Inside the Trenches of the Principal: Week 45

It was the final full week for my district. We still have Monday for our final day, but all of the major events and celebrations have taken place. Next week will be my final blog for the school year, looking back at the entire year and trying to figure out what in the world just happened over the past 10 months!

But this past week was a lot of fun. We had our 5th grade celebration, field day, and our first ever House Champion celebration for Sisu. I also did a quick trip to Atlanta to help out at RCA for a day. So all in all, it was a busy, but fun week.

One of the moments that really stood out to me was on the 3rd-5th grade field day. I allowed my PE teacher to have water events, and as I watched the kids as they got soaked, it was the most innocent and joyous laughter and excitement I have ever seen. Scholars who have been the biggest behavior challenges this year all the way to kids who have been the quietest were all laughing together in this ridiculously fun environment.

As I watched the fun happening all around me, I could only think that this is what being a youth should be about. Our students are encumbered with high pressure testing, news of violence in our country, being glued to electronics, and so on. It was refreshing to see them simply being kids for a little bit, laughing, and having fun.

Our first ever House Champion celebration was a success. The Sisu adult leaders did a great job preparing the event and the scholars got to play games, have ice cream, and even duct tape me to a wall! My art teacher (who is in Sisu) also began a new tradition in the hallway, where we now have a “tree of champions.” Each year, the winning House will add their thumbprint in their House color on a new branch of the tree.

As Sisu was coming into the gym for their celebration, I made the entire school line the hallway to cheer them on. I decided to do this because I have not been overly impressed with my scholars’ ability to show sportsmanship this year, and if we want to make a change, we need to teach it.

So at the last Rally I talked about being a good winner and loser. We have to give scholars opportunities to practice this though, which is why I had them line the halls and cheer on Sisu as they entered the gym. I asked the staff to keep an eye on any scholar who was not showing good sportsmanship during their walk to the gym, pull them out of line, send them to the media center, and they had to write me an essay on sportsmanship and why they couldn’t handle showing it. We only had a couple who had to do that. Overall, it was a positive and uplifting celebration for the winning House.

I’m looking forward to year two of the Houses and the many new ideas we’ve been kicking around for it for next year!

I got to have one of those “career moments” this past week too. During the 5th grade celebration, we had a handful of 5th grade scholars, who were selected by their peers, make speeches. I’ve been working for weeks with them on their speeches. They ALL did a wonderful job. The special moment for me came, though, when Eliana towards the end of her speech said “I’m going to go off script.” I was sitting in the front row with all of the scripts in my hand so I could help them if they got stuck. At this point, I’m freaking out because we hadn’t practiced this. But Eliana went on to thank me for being there for her not just when the good things were happening, but when there were tough times as well. It was one of those moments that makes all of the hard work worth it and it reminds you why you do what you do.

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