Showing posts from 2018

Time Well Spent

After a quarter of school, I called down all of our new-to-Kennedy students to my office to have an impromptu conference. How's it going? Was it what you expected? (Well, sort of: the first thing I usually said was, "don't worry you aren't in trouble," since even the best-behaved kid gets nervous when they are called to the principal's office.)

I pulled their grades and we talked about their academics. I asked how things were going socially and if they were able to yet participate in our extra-curriculars or if they planned on it. We talked about dress code and I asked what it was like to attend a religious school that included prayer and mass with their classmates. (While I thought the answer was going to be "awkward" or "weird" it was overwhelmingly "nice" and "I really like it"). I asked what they liked the best, what was a challenge, and how their experience compared to their last school.

As a disclaimer, I support…

State of the School 2018

Kennedy Family-

If you were unable to attend the State of the School Address at the end of August, I wanted to make the information available to you. While much of our curriculum is dictated by either the State of Ohio Learning Standards or the Diocese of Youngstown Office of Catholic Schools, we also have the luxury of creating innovative and effective electives that grow our students in mind and soul. I hope you find the additions intriguing and beneficial in preparing students for life after Kennedy. What follows is my portion of the State of the School address.

Good Evening Kennedy Family-
I am thrilled to be starting my second year at John F. Kennedy Catholic Schools as Upper Campus Principal. To the parents out there, your children are a complete joy. They are the best part of my day, every day. When I left the classroom and the gym as a teacher and coach, I didn’t realize how much I would miss being around students. I am so happy to have the opportunity to be here now.

Tonight I w…


It's a new year!

Many people have asked how year one went and if I am ready for year two to begin. Year one, much like parenting, was challenging but extremely rewarding. Being in education for fourteen years in a few different roles provided me with a lot of background knowledge stepping into this position. However, with every new place and new role, there was a learning curve. Some days the curve was a rolling hill and other days as steep as the face of a cliff. It reminds me so much of parenting--the daily tasks are sometimes overwhelming. (I barely finish cleaning up from dinner and someone wants me to make a snack. Please. Stop.) But once in a while, your kid will stop what they are doing, crawl on your lap, and say "I love you mom" for no reason at all. All those loads of laundry and fighting about what shoes to wear (not the black boots, it's SUMMER) are forgotten. It feels worth it.

Being a principal is a lot like that. There are mundane tasks and paperwork …

Commencement Address 2018

It is with great joy that I address the Class of 2018 today, at your graduation. It has been quite a journey this year, but now it is at an end. And I’m just a mom, standing here, trying to yell last minute directions to you as you walk out the door and get in the car to leave.

My favorite quote is:

“It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad." Hatch or Go Bad. Those are your choices. You can’t simply stay the same. So I have just a few things to remind you what you’ve learned over the years at Kennedy, to help you hatch.

The first is: show up. It sounds easy, right? It’s not as obvious as you think, which is why I had to invent the “Tardy Party” for excessive late arrivals. Show up to class, show up to work and be there on time. Have the right things with you. You know, li…

Finished. For now.

The end of the year is in sight. While the finish line looks so close, right after that last sign of relief, the work, and the journey, will continue.

Our students are preparing for finals and while scheduling their courses for next year. Their choices are reflective of their performance from this school year. They are working eventually towards earning their diploma, the ultimate finish line of high school.

The seniors are gone. They walked out with clean lockers (well, mostly), finals complete. Next week holds practices for the end of the year celebrations. Done? No....Just beginning in fact. Even though I have a "milestone" high school reunion this year--my own graduation feels like it is a million miles in the past, BEFORE the beginning of my adult life. College, career,'s all just the beginning.

The teachers are counting down too. Unless you have worked in the school, it's hard to know how emotionally draining being an educator is. I even forgot a li…

Test Less. Smile More.

