Today – 2/26/14 – Happenings in the UFRSD


8th graders at SBMS discuss structural engineering during their Applied Tech class.


AHS students prepare a stir fry during their Foods class. The smell was delicious!


Mrs. Barber works with enthusiastic students focusing on math facts.


A unique cell project for 8th grade science made out of a chair.


AHS students build bridges focusing on engineering principles.


5th grade students at SBMS shared, with great pride, their Olympic scrapbooks.



Day of Learning – Students and Teachers – 2/25/14

Whenever we have an early dismissal, the afternoons are also filled with productivity and communication. Yesterday, NES and SBMS had parent-teacher conferences while AHS had staff development in the afternoon.


A full room of teachers hears the benefits of Google docs for students and teachers from one of their own, Mr. Wicks!


The English department takes part in a webinar that supports software that looks at student writing and gives immediate feedback to students and teachers.


Mrs. Heissler works with a guided reading group. Earthquakes and tsunamis are the topic for the day!



2/24/14 – A Day of Learning


1st graders in Mrs. Tate and Mrs. DeSarno’s classroom work with Mrs. Gleason to identify what they infer from the text.


Mrs. Tate shares information about an author to help students better understand text.




AHS Drafting and Design projects


AHS students share vocabulary from text.



We do have a GREAT district!

I am such a believer in the UFRSD! I am not complacent in action, but more inspired by the work I see each and every day. We are not perfect, but we are perfect in our determination and commitment to be even better.

As I walked through Newell today, I saw 3rd graders celebrating their informational writing – highlighting the text features present in their writing. I saw a group of teachers meeting about kids and curriculum with Mrs. Huggins. At Stone Bridge, 6th graders were creating vortexes/tornadoes in a glass jars and teachers were sharing ideas for STEM related classes for the upcoming school year. At AHS, in the green house, aqua plants and koi (fish) were being harvested during the aquaculture class. The entire AHS community was getting ready for their professional development days that are focused on important topics related to writing, geometry, Google and more. Teaching, learning and making our schools the best for kids was the focus today (and every day)!

Needless to say, I am so confident in this district. We have grown tremendously over the last 7 years, and we are SO looking forward to the next 7 and what is to come in the UFRSD!


Koi (fish) and aqua plants at AHS are harvested in the greenhouse.


3rd graders in Ms. Leister’s class share “Post-its” that include things they learned about informational writing.


SBMS G&T students discuss their topics for their research projects.

Day of Learning – 2/17/14

I was so very impressed with the students who were a part of the SBMS play, “Li’l Abner.” Whether they were on the stage or behind the curtain, they worked as a team and demonstrated true excellence and skill. I am so proud of all of them.  See pics below of the AP Honors Wall at AHS and an terrific Writing Workshop environment.


The cast of “Li’l Abner” salutes the crowd / The first scene of the play!


The brand new AP Honors Wall at AHS celebrating students who scored a “5” on their AP tests! Such a great idea!!!

2.17.142Students in Mrs. Larkin’s language are reviewing non-fiction research and are posing questions that may prompt the author to elaborate further.



Love (appropriate for Valentine’s Day) of Learning – 2/14/14

My day started with an inspiring, insightful, and deep conversation about Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood. I sat in on Mrs. Johnson’s English IV Honors class, and I left with the utmost confidence in our AHS students. The level of understanding and conversation was inspiring. Our seniors were so remarkable debating, commenting, questioning, and arguing over the intended message of Capote’s work. Needless to say, it was a terrific way to start my day.

Here are a few other pics from today:


“I love you to pieces.” This Pre-K student created a gift that will be sure to make someone’s day.


A 5th grade in Mrs. Gaul’s language arts class reads a piece of their writing to an audience. Students took part in an Author’s Celebration!



Day of Learning – February 11, 2014

2nd – 4th graders listen to Mr. Rowley as he introduces Rachel’s Challenge (sponsored by our GREAT PTA) to our NES students. The program focused on five “challenges:” 1. Use Kind Words and Do Nice Things

2. Accept and Include Others

3. Choose Positive Influences and Be a Positive Influence

4. Set Goals and Keep a Journal

5. Continue the Chain Reaction

AHS students highlight the 16 career fields related to Economics class.

PTA sponsored t-shirts were distributed to NES staff focusing attention on the C.A.R.E.S. values.


Through my eyes…Day of Learning – February 10, 2014

The very best parts of my day involve interacting with students, teachers and parents. I saw lots of great things yesterday.

.2.10.143 AHS students learning video editing with Mr. Schubauer.


The SBMS Class of 2014 hears about the many offerings of AHS from Mrs. Embley and Mrs. DeLuca.


Kindergartners working on consonant sound / letter relationships in Ms. Bores’ classroom.


PTA volunteers teach about the masters through NES’ Meet the Artists program. A GREAT partnership!


SBMS teachers attend a workshop about students with ADD/ADHD. Always looking for ways to meet the needs of every learner!

Day of Learning – February 7, 2014

Mr. Mount teaches students at NES strategies for using mental math.


SBMS students listen to Jimmy Valvano’s famous, “Don’t Give Up…Don’t Ever Give Up” speech as the culmination of Quest for the Cure Week benefiting the Jimmy V Foundation.


8th grade students at SBMS compare plant and animal cells during.

Kids don’t care what you know until they know you care!

The title of this post is my absolute favorite educational quote, “Kids don’t care what you know until they know you care.” Many people are given the credit for saying it, so I usually just say, “Author Unknown.” I first heard it from an educational guru who happen to be a family friend, Jim Grant. It has stayed with me throughout my years in education and has become a focus of what I believe.

Recently, a teacher sent me this video. I am definitely a fan of Rita Pierson!