Day Four – Leveling Up

In the words of Ice Cube, “today was a good day.”

Feel free to press play, and let the instrumental serve as the soundtrack.  Let me steal a page from my homie The Weird Teacher, and I will kick a funky rhyme.  I can’t wait to hear Sound Gecko read this one aloud.

Today everything went so well

Slept in, still got to work before the school bell

Said hello to my principal and colleagues

Gave a hug to all of my little buddies

My eighth graders grew and now they call me short

But it’s ok, I’ll still school them on the bball court

Did some Snapshot for warm-up, #edmodo

Then we turned around and talked about the Dojo

Fourth period figured out their squads overnight

Looked around the class, there’s no drama in sight

Then we took a look at the leaderboard

We brainstormed some Item Shop rewards

Not from Chicago, no Bull, but he’s the realest

Shout out to my homie Chris Aviles

Used his model and I told him he’s a genius

Check it out on Teachers Pay Teachers

Class time flew by, both periods

No interruptions, so I wasn’t furious

I’m impressed the kids are so curious

Tech class: #digcit, the kids tried to Google us

They had lots of knowledge that they dropped my way

I gotta say, it was an awesome fourth day

Fiki fiki fiki. Take that, Sound Gecko 🙂

Draft Day, The Aftermath

Today was Draft Day in English Language Arts.  We had two different drafts, one in Third Period and one in Fourth, with opposite results.

Third period’s draft was awesome.  Everything went the way that I had envisioned it.  The kids were so hype over the draft, that some even found theme songs and made dances for their teams.  We even “squad[ded] up,” i.e. took team pictures.  They were pretty into it, and we ended that class period on a high.

Fourth period’s was a fail.  Looking back, I’m kind of glad it was.

It wasn’t an epic fail, but it easily could have been.  Still, we have our work cut out for us.  I’m looking forward to it.

What was the difference?

  • Third period: 15 kids.  Fourth period: 22 kids (with one absence).

A difference of six kids may not seem like a lot, but it’s just enough to turn a class with a high level of excitement from easily managed to “OMG!”  One of my strengths is that I know how to hype a crowd.  Calming them down, not so much 🙂  Next time we do something with so much inherent excitement, we need to go big or go home…it would have been easier to take this outside or to the gym, where the kids could spread out, and not have to watch their noise level.

  • Third period: uninterrupted class time.  Fourth period:  interrupted class time.

In third period, I taught straight from 11:15-12:15.  No interruption.  In fourth period, there was a scheduling issue where I had to take time out to handle kids being in the wrong place.  This led me to skip both of the videos that set the tone for The Draft, in the interest of time.  The whole thing felt rushed, and the atmosphere just wasn’t right.

  • Third period: seats were in rows.  Fourth period: seats were in groups.

I share my room with another teacher this year, since we have more staff members on our roster.  My “roommate” is awesome, and she has been very accommodating.  We’ve agreed that we can change the seating arrangement however we want, but to default back to the rows when we switch off.  Fourth period, though, the desks were already in the clusters of six, since that’s how we moved them in third period.  Again, I didn’t explain to the kids why the seats were suddenly different, so they sat with their buddies.  In groups.  Of six.  I’m sure you know where I’m going with this.

  • Third period: it was new to me.  Fourth period: it was a little stale.

Ok, I know that I didn’t have the same enthusiasm that I had for The Draft, the second time around.  The difference was probably imperceptible to the students, but I definitely felt it.  I guess it’s human nature.

  • Third period: I kept my cool.  Fourth period: I responded emotionally.

It wasn’t like I cried or anything, but I was definitely losing my temper by the end of class.  I think I was a little hangry.  It was much harder to be patient closer to lunch time.  I made a promise to myself to try not to raise my voice this year, if at all possible.  I really want to model appropriate behavior for the students, and it’s definitely not appropriate to yell.  Of course, we’re human, so I may slip up, but in general, I would rather keep calm as much as possible.

By this time, I’ve probably succeeded in my mission to build tension.  You’re probably wondering what happened during fourth period to make things go a little bonkers.  I would also write about third period, but it rolled out according to plan, which I detailed earlier this morning.  No need to reinvent the wheel.

