When I was interviewing for the Principal position at RM Bacon I was asked this question, “Do you have any hobbies?” I thought for a minute and said, “Yes, I am pursuing my black belt in Kenpo Karate at Champions Martial Arts in Turnersville.” I was then asked a follow up question about how it helps me in my daily life. I told the committee that it has taught me a lot about goal setting, being involved in something bigger than yourself, and most of all discipline.
I remember my first martial arts class. I was the only adult in the class, and most of the teenagers had black belts. We started off with basic warm up drill, and I thought I was going to pass out. I just kept thinking to myself that I needed to stay focused and that one day I too would have a black belt (and be in better shape).
Eventually more adults showed up at the classes I was attending and I began to talk with them about the process. My mentor, Matt, has been very patient with my development. He too joined when he was much older and in a few years has risen to a brown belt. He has taught me about the true “art” of martial arts and how it is a scientific process.
One of my goals in joining karate was to lose weight. So three days a week (at least) I am sparring, doing push ups/sit ups, kicks, punches, etc. and burning a lot of calories. More importantly, I have begun to make better decisions about what I eat. I believe this is a result of the martial arts discipline that teaches students to be patient .
I have only been studying about 10 months and have already earned my purple belt. I know I have a few more years to attain a black belt, and I am enjoying the learning process. This experience allows me to be the student instead of the principal.
A few years ago there was an advertisement campaign that placed a great deal of emphasis on image. Statements such as “Image is everything” or “This will improve my image” impacted thousands of people. Yet, my exposure to the “image” concept goes back to 1996 when I first worked the Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) summer program at Rowan University. The EOF program is designed to help at-risk college students succeed through a summer program and intensive support. I had gone through the program myself in 1992.
The Residential Supervisor I worked for was known for his ideas. One day I helped him place a 6 by 4 foot mirror in the front of the residential hall for all EOF students to see as they came and left each day. I asked him what would be the purpose of this big mirror? He told me that he was going to put a quote on the mirror to have the students recognize the importance of their appearance, and also and more importantly, that they represented the EOF program by what they did, said, dressed, etc. This concept stuck with me.
Fast forward to 2011. When I arrived at RM Bacon I was impressed by the appearance of the historic building. I loved the marble entrance and wanted to make sure visitors could see and appreciate it as well. During the summer we moved some things around and I pondered what to do with the big open space where Mrs. Bacon’s picture used to hang. It was then that I thought of the Residential Supervisor from the EOF program, and since we are located in Millville, home of the glass industry, I ordered the mirror.
And just like my former supervisor, when someone asks why we needed a big mirror at our entrance and exit I say, “Because your image is our image.”
December 23, 2011 – Last post of 2011
Now ya got hot chocolate
Today was one of the busiest days of this year. I was up early getting prepared for the staff meeting (holiday celebration). My gift to the staff was a relaxed meeting with a hearty breakfast. We also exchanged gifts and had a lot of laughs!
The school day began with a definite buzz. The kids and teachers had their pajamas on ready for the Polar Express Themed Day. After morning announcements, we began to call each grade down to the gym. Every student had their ticket punched by one of the 1st grade teachers. 5th grade student leaders handed out popcorn. Once we were all assembled in the gym, we set our objective of the day and made sure everyone knew our expectations.
Mrs. Simpson organized the Chorus for an amazing encore performance from the Winter Concert. Then Coach put in a DVD for us to sing along. Somehow I was left with the microphone for the sing along. I made sure that I wasn’t the only one with the microphone. Thankfully, Mrs. Gandy, Mrs. Summers, random kindergarteners and the 8 students selected for all city chorus assisted. After the sing along we started the movie, The Polar Express. Mrs. Sutton, Mrs. Muhlbaier, Mrs. Taylor, Miss Spiels and Mrs. Ayars made hot chocolate and filled 300 cups with lids donated by the WaWa on 49. Our head custodian Mr. Wayne was very happy that WaWa donated the cups with lids. We only had 2 spills and they were caused by teachers. The students were so well behaved during the movie.
