Ending with the Beginning in Mind

When we started this school year going Around the World in 180 Days on a Virtual Learning Adventure, we kicked it all off by spending the first day back for teachers immersed in technology and it's possibilities. We proceeded to have an amazing year of many firsts and I can honestly say I think everyone grew as a learner. I think everyone has schema for where they are going and what their own personal next step will be regarding technology integration and I hope to support them with their steps through next school year.

My principal, Susan Phillips, always ends the last day of school with an awards luncheon for the teachers. We have a catered lunch at a different location each year and enjoy the downtime with our colleagues. But the part that everyone really looks forward to is Susan reading exceptional letters written to her, recognizing faculty and staff for specific awards and revealing our theme and focus for the next year. Keeping our yearlong theme in mind, she "tech-ed up" our awards in fun, meaningful ways.

The Tag Team award went to our PTA President and SAC Chairperson for their year of service and dedication to our school.

The Focused Filters award went to our beginning teachers for wading through (filtering) all that they are responsible for as first year teachers along with the regular responsibilties of classroom teaching.

The Hard Drivers award went to our National Board Certified teachers who received their certification this year. These teachers must amass an abundance of information to successfully achieve the NBCT standing. We had six new teachers (including me) inducted which brings our total to a whopping 22!

The Avid Avatars award went to our Teacher of the Year and Employee of the Year. Like avatars representing the person they are for, these people finely represent their titles and exemplify what a teacher and employee truly should be.

RSS Feeders award went to a group of people that made a difference. We learned this year that the RSS feed was what made a difference in our online contacts. You don't have to go find things online, they come to you! These people came to us with suggestions and help in different capacities that made a true difference in our school.

The Mash Up award went to teachers and staff members who took their knowledge and mashed it up to make new programs and activities that we never knew could exist. These "mash-ups" yielded major amounts of money for charity and birthed new teacher leaders for our school.

The Networkers award went to a group of teachers that "gave back more than they took in". They collaborated online with other classrooms across the world, they used our technology strategies taught through Book of the Month each month and they led their students so that 100% made state standard on assessments.

The Web 2.0 Widgets were faculty choice award. These three teachers were selected because they quickly showed us how technology tools can be easily used and make your classroom a fun place to be.

The Jump Drivers award is the Team award for the best "team" of the year. This year, it was the Foundations Team. They identified a need, early in the year, for an anti-bullying program which they have successfully implemented and plan to continue into the new year.

The Logging Out award was given to all teachers moving away to new opportunities and areas.

The Logging In award is given to new teachers coming to our school for next year.

The most anticipated part of this end of the year luncheon is our new theme video which is shown as we finish our desserts. A pin could drop as the the lights dimmed and we watched:

I'm looking forward to another amazing year at my school. Orchestrating a Symphony of Student Success!


Cheryl Oakes said...

Oh, Melanie, what fun your luncheon sounds like, and I love the new theme. Susan you are amazing!


KK Cherney said...

We are the luckiest...blessed people in the world.

Reading your post and seeing the pictures brought me right back to that lovely setting, to the tears shed as Susan read letters from parents, to the thrill of watching her award those in our midst who really stepped up and made a difference this year, to the laughter and memories that were revisited with our memory slideshow and finally to the anticipation of the great reveal - our new theme. It just doesn't get any better than that! Working at Chets Creek really makes us the luckiest people in the world!