Fourth period started out great.  Kids went on Edmodo and used No Red Ink.  They loved it.  I was just about to launch The Draft when I was called to my door to direct traffic consisting of about fifteen sixth graders.  When I got back in five minutes later, it took an additional five minutes to repeat what I had just said to introduce Draft Day.  Le sigh.  In our profession, you have to be flexible and able to roll with the punches.  This is an area where I can improve.  I’m a Virgo.  I like order.  I like schedules.  I don’t like disruptions…but such is life.

As I said, everything felt rushed.  We skipped the NBA and WNBA video, which in hindsight, I never should have done.  Those were my hooks.  That’s what the kids subconsciously craved.  They needed to really feel like they were in an NBA draft.

We began the draft, and it went smoothly for a while, until the captains began making secret deals among themselves for draft picks.  When one captain violated the oral agreement, the other captain wasn’t very happy.  Drama.  Scandal.  Trash talk.  It would have been entertaining, had it not been happening in my classroom.

I gave the students a verbal warning about the noise level, doing so in a calm voice.  They didn’t hear me.  I raised my voice about ten decibels, in order to be heard.  They settled down, but it wasn’t long before there was yet another scandal from a secret deal gone wrong.  I sent the students back to their seats.

They finished the draft from the desks, which wasn’t nearly as fun.  Finally, we started to pick team names.  One student asked me if their team could make a trade.  I told them they would have to wait until they earned enough points to do so.  Then another team asked about a trade.  I figured that it may save some pouting, drama, and major unhappiness to let those two teams trade one player each before we actually got started.  Big mistake…I should have stuck to my guns.  All of a sudden everybody wanted to switch.  “It’s only fair.”  Go figure.  I told them they had ten seconds to switch and that we would stick with whatever teams they were in when time was up.

By the time the ten seconds were over, there were four teams: two with six, one with eight, and one kid by himself (we had one absentee).  I told them that they needed to be in teams of five or six, and asked for volunteers to join the team of one.  No one wanted to move, so I started to split up the team of eight myself.  Lots of protesting and adolescent angst ensued.  This, my friends, is when I lost my cool.

In a calm voice (although I was erupting below the surface), I told the students that this obviously wasn’t working, so we would scrap the idea, because we already spent too long on it.  Then, I asked them to line up for lunch.  While they were in the line, I began putting back the desks to get the room ready for my co-worker’s next class.  I needed the time to cool off, and to figure out what our next move would be.  I decided not to give them the bad example of someone giving up at the first sign of failure.  After all, my PLN had taught me to “fail fast.”

A few students left the line to help me straighten up, without being asked.  This lifted my spirits a great deal.  After about two minutes, I addressed the class once again.  I told them that things didn’t really go the way that we had planned, but that we shouldn’t give up.  I asked them how can we make working in groups go more smoothly in the future.  One of my students (who had a few minutes earlier said Draft Day was “stupid”) suggested having more kids per group.  I told her that’s a great idea, and that we will add that as a reward they will be able to buy with their group points.  She smiled a little.

Collectively, we decided that whatever they had done and submitted before, I would honor.  However, they were each invited to send me a list of students with whom they would like to work, and that I would do my best, even though it wouldn’t be 100%.  They thought that was fair.

After reflecting, I think I actually appreciate what happened in Fourth Period today.  Yes, it was a bit messy.  No, it didn’t go according to plan.  However, I learned so much about what works and what doesn’t with my classes.  My students also learned that their opinions are valuable, and I think it was an unexpected bonding moment.  We were able to solve a problem together by collaboration.  I think next time I decide to plan a “best…day…ever!!!” I will also include students in the planning process.

Thanks for reading.  Nacho Mama out.  (P.S. they loved her!)

Day Three Prequel: Best. Day. Ever!!!

Hey all. This is intended to be a prologue to our day. Hopefully I will come back and write more this afternoon, but knowing me, it’s a dice roll. So in case I don’t, please count this as my blog post of the day.

I’m skipping my workout to write this lol. That’s how excited I am about today. Today will go down as one of the days the kids remember in thirty years when they think of their old, gray-haired English teacher they had once upon a time in eighth grade.

Today is Draft Day.

It’s going to be epic, but the kids don’t know it yet. I heard a couple of them moan and groan when I assigned a thirty second ignite speech on what makes them awesome for homework. However, they will be so glad they did it.

Here’s how I plan to roll it out.

