My Teacher of the Year Journey

Gloria Noyes, 2009 Maine State Teacher of the Year

Archive for July, 2009

SPACE CAMP Pictures

Got Lobstah?
Got Lobstah?
Barbies go to Space Camp...too!

Barbies go to Space Camp...too!

Yahoo!  This was a blast!

Yahoo! This was a blast!

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  • Day Two of my Space Camp Adventure…

     

    Grace Corrigan with Team Unity
    Grace Corrigan with Team Unity

    7:00 AM SHARP pick up time… Man, is this boot camp or space camp?  ha.ha.  After breakfast we had a three team meeting called Mission Overview from 7:30-9:30.  Then we had the delight of listening to Christa McAuliffe’s mother speak.  Grace Corrigan’s presentation was so moving and fitting for our group.  We watched a video featuring her daughter during the selection process for the one teacher that they were going to select to go into space.  Her interviews and actions through out the video were fascinating to witness, what a true hero Christa was and is to not only the space program, but to her fellow teachers, her students and people of all walks of life.

    We then had photos taken with Grace… followed by lunch.  One of today’s activities was to design a patch to represent our team…Unity.  Fortunately, Edney from the Virgin Islands is an artist and took our suggestions into place and designed a gorgeous patch.  Next we were off to practice our jobs on our upcoming Endeavour mission.  Today, we found out what our jobs were on the Endeavor and we had the opportunity to practice them.  My job is CAPCOM!  Here’s a close up of me as CapCom…

    The Maine CAPCOM
    The Maine CAPCOM

    Of course, I lucked out and got the most awesome job ever.  I’m the only one in flight control who can communicate with the Commander and Pilot, but I also can communicate with everyone in flight control.  It was a pretty intense role, because you have a strict time line to follow and you have to listen to both the shuttle and ground control.  I think I have the hang of this role…we’ll see how I do tomorrow.  Obviously the person choosing the jobs doesn’t have a clue how much I like to talk…never give me a microphone or you’ll be sorry, just ask my colleagues at Congin.  :)

    After another session and dinner, we were free at 6:30.  That will be earliest release time we will have all week.  That’s when several of us made a break for good ole Wally World (Walmart).  Debbie has her car here, so we are styling!  I was desperate for bananas and some kind of shopping, so even Walmart looked fabulous to me.  Knowing that tonight was the only chance for all of us to network, a large group of 36 ToYs and international teachers gathered together in room 301… to discuss the days events.  Deb, Vicki and I went up to this gathering in our new flight suits and the lighted glasses that Debbie bought us.  Too funny! 

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  • The bus comes at what time? 7:30 AM?

    Sleep did not come easy last night as I went to bed around 1:30 AM and woke up at 5 AM. (I am used to getting up at 6 at home…there’s a one hour time difference here, ugh!)   I mostly likely woke up from the rocket sounding toilet or the sunlight that poured through my blinds that wouldn’t close all the way.  I’m not complaining here, just informing.  :)

    Day One Schedule:

    7:45-8:00  Breakfast

    8:00-9:30  Welcome Orientation

    9:30-11:00  Team Building Tour **** This was when some of us went on the Space Shot here’s the description…

    Space Shot

    What does a rocket launch really feel like? Three, two, one, liftoff!

    • Rocket 140ft straight up in 2.5 seconds.
    • 4 G’s of force on launch!
    • 2 – 3 seconds of weightlessness out of your seat then a 1 G free fall!
    • You must be 54 inches tall to ride.

    I can hardly believe that I did this, as I’m terrified of heights!  Here’s proof that I went…

    Glo, Jean (FL), Rebecca (PA)
    Glo, Jean (FL), Rebecca (PA)

    11:00-12:30  Shuttle Orientation

    12:30-1:00 Lunch

    1:00-2:30 Story Musgrave- Astronaut presentation

    2:30-3:30 Opening Ceremony Rehearsal

    3:30-4:30   Bussed back to dorm to change into state costume and picked back up

    4:30-5:00 Group Photos at the Shuttle

    5:00-6:30 Opening Ceremonies/Costume Parade at the Davidson Center

    6:30-8:00 Welcome Dinner at the Davidson Center

    8:00- Travel back to the dorm

    A fun group of ToYs
    A fun group of ToYs

    The first day was intense!  Once again, the Cajun and I didn’t go to sleep until well after 12 am.  Debbie and I found several issues with our blankets and we also had to bling out our space bags.  Deb went a step further by blinging out her flight suit.  LOL.

