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Volume 3 Number 4

Harry & Rosemary Wong remind us, "Leaders lead and they lead by caring enough about the success of their teachers that they will roll up their sleeves and model instructional leadership."...
Effective Teaching by Harry & Rosemary Wong
Promoting Learning by Marv Marshall
4 Blocks by Cheryl Sigmon
Ask the School Psychologist by Beth Bruno
Online Classrooms by Leslie Bowman
The Eclectic Teacher by Ginny Hoover
The Busy Educator's Monthly Five (5 Sites for Busy Educators) by Marjan Glavac
Ask the Literacy Teacher by Leigh Hall
Visual Impairments by Dave Melanson
Instant Ideas for Busy Teachers by Barbara Gruber and Sue Gruber
Reflecting Upon Read Across America
Earth Day Compilation
The World in Lights
Take a Seat at the Bottom of the Class
Starting Children on Science
Tips for teachers being bullied!
Mr. Choose-A-Chart
Teaching Perseverance Through Adversity-A History Lesson
It's An Early Spring!
Memo to Staff: Our Computer System Crashed-We Have No 'Backups'-You're Not Getting Paid for a Month!
Keep Your Online Community Alive!
Curricular Science the 'Curry' way!
Geography Awareness
Principal of the Year Ray Mellberg
eBook Technology
Respect Means...
Creative Uses for Digital Cameras in the Classroom
Teaching Gayle to Read (Part 4)
Young Lawyers Ementoring Magnet Students
The Welcome Mat of a High School On-Line Community
Plato Lives...
The Asphalt Classroom
26 Teaching Tips for the Dog Days
Using Storytelling in the Classroom
Recapturing the Courage to Teach
To Leave No Child Behind
If you say you CAN'T, it means you WON'T
Something Nice a Student Did Yesterday...
When Your Child Comes Home Messy
Praise vs. Encouragement
People Don't Play...
Apple Seeds
Special Days This Month
Poem - Song of a Second April
The Lighter Side of Teaching
  • YENDOR'S Top Ten
  • Culprit Management
  • Schoolies
  • Woodhead
  • Handy Teacher Recipes
    Classroom Crafts
    Help Wanted - Teaching Jobs
    "Why Do We Have Night" from the Lesson Bank
    Upcoming Ed Conferences
    Letters to the Editor
    The School Web Page: A Vehicle for Innovation
    Eighth Emerson Prizes Awarded in Boston
    Student Nanoexperiments Will Help Future Astronauts on Mars
    The 11th Annual National Institute for Early Childhood Professional
    International Conference on Computers in Education
    SESSIONS ANNOUNCED: Congress in the Classroom 2002
    Teacher Network United States Mint
    DEADLINE: Civic Education Grants
    Gazette Home Delivery:

    Teacher Feature...

    Principal of the Year Ray Mellberg

    by Jennifer Rich

    It's the end of a busy day at Willow Run's Henry J. Kaiser Elementary in Ypsilanti, Michigan and Principal Ray Mellberg is trying to finish writing a grant application when a woman near tears walks into his office.

    They've just cut off her electricity and she and her six-year-old daughter and eight-year-old son, both Kaiser students, may soon be facing eviction. "Can you help?" she asks.

    Mellberg moves into action. He and his staff start working the phones and before long the woman's landlord has been persuaded to give her an extra month while she looks for another apartment and a new job. She leaves smiling with a list of possible housing and employment contacts.

    It's all in a day's work for Kaiser Elementary staff. The school, which provides 225 students ingrades K-5 an education five days a week, is much more than that to the many middle to low-income families who call the Willow Run neighborhood around the school home.

    "We pride ourselves on being a community resource," said Mellberg, who recently was named Elementary School Principal of 2001 in Michigan. "We are here for the families because if you support the family, you support the child."

    Willow Run Community Schools Superintendent Gayle Green understands well all that Mellberg and his staff have accomplished. "He does more than just lead the school," she said. "He represents the school to the whole community."

    Years ago the school had problems with vandalism and burglaries and its wasn't unusual tocome to school on a Monday and find classrooms ransacked and graffiti on the walls or witness drug deals taking place right outside the school's doors.

    "But no more,"Mellberg said. "You'll never see a break-in now. In fact, I get calls at home at night and over the weekends from people down the street who see strangers on the school grounds and want to report it. I usually give the police a callright away and they drive by." He likes calling the school a "lighthouse" in the community. "We have become a safe haven. Our school provides a sense of security," he said.

    Mellberg credits the school's teachers, parents, staff and community agencies with causing the turnaround. "We make everyone feel welcome here. They (community) know if they have a problem, they can call us. We want parents involved as much as possible," he said. The school is often used for community events like monthly meetings of the Willow Run Neighborhood Watch.

    It is not unusual to see Mellberg or another administrator picking a child up from their home and taking them for their immunization shots or bringing them home from school if they've missed the bus. "We do what we can and if we can't do it, we usually know who can," he said.

    Students begin their day reciting the Wildcat Motto -- a reflection of Mellberg's educational philosophy. "The students and all of the staff recite it with me: I am a Kaiser student. I can make a difference. My heart believes it. My actions shall show it."

    Mellberg makes a point of being visible and available every morning as school starts and in the afternoons when school ends. "I greet everyone with a smile, a handshake or a hug. Sometimes I use all three," he said. Those in the community who often call Mellberg "Brother Ray" or "The Mayor of West Willow" can see the difference inthe upbeat attitude of the students.

    Kathy Tomford said that Mellberg has been a strong influence on her son Aaron, a 12-year-old special education student at Kaiser. Shortlyafter he enrolled, he wanted to wear a suit and tie to school every day to look like his principal. "Aaron would not have made the progress in his education had it not been for his (Mellberg's) leadership," Tomford said.

    About Jennifer Rich...
    Jennifer Rich is the owner and founder of Rich and Associates, a public relations-marketing company that specializes in representing educational organizations and institutions and developing their unique voice in the marketplace.

    Rich has more than 25 years of newspaper background, working as an editor and reporter for more than six daily newspapers.

    She currently is representing Willow Run Community Schools, an ethnically diverse school district in eastern Washtenaw County, Michigan.

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