Warm-up will consist the Edmodo app, No Red Ink, where they will practice correcting grammar in sentences tailored to their interests. It looks pretty cool. I think they will love it, since they are huge fans of correcting grammar, as they showed last year through our vocabulary lessons. However, many of them still need to work on it in their own writing. This will be good.

After warm-up, I will announce that Draft Day has begun. I will project a Google Document with hyperlinks to videos and a presentation. We will watch an excerpt from the NBA Draft earlier this year to set the mood. Then, they will meet their host, Nacho Mama.

Nacho is a cartoon character, who happens to sound a lot like me. Tee hee. I made her with Tellagami. She will pop in and out to narrate the day’s events.

I have to admit. There is a history behind Nacho’s name. Last year, the kids went nuts over Kahoot, a game that I can only describe as similar to restaurant trivia, but educational. You respond to questions as fast as you can using a device. The quicker you respond, the more points you earn.

Anyway, you have to pick user names at the beginning of each Kahoot game. I would often secretly play along with the kids on my iPad, to keep them on their toes. They were usually too involved in what they were doing to notice. My user name was usually something like “Yo Mama.” Yeah, very mature, I know. But it was part of my disguise. They were on to me by the end of the year, but that’s how Nacho got her name.

Anyway, after Nacho welcomes the kids, we will begin with another video of the WNBA draft to further set the mood. In it, the draftees talk about how nervous they are, but how they can’t wait to join a team. Since the kids have no idea what’s next, I want to subliminally create tension so they buy in. Hopefully it works.

Next, we will spin the wheel for the random name picker from Class Tools. One by one, each student will stand and deliver a short speech on why s/he should be drafted. I plan to record these with my Google Glass, or maybe have a kid do it. But I’m wary, since I had a pair break on me in the spring. Google replaced them for me, but I don’t want to risk it happening again. Sorry, off-topic.

Each kid will give a speech. I already have captains pre-selected, but I didn’t want to tell the kids who I chose, because that kid would then have an opportunity to slack off and not do the speech. I wanted them all to do it, and to take it seriously. I know they will work harder if they have to impress their peers than just little old me. I plan to use this fact to help them test their limits all year.

I chose the captains deliberately. Working at a K-8 school for the past seven years and teaching multiple grade levels, I have the advantage of knowing these kids very well. This class, I know particularly well, since I taught most of them English in second grade and last year.

Some of the captains, I chose because they are shy. Taking on this (brief) leadership role may bring them out of their shell a little. Some are self-described “math people,” as if you can’t be good at more than one thing! My hope is to show them how fun ELA can be. Some I picked because they were not in my English class last year, and I want to get to know them again, by seeing their thought process.

Anyway, after the speeches, Nacho will announce the captains, and they will pick NBA style. Meaning, the last captain in each round will pick first next round, etc. Once they pick, Nacho will close it out by announcing that they will now pick team names.

There is a twist ending, which I won’t drop here, since some of my kids have found my professional social media channels. I won’t spoil it, but I promise to post the Google Doc later.

Ok. It’s getting late, so I’m going to get ready to start an epic day. To all readers, have a fantastic one! Nacho Mama out.

Day Two: Life’s Big Truths

Today was the second day of the 2014-2015 school year.  It was, overall, a great day.

In third period, we got set up on Edmodo.  We used the Actively Learn app to read nonfiction current event selections of their choice.  They had three options, one on entrepreneurship, one on sports, and one on stress.  They could pick whichever one they wanted.  Last night, I went through and added some questions to align with the Common Core State Standards.  I made sure to select texts one grade level up, because I want them to be ready for high school.  We might as well start early.

After we did this, we talked about what it means to be an active listener.  The curriculum wanted us to discuss it aloud, which is so 2013.  Instead we used our GAFE accounts to edit a Google document collaboratively.  The first group was having way too much fun, until they realized that we could see in real-time who was typing what.  I realized that, with the novelty of the technology, we wouldn’t go anywhere unless I let them explore for a couple of minutes.  Eventually, after they got the giggles out, we got to work.  I think they made it more about their goals for this year, which is totally fine by me.

