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Newsletter for March, 2018

From the Principal…

The day was overcast, and I had hiked away from the trail for what seemed like a short distance. A few minutes later, disoriented and unsure of a path back to the trail, I realized there’s nothing like the feeling of being lost. To make matters worse, I had not packed my compass or map of the area. I experienced several minutes of embarrassment over this. I did know that the worst thing would be to continue walking, so I stood quietly for several minutes and thought I heard water. I began to walk toward the sound knowing it would lead me back to an intersection with the trail.

I learned a couple of lessons that day.
1. Always carry your compass and map.
2. When you leave the familiar trail, pay attention to your surroundings.

Why did I share this embarrassing moment with you? There are similarities between continuous school improvement and making your way through the woods without getting lost.

As we look at our students’ achievement data and curriculum planning, we’re studying maps that show us where we are and give guidance for moving forward without getting lost.

On our path of continuous improvement, paying attention to our surroundings means knowing our students and responding to their needs. Our school’s mission and vision are like open views from high bluffs, inspiring us to continue our journey.

Enthusiasm and commitment will keep us moving together over obstacles toward our goals. We’re thankful for students and parents who share this journey as we travel and learn together.

Click here to see the complete newsletter and calendar:News Alma Intermediate 0318

Alma Intermediate School News for Feb. 2018

From the Principal…

Here’s my to-do list from childhood: Take out the trash then feed the dog and my sister’s horse. On Saturday, I’d help my father mow the yard and sometimes work in his iron shop grinding welds on the railing he built for porches and stairwells.

Beyond that, there were the following “required” activities: Walking, running, or riding my bicycle in the woods behind our house; Climbing a large pine tree with my dad’s camera; Fishing in a small creek that ran under a bridge about one mile down the highway; Throwing a football or frisbee with my dad or neighbors; Playing the drums.

Kevin Taylor’s article in the Times Record reminded me of those active, yet relaxed, childhood days. If we’re not careful, we’ll pressure the joy right out of childhood as we rush from one activity to another. We can also squeeze the pleasure from childhood by undue pressure to “win” or “be the best,” long before it even matters.

Yes, performance is important, but a relaxed and creative mind performs better than a fearful, pressured mind. Today I’m at my creative best when walking, reading, or working with others.

Outstanding performance comes from those who are balanced physically, mentally, and spiritually. Childhood sets the stage for lifelong learning. Let’s set the stage well and equip our children to be enthusiastic and clear thinkers as they move through life.

Read the whole newsletter: News Alma Intermediate 0218r

May-June Newsletter for Alma Intermediate School plus Suzy Ferguson’s Retirement and Jo Ann Jordan’s Recognition

Alma Intermediate School Newsletter for May-June – Link to the full newsletter which includes the school supply lists for next year.

From the Principal…

We welcome several new staff members to AIS and look forward to watching them build strong relationships with students when school begins. Please give encouragement to our new staff members as they begin their new work at AIS.

Mrs. Ralynn Wilkinson, Assistant Principal
Mrs. Marti Jo Salisbury, GT Teacher
Miss Allison Williams, Special Education Teacher
Mrs. Murl Wilson, Fifth Grade Teacher

We also welcome our incoming third graders who toured AIS on May 15. They are a great group of young people and will bring a lot of enthusiasm for learning. We look forward to seeing everyone on August 9 for Open House between 3 and 6:30 p.m.

New third graders will have the school to themselves during Great Start on August 10 from 8:30-12:30. This will give our younger students confidence when regular school begins on Monday, August 14th.

I’m proud of the work our students and staff have done this year and look forward to great things for next year!

Personal note on Suzy Ferguson, Assistant Principal: Mrs. Ferguson, who has served as assistant principal for the past 19 years, is retiring. She has had an immeasurable positive influence on our school. She has built a positive culture among students, increased student leadership, and developed schedules, structures, and school-wide procedures that greatly impact our students’ learning. We wish her the best and look forward to her continuing contributions to our community! IMG_1128rrMrs. Ferguson is pictured here with some students on recess. The Buddy Bench is a gift from Mrs. Ferguson to our students, present and future.

Jo Ann Jordan received the honor of being named as Alma School District Teacher on the Year on Friday, May 19th. Candidates on each campus were nominated by their peers or a parent and voted on by the teaching staff. Then, those selected as school-level Teacher of the Year responded to several writing prompts before meeting with three state educators for interviews. The three state educators made a final decision which was sealed until being revealed by David Woolly, Superintendent, on Friday.


Jo Ann Jordan speaks to Alma District staff after being named as Teacher of the Year.

