Bird Baths & the ACT – Sure Signs of Spring

A few weeks back I unplugged the electricity to our outdoor heated bird bath and put the cords away. I was optimistically hoping that my actions would cement in our spring-like weather. My wife (the one responsible for actually buying something to keep water warm for birds) informed me that I needed to get that cord back out – the birds were cold and looking for water. So we endure a few steps forward with a very nice week of spring weather followed by a few steps back as winter returned last week. I am thankful that overall we are enjoying a warming trend and progress toward spring.

Progress toward our district goals is also trending in a positive direction. Our learning includes the occasional step backward – similar to our recent retreat back to winter – but our overall improvement is tangible and has us positioned as one of the top schools in the state with regard to ACT composite score and student growth. Talking with our students, it is becoming evident that they have an increased buy-in and ownership in their success on the ACT. That reality parallels one of the best things about my former role as an Advanced Placement (AP) Biology teacher. In that role there always seemed to be a strong sense of partnership where students saw me as “on their team” as we competed together against the expectations and learning assessed by a very rigorous assessment. We are building that same dynamic around the ACT as students move from the world where school is “done to them” to a world where we partner with students to achieve their goals.

Tuesday (tomorrow) is the state-wide ACT date where all juniors will dig in and work to demonstrate preparation that has been building since they entered 4 year old kindergarten. My junior daughter is a healthy combination of nervous and excited to see if she can reach her goals. I would say her emotions match what many of us are feeling as we are leveraging a collective JK-12 vertical effort to improve our practice and grow our students.

Just like the recent retreat to winter we have continuing work to do. Spring has not arrived and neither have we. Our goals remain a work in progress but we know exactly where we are headed and the progress is energizing. I am extremely proud of the effort from our staff and students as we push forward.

We will need to wait for our ACT results until well after spring has arrived and my wife has given me permission to unplug the bird feeder. The wait will be worth it as I am confident in the preparation from our students and staff and believe tomorrow will be a neat opportunity for our juniors take us further toward our shared goals. So to the class of 2018 – get some rest tonight, eat a good breakfast and good luck tomorrow. You’re ready!

Enjoy this day….

Kevin Bruggink