My School is Special


Lately I have found it hard to put words to my emotions. I have not posted a blog the past few months. It’s been hard for me to craft a positive message, to see past the rhetoric and politics that defines the current state of education in Arizona. Many times I sat down and began to write about teacher leadership or defend our College and Career Ready Standards or explore how schools will manage despite the budget woes, but I never got past a few sentences before becoming frustrated and retreating. All the while I was trying to create something that was not there, I failed to see what was happening at my school everyday. We were creating space for students to learn and grow.

It didn’t hit me as “important”, until a teacher shared an excerpt of her students’ writing. She invited students to write about why their school was special. She modeled using an example of why her home was special, so as not to interrupt or interfere with her students’ thinking and reasoning. Many students began talking about the seven habits of highly effective people. We have been integrating Dr. Covey’s work into our school culture this year. All year we struggled with how to quantify or measure our progress. We wondered whether or not to look at school discipline or survey students or collect data on parent events and attendance. And then just like that it happened, I realized it was all around me and I had not stopped to notice.

Here is one student’s story:

My School is Special

My school is very special. You always fit in. Teachers and students care and are nice to everyone. My school is good at learning. My school is also great at following our seven habits. It’s the best school you can imagine.

When you come to our school you experience all of the fun things. Everyone fits in by using the seven habits. The seven habits help everyone fit in by synergizing and thinking win-win. When we synergize we work together. When we think win-win we’re all even. Come to our school.

This story made me stop and realize I needed to stop looking past the classrooms, the students, the teachers, the parents and the staff at my school. I needed to start noticing the great things happening every day. I needed to turn off the noise around state and tune into the teaching and learning right in front of me.

How often do you look past what happens everyday in your school? In what ways do you stop and notice greatness all around you?


Jen Robinson

Jen Robinson

Maricopa, Arizona

Hello, my name is Jen Robinson. I have been in education for over 20 years. I began teaching in Buffalo, NY in 1992, as a pre-school special education teacher. My experience ranges from primary grades through high school. My husband and I moved to Arizona in 2001, where we were fortunate enough to teach at the same school. In 2004, I achieved National Board Certification and currently support candidates. In 2011 I completed my Ed.D. in Leadership and Innovation. My dissertation research focused on supporting National Board candidates through their certification process. During the 2012-2013 school year, I completed my National Board renewal process. It was humbling and very powerful to step back into a classroom. I am currently an elementary principal. I am excited and hopeful for the new school year. I also serve on the Arizona Teacher Solutions Team where we are solutions focused in an effort to transform and elevate the teaching profession.

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