    I’m seriously missing my family!  It is hard, because there is so little time to even call home.

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  • T-23:00 hours until Space Camp!

    Eda (India), Vicki (NY), Blythe (NM), Me (ME)
    Eda (India), Vickie (NY), Blythe (NM), Me (ME)

     

    Debbie, Me, Eda
    Debbie, Me, Eda

    I left Maine at 8:00 am this morning and made it to my connector Charlotte, NC on time.  The Charlotte Airport is gorgeous and easy to navigate through.  I arrived in Huntsville, Alabama by 3:00 pm and was greeted by Rhonda an instructor at the U.S. Rocket and Space Camp.  I was bussed over to the dorm that all the state teachers were staying at.  It was so cool, I got out of the bus and was greeted by some of my ToY friends, they grabbed my luggage and after hugs and more hugs… They asked me if I wanted to join them on a trip to the local outdoor mall, The Bridge Street Shopping Center.  I literally did not even have the chance to bring my luggage to my room when I was en route to the most gorgeous shopping plaza. 

    Let me tell you, it was a good thing I went there or I would not have had a chance to shop again.  (Space Camp is not a shopping trip…it is actually serious work!)  We had a ball walking around and having dinner outside at a restaurant….???  I was so excited when my friend, Debbie found us at this shopping center despite not knowing where to go, her GPS could not locate this plaza, as it was brand new.  I asked a security guard to guide her to us and that little Cajun found us at Ann Taylor Loft. 

    Upon returning to the dorm, we soon realized that the comforts of home where not going to be at the University of Alabama’s dorm suites.  I have a total new found respect for any college student who can sleep more than four hours at a time on the “over-sized baby crib mattress” supplied to each of us.  These things were an entity of their own with a springy center and were as loud as walking through a never ending supply of bubble wrap.  Mr. Alaska refers to these mattresses as folded up blue tarps, neither description really does justice to the unpleasantness of these things. 

    My only saving grace was the mattress pad and cotton sheets generously brought to me from my BFF, Ms. Louisiana.  Debbie drove to Huntsville and totally hooked us up.  I owe you one, Debbie.  She also keep me up every night giggling for hours, so by the time I went to bed after 12+…I was so exhausted that I crashed.  I had the coolest roommates…Vickie from New York, Margaret from Missouri and my buddy, Debbie from Louisiana.

    Did I mention the lovely blankets that we received…that is a story for another day. 

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  • Jennifer Pooler, Coordinator of the Teacher of the Year Program at 2010 Oral Presentations.
    Jennifer Pooler, Coordinator of the Teacher of the Year Program at 2010 Oral Presentations.

    Although I can’t hardly believe it, but nearly one year ago today, I was a regional finalist and was giving my oral presentation to a group of @ 75 people.  Today, I was on the other side as a scorer for our next Maine Teacher of the Year.  I have to say that it was much less stressful pulling up to the Buchanan Alumni Hall at the University of Maine Orono campus.  It was nice to get out of my car and be able to breath, something I was struggling with last year, for sure.   :)

    Jennifer Pooler, the Coordinator for the Teacher of the Year Program, did a superb job organizing all of the parts involved with this tedious selection process.  It has been such an honor working under her guidance and organization.  After Jennifer explained the day’s itinerary, I had the privilege of introducing each of the six regional finalists: Thomas Fournier, Kevin Grover, Barbara Noone, William Thompson, Jayne Quinn Sawtelle and David Wilkins.  It was a pleasure to see these incredibly gifted teachers once again, as I had met them all at a prior reception, the Hall of Flags Ceremony, and I also spend a day at three of these candidates’ schools while scoring them at their site visit. 

