Summer 2019Posted by Hugh Boger on 6/6/2019
Dear Scott Families –
As our school year comes to a close, I’d like to take a moment to thank each and every one of you. I thank you for sending your children to school every day, for trusting me with their safety and growth, and for partnering with me to ensure they are successful every day. The Scott staff and I could not do it without you.
Needless to say, the energy in the building is busting at the seams. While many are counting down the days and thinking about summer break, it is also a great time to reflect on all that we’ve accomplished. Together we’ve learned quite a bit. We’ve learned about traditional academic topics, about how to improve our social/emotional skills, and about how to be an integral part of a community. Hopefully, what we’ve learned and the positive experiences we’ve had will remain with us long past the last day of school.
The Scott Staff has learned quite a bit as well. Our school improvement plan focused on increasing rigor, how to provide more meaningful and relevant feedback to students, and how to create a classroom culture that proactively supports high levels of engagement and positive behavior. Next year, we are going to continue this focus but with a specific emphasis on math instruction.
As a principal in year two at Scott, I’ve also learned quite a bit. Some of what I’ve learned is as concrete as how to (or how not to) run a more safe and efficient arrival/dismissal plan. While this is a work in progress, I believe we are better now than we were two years ago. I’ve also learned some more general skills related to better understanding our community, partnering with all stakeholders, and collectively working towards a vision where all students can be successful…every day.
As you start to think about summer, I ask one favor. Please dedicate consistent time to read aloud with your child. Whether they are going into 5th grade or kindergarten, the research is clear - reading aloud with your child has tremendous benefits. According to a blogpost I recently read via Twitter (https://happyyouhappyfamily.com/raising-smart-kids
- Your child will hear a wider variety of words.
- You grow your child’s brain, literally.
- You put her/him on the path to be a lifelong reader.
- Your child’s behavior will improve.
- You build a stronger bond with your child.
- You increase your child’s capacity for empathy.
I encourage you to read this blogpost. It addresses some common barriers/challenges to reading aloud with your child. I will be much better at reading with my children this summer as a result of reading this post!
Thanks for being my partner! I’ve once again had a blast and consider myself lucky to be a part of your community! If you need anything from me, please call the office or just stop by. I’ll be in the office almost all summer!
Have a great summer break!
Sincerely, Hugh Boger
Spring 2019Posted by Hugh Boger on 3/22/2019
A few Saturdays ago, I attended a “Trivia Night” fundraiser for my son's preschool - Hobson Academy. The first category of the evening was Naperville history. I was able to answer one question about Mayor Pradel but it was a question all others knew as well. I was no help for any of the other questions. The next category was pop culture and I wasn’t much help there either. Then came a history category. Despite this being a relative strength of mine, I couldn’t answer the questions in this category either. Unfortunately, most of the questions dealt with pop culture-type history and not the historical categories I read or study.
But, then came the music category. The very first question in this category was - "Name the song and band in the very first video on MTV." I nailed it! In fact, this drew a few remote high fives from across the table. Then came a couple others that I knew - Elvis. Elton John. Louis Armstrong. I was able to answer most of the questions in this category – several when the rest of the group had no guess at all. After this category, I was rejuvenated and “fired up.”
While reflecting on the night, I remembered the experience of one of our 5th grade students at Outdoor Education. This student hit the archery target with every shot he took. Most shots taken by students don’t even make it to the target or fly well past. After hitting his final target, he turned to a teacher and said "I am so happy I found my hidden talent. I feel so good about myself." There was no sarcasm in his voice. It was sincerely a statement of pride, confidence, and comfort. Beautiful.
The concept of "Every Child. Every Day. A Success." connects directly to how a student feels when she/he leaves school each day. My hope is that we’ve created an environment, culture, and multiple opportunities for every student to feel good about who they are through some measure of success. As teachers, I believe we have an awesome opportunity and an ethical obligation to ensure each student, each day, feels good about who they are and has the confidence to become who they want to become.
One small way we try create opportunities for students to be proud of who they are is through the Scott School Mission Maker program. This program mirrors the district level program of the same name. The purpose is to identify students that exemplify our district mission which is to produce students who are self-directed learners, collaborative workers, complex thinkers, quality producers, and community Contributors. I’ve added some Scott specific criteria as someone who exemplifies the concept of “Together We Can” and anyone that helps Scott move “One step closer to being the kindest school on the planet.” The students can be nominated by any adult in the building. At the end of the month, all students nominated receive a certificate by me, a letter explaining why they were nominated, and are recognized on the morning announcements.
The Scott staff and I hope initiatives such as the Mission Maker program, along with daily authentic opportunities, will create a school culture where we recognize the unique gifts and talents of all students. We want every child, every day to be proud of who they are and excited about who they can become. While we certainly have work to do, we strive to move closer to this goal every day.
Please let me or your child’s teacher know if you have ideas on how to better support your child in finding her/his talents, feeling proud about who she/he is, and being excited about who she/he can become. Together We Can.
Winter 2018Posted by Hugh Boger on 12/22/2018
Dear Scott Families,
A few years ago, I watched a Tedx Talk by Dewitt Jones titled “Celebrate What’s Right with the World.” Dewitt Jones was a National Geographic photographer for several years. I’ve been following his blog since then and often return back to it when I need some inspiration and a refocus on the positive. His general philosophy, as indicated on his website (www.celebratewhatsright.com), is as follows:
Every time they [National Geographic] sent me out, they would ask me to Celebrate What's Right with the World. I did, and it changed my life. Every day I see images that make me want to celebrate, and have discovered that there is far more right with the world than there is wrong with it. Celebrate What’s Right with the World… It's a simple yet powerful idea that encourages us look at our world through a more positive lens.
