Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Resolutions - 2013 The Year of Getting a Life!

I typically avoid making New Year's Resolutions. I know many people make them, but don't see the sense of making them for myself. After a week of house cleaning and reflecting, I think I'll take a gander at making a few resolutions for 2013...

To insure I do this right, I looked up the definition of resolution:

res·o·lu·tion (rezəˈlo͞oSHən) Noun 1. A firm decision to do or not to do something. 2. A formal expression of opinion or intention agreed on by a legislative body, committee, or other formal meeting, typically after taking. Synonyms: decision - determination - resolve - solution

Since I'm not a legislative body or committee, I 'm going with definition number 1 as I state my resolutions...

In 2013 I resolve to:

1. Better balance work and home. I often let things lag at home, something I would never do at work. I need to transfer the organizational skills I use at work to home. I am often frustrated because my home is not like I want it to be. I have no one to be frustrated with but myself because I do not schedule time to do the things around the house I want done.

2. Plan menus weekly and have company for dinner once a month. I love to cook! I want to get back in the groove of cooking for the week over the weekend and eating leftovers during the week. I also used to enjoy entertaining when I lived in Houma. We had several couples that we used to take turns cooking Friday or Saturday night dinner and getting together. The times I enjoyed the most was when we would get together and cook together and trade recipes. This ties to Resolution #1 because since we moved here I have been so focused on work, I haven't tried to find folks to start a "Supper Club."

3. Fit in the jeans in my closet. I have five pairs of jeans in my closet that I want to wear again. They are in a size that I should be able to attain. This goal actually includes fitness and dietary goals. If I eat right I should lose weight, if I exercise I should lose weight and be healthier. I want to get back in the routine of walking the dogs in the morning and going to Jazzercise in the evening.

4. Worry less and enjoy more! I have become entirely too serious. I need to "let my hair down" and have fun, human moments more often. I want to complete all of my incomplete projects. I also want to read for recreation. I realize that the majority of what I read is for work and I rarely read for pleasure. When I organized my office, I organized shelves of books I bought that I have not read. I want to get through most of those in 2013.

In 1991 a doctor told me I wouldn't make it past 25 and I'd never have children. I've managed multiple medical conditions for more than half of my life. I'm now 40 and I have Daisy, who is about to turn 13. What do doctor's know? After all, they are just practicing medicine. It's well past time to start enjoying things! I have been blessed with a wonderful husband. He is my best friend and my husband. He has put up with me for 17 years. He has partnered with me to raise a delightful daughter. We have our furry family members: Sirius-Pup, Wabo, Cabo II, Mocha, and Nola Brown. They provide much love in the form of snuggles, scratchies, and laughter.

I resolve to make 2013 a happy, fun year for my family. I wish the same for yours...

Thursday, August 30, 2012

On Hurricanes and Such...

Growing up a South Louisiana Girl, hurricanes are a way of life. I can remember as a child spending many a storm on a blanket in the hall listening to the wind whip around the house and watching my mother nervously fret about something breaking the windows. My Mother worried so about windows breaking, that when she had the opportunity to change out the large picture window in the living room, she replaced it with a rock wall and a small window. My father used to add to my mother's nervousness by insisting on not participating in the "hunker down in the hall away from the windows" activity. He would sleep on the sofa in the room with the large picture window, or go to bed in a bedroom with two windows near two sides of the bed. The horror!

So, when I arrived in DC on Monday, I wasn't really too worried about the storm knowing I was scheduled to return on Tuesday night. Believe me, for years my mother worried enough to cover the entire family for eternity. What I did become concerned about late Monday night was the airport closing until Friday and me not being able to get home. The vision of my husband, child, and assorted critters 'roughing it' without Mommy was not a pleasant one. I talked with Toby, predicted the hurricane would stall (I was a former Environmental Science teacher, from the days when you had to be certified and know something to be able to teach, I can read weather maps), but decided it was better to come home and make it than to stay in DC, be stuck until Thursday or Friday, and regret it.

When the storm stalled half on land and half on water, I knew we were in for a long, windy, wet ride. I knew the added water would cause many more trees to fall. I also knew the longer period of exposure to category 1 or tropical storm winds had the potential to be much worse than shorter exposure to stronger storms. Hurricanes are trackable, but unpredictable acts of nature. They are a force to be reckoned with and can be devastating to a community and/or state. One of the things that I agree with my late mother on, is that you should listen to the news and be aware of how the storm is progressing and where it will hit. We used to do that by watching Nash Roberts on Channel 4 and when the power would go, listening to it on the radio. As such, when I arrived home on Monday, I turned the Weather Channel on and proceeded to secure the outside of the house.

