Tag Archives: high school

Not A Drill

mr rogers not my problem

This afternoon, around 1:45 during my lunch, I received an email from the Superintendent of our schools.  I teach in the same district that I live in, so my boys go to school in the district.  The email was a voice message stating that a code red lock-down had been ordered at the high school where DJ goes to school.  According to the email, it was a precautionary lock-down.  I took it rather nonchalantly since we regularly practice these at school.  A few minutes later, I received an email from the school principal with the same message.  It concerned me a bit, so I sent DJ a message asking if he was okay but didn’t hear from him.

I went back to my classroom and was hearing sirens.  Our school is less than a mile from the high school.  That is when I started getting more concerned.  I finally got a text from DJ that read, “I am fine but I am not okay.”  It was just about dismissal time and I sent a quick note asking him what happened and he told me it was too much to text.

By now, the rumors were flying.  Gunshots?  Knives? Brass knuckles? I told DJ I’d come home right after school and he should meet me there.  I left right after dismissal and came home and found DJ in his room laying on his bed.

Since I probably shouldn’t write too much since we really don’t know the whole story, I am just retelling what DJ witnessed.  He saw police with guns drawn pass his classroom several times.  They entered his room, guns in the air screaming out a child’s name.  That child was in his class and DJ and the rest of the class witnessed him get arrested and carried out in front of all of them.

I still am hearing stories, texts and online sites are filled with what people witnessed or heard.  I don’t know exactly what happened.  I do know that DJ, who is one of the most laid back people I know, is a wreck.

I will not put blame on anyone right now.  I am grateful for all of the lock-down practices we have had.  I am grateful to his teacher who stayed calm and in charge.  I am grateful to the police officers who took action and stopped a dangerous situation before something tragic happened.  I have already had a call from the principal who is calling everyone who was in DJ’s class to speak with them and to us as parents.  She asked if we had questions or concerns and I thanked her for their handling of the situation. She said that counselors will be on hand tomorrow for any students who need to talk about what they witnessed.

Sadly, we live in a time hat we have to we have to practice these drills.  We always think it won’t happen where we live.  Obviously we were wrong.

DJ’s Last Back to School Night

don't try this at home

Tonight was DJ’s Back to School Night.  His last one.  I was feeling sort of bittersweet throughout it all.  A little envious as well!  He has an awesome schedule!  As a Senior, he wound up with some really great classes and his teachers all seemed very enthusiastic. I heard so many compliments and stories about DJ.  EVERYONE knew him.  DJ doesn’t talk much about school to us at home so I find out about a lot of the things he does through other people.  Teachers and parents who are at the school all know him as “The Weather Guy.”  Until last Saturday, I had no idea he did any of his television production work in front of the camera~ I thought he was all behind the scenes.  Apparently, he is quite the comedian and takes part in television spoofs and reports the weather in all sorts of interesting ways – like riding a scooter down the halls.  How did I not know this about him??

Tonight, he was asked to sit in for his Television Production teacher who couldn’t be there.  All he had to do was play a video that the teacher had recorded for the parents to see, but it meant that I got to be in the class twice since he does the AM and PM news.  I noticed his name written everywhere for upcoming skits.  He’s doing a lot more than the weather!  Today he did an insane challenge, that of course at first I was horrified at, but as I saw the video and the photos and he assured me of the precautions he took in doing it, I lightened up…although he does need to put a disclaimer on this one I think!  Everyone has seen the “Ice Bucket Challenge” but someone in the studio came up with the idea to do a cinnamon challenge!  Cinnamon?  He wore a face mask, goggles and to top off the costume, a cowboy hat.

dj cinnamon

He hadn’t told me about it but when a parent, (who knew about the challenge) came up to him today and said something smelled like cinnamon, he laughed and showed me the photo.  Who is this kid?  He is quiet and reserved at home.  Fun loving and outgoing but I had never seen this side of him before.  It was really nice to see.  Do I want to see another crazy cinnamon challenge…NO, but I love that he is such an active participant and so willing to try new things.

