homemade breakfast buffet to cw2share, StuCo led her on an engaging campus tour (as seen through the eyes of our learners), and rounded out her visit with hugs and congratulations for a job well done.  Her message to us today sums it up best:  “Never stop learning because life never stops teaching!”  Thanks, Mrs. Williams, and all our extraordinary MISD Trustees, for believing in the power of learning through your commitment, words, decisions, and community service in action!

Too soon?

A child visited with me today by request; she’s dealing with things no child her age should have to deal with this early in life.  She’s seen and done more at her tender age than most adults by age 30.  She’s what my Granny B. called an “old soul trapped in a young body with big ideas.”

Near the end of our conversation, this child looked into my eyes and said, “You know, Mrs. Van, sometimes when you get where you’re ‘pose to be, it’s just too soon, huh?”  OH MY STARS…such a profound life statement for one too young to really understand.  I had to catch my breath while I hugged her up tight…

As the guiding adults in young learners’ lives, our educational lifecameratask is daunting most days and completely overwhelming on others, just like the task of a parent everyday!

So here’s the question to ponder today:  In our society we push and motivate for things to occur faster, neater, more efficiently, go farther, and so on, but are we trying to “get there” too soon?  Here’s hoping you take a moment to stop, reflect, and decide when “getting there” is “just right.”  🙂

No complaining today!

One our teachers is known for telling her young learners, “You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit!”  🙂  It’s her humorous way of reminding learners not to waste precious time complaining; move forward, work with what you’re given, and make it excellent.  I remember my Granny B. saying, “When you complain, you focus on everything else but being your personal best…”

I read an interesting article recently that noted how much images-2complaining costs our country in lost dollars, productivity, morale, engagement, and culture.  We all have things to complain about, but I propose we encourage one another to go on a complaining fast–not because it will make those around you happier (although it will), but because it will help you experience more JOY, peace, success, positive relationships, and better productivity; our staff is on this quest right now with their learners and their team.

images-1In his book, The No Complaining Rule, author Jon Gordon offers five specific ways we can actively practice the No-Complaining Fast:
1.  Practice gratitude:  Research shows when we count three blessings a day, we get a measurable boost in JOY and in our immune system to uplift and energize us.  It’s also physiological impossible to be stressed (with negativity) and thankful (with JOY) at the same time!
2.  Praise others:  Focus on what others are doing right.  Praise them and watch success rates increase.  Mistakes help us learn and grow, but for every mistake you point out to someone, give three praises later.
3.  Focus on excellence and success will follow:  Start a success (or what I call my gratitude) journal.  Write down something great about each day; you’ll look forward to creating more success the next day.  Do this with your child each day–start a list on the fridge or a special memo board so the list grows.
4.  Let go:  A dear friend of mine always says, “Let go; let God.”  Focus on the things you have the power to change and surrender things beyond your control; you’ll be amazed when you stop trying to control everything!  This is a tough one for everyone, especially young learners.
5.  Breathe:  Spend time daily deep breathing, meditating, praying . . . all of these reduce stress, boost positive energy, and promote good health.  When you are faced with the urge to complain:  stop, be still, and plug-in to your ultimate Power to recharge.  Teach your child to practice this coping skill daily.

These tips should help you realize you are not powerless; you have the power to choose your beliefs, attitudes, and actions everyday.  I tell learners at the end of our Morning Message everyday:  You have a choice everyday; I hope you choose to make it your personal best today.  Focusing on the positive, instead of the negative complaining, will help you find the faith, strength, and confidence to take on challenges and identify solutions for any complaint…no complaining!  🙂