Principal's Blog

  • Never Forget

    Posted by Jacqueline Liburd on 9/10/2014
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  • Closing The Achievement Gap - ALL hands on deck!

    Posted by Jacqueline Liburd on 4/10/2014 7:00:00 PM
    Haven't been posting in a while - ELA's, NYSESLAT had me going for a while!.  I was talking with one of my staff members about conversational skills in our society and how ur children are becoming used to one way conversations or not at all.  I remembered seeing a recent clip of a recent study about the intrusion of cell phone and other electronic media into our lives.  The clip showed a mom and her yong son in a restaurant having dinner.  During the course of the dinner, the mom was busy texting on her phone while her son played an electronic game. Whatever happened to dinner- time conversations?....
    Please take time to read.listen to this report on closing the achievement gap....Can you imagine that it starts with something that we can all do with relative ease? Please read and encourage as many people to read it as you can!
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  • Just say no

    Posted by Jacqueline Liburd on 3/2/2014 6:00:00 PM

    I read this post, bookmarked it years ago (along with hundreds of others) and while looking for something else opened it up and it couldn't have come at a better time! I have come across toooo many instances of our students – yes 4th and 5th graders - having tooo great a freedom through their mobile and internet devices than I believe parents are aware. Do you remember back in the day when you dare not talk to certain people, go to certain parts of town, stay out after the street lights came on...? Why is it that we are now allowing our own children to do just this....with their electronic devices?

    I have learned more about instagram – you have to be 13 to have an account yet many students have accounts, ooVoo – video chat, skypelike app that literally links your child to people from all corners of the universe.

    I understand the need to be connected to your child – safety walking home from school, home alone before you return etc BUT what supervision and common understandings do you have with your child about use of the device? Do you really want them hanging out with friends until the wee hours of the morning? If you wouldn't allow them to stay out, why are they hanging out on the phone or video chatting?

    Interesting read...hope you enjoy it as well-

    E is for EMPATHY

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  • Olympic Fever

    Posted by Jacqueline Liburd on 2/9/2014
    I'm a fan of the Olympics – Summer and Winter and spend waaaay too much time watching the games! But it can be educational can't it?
    The 2014 Winter Olympics, held in Sochi Russia, started on February 7th and will end on February 23rd 2014. The official Olympics site is filled with tons of photos, info. on athletes to watch, and general information about Sochi. The US of A bagged the first gold of the Olympics for a brand new event - U.S. snowboarder Sage Kotsenburg leapt and twisted high in the air, improvising as he raced down the slope, riding an almost flawless first run to win the slopestyle crown.
    Education World has a website that's chock full of interesting ways to engage families in the  spirit of the Olympics. Have a go at it! Below are a few ideas from the site.
    The Olympic Games offer a perfect opportunity to teach about world geography and culture. In the opening ceremonies, athletes from many countries will dress in costumes reflecting the cultures of their homelands. The athletes will carry flags of their native countries too. The Olympic Parade of Nations provides a perfect opportunity for families to:
    • research countries of the world.
    • draw the flags of countries whose athletes are competing.
    • learn to say hello in different languages.
    • compare and contrast countries according to size and population.
    • calculate the distance between your home and the homes of some of the athletes.
    • color a world map to show the countries whose athletes will be in Sochi
    Track the Weather. Use your favorite weather source to keep track of the weather at the Games. (Graphing – yet another real -world application à la Common Core!)
    Practice Reading a Schedule. (A common Core Standard) When are the different Olympic events scheduled to take place? NBC offers a Complete Olympic Schedule. Ask the kids questions such as On what date does the figure skating competition begin?, On how many days do bobsledding finals take place, or Which competition starts first -- the alpine skiing competition or the freestyle skiing competition?
    Tracking the Medals Race. Families can track the medal results for a different country. Create a chart and update it daily so that in the end you have a chart that looks like this Final Medal Standings chart
    Can you guess what I'll be spending my winter break doing?
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  • Nelson Mandela

    Posted by Jacqueline Liburd on 12/6/2013
    Nelson Mandela
    I mourn his passing, a giant among giants who taught us so much about forgiveness!