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Alma Intermediate School August Newsletter – A Child’s Future Comes Quickly

From the Principal…

It finally happened! There stood a former student, syringe in hand, ready to administer an immunization in my arm. She recognized me and must have seen my expression because she said, “I’ve given a lot of these so you know I’ve had some practice.” I laughed and told her this is just one of the many reasons it’s wise to be nice to your students. They grow up!  And sometimes they’re holding a medical needle the next time you see them.

When I first started teaching, it felt like we were preparing students for some far off future. Now, the future seems much closer. Every minute of learning time is important. When students are active learners, many more options are available to them as they move through life.

Daughters a few short years ago.

Daughters a few short years ago.

I’ve experienced this sense of urgency as a teacher and a parent. A short time ago, my daughters were in elementary school. Today they are grown, doing work that they find rewarding, and making a positive difference in the world. As a parent, I’m thankful and realize how important every stage of their education was on their path toward adulthood.

Daughters all grown up shown here with my parents and new son-in-law.

Daughters all grown up shown here with my parents and our new son-in-law.

At AIS, our goal is to squeeze as much learning as possible into grades 3, 4, and 5. Our mission is to prepare students for successful living, now and in the future, a future that will come quickly.

Thank you for giving us the honor of working with your child. We look forward to building strong relationships with our students and watching their success and growth as they move forward.

The following link will open our school newsletter.

Intermediate School August Newsletter

Alma Intermediate School News – April, 2015

Alma Intermediate School News April, 2015

A lot of good things are happening at Alma Intermediate School! I’m thankful for our staff, students, and parents!

I spent some time this month thinking about my personal mission and vision, asking myself if I’m staying true to what I believe about teaching and learning. The link above should give you access to our newsletter.

From the Principal:

What we believe about teaching and learning plays a big part in students’ results. When I interview candidates for teaching positions, their core beliefs and work ethic are essential. If the beliefs are solid, the teaching skills needed will rise to meet those beliefs. The same applies to me as a principal. Every year I look at what I believe as a teacher and a principal. My hope is that the following words will act as a filter for every decision and action as I work with others in our school.

Professional Mission Statement:

  • I believe that educators have the power to change the direction of young lives and have a positive effect on the lives of future generations.  Learning is a joyous and never ending process that leads to successful living and has a positive impact on our families and communities.  I must set the example as a lifelong learner if I expect students and teachers to be continuous learners.
  • Teaching and learning require planning, enthusiasm, desire, time and effort. I have great respect and appreciation for teachers and their work. 
  • As a school principal, I am ultimately responsible for the learning and safety of our students.  Only by working with every part of the community can I meet this responsibility.  Working together we can provide the best possible education for all of our children.


  • AIS will demonstrate high levels of student engagement in learning every day.  Learning will be demonstrated in meaningful and public ways.  
  • AIS will be a community of learners actively sharing and collaborating to increase student learning so that best strategies spread.
  • AIS will be a joyful place where student needs are the focus.  The emotional, academic, physical and spiritual needs of students and adults will be met through continuous learning.  Accomplishments, both personal and professional, will be recognized and celebrated.
  • Students will make great gains academically.  Advancing in academic achievement will be the norm.
  • The arts and creativity will be displayed publicly and recognized as academic accomplishments.

School News for December, 2014

Alma Intermediate School Newsletter – December, 2014  Click the link to open the full newsletter.

Aunt Nance is on the right, pictured here with siblings Arch Warnock, my grandfather, and Aunt Hettie.

Aunt Nance is on the right, pictured here with siblings Arch Warnock, my grandfather, and Aunt Hettie.

From the Principal…

As a teaching intern in my last year of college, I was able to visit my great-aunt who lived close to the school.  Aunt Nance made me feel special and was interested in what I was doing.  That made me want to visit her often, even though we were from different generations.   

Aunt Nance had a well in her yard, a big vegetable garden, and loved to share her biscuits and homemade jelly.  Going to her house was like stepping back into a simpler time.  I don’t remember her having a television.  Conversation was our entertainment.

I loved our visits but dreaded seeing her pull shoe boxes out of her closet because that meant we were going to look at old family photos.  Many of the pictures were of people I’d never met, but I would try to pay attention and be polite. 

I was recently telling someone about Aunt Nance and realized that I would give anything to sit down with her and go through some of those shoeboxes filled with pictures today.  I would ask her to tell stories about the family members in the pictures.  I would ask her if we could label the pictures and make copies for me to keep.

My hope at this Christmas season is that we will treasure our time together and make some good memories. Ask the elders of your family about Christmas when they were children.  You just might learn some good stories about your family.   Let’s give our cell phones a rest and have a conversation with parents or grandparents.  Time and attention might be the most valuable gifts we can share. 

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