Sunday, March 25, 2012

Starting a Tradition

Since I have been down here in Douglas, it has taken time for me to build trust with the wonderful people who work for the district.  As I have worked to build that trust, I also wanted to start building "community" with the people who work at the District Office.  I took the time to build community in my classroom as a teacher--although in those days that wasn't what it was called.  As a result, I still have contact with many of my former students (who are now adults)  and their families.  

When I became a principal, I knew that building community was a key to success.  I truly believe that we had a wonderful community and I am proud to say I am still in contact with many of the wonderful people that I worked with and still many of the children and families.  This means the world to me.

Last year, I started a tradition that my cousin, Jan, told me about that she did when she was an assistant superintendent in her district.   In March, we had a potato bar.  I brought my Irish music and invited all of the District Office personnel.  It was a big hit.  I wanted to share my heritage.  I have always said that the only two things I wanted out of life would be a Mexican wedding and an Irish wake--so I am half way there!!!

This year, I asked if we could have a monthly potluck with all of the District Office.   So we have done something every month with different departments being in charge of main dish, desserts, etc.  It has been wonderful.  However, I told them that I wanted to do the Potato Bar again.  Last year I had the basics--potatoes, butter, sour cream, bacon bits, cheese, etc.  Well this year it was even better with lots of great things to put on the potatoes.  Many of the people said that they had never done anything like this before.

As I have mentioned in previous posts, so much of what I have been dealing with since I got here can't be put on my blog.  However, this has proven to be a very positive event for everyone. It gives all of us a chance to sit together and get to know each other and forget about the day-to-day dealings that can be burdensome.  

So a new tradition has been born. I hope to be able to keep this going for a few more years.  It seems like such a small thing and it is, but I truly believe that it is extremely important.  There is an old saying that "the family that prays together, stays together."  I am hoping that the "staff who eats together, works even better together."

I work with a great group of people and I appreciate so much what they do.  They work for low wages, but they are committed, hard working and have integrity.  It is a pleasure to be a part of this wonderful group of people!!!

And finally, my favorite Irish saying that I have in my office:

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Sports and Character--How Incredible!!

I get so many emails at work.  A lot of them are "advertisements" for different programs that cost a lot of money but offer to solve all the problems in public schools today.  I usually delete those.  I get many others with important information from the Department of Education, etc.  I also get a lot of ones that are asking questions about different issues.  And I get some that are complaining about a situation or an issue.  Very rarely do I get one that is positive.  I understand this because people tend to want to get negative things taken care of, but forget about the positives.  That is human nature.  

Over the course of my career and experiencing this, I have tried to write positive emails and letters when something good happens.  I know that I don't do it often enough, but I have truly tried to make that effort.

About two weeks ago, I opened an email from someone I didn't know and here is what it said:

Good Morning Ms. Rogers,

Not often do I get a chance to compliment a High School sports team and staff that has stayed with us.  We had the pleasure of hosting the Douglass High School Soccer team on Friday night and though I was not here while they were checked in I received a glowing report about these young men.

The manager on duty informed me that they were not only well behaved but very polite and left their rooms very clean.  This may not sound like much but we deal with a lot of teams from 8 year olds to professional baseball players and I don’t remember a time when this manager had such complimentary things to say about a group of athletes.

I would appreciate you passing along my sincere thanks to Principal Schneider and the Douglass High School Soccer Team and Staff.  I was not able to locate an e-mail address for them to copy on.


Mark Maddix 

I was so thrilled to receive this email.  I immediately sent it to our athletic director and the coach.  We were having a Board Meeting that week and I was able to read this email at the meeting.  In addition, our local newspaper asked for it and they put it in the newspaper.

Last night, I attended the banquet for the DHS Soccer teams.  Our coach invited me and I was able to say a few words to these wonderful boys.  There was a full house with parents and families there to honor these student athletes.  

Their coach invited me and I was touched and honored to be asked to attend.  The varsity team played the entire season without any issues with grades.  They made it to the playoffs--the final four in our division.  I told these young men how proud I was of what they had done academically.  But I truly feel that what is equally important is their character.  

I told them that I am proud to be their superintendent, and I am!!  This is what makes going to work every day worthwhile!!!  These young men and their coaches are to be commended for making us proud to be Douglas Bulldogs!!!