    Each of the nominees did a remarkable job presenting today.  They also turned in their portfolios, which I know first-hand was a  huge undertaking, but a worthwhile opportunity to reflect on one’s own teaching practice and philosophy.  Being at the Oral Presentation portion of the ToY process made me very nostalgic for my friends that went through the 2009 ToY process with me.  A few of the nominees from last year have become dear friends of mine, and I really missed them today. 

     
    Two of Hannaford’s biggest supporters of the ME. T.o.Y Program…
    Tap Fitzgerald (Lt.) and Rubin Lemelin (Rt.)

    I want to take the opportunity to also personally thank Hannaford for their continued support of the Teacher of the Year Program.  Truly without Hannaford’s generous contributions, the Maine Teacher of the Year would not be able to participate in all of the enriching opportunities that are presented to them throughout the course of the year.  THANK YOU ever so much, Hannaford!  I will never forget what you have done for this Maine teacher…your gift has helped not only me, it has benefited my students, the community and our state.

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  • Day Three at the ECS Forum…

    Roger Sampson, President of the ECS honors Kati Haycock who received the James Bryant Conant Award
    Roger Sampson, President of the ECS honors Kati Haycock who received the James Bryant Conant Award

    Today was an excellent day of presentations.  The presenters left more time to answer the audience’s questions and seemed to really understand the need for interaction and communication on the topics presented.  One session that I found particularly interesting and useful was called, “What’s Around the Bend for High School Reform.”  This session did not just talk about raising standards for our high school students, rather it addressed issues such as how to keep our students in school through dropout prevention measures to help identify at-risk students.  

    Some interesting websites that were mentioned for drop-out prevention and approaching instruction through a different means were:

    www.bigpicture.orgwww.commcorp.orgwww.gatewaytocollege.orgwww.youthbuild.org

    Attending the ECS National Forum on Education Policy was a fantastic opportunity for me to see and hear how some policies get enacted, as well as who is behind certain stand points.  My main concern throughout this forum was that many of the topics discussed or policies up for debate had little teacher/student input. If you want to invoke change, doesn’t it make sense to ask the people on the front line? 

    Debbie, Cindi, Bob, Cindy, Me

    Debbie, Cindi, Bob, Cindy, Me

    My last night in Nashville was spent at the Grand Ole Opry with several of my Teacher of the Year friends.  It was interesting to see acts like Lil’ Jimmy, a performer who has been on the Grand Ole Opry stage for sixty some odd years.  That blows my mind.  The headlining act was Diamond Rio who played two of their most popular songs, which were ????  Sorry guys, I’m not a country girl…I didn’t even know who Diamond Rio was before tonight.  I will say that all of the acts were entertaining, even the sleeping act that my friend…Mr. Alaska provided for us.  Poor Bob has been traveling everywhere as the Alaskan ToY, and he just couldn’t keep his eyes open even at the Opry.

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  • Day Two at ECS Conference…

    Gov. Pawlenty, Gov. Bredesen, Gov. Bush
    Gov. Pawlenty,  Gov. Bredesen,  Gov. Bush        

    Today, was a mixed feeling kind of day.  Several of the sessions although having great topics were a little disappointing to me and to some of my ToY colleagues.  It was very hard to listen to Senators and Representatives, as well as Governors or select business groups share what we should be doing in education…when some of these presenters have had little experience or no experience in a classroom or have had little input from the ground level which is hearing from our teachers and students.  There also didn’t seem to be enough time for collaboration and response time during our sessions today.

    I did however thoroughly enjoy a session run by a board member from the MCEE, Duke Albanese and Charlie Toulmin from Nellie Mae Education Foundation.  Our round table discussion was on “The New England Secondary School Consortium: Cross-State Collaboration for College and Work Readiness.    It is exciting to watch several of the states work together for the betterment of our students.  It is also nice to have standards in NH and MA that match what we are doing in ME. 

     

    After our sessions today, we were treated to a reception at the hub of the building for just the Teachers of the Year.  It was cool, because the top of the building rotated.  After the reception, several of us went out to dinner.  We also did a little shopping and site seeing.

    Sing it to me…Elvis!

    Sing it to me...Elvis!

