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Ms. Holloran's Writer's Corner

June 7, 2019

posted Jun 9, 2019, 1:55 PM by Christine Roman

Dear Parents/Guardians,
Well, the Boston Bruins lost game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals to the St. Louis Blues. Their whole season is down game 6! If they win, their season will continue to the final game of the season-game 7. But if they lose game 6, their season will be over. As we wind down our school year, do our students, teachers, administration, and staff feel like they are “playing their final games right now?” Starting this week and continuing for the next few weeks, students will take different end-of-the-year assessments. Do our students realize that this is their “game 6”? Do they realize that the work they did on the first day of school plays a role in the outcome of the “game”? For many, the hours of reading at home, doing homework, listening in class, and being engaged in the different activities will help them achieve success. This “game” cannot be played without the help of teammates and coaches. Working together with their classmates every day makes a difference. But this “game” cannot be won without the leadership of their coaches—teachers, interventionists, support staff and most of all, their #1 coach—YOU!

I hope the Bruins and Coach Bruce Cassidy will be as prepared for their “game 6” Sunday night as our students are right now. Having been in a few “final games” myself as a coach and athlete, it is one of the most exciting and nerve racking experiences. But if you have done the hard work, put in the time at practice, studied the game, and grown from individual athletes into a team, you have a much better chance
of being victorious in the end. Just like our students are prepared to show us all the knowledge and skills they have gained throughout this year.

Have a great weekend & GO BRUINS!


PS. On a personal note, I would like to thank our amazing faculty, staff, district administration, and parents for their support over the past few weeks. I was out all of last week due to the death of my dad. The outpouring of cards, texts, flowers, and people attending his wake and funeral was remarkable. These gestures helped me get through the most challenging week of my life and for that, I will be forever grateful.

May 24, 2019

posted May 26, 2019, 8:01 AM by Christine Roman

Dear Parents and Guardians, 

If you have read my previous newsletters, you know that I follow Tim Elmore’s blog on Leading the Next Generation.  This week he said, “Developing great kids is work. Perhaps more work than any of us realized. Especially today. I compare it to the difference between a wedding and a marriage. We all love weddings because they’re about romance and love. They are an event to celebrate. Only later do we realize how much work it requires to experience a good marriage. One is an event. The other is a process. So it is with children. The birth of a child is a celebration, but the act of parenting is where the real work starts. To be blunt, the “labor pains” really begin the moment we begin raising our children. We need to be celebrating parents who do the “work” of developing great future adults.” 

As you know, I am not married and have no children.  But I have been fortunate to be an aunt and godmother to some amazing young people.  I have watched my sister, brothers, and best friend raise their children.  I have witnessed all of my siblings, my parents, and close friends as they have adventured in their marriages for over 25+ years.  I have seen the good, bad, and ugly! Yes, I don’t live it 24/7 but I have witnessed enough to know that parenting is not an easy task. 

I spent time with my Mom on Wednesday and Thursday this week hanging in my dad’s room at the nursing home.  To pass the time, I told her what this week’s article would be about for our weekly newsletter.  Then I asked her if she had any advice to share.  Here is what she shared: 
  1. Don’t try to “keep up with the Joneses.”  Teach and model with your children that you don’t need the newest clothes, sneakers, cellphone, or car.  Don’t waver on your house rules or morals just because “others are doing it.” 
  2. Give your children a daily chore without an allowance.  Children need to learn that being part of a family takes everyone chipping in to get things done.  Growing up, my siblings and I had a daily chore,  and it rotated every week.  Our chores were taking out the trash, setting and clearing the table and emptying the dishwasher.  We also helped my dad shovel when it snowed and raked the leaves in the yard. 
  3. Don’t be their friend, be their parent.  Children need to understand that there is a difference.   
  4. Make your family your priority.  Spend time with them.  Play catch outside, go for a walk, watch a TV show together, teach them how to swim, cook together, snuggle reading a book and have dinner together.  Get off your phones as adults! Don’t give cell phones to elementary-aged children.  Teach your children how to play (and play with them)—cards, chess, and board games. Laugh, smile, joke, and talk—all of those things will create lasting memories and a true family! 
Have a great long weekend! 

May 17, 2019

posted May 20, 2019, 5:42 AM by Christine Roman

Dear Parents and Guardians,

I had to double check my address on my license because it feels like I am living in Seattle, Washington and not Alexandria, New Hampshire with all of this rain! We were fortunate that the rain stopped in time for our students to get out for lunch recess and for me to have Intramural Kickball. The field was wet and muddy but we had a good time.

Spring is a busy time of year for most of us. Spring sports like baseball, lacrosse, and flag football interrupt evening bedtimes. Families celebrate graduations, proms, weddings, and other events with parties, BBQs, and bonfires. Our schedules and daily routines seem to get all messed up and inconsistent.

However, research will tell us that children/students like consistency and routines. At our May Faculty Meeting, we reviewed the importance of teaching until the last day and how we need to keep our daily schedule as consistent as possible. We also discussed that change is difficult and stressful for many people. We want to help keep the momentum of learning going so we may continue to “grow their brains.”

We will sprinkle in some fun along the way through some academic field trips, YOU ROCK assembly, and field day. We ask that parents try to get their child to bed as close to their bedtime as possible and to keep reading nightly. Some families might have to get creative and read in the car or study math facts around the campfire.

Together, we can make the end of the year enjoyable, fun, educational, and memorable. Have a great weekend!

May 10, 2019

posted May 12, 2019, 12:14 PM by Christine Roman

Dear Parents and Guardians,
On Sunday, we will celebrate Mother’s Day. I often wonder if it was the card companies that created these holidays. I learned this week a little about the history of Mother’s Day by reading information on the history.com website. Ancient Greeks and Romans held festivals in honor of the mother goddesses, Rhea and Cybele. The United Kingdom and parts of Europe celebrated on the fourth Sunday in Lent when the faithful would return to their “mother church” for a special service. Over time, it became more of a secular holiday. In the United States, the origin dates back to the 19th century. Some early activists include Ann Reeves Jarvis, Julia Ward Howe, Juliet Calhoun Blakely, Mary Towles Sasseen, and Frank Hering. In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a measure officially establishing Mother’s Day to be the second Sunday in May.

Our mothers or mother figures not only teach us when we are young but their lessons continue throughout all of our lives. I am so fortunate to have one amazing mom! She has been a “rock star” since day one. At one point, my mom had four children, including a set of twins, all under the age of four. She has always put our needs first. Through her actions and words, she has shown us—unconditional love, kindness, hard work, compassion, empathy, forgiveness, toughness, loyalty, commitment, and friendship. As a kid, I don’t think it registered with me all of the things she did. All I knew was that she was always there, running the house, making meals, supervising us, and giving hugs. As I grew into a teenager, I started to realize how she put her needs last, was the disciplinarian in our family, continued to run the house, and saw her amazing work ethic. As an adult, I have seen more clearly her unconditional love for her family and my dad, witnessed her honesty, watched her budget finances, and admired her strengthen of character in so many situations. How lucky am I for all that my mom has provided and given to me!

In my reading, I also learned that more phone calls are made on Mother’s Day than any other day of the year. This really didn’t surprise me. Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers, grandmothers, aunts, godmothers, and foster mothers within our school community. May you be celebrated and loved not only Sunday but every day!

May 3, 2019

posted May 6, 2019, 9:41 AM by Christine Roman

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Welcome to May!  Although the weather doesn’t reflect springtime, the calendar tells us it’s that time of year. My father ended his teaching career in the classroom teaching middle school history.  He loved teaching and sharing information and events from the past to his students.  From those experiences he wanted them to learn, question, ponder and build humanity to become responsible and compassionate citizens. 

Barack Obama’s Instagram from yesterday would be an example of something my dad would take into his classroom and lead a discussion around with his students. So I thought I would continue to “carry his torch” and pass it along in my newsletter.

Yesterday (May 2nd) is Holocaust Remembrance Day.  It’s easy, on a day like this, to reflect at something of a distance. The photos are grainy now, dusty artifacts from another era. It was a different world then, we can tell ourselves—another place, another time. 

Fully grappling with the reality of the Holocaust, though, isn’t so simple. Because before the camps and the brown shirts, before the consolidation of political power, before millions of lives were extinguished, there were simply people, not altogether different from any of us, who chose to see their neighbors as different, as other, as something less. 

It’s a sadly familiar choice, one that we’ve seen generation after generation.  And today, in our world of encroaching division and calcifying bubbles, we’ve seen once again the swiftness with which that choice—that failure to recognize ourselves in one another—can accelerate into violence. 

So it’s up to us to make a different choice—to choose empathy over apathy; to sow seeds of hope rather than hate; to embrace our shared humanity, no matter how we worship, what we look like, who we love, or where our families came from. 
That’s how we can not only pause to remember a tragedy once a year but act on the lessons we’ve learned from it every day.

George Santayana said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”  Let it be our work to make sure that events such as the Holocaust and other acts of violence do not happen during our existence.

On another note, I went to see Mrs. Plante-Renaud this week.  She wanted to let everyone know that she misses her students and school communities.  Her broken bone and ligaments are healing, but slower than expected.  Although she will not be back this year, she wanted me to communicate that she will be returning next year!  

Have a great weekend.  Maybe the sun will come out!

April 19, 2019

posted Apr 29, 2019, 6:16 AM by Christine Roman

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Vacation is finally here! We had a great morning as a whole school walking down to New Hampton School to celebrate the ending of our One Book-One School, recognizing our term 2 solid attendance students, and honoring Colin and his family for their sacrifices as an active military family. 

I am reading Oprah’s new book, The Path Made Clear: Discovering Your Life’s Direction and Purpose. I am somewhat disappointed in the book. The book contains colorful pictures on each page and then there are small pieces of conversations she has had with various people on different topics. Although she names the individuals, there is not a brief biography of the person, so for most of them, I have no idea who they are. If I knew a little more about the person, I feel I could have a stronger connection with their thoughts and ideas.

In the chapter called The Clouds, there are two different thoughts that made me ponder and reflect.
  • Iyanla Vanzant who is an American inspirational speaker, lawyer, New Thought spiritual teacher, author, and life coach and television personality shared this conversation with Oprah:
  • IV: “I am not fighting the world. I’m fighting that part of me that says, You can’t do that. Don’t do that. And there’s a part of me that says, Come on, we’re going to do this. And then there is the other part says, Don’t you remember what happened last time? Oh, you’re going to do that. You can’t do that. It’s in me. That is where the real battle is.
  • OW: And why? Because we’re afraid?
  • IV: Because we get to control it. We say, I know how to be broke, and poor and struggle and suffer and be angry. I know how to do that. But when it comes to being open and vulnerable—because the core ingredient of trust is vulnerability—that’s unfamiliar. The real issue is trusting yourself. But then again, that means that you got to be willing sometimes to stand alone. You’ve got to be willing to look different. Sound different. And those are risks that many of us are not willing to take.
  • Joel Osteen is an American pastor, televangelist, and author, based in Houston, Texas.
  • Joel was talking about how he stepped in and became the pastor at his dad’s church. For the first few months, he tried to do everything like his dad because he felt that was what everybody expected of him. However, he realized “Joel, your dad fulfilled his purpose. Go be you.
These two examples had me reflecting on—am I fulfilling my own purpose and am I being the true reflection on who I want to be and not from the thoughts and perceptions of others. Since it is a quick read, I will finish the book. I hope to get at least a few more thoughts to ponder and reflect.

Have a great weekend and enjoy your vacation!

April 12, 2019

posted Apr 15, 2019, 7:35 AM by Christine Roman   [ updated Apr 15, 2019, 7:39 AM ]

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Why is it, that some of the shorter weeks seem to be the longest? Great things happened this week at our community school. Students and families were able to shop at the Book Fair. We had a great turnout for our Family Bingo Night. Parents, students, and teachers celebrated students’ success and talked about areas of focus for the remainder of the year during conferences. Students in grades 3-5 signed a banner (which is hung proudly outside of our school) to say that they would try their hardest on the upcoming state testing.

As we know, reading is the most crucial academic skill because it is the foundation for learning. Students in the primary grades learn to read and then students in the upper grades read to learn. Research shows that if students aren’t proficient readers by the end of third grade, they struggle far more in school and have a greater chance of dropping out. At NHCS, we know these statistics and strategically provide high-quality research-based instruction. We also know learning to read comes easier for some students than others. Our instructional model addresses the five components of essential reading instruction:

From our data, those students that need additional support are provided additional instructional time through our RTI model. Our advanced students are provided with other opportunities such as Read Works, individualized research projects, and small group reading using chapter books.
We use various assessment tools to guide our instruction. These assessments include; DIBELS, NWEA, End of Unit Balanced tests, DRAs, high frequency checks, and spelling inventories.

Our entire staff believes that each person is a “teacher of reading” and values the importance of this work!

Have a great long weekend!

April 5, 2019

posted Apr 8, 2019, 5:34 AM by Christine Roman

Dear Parents and Guardians,

One of the reasons I write a weekly article is to provide information. I have read different articles this week on SEL (social-emotional learning), parenting strategies, time management, and leadership skills. I came across this article on Twitter I thought was interesting and would provide an opportunity for
parents to think about and ponder. I am cognizant of the fact; I am not a parent. So I understand that I don’t “get” parenting 100%, that there will be experiences I will never have an opportunity to be a part of, and I will never feel that unconditional love for a child. However, I have been around children and
teenagers for over 25 years and I thought this article was worth sharing.
7 Crippling Parenting Behaviors That Keep Children From Growing Into Leaders by Kathy Caprino

While I spend my professional time now as a career success coach, writer, and leadership trainer, I was a marriage and family therapist in my past, and worked for several years with couples, families, and children. Through that experience, I witnessed a very wide array of both functional and dysfunctional parenting behaviors. As a parent myself, I’ve learned that all the wisdom and love in the world doesn’t necessarily protect you from parenting in ways that hold your children back from thriving, gaining independence and becoming the leaders they have the potential to be.

I was intrigued, then, to catch up with leadership expert Dr. Tim Elmore and learn more about how we as parents are failing our children today -- coddling and crippling them -- and keeping them from becoming leaders they are destined to be. Tim is a best-selling author of more than 25 books, including Generation iY: Our Last Chance to Save Their Future, Artificial Maturity: Helping Kids Meet the Challenges of Becoming Authentic Adults, and the Habitudes® series. He is Founder and President of Growing Leaders, an organization dedicated to mentoring today's young people to become the leaders of tomorrow.

Tim had this to share about the 7 damaging parenting behaviors that keep children from becoming leaders – of their own lives and of the world’s enterprises:

1. We don’t let our children experience risk
We live in a world that warns us of danger at every turn. The “safety first” preoccupation enforces our fear of losing our kids, so we do everything we can to protect them. It’s our job after all, but we have insulated them from healthy risk-taking behavior and it’s had an adverse effect. Psychologists in Europe have discovered that if a child doesn’t play outside and is never allowed to experience a skinned knee, they frequently have phobias as adults. Kids need to fall a few times to learn it’s normal; teens likely need to break up with a boyfriend or girlfriend to appreciate the emotional maturity that lasting relationships require. If parents remove risk from children’s lives, we will likely experience high arrogance and low self-esteem in our growing leaders.

2. We rescue too quickly
Today’s generation of young people has not developed some of the life skills kids did 30 years ago because adults swoop in and take care of problems for them. When we rescue too quickly and overindulge our children with “assistance,” we remove the need for them to navigate hardships and solve problems on their own. It’s parenting for the short-term and it sorely misses the point of leadership—to equip our young people to do it without help. Sooner or later, kids get used to someone rescuing them: “If I fail or fall short, an adult will smooth things over and remove any consequences for my misconduct.” When in reality, this isn’t even remotely close to how the world works, and therefore it disables our kids from becoming competent adults.

3. We rave too easily
The self-esteem movement has been around since Baby Boomers were kids, but it took root in our school systems in the 1980s. Attend a little league baseball game and you’ll see that everyone is a winner. This “everyone gets a trophy” mentality might make our kids feel special, but research is now
indicating this method has unintended consequences. Kids eventually observe that Mom and Dad are the only ones who think they’re awesome when no one else is saying it. They begin to doubt the objectivity of their parents; it feels good in the moment, but it’s not connected to reality. When we rave
too easily and disregard poor behavior, children eventually learn to cheat, exaggerate and lie and to avoid difficult reality. They have not been conditioned to face it.

4. We let guilt get in the way of leading well
Your child does not have to love you every minute. Your kids will get over the disappointment, but they won’t get over the effects of being spoiled. So tell them “no” or “not now,” and let them fight for what they really value and need. As parents, we tend to give them what they want when rewarding our
children, especially with multiple kids. When one does well in something, we feel it’s unfair to praise and reward that one and not the other. This is unrealistic and misses an opportunity to enforce the point to our kids that success is dependent upon our own actions and good deeds. Be careful not to teach them a good grade is rewarded by a trip to the mall. If your relationship is based on material rewards, kids will experience neither intrinsic motivation nor unconditional love.

5. We don’t share our past mistakes
Healthy teens are going to want to spread their wings and they’ll need to try things on their own. We as adults must let them, but that doesn’t mean we can’t help them navigate these waters. Share with them the relevant mistakes you made when you were their age in a way that helps them learn to make good
choices. (Avoid negative “lessons learned” having to do with smoking, alcohol, illegal drugs, etc.) Also, kids must prepare to encounter slip-ups and face the consequences of their decisions. Share how you felt when you faced a similar experience, what drove your actions, and the resulting lessons learned. Because we’re not the only influence on our kids, we must be the best influence.

6. We mistake intelligence, giftedness and influence for maturity
Intelligence is often used as a measurement of a child’s maturity, and as a result parents assume an intelligent child is ready for the world. That’s not the case. Some professional athletes and Hollywood starlets, for example, possess unimaginable talent, but still get caught in a public scandal. Just because
giftedness is present in one aspect of a child’s life, don’t assume it pervades all areas. There is no magic “age of responsibility” or a proven guide as to when a child should be given specific freedoms, but a good rule of thumb is to observe other children the same age as yours. If you notice that they are doing more themselves than your child does, you may be delaying your child’s independence.

7. We don’t practice what we preach
As parents, it is our responsibility to model the life we want our children to live. To help them lead a life of character and become dependable and accountable for their words and actions. As the leaders of our homes, we can start by only speaking honest words – white lies will surface and slowly erode
character. Watch yourself in the little ethical choices that others might notice, because your kids will notice too. If you don’t cut corners, for example, they will know it’s not acceptable for them to either. Show your kids what it means to give selflessly and joyfully by volunteering for a service project or
with a community group. Leave people and places better than you found them, and your kids will take note and do the same.

Have a great weekend!

March 29, 2019

posted Apr 1, 2019, 7:03 AM by Christine Roman

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Maybe we have turned the corner on cold and chilly mornings. Bus duty was different this morning. I did not have to wear my winter hat and wool socks! I enjoy this time of year. My golf clubs are back in my car and soon I can sit out on my porch to watch the sunset. As a teacher, I also loved this time of year. 
The time between February break and April break was a solid opportunity for learning time. I had built those strong relationships with my students and now was the time to push and take risks to have ultimate learning happen.

As we turn the calendar to April, we have a lot happening over the next few months. So let me highlight them:
 April 8-12—Buy One/Get One Free Book Fair—see flyer coming soon from Mrs. Roman
 April 11—Family Bingo Night 6:00-7:00 p.m.—see flyer at the end of this week’s newsletter
 April 12—Parent/Teacher Conferences: I hope you have signed up already with your child’s classroom teacher. This is a time for you to come in to meet        with the teacher to discuss your child’s academic and social progress. Review our most current data and also touch base about the goals you set at your        child’s fall conference.
 April 15-19—Culminating events for our One Book-One School
 Students in Grades 3-5 will take our state tests—a letter will go home early next week with more information. Grade 5 will take ELA and math before April    break. All other tests will happen after the break.
 May 2—PTO Kid’s Expo
 May 6—Kindergarten Connections—do you know of a child living in New Hampton and will enter kindergarten next year? Please have them call the office to    register and join us for this event.
 May 6-10—Teacher Appreciation Week
 May 9—Penny Hunt & Hide ‘n Seek 6:30-7:30 p.m.
 May 15—Spring Concert—6:30 p.m. @ NRHS
Have a great weekend!

