Many years ago, as the turnaround began, one of the first activities that we completed together as a staff was to write the future into existence. We were tasked with envisioning the school one year down the road and writing the headlines of its success. As we looked around during this activity, we saw "Beach High Makes AYP in One Year," "Beach Rises to the Top of the District" and many others. And as we literally wrote those headlines into real existence, what many left out was the mere propensity of the staff that would emerge.
Some of us have carried the school from before the turnaround, passing on the Bulldog traditions, while others have chosen to stay on board even after we have been removed from the Priority school list. Others have been here to carry us through the sustainability portion after the turnaround, while others are new here yet forging new ground, bravely approaching each task, and persevering through some of the hardest days. It's not always easy. But we are here together on this journey, as our leaders have mentioned, and we are DEEPLY thankful for everything you do, both seen and unseen for our students, for each other, for the leaders, and for the school.
So, in honor of this season of Thanksgiving and thankfulness in general, I've compiled a list of thanks from our school leaders, your fellow faculty & staff members, and some students whose content perhaps remains unspoken on a daily, busy basis but nonetheless, is ever-present in their thoughts and minds.
And without further ado, Beach High faculty and staff, THANK YOU...
"For always uniting in the darkest hours for our young people, pulling every resource you can to make that child's life a little easier. It always makes me happy to see so much good in the world. "
"For recognizing that every day is a new day, and a student's actions on the day before don't determine who they are as a person on every other day of their life. Thank you for being merciful and working hard to find the right balance for our kids without writing them off because they've offended you on one of their bad days."
"For providing me with new knowledge everyday. Knowledge is POWER. Thank you for sharing what you know with me. Thank you for being selfless with your knowledge. In my life there IS ALWAYS room for improvement!"
"For actually caring for us, and not giving up on us like some adults in our life. Thank you for making learning fun and being a place where we can truly be ourselves and find ourselves."
"For inspiring us to never give up on learning, pushing us to do better each day, and letting us know that we can do anything we want to do in life."
"For keeping our building so very clean. The floors shine, the bathrooms smell fresh, and every area shows that people care about us."
"For working with us no matter what we need. When I need extra time, the teacher feels for me and helps us to get the work done, no matter when we get it done."
"For putting so much effort into making us meals. I know there are some kids who are picky, but we know the effort they put into making our food good."
"For making us laugh, even when we're late for the eighth time. Even though I know I'm wrong, it still helps to have someone who makes me laugh through the fussing."
"Because you work beyond 2:30. You plan in your free time when you don't have a collaborative planning time and I see you leaving well beyond when you are required to be here. That other duties and responsibilities clause? You go beyond even that for our babies here."
"For camaraderie and mentoring one another. It helps when we have other people in the building cheering us on and helping us build community with our students, when some days are tough."
"For making our parents feel welcome when they walk in the school and for finding us when we've got to be somewhere. Not every school is like that."
"For staying afterward to help students catch up on work they've missed because of bad choices in ninth, tenth, and eleventh grades and being willing to help on Saturdays and in special events without pay sometimes and without a second thought."
"Because even though you are new here and it is hard building that rapport with students and staff during that first year, I see you here smiling and trying every single day, not giving up, and persevering because you know that through reflection and getting better and better, you will become a better teacher. I respect your coming to school each day, even when it's been a bad day the day before, because that takes courage and willpower. I am honored to work beside you."
"For keeping us on track and out of trouble, helping us with applying to colleges and helping us when we have a hard situation."
"For allowing us to use the library space to gather and always keeping it neat and tidy. The entire staff is kind and helps when we need to decorate our classrooms or make items for our students."
"For giving us a firm foundation for life by giving us a family atmosphere, which helped us learn."
"For role models. The leaders are big role models. They set the bar for professionalism and without them, there wouldn't be a lot of guidance. Just like the president sets a standard for others, our principals set a standard to help us do good in life."
"For inspiration. Because of the leaders here at this school, I have learned to lead and take ownership in my own classroom and life. I am always excited to wake up for work because I know that a new day under such leadership is a day in which I will be supported in my position. I know I will be given the freedom to make decisions and grow as a person."
"For committing to our students at Beach High through your hard work and playing your part in this journey together."
So, at the end of the day Bulldogs, we are thankful for one another and others are deeply thankful for us. Not only can students understand how very much you do, so do your leaders and colleagues. Thank you for committing to excellence in all you do, even if it goes seemingly unnoticed.
I feel sure ours is the finest staff in the land. So, Carpe (whatever the Latin word for turkey is) this week, and know that you are valued and you each play your unique and important role in our Bulldog family.
Happy Early Turkey Day!
(P.S. The text colorer obviously took a vacation too, because it refuses to change to black in some places :))