I guess it is true, as kids go through high school, they find their niche, maybe even their calling.  DJ has known since 9th grade that he wanted to do something in the field of television.  I am happy to see that his high school has given him the opportunity to excel in something he loves so much.

Oh…and come to think about it, as we drove home, his car did smell a lot like cinnamon!


do your best

In the beginning of May, I wrote about getting both of my boys classified in school.  I was kicking myself for waiting so long, thinking how much time I must have wasted where they could have been getting the help that they needed.  Dave and I weren’t sure if we had made the right decision, but the teachers at their schools made it easy for us and we are grateful.  Both boys have now finished their first semester at school, DJ in grade 11 and Drew in grade 6.  High School and Middle School – rough years in general.

Drew, my son who enjoyed school, but loathed academics made the honor roll!  FIVE A’s and two B’s.  We haven’t received the actual report card, but with the technology available to us, we are able to go on line and check his grades whenever we want.  I am not a parent who checks on them daily.  I go on once every week or two, to see if the boys are doing their homework and getting assignments completed on time.  Drew is so proud of himself.   He cannot wait to get the report card in the mail and show it to his fifth grade teachers.  He told me how proud they are going to be of him.   Seeing him this excited about his grades and school is something that Dave and I have never seen him exhibit before.   He comes in and does his homework right after school.  I would not say that there is no mumbling and grumbling about it, just so much less.  I also have to credit his 6th grade teachers at the middle school.   Whatever they are doing to keep him motivated, is working!

As for DJ, he didn’t make honor roll, but he has also had the best report card we have seen from him in years!  4 A’s 2 B’s and a C.   He doesn’t talk much about school, he never has.  We try to get information out of him but rarely get more than a word or two in response.  His favorite class though is a television production class.  He likes it so much, he’s going to school tonight, (something he’d have never done a year ago,) to help film a program going on at the school this evening.

We have never pushed for our boys to bring home straight A’s. That would be unrealistic.  What we do tell them is to do their best and if they are giving it all of their effort, that is what is most important.  I am not sure what it is that is motivating the boys, the teachers, getting them classified, or something else, but Dave and I are proud of them.

First Day


Today was the first day of school for Drew and for me.  Drew came home ecstatic.  Not only did he get the teacher he was hoping to get for Social Studies, but he also got him for homeroom AND study hall!  It is so nice to see him excited about school.  He has always loved his teachers. He just doesn’t love school.  Not the work, not the structure.  So listening to him to talk to us all about his day was such a treat.  He told us about the problematic locker which had to be switched, (since even the custodians could not take care of it).  He told us about the other kids in his class.  Stuff that I am sure doesn’t seem like a big deal, but we are coming from getting very little out of him regarding school to him offering us information even without us asking…it is huge!  Will it last??  Who knows but it sure made me happy tonight!

As for my first day…I am exhausted.  I always say that September is the hardest month of teaching – especially in Kindergarten.  Establishing rules and routines takes a lot of time.  It will take us at least a month to get the structure down to a regimen.  Everyday is an adventure in the beginning of the school year. I never know what to expect.  Sometimes the first day goes smoothly and the second day falls apart!!  The build up of the first day for some children is so huge, that they don’t realize they have to go back and do it again then next day…and for 178 days after that!!   I had no criers today.  That is always a positive start!

DJ starts tomorrow.  His biggest apprehension right now is that he got a schedule that has all of his classes on it, but seems to be lacking classroom locations!  His day begins at 7:30 am.  He knows the day begins with Chemistry – he just doesn’t know where to go when he gets there.  I am sure it will all work out.  It usually does.  He and his friends are texting about it.  Apparently  he is not the only one in this situation.  I am sure he is relieved that he is not alone.

So – here’s to tomorrow.  Hoping that our days go smoothly, that  DJ makes it to all of his classes and that Drew will continue to enjoy school.  If we all come home smiling, it will be a success!