In the Hive

Scott Will's Blog Page
Posted 2/13/2017 at 7:40:35 AM by Scott Will [staff member]
Ugh!  The weekend is over and Monday is here.  I can almost hear the grunts and groans resonating in the atmosphere across the nation.  I am a little weird in the fact that I love Monday.  It is very typical that I do not get a great deal of sleep on Sunday night as I am envisioning and anticipating the moments of the week ahead.  While I can see a framework in front of me, I actually have very little control over what the week brings until each event unfolds.

Think about it!  There is really not much control we have in any situation until it actually plays out.  We can anticipate, envision, plan and execute in preparation and have a strong foundation leading up to anything, and then we wait for the variables of the individuals involved.  How each moment plays out solely resides in the attitudes and actions of each of us.  How hard will we work?  How much time will we invest?  How does this moment play out? 

Today is Monday.  The start of the work week, the school week, somebody's vacation or even the start of someone's parenting journey.  We may be coming off a challenging weekend, an inspiring weekend or a a weekend that just could not end fast enough.  The most important piece of today is that we made it to this point.  Monday is best day of the week for one simple reason.  You!  Make today the next best day of your life!

Go Jackets!
Take A Number
Posted 1/26/2017 at 7:30:38 AM by Scott Will [staff member]
I recently went to the grocery store with my son to prepare for the week ahead.  It seems that with three growing young people at home, food gets worked over pretty good on a weekly basis.  As I went up to the deli at Meijer to get lunchmeat, it was evident I was not the only one who had sandwiches on my mind.  I went up and picked up my ticket to wait for my turn in line.  While there were only a few folks ahead of me with one worker behind the counter, others slowly came in behind me and in no time fifteen people were gathered around this counter waiting to be served.  The deli worker was very diligent in working to fill the orders for each individual.  I breathed a sigh of relief when it was my turn and patiently waited as my order was filled.  In the midst of the wait, I asked the worker what her greatest frustration was in being the lone worker with one line.  Suprisingly, it was not that she was the only worker, it was that she could not fill the orders as fast as she would like.  There was not time to precut some of the more popular meats and cheeses yet and so she was working on trying to get that prepped in between orders and there had been a steady line of customers for the past hour making that challenging.

I feel that this is a common challenge we face daily in education.  We have our numbers that we serve, a plan in place and then the challenge of working around individual orders.  There is only so much time during the course of the day and sometimes the needs of our students surpass the time we can spend with them.  Just as the deli worker had to make time to prepare for those individual orders, we must be creative in making time for working with the "orders" of our individual students.  

Go Jackets!
Systems of Support
Posted 1/6/2017 at 7:11:25 PM by Scott Will [staff member]
I heat my house with wood.  I tend to cut wood year round and due to the Emerald Ash Borer, I have several dozen Ash trees to remove from my property.  This past Monday I decided to get out the chainsaw and spend some time by myself cutting and stacking.  As I walked back into the woods, I noticed a large tree had uprooted and was leaning against some smaller trees.  At first glance you would think that the size of the tree alone would have collapsed the smaller trees, yet for some reason it did not happen.  As I walked closer to the tree I could see that some of the roots had rotted, causing the tree to fall over.  Inspecting the smaller trees, I noticed they were firmly anchored and they could handle the weight of the uprooted tree.

I could not help but think of the past week and the tragedy of losing a beloved teacher, coach and integral part of our building community at MVHS.  How do you work through something of this nature?  I go back to systems of supports, the strong roots anchored into the ground.  Many of our staff and students are like that tree right now.  It is important to be able to lean on support systems that are deeply rooted and willing to support those going through the tough emotions that "blow us over" at times.  Many have reached out to offer their support and it is greatly appreciated.  

Just as a tree has deep roots, so do the hearts of the individuals who have shown deep support during this time.  There is no greater blessing than for one to support another in time of great need.  Just as the tree could easily have fallen and been lost in the floor of the woods, individuals can fall to the sorrow associated with loss.  Roots and support have allowed that to not happen.

