On this, the last day of school before winter break, Rick Doll is looking forward to a challenging 2011.
Doll, superintendent of the Lawrence school district, outlines his vision for the coming 12 months in a prepared message for district teachers, administrators and other staffers.
In his message, Dolls says the district will:
• Soon receive reports from both the Kansas Learning Network and the Lawrence Elementary School Facility Vision Task Force, which he plans to share with “everyone in the school community.”
• Establish “equity teams” in select elementary schools and both high schools, to continue ongoing “equity transformation work” regarding racial issues and conditions.
• Begin implementing planning for middle schools and four-year high schools.
• Develop a plan for strengthening the district’s math curriculum.
• Work to provide “effective student interventions” and direct resources to the district’s “greatest needs.”
“I understand that this is an ambitious agenda,” Doll says. “We’re going to need to continue to work together to accomplish these goals. Doing what’s best for kids requires everybody in the organization to be focused on these tasks.
“But, in the meantime, I hope that you enjoy at least some relaxation and quality time with family and friends during the winter break.”
The last day of school before break gives folks a chance to reflect on the successes of the past few months, and the promise of the classes and activities and lessons ahead.
I received a nice note from Laura Diaz Moore, whose son, Oliver, has quite a kindergarten teacher: Kelly Rettig at Cordley School.
Rettig has “this wonderful way of working with the children and teaching them how to resolve their own conflicts, connect with everything around them and be good to each other” Diaz Moore writes.
Rettig’s students practice yoga, Diaz Moore says, and one time that prompted Oliver to strike a yoga tree pose while Mom was cooking dinner.
“He also told me once: ‘When I meditate, I can see inside my body,’ ” Diaz Moore writes. “ ‘I can see my entire imagination.’ ”
Also noteworthy: Rettig’s ability to see potential inside each child and to recognize each one’s “unlimited capacity to love and to understand things in a much deeper way.”
“Just the other day my son kept asking me about space. This is what he said: ‘Mom, does space end? It must end. Does it end?’ He thought awhile and then said, ‘Maybe space is a circle.’
“I thought this was pretty deep thinking for a 5 year old and I think it can be attributed to the way Ms. Rettig teaches the kids about the world and how they are connected to it. She believes they can understand more than we realize.”
Thanks for the note, Laura, and thanks to Ms. Rettig for her work. I’m sure she’s just one example of many teachers in the district who inspire our kids to learn more, do more and be more.
Now that winter break is upon us, it’s time for First Bell to take some time off. I look forward to starting up again Jan. 3, as classes resume.
— School may be out, but the First Bell e-mailbox is always open. Drop me a line: firstname.lastname@example.org.