Saturday, August 29, 2009

Happy Birthday, Kerri

It doesn't seem possible that the years have flown this quickly. Happy Birthday to you!!! Have a great day today and many more to come. I am very proud of you!!!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

A New York Moment

Last weekend, I traveled to New York with my Aunt Teresa, my cousins Cecilia & Jay, Pat, Yaya, and Marion to attend the wedding of Justin and Charlotte in New Salem, New York. Justin is the son of my cousin, Teresa and her husband, Donald. We left Phoenix at 7:00 a.m. Thursday morning and flew into New York's LaGuardia Airport where we rented a van to get us to our hotel in Danbury, Connecticut.

It was quite a trip to get to Danbury. Jay was driving and
Pat was navigating. We were lost for about an hour. As family legends are created, the story was that we were lost for seven hours!! It just seemed like that many hours! My favorite part of this is that I was the YOUNGEST in the van!

Friday brought more of our family with our cousins from San Francisco arriving. Our cousin, Eddie, who I wrote about last March on his birthday, lives in Brewster, New York. He was able to come to all of the festivities. When he arrived at the hotel, it was so touching to see him with his daughter, Angie and then with Teresa. It was so great to see him
and to witness first hand how incredible he is doing. He looked wonderful.

Friday night brought the rehearsal dinner. With our family and Donald's, there were so many people who traveled so far. We were all invited to the rehearsal dinner and even driven to it in a rented school bus!! It was in a beautiful location in Connecticut! Dinner was delicious and the toasts (and roasts) were great. I was able to capture most of them on my camera. All of the videos are posted on You Tube. Please email me and I will tell you how to find them on You Tube. The one with Pat and Yaya is priceless!!!

Saturday was the wedding at a very old and beautiful church in New Salem. Once again, we were transported from the hotel to the church and then to the reception at Charlotte's family home--an absoultely beautiful setting!! The wedding was beautiful. Justin surprised Charlotte by having their dog, Brutus, on the altar with him. It was so neat to see her face when she saw Brutus!!!

At all of our family celebrations, we have a tradition which I think brings good luck to the couple!!! All of the family gets out on the dance floor to sing "Tequila Sheila." Two of Justin's friends invited me to their weddings because of this. The best part is that neither one even have a girlfriend. I am thinking that maybe I could make some extra money when I retire by going to weddings and bringing this song!!!!

On Sunday all of us went to New York City for the night. Teresa had never been to NYC before this and it was so fun to see her recognize different streets and buildings. We had tickets for Mamma Mia on Broadway on Sunday night. It was a fabulous play and Teresa thoroughly enjoyed it.

We got home about 10 p.m. on Monday. I have had a night activity at school every night this week so that is why I haven't posted anything about this wonderful weekend.

Thanks to Teresa and Don and Justin and Charlotte for providing this memory making weekend for all of us. I am so glad I was able to be there. Aunt Teresa had an incredible time with the family. Family is so important to her and I am so grateful for her wonderful spirit of adventure! She wouldn't miss any of these events!!!!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Another New School Year Has Arrived....

I was thinking the other day about how many years I have been in education. This is the 39th year that I have started out the year as an educator. All but one year has been at the school level. Prior to that, I started the school year as a student for 16 years which included college. So for the past 54 years, I have started out a new year in August or September. In reflecting back, the strangest year for me was the year that I spent at the district office. I remember that first day of school and I had no school to be at that day. It was a weird feeling for me and I knew then that I didn't want to be anywhere but at school to start the school year.

Over the past few years, I have thought a bit about what it would be like to be retired. Even though I look forward to this in a few years, I am absolutely not ready to make that break yet. And I have thought about why I feel this way still. I still love my job despite awful budget cutbacks, larger class sizes, problems in our society that are carried into the school, and the myriad of other i
ssues that we deal with on a daily basis.

Sunday night before the first day of school was typical for me. As always, I was a bit nervous and absolutely excited for Monday. Our Meet the Teacher Night on Thursday had been so positive with parents and students anxious to start a new year. It is a new beginning for everyone, including me.

Monday was a great day. Everything went very smoothly. I got so many hugs and smiles and I truly felt good when I got home, even though I still had to finish the duty schedule and do a few tasks that aren't my favorites to do.

I have always felt that as an educator, I hope that I can an
d have made a difference in the life of a child or a family. I truly believe that I have and that is what keeps me going year after year and why I continue to want to be a part of this incredible profession.

Yesterday a couple of things happened that make me realize how fortunate I am to be an educator and confirms why I still feel the way I do after so many years. I wanted to write about this last night, but wanted to make sure that it was okay to share this story.

Several years ago, a student who was a third grader in one
of our multi-age classes was killed in an automobile accident in October over a long weekend. His mom was seriously injured and his grandmother was also killed in this automobile accident. That Monday morning when we found out about the accident is still very vivid in my memory. It was so devastating to his mom who was a single mom and to the students in his class and to his teacher. Tyler was a wonderful little boy who had many friends. I will never forget his funeral and all of the children who were there that day. I will never forget seeing his mother and her sorrow at the loss of her child and of her mother. Tyler would have been a junior in high school this year.