Go Jackets! 
Posted 12/16/2016 at 6:13:37 PM by Scott Will [staff member]
I was on my way to work last week and as I traveled my familiar route, I came upon a roadblock.  The sign said "road closed" and I immediately started to wonder what I was going to do.  Directly beside the sign was an alley I was not familiar with and as I turned into the alley I knew I was in unfamiliar territory.  Houses were different and I was not comfortable with any of the side roads to get back on my route so I just continued to drive straight ahead.  After about three minutes, I decided I was going to turn in the direction I thought I should be going and take a chance.  Within a few blocks I was back to my normal route and continued on to work.  As I reflected on what had occurred I remembered a word that my grandfather would use from time to time in our conversations.  The word was "adjust".  He would continually remind me that life is not just a fluid movement from start to finish, it is a constant journey that will throw some pretty crazy things in your way at times, those things being roadblocks.  We have to continually train ourselves that the normal path is not always the best and the that the first roadblock could be one of many that will present itself at any given moment.  How will we adjust when those moments come?  Life's experiences allow us to work through the roadblocks.  At any point in life, mentors and individuals need to be present to help us make the next turn when the roadblock looms before us.  If we allow them to help, we can experience the adjustment needed to handle the next challenge life presents.

Go Jackets!
What do you find in the midst of challenge?
Posted 11/22/2016 at 7:12:47 AM by Scott Will [staff member]
I appreciate outcomes.  Finalization of a particular task, the end of big project or the finality of a new initiative that succeeds.  While I appreciate the outcome, I love the journey.  John Muir said, "Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt."  Oh my goodness!  This is so applicable to every facet of challenge we face.  Challenges test our endurance, our stamina and really force us to ask if the journey is really worth the end result.  IT IS!  We find ourselves in the roads we travel.  One of the pieces that I try to instill in my children each day is that their journey cannot be the same as the child next to them.  They have had different obstacles, different forks in the road, different dirt,  and it is impossible that they can mirror or be mirrored in their journey.  These journeys add to our experiences and can have positive or negative outcomes depending on how we have chosen our approach.  Life tends to throw obstacles all the time.  There is no avoiding some of the negative pieces we will encounter, yet it can be controlled by what we have chosen to find in that particular challenge.  We are in control of more variables in those instances than we realize.  At the end of the day, what will you choose to find?

Where do you Stand?
Posted 11/15/2016 at 1:26:26 PM by Scott Will [staff member]
It has been an interesting last few days in our nation, if you pay attention to the headlines.  Even more interesting is how this election unfolded over the course of the last year and a half and the how the core legitimacy of government as a whole has come into question.  As a public institution, the last few elections have become more and more challenging as our students are exposed to political rhetoric in ways we never imagined twenty years ago.  We are to remain politically neutral, yet more and more questions come up that challenge that neutrality.  Regardless, our charge is to present students with facts, not opinion, and create the safest environment we can to promote individual respect in the umbrella of our high school community.  I have been asked several times over the last two weeks of where I stand on the issues.  My answer is simple, I stand with America.  I live in a nation that has three branches of government and the built-in equalizer of checks and balances.  How do we respond in the midst of this transition?  Where do we stand in the midst of these negative reactions and questions of uncertainty?  I stand with our students, our staff stands with our students and this district stands with our students.  We are here to serve them through education and teach them problem solving methods that will allow them to make informed decisions for themselves.  Our school community needs to be safe and promote an environment that focuses on student success in and out of the classroom and MVHS will strive to do this on a daily basis.

Go Jackets!

The Ecosystem of Community
Posted 10/12/2016 at 5:21:20 PM by Scott Will [staff member]
One of the unique pieces of establishing an environment is understanding that any successful environment resides in community.  We can look at any particular ecosystem, if you enjoy science, and understand that everything is dependent on something.  If you are missing one of those components, the ecosystem can become unbalanced and in some instances, "the community" can disappear.

While our first order of business is education, a close second is building a community where our students have ownership and are stakeholders in the process.  From decorating a hallway to turning in a math assignment, students take ownership in what happens in this building.  Community is not easy because it means that consideration must be taken for the collective group.  Whether you are a student, a teacher or administrator, sometimes decisions are made regarding "we" and not "me".  