    "He achieved more than could be expected of any man, guiding South Africa from the shackles of apartheid to multi-racial democracy and became an international icon of peace and reconciliation" What a fitting epitaph for a "gentle" man.

    I share with you, the poem that kept him going, kept him steadfast throughout his many years in prison.  Rest in Peace

    Out of the night that covers me,
    Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
    I thank whatever gods may be
    For my unconquerable soul.

    In the fell clutch of circumstance
    I have not winced nor cried aloud.
    Under the bludgeonings of chance
    My head is bloody, but unbowed.
    Beyond this place of wrath and tears
    Looms but the horror of the shade,
    And yet the menace of the years
    Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

    It matters not how strait the gate,
    How charged with punishments the scroll.
    I am the master of my fate;
    I am the captain of my soul.

    [Written by William Ernest Henley
    Born Gloucester, England, August 23, 1849]
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  • Hillcrest - A Caring Community

    Posted by Jacqueline Liburd on 12/2/2013

    These days it seems that my every waking moment is filled with Common Core, Curriculum, resources, lack of resources, low test scores, achievement gaps, LAP school, grants, need for tutors – and my list goes on. I was reminded just before the Thanksgiving break what education is really all about. As I saw my students – all 516 of them - energized by the Food Drive that we had undertaken, truly joyous at their ability to be a part of something larger than themselves, I felt my heart sing!

    I know that we're on the right track towards developing a community of students – future leaders – who will always reach out to act for the greater good... Listening to the news today on my drive home (don't know why I keep punishing myself like this), there was a brief piece that said Americans have grown less trustful of each other and I smiled as I thought – you guys need to come to see Hillcrest in action... we can trust because we care!

    As we are thrust headlong into the frenzy that we affectionately call “ the Holidays”, please take time to show your child , your elderly neighbor, the harried salesclerk that you care!

    Wishing you a joyous season whatever the Holiday you celebrate!

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  • Am I Raising A Quitter?

    Posted by Jacqueline Liburd on 11/10/2013
    An article in today's newspaper caught my attention - Simply titled, "Am I raising a Quitter?" it started an inner dialogue with myself that really got me thinking about my own experiences raising 2 sons, and a daughter and thinking of discussions 15 years ago with my husband about whether our youngest should quit learning to play the piano. My feeling then was that he should not since we would be teaching him to not follow through while my husband thought why force him to do something that he really hated to do.
    15 years later- and with resilience and perseverance being bandied about constantly with the new Common Core Standards- there still are no right or wrong answers.As the writer found out, responses were as varied as the people who responded. One elementary principal who responded cautioned "that the desire of parents to protect their child's self-esteem too often results in teaching them the half-truth that if a subject comes easy for them, they must have an aptitude for it.  And if the subject is hard, they must not have an aptitude for it".  We've certainly seen this in the rise of the "helicopter parent" phenomena.  As a parent, how do you stand idly by as your child falters, when all you want to do is set them up for success? How (when, where?) do you draw the line? And when does loving attentiveness become hovering over protectiveness? How does a child develop resilience in an age where everyone gets a trophy or award so no child has hurt feelings. 
    There's an old Chinese saying, "Failure is the mother of success." Einstein himself flunked math for years, Steve Jobs suffered epic failure and was fired from the company he started, only to return a few years later  and take Apple to remarkable heights with one new innovation after another. Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor who told him he had "no imagination and no good ideas"
    Failure -- even the opportunity for failure -- is a necessary ingredient for raising autonomous, resilient young adults. When we have children who are resilient, we won't then need to ask "Am I raising a quitter?"
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  • We're in this together

    Posted by Jacqueline Liburd on 10/29/2013


    This is my first blog entry and I look forward in sharing my views and thoughts on the direction that education is going at the school, district and national level. Yes, this means discussions about the Common Core, this will entail my musings about our standing as a nation compared to others, ramblings about what being “educated” means, and of course, my journey - new learnings :-) as an elementary school principal.

    So here goes my foray into the world of social media - never say you can't teach an old dog new tricks!

    A regular feature of my blog will be monthly updates entitled “ABC's of Student Success”. So here's the first of 26!

    Please feel free to comment if you care to...

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