Monday, November 19, 2012

Why am I thankful? Such a simple question with such a complex answer. As we begin Thanksgiving week, I wanted to write a post and attempt to share why I am thankful to work in the Hoover City School system at Hoover High School.

I am thankful to work in a school where students are the first item on the priority list- Daily I receive emails from teachers about how they have reached out to the parents of our students. These teachers are reaching out when students have personal issues, are struggling academically, or might have expressed a concern in their classroom. I also interact with teachers daily about how they can better meet the needs of their students in their classrooms. These discussions and interactions are not just about meeting the accountability standards and expectations, they are focused on helping students. Teachers at Hoover High School really care about students and put them first in all they do. I am thankful to be able to work with such an outstanding group of educators!

I am thankful to work in a school where we have the resources needed to be successful. I often hear stories of schools where they struggle to meet the needs of students because their resources are so limited. In Hoover, our community has made our schools a priority and support us at levels that make our jobs much easier. Our PTSO and the Hoover Foundation also work hard to support special projects and initiatives at our school. Our School Board is visionary and seeks ways to keep Hoover ahead to the curve with technology and instruction. This is not always the case. Jeff Johnson, a Physics teacher at HHS and an ACCESS teacher, works with Marion High School. When he visited Marion this past weekend, he found that it was not intelligence or work ethic holding students back- it was resources.

These are the 14 girls I teach ACCESS Physics to in Marion, Alabama. They have been working with substandard equipment all year. They were getting behind so I felt a responsibility to them to go have a work day with them. When I arrived I discovered that the computers they had to work with were very substandard, did not have the appropriate software on them and many would not even load the software. This was so unfair to these intelligent young women. We worked from 9 AM to 1:30 PM that day to get caught up. They were so intent on getting caught up they would  not take a break.

They really left a mark on me. I was really down driving back to Birmingham, AL. The next day I spoke with a wonderful woman from my church about the Marion girls, and as it turns out, she owns a computer recycling business. She is donating newly refurbished computers with all of the necessary software to these girls. Also, a Samford professor who also attends my church, is sending his tech people to Marion once or twice a year to make sure the computers are serviced and updated. YAAAAA for our side!

I am also thankful to be a part of the most caring and compassionate group of educators I have ever worked with. We take care of each other and we take are of our students. Mr. Johnson is just one of the thousands of things that our staff does outside of their job requirements to help students, the community, and each other on a daily basis. When someone needs help or support, we are there. I believe that a supportive and caring environment makes all the difference in the world. I look forward to coming to school each day and working with not only outstanding teachers and administrators, but outstanding people. People who will be there to dust you off when you fall and will celebrate your accomplishments. People who know that everyone and every job is important. I am thankful for everyone at HHS and I am a better person and administrator because of them.

Hoover High School is know for academic excellence, superior athletics, award winning band and fine arts programs, and much more. At the end of the day these are all important, but what I will always be thankful for are the students, teachers, staff members, and administrators who have make an impact on my life and always will. WE ARE HOOVER and I am thankful just to be a part of it!

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