Friday, March 1, 2019

Leo the Late Bloomer

One of my colleagues, a kindergarten teacher for many years, used the book, Leo the Late Bloomer as part of her graduation ceremony at the end of the year.  My favorite part of the story was when Leo's parents "watched him for signs of blooming."  

As I drove to school today, I was thinking about how, as parents and teachers, we often look for the signs that the lessons we teach are making a difference in the lives of our children.  Sometimes, it can be an improvement in a grade or subject, but I mostly look for growth in mindset.  To have a child actively participate in conflict resolution with their peers, or to acknowledge a mistake and work to correct it, or to study longer and harder for a test, means more to me as a parent than any A-plus they could receive on their report card. 

As we patiently wait for Mother Nature to send us signs that Spring is, in fact, only three weeks away, may you see many other signs of blooming around you!

Mrs. C. 

Friday, December 21, 2018

Merry Christmas!

May your homes be filled with joy and love this Christmas season.  On behalf of the entire school community, I wish you Merry Christmas and health and happiness in the new year!
Mrs. Clark

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Counting Blessings

As I was leaving choir practice last night, I realized that Thanksgiving is only, literally, two weeks away.  I immediately had a moment of panic, as my house needs some serious attention to even be remotely ready for company.  After a deep breath, I took a moment to think about how quickly time is passing.  I sometimes feel like I am running a race, what with school and home responsibilities.  I'm sure there are many out there who understand that feeling.  Last night, however, I carved out a little time to think about how grateful I am for all the blessings in my life.  I am surrounded by a family that loves and accepts me unconditionally.  I have three great children of my own, and an extended family of former and current students who I am proud to know.  I have food on my table and clothing in my closet.  I have a network of friends and coworkers who have both supported and encouraged me personally and professionally.  I have a strong faith in God and am blessed to be able to share that faith daily in my professional life.  It is humbling when you think about all those who do not have some of the things I take for granted: acceptance, respect, love, faith.  In ten minutes, my life was in perspective.  Dust bunnies may abound in my living room, but that seems trivial in the grand scheme of things. 

May your lives be filled with blessings big and small as well, and may your homes all be "company ready" this holiday season!

Erin Clark

Friday, September 28, 2018

It takes a village...

As we celebrate Grandparents' Day at SJS, I found myself reflecting on my relationship with my maternal grandparents, Agnes and Timmy.

Agnes was of Irish and French descent, and a wonderful cook.  Some of my best memories are cooking and baking in her kitchen.  She is the person I credit with teaching me to cook.  I can remember sitting with her and watching cooking shows on PBS-Jacques Pepin, Julia Child, MaryAnn Esposito-the list goes on and on.  It was very difficult to watch her fail as she got older, because, though her body was old, her mind was young.  My oldest two children were very lucky to have a grandmere like her, and I know that they have fond memories of being with her when they were small.

My grandfather, Timmy, loved to garden.  He was from a very large, very Italian, family.  It was fun to help him work in the garden and then bring the vegetables in to Memere to cook.  Papa, Colleen (my sister) and I formed a group when we were young called The Pal Club.  As "pals," we regularly went out for ice cream at Baskin' Robbins, and delighted in how we could keep Memere on her toes! 

I am the person I am today, in part, because of the love I received from my grandparents. I know that my children feel the same about theirs.  We are truly blessed.

Mrs. Clark

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

It's not what you have, it's what you do with it that makes the difference.

As part of my continuing professional development, I am reading a book about school design in the digital age we live in, and how schools can better prepare their students for the demands of the 21st century workplace.

It makes sense when you think about it-children today are bombarded with digitization from the time they are infants.  Where I grew up in an analog world (the internet was "invented" when I was in college), kids today are globally connected in ways that I still don't always understand.  A school model that has not changed much over the last 100 years or so, does not adequately prepare students for the challenges that await them.

We are blessed to have access to technology at SJS.  In particular, I am excited about the IXL program our school has implemented for students in grades 1-8 in Language Arts and Math.  This program is adaptive, which means that it takes each student and presents more challenging or less challenging problems to them based on their answers.  In essence, the curriculum is individualized for each student.  I hope to see much activity on IXL in the coming months.  Students will be working on it at school, at home, or both.  Over time, we should see an overall increase in students' achievement levels.

I hope that everyone is having a wonderful week!  I am excited that the weather has cooled down some!  Bring on the Fall!

Erin Clark

Monday, September 10, 2018

What a difference a couple of days make!

Good afternoon from SJS!

I hope that you were able to enjoy the nice weather this weekend.  I am definitely looking forward to fall now that the heat has broken!

Getting back into the groove of things after the lazy days of summer can often seem intimidating, but can also be rejuvenating.  One of the things I enjoyed most about teaching was having a fresh start every year.  I loved picking a theme for my classroom and setting up routines for the children.  It seems a little strange to me, this year, to not have to do that! 

At First Friday Mass last week, our Pastor, Father Stowe, tasked the students with being kind-to each other, to their teachers, and to their families.  I will be on the lookout for acts of kindness throughout the building! 

Have a wonderful week-enjoy this cooler weather!

Mrs. C.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

The Dog Days of Summer

It almost does not seem possible that the summer-which used to seem so long when I was a child-is half over.  We have been out of school for a month already, and, in a little more than five weeks, we will be back in school.

I am very enthusiastic about joining the Saint Joseph School community.  In my brief time here, I have observed a close-knit group of teachers, staff, and parents who truly care about the future success of the school.  The students I have met have been friendly and polite.  I (almost) cannot wait for the new year to begin!

I have used the blog platform in my teaching experience to share classroom happenings and my thoughts about teaching and learning with families and students, and I hope to continue to use it as an administrator to do the same.  You will still receive official school newsletters with pertinent information, as this blog will be more informal in nature.

Please know that you may contact me at any time with any concerns or questions that you may have.  I am still learning the answers to some of those questions, but I know who to ask (huge shout out to Mrs. Kelly and Mrs. Laiter)!

Thank you for your warm welcome-I look forward to working together to continue the good work of St. Joseph School.

Here's hoping that the 90+ degree days are gone by the time school starts!

Mrs. Clark