I have to say… Athena is absolutely the best school, with the best staff, most incredible students and supportive parents I can imagine. I am thoroughly impressed and pumped to be a member of this team.
For me, today was a non-stop barrage of incredible experiences which proved over and over that Athena is a special school what an awesome future in front of us.
The Counselors: I met with the counseling staff in the morning to brainstorm ways we can help our neediest students. I was energized by the willingness of this crucial team to go above and beyond to service the needs of our students. They are being stretched to the limit, and yet they continue to support one another and our students with tremendous passion.
Incredible Instruction: I stopped in to several classes today and saw our students being challenged, engaged and attentive. I saw outstanding instruction and a clear passion for our student exuding from many so many Athena educators. I love the willingness to innovate to meet the learning needs and interests of our students. Clearly the educators I visited today, understand that our students are change and are molded by the ubiquitous nature of modern media and the rising poverty issues in our community. It is clear that so many Athena teacher understand that we can no longer teach the way we have always taught. Different kinds of students require different kinds of teaching. It is clear that at Athena, we understand this reality.
Incredible Support Staff: Our support staff worked tirelessly to prepare for Curriculum Night, without missing a beat or slowing down on their day to day responsibilities. I must pause and say here that Athena has, hands down the best supports staff. They are so hard working, diligent and humble. I am thoroughly impressed. I feel extremely well supported and our students experience a direct benefit from their hard work, as they make your life and my life so much better. The next time you see a support staff member, let them know how grateful yo are for their support. We could not do this without them.
AIT Sub Committee: After school I was energized by a group of teachers who gathered to brainstorm and take action around improving Athena moral, culture and climate. A pervasive yearning for excellence, unity and passion exuded from this group. These teachers are dreaming big, and ready to roll out some great stuff to our staff and students. I love that we have so many teachers willing to go above and beyond for our students.
Awesome Admin Team: The next meeting I attended was with my administrative team. We met during the hours between school and Curriculum Night to strategies and fine tune our School Improvement Plan draft. The collaborative effort of the various AIT sub committee teams includes the input of nearly 30 teachers, parents, staff and community members. Our admin team sifted through all of this input and worked to incorporate your thoughts and ideas into the district framework. Although, several of us are clearly ADHD… we got a lot done, in spite of several conversational side trails we traveled along the way. I am proud of this administrative team and am confident that they are working as hard as possible to support the great work of the teachers, staff and students.
Great Facilities Staff: Our building looked great tonight. The place was clean and spotless. Greg and his crew worked hard to clean the halls, prep the tables and makes sure we looked our best. They truly are invaluable member of this team.
Superintendent Visit: During Curriculum Night Barbara Deane-Williams visited our school! We stopped in several classrooms, and she repeated over and over how excited she was to see great technology at work, a dedication to open communication, strong curriculum and a commitment to good instructional practices. She was very impressed.
Planking Overtakes Athena: Also today, the first of the Athena “Planking” Photo Competition pictures were taken and posted on Facebook. Kudos to Emily Rounding and her students for taking the plunge (see Facebook for an explanation…). Unless you are a teenager it probably won’t make sense… it certainly doesn’t make sense to me. But, nevertheless, I have submitted my own “Planking” photo to Facebook as well. Two students, who as of now have the best planking photo posted were Emily Shoemaker and Dana (not sure of last name), who were photographed planking with the Superintendent in the background. I love the fun that we can have with our students and am excited to see them excited to be a part of our community.
Parent’s Perspective: I can’t tell you how many conversations I had with parents, who are so excited to have their students at Athena. This truly is a great place to learn. We are continuing to work though the challenges of a changing student body, and the ever encroaching impact of the mass media market world our students are growing up in. Student learn differently today then when we were in school. Perhaps the best thing about Athena is the willingness of the educators here, to adapt and adjust to ensure that every student succeeds. Thank you for making this a great place to work, learn and spend our lives!
One of the Best Days Ever: Today might possibly have been the most invigorating day of my career! 14.5 hours after it began… I am sitting at home excited to be alive, blessed to be on this team, and excited to see you all tomorrow!