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Happy New Year

Originally published on May 4, 2017


Happy Thursday!



I work in a state where we do not assess students in grades 3-8 at the very end of the year (like finals); we assess them in mid-spring. This leaves at least two months of learning to occur after the assessments are over. For us, the English Assessments have passed and, after this Thursday, the Math Assessments are over too. That means that everything our students are learning on Friday is actually something that they could be tested on next year. With that in mind, I think there are actually THREE New Years for educators and students in states like mine. There is January 1st. There is September 1st (or whenever the school calendar has students return to school). There is the day after the assessments are over.

In fact, this will be learning that will not only be tested next year, but will serve as additional foundational understandings for the rest of their formal educational experiences and beyond. This is because, as you know, the 3rd grade Assessments, for example, are NOT an assessment of what the students learned between May-April the year before but rather an assessment of what they have learned each and every day prior to the assessments from their kindergarten, first, and second grade teachers as well as what they learned from their parents and others outside of school before they even got to kindergarten.


The song we sing on New Year’s Eve, “Auld Lang Syne” is a Scottish song whose title translates to “Times Gone By” and celebrates the past so as not to be forgotten. Therefore, I hope you use this time as an opportunity to celebrate what you and your students and teachers have accomplished during the past year. Revel in the successes. Applaud the efforts. Praise the growth. Be loud and proud with your work!



Time has gone by. We are older than we were 12 months ago and, with any luck, wiser. Share what you have learned with your students and teachers. Show them you are a learner too.


Time has gone by. We are older than we were 12 months ago, and with any luck, we have new goals that we want to accomplish. Share what you want to achieve with your students and teachers. Encourage them to set goals too.


Time has gone by. We are older than we were 12 months ago, and with any luck, more patient. Share what you are willing to slowly tend to now with your students and your teachers. Encourage them to be more patient too.


Time has gone by. We are older than we were 12 months ago, and with any luck, more understanding. Share how you are going to seek first to understand with your students and your teachers. Encourage them to be more understanding too.


Time has gone by. We are older than we were 12 months ago, and with any luck, more reflective. Share how you are going to create space to reflect on what happens, what your role is, and what you will do in response with your students and teachers. Encourage them to be more reflective too.


Time has gone by. We are older than we were 12 months ago, and with any luck, we see our failures as opportunities to grow. Share what you will not do again with your students and teachers. Encourage them to grow from failure too.


Time has gone by. We are older than we were 12 months ago, and with any luck, we recognize that there is no such thing as luck but instead there are fruits of our own labors because we are in charge of our own outcomes. Share how you are responsible for yourself with your students and teachers. Encourage them to be responsible too.



I also hope that you use the rest of May and June to consider trying some things that you may have put off in the whirlwind of the Assessments, Spring Break, and the daily hustle and bustle of everything else. This is not a time to coast nor is it the beginning of the end; this is an actual time of beginning so hit the ground running! What are those things that you would love to do that you can start now? There is no time like the present.


~Heather

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