While we work, and will continue to work on building into our community each day, we have to remember that we will benefit from the positive contributions of all.  We are off to a wonderful start and there is an excitement of what can come in the future.  It is a great time to be a Yellow Jacket!

What do I Have to Offer
Posted 9/2/2016 at 4:41:33 PM by Scott Will [staff member]
I recently heard a remark that really has me thinking this week.  "I am a little fish in a big pond," was the remark that has echoed in my mind as we end the third week of school.  The fact of the matter is that we are each, if we look at ourselves individually, a little fish in a big pond.  As I reflect on that idea and look at our theme of building into community, I cannot help but focus on how important each individual fish can be in that journey.  

Today we had the opportunity to share community together at a school pep rally.  Kids were screaming, teachers cheering, the band was jamming and you could feel a pulse in the building.  Individuals made that pulse and it did not have to be an athlete, a band member, a teacher or a coach.  The simple fact is that it had to be an individual making a choice to offer something up to the whole group.  We all offer something to the collective whole.  Something unique, important, and to be treated like a treasure.  

It is about academics, athletics and most importantly community.  Sometimes what we have to offer is an interruption to the normal schedule.  It is imperfect and sometimes does not make sense, but it is unique and needed for this high school to be the community we hope for it to be for our students.

You are a little fish in a big pond, yet you offer something that every other fish cannot.... yourself.
Focus on the Moment
Posted 8/26/2016 at 7:19:02 AM by Scott Will [staff member]
I cannot count how many times I have heard my children talking about what they want to have, achieve and strive for in the future.  They make these glorious plans with things they have not even grasped in terms of what it takes to get to that point.  I believe we tend to call that dreaming.  I love listening to them and their plans and I am reminded of my own dreams in 7th grade of being a Jedi knight.  Yes, that's right... I would be the next Luke Skywalker.  My parents never broke the bad news to me that it would never happen, they allowed me to dream.  One thing that was always stressed was having dreams, but not losing focus on the moment.

We put a great deal of responsibility on students to know what they need to do to leave in four years with a diploma.  In this quest to make sure their journey is successful, we sometimes lose the focus on the moment.  The journey of a thousand seasons that begins as a freshman, the bridge to be an upperclassman sophomore year, the limbo and pressure of the junior year and finally the end of a thirteen year quest entering into the adult world.  We can all remember those years and I am sure we look back and wish sometimes about what could have been.

One of my early mentors talked about taking care of the little things and the big things take care of themselves.  There is no greater truth as we need to encourage our students to focus on the moment in their journey at this point in time, still dreaming and creating goals, to spring into the next chapter of their lives.
The Foundation
Posted 8/1/2016 at 11:01:51 AM by Scott Will [staff member]
I love anything that has to do with overcoming obstacles.  So much is learned through working out of our comfort zones and really pushing ourselves to grow as an individual.  I can remember my freshman year of high school, of college, and my first year as an educator.  There was so much apprehension in what the year would bring in terms of individual growth and relationships.  While many would joke about being the "rookie" or the "low person on the totem pole", I embraced the challenge.  
My grandfather always stressed your life would rise and fall by your foundation.  A strong foundation starts at the bottom and then is built upon.  A strong foundation means the ability is there to carry a strong structure overhead.  This concept has to be the focus of MVHS.  We must work alongside our students in their freshman year to build that initial foundation and then provide opportunities to build the supported structure overhead as they progress from year to year.  

While each individual is different and we will work to create opportunities for the different directions our students will choose, we must also work diligently to achieve the requirements the state would put in front of us.  Part of that structure overhead would be knowing that there are some pieces that you have to do and others that you want to do that will build equally into the journey.  

For our first year students I would encourage getting involved.  Find something in the building that will positively build into your foundation.  If there is something that you are interested in that is not offered, communicate with your school counselor or building administrators to see if it could possibly be an offering.

Your foundation will determine the journey ahead.  Let's build into it together! 
Scott Will
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