Mother’s Day

A few of my favorite MOM pics …

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY to all those who unconditionally love their children!  I am so lucky to have had an incredible mom and to be a mom to two amazing sons❤️❤️!

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The unexpected…

I’ve encouraged others to journal their thoughts during this time and decided that I should take my own advice ~ these thoughts are solely my own reflections.

The stories that affect me most right now are when I hear about people passing in hospitals not being able to see or even speak with loved ones.  Some of my most comforting moments in the loss of my Dad and Mom included being able to be there with both of them.  To think that a virus would have kept me from them would be simply awful ~ my heart hurts for those families.  Not to mention those front line health care workers who hold the hands of the dying so that they are not alone ~ even though they may have known them only briefly or not at all.  People use the word hero sometimes lightly ~ but they are truly heroes.

And the tentacles that his virus has ~ financially, economically, socially, emotionally, globally ~ it’s unlike any “war” that I’ve known or studied.  Homes were literally transformed overnight into offices, schools, day cares, gyms, music studios, dance floors, etc. Families have to balance adult jobs being run from home, schooling from preschool through high school to include the return of college students as well ~not to mention the everyday things that are supposed to happen in homes.   Stress levels that were already at record highs now have to take on the fear that comes along with this virus ~ fear for one self as well as fear for ones family.  Jobs that seemed secure enough are now lost along with healthcare and  unemployment reaching ridiculous levels in record time.  Simple trips to the grocery store are now anxiety producing events that require gloves and a mask to stand in line six feet from the nearest person.  Once you get in, the trick is then to actually find something that you want.  I will be forever perplexed at why people have decided to purchase certain products in bulk.  What about Covid19 would cause people to purchase toilet paper in large quantities?   What about this virus would cause toilet paper to never again be produced?  And the other day I needed chicken broth ~ not a drop in three stores.  Why are we now stocking up on chicken broth??  I completely understand the fear associated with this virus but it was never stated that grocery stores would close or that they would never be restocked.

All that said, I have also noticed things that have caused me to take pause.  I do believe that once we get to the other side of this “war” (and I do believe we will), we are going to have experienced a resurgence of family, a reorganization of priorities, a stabilization of our lives hopefully to the point where we reflect on where we were and where we want to go.  I have seen more examples of families in the yard with rakes, and lawnmowers and shovels doing yard work and seen evidence of the same with creating meals and engaging in community projects of kindness.  Families, for better or for worse, together 24/7 because they have to be but then learning how important those ties really are.  Would we have had time for any of this a month ago when we were all engaged in over subscribed lives?  The children who now may be going through disappointments such as potentially missing an extra special event that they have been waiting for, a planned birthday party or celebration, a sport season,  or maybe the loss of a job ,and as a parent those are the times we want to spare our children from the most ~ will they be able to gain a broader perspective beyond the disappointment?  We have not had to deal with things like this on such a large scale ~ ever!  And while those disappointments will hurt, I do believe the potential positive growth will be forever and life altering.  I remember living with my nonna in Morea, Pennsylvania while attending college and then understanding after spending time with her how her past life, inclusive of disappointments, shaped the incredibly strong person she had become. The use that she got out of coffee grounds or a piece of aluminum foil or a bag that once contained a loaf of bread ~ truly amazing~ nothing was wasted and everything had value.  A grocer visited the Italian village once a week as did the Priest with a bottle of holy water that got splashed on you every time you sneezed :-).  But those habits were born out of her upbringing,  her life of survival raising 6 children with a coal miner husband and a school who wouldn’t accept her children because they didn’t know English. She was one tough lady.

I believe that the time spent learning to survive this global pandemic will have an impact felt long after this virus is conquered ~ and I do believe that can be a positive impact on some fronts if we want it to be ~ hopeful maybe ~ but hope is a powerful thing.

I look forward to the day when family and friends can return to gathering and my sons can walk in our home and we can all hug freely and not worry about transmitting anything but our love for each other!

More student reflections…

The students are doing amazing things online with their teachers and also working individually and in groups to keep our RAM community strong.  We keep the faith that we will see them sooner rather than later.

More English students sharing thoughts on being quarantined….

