Wednesday, September 28, 2016

What goes with Autumn?

We are in our 6th week of school.  My how time flies.  Students are getting settled in.  I'm slowly getting to know all the new students' names and learning something about each one of them.  When I eat lunch with these students, it's interesting how their true personalities come out.  I engage myselft in conversations that begin with simple questions like, "Who was your teacher last year?" or "What do you like to do?"  Depending on the mix of students, it could get busy with questions.  The 45 minute time frame goes by quickly.  We end our time together with a game and I take their picture.  These pictures help me reference back to keep their names in my memory bank.

I love football season!  As a child, cheering for the Minnesota Vikings was something I looked forward to.  Each year they had a competitive team.  There has been few seasons where we have not been competitive.  The Dallas Cowboys are much the same - always competitive.  The difference between the Cowboys and Vikings is that the Vikings have never won a Super Bowl.  We're 0-4!!

As for college football, I never had much to cheer for when I was a child.  The University of Minnesota had a team, but were very rarely competitive when I was young.  When I was three years old, the Minnesota Gophers (yes, I said "Gophers") football team was National Champions.  Since then, only 1967 they were competitive.  As an adult I can claim many teams that are competitive:  Since I lived in Lubbock, the Texas Tech Red Raiders were one of my favorites before I moved to Waco.  My two sons graduated from Texas A&M, so it's been fun cheering for them.  And of course, I live in Waco and I love to watch the Baylor Bears.

Of course, being from the North, I have grown accustomed to enjoying the cooler weather.  I really don't look forward to the frigid temperatures, but I do enjoy the cool evenings.  I am experienced driving on the snow, so that doesn't concern me as much as it concerns many here.  I grew up playing hockey -- a wonderful sport to play!!!  My North Stars became the Dallas Stars - a little burr under my saddle.

All-in-all, I enjoy being where I'm at.  I love my job and I look forward to making a positive difference in our students' lives here at Lorena Elementary School.  I might be from the North and cheer for teams you would never cheer for, but I'm a Lorena Leopard.  Have a wonderful Fall and let's hope to see some Autumn-like beauty here in Central Texas.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

We Do This for the Students

Teachers, staff, and administrators get up every morning - early.  We do our morning routine to get ready.  For some of my staff, getting their children ready is a challenge.  I remember when I was a school teacher.  My wife and I decided that having both our boys enroll in the school that I taught was the best thing.  I lived in Lubbock and travelled about 30 minutes to Abernathy, Texas.  I was a 4th grade teacher for many years and both of my children were in elementary school when I was a teacher at Abernathy Elementary School.

My oldest son was a quiet boy who had many friends.  He was smart and was good about doing his work.  When he was old enough to be a 4th grader, I asked my boss if I could have him in my class.  He was reluctant, but complied with my request.  For the most part, it was a great year.  He behaved well.  He never called me "papa" in front of his friends, but never called me "Mr. Anderson" either.  I don't remember what he did to get my attention.  I guess he raised his hands.  My wife was a "single parent" that year.  I say that, because I didn't sign any of his notes and my wife usually was the one to help him on his homework (I helped him some).  Needless to say, it was a good year - something most teachers would not do (to have their child in their class).  My son wasn't perfect.  Once he decided it would be cool to mock me in front of his friends.  We laugh to this day about how I had to give him a "write-up."  He said that was the only one he got that year.

My youngest son did not have me as a teacher.  We moved to Waco the summer before he was in the 4th grade.  I would've requested him if I was still in Abernathy.  In fact, he looked forward to being in my class.  Thomas, my younges son, was very social and was not shy like my oldest son, Lars.  Thomas wouldn't hesitate from walking into my class during my teaching when he was in the lower grades to get lunch money
from me.  It was a comforting thing to have both of my children in the same school with me.

As a teacher, I looked forward to each new year to learn names of my new students.  I enjoyed gettting to know each of them and teaching each one the skills of the 4th grade.  Workbook pages and tests are things I don't remember as a teacher.  My fondest memories are the students' personalities, their smiles, and the challenges that each one had.  I remember some better than others, some because of struggles that I may have had with them or the joy I had conversing daily as a teacher.  As a male teacher at Abernathy Elementary, I was "an icon" of sorts.  Besides the principal, I was the only other man around.  That in itself was an advantage for me.  I really enjoyed what I did and I was pretty good at it.

When I left teaching to become an administrator, I was ready to move on.  Every day I reflect on my fondest memories of being an effective teacher.  I want the same now - to be an effective administrator.  I want to make a positive difference in the lives of my students. I don't have one class anymore to get to know.  I have 375 students who need my leadership, my smile, my humor, and my energy.  I still have these qualities and use them every day in my role as principal at Lorena Elementary School.

There is no way I would be doing what I am doing if it wasn't for the students who come to school every day.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Join the Lorena PTO!

The Lorena Parent Teacher Organization is beginning its membership drive for the 2016-17 school year! The cost is $10 per family, which includes a campus wide directory. Additional directory copies are available for $5 each.

To join, please download and complete the registration form and then return it along with your payment in an envelope marked PTO Membership to any Lorena ISD campus.

We look forward to working together to enrich the education and experience of all the students of Lorena ISD!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

2016-2017 Here we Come!

I'm excited about another school year.  Yes, I enjoy the pace and dress of the summer hours.  But nothing compares to having our students back at school.  A full school is one that is packed with potential and energy.  Our first day went well.  We have twenty-four new students to our school.  I'm excited to get to know them.

