Saturday, November 21, 2015

Finishing first!

Anyone who's ever played a sport wants to win the final game of the season. If you do it means you're the champion.

Last year Novi High School varsity volleyball lost their final game. They finished second. A great accomplishment, but still heart wrenching.

They learned lessons through losing. They learned about commitment, pressure, bouncing back, tenacity, grit, perseverance, and teamwork. But it still hurt.

Today was a different day. 

Novi High School varsity volleyball is the state champion. 

It is not often a team reaches the state championship two years in a row. It's also not often that a team gets to face the team that beat them the year before. But today Novi faced down that very same team. In winning today Novi showed they learned their lessons well.

Commitment, pressure, bouncing back, tenacity, grit, perseverance, and teamwork. The Wildcats learned their lessons well.

And today they are state champions!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Teachers care - for a very good reason

I visit schools. A lot!

When I visit I see things like this:

and this:

and this:

and this:
Teachers taking time to listen, model, encourage, and teach their students. Teachers taking time to invest in relationships with their students.


"No significant learning can occur without a significant relationship," said James Comer. Teachers understand that learning increases as they invest time with their students.

But it is not just time. Teachers need to communicate clearly to their students that the students matter. When students know and sense that they are important to their teachers the students invest more in their academic life.

It's hard work. It's messy work. It's fun work.

It's the work that the teachers in my district do every day!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

To the students on Bus #5

I sit in the middle of the bus. Twenty-four girls in front of me.

Twenty boys behind.

It's late. Just after 11:00 PM. We've been on the bus for just over three hours. We have many hours left before we reach our destination - Washington DC.

There's a rumble of voices around me. Some of you play video games on your phone. Some of you are texting friends. Some of you are talking. 

You don't know it yet but you'll remember this trip. The long bus ride. The sites you'll see. 

Arlington National Cemetery. The Lincoln Memorial. The long black wall of the Vietnam Memorial. The majesty of the Capitol. Smithsonian Museums.

The places and the Memorials that you will see remember those who made a difference. People who stood up, took a stand, gave their lives for others.

The world is a confusing place at times. But in times of chaos there have always been people who could see clearly what needed to be done. Washington DC honors people like that. 

Abraham Lincoln. George Washington. FDR. Thomas Jefferson. Martin Luther King. The men and women who served in Vietnam and Korea and WWII.

At some point in your life you will be asked to stand up, take a stand, give a portion of your life for someone else.

You may never have a granite memorial honoring what you have done - most of us won't. But there will be times of chaos where you will need to decide. Do I stand up? 

I have faith that you will. Some of you already have. Some of you have stood beside the one who had no friends. Some of you have volunteered to help someone in need. 

The world needs you to stand up, take a stand, give yourself to something bigger than yourself. Every generation builds on what others have done. Your generation will be no different.  

So let's enjoy Washington DC and be inspired by those who shaped our country.

And remember you have the chance to shape our country as well. Stand up, take a stand, give yourself to something bigger than you.