When the movie was over, we had everyone return to their classroom. And to their surprise, each student had a bell and a candy cane on their desk. I announced to the students that the bell was given to them so that they can believe – believe in themselves, their family, and their school! Each classroom had a party and before we all knew it we were dismissing the students. Even though I was so exhausted from the day, I was truly impressed with the students as they left for the winter break. Everyone was smiling and giving well wishes. I even joked with the parents that we sugared them up! I am so thankful to be a Bacon Bear! Happy New Year! Love – Dr. Cook
The infamous sign at night
December 12 – 16
Our new electronic sign was installed this week. I have had a lot of positive responses from parents, community members and teachers since it went up. One day, as I was standing out near it during dismissal, I had a student comment about the new Bear logo. He said it wasn’t “tough enough” and how could he wear the logo on a shirt and compete at Olympic Day. I thought about it after he left and then later on that evening it hit me. The next day I went back to the student and I told him this, “We have a new bear which was designed for our new image. And as for this bear not being viewed as ‘tough enough’ you have to remember that the real Bacon Bear is in your heart, not on a shirt or a sign.”
December 5 – 9
Does a full moon impact kids? Friday was just one of those days. I had issue after issue after issue. Every teacher I talked with said the same thing. I called another principal and asked her how things were going at her school. The first thing she asked me was, “Do you know it is a full moon tomorrow?” So, I googled “kids and the full moon.” There were about 75 million results. I found out that the”Lunar Effect” theory has been around for centuries and continues today. Most researchers say that there is a correlation, but it is not a causation. All in all we had a very good week at RM Bacon. We have some very entrepreneurial
5th graders who are making paper trees and poinsettias to raise money for their field trip. They told me that they want to “leave their mark” on Bacon before they head off to middle school. We have really great kids!
November 28 – December 1
Cumberland County Prosecutor joined our assembly
I went home early on Monday because I was feeling tired and had a headache. I was hoping that I wasn’t getting the flu. I stayed home on Tuesday and Wednesday because the symptoms were not changing. Mrs. Harris filled in for me while I was out and she said that she had no discipline write ups!That made me feel better knowing that our Bacon Bears were behaving while I was out. Thursday we had our staff meeting on Classroom Instruction That Works (Non Linguistic Representation and Cooperative Groups). On Friday that staff wore their new Bacon gear, or blue and orange to support the Thunderbolts’ State Group 4 Championship Game. We hosted Steered Straight and the Cumberland County prosecutors Office for an Anti-Bullying Assembly. The assembly was energetic, informative, and contained an important message: Don’t be a bystander, be an UPSTANDER!
Mrs. Sutton, Mrs. Muhlbaier and Mr. Hudson Prepping Food
Although I missed the Turkey Feast, my wife and daughter were there to represent the Cooks. This event, as I am told, was amazing. From the table settings, to the food and the desserts, everything was done the Bacon way. I want to thank those who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make this happen!
November 21 – 23
This was a shortened week due to the Thanksgiving holiday and three consecutive early dismissals. On Monday, we had a Discipline assembly that was designed to remind the students of our theme Your Image Is Our Image. During the assembly each of the teachers shared their expectation of student behavior and how they should be safe, responsible and respectful. Parent conferences have been going really well. We have had our highest attendance in years. Unfortunately, the flag football game scheduled for Wednesday had to be moved inside due to rain. Mr. Hudson and Mr. D made sure to schedule fun activities with a football theme for the gym. Coach Musarra was the DJ and made sure the event had the right music. To all the families, have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
November 14 – 18
What a busy week! The staff and students did a fantastic job preparing for and hosting the Annual Turkey Feast on Thursday. Although I wasn’t able to make it, those in attendance enjoyed the turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and desserts. The gym was decorated to reflect the Thanksgiving theme and the placemats looked awesome. We had the Book Fair this week, and it is off to a great start. In addition, we had the first of our early dismissals on Friday due to Parent Conferences. Thank you to all of the parents who attended.
