IMG_20130917_105147_968We’re 1/8 of the way through the 2013 school year.  We’re over halfway through the first nine week grading period.  Wow!  For four weeks now I have daily asked my fifth grader the simple question that all parents ask each night:  “how was school today?”  For four weeks, every night, I have received the same answer:  “AWESOME!”  She expands on her answers and each day there seems to be a different reason for the “awesome” response, but nevertheless, each day she feels like has been “awesome.”

As a parent this is “DOUBLE AWESOME!”  For all of our talk about making certain that all children grow at least one year academically, and our fanatical efforts to help those students that are behind receive “catch-up” growth.  For all of our talk about new and tougher learning standards, new curriculum resources, and new and more difficult assessments.  For all of our talk about those very important things, it still boils down to this….as a parent I also want my children to be happy and engaged.  And, research shows that when students are happy, they tend to learn more!

Thus far this year that is what I have in my fifth grader.  The credit is due to her fifth grade teachers: Johannah Benedict, Cristy Brinegar, and Bev Serozynski.  It’s probably also due to related arts teachers Kristin Jarzecki, Drew Moffatt, George Brinegar and Sharon Strock.  Even in my role with the school district, I’m not exactly sure what they are doing that connects with my child.  I’d love to do a qualitative study on this, but fifth grade daughters could do without their dad following them around and sitting in class with them.  Thus, I’m left to wonder and make assumptions.

What I do know is that they must be engaging my daughter in learning.  They must be allowing and encouraging her to write, reflect, speak, and interact with her peers.  They are certainly finding the right balance thus far with rigor and relationship.  She never says she is bored, and she often tells stories of “funny” things that happened in the classroom.

I heard a speaker a few weeks ago that in effect said: we are all either entering a storm, exiting a storm, or in the middle of a storm.  Essentially, there is bound to come some trouble in this life.  It makes me a bit nervous to write that it’s an “awesome” school year, but thus far it has been.  And for that, I am appreciative of great teachers!  Those who live out our words to commit, connect and contribute.

I hope you’re having an “Awesome” year as well!

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