March 22, 2019

posted Mar 25, 2019, 5:08 AM by Christine Roman

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Happy Spring! I am so excited to see the snow melting and feel the warmer temperatures. My trip to Chicago was insightful. I gained some new knowledge, did some touristy things (saw The Bean), reaffirmed some of my core beliefs in education (building relationships matter), and had some amazing food (Gino’s East and the Rosebud).

Here are some takeaways from different presenters (not all of them):

Maurice Elias-No Need to Choose: Integrating Social-Emotional and Academic Learning to Help Students Thrive
 NJ’s 5 Competencies in their Social-Emotional Curriculum—1. Self-Awareness; 2. Self-Management; 3. Responsible Decision-Making; 4. Relationship Skills; 5. Social Awareness (casel 2017)
 We need to teach skills and help develop character traits
 As a school, we need to practice and model what we teach!

Mike Roberts-Ten Things Every Teacher Should Be Doing in Their Class Every Day
 Just to name a few—Positive Attitude; Engaging Lesson; Vary Your Teaching Method; Include Movement and Create Relationships
Dwayne Reed—Warm-up before the Keynote on Saturday
 His creative teaching and music went viral on YouTube; I loved his energy and passion for kids and making learning fun! Check out his video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XBLcuGunRxU

Ron Clark—Keynote Saturday
 Don’t be a “bread” teacher be the “pizza”! His belief is that bread is nice, but it is boring. He wants teachers to be pizza with a lot of toppings!
 Ron, author of the books- The Essential 55 and The End of Molasses Classes, was Disney Teacher of the Year and now runs The Ron Clark Academy.
Tim Elmore—A New Strategy to Approach Social and Emotional Learning
 Dr. Elmore is President and Founder of Growing Leaders. He is a best-selling author. As a district, we read last summer his book, Marching Off The Map.
 He provided advice and suggestions on how to work, guide, and mentor our Generation Y and Generation Z populations. He also referred to Casel’s Social and Emotional competencies.
 Discussed his belief that we can teach SEL skills through pictures and discussion. I liked his example of Chess vs. Crackers from one of his Habitudes book.

Jen Schwanke—Avoiding Principal Burnout: How to manage the challenges and keep the joy.
 There were a lot of laughs and reaffirmation during this presentation. I felt like I wasn’t alone on this journey of being a school principal. Also allowed me to reflect on how I keep the joy in my job.

Doris Kearns Goodwin—Sunday-Keynote-Presidential Leadership Lessons
 She was a very fast talker! It was insightful to learn about her study of four of our past presidents and their different leadership styles. It was interesting to hear about how her career evolved.
James Carville and Mary Matalin—All’s Fair: Love, War, and Politics
 I am not a big political follower and I really knew nothing about these two presenters. This 45-minute session allowed us to see the interactions between two people (husband and wife) and how they have maintained opposite political views, but have remained married for 26 years. James spoke about his teaching experiences as a middle school science teacher and now as a college professor. Mary shared stories of their daughter’s life as an elementary special education teacher and Mary’s work volunteering at her local parish schools.

Another highlight from going to this conference is our time spent together as an administrative team. We had our meals together and tried to add in some tourist sites. During our time, we celebrated the great things happening in our schools, problem-solved some of our issues, discussed and debated educational topics, shared updates on our families, and laughed!

Moving forward, I will share some of my insights at our April faculty meeting. I will volunteer to sit on our district’s SEL committee. I will continue to build stronger relationships with my staff, students, and parents. I will continue to model how to be a lifelong learner!

I know this is a longer article than usual, but I wanted to share with you what happens when I (we) go to different professional development opportunities.

Have a great spring weekend!

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