Supt Journal

  • School Nurses

    Posted by Alan Boucher on 3/30/2022

    Under normal circumstances, school nurses are extremely important.  Add a pandemic to the mix and they become invaluable.  Recently, I told the Board that one of the best pandemic decisions they made was to hire two more nurses so there would be one nurse for every campus.  I don’t think anyone disagrees.

    During non-pandemic times, school nurses manage student health records, administer medication, take temperatures, provide emergency care of injuries and sudden illness, manage the needs of diabetic students, conduct vision and hearing screenings, complete health reports for IEPs, make referrals, answer questions, provide resource materials, manage medical supplies, implement Board policies, and do a host of additional things.

    During pandemics, the things mentioned above still have to be done, but the nurses also have to test students and staff, contact families, consult with the health department, don PPE, order PPE, dispose of PPE, and listen to angry individuals vent, threaten, and demean.

    All four of our school nurses have persevered through it all and continue to do an excellent job despite the challenges.  I am very grateful for their moxie and pluck.  Our district is stronger because of them.

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  • Black History Month

    Posted by Alan Boucher on 2/25/2022

    During the month of February, our country spotlights the history and achievements of African Americans in society. There are many things to honor and celebrate. This year’s overarching theme is black health and wellness and includes the contributions of scholars, medical practitioners, midwives, and herbalists as well as the rituals and activities that help maintain health. 

    Black history month was implemented in part because the accomplishments of black Americans are too-often neglected. All of us benefit from learning about persons like Harriet Tubman, Martin Luther King Jr., John Mercer Langston, Rosa Parks, Fredrick Douglas, and W.E.B. Du Bois.  Over the years, our students have participated in an array of festivities to acknowledge these Americans and many others.

    The issue of race is very important to education. All students must have equal access to a high-quality education and must be successfully educated. Disparities have existed and continue to exist in public education. Progress has been made, but more work needs to be done. Collectively, it is our responsibility to identify obstacles, raise our awareness, and assure that all students have opportunities to achieve.

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  • Intrinsic Motivation

    Posted by Alan Boucher on 1/31/2022

    This year, the Sherrard School District administrators are studying a book called Tackling the Motivation Crisis: How to Activate Student Learning Without Behavior Charts, Pizza Parties, or Other Hard-to-Quit Incentive Systems. It was written by Mike Anderson. As the title suggests, the author believes we need to migrate away from incentives and reward systems and, instead, transition to strategies that foster intrinsic motivation. All of us learn more when we love the subject we are studying. Many inventions are the result of a love for a subject. Experts are often lovers of the subject they know so much about. 

    We administrators are wrestling with this concept of intrinsic motivation. Everyone knows we should try to convince students to learn simply because it’s the right thing to do. We shouldn’t need a behavior chart or a pizza party. Everyone should realize that learning can be fun and interesting, it can empower us, and it can cause us to grow.

    I love history. Reading biographies and history books is one of my favorite hobbies. I developed a love for history as the result of my junior high social studies teacher. He didn’t have to tell me to love history because he modeled a love for history, and it was contagious! I am truly grateful for his gift. 

    I believe incentives can help us bridge the gap between apathy and intrinsic motivation. Using reward systems can be effective as long as we have a clear plan to transition the students to the point of self-motivation. Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime. Instill a love for fishing, and he will feed his family and neighbors for a lifetime.

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  • Achievement

    Posted by Alan Boucher on 12/17/2021

    As I wind down my career, I find myself reflecting on all sorts of things. One of those things is the idea of achievement. Like others, I have tried to achieve all sorts of things throughout my time as an educator. Some were big like getting a graduate degree or getting a referendum passed. Some things were small like rearranging my office furniture.

    There are a number of elements that lead to achievement. These include a need, an opportunity, a good plan, adequate intelligence, and luck. The older I get, the more I believe the most important element is motivation - how much you want it. Over the past 36 years, I have seen people accomplish astounding things by sheer motivation. The odds were against them, their friends advised against it, there was risk, there were scary situations, and there were dead ends. Highly motivated people soldier through these obstacles and work until the goal is accomplished. I have seen it with winning state championships, establishing successful businesses, solving difficult problems, and overcoming addictions.

    If we want to accomplish great things in our district, we have to be highly motivated and committed to the process. There are a lot of great things in the Sherrard School District and they are the result of motivated stakeholders. Life can be short, but it’s also long enough for us to make great things happen. Let’s add to the greatness!

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