It has been an awful experience.
very scary and very boring
Stressful, and more aware of my health
procrastination is a struggle for me
It has been pleasing but repetitious
Boring, Annoying, Uneventful, Relaxing, Stressful, Normal.
It has been a dreadful experience
The quarantine is making me very bored.
Awful, annoying, long, tiring, boring, delicious
It’s boring and stressing
It’s been pretty crazy
I have no social life
I feel nervous being home all day
inspiring, difficult, relaxing, confusing, fun, stressful
Coronavirus has made me feel unsafe.
Disconnected with the rest of the world
this situation is inconvenient for me
Not that bad, could be better
Using the closure to my advantage
It has been boring every day
It’s been really boring and continuous
Weird, boring, anxiety, lonely, historic experience
this has been stressful and confusing
Relaxing, so I get my work done.
The craziest time of my life
Enabled me to focus and adapt!
Self-isolation is fun and easy
dangerous, annoying, scary, boring, lock-down, alone
anxiety distance resourcefulness fear stress worry
stressful
It scares me quite a bit
This is confusing and very weird
It’s horrible, i want it over
Forced and taught me to adapt
I wish I was at school
Trapped and I miss my friends.
Tired, Exhausting, Relaxed, Annoying, Anxious, Paranoid
It has affected how I go to school
Worried, scared, burden, compacted, nervous, relieved
School has been very interesting recently
The most fun never asked for!!
I hate staying inside all day
Most devastating event in modern history
Not bad, getting bored, always eating
Ruined one of my greatest opportunities
I am very bored and tired
Wonder, it’s been wonder because everything is new and no one knows what’s going on.
Can’t leave the house at all
Realized how I need my friends
I am enjoying online school
boring, going slow, stressful, lonely, energetic
The Coronavirus is ruining my vibe.
the coronavirus makes me feel stuck.
This experience has been very stressful

Student journals…

One of our history teachers received permission from students to share some journal entries regarding their experiences during this coronavirus pandemic.  This is a small sample of the awesome students we have at RHS ~ GO RAMS!!

  • Journal Entry from 3/16: “At work everything seems to be running the same, but the question is for how long? I’ve overheard my **; ** is very paranoid about this… curb-side pickup and delivery method and if this does not work then ** will be forced to close the restaurant. For all workers they must take extra precautions and must wash their hands as soon as they come to work, before they go on a delivery and after they come back from a delivery. They seem to be making jokes about this virus, one of my co-workers stated that he would have to buy a hazmat suit soon…”
  • Journal Entry from 3/24: “In my work we have begun to do a curb side pick-up because just last week everything was normal, normal delivery normal pick-ups and normal dine ins, now it’s weird to see how my co-workers who worked at the restaurant area to no longer have a job because of the coronavirus. We are all required now to wear gloves.”
  • Journal Entry from 3/24: “I’m an essential worker. I am a cashier at *** and I’m currently working a few days this week.  My mom and my whole family has encouraged me to quit my job because they are afraid of being exposed to other people, but I have decided to stay because I know they need people to keep working.  I’m taking all safety precautions while I’m at my workplace…when I’m at work, I wear gloves, wash my hands, and wear a mask.  These are scary times and I really want everything to be normal again.  Every hour something changes and sometimes I don’t know what to expect.”

When the teacher asked this student if the journal could be shared, the student replied “My mom always taught us to help when we can and I know I can help”

  • Journal Entry from 3/24: “Personally my family is well and no one has fallen ill.  It has become much harder to do business though as many companies are not operating at this time.  .  From the first responder side of things, my department has limited the number of members who can respond on a rig to 4.  Also we are looking to move to 12 hour shifts due to the lack of man power and call volume in the town.”

 

Student Reflections

Through some of our English classes, we asked students to share in a few words their reflections on this coronavirus quarantine ~

It’s hard, but everything is okay.

feels like I’m in a movie

Boring, but sometimes calming and relaxing

a once in a lifetime experience

It’s all a bit crazy

A devastating and inconvenient experience

It is relaxing and surreal.

An overwhelming and nearly unimaginable time

When life gives you lemons

My experience has been complicated.

This change has been very interesting.

It’s like a sad story plot

How is this real life?

I am simply vibing

Scary how life changes so quickly

My experience has been new

this is not my senior year

Rather be in a classroom right now

I want this to go away

Can’t believe this is happening

It is annoying and very stressful

Isolated and taking for granted

This situation is frightening and deadly.

I don’t like it, wish I was in school

Made me feel arts and crafty. It has been relaxing to not fully focus on school, but I’m filled with boredom and I feel that I’ve been using my devices way too much, but I’ve been able to do exercises and cycle around the block. I’ve completed a puzzle, which if fun for me. I’ve been reading a book, which I don’t really do, but it will make me better at reading. Then I drew some photos which was okay.

Always at home is not fun

It’s been very stressful sometimes but I am getting used to it still need to complete lots of assignments because I procrastinate to much

1-stressful 2-depressed 3-tired 4-happy 5-hopeful 6-problematic

It makes me very sad because most of my everyday things have either been canceled or postponed for who knows how long. However, the good side about it is that I get to spend more time with my family.

