Last Sunday evening I left with about 15 of my new staff members on a 4 day trip to Corpus to learn about the "Engage Learning Model" that we would be using to transform Navasota Intermediate this year. I must say, I was a little nervous heading into this trip. Why? Because it would be my first "real" interactions with my new staff. The most I'd ever spent with any of them was the interview I had done with them! Well, except my Assistant Principal, who I've worked with for the last 7 years.
So we loaded up cars to carpool on Sunday and headed on our way to Corpus Christi. Getting there was an experience. We had one other car choose to follow my car. About 30 minutes into the 4 hour drive I get a text telling me their tire is losing pressure. After filling it up and then having to stop again 5 minutes later, we knew we had a tire issue. So Terry (our fearless AP) told us there was a little gas station we could pull over at up the road a little. Well um let's just say it was one of those gas stations in the middle of no where out of a horror movie that hadn't been used in years. So we pulled over and Aaron (our Instructional Coach), Brandon (a new 4th grade teacher), and I helped change the tire. Elaine (a new 5th grade teacher) was driving the car and knew how to change the tire too, but we had to convince her to let us change it haha. So suffice it to say that it was our first "team building" experience, with lots of laughs, that I think we will remember for a while. It truly was a great start to the trip, all things considered.
After changing the tire, that car full of women, decided to head back to Navasota and switch cars. So we left ahead without them.
On our way to Corpus we also had to make a stop at Bu-cee's. Now, if you're not from South Texas and you've never been to a Bu-cee's, you are missing out! Truly the largest gas stations ever with more bathrooms then you can imagine. It's like a Wal-Mart gas station! Aaron had never been, so we HAD to stop and take a few pictures of his first Bu-cee's experience.
After arriving in Corpus we spent the next four days learning about and experiencing the Engage Learning Model. We were immersed in it. It was challenging, frustrating, engaging, and creative. It was everything I hope my class was like.
But more importantly, to me, was that I got to see my new teachers bond. And I got to bond with them. I got to begin the process of being a part of this new family at Navasota Intermediate. Because truly that's what we are. We are a family. It will take every single one of us to help transform this campus and turn it around.
Each night the entire staff went out to dinner and did fun things as well! Some of us got to experience our first Geocache! Aaron, who we found out is like a Geocache expert, taught us the ropes. We got to see the Lexington, the Selena Statue, experience gail force winds at a restaurant on the shoreline, and so much more!
I also got to spend a good time bonding with my new leadership team. Terry, Aaron, and I got to experience some leadership training of our own that really helped challenge us. But what was the best part about that training was how we came together and worked together. With leadership like Terry and Aaron I believe there's no way we can fail. They are both incredibly witty, kind, intelligent, and so much more. I am honored to get to be on the same team with those two.
The week was spent learning a lot of things. But the biggest thing I leave with after coming home from Corpus, is not just the learning that took place. We started to connect and gel as a staff. To say I'm excited even more about this school year, is an understatement. We had 6 teachers who couldn't make the trip (we could only take 10) and I can't wait to get to know them more and connect with them as well! I feel like I have helped build the best staff imaginable and I can't wait to continue learning right along side them.