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Alma Intermediate School Newsletter, September 2018

IMG_0175From the Principal…

The most significant learning in my life has often come as a result of discomfort or discontent. As a seventh grade percussionist (drummer), I auditioned for All-Region Band. While listening to some of the other players, I realized just how unprepared I was. I didn’t make All-Region that first year which hurt my pride.

However, my discomfort with the weakness of my performance caused me to practice and seek out players better than me so I could learn from them. I ordered music books and figured out ways to read difficult rhythms from musical notation.

The next year and every year after that, I made All-Region Band and then All-State in high school. Those were great experiences, but if I hadn’t had that early failure and the pain that resulted, I might never have understood the work and new learning required to perform better.

Fast-forward many years, and I’m a school principal in south Arkansas with just a few years of experience. Everyone seemed happy with what we were doing, so I thought things were fine.

Then, I attended the Arkansas Leadership Academy and what would later be called the Principals’ Institute. I was challenged to make big changes in my approach to working with teachers and students. I saw the ineffectiveness of what I had been doing, and it was a painful experience.

That discomfort pushed me to learn better practices as a principal. I’m still trying to improve today, but without that challenging and unpleasant experience, I might have continued for years without making changes to help my teachers and students reach higher levels of performance.

Learning can be a little painful sometimes, but it’s also exciting as we master new skills and knowledge. What both of these challenging learning experiences had in common was that caring and skillful teachers supported me through the process of gaining new skills. It excites me today to see our teachers work with our students in this same way every day as we all continue to grow and learn!

Link to open this month’s newsletter: News Alma Intermediate 0918

AIS Newsletter for April, 2018

Lieutenant Jim Warnock

My father, Lieutenant Jim Warnock in the early 1950s

From the Principal…

I’m proud of my father. We had our disagreements, especially during my teenage years, but he became wiser in my eyes with each passing year as I entered adulthood. He served in Korea in the 1950s before I was born. Recently, he almost apologized that there wasn’t much fierce combat during his time there. I didn’t think any apology was necessary.

A favorite story told of him is that his platoon was crossing a minefield when one of the men froze and wouldn’t move forward. My father moved in front of him and told him and the others to follow in his steps as he led the group through this dangerous area, knowing that he risked death by being the first in line.

When he returned to the United States, he worked to provide for his family and was involved in his community. He always enjoyed service projects. In his early 80s, he was still “building ramps to help the elderly folks.”

Like my father impacted my life, our students’ fathers can have a positive influence on our school. The mere presence of a man for lunch and recess improves the atmosphere, shows students that men think education is important and gives students the opportunity to see men involved in their community.

Join us for Dads on Duty when your schedule allows. Moms are always welcome, too! Simply drop by the office and say you want to sign up, then come to lunch and recess and enjoy being part of our school. You’ll have fun, and you’ll have a positive impact on our students.

~ Mr. Warnock

Click to open the whole newsletter: News Alma Intermediate Editr0418

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

Alma Intermediate School Newsletter, August 2017

IMG_8439

From the Principal…

When we moved to Alma 16 years ago, my youngest daughter was entering 6th grade. Anna, who is now 27, recently celebrated her 3rd anniversary with her husband, Taylor.

The first time I walked the Lake Alma Trail with Taylor, knowing he might someday be my daughter’s husband, I didn’t wonder about his test scores! Even though I believe learning is important, at that time, I wasn’t concerned with his academic ranking in high school.

I wanted to know about Taylor’s character qualities! Was he honest, dependable, and persistent in the face of challenges? Would he treat my daughter with kindness and respect? Thankfully, he has exhibited these qualities! 

Watching children grow into adults has taught me that character qualities are vital to the success of students in school and their future success with work and family.

I’m thankful that our teachers are committed to students’ academic growth as well as developing positive character qualities that will help them face future challenges with courage and confidence. Let’s make 2017-18 a year of growth for our students in academics and character!

The following link takes you to the full newsletter with school supply lists on page 2.

News Alma Intermediate 0817

Newsletter for August, 2016

From the Principal…

This is my 16th year as principal at Alma Intermediate School, and I’m more excited than ever. I feel an intense thankfulness for the work we do in education. As a parent, I’ve seen the positive influence our teachers and schools had on the lives of my daughters.

I’ve now been a principal in Alma long enough to have the privilege of hiring former students to teach at AIS. I’ve also received medical care from former students, and that will make you sit up and pay attention! In both cases, it has been a joy to see these young adults using their knowledge and skills to help others and contribute to our community.

Seeing the words of our school’s mission statement become a reality in the lives of young people is what drives us to be the best teachers, principals, and parents we can possibly be for our children. Thank you for the honor of working with your child, the most treasured person if your life. We look forward to great learning this year!

……

This link will take you to our August, 2016 Newsletter which includes a listing of new classroom teachers, calendar, and this year’s school supply list. We look forward to seeing our new third graders at Great Start on August 11th from 8:30 – 12:30.

Alma Shares State-Wide in the June Issue of Instructional Leader

The Instructional Leader this month features two articles by educators in Alma!

Page 1 Using Nearpod to Increase Engagement in Learning

Page 3 Robotics is Real World

The following link opens the publication where you can read about the use of Nearpod and Chromebooks at Alma Intermediate School and the use of robotics at Alma High School.

This publication is usually available only to members of the Arkansas Association of Educational Administrators, but since we have articles in this issue, we’re able to share with our parents and staff.

It’s exciting to see our teachers sharing the great work they do!

Instructional Leader, June 2016

Promises of Technology

Here’s a link to the whole newsletter that includes a calendar for September and October, pictures, and information about our students’ use of technology.

Alma Intermediate School Newsletter for September, 2015

From the Principal… 

Some of the wild predictions made about the future when I was younger have not come true. There was a lot of concern about how we would spend all of the free time caused by technology and modern conveniences. They really missed the boat on that one. There were also predictions about transportation and health that have proved to be greater challenges than estimated.

However, when I look back just 20 years, it’s amazing to see the pace of change. Music that I used to play on vinyl records or cassette tapes is now stored on my iPod, which holds my whole collection of music, podcasts, and audiobooks. I carry a phone that is a small computer. With it I can send and receive emails, access the Internet, read books, text directly to anyone in my contacts and….make phone calls. One of my favorite devices is my e-reader that holds many books and allows me to carry a library of resources in my backpack.

The students in our school have never known a time when this technology that astounds me didn’t exist. What does the future of technology hold for us and our students? Will we lose our balance and fail to maintain strong relationships with others in our community as we rely more and more on technology? Will we settle for a constant drivel of disconnected information or strive for deep understanding with a cautious approach to the sources of our information?

Our hope is that we will help students use technology as a tool to increase and enrich our communication with others and solve complex problems now and in the future. On the back page of this newsletter is a portion of an article sharing just a couple of ways we involve students with technology at AIS.

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