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Things of Which I am Thankful For

For two weeks in a row I talked about my favorite things and truthfully that could be the theme every week.  But now I haven’t blogged in two weeks and since this is the weekend after Thanksgiving I will call this one…”Things of Which I am Thankful For”.  I don’t want to get goofy or sappy here…but seriously, I am very thankful for a lot of reasons.  I am thankful for my family, of course, but this is about me as a Board Member so I will leave out that stuff and say that I am thankful to the Community for electing me a year and a half ago.  I am also thankful to be part of a Community that values all aspects of education and who want to see our kids reach their full potential.  I am most thankful for all the opportunities that I have as an individual Board Member to do the things that I do on a daily basis working with other Board Members, community, staff,  and the students and continuing to learn and grow as a person through those opportunities.  Seriously…trying so hard not to sound sappy but the truth is…I am extremely thankful…and that ain’t no Turkey jive!

Now jumping right in, what would my blog be without starting with a Community Garden call?!?  In the past two weeks I have been to two.  We have been cleaning up the beds in preparation for winter and harvesting the last of the kale and radishes and beets, etc…and of course, I continue to search for caterpillars…we found a whole bunch this week but, unfortunately, these were the pesty kind and not the kind we will have butterflies from.  It happens.  This weekend we are getting a break and the next and last garden call will be next weekend.  Please come Sunday, December 8 from 11 to 12!

Monday we completed our Facilities Tour and visited WEC, Hewlett Elementary, Ogden, and Franklin Early Childhood Center.  On the tour we got to see projects that have been completed, projects in process, and projects that are basically on a wish list for the Administrators of each building.  The size of a project dictates whether or not it has to be filed and approved with the State Education Department…apparently, those that need to be filed or on a current timeline of 20 weeks to be approved…how many weeks are there in the year?  Really.

Anyway, Monday evening we were invited to the Ogden Family Book Club.  I bounced around to the different grades to say hello…I have to be honest…I wasn’t able to get to read all of the books but I still enjoyed the activities for all of them!  What fun!

Wednesday morning I attended the Central Council PTA meeting as the Board Liaison.  It is such a great opportunity to hear what everyone is doing in all the buildings.  The meetings are almost always the same day as our Regular Board Meetings so the two meetings are sort of like my bookends one Wednesday a month.

Before the Board Meeting, the Board Spec Ed Committee met to go over the CPSE and CSE recommendations that were being made for approval that evening.   We also had a chance to discuss some items that we discussed at prior meetings before our new Executive Director officially started in our district.  Then straight to the Regular Board Meeting we went.  It was my honor and privilege to announce the student that was reciting the Pledge of Allegiance that night.  Last year I didn’t have the opportunity to do it…sometimes we actually have to duke it out if more than one of us knows the student…but this one was mine!  Last year I read to one of the fourth grade classes at Ogden because we were “Book Buddies” and this student was one of my buddies.  Lucky me!

On Thursday a bunch of us went to a New York School Boards Policy Workshop.  As you already know…I love working on policy.  This workshop did not disappoint.  There was a lot of good info here that was presented well and we also had the opportunity to work together and with others on some relevant case studies.  Aside from the obvious benefit from directly talking about policies, it is a great opportunity to network with other districts to see what their thought processes are and what their procedures are.  I found that as well as the direct benefit of what was specifically covered in the workshop it also had the added benefit of getting some mind juices flowing on items that were not directly covered.  Since technology is such an amazing thing, I kept accessing our policies while there and we were able to ask some specific questions…we do a lot of things well here…it is always good to see if we can do better…

The workshop was only half a day so I was able to make it back to home base for a meeting with the Center of Adult Learning and Enrichment to discuss future collaboration in order to meet the needs of the community.

That was the first week.  Again, you all saw me other places…I was doing the Mommy thing…and the PTA thing.  I will continue on…

So last year I was one of the judges of the Book Trials that are done by the 11th grade Honors classes at the High School.  I loved it so much and wanted to ask the teacher to be sure to include me again this year but also…I was hoping to find out what book they were reading so I could have plenty of time to read it.  I have become a little overwhelmed with reading lately…getting it all done, of course…but just wanted to make sure I had all the time I could have in order to pace myself!  Anyway, as it turned out, the students were presenting a general “trial” in preparation for the Book Trials at the end of the year so the teacher asked me if I was available to come in and give the kids feedback.  My response was…YES YES YES!!!  On Monday I attended two trials, discussed the presentation with other judges and gave feedback.  I can’t wait to see their growth at the end of the year…

I mentioned that I have been overwhelmed with reading.  Understand this.  I am enjoying every bit of it.  It has just been a lot lately because of the Ogden Family Book Club, the packets, the articles I read in order to stay current with what is happening with Common Core and the Education Reform movement…and of course, the book “Wonder”.  What a book!!!  The World Café was well attended and it was great to have some discussion of the book with young students, older students, other parents, school staff, private school families, etc… If you did not have a chance to read it or attend the World Café that was held last Monday night…read it now anyway…it is definitely worth making the time for it.  Reading it will make you thankful for a lot of things and that is only the half of it…

Next week looks mellow but there are still some great things on my calendar.  I will tell you all about it, of course.  I will end this edition by saying once again that I am thankful to be able to do all the things that I do…and thankful to all the people that make it possible.  Being a Board Member is a big responsibility.  People have termed it a thankless job.  It may seem funny, but I don’t feel this way…and as I reflect on this as part of what I am personally thankful for this Thanksgiving I realize why.  I enjoy it so much. I am so thankful for the opportunity and it gives me so much satisfaction that to me it is not about being thanked.  And this is why being a Board Member made it onto my “Things of Which I am Thankful For” list this Thanksgiving.  I can’t speak for the others but I bet you they feel the same way…Enjoy the rest of your weekend!




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