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cc photo by J. Delp (taken in a Tempe alleyway)

The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The realist adjusts the sails. — William Arthur Ward

Yesterday afternoon, I went for a walk.

On most weekends, I try to get out to someplace scenic, go for a hike and take a few pictures. I love the adventure in hiking and photography — I’m never quite certain what I will find. But, yesterday’s walk was different. I didn’t head out to a local trail or drive to one of my favorite “hidden” places. Instead, I took a left off of our neighborhood sidewalk and began a trek down the alley behind our house. …

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Canyon Creek, Arizona

This weekend I went fishing. I use the term “fishing” with a great deal of latitude. I am a wannabe fly fisherman, but most people would just call me an amateur (at best). I don’t really know what I am doing and if you want to catch fish you really need to know what you are doing.

Friday evening I was fishing a small trout stream in Arizona. I had tried several different flies with little luck. A gold-headed nymph. A wooly-bugger. The afternoon sun (and my hope) was quickly fading behind canyon walls as I worked my way upstream. I was passing a small pool when it suddenly fell into the shadows. The glare off of the water surface faded. And there they were. Four trout. Swimming upstream, seemingly motionless while facing the relentless current. …

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The Willis Soccer Club — Playing Indoors Because of Rain (cc photo by J. Delp)

The Willis Soccer Club meets every Friday.

There is no fee. There are no performance expectations or prerequisites. Everyone is welcome. Girls, boys, experienced athletes, novices, non-athletes. Show up. Be considerate of others. Have fun.

This is what we call “access.” Almost no barriers to participation.

As a school administrator, a significant part of my responsibility is to ensure that race, ethnicity, and socioeconomics do not limit the quality of education a student receives or their access to academic, extracurricular, or enrichment programs.

It is not a losing battle. But, it is uphill.

Privilege comes in many forms. Racial. Ethnic. Socio-economic. Academic. Access. The first three have a definitive impact on the last two. …

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Photo by Feliphe Schiarolli on Unsplash

I have a quick story. Names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Today, one of our paraprofessionals brought Tim to my office. Tim was refusing to do his work. The young man stated that he had already completed the assignment and that he wasn’t going to do it again. Our conversation went something like this:

Me: “So, did you ever turn the assignment into your teacher?”

Tim: “No. I threw it away. It’s long gone.” He emphasized the word “long.”

Me: “Why would you do that? …

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Sunrise in The Superstition Mountains (cc photo by J. Delp)

The human brain is nothing less than amazing.

We certainly have some control over our thoughts, but in many ways, our brains operate on their own terms. Just consider the number of thoughts that your process throughout a given day.

Yesterday, I went for a vigorous desert hike (after a challenging week at work) in hopes of “quieting my brain.” It was a great hike — stunningly beautiful and relaxing in it’s own way — but, my brain was anything but quiet. Instead, it used the endorphin boost to shift into an extensive problem solving session. …

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The symptoms of students who are struggling at school are no secret.

Poor attendance.

Failing grades.

Behavioral issues.

If you want to know more, read: Middle School Moment | Dropout Nation and watch the video.

As with most medical issues, the symptoms of struggling students are easy to identify. The challenge is diagnosing the root cause and then doing something about it. What causes a student to miss school? Why are they failing mathematics? What is with the sudden outbursts and meltdowns in class? Experienced educators know that there are a plethora of possible causes for each one of these questions. Digging deep requires time, energy, and effort. …

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cc photo art by J. Delp

I spent Saturday morning at school painting classrooms. Lately, I have been a bit discouraged about the physical appearance of our facilities and the unspoken message that dingy walls, stained carpet, institutional-like classrooms, and dated buildings send to our students and parents. Over time, things wear out, students spill things, ink pens break, and hand and fingerprints become a permanent part of the walls. We just can’t keep up. With this in mind, I enlisted the assistance of our local community to make some improvements. On Saturday, one of our recently graduated eighth graders worked with about forty volunteers — as a part of his Eagle Scout Project — to paint two of our classrooms. …

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cc photo by J. Delp

A moment is enough…

…for a smile.

…a handshake.

…a kind word.

A moment is enough…

…to express gratitude.

…to count your blessings.

…to be a blessing.

A moment is enough…

…to encourage.

…to validate.

…to affirm.

A moment is enough…

…to inspire others.

…to shape the next moment.

…to make a difference.

Make the most of your moments. One at a time, every single day.

When you are mindful…

…a moment is enough.

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I try really hard to be a good listener, but that’s easier said than done. For most of us it’s easier to talk, than listen.

Listening requires that we set aside agendas, focus, and put the interest of others ahead of our own. To be brutally honest, most of us (myself included) are in a constant battle with selfishness — the urge to be egocentric and believe the world revolves around our problems and concerns.

This week, I have been interviewing people for multiple school employment opportunities. I always ask at list one question about how the candidate would deal with someone who is angry, or upset. …

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Today, my parents are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. Not only am I very proud of their devotion to one another, I am incredibly thankful for their parenting and support. I am blessed.

This week, I finished my nineteenth year in education, and my seventh as a principal. In that time, I have seen the positive difference that loving adults make in a child’s life and I have seen the devastating impact of abuse inflicted by those who are supposed to be a child’s most ardent supporters. Just this week, I dealt with an almost unimaginable incident of verbal and mental abuse by a parent — at a level I have never seen. It was a harsh reminder of how fortunate I was (and still am) to have the support of two loving parents. …

About

Jeff Delp

Junior high principal by day, aspiring difference maker, and Jedi in my own mind. Act justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly.

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