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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Spring Time

I love Spring.  The main reason is personal - baseball season arrives!  I love watching spring training games on TV.  This spring is really special because I can watch some of the World Classic Baseball Tournament that only happens every four years.
Middle School Students Preparing
MBA's Spring Flowers.

As I update my blog today (March 15), I should be talking about the lovely spring weather, getting the lawn prepared for summer, and enjoying preseason baseball.  Instead, it's 25 degrees outside and we've barely missed a couple of snow events.  Where did all the 70 degree weather we had in February go?  Oh well, we will just have to adjust.

Having to adjust to the "unexpected" is something we do at Meadowbrook everyday.  Our students are getting individualized instruction, so it must be flexible.  It is not unusual see something work today, but it doesn't work the next day.  While this can be problematic, we use it as a teaching tool with our students.  Learn to adjust to keep moving forward.

I was having this same discussions with a couple of staff members on this topic just this morning.  We were talking about how many issues hit us even before we get inside the door of the school each day.  When I arrive at school, most of my mornings consist of clocking in, turning on the announcement boards, getting a cup of coffee, checking my agenda for the day, and checking in with the staff.  That is my routine.  But it's not unusual for me to have a morning that looks much different:

...we have issue with the heat/AC, this staff member is out and we can't find a sub, this parent has called and demands that you call them back before 8am, a bus is running late, etc....  

My choices are to 1) adjust, or 2) go back home.  Going back home isn't going to solve anything, so I adjust.   If I had a "reset" button somewhere on my person, I'd use it. (see JANUARY 27, 2016 BLOG ENTRY)

Everyone loves their routines.  They are comfortable and create very little stress for us to deal with.  But when something breaks that routine, we have to adjust.  This is a valuable lesson for our students so they can compete in the workplace once they graduate.  Sometimes we have to stand our ground on certain issues, but knowing when to stand-up is the key for a successful outcome.  Most of the time we simply have to adjust.

As we spring forward into Spring, let's all be willing to adjust where we need to.  If we are not willing to adjust, life just might leave us behind.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017



2016 will go down in history as a year of surprises. People will remember 2016 as the year the everything happened that wasn't supposed to happen. At our school however, this occurs almost everyday. Our students are always surprising themselves that school can be a successful venture that leads to a bright and promising future.

Unfortunately, most people look at the Alternative School placement as the school where students go that do not have a future. It is also unfortunate that most of our new students have been convinced of this as well. They believe that a successful future is supposed to happenThis is the challenge; convincing these student that no matter the past, there is always a future that they control. It belongs to them and they can do anything they want with it.

It's a New Year. What are you going to do with your future? What's supposed to happen, or are you going to surprise us?

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Can You Feel The Love?

As we move into the Holiday Season, I have started thinking about all the activities that I have to prepare for that comes with this time of the year.  As I began the process, I reflected on last year and realized that a lot has changed.  We have just completed the national election process and have new leaders, our school system has a new superintendent, and the Cubs won the World Series.  Change will always be in the air.  But the trick is, can we change when we need to?

I have been preparing for the Regional Principal of the Year Interview lately, and it has forced me to think about how Meadowbrook became a successful school.  I have asked my teachers (and students) to change a lot of things over the past six years.  Some of the changes were very easy, but some have not very easy.  For example, in 2012 we moved into a digital environment that required our teachers to become more of a facilitator that required them to move around in the classroom and teach students one on one.  I remember several staff members questioning if this was what was best for the students, and I have to admit it was a very nervous time.  I asked myself everyday; "What if this doesn't work?".  But it didn't take long for me to realize it was going to work because the staff became determined to make it work.  Based on the results of our success, it was worth that little bit of struggle we had to go through.  It was about the needs of the students, not the needs of the staff.

I've always tried to use my talents for others.  This is what led me to becoming a school administrator.  I wanted to make sure students and staff had the support they needed to be successful.  At Meadowbrook, we support each other in every way possible.  Several weeks ago, we found out that one of our staff members was diagnosed with Cervical Cancer.  When it was known, the students and staff rallied to her side.  We made sure her classes would be covered when she had to be out, the students make sure to let her know when they have a cold so she can make sure to give them plenty of space, and the students and staff purchased bracelets to wear that say "No One Fights Alone."  The official color that represents Cervical Cancer is Teal, so there is a lot of Teal around our building.  We plan on being with her and supporting her through this process.  But what if she didn't share this with the school?  How would we know?  How could we support her?  How would she "Feel The Love?"

