Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Milken Award

How can one respond to being honored with a Milken Award? I am still feeling shock. Yesterday seems quite blurry at this point. I do remember that when I heard my name the only thing I could think was that I suspected I needed to stand up and walk to the stage and was not certain I had the power to do so. I could not hold back the tears. I know several people spoke after that - including me - but I have very little recollection of what was said! My Milken bio needs updating, but it is online.

I am struggling a bit with how I was the one in our state that was chosen for this award. I know teachers all across this state and there are so many amazing ones. I know how much I love what I do and how much I love working with "my" kids. This year, however, the switch from being a computer teacher to an English and Social Studies teacher has been extremely challenging. (English teachers work really HARD!) I do a number of additional duties at school, mostly because I can't help myself. When my principal asks for volunteer, my hand just shoots up. I have no control! (Okay, I admit - I enjoy the extra stuff!) I spend a lot of time as the building technology leader, too. I am so happy when my teachers start using technology. I had one teacher this morning drag me over to look at a PowerPoint he put together. He was so proud and I loved that he was using visuals in his class.

I had a room FULL of students after school today. They were making sure they were caught up and some asked to see a video I had shown today with Vincent Price doing the Tell-Tale Heart. I was surprised that they would want to see it again.

Excited teachers, engaged students - this is why I come in each day. The Milken Award - Wow! what a bonus! Does life get any better than this? I doubt it!

Media Coverage
The Rapid City Journal
Sioux Falls Argus Leader

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Busy, busy!

I know I have thought it before, but English teachers work hard! I feel like I am always scrambling to get things done! I keep hoping that it will get better when I find my groove, but I am not sure. I know it hasn't helped that I have had pneumonia. I am feeling much better, even though I still have a bit of a cough and I am exhausted by the end of the day.

My students spent the last two weeks working on a historical person project. It culminated Friday with them dressing in character and giving speeches about their person to judges. We played games and had a movie. Since this is the first year I have done this, I was a bit apprehensive as to how the kids would respond to this. So I told all my students that the other 8th grade English teacher is bragging that she always gets 100% participation and that she doesn't think I will manage the same. Kids love that kind of competition. Several of them told me that they "had my back" and they have all been working on their projects like crazy. Jackie - the other English teacher - has gotten a chuckle about hearing about her "talking smack" as they have strolled down the hall. She is all for whatever works. I guess the competition worked. I had one that didn't dress in character, but gave her speech and just one that refused to do either. Jackie had two that didn't participate. The project was exhausting!

We are working on Edgar Allan Poe now and the kids really are excited about it. Who knew!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Truly Honored

Well, my principal and fellow teachers have finally pulled one over on me. I was surprised at an assembly on Tuesday and had "my day made better" by Office Max and the Adopt-A-Classroom organization. I was awarded $1200 worth of school supplies and our entire school was adopted and will reap rewards over the coming year. Here is the article from our local paper:

Teacher surprised with giant box of supplies

By Andrea J. Cook, Journal staff

RAPID CITY -- Sherry Crofut stayed up late Monday night preparing for an assembly presentation, only to discover Tuesday that the assembly was in her honor.

With the help of North Middle School's principal Jeanne Burckhard, Office Max employees surprised Crofut with a huge box of school supplies, a new office chair and a cart useful for transporting everything from books to computers.

"This is awesome!" Crofut said, scanning a table piled with notebooks, pens and glue sticks. Her bounty also included a digital camera and color printer. "I'm a school-supply kind of girl. This is mind blowing!"

About 1,000 Office Max stores nationwide celebrated the first "A Day Made Better" at 10 a.m. Tuesday by delivering school supplies worth about $1,200 to deserving teachers.

"Office Max wanted to make an impact ... with 'A Day Made Better,'" Rapid City Office Max manager Beth Schnell said. Education is one of Office Max's priorities, Schnell said. "We also adopted the school, so the school will see rewards down the road."

Office Max officials estimate that teachers spend about $1,200 of their own money on supplies for their classroom, Schnell said.

Crofut said it was hard to pick out a favorite item from those delivered by the Office Max employees.

"The beginning of the school year just excites me, so I buy all this stuff," she said. "They laugh at me because I buy more school supplies than my children do."

However, the new desk chair immediately won Crofut's attention. After eight years as a computer teacher, Crofut now teaches eighth-grade English and social studies and has moved to a new classroom with an "awful" chair.

Crofut was nominated for the award by Burckhard, who knew that Crofut could use the materials to stock her new classroom.

And Crofut, who is waiting to hear on the results of her national board certification, is a hard worker who is always willing to help other teachers with technology, Burckhard said. Crofut also completed her master's degree in technology last May.

"She really does over achieve," Burckhard said.

Crofut said a share of the credit goes to Burckhard, who has encouraged her to continue her education and consider a career in administration.

"I truly admire this woman and am beyond touched that she would nominate me for such an award," Crofut said.

Office Max has adopted North Middle School for the year. Along with Crofut's gifts, Schnell and her staff left discount cards for all teachers.

Between now and Oct. 6, Office Max is accepting cash donations for North and other Title 1 schools in the Rapid City School District, which will be passed on to the schools.


I think the staff is most happy that they pulled this off without me knowing exactly what was going on. I did know something was up the night before when I called a teacher friend and told her I was calling in sick the next day. She flipped on me and told me to suck it up and be at school the next day - and dress nice.

The best part was that my husband and sons had all been notified and had taken time off to be there! How sweet!

Unfortunately, the sick thing was for real. I went to the doctor this afternoon and have the first stages of pneumonia. I have been told I must keep my rear end in bed tomorrow. I HATE missing school! I argued, but it did me no good. And I am running a bit of a fever. Spreading this would not be good. But tomorrow is my first day with my Eagle's Nest - kind of an advisory group. DRATS! They will miss me! At least the sub has an activity for them - they are decorating my door for Red Ribbon Week. Guess it will really just be me missing them! Most of my students were worried about me today when I couldn't quit coughing. They will be glad to hear I went to the doctor.

Okay, off to bed with me like a good girl. (Ha!) We have the day off on Monday and in-service on Tuesday, so I only have three days to plan for next week. Should make resting easier!

Adding link to pictures at Flicker.