DAILY INSIGHT: Reach out and touch someone

The importance of "Have a nice day." 
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The importance of "Have a nice day." 

By Steven M. Baule, CIO Advisor

This morning, as I sat down at my desk for Day 2 of the school year, I looked at the white board on the opposite wall and besides all of the list of things to do and tag lines for future blog ideas (can’t you wait for my post based upon “I love white-cheeked gibbons?”), I noticed my daughter had left a “Have a Nice Day” note on the bottom of the board in the swirly handwriting typical of a middle schooler.

As Day 1 of the school year included a Board of Education meeting, it was nearly a 14-hour day. The rest of the week is looking nearly that long. However, it was great to see that my daughter took the time to drop me a short pick-me-up note. It did really help.

I have already reminded people to get out during those first weeks of school and be visible to the students and staff. I want to remind you to take the time to send a follow-up note or e-mail to those staff members who are either doing something really great already or are doing a little extra for the child who isn’t excited about being back in school or needs a little help.

In my case, notes are going out to the first-year teacher who used a QR code to let families gather her information at Open House. It also included her contact information and how to sign up for homework reminders at remind101. I know I liked her when we hired her! A note should also go to the kindergarten teacher who had to keep 20+ students occupied while one was desperately trying to escape. He really wanted his mommy. Some days I feel the same way. I would point out—in an unscientific survey—I found that students in up through grade five are really excited to be back at school. Seventh grade seems to be the year in which students start to verbalize their desire to not return. However, in speaking one-on-one with many students in middle school and high school, they are actually excited to be back. It just isn't cool to say so.

Steven M. Baule is superintendent of North Boone CUSD 200 in Poplar Grove, IL. He has written several books on aspects of library and technology management and planning.