Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Time for Reflection

It's been about a month since SY 2013-2014 ended.  Summer is usually a time to reflect on the past year and start planning for the next.

This summer, however, has been a little different.  Since school ended, we've been busy packing and getting ready to move to our new building.  Looking at everything today, it doesn't seem possible that we will be moving, but I've been assured that the building will be ready.  Renovations on half of the  the existing classrooms are also going on as is construction of our 10-classroom building (scheduled to be completed in December or January). I don't doubt the contractors; they've been up-front with us about the challenges, but they've also been accommodating.  Subcontractors have been working in the evenings or on the weekends if necessary to finish their part of the work.  We are really fortunate to have a great working relationship with the contractors; they explain things to me in simple language so I can understand.  Honestly, I watch them working, and I have no idea how the drawings on paper become buildings that are safe, functional, and appealing to the eye.  As I walked around the school today, I was reminded of summer 1993 when Mililani Mauka Elementary was ready to open.  The situation was similar -- up until the last week of summer, we were wondering if the work would get done in time for school to open.  It did, and I am confident we will be moving next month.

Last week, we returned from a wonderful vacation to celebrate our granddaughter's high school graduation. There's nothing better than getting together with family, and this was the first time in about 15 months that we were all together. We were able to watch our grandson play soccer, and it brought back memories of all those years I coached youth soccer.  The graduation ceremony was beautiful (albeit different from Hawaii), and we enjoyed spending time with our daughter-in-law's family which included her 97-year old aunt who traveled from Hawaii and her 101-year old grandma who came from Maryland..  Amazing!!

Sometimes after a vacation, it's difficult to get going, but this was a productive week for me.  I got the class lists done and completed my e-Portfolio for my principal evaluation.  While I was away, the Superintendent announced changes to the Educator Effectiveness System in response to the outcry from teachers and principals about the negative impact of the tasks.  I believe the changes are good, and hopefully, the process will lead to more productive discussions between administrators and teachers, discussions that will lead to improved teaching and learning. My first task when we return from school is to review the changes to EES with our teachers and to share how the process will help us to improve our practices to positively impact student learning.  I've been thinking about how to share this important information and to make the connection with our school vision and mission.

Tomorrow, I leave for the ISTE  (International Society for Technology in Education) conference in Atlanta. I've heard that the conference is inspiring, and I am sure I'll be learning a lot and meeting many others who, like me, believe in the power of technology as a tool for learning.  It will be an opportunity to network with and to learn from others.  And maybe I'll get to talk with people I'm following on Twitter!

I plan to have time to reflect at the end of each day and to share at least one post a day on Google+.  Then it'll be back to work, and hopefully, we'll be ready to move to our new building!

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