At some point on Tuesday, I gave up on The Weather Channel. A storm can be nerve wracking enough without the added sensationalistic journalism tact that The Weather Channel was taking. The whole, struggling to stand on the street and go outside thing was neither amusing, nor realistic. Throughout the storm my hubby and I took our dogs out for potty breaks (this is true for every storm). Wind gusts can be challenging and the whipping rain is stinging. We've also spent a great deal of time in New Orleans, one of our favorite getaways. Sometimes on a regular day, the wind from the River down Canal St. is substantial. As several points, they were saying, this storm could be worse than Katrina. Really? At times, they seemed disappointed that the storm wasn't worse than it was and that New Orleans didn't take a direct hit. When they said it made landfall but there was no city, I found myself wondering what they think Bootheville, Venice, and Orchid are. They are not major cities, but they are towns, significant to industry in our state, with people who live and make a living there.

I will admit that in some areas, the flooding was much worse than Katrina. However, if you look at the overall impact, I think you will find that this storm was not as damaging as Katrina. This morning, 39% of the state is without electricity. Post Katrina, 95% of the state was without electricity. For Katrina, we were out of power for most of the storm and 5-7 days after the storm. I really don't know how the reporting for this storm compared with the reporting for Katrina. I didn't have power or access to TV during that time. If I had, I may have been just as frustrated if not more with the coverage. I do know that there was a major focus on the events in New Orleans and little coverage on areas of Mississippi and Alabama that were completely demolished. I do know this, I'll stick to viewing the maps on The Weather Channel's site for future storms. A storm is bad enough without sensationalistic journalism making it worse than it is. I'd prefer, "Just the facts, ma'am."

Monday, April 23, 2012

SURPRISE!!!

So today, as I headed into work, one of my team members sends me a Happy Birthday wish. I respond with, I'm 39.9. I refuse to turn 40 before Saturday, don't speed me up to getting there. :-)

I get to the office, and another colleague hits me with a Happy Birthday, followed by another who says, I wasn't sure about wearing black...I was a little confused.

My very thoughtful team mates threw me a surprise birthday party, with an awesome cake from Baum's. Everyone was wearing black to commemorate my officially being old. I haven't had this happen in a long time. As a matter of fact, in 40 years, it was only my second surprise birthday party!

I am so thankful that I have (almost) made it to 40! I am also thankful that I work with people who are willing to take the time to celebrate a colleague's life event.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

EDLD 810 This I Believe Essay

I believe every student is a scholar. As a teacher, I provided every student with a high quality education that prepared them for college or the workforce. As a building leader, I provided the necessary support and accountability to develop my teachers to challenge all of their students as scholars. As a leader of leaders, I am building the capacity of school and district leaders to transform their schools and systems into high performing organizations that treat all students as scholars. Key to making this happen is to challenge educators to reflect, think, and adjust.

I have always held myself to a high standard of professional accountability. I have always taken ownership of all aspects of my work, most importantly taking ownership of the product of my work. Problems must have solutions, not excuses. Solutions require thought, data analysis, reflection on practice, and adjustment of practice. When educators do these things, all children succeed. When all children succeed, communities thrive.

I believe all children can learn and all educators must develop solutions that meet the needs of the students they serve. I am now holding others to the high standard of accountability I hold for myself. I have become transparent in sharing my beliefs about education and the actions and activities that are critical to the manifestation of my beliefs with my employees and the districts I serve. No one wonders where I stand. I challenge others by asking, how will you do this for your students, teachers, and community? I facilitate problem identification and solution development, no excuses. I thoroughly enjoy the challenges of this work.

Who knows what wonders are locked in the mind of a child? The cure? The answer? To advocate for children by challenging others to insure society does not miss out on solutions because of failure to develop all of the minds of the future is the highest calling. Moving educators from saying all children can learn and we should meet the needs of every learner to performing the actions required to teach all children by meeting their needs is my passion.

To lead educators to treat all students as scholars is the best manifestation of my gifts, skills, and talents. Education is a noble calling. Education is key to the success of our society. By advocating for all children, especially those who lack resources and a voice, I can make a difference. This I believe…