Earlier this month, we hosted “GiftMart” for the first time in District 203. This was an opportunity for some of our families to purchase donated but new toys for their children at a drastically reduced price. Words cannot describe how beautiful this was. It was beautiful for those that participated and equally as beautiful for those that volunteered. It also generated over $600 that will go directly back to our school “scholarship fund” to support others in need. I sat in my office yesterday, long after the last volunteer left, in awe of what I just experienced. Looking at a couple of Dewitt Jones’ photos hanging in my office reminded me to “Celebrate What’s Right in the World.”
We have a lot of great things happening at Scott School and in partnership with our community. A few weeks ago, our community collected over 800 pounds of food and associated items as part of our Fall Food Drive. That’s double what we usually collected. Families in our community directly benefitted from this food drive. A couple weeks ago, the Scott SUCCESS group made 150 holiday cards for an assisted living facility in the area. Between the Naperville Education Fund (NEF), our Home and School, HURRAH, Kids Hope, and our community partnerships, I could write pages of “behind the scenes” ways these organizations support our students and our community.
We must certainly continue to identify areas for growth and challenges to overcome. However, I was reminded yesterday to also “Celebrate What’s Right in the World.” In my opinion, we have a lot to celebrate right here in our Scott community.
Thank you for all you do to support Scott School and our community.
Fall 2018Posted by Hugh Boger on 9/24/2018
Dear Scott Families –
On Saturday, my seven year old daughter and I went to the Casey’s Foods to get some skirt steak tacos from the grill they fire up on the weekends. This has become somewhat of a tradition for my children and me when we have the opportunity. While the food is certainly good, the experience is even better. My son especially likes the energy and enthusiasm of the gentlemen working the grill. My daughter loves to sit at the picnic table with new people each time. Overall, it’s just a “feel good” experience!
While enjoying the conversation with my daughter and our table mates on Saturday, I observed Mr. Casey himself walking out to the parking lot. He spent about ten minutes gathering up empty grocery carts and then returned them to the storefront. I was so surprised at this sight that I confirmed his identify with the two cashiers. Not only did they confirm that it was him, but they shared that this was a common occurrence.
Perhaps Mr. Casey spends some of his time collecting empty carts because research says it positively impacts profits. Maybe he does it just to show everyone he is willing to do it. Or, maybe he has nothing better to do. I don’t believe any of these are the real reasons. I believe he does it because he loves what he does, and he is willing to do whatever it takes to make shopping at his store a positive experience for all. It’s probably a collection of little things like this that make eating a skirt steak taco at a picnic table with complete strangers such a wonderful experience.
The Scott School community is filled with adults like Mr. Casey, who will do whatever it takes to make a child’s school experience positive. Teachers often do “little things,” which have a tremendous impact on their students’ academic and social/emotional growth. It’s also the seemingly little things you do that make a difference. You don’t have to be a school volunteer or serve on a committee to have a positive impact on your child’s education. Whether it’s reading with your child at night, talking to them about their school day, celebrating their efforts, or simply having them well-rested and ready for the school day…the “little things” you do make a difference. Thank you.
If you are looking for ways to positively influence your child’s school experience, don’t hesitate to ask. Likewise, don’t hesitate to contact me or your child’s teacher if you have ideas on how we can make Scott a better place for all. Even the little things count.
Together we can.
Hugh Boger, Principal
Summer 2018Posted by Hugh Boger on 8/13/2018
Dear Scott Community,
It’s Saturday morning. I’m sitting in the conference room listening to the sounds of construction workers placing their finishing touches on our new heating, air conditioning, and plumbing elsewhere in the building. It’s a beautiful sound; School construction on Saturday produces a much better sound than construction on a Monday!
This morning while enjoying a donut with my pajama clad children at Dunkin Donuts, I ran into a Scott parent. He and I introduced our children, talked about Scouts, and made small talk about the upcoming school year. He did not appear to judge me for my pajama-like attire, nor did I judge them on their post “camp out” attire. It was a wonderful conversation that reminded me of how lucky I am to be a part of such a great community.
While sitting in the conference room accompanied by the scent of “Peace” (an essential oil gift and inside joke between me and a collaborative parent), I can hear the rhythmic sound of a jackhammer on concrete. Perhaps it’s the irony of peace and jackhammers that cause me to reflect on my morning and the myriad of conversations I’ve had very recently with parents- many of which will either directly or indirectly impact the success of their child. The conversations ranged from pleasantries to difficult, critical conversations. Some ended with complete agreement and some did not. But all ended, at least in my mind, with the absolute confidence that we all want what’s best for Scott students and our community.
This year I’ve added “Together We Can” to the oft used and referenced Scott phrase “Every Child. Every Day. A Success.” “Together We Can” is relevant on many different levels – for two students in the classroom or on the playground, for teachers designing lessons to meet the needs of all learners, and for you and me. In my opinion, it’s a concept that we can all benefit from – at the community, state, and national levels, and beyond.
As the new school year is upon us, I consider how lucky I am to be a part of this community and at Scott for a second year. In order for success and growth to continue, Mr. Ernst and I need you. We need each other in order for every child, every day to be successful. We don’t need to always agree. In fact, I find extreme value in differing perspectives and ideas. However, the more effective we partner, the stronger our community will be. This is what I believe. Together, we can.
I can’t wait to see you and your children on the first day of school. I’m fired up!