Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Start of a New School Year

What a busy summer! Softball, cleaning out our garage, Yard Sale, Maui, Edmonton, and Disneyland...  Just like that, summer vacation is over, and here we, into a new school year! 

Jeremy:  Our big boy is a kindergartner!  We were faced with having to decide whether he should attend our home school, Kratt, or attend kindergarten at my school.  There were several factors to consider.
1)  If Jeremy went to Kratt, kindergarten there is only half-day, so he'd actually be in daycare for more of the day than in school!  In Central Unified, kindergarten is full-day. 
2)  I had taken a leave of absence the year Grace entered school to make sure that I could focus on her transition, and while we decided it wouldn't be an option for Jeremy's kindergarten year, having him come to my school would actually allow me to still be able to "be there" for him.
3)  Harvest is far from our home, so it'd be out of the way should Jason ever need to drive him or pick him up.
4)  Where would he go afterschool?  

Well, in the end, we decided to have him come to my school.  It has been GREAT! I have loved having him at my school.  I get to help him get situated in the cafeteria for breakfast in the morning, I get to see him here and there throughout the day (cute watching him walk down the hallway with his classmates), I get to see who his friends are, I can talk to his teacher whenever I want, and then we leave together. Our afterschool program's director agreed to let Jeremy attend the program even though it's for 1st-6th graders.  She figures that if Jeremy's ever any trouble, she could just send him back to me.  So, I am able to continue prepping and working without having to entertain him afterschool.  All of this sounds too good to be true, right?  And yet, it's true!  We are soooo thankful that everything worked out!

  First Day of School- Kindergarten
 (he said he chose to wear this top because "it's Harvest colors")

 leaving for school together
 Jeremy's teacher, Mrs. Ghelardi

Grace: Every year since kindergarten, I have walked Grace to her classroom on the first day of school.  When I asked her if she wanted me to walk her this year, she thought for a few minutes before saying, "I think I'll try going on the bus this year."  I felt a little emotional hearing that- a sign that my little girl is growing up!!!  Definitely moving into "upper grade" this year!  Good thing her school has a Meet and Greet where kids can come meet their teachers and see their classrooms.  Our whole family went, and I was glad that I got to take some pictures and officially meet her teacher.
At her desk was this handout.  She had to write down one thing she was nervous about, and one thing she was excited about.  Nervous:  that the work would be hard this year; Excited: to learn new things and learn about the state.   
 Grace's teacher, Mrs. Snyder

First Day of School- 4th Grade
Grace saw this top in Target a few weeks ago and knew that this is what she wanted to wear on her first day.  The Target near our house didn't have her size and she was so disappointed.  Luckily, Grandma found it on their Back-to-School shopping spree.  Such a cutie!
Jason:  The start of this school year marked a new beginning for Jason.  He has worked at Wawona Middle School for the past decade, but decided it was time for a change.  There have been changes at Wawona this past year, including his principal's retirement, and it just seemed like a good time to start something new.  Jason went to Fresno Unified's lateral job fair last spring, and Tenaya Middle School offered him a position.  So, Jason is now a Tenaya Brave, teaching 8th grade history.  Tenaya is the same distance to our house as Wawona was, but it's closer to Grace's bus stop at Kratt.  So, he's been picking Grace up from the bus stop every day after school and then the two of them return back to Tenaya for him to prep.  It has been a good change so far- he has connected really well with his department, and parent involvement and student demographics are noticeably different from Wawona.  With this new start, he probably won't get to coach this year, but the break is welcomed!

Jane:  Interestingly, I don't have anything to share about this new school year...  In all honesty, I had  imagined months prior that I too, would be starting something new this year.  I applied to be our district's GATE instructional coach this past spring.  As someone who has embraced differentiation in my classroom and has worked hard to incorporate varied learning opportunities for all learners, it was exciting to think that I could maybe help other teachers do the same for their students.  I was very reluctant to try for such a position, but I received so much affirmation and doors kept opening that I decided to see where it could lead.  It was an interesting process- I had to create a 10 minute presentation based on differentiation, instruction, and GATE principles and my interview panel consisted of six people.  I have been told by several panel members that my interview was outstanding.  However, I ended up not getting the job.  When I got off the phone with our district GATE director, I truly felt no emotion- I was... surprised (not to sound overconfident, but I'm not joking when I say that I received a lot of affirmation and doors easily opened in the whole process).  I wasn't upset, I didn't cry, I didn't feel rejected... I am usually a very emotional person and I cry easily.  It was very strange to me, that I didn't feel any of that.  In the weeks following, several things happened that made me think, "Gosh, I really am not ready to leave the classroom... I love being in here and having my own class, building personal relationships with my students, and I'm not ready to leave Harvest."  All of these events just confirmed for me that I'm exactly where I need to be!  Overall, I had a wonderful year last year- I am looking forward to another rewarding year and it's off to a good start!       

Here's to 2013-2014!!!

No comments: