Thursday, November 29, 2012

Students Run Lunch Intramural Tournaments

One of the reasons middle school students are so fun to work with is that they are old enough to begin taking on new responsibilities.  Many have developed skill-sets that can translate into real-world application.  As educators, we have a responsibility to tap into their intellectual and social growth, providing them opportunities to succeed.

At DSMS, students (under the guidance of DSMS duty aide extraordinaire, Joel Newbury) organize lunch intramural tournaments each quarter.  During the 1st quarter, students organized, promoted, and successfully ran a dodge ball tournament during 7th and 8th grade lunches.  The bleachers were filled with spectators as students participated in dodge ball games, met new friends, enjoyed physical activity, and bonded as a campus.  The winning team earned an opportunity to play one final game against DSMS teachers!  Can you imagine being 12 years old and getting to hit your teacher in the face with a dodge ball ... consequence free?  Awesome!

The dodge ball tournament was beneficial for our students and campus in many ways.  One of the most important benefits was that students were given opportunities to facilitate, organize, manage, and market a complicated event, from beginning to end.  The students will use those skills in whatever industry they decide to pursue later in life.  We couldn't be more proud.

Within the next few days, the 2nd quarter lunch intramural tournament will begin.  The sport - volleyball!  The student leaders organizing the tournament are going to try online team registration for this tournament.  Well-played.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Modeling Expected Behavior

I'm always amazed at the impressive behaviors we get from our DSMS students.  They are respectful, kind, compassionate, caring, and understanding.  We are very lucky and grateful to have the opportunity to work with our kids every day.

Last night, DSMS hosted a community meeting regarding the possibility of closing 3 elementary schools, including Sandpiper Elementary School, one of 5 current PVUSD elementary schools that feed into DSMS.  I would imagine there are few educational scenarios that could be more emotional and personal than the possibility of closing a school.  During the meeting last night, Sandpiper parents had the opportunity to make public comments to the PVUSD Superintendent and his Cabinet.  Given the emotion involved in this process, I anticipated the event might include some awkward moments.

I could not have been more impressed with the Sandpiper parents, who reinforced what I have long known about the families in our community.  They were reflective, articulate, and understanding.  They were unbelievably professional while commenting on a scenario that couldn't be more personal.  They were aware of the opposing perspective and kind in the way they voiced their disagreement.

As I sat in the back of the room observing, I couldn't help but draw the connection between the impressive behavior of the parents and the way their children carry themselves at school each day.  Through a very difficult process, the Sandpiper parents were teaching their children how to appropriately advocate for what they want.  They were modeling expected behavior and it was a valuable lesson for parents in all communities.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Assistance

On Monday of this week, DSMS Counselor, Susan O'daniel, learned of an opportunity to assist families impacted by Hurricane Sandy by collecting new socks and gently used blankets, sweaters, and jackets.  The only problem ... the items needed to be collected, packed, and shipped the following day.  Mrs. O'daniel jumped into action and recruited her Pathways Leadership class to assist.  Click the link below for a quick video showing what they were able to accomplish in just over 24 hours.

DSMS Hurricane Sandy Assistance Video