Sunday, September 14, 2014

Principal's Letter - Expectations

Dear Students, Parents, Community Members, and other Supporters,

I would like to welcome you to Graettinger-Terril Middle and High Schools. 

My vision: Through positive relationships and high expectations, we will create a dynamic learning environment where our students will learn, grow, and achieve; with each interaction, they will become more today than they were yesterday. Their efforts here today will help them achieve personal success tomorrow throughout their post-secondary adventures of college, work, and community.
Academically, we want our students to be high achievers.
Civically, we want our students to be contributors.
Socially, we want students to be people of character.
By and large, we want our students to be leaders
“Doing well in school requires that children understand what is expected of them” (Straight Talk About Schools Today: 101 Q&As for Parents - Understand the System and Help Your Child Succeed, 2007).

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At G-T MSHS, we will show students how much we care for them through our expectations of them. We expect our students to take rigorous courses. We expect them to show up, show up on time and consistently. We expect students to be present and self-disciplined. We expect them to respect one another. We expect parents to be equal partners in their children’s learning.

We expect our students to do their best not by trying their hardest but by doing all they can!

It is important for everyone to understand that meeting the needs of all students is no easy task - but we are a school that values different learning styles and we strive to provide lessons that inspire students to seek the answers. They will do this by coming to class, looking for learning objectives, fully engaging themselves, and challenging themselves to grow and achieve.


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A challenge we are working to overcome: Attendance. Students have to not only be in school, but they have to be on time every period, every day, and be present mentally.

It is hard work learning! As a student, the day I figured out the fact that [only] I was responsible for my learning, growth, and achievement, my ability to conquer my academic goals grew drastically. Really!! I was a struggling learner...It took me hours to prepare for little ten-point quizzes -- comprehension just didn’t come easy to me. I gave up easily and sometimes made excuses for my poor performance. Learning truly requires effort.

Today, we have everything at our fingertips; there has never been a library so vast for students to draw knowledge from. It is up to each individual to be a seeker and not a runner or a blamer. It is up to each individual to take responsibility for his/her own learning, problems, and mistakes. It is up to each individual to ask questions and self-advocate. Again, learning is hard work.

I invite you to join us here at G-T MSHS. Our doors are always open for you to come in and take a peek into our classrooms. Parents, it is very important for you to know what your child is learning and I encourage you to take an active role in supporting students and teachers in creating the the best learning environment imaginable! I ask you, parents, to frequently visit our Infinite Campus Parent Portal to be informed of your child’s progress.

Besides high expectations, I am looking for students to develop a stronger sense of ownership and PRIDE in themselves, their school, and their G-T community. I want you and every staff member to be proud of the great things happening here at G-T MSHS.

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What's New: G-T a Complaint Free Zone?
We kicked off the 2014-2015 school year with an international bestselling author and renowned speaker, Will Bowen, founder of “A Complaint Free World.” He challenged us to GRIPE…NO MORE! and take on the complaint free challenge.

In a nutshell: There are five reasons people complain:
G - Get attention
R - Remove responsibility
I - Inspire envy
P - Power
E - Excuse poor performance

Ultimately, we want to find better ways to handle the “GRIPES” we have by being more solution-oriented problem solvers and by taking problems DIRECTLY to the one person or organization who can help resolve the problems through efficient, unpolluted communication. Gripe less, complain less, criticize less, and definitely gossip less. Better yet, stop. Your mental, emotional, and physical well-being will thank you. These negative solutions are counterproductive and spread negative toxins around what could be a very healthy school and community (and YOU). We want our young people to approach problem-solving in constructive, proactive ways. I believe that we each are one of two things at any given moment: part of the problem or part of the solution. In the spirit of being honest in reflection, where do you find typically find yourself? You can only be one.

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Graettinger-Terril CSD has been designated a Complaint Free Zone. We will work collectively to solve problems and maintain our focus on student development, learning, and achievement. As adults in our students lives, we will be positive role models - in our homes, in our communities, and digitally. They look to us!

My promise to each of you: I promise to be a caring, stable leader in the lives of our students as well as to create a school culture focused upon positive attitudes and academic excellence. I promise to provide our students with opportunities to learn, opportunities to meet and exceed high expectations, opportunities to be leaders, and opportunities to help others. I promise to hold high expectations for myself, my staff, my students, my parents, and my community stakeholders and through which---working together always wins as opposed to working against one another.

What I cannot do: I cannot "show up" for our students, I cannot do the work for our students, and I cannot take responsibility for student responsibilities. I cannot set the atmosphere at home that school is priority, that solution-oriented communication is key, and that personal success is dependent upon the habits we begin building when we are young. I cannot make choices for students, for parents, or for community members.

What you, Parents and Community, can do: These young people are truly the future of America - our next doctors, lawyers, scientists, educators, politicians, police officers... We want our future citizens to be strong, civic-minded, and high achieving adults of character and leadership; and so, parents and community, I look to you.

Yours in education,
Teresa Alesch
6-12 Principal
Graettinger-Terril CSD

P.S. I hope you find our district website useful. Our new website is still under construction, but we are working on improving all of our communication tools and are always open to constructive feedback. I plan to communicate regularly via this blog, Principal Persistence. If you have any questions, please give us a call - 712-859-3286, email, or stop by the school.