     
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  • Tony (NToY-CT), Debbie (ToY-LA), Susan (ToY-CO)
    Tony (NToY-CT), Debbie (ToY-LA), Susan (ToY-CO)

    After registration we had our first session titled, “Unique Local Partners Create Pathways for Graduation and Beyond for At-Risk Students in Nashville.”  This was an especially interesting topic for me as I’m very concerned about the drop-out rate here in Maine.  As a state, we need to pull together and find a way to keep our students in school.  To me that means some much needed alternative approaches to instruction and assessment.  Our students learn in plethora of ways and we need to provide instruction that merits 21st century skills they will find in the work force…such as: collaboration, inquiry-based learning, research and computer skills are just to name a few.  Our students need options, especially the students who are less interested in school due to academic struggles or struggles in their personal/family life.   We need to reach out and do whatever it is to encourage these students to stay in school.  That old saying, “it takes a village to raise a child,” is so appropriate here.  Teachers are not the only people that can keep students in school, it needs to be a joint effort with first and foremost the involvement of parents, school personnel (teachers, administration, support staff) and community members/ organizations who are willing to reach out and mentor our youth. 

    Currently, I’m on the Board of Directors for the Maine Coalition for Excellence in Education.  I’m very proud to say that our group has a keen interest in this topic and we are united to help increase the number of students who will graduate from high school and then pursue a college degree.  A majority of board members are business owners who understand the serious need to invest in education and our future leaders.  

    After this session, the ToYs were invited to a special session just for us to discuss our concerns and listen to a few speakers on educational reform. After that we attended a “Welcome Reception and Awards Ceremony.”  Tim Pawlenty who is the Governor of Minnesota and an ECS Chairman spoke as well as the Governor of Tennessee, Phil Bredesen.  When the reception ended the ToYs (Teachers of the Year) were taken to a well known upscale steak house known as the Stock Yard.  We were delighted with the exquisite meal choices and of course dessert.  I had filet mignon with mashed potatoes and side veggies followed by a huge piece of coconut cake.  If you know me personally, you know that I usually try to find something to make me smile…yes, I have said it before, I’m my own best friend.  So, at the Stock Yard every time you got up from the table a server would rush over and refold your napkin.  (My husband and I frequent a Portland restaurant that does this, so I had to do what I do there.)  Before I would leave the table at Stock Yard, I would fold the napkin in Gloria fashion and giggle all the way to where ever I was going.  Some day, I will grow up. 

    Our night ended with a performance from a guitar singing “Billy Bob,” who played any song we requested.  It was a glorious night.  The best part was seeing my ToY buddies!  Okay Toy buddies…click on the picture of my laughing (it will enlarge the picture)…you know why I’m laughing so hard!  LOL!!! Poor Jon!

    Billy Bob!!!

    Billy Bob!!!

    Blame it all on my roots...
    Blame it all on my roots…
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    Tootsies Wall of Fame
    Tootsies Wall of Fame

    I’m Heading to Nashville, Tennessee to attend the 2009 ECS National Forum on Education Policy at the Sheraton Nashville Downtown Hotel.  All of the State Teachers of the Year have been invited to attend this forum; unfortunately, I believe a little more than half of us will only be able to go to this event.  I’m very excited to see my new friends and to take part in the discussions with the many people who help make education policy.

    The forum starts tomorrow and I was fortunate enough to have a few hours tonight to go exploring downtown and see all of the fantastic honky tonks with live music.  I also went shopping and bought my six year old some new cowboy boots, as he has out grown his most recent pair.  My oldest son isn’t really into boots, so I found several other things for him.  A dear friend of mine who works with me at Congin happened to be in Nashville for the summer and took me on a tour of the famous landmarks. It was a good thing I had him with me as my arms could barely carry all of my shopping bags.  A girl has to shop!

    One of the coolest places I visited was Tootsies, a historic honky tonk bar.  It had so many famous signed country singers photos everywhere on the walls…also, where ever there was a piece of wood on the wall it was signed by an artist dating back to I believe the fifties.  It was very small and somewhat old fashioned in decor, but you truly could feel the special energy there.  Thanks Mark for the tour and finding a “wicked good” bbq place called Jacks.

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