What Does The Verona Public Library Mean to Me?

What does the library mean to me? It’s a world of possibility
Where people always welcome me To relax and dream and sip some tea.

And you never need to feel alone If books and poems are your home. It’s a garden where knowledge is grown If it’s in print, then it’s for loan.

It’s the bedrock of this little town. Built by Carnegie, renowned, The modern age can’t tear it down, For people come from all around.

A sacred, living, breathing thing That shows respect for everything. It gives the soul a song to sing And even has 3D printing.

What does the library mean to me? It shows what humankind can be, The best of our democracy, A place where thoughts and words are free.

Verona Has Lucked Out

Photo by Jonathan Mast on Unsplash
The outcome wasn’t certain for the Essex town that day. The clock read ten to eight with just ten minutes left to pray. West Caldwell cancelled school  first, and then others did the same. Silence fell upon the town where Anthony Fasano rose to fame.

A mirthless few got up to shower, resignedly. The rest Clung to the hope that springs eternal in the human breast. They thought,  “The forecast! If only the boss could get a look at that. It would surely be a snow day for teachers and their cats!”

Then from the teachers’ throats there rose a frantic yell. It roared down Forest Ave; it  cast a magic spell. It pounded down to Brookdale, and though things had seemed bleak, The weatherman! The mighty weatherman was about to speak.

There was ease in the weatherman’s manner, as he stepped into his place, No shame from last year’s forecasts found upon his face. And when grinning at the anchors,  he slowly rolled his sleeves, Every teacher in the tri-state found a reason to…

Each Day Should Have Some Halloween

Photo by Conner Baker on Unsplash
Door to door, the kids are trick or treating
Collecting candy for overeating.
Kids are cloaked in possibility
A day to choose who you can be.

A day for creativity to be celebrated
A simple tradition that's not outdated
A day where uniqueness can strut and preen
Each day should have some Halloween.

A time for fun and simple pleasures
For all the neighbors to come together
A break from routine, a time to play
When we forget to be serious for a day.

The things that scare us we try to face
A day when fear is met with grace
A day to notice others and be seen
Each day should have some Halloween.

A day to indulge in what you like most
To admire your gifts and even boast
A day when kids choose who stands beside them
And parents stand back but wait to guide them.

Everyone's happy. Look what a little sugar can do.
Imagination rules and each year seems new.
A special day for adults, kids, and teens
Each day should have some Halloween.

Making a Difference

Photo by Robert Baker on Unsplash

If only we could transform the usual platitudes Into meaningful choices and everyday attitudes If only we could do the things we say we'll do Then we could make a difference profound and true.
And at the risk of sounding worn and jaded I wonder what happens when the awareness ribbons are faded. Tweets and likes and "Go Fund Me" donations Have we fooled ourselves into being complacent?
Intentions are good but actions are best When what we promise is put to the test. Awareness is good but change is what matters Plans left abandoned are like dreams lost and scattered.
Change is hard and the work never ends Lift up the thoughts and prayers again and again. Live your creeds with deeds and strong voices Let your posts and thoughts breathe life in your choices.
Who am I to preach? What do I really know? Making a difference is hard,  and progress is slow. I'll take steps that are small. I'll take steps that are steady. I'll start now…

Taking the “L” in Your Classroom

I am guessing they you probably have heard of the video game Fortnite. You may have even heard of “Taking the L.” This is a dance for players to rub in the loss or defeat of another player. Charming, right? My friend told me this dance was banned in her son’s school. I’d like to ban the flossing dance, but that’s because I just can’t for the life of me master those silly little moves.

We all had some losses this year: the lesson that flopped, the idea that failed, and the goal we were unable to achieve. I tend to beat myself up for the things that went wrong and I often forget to celebrate the things that went well. I think a lot of you out there are the same. So here is my list of things I’m grateful for NOT losing.

Perspective- I’m working for the benefit of the children. The children aren’t working for the benefit of me. It’s easy to get frustrated when children don’t do what we want. It’s natural. But I’m proud of the times I was able to take a deep breath, make a joke and give a…

Messy in the Middle

Congratulations to the HBW Class of 2018!
Thank you to Ms. McNeal for inspiring me to write this poem, which she shared at the ceremony today.
Photo by Matheus Ferrero on Unsplash
Messy in the Middle
It’s messy in the middle. You’re not grown up but you’re not little. You’re still a kid, but not a baby. Life in the middle can feel crazy.
Mom and Dad don’t seem so cool. The teachers are cringey at your school. Grownups saying, “When I was a kid…” Then some long story about what they did.
And sometimes it’s all too much The projects, the sports, the rush. And there’s a friend that you’re not sure Is really your friend any more.
When Mom and Dad ask you all the time It’s easier to  say you’re fine. It’s so messy in the middle. You’re not grown up, but you’re not little.

'Twas the Night Before PARCC

Photo by Ron Smith on Unsplash

I dedicate this poem to all of the inspiring teachers I am proud to work with at H.B.W.

'Twas the night before PARCC, when all through the school, All the posters were covered, for that was the rule. The chrome books were charged in the classrooms with care, In hopes that good wi-fi would always be there.

The desks were arranged, in rows that were neat, Where students would soon ELA tests complete. And Mr. S. in his sneakers, and I in my flats, Were ready to pace 'round the classroom in laps.

Then deep in my soul there arose such a feeling, Just what would these PARCC scores one day be revealing? I knew in my heart that the Common Core Wasn't all that a teacher was meant to be for.

The pride of a child who has finally gained The concept he worked so hard to attain; After some soul-searching that does appear, To be the real reason that we are all here.