Tuesday, August 31, 2010

My elementary principal called me today!

It was already a great day - staff smiling, students laughing, and everyone working hard and then the phone rings. Who? Oh my! On the phone was my elementary school principal and he was calling to check in on me.

Mr. H.K. Pitts was my K-5 Principal when I was growing up in Southeast Texas. I felt like a kid again and giddy at the thought of getting to talk to him.

We visited for awhile about what he and his wife are doing these days and he asked me about Smithville Elementary. We shared memories from 'back-in-the-day' and laughed a lot. I must admit I was smiling from ear to ear. I found out that Mr. Pitts is an avid cyclist having ridden the MS 150 twice and scheduled to ride the Livestrong Ride in Austin this October. How exciting...we have even more in common.

I loved elementary school and I loved Mr. Pitts. He was always smiling and taking care of us kids. I was so excited when we talked on the phone because I was able to tell him how much I admired him. I remember the little things he did on a daily basis. He talked with us, hugged us, and always wore a smile. Mr. Pitts expected us to behave and do our best. He made sure students treated each other right and loved us all. We loved him too!

When I became a principal, I knew how I wanted to treat everyone and how I hoped they ultimately felt about school. It is my hope that our students and staff feel the same way about our school as I did growing up with Mr. Pitts. Going to school was exciting. We didn't do anything spectacular - we were loved.

Just before we ended our conversation on the phone Mr. Pitts said something to me that I will never forget. Mr. Pitts told me he was proud of me! Wow! My elementary school principal, after 22 years, calls to check in on me and tells me something so powerful. My eyes fill with tears even now thinking of how wonderful it felt to hear those words from him.

Thank you Mr. Pitts.

Monday, August 30, 2010

1st District Site Base Mtg of the year

Thank you to Mrs. Patrolia, Mrs. C. Vinklarek, and Mrs. Myers for their participation on the District Site Based Committee. Tonight we reviewed the roles and responsibilities of the committee. During this meeting committee members had an opportunity to determine the four areas we need to spend more time focusing on this year. Those areas included planning, school organization, curriculum, and staff development. We also celebrated the successes of all campuses and the district with the accountability rating of Recognized. Our next meeting will include discussion on campus improvement plans and our focus on AYP ratings in reading.
Our next meeting is scheduled for October 11. If you have any thoughts or concerns you want addressed at the DSBM be sure to contact one of the DSBM members or a campus site base member at the elementary. Each team has a member representing them at the campus site base meetings.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

5th Grade D.A.R.E. Program at SES

D.A.R.E. Is coming to Smithville Elementary! This Monday Officer Stewart, the SISD Resource Officer, will begin a semester long class with 5th grade students. Officer Stewart traveled to Oklahoma last year to receive his D.A.R.E. training.

Students will participate in the classes during their Specials rotation. Permission slips were sent him with all 5th grade students and should be signed and returned to the school. Classes will take place Monday thru Wednesday each week with an official D.A.R.E. Graduation in December.

We are excited about the D.A.R.E. Program and know that our students will have a positive and lasting experience.

Friday, August 27, 2010

3rd Grade Science Day

3rd grade students participated in their annual Centipede Science Activity Day. Students spent the morning rotating through stations. The activities included science experiments such as "Which one takes the stain out?" using common household items. "What do you see?" which involved using slides, handheld lenses, and microscopes. "What shape are you?" working on measuring. "Are homemade compasses reliable? where students were able to make their own. "Food Math" where students created menus based on the food pyramid.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Parent Communication Folders go home today

Today your child should bring home their Parent Communication Folder. This folder will have papers to sign, samples of student work, and announcements of upcoming events at our school. Be looking for the folders each Thursday, peruse the items inside the folder, and then send them back with your child on Friday.

The photo above is of this year's Parent Communication Folder. Nice and bright orange so that it stands out and it is sporting our theme for the year. SES....Where Stars are Made!

Bike Parking Area

The bike parking pad is quickly transforming. More rocks have been brought in as well as mulch for future plants. The bikes are the best touch added so far.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

We have more blogs...

We have two new blog sites at Smithville Elementary.

Our librarian, Mrs. Gutierrez has a blog. You can check it out at SES Library.

Mrs. Bull, a 5th grade teacher, also has a blog. You can check it out at Mrs. Bull's Blog.

Links are also listed on the right side tool bar.