Over the years Nancy, his teacher, kept in touch with his mother. She told us of his mom getting married again, and then of her being pregnant. Then the news came that she was having triplets!! When the triplet, three boys, were born, we saw pictures. Then the triplets came to school to meet all of us. Were they ever precious and it was so great to see their mom smiling.

About two weeks ago, mom and dad came to register the boys for our preschool. These three beautiful blond boys were ready for Gilbert El!!! I know she felt there was no other school for them!!

I saw them yesterday with their backpacks on almost bigger than they are!! I have to say I had a few tears in my eyes. After school, I got some emails with pictures of the boys from our preschool teacher that were forwarded from Nancy. Mom was so thrilled that they w
ere in school and that their teacher had a connection with Tyler. You see, both of her children had been in Tyler's multi-age class that year!

After school as I was out making sure that all was well with the buses, I heard this deep voice loudly say, "Hi, Mrs. Rogers." I turned around and there was an eighth grader who had been one of our students, with a big smile on his face and his arms out to give me a big hug--in front of all of the kids waiting for their buses. This particular young man had gone to a different junior high last year and was now back at the junior high by our school. He also had a tragedy in his family. When he was in fifth grade, his mom died while having a routine medical procedure. He was absolutely devasted and didn't always smile after that. Our teachers and our social worker gave him such wonderful support. He was so glad to be back with his friends. Eighth grade boys don't always want to hug their former principal....


And this is why I will continue to laugh at the absurd things that happen and get a tear in my eye when I see children blossom and families being happy. And this is why I will continue to get up every day and go to school (not work). I am truly blessed!!!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009



Today was the first day back for all of the wonderful teachers at my school. We started the morning with a 9:00 a.m. meeting to welcome everyone back for the new school year. Each new year brings a new beginning for everyone.

After welcoming everyone back and introducing a few new teachers, we discussed the implications of the austere budget that our district is faced with this school year. Knowing that everyone is anxious to get to their classrooms and get ready for Meet Your Teacher tomorrow night, I try to keep this first meeting very short. Each year, the district administration does a welcome back video. This year's video was played at the end of this meeting. After seeing pictures of all of our schools and the years that they opened, our Governing Board President gave his welcome back speech. However, right in the middle of his speech, the video cut out and became fuzzy. It was obviously over. I had to try and convince the staff that this wasn't due to all of the budget cuts!! When I got back to my office, I let the person at the district know what had happened and a new CD arrived in about one hour--thinking (and hoping) that this would be our only crisis of the day--silly me!!!

It always seems that we do very well in a big crisis,
but it is the one small thing that puts one over the edge. That could not have been more true today!!! Barb, my wonderful secretary, came into my office to let me know that "we had NO toilet paper." Now, Barb constantly worries about our toilet paper supply and reminds me often that all of the people who use our school "consume" toilet paper and hand towels that we have to pay for out of our meager budget. That meager budget has become even meagerier (is that a word?) this year!! It seems that when Barb called our Building Coordinator to ask him to make sure that all of the bathrooms around campus had toilet paper and paper towels, he informed her that we were out of T.P. He had ordered it, but it had not come from the warehouse as yet.

At this point, hysteria would be a word that I might use to describe Barb's reaction to this lack of essential supplies.... With this knowledge, I knew that I needed to act quickly and decisively to solve this problem--a real test of my educational leadership!!!

However, I knew that it was going to requi
re tact as well as "ass"ertiveness to "wipe" this problem out before it reached epidemic proportions. You see, we have a new directive this year that we are no longer allowed to drop in our district warehouse to get any supplies. We must requisition everything in advance and have it delivered to our campus on our designated day.

So I immediately called my boss, our "Ass"istant Superintendent in charge of Administrative Services. He was not available according to his secretary. I filled her in on our dilemma and discussed alternatives that we would have to use in order to get "movement" on this crisis. I had a very difficult time convincing her that we were in dire need as she was laughing hysterically. Only when I threatened to send everyone over to the district office to use their facilities did I get any "movement" from her. She told me that I could reach the "ass"istant superintendent on his cell phone.

I immediately dialed his number and he answered after just two rings. I quickly described our crisis to him. Realizing the possible severity of this problem,
he told me that he would call the person in charge of the warehouse distribution and make an exception to the district rule. Once again I was truly impressed with his willingness to provide significant leadership in times of despair!!!

The warehouse personnel were contacted and an entire box of toilet paper was found deep in the "bowels" of the district warehouse. It was delivered right to my office where I was able to dispense these rolls of TP where they were needed most and
the BROWN OUT WAS AVERTED just in time!!!

I know that this was just one example of the fine leadership that our school and district have in place. I can only hope that all of our crises this year are handled in such a timely manner without tears--just a bit of laughter!!!


Monday, August 3, 2009

Bobby Bare - Tequila Sheila 1980

For some weird reason, I have writer's block......... It may have to do with being back at school and HAVING to write! Since I have been experimenting with You Tube, I found this video. For those of you who know me, it had to have been written about me growing up on the Mexican border like I did.............. Just couldn't resist posting it. Listen to the words........