Then, we looked at our textbook online.  That was pretty cool.  It worked on laptops, but not on tablets or smartphones.  We read a page together about life’s big truths, or something like that.  I can’t remember the exact wording.  At the bottom of the page, it said something to the effect of history repeats itself.  I asked the kids if they agreed with that statement.  One girl asked if the events in Ferguson related to the civil rights movement.  We decided to address that for about five minutes.  Some kids hadn’t heard of Michael Brown, and they educated each other.  I didn’t speak much during this time, but I did ask them what we can do to help stop injustice in the world.  Some said to protest and to spread the word.  I told them that I blogged about it, and they can, too.  This was the highlight of my day.

Fourth period was very similar, except I had to leave my class in the hands of another teacher for a while to handle a scheduling situation.  It’s only day two of school, so there were still some issues with kids knowing where to go.  When I came back, we also did the expectations for active listening exercise.  This class got to work right away, and stuck more with the original prompt; however, students were saying that other students were deleting their answers.  Hey, we’re still learning 🙂

Tomorrow, we are going to have a draft, since the class is having a basketball theme for the gamification.  More about that later, because I need to go home and dodge traffic.

But really quickly, I also had my B-Day Tech class for sixth period.  There are quite a few of them, and I was a little nervous about the size of the class; however, once we got the norms established, they were tuned in.  We did a few case studies of digital citizenship, and they shared their best practices for social media.  It was a lot of fun.  Next class, on Friday, we will talk more about digital citizenship.  Next week, we’ll move to audio-visual stuff, then after that, it will be gamified as well.

Ok, gotta go.  Thanks for reading!

Guest Post!!! 4 Things to Consider when Going 1:1 (via @iamdrwill)

Hi readers!  Here is a fantastic guest post written by Dr. Will Deyamport, III, regarding 1:1 programs, tying in with the theme of BYOD/1:1 for the DC Metro Area Google Educator Group.  

Dr. Will’s Bio:

“I am a district instructional technologist, connected educator, and ed tech consultant. I began teaching the educational applications of digitals as the Campus Outreach Coordinator for CAREEREALISMcampus.com. I also spent another two years as the Chief Social Strategist for StrengthsFactors, where I oversaw and managed the company’s social strategy, created and curated content for the company’s Ning, as well as launched multiple projects that expanded the company’s digital brand.  Currently, I work with teachers in discovering how they can use a multitude of technologies, such as Compass Learning, ActivInspire, Google Hangouts, etc., to create an array of interactive and engaging collaborative learning experiences, with a focus on differentiated instruction and connecting students to a global community.

Over the past several years I have presented at a number of conferences, guest lectured, and regularly blogged and produced online content aimed at the educational uses of web tools and social technologies.  In my travels, I have met some amazing educators. Along the way, I earned a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership and Management from Capella University, where my research concentrated on digital leadership and teachers using a Twitter-supported personal learning network (PLN) to individualize their professional development. And this past year, I was part of a dynamic group of educators who organized the first Edcamp in Mississippi.”

You can find his blog here.  Without any further ado, let’s roll this blog post out!

4 Things to Consider When Going 1:1

Infrastructure:

This involves the broadband, network, access points, etc. You have to have enough broadband that can handle the number of devices you rollout. You also have to have the access points needed to keep students from being bounced off the network. My suggestion is one AP per classroom.

In terms of your network, how many SSID’s are you going to have? Are you going to create a separate network for students? How are you going to monitor devices and the amount of broadband being used? Do you plan on capping the usage of certain sites? For example, instead of blocking Netflix altogether, the network administrator can set it where videos can only be viewed in standard definition.

Please note, before you buy one device, get your infrastructure in place. If you don’t have the set-up to handle 300+devices, there’s no point in moving forward with a 1:1 rollout.

Professional Development:

This is one of the most important components of going 1:1. Teachers will have to be trained how to not only use the device, but how to effectively use said device for instruction. They will also need to how to best utilize the LMS (Learning Management System), any sites, resources, and applications that work best for their students.

Another important aspect of the professional development needed for going 1:1 is shifting the teachers’ mindset, expectations, and instructional practices. In my opinion, an effective 1:1 does away with the teacher sitting at his or her desk. The teacher really is “the guide on the side”.

Now that doesn’t mean that teachers won’t deliver direct instruction. Quite the opposite, this shift involves teachers working with smaller groups on projects or discussions, while another group of students are engaged in self-directed learning via an LMS, which I will get into in more detail in the next section.

