Friday, May 9, 2014

How Far We've Come!

When I arrived at school early Wednesday morning, it was a pleasant surprise to see Gertrude and her newly hatched ducklings ready to take their first swim in the courtyard. Gertrude took the lead, with two of the ducklings quickly jumping in right after her. One duckling then cautiously and quickly jumped in and out of the water a couple times before deciding it was okay to stay in the water. The last three ducklings cautiously stood at the edge of the water, watching the others swim, then finally jumped in after a bit of patient coaxing by Gertrude. Observing Gertrude and her ducklings very much reminded me of the different children we teach and parent, and how each child learns in their own way and in their own time.

Just as quickly as the ducklings arrived, they were ready to leave. By Thursday morning, Gertrude was pecking at the door, signaling that her ducklings were ready to explore the big, big world beyond the Dryden courtyard. Similarly, it seems like our students at Dryden are growing up within a blink of an eye!

This was particularly noticeable during the Kindergarten Musical this morning. It feels like it was just yesterday when our kindergarteners were clinging wide-eyed to their parents outside in line on their first day of school. Yet today, they were singing so clearly and confidently in front of an audience of hundreds! How far they have come in such a short time thanks to their caring and dedicated teachers and families!

This is the time of year I marvel at how far all of our students have come in their learning. They could not have come this far without the hard work and dedication of their teachers, so it seems fitting that we celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week this time of year. A huge thank you is extended to our PTA for their kindness in recognizing our teachers and staff all week with flowers, kind notes and special luncheons!

In addition to an amazing staff, we have been extremely fortunate to have the support of over 200 volunteers at Dryden this year! Volunteers not only benefit our students by providing enriching experiences such as Art Appreciation and Book Club, but they also help with so many of the day-to-day needs such as photocopying and stuffing envelopes. It was a special experience for our students to see and say thank you to our volunteers at the Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast yesterday morning. Volunteers make Dryden an enriching and caring school community!

I am so proud of our students who participated in the fifth grade track meet at South Middle School yesterday afternoon! Their focus, stamina and best effort reminded me of this inspirational quote as we quickly approach the end of the 2013-2014 school year:

"My motto is: Whenever possible, finish, and finish strong. A colleague of mine who was training for a marathon shared some excellent advice he received from a world class runner. "When you 'hit the wall'," the runner said, "and you feel like you can't go on, instead of focusing on exhaustion and going into the 'survival shuffle', lift up your head and pick up your pace."At first glance, that advice may sound counterintuitive. But on reflection, it makes great sense. By picking up the pace, you're really saying to yourself that you're not just going to just finish; you're going to finish strong." (from The SPEED of Trust, by Stephen M. R. Covey)

We will finish this school year strong! :)

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