Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Happy Stuff

One of my seniors made this great present for me over break. I love everything vintage and she does too. She created this awesome Kerr Mason jar as a "photo holder" of sorts. She used an oil and mica on the inside. So amazingly cute! Thanks Miss Ashton!

Friday, April 15, 2011


Sometimes you just have to have fun when you teach. Today, last hour was one of those times. I have an extremely good sized art exploratory class that ranges from freshman to seniors. I really like the vibe I get from them all the time but since they began this semester we have been confined to sitting at desks until today. As the Cupid Shuffle came on, I announced I did not know how to do this dance. One of them suggested that they teach me. Now in a normal teacher moment, a teacher would have laughed that off. BUT, due to the fact that it is only a few short hours before spring break, and in a few short hours before I leave for Florida I said what the heck. And we did the CUPID SHUFFLE! What great fun with those kids! Kids keep memories from school. they are not memories about reading a great book or doing a fantastic art project, they are moments like this. It will be one of my favorites too. I believe one of the kids video recorded it so as soon as I have access to that I will proudly display my new dancing skills!

Monday, April 11, 2011

In the News

The Paris Beacon News came and did an article on the Portfolio Class at PCHS. Very proud of my students. Here is the link!

What it Takes to Make Things Work

I am the first to admit I am not good at delegating. It takes everything in me to let go of that control and honestly sometimes to me it is easier to simply do it yourself than it is to take the time to let someone know how to help you. This weekend, while in clean up mode after prom, a great friend said. "Stop, slow it down and tell me what I can do." Sometimes we all need to hear those words from someone. It makes us step back and regroup. it also lets us know that we have great people in our lives to love us enough to help us.

This weekend, I had a great group of friends who helped Staci and I make it through prom. These ladies were amazing and stepped up to help where we knew we would falter. It started last year with a group of women who helped with Grand March. This year the group grew in numbers and helped the event run flawlessly from what I have heard. So thank you to Linda, Michelle, Denise, Carla, Pam, and Michelle. And thank you to Kevin, our head of maintenance for all your stage setting and chair moving! You guys did an amazing job. We are so happy to have you each and every year! And prom this year, we had the best turn out of faculty we have had in a long time. They of course are always awesome, staying and just keeping extra eyes out there. But to be honest, our kids were great as usual. I think one of the best things that we have ever done is to move our prom from our little town in to a different environment. The kids now have a reason to get dolled up, limos ordered and truly have a night on the town. So proud of how they are in this kind of social situation. They were polite, funny, and kind. I look forward to prom each and every year for that simple fact. The best part about my job as junior class sponsor is working with great kids, wonderful faculty members and parents, and an excellent co-sponsor!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

April 5th, 2011

Yesterday was election day. I talked in my last blog about the amazing opportunity that the community of Paris, Illinois had sitting in front of them. A once in a lifetime chance to build a new school. I headed to bed quite nervous, I did not know the outcome, that is, until my 12 year old burst into my room and said "I just got a text, it passed!" I sat there looking at her and I know I didn't believe her at first. I grabbed my phone and climbed on Face book, the end all and be all in my world, and indeed she was right. Last night I had trouble falling asleep. It seemed surreal. In only a few short years, we will have a new school thanks to all of those individuals who worked so hard to campaign and those members of our community who simply marked a yes box. This morning when I woke up I came to the realization that my daughter would be in one of the first graduating classes from this new school. I also came to the realization that I have a few short years to get a lot of work done. My daughter kindly reminded me of that when she said to me in the middle of breakfast this morning, "Mom, what are you going to do with all that stuff in your room?" And there is where reality sank in. Wow I have a lot to do. Sorting, purging, organizing. It will all have to be done. There are things in my classroom from so many teachers before me, I have yet to discard, because I, like all art teachers, can't throw anything away. So now begins phase two of this wonderful adventure. I will have to post the randomness of what is in the art room from time to time so that all of you can gain an appreciation of my newest task at hand. Thank you again Paris Community for making our young people come first!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Today is the Day

Today is one that can go in the City of Paris' history books. Today our community is given the opportunity to better the lives and education of young community. Today we have the ability to Vote YES.

A little less than a year ago, we found out that our name was up on a building fund list for the State of Illinois. We were up for a new school. The State of Illinois has money (and yes they actually have it!), money that makes up 66% of building costs toward a new high school. We, the community of Paris are voting today on a referendum to fund the other portion. A portion that will build a children a school where education and technology will bridge together and spring our students into the educational world of today and tomorrow.

