The Christmas season brings so much joy as we gather with family and friends and prepare for all those holiday festivities. We stay busy decorating our homes, baking those special Christmas cookies, finding and giving the perfect gifts and singing our favorite Christmas carols. Perhaps the most joy is felt when we pause to remember the greatest gift given and the reason we celebrate: the birth of the Savior. If you celebrate a different holiday or tradition, may that joy be felt as well as we all remember what is special to us.

At Woodfield, there are so many moments of joy in working with our students. Often the smallest success is actually a huge success because a student has persevered long and hard to master a skill and all of a sudden he or she has done it!  The beauty of Woodfield is that students who have been in a more traditional school setting have an opportunity to flourish in a smaller environment, where their learning differences can be addressed with very specific accommodations and/or modifications of content that they need. Often just having the extended time and working at their own pace to complete tasks is just the provision they need to feel successful. A student who may have lost all hope for academic progress, can start to feel encouraged again. Their school anxiety decreases, and they can begin to enjoy their school day. I love when the students apply what they have learned during the day. We have recently been talking about citizenship and how we can be a good citizen in our community, at home and at school. Several of my students have done things for others naturally in the classroom but when more than one says “Look Ms.McGinnis, I picked up her pencil. I’m being a good citizen” or “ Look Ms. McGinnis , I picked up some trash and put it where it belongs. I’m being a good citizen”, I know they have truly “heard” the lesson. These are the little moments of joy I am thankful for. If a student is determined to get a 100 on his math assignment and is not happy unless he corrects those math problems that he missed so he can get that 100, I feel that joy again that he cares enough to do his very best. I know I speak for all our teachers and staff that we find joy in celebrating each others’ students as well and their individual accomplishments. We are a family and that’s what families do.

Working with students at this very special school we call Woodfield is a wonderful place indeed. My niece graduated from Woodfield and is now 35 years old. There is a beautiful mosaic on the wall in the lunchroom from when she was here. Each student had been given a tile to decorate. That joy fills my heart again when I glance up at hers from years ago where she wrote  “Always a good day at Woodfield” with a big sunshine around her words.

This Christmas and always, we will continue to be intentional at finding those moments of pure joy that pour forth from our special students because that is the “ Woodfield Way”.

                            *JOY TO THE WORLD *

Ms. McGinnis