Saturday, May 20, 2017

Too Many Warning Lights

In the very near future, my faithful Dodge Avenger will hit 200,000 miles. From the metro Detroit area, it has seen many trips to my former homes in northern Michigan, western Michigan, and Chicago. It's also seen a few road trips to Tennessee. It's been a reliable and mostly trouble free vehicle for the past ten years. However, with age it has developed it's idiosyncrasies. The most notable is the frequent lighting up of warning lights on my dash board. Random systems will light up and every time I've taken it in to be looked at the indicated system is fine, but the light has malfunctioned. You can probably guess the end result of having warning lights go off frequently. I've begun to ignore them. Now don't get me wrong, I still give proper maintenance to my vehicle, but I've learned to rely on my knowledge of my car and how it runs as opposed to responding to every light that may go on or off.

I think a similar experience is familiar to educators. We are constantly barraged with "warning lights" about our educational system and student achievement. We have warnings from world rankings that pit nation against nation. We get warnings from national rankings that pit state against state. We receive warnings from the state that compare district to district. It sometimes feels like a constant barrage of warnings of everything that is wrong with education. After a while, it can become easy to do what I've done with my car...ignore the warning lights. When everything is a crisis, nothing is an emergency.

As educators, we do need to be vigilant about how our students are performing and we need to be open to feedback and ways that we can improve. However, there also needs to be some balance with the information we receive. We need to hear when we are doing things well. We need to celebrate the successes of our students. We need to have some signs of our accomplishments with students. If you are a teacher, make sure you encourage your students as often as you correct them. If you are a principal, make sure you are doing the same with your staff. Too many warning lights won't do anything, but encourage us to tune everything out. Find the balance of tuning out the negatives, but still listening to constructive ways to improve. With a little TLC, my car has reliably taken me everywhere I've needed or wanted to go. With the same TLC, educators will take students to where they need and want to go!


"History is a vast early warning system." - Norman Cousins

"One thorn of experience is worth a whole wilderness of warning." - James Russel Lowell

"Remember that life's big changes rarely give advanced warning." - H. Jackson Brown Jr.


Ryan Harwood

Anne Caulfield


Monday, May 22: Celebrate Monday Assembly 9:05 am
Tuesday, May 23: Building Visit from Theresa O'Brien (Chief Academic Officer)
Wednesday, May 24: REED 8:20 am (Benson)
                                  PBS Committee Members subbed out for morning
                                  Volunteer Tea in the LMC 2:45-3:45 pm
Thursday, May 25: Staff Meeting 8:05 am (led by PBS team)
                              LEA Negotiations 8:30 - ???
Friday, May 26: Super Be Party hosted by Jon and Denise 2:45-3:15 pm

Monday, May 29: No School for Memorial Day
Tuesday, May 30: All School Assembly with singer/character education leader Jerry Jacoby 2:00-3:00 pm
Wednesday, May 31: Jon to Buchanan for Kindergarten Round Up all day
Thursday, June 1: Staff Meeting 8:05 (Dedicated for class grouping time)
                            Paula to Rosedale for Kindergarten Round Up in the morning
Friday, June 2: Spring Fling/Basket Raffle 6:00-8:00 pm

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