Step Up For Students: Success Stories
Volume 3 Issue: 5                                                        December 2014

The Success Stories newsletter is brought to all educators in Success Partners to share

the good news of parent partnerships and to recognize continuous improvement as educators

 grow in their appreciation of family engagement. 

Are You a Do-Do Giver?

I know what you are thinking, "Boy, that's an inappropriate title!" However, it is not what you think. I am not referring to giving gag-gifts in an effort to get a laugh or be amused by someone's silly reaction. I am referring to a thought I had the other day about the purpose or intent behind the gifts I choose to give this year.

I was listening to someone speak when I had what was initially a shallow thought that turned out to be rather profound. The thought had to do with all the holiday celebrations and the related gift giving.

Whether it is Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or some other gift-giving occasion which typically employs some form of exchange of presents, I think it is important to stop and spend a few minutes assessing my personal intentions or objective.

Every year, I get caught up in the "Dos" of the holidays. By that, I mean, I "do" have to show up for the party regardless of whether or not I wish to go, I "do" fret over how I am dressed for the occasion even though I would prefer to be in sweats, I "do" have to make sure I am giving a gift that is of equal or greater value and therefore spend a lot of effort asking for hints of what the other party might be giving, I "do" spend a large amount of time searching for what I think will be the perfect gift even though the other person may not even appreciate the time that was spent, I "do" make a list and check it more than twice even though I have never seen that rule in writing, and I "do" stress over the method of presentation or whether the wrapping is done just the right way as to garner an acceptable response for what will end up in the trash.

Anxiety, stress, concern, nervousness, agitation, and tension were not supposed to be a part of the original deal. I think that is because we have taken something so pure and simple, and have managed to muddle it with perfect success. Time for me to take a step back and think about it a little differently this year.

Don't get me wrong, I still plan on giving nice gifts that are well thought out, but I just don't believe that I will be placing as much emphasis on the "dos" this year without fully thinking it through and making sure it meets my original objective. I also think I am going to try to constantly remind myself that the best gifts of all are those that don't cost me anything, lending a listening ear and spending quality time together. These are the only two "dos" I think I am going to practice.

Let me know what you think. Have a great holiday season regardless of what or when you are celebrating!

Dr. Scott Beck, coordinator  

A Cleaner Look for the TLE
Starting in December, some of the big red box links in the TLE have been replaced with cleaner icons and titles
Thank you for all your wonderful suggestions as we work to improve the TLE.

Using Personal Learning Plans for Conferences
Christina Elamm, Headmaster at Crossroads Schools - Lakeland reports that her staff has begun using the Personal Learning Plan in conferences. Pictured are Mr. Elmore, parent and Ms. McMullen, teacher. Here is their testimony after using the PLP:
  • "I thought it was more efficient, structured nicely and very organized." -Mr. Elmore

  • "I felt more prepared, because it laid out what was necessary for the conference and allowed me to be more organized."-Ms. McMullen

Contact your OSL coordinator for additional training and support for your staff as they begin using the Personal Learning Plan for conferencing.
Does your Parent-School Partnership Shine?
Let your OSL coordinator know about the wonderful things happening at your school! We want to spotlight YOU in an upcoming newsletter. 
Contact information is at the bottom of the newsletter. 

Spotlight on Word of Life Christian School
Principal Deidra McGraw changes up their Parent-School Partnership board monthly. In November each student and teacher wrote about what they are thankful for.
Spotlight on Excel Christian Academy
Principal Margene Avery started a new tradition this year, asking families to design and hang a family ornament in the school hallway holiday tree.
Anthropological Dig - Module 3
Spotlight on Masoret Yehudit

Principal Tzipporah Richmond writes "We did modules 3 & 4 with the staff today. To start off module 3, we gave each teacher a hard hat, which they had to decorate and then wear on their "dig." The teachers were engaged and really got into it!"
What a wonderful idea!

Spotlight on St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic School
Principal Maura Cox had all participants (parents and teachers) line up in birthday order. This helped form partners for the anthropological dig who perhaps did not know one another! She put middle school teachers with elementary families, new families with veteran families, etc. She said it was a great success, and she got some really good feedback from the parents.
Spotlight on Triumph Christian Academy
  Principal Pastor Tiger advertises that Spirit Christian Academy has a new name using large portable banners at strategic locations in the school.
Spotlight on Highlands University Preparatory School

Laura Young, Lead Administrator, highlights their parent-school partnership wall with a real electric spotlight! This board is hard to miss when walking into the front lobby.
Spotlight on Daughter of Zion Jr. Academy
   Principal Lawanna McCoy reports on a special visit from the Delray Beach Mayor as part of their career day, Thanksgiving luncheon and bake sale!
Spotlight on Esther's Schools

 Founder Esther Berry brought together the staff members from Hudson, New Port Richey, Pinellas Park, Zephyrhills and Bradenton for Success Partners collaboration.
Office of Student Learning Contacts