Friday, May 30, 2014

Years 35 to 37: Elementary Learning Specialist for Central Valley Schools: Winding Down and Having Some Fun!

Everyday for the last several weeks, people are asking me, "How many days left? What's the countdown?" Truth be told, I have not been counting. Although today I am aware that I do have only 15 days to go!

Over the last several months, things have not slowed down, but instead seemed to have sped up! Observations, visits for parents, meetings, and professional development trainings; all have kept me busy. I am used to doing lots of observations and early in March, Tricia, the coordinator I work for asked me to go to Liberty Lake and do an observation of a young man I've observed several times over the last three years. I thought this was unusual because I don't have this school this year, but Tricia explained that since I've built a relationship with the school concerning this boy, they had asked for me to do it specifically. And so on this particular day, I willingly got my observation sheets and trotted off to Liberty Lake!

At the school I signed in and went down to the classroom. I immediately started taking data, counting time on task in 10 second intervals. I knew that the whole school was going to an assembly, and part of what I was to observe was how this boy made the transition and coped during the assembly. I dutifully followed the class to the gym and continued taking data. In the gym the children were all gathered and I seated myself somewhere near the class so that I could continue my observations. The whole school assembly was to give out some Meritorious Award Nominations. These awards are given for service above and beyond the normal duties of your position. Each school nominates candidates and then all of the candidates are put before the school board and one or two people are chosen to receive the final awards. So there I am, carefully taking data and only half listening to the school board members talking about the candidates being nominated from Liberty Lake. Then all of the sudden, I hear my name! I think, "Why did they say my name?" And then there was clapping and people saying, "Come on up Kathy!" I was completely taken by surprise! Well, it turns out that Kristn Date, the excellent resource room teacher, had nominated me as a candidate for the award! Wow! Unbelievable! And so I went forward to get it. I look out in the audience, and there is Marci and Nicole, taking pictures and videos! Tricky ladies! Here is a little bit of what Kristin wrote when she submitted my name for this award:
"Kathy is always willing to go the extra mile for both staff and students. Her many years as an educator and in administration have given her a wealth of knowledge! She seems to know the answer to almost everything in her field! She is a true asset to those around her. I was given the opportunity to work closely with Kathy several years ago. I always felt that she was there to support me. I never felt like a burden, even when I was asking the most basic questions or repeatedly asking the same questions. She never made me feel rushed or like she needed to be somewhere else. Even though, I'm sure many times she did need to get going. I felt like she was  'present' throughout all our interactions and meetings. She made my day with her funny anecdotes about the preschoolers from her past so I wouldn't feel like I was the only one who had ever had to deal with all the situations that aren't 'text book'. It has been a true pleasure to have her on my team! I will miss her terribly." Such kind words from a truly wonderful and gifted teacher! I was beyond moved.

And then on May 7th, we had our last elementary teachers' meeting of the year. All year, Tricia has been giving out "Above and Beyond Awards". These have been a little "tongue in cheek" and lots of fun! Nicole and I tried to offer suggestions for these awards, but truth be told, Tricia was a genius with these! Impressive! So after the last one was given out, she said, "Kathy, you need to come and stand here." What? I did and she presented me with my own award. My award was "The Queen of Special Education" but only until the end of the year. This award came complete with crown and wand! Tricia said, "This is a powerful wand and so we can only let you use it until the end of the year. However, you can wave it and say, 'Now all parents will be nice,' or 'We are all done with this!'" Ha, ha! Love this wonderful group of people!!

Two more posts remain in my year long blog. Next week I will share my retirement celebration with you all! And after that, I will talk about my final days. Thank you for joining me on this journey!