Angie Zeller enjoying the feast
November 7 – 9
This was a short week because the teachers will be attending the NJEA Convention on Thursday and Friday. On Monday and Tuesday we had our flag football playoffs. The games were exciting and we are looking forward to the Championship Game on Monday, November 14. We had our first Bear Bucks Store on Wednesday and the students were able to “cash in” their earnings. The PBIS Committee, which is responsible for the Bear Bucks Store and other positive activities around the school also met on Wednesday and they have a lot of great ideas for this year.
October 31 – November 4
Dr + Spike + Cook
How cool is that picture? My first grade teachers honored me on Halloween with their costume. I remember going out into the hall to see what the fuss was about and I saw them. Someone asked if I knew what they were and I said, “Me?”
October 24 – 28
There was one thing on everybody’s mind this week: Halloween! The parents, students and teachers worked tirelessly on preparing for and executing a very successful Halloween Frolic! I was so impressed with the entire activity. Thanks to everybody who helped out and participated that evening. We also had a successful Halloween Parade and Dance Party for the students on Friday. The students were dressed to impress (and scare). Earlier in the week we had the Millville Fire Department out for their annual Firehouse Awareness. They did a great job teaching our students about fire safety.
October 18 – 21
I was out of the building twice this week for professional development. I am being trained by the district consultant’s PEG (Performance Excellence Group). This group allows teachers and administrators to make informed, data-based decisions on education. We had a very successful CAPA review! The State Department of Education was impressed by the teachers and students at RM Bacon Elementary School!
October 11 – 14
Progress reports were distributed this week. Wow, we are halfway through the first marking period. I spent this week preparing for our CAPA review, and doing formal evaluations of teachers. It seems that the students are really understanding how important our NO BULLYING pledge is, and how we are creating a new culture!
October 3 – 7
I would like to acknowledge Mrs. Spanbauer for her efforts with our first Week of Respect. The entire week was well organized, and really made an impact on the students. We even made the newspaper! (http://www.thedailyjournal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2011110080319)
Congratulations to the 5th graders. We also made the newspaper for attending the Kids about the Bay http://www.nj.com/cumberland/index.ssf/2011/10/area_students_visit_bivalve_fo.html
September 26- 30
SPICE it UP!
On Monday, October 3, 2011 our schedule for RM Bacon Elementary will be changing. For the most part, your child will only be impacted in regards to their specials. Teachers will be discussing this change with the students so they know where to report. The reason we changed the schedule was to focus more on providing interventions to our learners.
On another note, I am concerned about the amount of students reporting to school prior to 8:55 AM. Unfortunately, we do not have supervision until 8:55 AM. If you need to drop off your child early, then I would recommend signing up for the Latch Key Program (Val Raines 327-7584). Please do not drop off or let your students report to school prior to 8:55 AM.
New week is our Week of Respect. We have many activities scheduled. Our culminating activity is next Friday at 9:30 AM. We are hosting Sensei Jon from Champions Karate for an assembly!
4th graders enjoyed their trip on Wednesday to Drumthwacket (http://www.drumthwacket.org/) which is the official residence of our Governor. They represented RM Bacon in a very positive manner.
September 19- 23
This was a busy week at RM Bacon. Students and teachers were busy with many activities. Students are eager to start the Flag Football season. Gym classes began preparing for their Presidential testing.
September 12- 16
5th grade students and teachers hosted Mike Devano, author of Writing with SPICE. He entertained and inspired the students and teachers to take the writing process here at RM Bacon to the next level! We had our fire drills and evacuation drills this week. 4th and 5th graders were treated to a Regional Music Demonstration. Students were exposed to the various options for exploration in Music.
On September 15, we had our annual Back To School Night. We had approximatley100 students represented by parents and guardians. If you were not able to make it, I will post the PowerPoint.