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Showing posts from 2015

What the Battle of the Red Rail Means to Me

When I first started working in Grapevine Colleyville ISD, it was easy to identify my roots because I still carried my maiden name: Oravetz. If you are someone who has been in GCISD for a long time (and in this respect, I am talking over 40 years ago or so) you might recognize the name. My grandmother Nell Oravetz was a homemaking and mathematics teacher in the district and she taught at the high school that I now am an associate principal at: Grapevine High School. I never had the honor of meeting my grandmother as she passed away 3 months before I was born, but I have been told that we would have gotten along quite well. I know that she LOVED teaching (she often taught classes in the community as well) and that she was a bit of a disciplinarian (did I mention that I'm an associate principal...).

My roots in Grapevine High School don't stop there however. I am also the daughter of two 1979 graduates of dear old, GHS. One of my favorite pictures of my parents (see below) is fr…

Books: The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace

As I continue to grow as a leader in a large high school, one of the things that I have intentionally been working on is how to motivate, encourage and strengthen the people that work with me. There are any number of factors that can make working in a school difficult: tough classes, tough schedules, tightening budgets, increased standards, and difficulties with students, parents or colleagues. With all of this going on (as it does in just about every school), it can start to wear or strain a staff. So how do we motivate, encourage and strengthen with all of this going on?

Recently, our counseling department picked up the book, The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace by Gary Chapman and Paul White, as a book study for their team. It seemed helpful and a worthwhile endeavor for them, so I too decided to read it. If you have ever read The 5 Love Languages or The 5 Love Languages of Children, a lot of what is covered will feel familiar. What is new is how it applies to organizat…

The Full Circle: Kindergarten Reflections and College Readiness

One of the interesting things about where I am at this point in my personal and professional life is that I have a bird's eye view of the "full circle". What do I mean by that? In the span of 36 hours, I attended three different events in GCISD that bring together my professional life as the associate principal at Grapevine High School and my personal life as the first time mom of a kindergartener.

Yesterday, I sat in an auditorium in my role as the associate principal of a high school and listened to college professors and admissions counselors talk about topics that are important to what lies beyond K-12.  Today, I attended a panel of middle school and high school students in my district and listened to them talk about their experiences in school. Topics of discussion for this talk centered around what students feel to be effective classroom strategies, what they like about grading and feedback, and what they want teachers to know to help them. Rounding out my 36 hours…

Book thoughts: Rethinking Grading: Meaningful Assessment for Standards-Based Learning by Cathy Vattertott

Near the beginning of my career in education, my mentor teacher and friend told me about an organization called ASCD that had transformed her teaching even late into her career. Since then, I have been a member and have enjoyed the shipment of 5 separate books that comes each year. For the most part, these books dig deeper into subjects that I have a cursory knowledge in and help me to further hone and refine my craft. I have treasured this membership even more so as an administrator and have used it to provide resources to teachers that I am working with. No kickbacks here, just a plug for something I personally have enjoyed and benefitted from.
The member book for this month centers on the issue of standards based grading, which involves rethinking traditional forms of grading that have persisted for decades. Standards based grading as a movement challenges notions about what our purpose is as a school, what the purpose of student work is and what outcomes we should seek for studen…

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