Monday, August 23, 2010

What a great first day!

Today was another great first day of school. The hallways were empty as fast as the students entered the building eager to get in their classrooms. Students were catching up on summer fun and checking out who was in their rooms. New students and their parents were hastily completing registration packets so they too could join in on the excitement of the first day.

Smiles, hugs, and laughter filled the hallways, cafetorium, and practically every nook and cranny on the campus. At Rise and Shine students showed their energy by singing along with the music and joining in on a little light dancing. Afterwards everyone returned to their rooms to learn routines of the class, school, and to begin building relationships for the new year.

I will share the best quote of the day that I heard from a 3rd grader while waiting for his bus. I asked him how his day went and he said without hesitation: "this was the best day of my life!". It just doesn't get much better than that!

I know one thing is for sure....it's going to be another great year!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

First day of school!

Monday is such an exciting day as students return to school. The hallways will be buzzing with noise and laughter after sitting idle all summer. Students will get to see friends they haven't seen since the last week of school and catch up on all of their summer activities. They will also be wondering who all is in their class this year. Teachers and staff are also anticipating the first day of school ready to begin another year with our awesome students.

With the beginning of another year I find it important to remind everyone to be looking out for students walking and riding their bikes to and from school. We will have staff working Bishop St. before and after school as usual and ask for your patience as traffic is typically heavier during the first weeks of school. Also remember that the streets surrounding the elementary and junior high campuses are one-way during school hours. This will take some getting use to as Bishop St. has been the only one-way street for years. This decision was made to keep our students safe and traffic flowing in a consistent direction.

We know it's going to be another great year!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Meet the Teacher Night

The hallways were overflowing with students and parents tonight eager to meet their teachers. There were smiles and hugs a plenty for anyone walking by. I just love 'Meet the Teacher Night' because students come in excited about school.
This is one reason this is the best job in the world.

We're going to have a great year...another 'Recognized' year!

Bring It On!

See you Monday.....First Day of School, August 23, 2010

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Smithville Teacher Academy

Today I met the district's new teachers at the 1st day of the Smithville Teacher Academy. The Smithville Teacher Academy was developed last year as a mentoring program for new teachers of Smithville ISD. The new teachers take part in three days of professional development prior to the general convocation on Monday, August 16th. This training has moved from simply taking care of district business needs to include a focus on expectations of being a teacher in Smithville.
The new staff will take part in training throughout the school year focusing on best teaching practices. The staff will reference the Harry Wong book First Days of School during the year. The group will also participate in a book study of Robert Marzano's book Classroom Instruction That Works.
The exciting piece is that these new teachers are joining recognized campuses and will gain knowledge through shared experiences and learning throughout the school year. Theses new Tigers will fit in great and will be a welcome addition to our schools and community.
Welcome to Smithville and have a great year.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Teamwork and Communication

Monday, August 9 2010, the Tiger Team spent a day at McKinney Roughs on team building. This was our second go-round of team building acitivites and it was another positive day spent together. The Tiger Team is made up of the Central Office administrative staff, directors, and coordinators, assistant principals and principals. Together there are 18 individuals that make up this team. When the Tiger Team typically meets we are gathering and sharing information in an organized manner with time constraints. Once all of the formal information sharing is complete we rush off to our perspective jobs and therefore don't spend much extra time together.
Getting together for a day of team building is difficult with deadlines looming, but the impact of the day is far more important in the long run. When we completed team building activities last year we were able to learn a few things about each other. I was amazed at the strengths that each member of the team brought to the group.
This year, again we participated in various activities that encouraged communciation, listening skills, leadership, patience, support, and many other necessary skills to be effective leaders and people. At the end of the day I was tired but also rejuvenated. I was reminded how much we all need the support of each other as well as the knowledge and strengths we all have to reach a 'recognized' level in our district.
Our district earned the 'Recognized' status from TEA meaning each of our campuses earned the rating of recognized for our district to also be labeled. With this level of achievement comes support and dedication from maintenance, transportation, food service, janitorial staff, school board members, and central office staff. Our campuses worked hard to reach this goal and understand and appreciate the impact of our support groups knowing their dedication to their roles affect our students success.

So, thank you to all that support our schools and lets do it again!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Smithville Times Article on SISD

Denis McGinness of The Smithville Times wrote a nice article on SISD's Recognized status. If you haven't read the paper check out the link below.

School District is 'Recognized'