In going 1:1 it is essential that professional development isn’t a one and done or a lecture-style delivered professional development. Teachers need hands-on instruction. Even further, teachers need to be coached, as well as seeing the tools and instructional practices modeled for them. Jennifer Magiera wrote a brilliant piece on the practice of creating IEP’s for teachers – you can read her post here. Above everything, work with teachers in feeling comfortable about the journey they are about to take.

Instruction:

This is what going 1:1 is all about. How is going 1:1 going to enhance instruction? That is the question you should ask yourself everyday. In fact, every decision should be based upon how it empowers students.

For me, implementing blended learning, using an LMS, is the best instructional method when going 1:1. What this does is allow the teacher to not only differentiate instruction, it provides students opportunities to own their own learning. Which empowers students to work at their pace and to develop their individual strengths.

Another point regarding the adoption of an LMS is the kind of LMS to use. Meaning, will you choose a LMS to be used district or school-wide, or will you leave it up to each individual teacher to decide which LMS he or she will use? There are pros and cons in each route.

The pros being teachers having the ability to make such a key decision based up the needs of their students. The cons being the lack of management and oversight from administration. My district has gone with the enterprise version of the LMS that was chosen for our school that recently went 1:1.

Devices:

There are some amazing devices out there. From the iPad to the Nexus tablet to a PC to a Macbook, there is plenty out there to choose. Don’t get glossy-eyed by the new shiny or giddy over the new sexy. You must go with the device that fits your instructional needs. There’s no point in buying iPads if they can’t do what you need them to do. The same goes for the Chromebook or any other device you can think of.

Once you have narrowed down your choices to two devices, or let’s say you have decided that you are going to go with the Chromebook, buy a class set and start piloting them. Doing so should give you an idea of what to expect in a 1:1 environment.

After you are sold on your device, now you have to deal with the choice of carts, how you decide to assignment carts to teachers, as well as the checkout process for the devices, which is another process in itself.

Thank you, Dr. Will, for dropping that knowledge!  Until next time, readers 😀

Day One – August 26

Hi everyone!  Here is my experiment in microblogging.  I was inspired by members of the GEG DC Metro Area to keep a daily blog of my experiences during the school year, so here we go.  Hopefully I’ll be able to keep up, even if it’s just a sentence.

Today was the first day of school.  I was freaking out about it, but it went pretty well.  Class time wasn’t 100% smooth, but it was overall very good.  The kids were excited about BYOD.  I was excited too.  We tried to do Google Classroom, but it doesn’t seem like all the kids’ GAFE accounts are set up yet.  Tomorrow, they will sign up for Edmodo, which they are already used to, so that should go pretty well.

The kids blogged during warm-up.  I let them blog about anything they wanted.  A lot of them expressed excitement over returning to school and being in eighth grade.  Some chose to write about what they did over the summer.  Some wrote about a school tragedy, that they are still coping with.  I probably need to write about that, too.

I tried to do my syllabus in Adobe InDesign and wow them with a video of themselves from a few months back in seventh grade.  It didn’t come out right.  I will have to try again from home.  

I’m excited for tomorrow.  Hopefully the BYOD will go more smoothly, since they now know that they’re able to bring devices.  They will be prepared.  They just called the first set of buses so I’m going to pack up and go home to work on this syllabus, among other things.  Talk to you later.

Initial Reflections on Ferguson

This is take three.

This blog post has been incredibly hard to write, because it has been weighing heavily on my mind for the past few days.  I have tried to plan it out, and tried to write from an objective standpoint, but it has proven impossible because I’m so emotionally invested in the topic.  So, I guess all that I can do is be true to myself and share my views as they come to me.

We may not all agree here, which is totally fine.  The whole purpose of connecting to one another is to share our perceptions.  Somewhere, among all the voices, the truth will emerge.  Thus, I’d be remiss if I didn’t share my reflections.

What happened to Michael Brown is a tragedy.  A young life was cut way too short.  At its core, there is a fundamental question of human rights left lingering.  An unarmed 18-year-old died at the hands of an officer of the law.  That alone should raise eyebrows.  There are even more layers to this story, a large one being that four unarmed black males were killed by police officers last month.  When we add race to the equation, emotions automatically come into play, since it is generally a taboo to discuss.  I ask why?  As you will see later, some of the best conversations I’ve had have been those when we addressed “taboo topics,” coming from a place of mutual respect.  But I digress.

