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Made it! New School, Land of Enchantment!

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Moved to the Big Leagues, a brand new school, truly a land of enchantment. Transition complete. We made it! What a journey. Here's my story for today, a special day. Posting on 9/11 provides a tremendous reponsibility to focus on hope, life and family. History cannot be changed, but life matters and schools are families, first.

Memories and remembrances. What and who we are, as a nation. Moving forward, defying the greatest obstacles.

Yesterday we took the last summer field trip To Enchanted Forest, a storybook land hidden amidst beautiful canopies of Oregon trees. Favorite fairy tales came to life around every bend. It was fitting to celebrate the end of week school success as a family. Families always come first in iife.

I've written a number of posts recently and totally lost the last published blog entirely, which is probably a good thing. I managed to call forth and share my tale of being 'trapped' in my kids' home due to nature's naughtiness, and finding an inherent lesson. I hoped there would be a lesson in humanity and humiity, and I believe there was. All, in all. And a lot about Family. So here I go, starting over, but the updates are sweeter than sweet.

It's not like Morgan is the only kid in the world to start Kindergarten. Or buy school supplies and that perfect backpack. Its not like Peanut is the only kid who changed sizes right before school and nothing seemed to fit just right for that first big day.

So we made a number of trips to the big stores and got Morgan all set to go. Her parents transitioned a little at a time, bye to the preschool, bedtimes, meals, backpack, cleaning out her "office area", above, what you do on the parent end.

I'm so used to being on the other side, getting ready at school making those grand plans for the year, maybe we ought to spend more time thinking what parents and extended families do to find the right headphone, pay that tech fee, get all the supplies schools used to just have in the cupboards, etc. Reflection is a good thing. And showing appreciation for that required supply list, and home-school support.

Morgan has really bad asthma and an auto-immune piece of her being we work with and she is the best, most patient kid about everything. But leaving the safety net of a top-notch preschool who knew her special needs in diet, playground and treated her the same as everybody else. How in the world could our Peanut make it in a regular "big school" which she really wanted to attend?

So the last couple weeks, in particular, hanging out with Morgan and the family, we figured out step-by-step how Morgan could manage a larger school setting. Howard Elementary, in particular, great staff, like you, who are making memories happen for Morgan. Support already comes from Principal, kitchen staff, school secretary, teacher, student teacher, nurse, kindergarten aide. A lot of people know the details, care and Morgan has only been at school three days so far. It's going to work.

We attended 'Meet the Teacher' hour (afternoon). It was simply great! This school is so beautiful and organized, environmentally friendly and safety first. I loved saying hello to not only our teacher, but all teachers in the school opened up their classrooms and hearts to parents who toured the new school after visiting their kids' class.

My daughter cried. I cried. Daddy was pretty stoic, but took time off work to help Morgan adjust. I took a bunch of photos of the school, since we rarely see a new school of this magnitude. I put several on Twitter and Instagram, but now I wish I had used my phone for a zillion pictures of what a 'future is now' full inclusion tech, STEAM school looks like.

School started the next day, a bit shorter schedule. I liked that students were transitioned a little at a time before the first regular day. It also gave time to finish construction in the library and playground, staff had time to to work out inevitable remaining glitches, and put all those supplies in proper places. 

Later, when I looked at my photos I saw our little girl, growing up, looking pretty scared, clutching Mom and Dad's hand, learning her way around, her usual bravado curbed and probably wanting to hold her blanket and doll. 

Morgan's first day

Frozen dress with leggings. Check. Denim jacket. Check. Shopkins backpack. Check. Tennies for playground. Check. Ready for Kindergarten!

Morgan lucked out. She is starting out with a brand new school, as I said, a tech immersion school and a lot of Spanish spoken, as the norm. Lots of diversity. The Principal was a student there, then teacher, now Principal. The old campus was built in 1949, so this was long overdue. But what an extraordinary school. And free breakfast and lunches. 

All students met in the cafeteria. The Principal welcomed us and a feeling of great excitement surrounded us all. Parents were then asked to join children in their classrooms, at least in K. Teacher, so competent, cool, confident, warm and loving read a story, then we left.

At the end of the day Mama and I picked up Morgan. Asked the usual about her day. She said "I made one new friend. I learned the bathroom signal in sign language. We learned new Spanish words." She was happy. Her last remarks were "Do I go back tomorrow?"

Her mama said, "Yes. You're in the Big Leagues now, Morgan, you made it."

Leaving footprints on your reading hearts, Rita.

 

We remember 9/11, always and ever, in our hearts and prayers. Life moves on. Transitions. 

 

 

 

 

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Modeling the art and craft of teaching reading for 46 years, Mrs. Wirtz taught language arts, speech and reading at all levels preschool-adult, including penal. She served as Pre-school and K-6 Principal. Rita was also a Curriculum Consultant, ESEA, Title I Program Evaluator and literacy trainer. At the university level she taught school administration in the Bilingual Cohort at CSUS and National University, Sacto. Mrs. Wirtz also taught all reading courses for Chapman University for many years in Sacramento and Placerville, Ca., and mentored student teachers. On the national level she was a well known motivational Keynote Speaker and Seminar Leader. Most importantly, Rita walked the talk, teaching with teachers in more than 500 K-12 and special needs classrooms. Rita authored books, publications and Pre- YouTube, videos were filmed by San Diego County Office of Education. Calif. ASCD authored companion book guides, and Calif. school districts correlated her basic skills instruction with State Standards. Mrs. Wirtz' newest book is Reading Champs! Teaching Reading Made Easy, a review of the basic building blocks of English and Reading. Rita is currently teaching in a multi-age, fully incuded preschool, ages 2-8. Find Mrs. Wirtz on Twitter @RitaWirtz, Facebook and website- www.ritawirtz.com.

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Guest Saturday, 10 December 2016