Thursday, January 19, 2017

The Red Balloon

In the spring 1995, I was student teaching in a kindergarten classroom in southwest Michigan. That year, one of my best friends and college roommate died from complications after having a bone marrow transplant. It was an extremely difficult time and I was in total disbelief for a long time. As sad as I was, I never shed a tear at the hospital while visiting him or at his funeral. I was numb. Weeks later, my supervising teacher showed the short film, The Red Balloon. I remember watching it with vivid emotions. I kept thinking, why can't they just leave the balloon alone? When the balloon is finally popped, I started to cry. Actually, I wept. I had to leave the room. Now, the film does have an uplifting ending. Literally uplifting, as the boy is "rescued" by all the balloons of Paris and lifted far above the city. That film let loose the emotions that I had been bottling up inside of me.

These days, I'm much better at letting my emotions out. In fact, I cry ridiculously easy from movies to motivational speakers. I find that letting myself be vulnerable and showing my emotions has made me a better educator. It helps me connect with students, teachers, and parents. Yes, I maintain professionalism at all times, but I allow myself to be a real person with real emotions. Suppressing our feelings only distances us from others and makes it difficult to have emotional well being.  

As educators, we deal with a lot of emotions. Emotions from parents struggling to understand how best to help their child, emotions from students struggling to make friends and find their voice, emotions from within as we try to balance work and home. When we acknowledge our own emotions and make sure our needs are met, we can better help others with theirs. I've had many experiences that have helped me grow as an educator, but The Red Balloon helped me open up emotionally and that has helped me grow most of all. 


"Genius is the ability to renew one's emotions in daily experience." - Paul Cezanne

"When we direct our thoughts properly, we can control our emotions." - W. Clement Stone 

"Your intellect may be confused, but your emotions will never lie to you." - Roger Ebert 


Diana Shahin


Monday, January 23: Celebrate Monday Assembly 9:05 am 
Tuesday, January 24: Elementary Principals at Wayne RESA 7:30-9:30 am
Wednesday, January 25: IEP (Robertson) 8:15 am
Thursday, January 26: Staff Meeting 8:05 am
                                  Elementary Principals Meeting at Central Office 1:00-4:30 pm
Friday, January 27: PBIS Committee Planning Time 8:00-12:00
                                All K-12 Administrators to Eval Training at CTC 8:00-10:30 am

Monday, January 30: Student of the Month Assembly 9:05 am (Confidence)
Wednesday, February 1: Achievement Team Meeting 8:20 am 
                                      Diane's retirement party 5:30-8:00 pm 
Thursday, February 2: Staff Meeting 8:05 am
                                    PTA Meeting 6:30 pm 

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Man on the Moon

There is a story that shortly after John F. Kennedy gave his "man on the moon" speech, he was touring Cape Canaveral. During the tour he came across a custodian working in one of the corridors. When he asked the custodian what he was doing he quickly replied, "Mr. President, I'm helping put a man on the moon."  Whether this exchange actually happened or not, the message it drives home is very real. When people have a shared vision and feel a part of something greater than themselves there is no limit to what they can do. Including putting a man on the moon using 1960's technology!

What a beautiful reality it would be to have every person in an organization feeling that everything they do is contributing to a greater cause. A cause that requires each person doing his or her job to the best of their ability to make it happen. When I think of this scenario, my mind instantly goes to the school setting. What if every teacher, custodian, secretary, volunteer and administrator gave the same answer when asked what they were doing, "I'm making the world a better place one student at a time."

We don't have to be the president or a world leader to have a vision and get people to commit to it. As educators, each one of us can set high standards for our students, provide the support they need, and make them believe that great things can happen when we do our best and work together. President Kennedy didn't get a chance to see his vision realized and as educators, we may not always get to witness the fruits of our labors. But if history shows us anything, it's that human beings will rise to a challenge and can accomplish anything if they are empowered. Share your vision with your students and empower them to make the impossible come true!


