Balancing What’s New with What’s Also Important

Every now and then I’ve got to get out of my office and visit some classrooms. I’m not talking about my planned visits for evaluation or the feedback visits I try to make to every single classroom during the school year. I’m talking about getting my butt out of the chair, off the NYSED portal, away from the calculator and just paying attention to our students. I needed some “kid” time this morning and I return refreshed.

One of the first classrooms I visited was a fourth grade class with one of our new teachers, Molly Wallschlaeger, at the helm. It took me by surprise when Mrs. Wallschlaeger asked her fourth grade friends if they knew who I was. . . and then I felt pretty good about myself as all of the students nodded “yes!” I realized that our newest teacher may not come to us with an expectation that the superintendent visits the classrooms or that the students know who I am. But hey, these fourth graders are my “peeps”! After all, we started here at RCS together. When they were in Kindergarten, I started my first year here as superintendent. I’m thinking I’ll retire when they graduate and we can move on to other things together.  😉

Seems like not much to brag about right? So the students and I know each other. But I’m bragging because like our teachers who are caught up in the maze of paperwork that is the new pre-assessment/SLOs (Student Learning Objectives) challenge–I can easily get caught up in reports and salary schedules and paperwork. For just a moment, I was just not enjoying the work yesterday. NOT like me at all! With deliberation, I planned a morning to bring me back to the reason we’re here, the moments that matter, our relationships with our students.

And the plus side of the SLO Challenge? I have to say that the student work I saw being completed was more rigorous than years past. Maybe we did need a bit of a wake up to expect more of our kids and ourselves? Thanks to the RCS students and teachers who reminded me of how good we already are and showed me a glimpse of how much better we’re getting!

3 Comments
  1. It does a world of good to step away from the office and the paperwork I agree. Reminding ourselves of the reason we do what we do is never time wasted nor should it be considered time not working. To that new teacher and to those students you brightened their day and gave them something to go home and talk about tonight with their families, something that made them feel special today. Nice leadership on this too, for so many, no matter the occupation.
    And I agree with your thoughts on Jay’s feedback, it is nice to have you writing again.
    (NOT like you don’t have anything else to do or time to write, it’s just nice to hear your thoughts again.)

  2. Thanks Jay! I’m wise to you Jay Goldman, this is blatant positive feedback aimed at getting me writing again. . .

  3. What important work you model as a superintendent by spending substantive time in the schools and classrooms, observing the teaching and learning processes first-hand. Good for you and for your school system.

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