Saturday, May 16, 2020

To the 2020 Senior Class


Congratulations! I am so excited for you to graduate and go off to your next adventures! I wish I could be in the audience, cheering and clapping as you walk across the stage, but in lieu of that, I will have to share my excitement online.

You were the first group of students I got to teach for four consecutive years. I watched many of you start your instruments in 5th grade, and followed you through 8th grade, whether you continued in orchestra or not. As you moved into high school, I tried to make it to all of your concerts (only missed a couple!) and smiled with pride as I saw you taking leadership, helping younger students, and growing into thoughtful, fun, caring people.

You are a special group of students. Every group is special, but some just come together and there is magic there. You are like that. I have images running through my mind of all of the times you volunteered to help in big and small ways, the ways you generously gave to others, and the silly moments of being on the bus after String Camp.

I will miss seeing you around town, but I know you will do great things! I'm sad that I can't be there in person for you today, but I hope that we can do something in July. I know that many of you won't remember your elementary or middle school orchestra teacher, but I remember you - you have already made an impact on the world.

Congratulations, class of 2020, especially my Eagle friends! Oh, the places you will go!

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Teacher Appreciation Week 2020

This week feels strange this year. More than ever, I think that society is showing appreciation for teachers, which is great! I think that teachers can use every bit of encouragement right now, because teaching remotely is HARD!

I also want to encourage us to not forget all of the educational professionals who make things happen for kids every day. The paraeducators, office professionals, custodial staff, food service providers, nurses, and other school professionals play a huge role in welcoming our students and helping them feel safe and supported all day long!

Beyond the school, there is a whole network of support people at the district. You may not know their names, but they are keeping the lights on, the technology working, and making sure employees get paid. These people may not be teachers, but they are an integral part to making sure kids get a great education!

Whatever you do, wherever you are at, I hope you can take a moment this week to say thank you. Say thank you to a teacher, a staff member, or someone in education who is working to make a difference for kids. It doesn't have to be fancy - a quick, personal email can go a long way.

And on that note, to all of my friends in education:
I appreciate you

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Coming Together

Quick blog tonight - I've pondered what I want to write all day, and have finally settled on a topic that has made me smile over the past couple of weeks: community.

We are working on some amazing initiatives in my district to bring people together. Two that I am heading up are the art & music initiatives.

We have one week left in "The HeART of Our Community," where people are submitting a photograph of something they've created that is either in the shape of a heart or includes a heart in it. We've seen over 200 responses come in so far, full of heart shapes and anatomical hearts, beads, chalk, and paint, nature and found objects, and so much more! I'm also excited to see that they are coming from 36 different schools and every grade level from PK-12th grade (and staff) is represented. Each new picture makes me smile, and I love reading the artist statements.

A recent submission included a photograph, and the statement said that it was made to honor the student's grandparent who had recently passed away. I was struck by how meaningful some of this artwork is to the students - and I hope that the act of creating brought a small measure of healing. I can't wait until we put the final product together to see a beautiful compilation of our community's creative talents!

Meanwhile, we have been making preparation for a collaborative song, where anyone can submit a video of themselves singing along, and we will mix it all together into something amazing (*fingers crossed*)! This has taken SO much prep work, and just this week, we started having submissions coming in from teachers playing on the instrumental accompaniment track. It's so much fun to see our teachers as musicians, which we don't see often enough, and to feel the synergy as the parts begin to come together. I sure miss being around people right now, but listening to recordings of us all playing together makes it almost feel like we are around each other.

In other music news, a friend and I have been recording socially distanced duets together (aka we both record ourselves playing and then mix the videos). It has been such a blessing and a highlight to do something that we love - making music - and take a break from both work and all of the news about the virus.

Coming together while being apart is powerful. How are you coming together with others?