While supervising my third grade students during testing today, I suddenly wondered “How did the past 6 years fly by so quickly?”  Over half of these students I have known since they were 3 years old. When we see children every day, we don’t realize how much they change in all aspects of development. Through my eyes, they are still the innocent little ones who first gingerly tip-toed through Spaulding School’s doors. I am so fortunate to have had the honor of watching them flourish. I will have bid  fare-well to them this year. They will be attending 4th grade at another school in our District. I realize all principals, no matter the grade structure of their school, have to face this separation. For me, always bittersweet.  I silently celebrate when I notice the higher accomplishments they achieve throughout the remainder of their elementary years.  For now, I will treasure their presence until June and cherish the moments we have remaining.

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Coming up with a slice today is a bit of a struggle, so I will go with what I have been thinking about today.  I know it isn’t anything really exciting, so here goes……the warmer weather.  And it comes to mind today as I have been greeting and dismissing students.  I sense that parents and kids are in a happier mood when the weather is not as severe.  I have the opportunity every day to see almost all students in the morning when parents drop them off for school.  I also have the pleasure of  speaking and sharing a warm smile with parents, other relatives, and even petting the family dog.  For me, this is an important part of my job, and one that I look forward to each morning and afternoon.  I enjoy chatting with my families.  These occasions allow me to get to know the families on a one-to-one basis and celebrate with them birthdays, new births of siblings, or even wishing them well after an illness.  I feel this connection is vital to the success of our school community. I do greet and dismiss in below zero weather, but anyone who knows me could tell you, warm…even hot…weather is definitely more my style.

Yesterday I was informed that according to USA Today, a school principal is listed as the top job people are happiest to hold.  Peaking my curiosity, today I decided to check this “fact” and Googled USA Today.  The feature acknowledges principals’ jobs are not always a “walk in the park,” but generally find their jobs rewarding and indeed ranks as number 1.  The following poem I created last year for our Poetry Café expresses my view on this subject.  Though I am not as intriguing as Poe, eloquent as Kilmer, or silly and humorous as Silverstein, my words reflect why I am happy to be a principal.

“Spaulding Sharks”

I know a place where you can find,
Smiling faces and words so kind.

I know a place where people care,
About each other’s best welfare.

I know a place where one can grow,
And reach for stars and personal goals.

I know a place where in the halls,
Oodles of artifacts deck the walls.

I know a place where kids are proud,
To celebrate successes, oh so loud.

I know a place where Sharks roam free,
It’s somewhere you would love to be.

Where kindness and respect are golden rules,
Of course….this place is Spaulding School!

Our school conducted judging for Young Authors.  After reading each entry, I noticed just how much our students are applying various forms of author’s craft.  Evidence of enriching lessons can be found in almost all of the books.  Choosing a class winner and then one winner to represent our school in Bloomington was a difficult task.  The judges reread the top three class winners several times before deciding on which piece was authored best using imagination, skill, craft and illustrations. I love this event.  We have the opportunity to see what talent our children have and how they get so excited to create and share books.  Young Authors is also a clever avenue to inspire children to be creative novelists. We celebrate their successes with a pizza luncheon, where each participant brings and shares his story. It genuinely is a rewarding experience for all.

Cat In The Hat.  Fox In Socks. Hop and Pop. Green Eggs and Ham.  Oh The Places You’ll Go.  Culminating activities celebrating the life of Dr. Seuss took place today in our school.  Each morning this week, a small excerpt from one of his many books was read aloud to our students.  Hearing the verses of Dr. Seuss always brings a smile to my face.  As a child, I was not permitted to read anything authored by Dr. Seuss.  It was frowned upon at school, and this being eons ago, whatever the school said, my parents followed suit.  Of course I knew of his books because of my friends who attended the “public” schools.  I don’t think this was a “Catholic” issue but more the fact the nuns just didn’t think it was enriching literature.  I ask myself now how the “rigorous and engaging” text…..See Jane.  See Jane go.  Go Jane go!….was considered ok for instruction yet the colorful rhymes of Dr. Seuss were not appropriate for enjoyment.  I did read all the Dr. Seuss books to my children when they were young, and the clever author’s works were definitely a favorite in our home library.  And if I am blessed with grandkids one day up ahead, Dr. Seuss’s collections will surely be read!

Bella Luna. This luminous vision looming in front of me while driving this morning, captured my attention. The brilliant, silvery moon, so large and magnificent, was mesmerizing. I felt if I kept driving to the edge of the horizon that I would be able to reach out and touch its surface. As I watched the radiant sphere slowly creep downward into the West, I was reminded of one of my favorite movies of all times, Moonstruck, starring Cher and Nicholas Cage. An enchanting, mystical full moon was the recurring backdrop as the plot followed the romantic twists and turns of the key characters. I just love the story line, humor, and theme…..true love and the importance of family…. that resonates throughout the film. And the music! Many romantic Italian classics from the soundtrack (which I own) echoed through my mind. This is one of those movies that I can watch over and over  That’s Amore!

Yesterday was a challenging day.  So today, I decided to challenge myself to reduce my stress by committing to put forth even more full blown effort in my Wednesday morning spin class than I usually do.  I find the challenge of pushing myself to the max helps me relax and just release all tension I have both physically and mentally.  Being around my “spin friends” is always so enjoyable as well as listening to the motivating tunes.  I ride along and pretend I am anywhere on a bike…..always some place tropical and warm…enjoying cool, salty breezes. After conquering 18 rigorous miles….well for me rigorous…probably not a big deal for a  real biker…..though I did get invited to join the “Biker Babe Bike Club” when the weather eases up a bit, I was relaxed and rearing to go.  Now I just need to actually buy a real bike!  I am confident that I will carry this positive energy with me throughout the day and be able to overcome even the tiniest bit of tension that may try to get in my way.