We celebrate our Thanksgiving this week. A time to reflect on all we are thankful for in our lives. I look around, and I know I have all that I need to have in my life. Almost a year ago, I faced horrible news of cancer; 12 years ago, we faced as a family a horrific car incident with a semi truck crashing into the side of the car with Sarah, Aubrey, Jeanette, and I inside. Just a few months ago, the doctors scared us again with the news of cancer, but thank God we have survived that.
The Thanksgivings we have may all be very different, some may be similar, and some may be far less. There is one thing I know we all share, and that is the “Thankfulness” of all of those who are serving to protect us today to keep us safe. My faith and all I have been given, I thank God.
Blessings to you this week of Thanksgiving. May you find gratitude, warmth, hope, and love during this season.
Do you type in the address of your destination, and the GPS produces several options as choices to take? One of the choices is fastest route. Do you select it and go?
You blindly trust this device will take you in the right direction with no questions. Hmm. Why do you think we do that? Maybe you do not do it. Let me know if you don’t. I just know so many people who type in the address and go. I am guilty of it.
This will sound crazy, but it is true because of my healing process. I had to use my navigation system after my brain injury all of the time. I had to drive in patterns. If I went to a parking garage, I would pass up all of the open spaces to go all the way to the top and pray no one was in my spot. Yes, like Sheldon on the Big Bang Theory if you are familiar with the show. I had a spot!
We will talk more about direction this week.
I have two grandsons growing up at this time. I was discussing a few days ago with my editor how boys have been in crisis for a while in education. However, I believe it is reaching more and more as the levels are increasing. What do you think?
I have spent some time reading many articles and resources. There is still so much to learn. We can look at this issue this week and discover more if others share their experiences with us.
Have you ever experienced “unexpected?” What is “unexpected?” Well, it is what was not expected. Would you wish to see a fish in the desert? No.
The season of Thanksgiving brings opportunities for gratitude, and then we move into the season of giving as we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Many times during this season, I think about the “unexpected” miracles. There are also so many celebrations throughout the year, but take the time to think about those “unexpected” moments, which may be the time that changes your life or the lives of others. What you find may be “unexpected!”
Do you know what we all need? A little laughter, encouragement, hope, inspiration, and motivation. Some days we need a hug, while others need a little escape to relax. Let’s try to find a little of what we need this week.
My blog post on October 27, 2022, began with students saying. Embedded within the post was an article with data collected from middle and high school students. The data in the paper presented the biggest barriers to student learning, according to a new report released by YouthTruth, a nonprofit that surveys K-12 students and families for school districts.
Anxiety, depression, and stress were indicated, along with students identifying they did not have enough support at school by finding enough adult support. School counselors, Social Workers, School Psychologists, and other Mental Health providers are in need, but there is a shortage. There are not enough qualified individuals to fill positions, nor do schools have the available funding to support all of the additional needs.
Central Visual and Performing Arts High School in St. Louis, Missouri, on October 24th, 2022, had an active shooter. A teen and an adult were killed in the shooting. With the fast-acting security team at the school, all doors being locked, following the safety drill protocols for active shooters, and the fast response of the police department, the shooter was taken down within minutes of the 911 call. All of this saved lives.
While investigating why this school is a target for violence and why the shooter with no background in violence would commit such an act, mental health is brought up. In every case of active shooters, mental health is brought up as an indication of triggers for these incidents. However, the first thing politicians, media, and others do is focus on the weapons used in the horrific violence.
I intend to bring a spotlight on targeting the core of the issue long before (years), before the few days before they have a breakdown and decide to do such an awful thing to the lives of innocent individuals. Those few minutes in the lives of all who survived will be with them for a lifetime. To all of the families who lost loved ones, the scars of the day are so deep. All of these add additional needs for mental health support for the trauma experienced from extreme events, which mental health may have been able to prevent.
In July of 2022, I wrote another blog post about safety and feeling good. These are the foundation of my Two Rule Philosophy for school. In having a Two Rule school, the purpose is to meet the needs we all value; Safety and Feeling Good. If you look at all of the rules you currently have, the basic foundation of each one is grounded in one or both of those simple Two Rules. However, they are not simple at all once we dig deeper into how we apply, model, explain, support, and teach all that goes along with them.
We will continue to see violence, anger, and issues with our youth and young adults until we address the issues at the core of the problem. Mental Health is a significant need. It is my professional opinion implementation of Two Rules in all schools will begin to develop the habits, skills, and knowledge needed to form a solid foundation for success not only in academics but in their life journey. In addition, we are advocating for funding to increase mental health support. We need to help more individuals who want to go into the mental health and education.
My final thought to share is this, as my editor is currently working on finalizing my book with me, it was important to me to have the book contain pages leaders can take to implement so it will have those. In addition, a collaboration of teams is significant for me as well, so this is included. When I say teams, I want to clarify what this means. Education is not something we do to children; it is something we do with children. Children, families, schools, and the community are part of the teams. Children will lead the conferences about what they are learning, what strengths they have, what they need help with, and how they would like us to all support them. Communication openly together. Nothing changes until we change our approaches together in partnerships. It really does take a village!
Gathering data with survey information is an integral part of building a foundation of understanding the essential elements of building an improvement plan and making positive changes. However, if you gather too much information, you are “data rich.” It is time-consuming to collect and gather information, but you do not have time to drill all of it down to make a difference positively. One time I can recall walking up the stairs in our administrative offices to see thousands of papers of data. Overwhelming is not even the best word to describe it. We were data-rich and information poor. We did not know where to begin to understand what to do with all of this information.
When you take the time to gather the answers, take the time to go over the data, analyze the data and develop an action plan with steps to make changes to address issues interrupting teaching, learning, and overall growth, the class, has moved to the next grade level. Information has to be given to the team today, processed, analyzed, prioritized, and determine the action steps to take.
“The development of the NASSP Survey of America’s School Leaders and High School Students were assisted by nine current school leaders and NASSP members and nine National Honor Society students from across the United States. Gotham Research Group, an independent research firm, developed and administered the survey. It was conducted online from June 5 through June 23, 2022, among a nationally representative sample of 1,000 principals and assistant/vice principals in middle and high school and 1,000 8–12th-grade students enrolled in school for the 2021–22 school year. The margin of error for each sample is ±3.1 percentage points.”
I pulled this piece out from the report and have more I would like to discuss, but this indicates that my Two Rule Philosophy is precisely what leaders and students want. Everyone needs to feel good and feel safe—the elements of accomplishing this begin with meeting the basic needs and building trust.
I look forward to bringing more information, resources, and tools to help leaders in all schools.