As I conclude, I want to ask a question that is often ask in jest a lot of time; "Do You Feel The Love?"  I'm not asking this to be funny, I am asking a serious question.  A lot of times we feel down or "bothered" by things simply because we will not share our feelings with our closest friends and family.  As we move into the Holiday Season, I hope everyone can communicate their feelings so others can support them and so everyone can "Feel The Love".

Sunday, August 28, 2016

2016-17 Has Arrived


It's hard to believe that this is the 6th year that I have been the Principal at Meadowbrook Academy.  We have accomplished so much in that time, and I couldn't be prouder of our staff and students.  But we are not satisfied because we still have many students that need our help.

Students will see several improvements at MBA this year.  First we have a new outside sign.  This is something we have needed for several years and shows our pride to the community.  We also have a new Meadowbrook Flag flying on the flag pole.  Our goals of Attendance, Attitude, and Academics now fly's high for everyone to see.  Our classroom POD has new carpet.  The tile floors in the POD were in need of constant repair over the past several years, and this new carpet will take care of that issue.  It also has made the classrooms much quieter.  And finally, Our Digital Environment also continues to expand with the addition of 75 new ChromeBooks.

2016-17 is going to be a great year at Meadowbrook Academy.

Monday, August 8, 2016

WELCOME To 21st Century Communication

Hello everyone.  This is not my usual blog because I am using it as an example for a Professional Development Session for Stokes County Schools Educators.

A Blog can be used for just about anything you want, but in education it can be a powerful communication tool with students, parents, and the community.  It can be for announcements, class assignments, class communication, or just general information about anything that's happening in your world.

BLOGGER BEWARE:  An educational blog should not be used for any type of personal agendas or opinions.  If you want to do that, you need to start your own personal blog that is not associated with anyone other than yourself.

Happy Blogging!!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

2015-16: A Great Year

It has been a great school year at Meadowbrook Academy.  I am so proud of so many people who have made this school year so successful.  Our graduation ceremony was outstanding with a wonderful speech from Kirk Branch (the first student in MBA history to be accepted into a four year University), and 21 graduates.  And, of course, a great song from Mr. Smith.  It was  great day.
Looking back over the year, we saw more success than we have ever had, and people are noticing.  I had the opportunity to present our program at five different conferences across the state.  I spoke with numerous educators about how Digital Learning has taken MBA to great heights, and it worked out very well.  The NC Senior Educational Advisor is recommending that other schools use the same model we are using in order to increase the needed workforce for North Carolina by 2025.  It's all about personalized education.

Now we move on to 2016-17.  Plans are now being made to expand our program to 100 students next year and we are hoping to continue growing as much as we can.... but we will continue to focus on personalized education for each student.

I would like to thank..... let's see..... where to begin.....  how about EVERYONE!  There's too many to mention.  You have made it great year!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

I recently had the opportunity to visit Wilmington NC while attending the North Carolina Association of School Administrators Conference.  I had not been to Wilmington since I was a little boy ( a LONG time ago), and I was curious what I would remember when I arrived.  I was a little surprised that I remembered a great deal, and recognized many of the landmarks and other sites.

Later the next day, I had a luncheon in a room that overlooked the Cape Fear River.  It was Beautiful,  As I watched the birds, trees, and tour boats outside the large window, I reflected back to my childhood and that one trip I had made to Wilmington.  While I couldn't recall everything, I could recall the things that made an impression on me.  What I remembered most was the smell of the fresh ocean air and how it made me feel good about everything around me.  "Don't Worry, Be Happy" was ringing through my head.

As I reflected, my thoughts turned to my own education and my experiences in Elementary, Middle , and High School.  I remember the first certificate I got in the first grade for reading my first book.  I also remember getting paddled the very next week for "rough housing" on the playground.  I remembered may other good (and not so good) experiences.  I was surprised that I remembered some of those things because I hadn't thought of them in many years.  It seems I retained more than I thought... as do our our current students.

Many things have changed in education over the years, but students still learn everything they need with good attendance and a positive attitude.  Our goals at Meadowbrook are:
1) Have Good Attendance
2) Have a Good Attitude
3) Have good Academic progress.

When these three goals are followed, the student WILL be successful and have a great experience.  They will remember some of the good things, and they will remember some of the bad things.  But they will always remember what success feels like.