Tuesday, February 27, 2018

It's not about Winning, It's about having Fun

Earlier this month I had a chance to watch a Tri-Rivers basketball game hosted at Smithfield High School during their Packer Block.  What a great game!  The players were tenacious as they battled their opponent, playing tough on defense and taking advantage of shot opportunities on offense.  While the competition on the court was intense, the most important part of the game was not the score.  The game was a chance for students to demonstrate all the qualities of being a great citizen. Whether they were on the court in a uniform, or a fan in the bleachers, everyone at the game demonstrated respect and kindness, and the importance of lifting up each other.  This is not unique to SHS.  The same is true at Windsor High when they host a Tri-Rivers game.  When a player makes a basket, the gym erupts with cheers, regardless of which team the player is on.  It is incredible to watch.  I wanted you to experience that same joy, so I have a video from the game at Smithfield High and pictures below from a recent game at Windsor High (thanks to Mr. Jon Smith of WHS for the photos).  And as the student says at the beginning of the video, "It's not about winning, it's about having fun." 

Tri-Rivers Basketball Game (video)

Monday, February 19, 2018

Planning for the Future

Rezoning.  Trailers.  Long Bus Rides.

These topics generate a lot of discussion, and that's great, because we need to hear what you think. Isle of Wight County Schools is currently in the process of developing a long range facility plan.  As part of that process, we are gathering input from the community.  We held two meetings--February 5 at SHS and February 12 at WHS--to share things to consider are we start to put a plan together.  We asked people at the meeting several questions:
  • transportation--how long is too long to be on a bus?  
  • class size--what is the maximum class size for an elementary classroom?  for middle school?  for high school?    
  • trailers--how many trailers are OK to use for classrooms?
  • rezoning--should children attend school in their community?
We received great feedback from everyone who came out.  Their responses helped to develop an online survey that we are making available to parents, employees and community members.  We want to give everyone a chance to share their thoughts.  The input should help us develop a plan for our facilities that will be benefit our students and be supported by the community.

The survey can be found on our website---https://www.iwcs.k12.va.us/apps/pages/planning--and is open through Tuesday, Feb. 20.  If you haven't already responded, I encourage you to do so. 

We will have additional community meetings on March 12 at Smithfield High and March 13 at Windsor, both starting at 6:00 pm.  Please use as many of these opportunities to share your opinion.  Attending meetings and completely a survey truly take very little time, but your participation can help us set our course for many years to come.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

The Future is Bright

Friday marked a milestone for Isle of Wight County Schools.  On Friday we held a ribbon cutting ceremony for our new Welding Lab at Smithfield High School.  The event was attended by officials from the School Board, the Board of Supervisors, and Smithfield Town Council.  We also had representatives from the county's Economic Development Department, Paul D. Camp Community College, the business community, along with school administrators, teachers and students.

The lab is the realization of a vision that started two years ago when we made a bold decision to bring many of our Career and Technology Education (CTE) programs back into our high schools and end our participation in a regional center.   Friday afternoon, we held a ceremony to officially open the welding lab.  This would not have been possible without the support and involvement of several important individuals and groups. 

The members of the Isle of Wight County School Board had the courage and foresight to see the need for redesigning our CTE program.  They took a risk and supported moving courses from the Pruden Center back into our schools.  The Board of Supervisors listened to our proposal and publicly supported our vision for our schools.  Members of my team worked diligently to move that vision into a plan and finally implementation. Liebherr became an integral partner in the welding lab project.  Cort Reiser, Executive Vice President with Liebherr, advised us on how to set up the lab to ensure our students were receiving a quality experience.  Liebherr donated ten two-station welding tables to the lab, along with seventeen welding machines.  They provided signs and posters for the classroom, banners for the lab and even donated the ribbon for the ceremony--but not just any ribbon.

When you open a welding lab, you can't cut a big red ribbon.  So we cut a big steel ribbon.  Actually Cort and his son Nick, who's in the program, did the honors.

Someone once said "I love it when a plan comes together."  That's exactly how I felt Friday as I watched the ceremony and walked through the facility.  Our students are excited for the program.  One of the student speakers shared that she knows this opportunity will give her the skills to be successful throughout the rest of her life.  That's what this is about.  That's our "Why?"  The opening of the welding lab is the first of many celebrations we will have as we continue our journey and commitment to preparing all of our students to be college, career and life ready.

I've added a video below from the ceremony.  

Friday, February 2, 2018

The Power of Meditation

On January 30, Mr. Ben Phelps invited me to his room to share his Government students' Meditation project.  The seniors are devoting ten minutes each day to Meditation.  They have researched the benefits of meditation and would like to see this become a school-wide program. As part of their project, they created a video where they explain their project and their goal for the program. Also in the video, several students share their personal stories on the positive impact meditation has had on their lives.  The messages are very powerful.
I applaud the students and Mr. Phelps for focusing their project on improving the health and well-being of all the students at Windsor High.  Their concern for others and the actions they are taking to create a positive environment exemplify GREAT citizenship.  I look forward to seeing how they are able to pilot their meditation project throughout the school.

Project Meditation (video)