Monday, June 14, 2010

What the students think...

I call our school a think-tank for many reasons, and I truly believe we have the best school out there with our amazing leadership, our collaboration, focus on the students, and determination. My opinion, of course, is just an opinion, with nothing more to go on than "we rock" and "i heart my school".

Lately though we've been struggling to keep our heads above water. Along with the typical end-of-year stressers (report cards, packing up the room, completing testing, end of year picnics, field days, readers theater, etc, etc, etc) we've also been dealing with our principal retiring, not knowing who our new principal will be, meeting an interim principal, preparing to change our calendar from year-round to a traditional schedule, all while knowing budget cuts for supplies, professional development, etc are dwindling. Let's talk about stress.

Today one of our amazing guidance counselors shared the results of a survey she did with the 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders. She asked them, in survey monkey, what they liked best about our school. There was one "recess, lunch, and breakfast" response (with the BEST spelling of recess I've ever seen), but for the most part the comments gave me chills. Our kids, who say it best, who are not a part of the stress, and drama, and who will always be with us despite what happens to our budget, know our school. And love our school.

Some of their comments (with original spellings, keep in mind, most of our students are learning English):

~ The teacher always sticks up for yopu.
~... that the teachers are very kind, we could get a very good education.
~ ... is the teachers the way they listen to you and they can't be mean and they help u with you problems.
~ is to have teachers that care for you.
~ the teachers make games that are educatinol and fun
~ is the teachers make u fell safe
~lovely teachers

and those were just the comments I was able to copy down in a hurry before my afternoon IEP began...

A rush of perspective came flooding back to me as I read the list. Our kids, the ones who we are here for, appreciate us. They think we listen to them. They think we make them feel safe. Even when we've been stressed beyond what we thought we could handle, we kept that away from the kids. They still feel safe, loved, and listened to within our walls.

Our kids come from rough homes. The neighborhoods around our school are not the safest. They may not speak the same language as their parents, so they have no one to listen to their childhood woes. Their parents work many jobs, and most lack the needed funding to buy books, healthy dinners, and school supplies. Yet they know we love them. We've sent the message that our school is a safe place, that we will listen to their concerns, that we are giving them a good education, and that we care for them.

What more can you ask for in a school? We may not make AYP (again) despite all our efforts. But we've accomplished even more than that if we were able to create a safe learning environment for children who may not feel safe or loved anywhere else.

I heart my school, my awesome co-workers, and our amazing kids.

** ** **
Our awesome guidance counselor also shared another question from the survey that asked the students to reflect on our guidance program. There were many amazing comments, but this is the only one I was able to write down...

~it made me be better person in my life. It chage me how I was the past years to now. it,s somebody grew out of me and change3d my life.

Can you ask for anything more?

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