What is happening in Ferguson is a tragedy.  In my opinion, the local government is handling it totally wrong, every single step of the way.  The disorganization and incompetence is mind-blowing, and frankly, quite disrespectful.  (I have many thoughts on what’s been going on, but I can’t seem to do them justice.  I may revisit this topic from another angle in the near future.)

So where do we go from here?  Things need to change fast, because our society is at a boiling point.  I’m troubled because I feel helpless, as I sit idly by, armed with only a laptop.  I’ve realized that the only thing I can do is speak my mind and encourage others to do the same.  We all have a voice, and can choose to use it however we see fit.

I am obviously a black woman.  Does that give me the onus of writing about Ferguson, while others must remain silent?  Absolutely not.  I am not writing this post “just because [I am] black.”  I’m writing it because I am a human being, who is enraged over the treatment of another human being, and subsequent disrespect to an entire city.  The First Amendment gives us all the right to share our views in a peaceful way, although it is currently being denied to the people of Ferguson between midnight and 5 am.  Yes, I have experienced my fair share of prejudice and discrimination.  That doesn’t make me an expert on the situation in Ferguson.  But, it certainly does make me more emotionally connected.

That being said, no one has to speak if they choose not to.  We all have our reasons on why we choose to speak or remain silent about any given topic.  However, my hope is that as educators, we do something.  This may come in many forms.  Some educators blog, some take to Twitter, and some may just give students a safe space to share their questions and concerns.  These are all great ways that we can help our students (and ourselves) process what’s going on.

The last class I took in a brick-and-mortar building was about the running of teacher preparation programs.  In this course, we spoke about many different things, many of them “taboo topics” such as race, gender, and economics.  The composition of the class was mostly white, mostly women, mostly upper-middle class…very similar to the overall demographics of the university.  Although it appeared from the outside to be mostly homogenous, there was such a diverse array of backgrounds, experiences, and opinions within those walls.  We all learned so much from each other, and it was definitely one of my favorite courses.

The beauty of this class was that we were all able to share our stories in a safe place, without judgment.  We would have open, honest conversations about our own experiences, and brainstorm ways to best meet the needs of all students.  I left the class with three take-aways that I would like to share today with my PLN:

  1. Everyone has a unique experience, but the more you listen to individuals, the more you understand the world as a whole.
  2. The more you speak your truth, the more you learn about yourself, and others.
  3. We are all different, but we are all one.

Thank you for allowing me this opportunity to process and “speak my truth.”  Please feel free to comment, as I look forward to hearing your (constructive) thoughts as well.

Reflections on my Teacher-versary

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Ten years ago today, I began my career as a teacher.  I wasn’t yet a teechur, but I was well on my way.  No need to reinvent the wheel, check out this throwback from October.  It wasn’t so long ago, but in so many ways, it was.

There’s really way too much to say in a single blog post, so I’ll (try to) keep this short and sweet.  I just really wanted to take this time to thank everyone who has been there along the way.  I would like to give a huge shout out to a few people in particular.  Forgive me if I forget to thank someone, but that’s the great thing about being able to edit…I’ll come back and add later.

  • My family and friends…
    • You have been there every step of the way.  I really couldn’t have done this without you.  Literally, lol.  I love you guys so much.
  • My school…
    • Thank you to our fearless leader, who nurtured my strengths and helped me grow.
    • Thank you to the staff…we are a family, and I have loved learning with you all these years.
    • Thank you to all of the students…you teach me more than I could ever teach you.
    • Thank you to the parents…I can see why your children are so great, because apples don’t fall far from trees.
  • My county…
    • Thank you to all of the great educators whom I have met throughout the years.
    • Thank you to T3, as you all are fantastic mentors and have taught me so much.
    • Thank you to #pgtech.  You inspire me and I love our collaborations.
  • My PLN…
    • There are way too many of you to name, but I want to tell you all how special you are to me.  Thank you for all of the fantastic ideas and conversations.  I’m looking forward to our journey ahead.

I also wanted to thank Howard University for introducing me to the field, as well as the great professors there who have taught me so much.

In addition, thank you to George Mason University, particularly my dissertation committee and cohort members, who have helped me shape my vision.

Thank you to all of the great teachers that I’ve had, who have set the bar high for my expectations of myself and others.

I could go on and on and on, but I will spare you.  Thank you to everyone, and cheers to another great decade.