"That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." - Neil Armstrong

"Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other." John F. Kennedy

"However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at." - Stephen Hawking

President Kennedy's challenge to America (2 minutes)



Monday, January 16: No School - Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Tuesday, January 17: iReady Testing Window Opens 
Wednesday, January 18: Achievement Team (Nadon) 8:20 am
                                        Evaluation Meeting at Central Office (Wennstrom) 3:30 pm 
Thursday, January 19: Collaborative Learning Time 7:50 am

Monday, January 23: Celebrate Monday Assembly 9:05 am
Thursday, January 26: Staff Meeting 8:05 am

Monday, January 30: Student of the Month Assembly 9:05 am (Confidence) 
Tuesday, January 31: Diane's last day
Wednesday, February 1: Retirement Party at 5:30 pm

Thursday, December 29, 2016

One Word: 2017

For the past two years, I have taken the #OneWord challenge and selected a single word to serve as my theme for the entire year. I started with "Inspiration" and followed with "Gratitude". This year, my focus is going to be on "Kindness". When I look to those that I admire and aspire to be like, one of the common attributes they all share is kindness. It's something that can be given by those that have no money. It can be shared no matter how old or how young you are. It's something that is understood regardless of what language you speak. Kindness can be universally given and is something that is universally needed.

I think everyone wants to leave a legacy behind them. Whether at home, at work, or with the community, we want to be remembered for something. As I focus on my one word each year, I want it to be something that I would be comfortable with as my legacy. If I am remembered as one who showed kindness I will be happy. If I am remembered as someone who taught others to be kind as well, I will be happier still. The world is a tough place and we need to equip our children and our students with the tools to be able to handle it. I can't think of a better tool to face the challenges of life than kindness.

As 2017 begins, please take a few moments to think about your goals for the year. Maybe, like me, you will select one word to be your focus the whole year long. Whatever your word may be, make it known to those around you by your words and your actions. When our goals, thoughts, words and actions are in alignment, we can accomplish anything! Here's to a new year and a new opportunity to make a positive impact on the world one student at a time.


"No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted." - Aesop

"Kindness is the language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see." - Mark Twain

"My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness." - Dalai Lama 

The Teddy Story



Monday, January 9: Celebrate Monday Assembly 9:05 am
Wednesday, January 11: Principal Advisory/SIC Meeting with Lisa Zaar 8:15 am
                                        Elementary Principals to Roosevelt for Eval Meeting 9:30 am
                                        ABC Meeting at Central Office 1:30 pm 
Thursday, January 12: Staff Meeting 8:05 am
                                    Elementary Principals Meeting 1:30-4:30 pm 
                                    Title I Parent Meeting 6:00 pm
                                    PTA Meeting 6:30 pm 
Friday, January 13: PTA Popcorn Sales

Monday, January 16: No School - MLK Day!
Tuesday, January 17: Classroom Book orders due to Diane
Wednesday, January 18: Achievement Team 8:20 am (Nadon)
                                        Jon Eval Meeting with Cindy Scott 3:30 pm 
Thursday, January 19: Collaborative Learning Time 7:50 am

Rosedale Staff: If you watched the video, email or text me "TEDDY" and there will be a treat in your mailbox!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Letters from Kimanzi

Several years ago, I was listening to the radio station as I was driving around for some last minute Christmas shopping. The radio host was asking for listeners to sponsor a child through Compassion International. The cost to sponsor a child was $40 a month and I remember the host saying that if people weren't sponsoring a child they really needed to do so and that if they were sponsoring a child that they should sponsor a second child. I remember thinking how bold that was to ask people who were already giving to give more. I then realized that I was judging someone for asking "too much" when I wasn't giving anything at all. I thought about the presents that I was buying and also that the night before I had taken my daughters out for dinner for the same price that it cost to sponsor a child for a month. I was embarrassed of myself.

That evening I went on the computer and signed up to sponsor a child. I purposely chose an older child, because I knew they were less likely to be sponsored. After watching a video about the sponsorship program, I was a little teary-eyed and feeling more guilty than ever for not doing this sooner. I sponsored a child named Kimanzi from a rural village in Kenya. The next month, we received a hand written letter from him and it made a big impact on my daughters to receive a message from him. It prompted them to write one back and ask a lot of questions. We receive two or three letters from Kimanzi each year and it's been moving to watch him as he grows.

The letters from Kimanzi have been a powerful learning tool for our family. They have helped us keep our "problems" in perspective. They have helped us count our blessings. They have shown us that everyone can help in some small way. I often wonder if Kimanzi has any idea how much he has taught his American family. As we enter the holiday season, I will keep in mind the lessons I have learned from Kimanzi's letters and remember to count my many blessings!


