Building Culture by Starting with "Hello"

Update for Apr 25-29

Last week, we welcomed over 60 new Kindergarten parents to our school for a parent information night. These parents have students who will be kindergartners at Alton Darby next school year.

The night of the meeting also happened to be the same night as our annual Art Show, a performance by the Drama Troupe, and our Spring Book Fair.


Nope! Well, sort of.  The kindergarten team and Mrs. Bowers and Mrs. Richardson just happened to pick the same night.  But instead of trying to figure out a different night, I thought it would be a good opportunity to showcase the culture of our building.

And it worked!  The attendance for all of the events was great all-around and everything went smoothly despite the rainy evening.

This night was important to me for three reasons.  

Reason 1 is that many parents who registered their students in years past had to go to three different places during the process with none of the places being the actual school we would be sending our student.  Fortunately, our admin team saw the need for change and drastically streamlined the process for parents.  This in turn gave us the opportunity to do something for parents during the registration process that brought the parents to school.  As a parent who experienced the old process twice, I was happy to make this change happen!

Reason 2 is because I am proud of the work we do at ADE, like a proud parent of their child.  I tell everyone I can how amazing our school, our families, our teachers and our kids are.  Most of the time they are taken aback.  “Don’t you have to deal with —-?”  Yes, but it’s all worth it!  The next response during this conversation is either “I need to stop by and check you guys out” or “I wish my kids’ school sounded like that”.  I am on a mission to share our story — Not for bragging rights or for personal gain.

It’s because what I share about ADE is true, and it’s because I believe that the work we do has an impact on other schools and other students.  Our reach and influence on the lives of kids doesn’t stop at our walls — It extends across the country and across the world.  Don’t ever discount the impact you have!

Reason 3 is because I believe that at the core of everything successful is a good relationship.  There is hardly anything that can’t get accomplished with a great relationship.  When we welcomed our new families to ADE last Thursday, we said “Hello, this is our school.  Welcome!” (Not literally like that, but in spirit).  

I had to call a parent earlier this week to tell her about an incident involving her daughter and another student.  The phone call lasted less than a minute.  She said, “If there is anyone I trust with my kids, it’s you guys.  I know that it was taken care of.”

I nearly fainted.

The backstory is that I’ve also called this parent two other times to talk about something involving social media and her kid (that one was so tough I cried) and another time to tell her I was running her other daughter’s lunchbox to daycare after school because she left it outside during dismissal.  In the course of two years, I’ve had the opportunity to be there for this family three different times.

Relationships matter.  Word gets out.  Reputations get established.  Culture gets built.

So here is the takeaway —  We are always building culture.  Start tomorrow by saying “hello” — You never no where it will take you!

Have a GREAT week!


Articles Worth Reading — 

“Home-Grown Citizens” (from Educational Leadership, Feb 2016) — We’ve referred to Place-based Learning as a foundation for the work we are wanting to do through “houses”.  Take a look at this recently-published article in Educational Leadership for a solid context of Place!

“The unexpected benefit of celebrating failure”


Check Out Last Year — >

Upcoming Dates — 

Apr 4-May 27 — Spring Literacy Assessment window (Grades K to 5)

***State Testing Dates ***
Apr 26 — Grade 4 Social Studies State Assessment
Apr 26 — Grade 5 Science State Assessment

Apr 27 — ADE Walk-a-thon — Follows normal Related Arts Schedule w/ special times for KG; details to come!
Apr 28 — Herb mtg AM
Apr 28 — Grow Together Thursday (Kindergarten Parent Workshop), 6-8PM

May 2 — ADE PTO Meeting, 7PM
May 3 — BIT Meeting
May 4 — ADE Staff Meeting, 8AM
May 5 — Flower Sale Pick-Up, 4-7PM
May 6 — BAC Meeting, 8AM
May 2-6 — Teacher Appreciation Week
May 5 — Spring Flower Sale Pick-Up (This date may change.)
May 11 — Spec Ed Team meeting
May 14 — AD/DC Warrior Dash
May 18 — ADDC Staff Meeting, ADE Media Center, 3:45
May 19 — Herb Mtg AM
May 26 — Grow Together Thursday
May 30 — Holiday, NO SCHOOL
May 31 — ADE PTO Family Luau

Jun 3 — Last Day of School (Students)


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