On Thursday we headed to the beach and the power of the World Cup was clear. Typically, we have to drag the students out of the water to eat lunch and give the lifeguard a break, but about 40 students took advantage of the wide beach and the hard sand to engage in a co-ed game of soccer. They know the countries, the players, and the records of the teams competing in Brazil. The World Cup has captured our hearts this June.
After returning from the beach, the Windsor-7 teachers shared a slide show of all of the photos we have taken the last two years. After forty-five minutes filled with laughter and sniffles, one students summed up the emotions with the quote of the day: "We sure have come a long way, Mrs. MacDonald." Indeed.
While June was a time to tie up the learning and the community connections at King, it was also a time to explore as Maine Teacher of the Year. Last week I spent two days in Washington County celebrating Ann Luginbuhl's selection as the Washington County Teacher of the Year. The shift in the Maine Teacher of the Year program, under the guidance of Educate Maine, has strengthened the mission of the program - honoring teacher ambassadors who represent their communities and teacher colleagues. It is clear that Ann has a grasp of the strengths and challenges of schools and educators in her county. She is in the best position to make local connections and build the relationships necessary to bring about change in the Washington County education community. It was a pleasure visiting the area and meeting with community leaders. I hope to be back in the near future in the role of tourist!
I want to thank the Portland SeaDogs and UNUM for a great night on June 6th. The weather was perfect for an evening of fun and celebration. Teachers from all over the state were honored at the Teachers Hall of Fame Starting Nine event sponsored by UNUM and the Portland SeaDogs. I was the team's manager! We each got to throw out a "first pitch" and spent time in the Yaz box. Thank you, UNUM and the SeaDogs. for honoring teachers in such an enjoyable way.
Finally, thank you to Mike Dixon, Superintendent Caulk and Principal Marcia Gendrom for inviting me to participate in the celebration of National Summer Learning Day at East End Community School. It was clear from the moment I walked into the lobby that this school is cultivating a culture of learning. The students begin learning before the official start of the day through a program called Rise and Shine. Activities are offered that make students want to race to school each morning. At an assembly, we focused on the importance of keeping that energy and focus on learning during the summer months. Portland ConnectED has certainly come through for the students of Portland this summer. Thank you for supporting, in a very specific and effective way, the message that the teachers of Portland deliver every day about the power of learning.
Next up, I head to Washington DC for a conference on education policy. On July 18th it's off to Huntsville, Alabama, for a week at Space Camp! July wraps up with a day of oral presentations from the eight semi-finalists for the 2015 Maine Teacher of the Year. Summer is here - time to keep on learning!!!