Thursday, October 31, 2013

Red Ribbon Assembly

Today, we held our Red Ribbon assembly. Our STUCO (which I sponsor) chose to celebrate RR week starting today, going through Friday instead of last week through Thursday. They worked so hard getting everything together! I'm so proud of them! We met last week to decide on general ideas. I previewed video clips for a couple of days and gathered supplies for games. I asked one of the girls to put together a power point on drug use by the end of last week. I added to it over the weekend. I decided it would help with the presentation if there was music added, but couldn't get the song to attach. This morning I went in to work stressed about not having the song. My STUCO president, a senior, came to the rescue! She played the DVD with the videos in her laptop. She suggested we choose one of the clips I'd passed over, as the celebrity was more relevant to the kids. By the way, the DVD with the celebrity clips came from Natural High. It was free and I highly recommend them for middle school/high school ideas. The celebrity clips and toolkit are updated each year. The toolkit includes activities and lesson plans for all grades. We also chose a student story from the DVD. So, once the power point was played with the song "This is Your Life" by Switchfoot, we watched three 5-6 minute video clips. STUCO kids stood and told what their natural high was, which went along with the video clips and we played to minute-to-win-it games. We planned three, but the batteries were dead in my donated pedometers so we cancelled one. The games were a hit and included students from every grade plus two teachers. Everyday we're dressing according to some theme like so many other schools. Monday: tie-dye, color your world; Tuesday: Camo/Duck Dynasty; Wednesday: wear red, don't let drugs twist your mind and so on. We're taking a count each day of the number of students dressed up in each class. The class with the highest percentage of participation for the week will get a prize next week. I was touched by some of the students' comments while planning everything. One student said and others agreed or made additional comments to go along with what was said which impacted me greatly. This is what was said, "Thank you for everything you're doing for us and with us. You have these ideas and are trying to be supportive and incorporate our suggestions, too, to make our school better for us. We appreciate everything you're doing for and with us." Wow! I was almost brought to tears! I've been struggling with being in a new school, disconnected from all the teachers and administration due to my role at the school. Right now I feel I have just one real friend at work, who I knew previously (all my life), and who is retiring at semester's end. The principal doesn't care for me and I'm not sure the secretary does. The secretary thinks the principal hung the moon and she knows he doesn't care for me. If you follow this blog you know I'm new to the district, but so is the principal and several other teachers. The secretary has only been there one year and she is someone I've also known almost my whole life. So, many days I feel I'm in no-man's land, working by myself, no one to confide in, no one to conspire with, no one to joke and be silly with. The principal comes in now and then to give me a task to do with no other interaction. The secretary has gone around me to avoid me doing things when the principal is gone, though I had instructions from the superintendent to carry on a certain way in the principal's absence. The principal is gone often and never lets me know, though he communicates this with the secretary regularly. Sometimes the secretary tells me when he is already gone and won't return, sometimes she doesn't. The kind comments from the STUCO kids were perfectly timed, though they have no idea how much so.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Test, test, test

This week we (I) gave the EXPLORE and PLAN test. There were quite a few absent or on activities so I'll have to have a make up day next week. I was told by the helper from our local technology center that other counselors in the area don't give make ups. WOW! It does take extra time which is a precious thing this time of the year. However, if students who were absent are allowed to test on another day, everyone wins. Students in my state take EOI exams from 9th - 12th grade. They are required to pass four out of seven, with two being Algebra 1 and Eng. 2. If they don't pass, the score in that subject area on the EXPLORE or PLAN may be substituted if it's high enough. If there is no score, students have to retake he EOI exams until a passing score is achieved, or they complete a very involved project. Those things expend as much, if not more, time as the EXPLORE or PLAN. I couldn't imagine not allowing make ups. Through this testing I discovered 8th graders don't know their addresses, appalling but true. I corrected or filled in more addresses than ever!

STUCO, which I sponsor, is gearing up for Red Ribbon Week! We're not doing a single theme for the entire week, but a different theme each day with goodies and a dress up contest. I love seeing the kids creativity in how they interpret the dress up days! We're going to have an assembly with a short video from Natural High, a short speech by a student and a few minute-to-win-it games. Fun for all! We got all our goodies today, except the Twizzlers.
There will be one round of games for students and one round for teachers. I hope the teachers participate. Kids love seeing that!

It's Fall Break today and tomorrow. Besides spending time with family and my precious (and only) grandbaby and daughter, I have several projects for home to do, the hutch for my office to paint (I've had it since early September), housework, preparation for the class I teach in the evenings, uploading some scholarships onto our school website and previewing a video and movie for school. It is going to be a busy couple of days. However, I'm so looking forward to it. Hopefully there will be some rest in there somewhere as well.

Friday, October 4, 2013


I hosted my first Lunch Bunch Tuesday and it was a huge success! It was a group of six freshman girls. They were all students who are new to our district this year. They wanted to know why I chose them and how I chose to group them together. It was based on their lunch period really. I asked them questions about organizations they've joined and how or if they've gotten connected with other students who weren't new.
There was time for me to just visit with them, too, in an effort to get to know them a little bit. I was very pleased that all six said they were involved in an organization and to hear they'd made other friends. This will provide great data for documentation on my evaluation. We had lots of time after eating and chatting, so I broke out the checkers and rice crispy treats. Whenever I have a group in my office for something I always try to provide a treat for those attending. I was able to snap a picture before they left. For the next eight weeks, all my lunch bunches will be a combination of new students. Next week the group is small, only three. I'm going to ask them to bring a friend. I have sticky darts and bingo to play also. One of the computer classes made my invitations for me.
I'd seen them posted on another blog. I forget whose, so if you follow my blog and one of the invites looks like yours, first of all, thank you for the terrific inspiration! Second I give you all the credit for the idea. The students decided the picture on one looked like all boys and if girls were going to attend we needed one with girls on it.
I have one more being made it's an idea I came up with and I'll post pictures as soon as it's finished. Tomorrow I'm hosting my first Career Cafe of the year. A group of six will attend. I'm very excited to finally get this going!