Happy Memorial Day Weekend! It’s the unofficial start to summer and whether you’re on the ball fields, catching up on yard work, remembering a member of the Armed Services or away at a beach, I hope you thoroughly enjoy it! Here at school we held our final Friday Morning Meeting. As you probably know, we have held morning meetings once a month throughout the school year. During these times, I’ve read a book about either one of our Fiske Fundamentals or an aspect of growth mindset to all 350 students. Each class then holds an Open Circle meeting to discuss the topic from the school wide meeting. I also share a resource with you through this newsletter. I tell you all this because, well, we scrapped all that for my final meeting. Instead I spoke with the students about two school wide topics, read a super silly book and then juggled some raw eggs. Yeah, it was a lot of fun, in case you’re wondering. What I discussed with the students was all the packing up of the classrooms, which related to all the orange crates they’re starting to see throughout the school. I let the students know that even though we’re packing up to prepare for some wonderful renovations (painting, new bathrooms, new bookcases, and most important, lockers for all students), learning will still be taking place until noon on June 19 – our last day of school. Please note the early dismissal time for the final day of school. I, then, discussed my departure. I wanted students to know that I was taking on a new adventure in my life, helping more schools learn about growth mindset. I explained all the changes in my life: newspaper reporter to teacher; teacher to principal and now principal to helping school districts – more schools, teachers and ultimately more students learn and achieve at greater levels. I made it very clear that I loved them, loved the Fiske School, staff and families and that my decision had nothing to do with them. (Sometimes children internalize adult decisions, thinking they have done something wrong causing a change.) I read the very funny book: The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it. I read it to my daughter’s kindergarten class a few months ago, and anytime I see her classmates they ask, “Will you read The Book With No Pictures, again? Pleeasssseeee!” To let you know the tenure and mood of the book, here’s what I read on pages four and five: “Here is how books work: Everything the words say, the person reading the book has to say,” and on the next page, “No matter what.” If you can’t imagine what was then read to many laughs, please ask your son or daughter about it. I would like to publicly thank teaching assistant, Kristin Dolan, for being my official page turner all year long for these school wide read alouds. I put Ms. Dolan on the spot right before our first read aloud, as I asked her to turn pages while I read. It’s not as easy a task as you might think, but Ms. Dolan has happily helped. So my final act at the final Friday Morning Meeting was to juggle eggs – raw ones that could crack on contact with me, the floor, or heaven forbid a child. (Just kidding, I kept my distance from the children.) Raw eggs added an element of suspense to my normal juggling routine. After all eggs can break…and one did! As always, after dropping the egg on the gym floor, I asked the students, “What do I do now?” They answered in unison “Try again!” I did and in that moment was a lesson of perseverance, resilience and the willingness to make mistakes. It was growth mindset at its finest. A couple of reminders: more than half your child’s classroom will likely be packed up as we prepare to remove all classroom materials for summer renovations. These crates will likely take over about half the gym over the course of the next weeks as staff prepares for both a June 3 and June 19 move. Holding two moving dates will elevate the pressure of preparing all materials for one, big move. Anyone who has moved themselves knows the stress this can cause. Just wanted to let parents know that today, May 22 was the deadline for providing feedback for next year’s class placement. The process to find the next Fiske principal is ongoing. The posting closed today, May 22, interviews are scheduled for the first week of June and finalist day(s) the second week of June. I will aid in the transition process, as was done for me. This will not be the final time I say it, but, “Thank you,” for the opportunity to help your child grow and learn, to trust in me and the Fiske staff to do our very best for your child and even in times when we didn’t agree, to be respectful and not disagreeable with each other. To know me for just a little while, I hope you got the feeling that the energy and enthusiasm your child brings to school each day helped inspire me to do my very best. There truly is no better feeling for me at school when I greet all students at Friday Morning Meeting with a hearty, “Good morning,” and they greet me back, loudly as one, “Good morning Mr. Colannino.” It’s one of the many things I will miss… Sincerely, Anthony J. Colannino
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