It’s been nice to stay home but I miss my friends

It really ruins every day activities

Boring and wish school was back to normal

 

THANKS TO OUR STUDENTS FOR SHARING THEIR THOUGHTS ~ I know we are all hoping this ends sooner rather than later!

Be well…

These are certainly unprecedented times all around.  Please…

  • Stick to a routine ~ use the Day 1, Day 2 routine established to stay on top of your school work and devote those times to your academics.  Don’t let yourself stray too far from staying on track.
  • Don’t stress if the online systems in place don’t work perfectly or exactly as planned initially.  This is the first time out for all of us and there will likely be growing pains.  We will need to figure this out together.
  • Don’t hesitate to reach out at anytime with any questions or concerns.  We want to be as responsive as we can during this time.
  • While the weather is cooperating ~ spend time outdoors each day.  Its amazing how some fresh air and sunshine can help brighten the spirits.
  • Engage in whatever activity provides you a sense of calm ~ and do it daily
  • Watch only as many updates as necessary to stay informed.  Consistent watching of coronavirus news can be hard to digest.
  • Make a list of all the things that you always complain you don’t have time for and begin to check those off.
  • Journal what’s happening and your thoughts to share with yourself five or ten years from now and/or family members at some point down the road.  This is an unprecedented time for us.
  • Access the multitude of social media links and sites already devoted to potential creative resources available to families and students.  Many companies and individual authors are also offering free access during this time so don’t hesitate to take advantage.  Museums are offering virtual tours ~what a great way to travel from home.
  • Heed the advice from professionals in the know and of course your families.  We all need to do everything we can to help our communities manage this collective fight.  Be safe and well ~

Found this graphic on how social distancing can be a factor…

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2020/world/corona-simulator/

A first time for everything…

I have had the pleasure this year of working closely with Randolph colleagues as well as folks at CCM regarding the opportunities available for RHS students to participate in dual enrollment courses while they are completing their high school diploma.  According to an article in Public School Review updated in May of 2018,  the following benefits were noted when contemplating dual enrollment;

  • Less time required after high school to finish a college degree
  • Provides students with a head start on the college experience
  • Dual-enrollment classes often save students money on tuition
  • Students may enjoy access to college library and resources
  • Grades earned become part of the student’s permanent transcript
  • Students may be able to transfer credits earned to a four-year school
  • Classes may offer a lower ratio of students to instructors
  • Students may explore fields of study that help them choose a major later
  • Students may choose from classes not currently available at their high school
Dual-enrollment gives students a taste of college coursework while they are still enjoying the safe confines of the high school environment. At the same time, students earn credits that will apply toward a two-year degree at the school, or even toward a four-year degree, if the credits transfer fully to the four-year school of choice.
Randolph High School is looking forward to continuing to offer our students many avenues to pursue their passions and reach their actual potential while they enjoy their high school journey.

 

Dr. Simmons, Vice President of Student Development and Enrollment Management at CCM recently set up a signing ceremony at CCM for the members of the Randolph School District and CCM leaders to include President Anthony Iacono to celebrate the beginning of our working together to provide dual enrollment courses to RHS students.  When we arrived, we were pleasantly surprised to also find in attendance Dr. Lamont Repollet, the NJ Commissioner of Education.  After 40 + years in education, I never had the distinct pleasure of meeting the Commissioner ~ until now.  I must say it was definitely a highlight for me and I was so impressed with his sincerity and his genuine desire to be out among the districts in his state to actively engage in what is going on in the schools.  He also commented on his support of dual enrollment opportunities and the inclusion of the same on the New Jersey School Report Card.  THANK YOU Dr. Repollet for being on hand to celebrate this partnership between the Randolph School District and the County College of Morris ~ I will reflect on meeting you as a highlight of my educational career!
Randolph Dual Enrollment Signing

GRATITUDE

I don’t know where I found this note to self to give credit to the author but wanted to share ~

“What is my purpose in life?” I asked the void.

“What if I told you that you fulfilled it when you took an extra hour to talk to that kid about his life?” said the voice.

“Or when you paid for that young couple in the restaurant?  Or when you saved that dog in traffic?  Or when you tied your father’s shoes for him?”

“Your problem is that you equate your purpose with goal based achievement.  The universe isn’t interested in your achievements…just your heart.  When you choose to act out of kindness, compassion and love, you are already aligned with your true purpose.

No need to look any further!”

As I sit around my Thanksgiving table this year I will make a conscious effort to be grateful for the family and friends that I can hug, laugh with and reach across the table to hold their hand.   I have found that the art of being grateful brings peace.

Best wishes to all for a wonderful Thanksgiving season filled with much joy and lots of love!

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