Tag Archives: passionate learning

Reflections of a PTA President

Rainbow

Image Credit – http://office.microsoft.com

As this year comes to an end, so does my PTA presidency. It is definitely bittersweet. It seems the perfect time to look back at the experience and carefully examine the ups and downs of the position.

As a new president, I came to the job optimistic and energized, ready to get to work. I walked in with certain beliefs of how things should be done, and the time commitment I had made. Little did I know that you can never fully be prepared for what is coming around the corner.

I have never been as proud of my school as I am today. Our efforts have been incredible in so many ways. We were recognized as a National Blue Ribbon school. We donated almost $10,000 to our adopted school, Hegarty Elementary, which was destroyed in Hurricane Sandy. At the same time, we were able to provide financial support to our staff family that suffered in the storm. We had amazing programs including Caldecott winning author visits for our students. We had wonderful events for our families like Fall Festival and Picnic around the World. We were present in school board budget meetings and fought for important expenditures in our school. We were also involved in an effort to have our Board of Education write a resolution against high stakes testing. We educated parents on new academic programs in the district. It’s truly been a remarkable time to be PTA leadership.

The relationships formed will definitely be one of the most positive parts of my experience. I was able to really get to know my principal (@cantiague_lead) and contribute to the magic that happens every day at Cantiague. His leadership and passion inspired me to give a little more, push myself to learn and share. The teachers I worked with reinforced everything I believed about the staff. They are so dedicated and true experts in what they do. Their dedication to our children made it impossible not to give 100% in making Cantiague the best place it can be.

The families of Cantiague are the real treasure. The generosity, spirit, and commitment to providing the best environment for learning and growing is what makes our school what it is. Cantiague is a very special corner of the world where children come first….always.

I will always be grateful to the PTA presidents who came before me and the ones who will follow. To borrow a cliché, it is a true labor of love. The amount of work is unimaginable, but the payout is the same. It is my greatest hope that our incoming presidents will experience the same joy and sense of accomplishment I have gained. If you put your whole self in it, you will learn so much. Not just about the school, district, or education, but about yourself. The job isn’t for everyone, but for those up for the challenge it is so worth it.

I look forward to my new position of Past President come June 11. I know the relationships I have made will only get stronger and better. I also know that our incoming presidents will do a wonderful job and make this PTA their own. I can’t wait to see the new direction we go.

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Passionate Learners – Take 2

For my first blog post I had written a beautiful paper about the importance and significance of being a passionate learner as a parent…..and then I participated in PTChat.  For those of you unfamiliar with PTChat, it’s a weekly online Twitter discussion between teachers, administrators, staff, parents, and students.  Topics change each week – If it’s happening in education, it’s being discussed in PTChat.  This week the subject was “Encouraging a Love of Reading Beyond Required Texts”.  The passion and heart displayed in this discussion went beyond the words; they were felt in each tweet.  I realized something very important – to write about something you really care about with all your heart, you have to write from your heart to the hearts of your readers.  So, gone are my beautiful charts and research.  In their place are my feelings and beliefs on the subject.

All the players in schools today are being pushed and challenged to new levels.  Where students were once compared to peers within the state, they are now being compared to peers around the world.  This new global approach has taken our educators to a new frontier of learning.  Reading, math, science and technology are surpassing the old expectations.  Along with these new “rigors” of education, our children are also expected to be passionate about their learning.  Lifelong learning is the goal.  Preparedness for 21st century higher education and jobs is now the focus.  Teachers, staff, and administrators are on the cutting edge of this new style of teaching.  They too are expected to be passionate learners.  No parent wants a teacher who is “phoning it in”, certainly not now when the stakes are so high.

As parents we need to be in the game too.  Our education is not the same as that of our children today.  This new curriculum requires stronger critical thinking and research skills than ever.  One thing comes to mind as I learn more about the common core standards, parents need to model lifelong learning and passionate learning if we want our children to do the same.

This is what I’ve been doing to be a role model for my children:

  • I took them with me to the library to find that book discussed on PTChat that I re-tweeted (as a reminder to myself  of the title).
  • I registered for a MOOC!  I am taking an online class called “Critical Thinking in Global Challenges” through the University of Edinburgh via Coursera.
  • I’m almost done reading “The Story of the World – History for the Classical Child, Volume 1”, a book given to my son by his 6th grade social studies teacher when he displayed interest beyond the class requirement.  He read it in 2 days, it’s taken me about 3 weeks!
  • AND – I have the best new pen pal since participating in PTChat!  She inspires me, motivates me, and re-energizes me.  Having a partner makes it exciting to challenge myself to learn more and share ideas and thoughts.

How are you challenging yourself to become a passionate learner?  The opportunities are boundless.  The internet never sleeps.  Share your next step here!


SheilaSpeaking

A space for thinking, reflecting and sharing about education -- and the odd other thing...

Ingvi Hrannar

Icelandic educator, iPad 1:1 classroom, speaker & entrepreneur.

Penn-Finn Learnings 2013

Sharing our inquiries - March 23-30

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