Hallelujah (3 minutes) 


"The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings." - Eric Hoffer

"When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around." - Willie Nelson 

"Good health and good sense are two of life's greatest blessings." - Publilius Syrus 


Beth Houf

Jay Billy


Monday, January 9: School Resumes
                                 Celebrate Monday (and 2017) Assembly at 9:05 am
Wednesday, January 11: Principal Advisory/School Improvement Team 8:15 am
                                       Elementary Principals to Roosevelt for Evaluation Meeting 9:30 am
                                       ABC group 1:30 pm
Thursday, January 12: Staff Meeting 8:05 am
                                    Elementary Principals Meeting 1:30-4:30 pm 
                                    Title I Parent Night 6:00 pm
                                    PTA Meeting 6:30 pm 
Friday, January 13: PTA Popcorn Sales

Monday, January 16: No School - MLK Day!
Thursday, January 19: Collaborative Learning Time 7:50 am

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Who Packs Your Parachute?

Last week at the annual MEMSPA conference, Paul Liabenow, the executive director, shared the following story. I don't think there is anything I can add to the story to make it better, so I will just share the story as is. I hope it's as powerful for you as it was for me.

Charles Plumb was a US Navy jet pilot in Vietnam. After 75 combat missions, his plane as destroyed by a surface-to-air missile. Plumb ejected and parachuted into enemy hands. He was captured and spent 6 years in a communist Vietnamese prison. He survived the ordeal and now lectures on lessons learned from that experience.

One day, when Plumb and his wife were sitting in a restaurant, a man at another table came up and said, “You’re Plumb! You flew jet fighters in Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. You were shot down!”

“How in the world did you know that?” asked Plumb.

“ I packed your parachute,” the man replied. Plumb gasped in surprise and gratitude. The man pumped his hand and said, “I guess it worked!” Plumb assured him, “It sure did. If your chute hadn’t worked, I wouldn’t be here today.”

Plumb couldn’t sleep that night, thinking about that man. Plumb says, “I kept wondering what he might have looked like in a Navy uniform: a white hat, a bib in the back, and bell-bottom trousers. I wonder how many times I might have seen him and not even said Good morning, how are you?’ or anything because, you see, I was a fighter pilot and he was just a sailor.”

Plumb thought of the man hours the sailor had spent on a long wooden table in the bowels of the ship, carefully weaving the shrouds and folding the silks of each chute, holding in his hands each time the fate of someone he didn’t know.

Now, Plumb asks his audience, “Who’s packing your parachute?” Everyone has someone who provides what they need to make it through the day. Plumb also points out that he needed many kinds of parachutes when his plane was shot down over enemy territory-he needed his physical parachute, his mental parachute, his emotional parachute, and his spiritual parachute. He called
on all these supports before reaching safety.

Sometimes in the daily challenges that life gives us, we miss what is really important. We may fail to say hello, please, or thank you, congratulate someone on something wonderful that has happened to them, give a compliment, or just do something nice for no reason.

As you go through this week, this month, this year, recognize people who pack your parachute.


"Believe you can and you're halfway there." - Theodore Roosevelt 

"We can't help everyone, but everyone can help someone." - Ronald Reagan 

"It's never too late to be what you might have been." - George Eliot 

Empathy vs Sympathy (3 minutes) shared from Allyson Apsey



Monday, December 19: Student of the Month Assembly 9:05 am
                                       Hearing Retests in the SACC Room
Tuesday, December 20: PBS Committee 8:05 am
                                       Holiday Shop in Room 18
Wednesday, December 21: IEP (Casucci) 8:20 am
                                            Holiday Shop in Room 18
Thursday, December 22: Breakfast with Diane & Joe 8:05 am 
                                        Singing in the gym 2:30-3:00 pm
Friday, December 23: Students dismissed at 12:10 pm (Winter Break begins!)

Monday, January 9: School resumes
                                 Celebrate Monday Assembly 9:05 am
Thursday, January 12: Title I Parent Night 6:00 pm
                                     PTA Meeting 6:30 pm 
Friday, January 13: Popcorn Sales