Sunday as part of my birthday celebration I took the boys to the State Farmer's Market Restaurant for brunch with time at Pullen Park afterward. As I was watching the boys a man came up to me totally in weekend clothes but wearing a hat embroidered with Ben's elementary school. At first I didn't recognize him, but when he called me, "Mrs. Vinson" I knew it was the principal of Ben's school. Ben came over to say hello as well and the principal called Ben by name as well.
We chatted for a short bit and I of course had to open mouth insert leg and commented on his "grandchildren" which were in fact his "children" playing nearby. I figured I needed to own my mistake and apologized making a joke about how you never ask a women if she is pregnant. I wanted in all sincerity to thank him. I commented that as a parent and also a school district employee I respected the leadership of his school, the quality of the teaching, and the involvement of the faculty to reach out to the parents on a regular basis. I noted that it was evident that with the very low turnover at the school that the continuity of teachers reflected great school leadership. Many of the teachers are the same that helped open the school in the mid 1990s.
I told him that I loved Ben's teacher this year and gave him an example of her lesson when to use formal vs informal speech using Mr. Mack as an example. Ben's teacher remarked that you would not address the Principal as "hey dude, what are you doing after school." He laughed, I laughed and he thanked me for our family support and followed his kids to another part of the playground.
The reality is that the school is well run. It is reflected in every way that I have interacted with the school over the last three years. The teachers have been quick and thoughtful with communication, they are clear about assignments and expectations. The after school program which at times I have disagreed at times remains a well run and organized. Simply put, this is a school that is "working." My hope is with all the upheaval in NC public schools with almost daily new mandates of new laws and more testing of our kids that schools like Ben's continue to be run like a well oiled machine. While I'm sure there are problems beyond what is visible the average parent, it appears that they have a formula for making education work.
Yesterday as Ben was unpacking his backpack to complete homework, he told me he had gotten a GOOD note from his Principal. Boy did he ever.
Thank you Mr. Mack for your leadership and the time you take to know our family by name.