Howard Elementary School

A few things this week…

Hello Families!

I am amazed at how fast this month (and the school year) is going.  I haven’t started my Christmas shopping, so I will be frantically catching up soon.  I had the opportunity to attend the MEMSPA state conference last week in Kalamazoo.  MEMSPA is a state association for middle and elementary school principals.  It is an honor for me to reconnect with leaders from all over the state, and to explore best practices from distinguished  professors, consultants, and principals.  There was so much learning and laughter during that time, but the highlight was being reminded of these four things:

  • To focus, but to leave with positivity
  • To find contentment (not always easy for me)
  • To lead with courage
  • To maintain perspective

I have been reminding myself of these virtues.  All will help me be a better leader, educator, mom and friend.

Our teachers have also been engaged in valuable professional learning.  As a staff, we are learning how to use technology more efficiently for instruction and student engagement.  We are practicing the use of Bloom’s Taxonomy to promote higher-order thinking in every classroom, every day.  We are also helping students to explore and synthesize information in informational text using the R.A.N.  strategy.

Ms. Philips, Ms. Mohamad, Ms. Swanson and Ms. Fleming has joined the DuVall staff for an ongoing professional learning opportunity with math instructional guru, Shannon Samulski.  As remarkable as our learning community is, we are always willing to learn more for the benefit of our students.

During this holiday season, we often reflect on what and who we are thankful for.  My children (and yours) are always the first to come to mind.  As a mother, I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude for the adults at school who encouraged my kids:  those who helped my oldest son read at grade level after years of struggling; lunch ladies who would make sure he ate when I forgot to send him with money; the principal (Mrs. Peterson) who would carefully monitor his progress, and high-five him for every little accomplishment.  I thought it would be especially wonderful if you took time to thank an adult in our building for the positive impact they have had on your student’s life.  From now until December 18th, please email Valerie Jenkins,  in the office @, using the following format:

Subject line: Season of Thanks

Content:  (adult’s name) has helped my child be more successful/confident/accepted (pick one) because…………….  My child, (insert name) tells me that (adult’s name) is (please describe what your child has shared about this adult).

I will read these during morning announcements and at the end of the day.  You will really make an adult in the building (any adult) feel encouraged and appreciated. Gratitude is an invaluable gift.

Finally, my family and I enjoyed a fun-filled day in Detroit on Saturday.  We went to several museums, FREE, as part of the 43rd annual Noel Night.  Experiential learning is so incredibly important for kids to develop context, perspective, and curiosity.  Of course, we ended the day with a HUGE Spartan victory.  GO GREEN!


More to come soon…..