Sunday, November 1, 2015


Once a month my blogging group, the Compelled Tribe, has a common theme. This month happens to be traditions as we are preparing for the holiday season. I thought long and hard on this one, because I realized that I don't have as many family traditions as I wish I had.  As a child, I longed for a Thanksgiving and Christmas scene like I thought every child had. The image in my mind for the holidays looked like something from a Norman Rockwell picture.  With a dad who was often in the hospital and often not feeling well when he was at home and a mother who worked swing shifts at the hospital as a nurse many holidays, our family traditions often fell short from my ideal.  When I grew up, I was bound and determined to make that Norman Rockwell image a reality with my own family. However, a divorce and split custody of my children shattered that dream as well.  For many years, I lamented the fact that I would never have a normal holiday with my family. Later I realized, there is no such thing as a normal holiday and that the Norman Rockwell picture was just that...a picture of what people wished for.

I bring this up because many of our students may feel that their home situations are "different" and that no one else could understand their situation.  That's where we step in as educators. Part of our job is to help create school traditions and routines that create a safe, secure, and fun environment for our students, especially during the holiday seasons.  More importantly, we need to help them realize that their family traditions or customs are okay and that there is not a perfect or correct way to celebrate the holidays. The older I get, the more I realize that I did have fun holiday traditions with my family.  We always ate a meal together (even if it wasn't on the holiday) and we often watched a movie (usually Ben-Hur for Christmas). When I see old movies playing during the holidays, I often think of my dad and realize we had fun traditions after all.  Most importantly, I always felt loved and safe at home.  That's a tradition that I have passed along to my children (even with juggling holiday schedules between two households).  So, I guess the most important tradition of all...being together and being happy as a family is a legacy that has been passed on from generation to another.

As educators, our students may have many traditions or no traditions at all.  But we can help make traditions and memories here and we can certainly make sure they feel safe and loved while at school. The hug you give, the smile you share, and the words of encouragement you express may be the one thing they hold on to during their holiday season.  Let's make sure that with all the traditions we have at school that kindness, patience, and empathy are woven into each of them and demonstrated to all students.
photo credit: Norman Rockwell

PEARLS OF WISDOM - From our very own Rosedale students!

"Last year we just had to learn. This year we have to get smart" - 1st grade student

"I just LOVE seeing my name where everyone can read it" - Student on seeing his name on the PBIS board

"We've been through this before. Why can't you learn to use your words instead of your hands" -Student talking with another student after a fight.

For anyone who has ever loved a dog (4 minutes)


Monday, November 2: Rotary 12:00 pm
                                    Wennstrom/Nadon to OSS Committee 1:30 pm (I'll be back for assembly)
                                    Student of the Month Assembly (Responsibility) 3:00 pm
Tuesday, November 3: No Students / Teacher Work Day
                                     Report Card entries due by midnight
Wednesday, November 4: IEP Limberg/Casucci 8:20 am
Thursday, November 5: Staff Meeting (PBS) 8:00 am
                                       Handbook Revision Meeting at Roosevelt 2:00-4:00 pm
                                       Title I Parent Meeting 6:00 pm
                                       PTA Meeting 6:30 pm
Friday, November 6: Goodfellows Collection $2 or 2 Canned Food Items = Bring a Stuffed Animal to School

Monday, November 9: Report Cards go home
                                     Costco Reps in lounge with treats during lunch hour
Wednesday, November 11: Conferences in the Evening
Thursday, November 12: No Students / Conferences Day and Evening
Friday, November 13: No School


  1. Jon, your thoughts really hit home and touched my heart. I've come to a conclusion that there are no "perfect" families, but it doesn't take away from the love we share and the things we do together. I'm inspired by you always!

  2. "...we need to help them realize that their family traditions or customs are okay and that there is not a perfect or correct way to celebrate the holidays."
    This is such a great point, and helps us and kids realize that traditions are unique to each group that celebrates them. The traditions that are created in a classroom, school, on a team, or other school-related group should all remind us of love and support for each other. Thank you for sharing this!