Talking to a fellow co-worker this morning, I was telling him that my tummy was full of butterflies today. He said you know, 102 years ago, our community put aside fears and the thought of taxes and did something for the good of our young people and our community. 102 years ago they built a new school. I only hope that our community can see it that way today. Wow. Well said!

I was one of those people who questioned this new school at the beginning. I honestly thought, no way! No way did I want my taxes to increase, in already ridiculous State of Illinois- County of Edgar tax world. My answer for the first few months was HECK NO! And then I did something. I educated myself on the pros and cons. On the finances, and the interests. I looked at how it would affect me as someone who worked in the school, as a taxpayer in the district, and as a parent.

I can tell you the very moment that my opinion changed. I came to see my daughter who attends the middle school perform in a school play that was held at PCHS. As my parents and I walked into sit down in the auditorium, i turned and looked around. I have been in that room over a hundred times in my job at PCHS, but for the second time in my life, i was there as a parent. I watched people avoid, and then finally forced to sit in seats which the backs were broken off of, that there were no longer desks attached to, but the brackets still sticking out of, looking at carpet that was heavily stained and worn through in many spots. And then I realized it. Wow. We need help. We have the ability sitting before us to build something new, or later down the line, we will have to shell out the money into a 102 year old building to get it back up to standards and code. Which will cost more? Anyone that has restored and older home or car knows, there are points in time when you are investing more than it cost to buy new.

People are questioning the idea of what a new building will do to improve test scores and education on a whole. Education is taking off in leaps and bounds. Right now technology and group approach is where education is going. Innovative and creative. Exciting. Technological. We try our best here at PCHS, but you can only do so much with what you are given. People look back and say you only have 600 kids in that building at one time there were over a 1000. They could handle it, why can't you?It isn't about the numbers of students, it is about the quality of education we can offer. This school was not built a 100 years ago to house and run, computers, smart boards, wi-fi, laptops, computers, and machinery that we use know as everyday items in our educational process. The simple fact is, if PCHS wants to educate in today's world, we need the facilities to do so.

I hope that people open their eyes and see that this once in a lifetime chance brings to us. We have the ability to give back to our community. If the citizens of Paris could see it 102 years ago, I hope with all my heart the citizens today can as well. What could be better than that!


It's been quite a while since I have written. Alot of things have gone on in the art department. Although I am exhausted, I am so excited about the talent that we have in our little part of the world. We have spent the last two weeks working on the sets of Beauty and the Beast. If you have never been to a PCHS production, then you don't know what you are missing. Dan Lynch has the ability to bring these kids together to become something that a small town just doesn't get to experience. We have around 600 students in our school and there are over 140+ in the play, not to mention the students who paint the sets (us), students who build the sets, the orchestra pit, the lighting and stage crew, and the students who work on the programs, etc. It is indeed a site to watch happen. I believe that these sets were some of the more challenging to accomplish due to the detail and scale. I am so proud of my kids who worked on these and made them happen. I love seeing them take ownership in their work. It is a very proud moment and as usual I cried at the end of Sunday's finale performance watching it all come together. There is so much heart and emotion in it all!

In between work for the musical, we entered our work into one show this year. Normally we have three or four, but with our schedule, time didn't permit me to get it done. This year we have several amazing artists who shined in the County Wide Student Show. Millie Arp won overall 2-D for a painting, and we had one honrable mention for another painting by Emily Turner. In the 3-D Category, Millie Arp captured 1st place with a metal sculpture and Ashley Lee, a second place for a ceramic piece. These projects along with the rest of our fabulous work will be showcased in an upcoming blog.

I began going through my class numbers for next year. We have 600+ students in PCHS. At this point I have 237 students signed up for art next year. I cannot explain the feeling I get when I see my numbers go up and up. I started here 5 years ago, after coming from teaching elementary and high school at another school. Five years ago I began with 78 students in my program. Today 237. The jump in numbers of students who want to be a part of the arts is something that gives me goosebumps! I am so proud of the fine arts department as a whole for encouraging our students to dare and dream!

Today, the newspaper is coming into our classroom and they are going to highlight the Art Department in an upcoming issue. I am so proud of how far we have come and that our community is showing its support in the arts. What is dying in some areas of our country is growing and producing in our small community. Today I feel blessed!