Like all years, it is a challenge to get to know all our students.  Mrs. Sanders and I are diligent to get to know our students' names as fast as we can.  With a healthy sized 3rd grade and the twenty-four new students, it will take some time to get to know them.  The first day was filled with smiles and enthusiasm.

We have many new staff members this year.  First, we have Mrs. Kenzie Talbert and Mrs. Alisha Brittain.  Both are new teachers to the 3rd grade.  Also, Mrs. Brooke Arellano is new to our 4th grade.  She will be pairing up with Mrs. Isom to teach writing and Science.  Finally, Mrs. Michelle Chase is new to our 5th grade.  She will be pairing up with Mrs. Kelley to teach our 5th graders Science.  Ms. Jocee Lackey Hoffman is new to our school.  She is presently working in our computer lab and helping out all around the school.  I want to mention that Mrs. Camille Talbert is our new Reading Specialist this year.  She moves over from the 3rd grade.  Also new to our campus is Mrs. Robin Woycheshin.  She will be teaming up with Mrs. Pewitt and Mrs. Collins to teach our Life Skills students.

We have some changes to the school year.  Our theme this year is a Hollywood theme, "Setting the Stage for Success."  We want all our students to ACT and PERFORM well this year as we DIRECT them to success.  I will begin each day with the phrase, "It's Showtime!"  We are looking forward to the upcoming school year.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Summer is here

The NED Show (May 4th)
Even though it's been a long and prosperous year, I'm ready for the summer.  I'm setting my sights on a new school year, filled with new faces and others whom I'm known for a while.  The halls are now filled with desks and chairs, the bulletin boards are empty, and the rooms are getting prepared for cleaning.  My office has not changed.  That's a good thing, since the last two summers we all had to move out during the summer.  Last year I was at the middle school and two summers ago I was housed at the Primary School.  I will get a lot done, being in my own office.

Career Day (May 25th)
The end of this year went well.  I think this has been the busiest May since I've been a principal. We added Career Day to the list of things to do.  Career Day, along with the many other events were all huge successes.  These pictures depict some of the events we enjoyed during the final part of the school year.

STAAR - our students did fabulous
I'm proud of our teachers and staff for completing a very successful year.  Our initial STAAR scores came in for the 5th grade:  90% for reading and 92% for math.  The rest of the scores will come in on June 15th.

Market Day (May 26th)
I'll be around for most of the summer.  If you need something, drop by or give us a call.  The school number is 857-4613.  Summer school will begin on July 25th and run through August 5th.  Many have already signed up to come.

4th Grade to Ft. Worth
Stockyards (May 20th)
Meet the Teachers night will be on August 19th (5:30-6:30) and the first day of school will be the next Monday, August 22nd.

2nd Graders come to visit (May 24th)

Thursday, April 21, 2016

We Want Your Feedback - 2016 Parent Survey

In an effort to gather information and improve our schools and district, we are requesting your participation in a short parent survey. The survey will be available until May 6th. We want to hear from you.

Please take a few minutes and provide us with feedback in order to make our schools the best they can be. We appreciate you being partners with us in our most important responsibility of educating your children.

*If you have students at more than one school, please fill out a survey for each campus. There will be a link at the end of the survey for you to submit another.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

We Beat the Facts

It's been a long time since I've posted on my Elementary page.  Sorry for that.  Since coming back from Christmas, things have been moving along pretty swiftly.  It seems like after Christmas things would slow down, but that's the exact opposite.  We are accomplishing much this Spring.  I want to let you know of a few things:

BEAT THE FACTS:  This is our annual math contest where students eagerly study their math facts, becoming familiar with them.  A two minute test is given weekly to our students during a five week time frame.  Two bonus tests are given, which totals seven times that a student can "beat the facts."  The goals are simple:  3rd Grade:  Get 34 multiplication problems (through 9's) correct in a 2 minute test and you beat the facts.  4th Grade:  Get 42 multiplication problems (through 12's) correct in a 2 minute test and you beat the facts.  5th Grade:  Get 42 multiplication and division problems (through 12's) correct in a 2 minute test and you beat the facts.

OUR SCHOOL GOAL:  This year we had 305 students beat the facts and many others that came close.  And, this year is our first year to meet our school goal of 300 students.  On March 4th, our students were rewarded with a day of fun - movie, extra recess, snow cones, fun activities in the classroom.  It was a great way to spend the day before Spring Break

PERSONAL GOALS:  All throughout this contest, students were upping their goals to beat their score from the week before.  Most students doubled or tripled their scores throughout the contest.  Every child made improvements.  That is what is important.

BEAT THE FACTS CHALLENGE:  15 of our fastest students who know their math facts competed on March 4th to see who was the fastest.  The following are the students who competed:

3rd Grade:                                 4th Grade:                                          5th Grade:
1st: Daniel Miller (118)            1st:  Landon Holze (119)                    1st: Jasmin Romero (123)
2nd:  Gavin Schrader (88)        2nd: Place: Bailey Henderson (108)   2nd:  Austin Evans (104)
3rd:  Riley Robertson (84)        3rd:  Gabriel Bachert (105)                 3rd:  Kandrin Johnson (94)
4th:  Addison Rohde (79)         4th:  Mackenna Holt (94)                     4th: Kendall Bready (93)
5th:  Mason Walker (77)           5th: Jackson Generals (93)                  5th: Isabel Gallegos (91)

PETER PIPER PIZZA TRIP:  The 15 finalists for our Beat the Facts Challenge went to Peter Piper Pizza with Mr. Anderson on March 4th.