Standardized testing season is upon us. At Kennedy, we are thankfully removed from much of the high-stakes testing requirements imposed by federal and state mandates; however, we are required to give tests to determine points for graduation (which replaced the Ohio Graduation Test, or OGT, for the Class of 2018 and beyond). The Diocese has selected the IOWA assessments- a nationally normed test that allows us to track academic progress in key areas. We also use the ACT college entrance exam. Students receiving state-funded scholarships are required to take the state-mandated tests in grades 3-8 as well.
My history with this high-stakes testing is a bitter one. I was a teacher in a public school, in a tested subject. I had to get all my content taught before the test at the end of April. I had to review, guess what content the state would stress this year, ending with student scores published in the newspaper at the end of it all. I am not a nervous or anxious person by nature....and …

Just for Kicks, Just for Kennedy

It's auction season!

I have told you all before that auction was the first Kennedy event I really attended. It was 10 years ago (wow!).

What an amazing night! I was really blown away by the whole event. Being at a live auction for the first time was so exciting. I admit, I got caught up in the moment and bid on a Lake Erie Boat trip, which to this day I haven't lived down. Thankfully I didn't win--at that point, we were not at a financial place to spend over a thousand dollars on a day trip--but it sounded great at the time. (Please refer to the Friends episode when Joey buys the Mr. Beaumont. One of my favorites). I didn't win anything in the Chinese auction that year. (I do have a Gucci and Juicy Couture purse from the following two years though. On a current 7-year slump, looking for luck at the purse table next week). I also was outbid on every silent auction item. I went to the Kennedy auction and didn't "win" a single thing.

However, that night wasn…

Our Hearts, outside our body

Having a child is to "decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body" -Elizabeth Stone
Every day, I send my heart to school. They get out of the car with bookbags too big for their little bodies, winter hats already mussing up their ponytails, wearing jumpers and kneesocks. They kiss me, say goodbye and off they walk into school. 
Every day I drop them off, there isn't a time my throat doesn't catch as they close the door and I pull out of the parking lot. I should be worried if they will eat all of their lunch, or if they get along with their classmates, or if they should be more advanced in their reading level. I shouldn't worry there could be a safety incident.
Every day, my heart is across town. I can't be there; and parents at Upper Campus, you send your hearts to me. So I want you to be assured that while we can never guarantee a risk-free environment, we, the administration and faculty, are working hard to be proactive regarding…

Remember Why You Started

Exercising is hard. It's hard to find time in my day. It's hard to be motivated. I don't particularly like doing any solo exercising, like running, but trying to fit in a class, or find enough people to play a sport is harder and harder as we all become more busy with our parenting schedules. 
I happen to have a friend that is really dedicated to exercising. Her social media posts are inspiring, her habits are enviable. (Not to mention her workout gear is totally on point, you know who you are!). She posted this quote recently:

It really hit me in the feels. I know it was about getting in a workout. But it was something I needed. When things are hard, remember why you started. 
Being an educator is important, and it is important EVERY. DAY. Sometimes its grueling, with demands coming from every which way. Sometimes it is thankless. Often making a decision that is right is not always one that is politic or popular. Sometimes I make mistakes, sometimes I have to excuse mist…

One Word

Trending in early 2018 was #oneword. The idea is based on New Year's Resolutions and the highly unlikely chance that anyone follows through with their list of things to change in the new year. Instead, choose one word only, and focus on that. Just one word.

In reality, my one word could be something like... #laundry. Man, does that stuff pile up. But I only get ONE word. So laundry seems pretty ridiculous as the number one thing to focus on. After all, when all the clothes are clean, I don't think I have enough hangers to put it all away...

There were a few words that I liked, but felt a little ambiguous. Just like a joke isn't funny when you have to explain it, these words lose their meaning, or worse, take on a negative tone. For instance, I want to be #relentless. Hard-working and determined; non-stop grinding at my tasks until they are done to the best of my ability and when finished, step back and see what I can do better. Except #relentless makes me think of my kids…