A Call for HONESTY in Presidential Politics on Facebook

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Don’t Believe Everything You Read: Phony Memes, Photoshopped Photos, and False Tweets

A FACEBOOK POLITICAL POST THAT MAKES SENSE —

NO MATTER WHICH CANDIDATE YOU ARE SUPPORTING!

Did Hillary Clinton REALLY say, “The average Democrat voter is just plain stupid”? Did Bernie Sanders really say, “My object in life is to dethrone God and destroy capitalism”? Did Donald Trump once call Republicans “the dumbest group of voters in the country”? Did Ted Cruz really hug Fidel Castro? Is that photo of Marco Rubio shaking hands with President Obama while signing a trade deal real”? Did Hillary Clinton really shake hands with Bin Laden, like that picture I saw on the internet? Did Ted Cruz really say, “When gays stayed hidden we had no mass murders”? Did Obama really order that the words “Under God” be removed from the “Pledge of Allegiance”?

The answer to ALL of the above questions is NO — absolutely NOT!

All of the above quotations were placed on actual facebook memes which were shared thousands and thousands of times, and if you check each one out on a fact-checking site like Snopes.com or politifact.com, you will find that they are all FALSE, all FAKE.

Can I please ask for YOUR help? Can you help me to get rid of phony memes on facebook? I am getting so tired of seeing people post absolutely FALSE and PHONY political memes on facebook, as well as phony photoshopped photos of political candidates. No matter WHO you support, this is absolutely WRONG! Please, before you share some political poster–especially one with a candidate saying something that sounds absolutely outrageous, please CHECK IT OUT FIRST!!! You can simply google the quote by asking something like this: “Did (Candidate’s Name) actually say, “……..”? Usually, that search will show you a Snopes article (Snopes is a neutral and respected fact-checker) demonstrating to you that the quotation is FALSE (though on rare occasions, it may show that it is true).

This primaries and the national Presidential election in November is absolutely crucial toward our county’s future–and perhaps the world’s future, as well. Nearly ALL of us believe that–no matter what candidate we support. What I am asking is for us all to rely just as much as we can on FACTS in supporting our candidates. If you attack the positions of another candidate, please use carefully checked FACTS in doing so. Even if you feel you must attack the character of another candidate, please do so in a civil way, and use FACTS.

And just because you found it on someone’s Republican website, or Democratic website, or Tea Party website, DOESN’T mean it is TRUE. Try to check it out with the most reputable source that you can—not some left-leaning OR right-leaning website. Look for sources (like Politifact or Snopes or maybe CNN which are generally given credit for trying to maintain neutrality). I know some of you may disagree with those sources I mentioned, but just try to be sure it is generally respected as a neutral site for reporting FACTS. And if you find a friend or family member–or even a stranger–sharing something that seems outrageous, please check it out. If it proves to be false, don’t ignore it, please point out that it is false, and include the link that PROVES it is false.

Many of the memes, posters, and photos that are shown in the collage above were shared MILLIONS of times, and believed by the people who shared them AND who viewed them. We all have a responsibility to be sure to vote, and to make up our minds–to make our choice–based on FACTS. The choice for our country is far too important to believe falsehoods, half-truths, and outright lies.

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Mitchell R. Grosky Photography in Collaboration with Fashion Designer VIDA

ANNOUNCING  AN  EXCITING  NEW  VENTURE  FOR

MITCHELL R. GROSKY PHOTOGRAPHY!

Vida Header for Grosky

VIDA  FASHION  DESIGNS

Vida Voices

It has been an incredibly exciting week for me at Mitchell R. Grosky Photography.  Early this week I received an email from VIDA.  VIDA is a global partnership of creators–painters, illustrators, photographers, sculptors–pairing designers from around the world with makers in Pakistan and India in accordance with high ethical standards, to create original, beautiful products.  And the best part is that using part of the proceeds from the sales of the products, VIDA creates literacy programs for the makers, so that they have opportunities to learn reading, writing and basic math that they would not otherwise have.

Click HERE or on the photo below to view the “Vida Story.”

The Artist Manager at VIDA indicated that she had seen my photography and digital painting online (at Mitchell R. Grosky Photography and Fine Art America) and believed that it would “fit beautifully with the VIDA brand and design vision.”  In summary, they invited me to join their growing community of artists, which now includes a select group of illustrious multi-media artists from across the United States and around the world.

Although I have never thought of myself in any way as a fashion designer, I was still intrigued by the idea of my artwork being used as the foundation for high fashion clothing.  Naturally, I was flattered and excited to be invited to join a group of just 2000 artists worldwide in turning our work into high quality apparel like silk tops and accessories like modal scarves. However, when it comes to the Internet, I always like to do some careful research.  I read some really informative articles about VIDA, a Google-backed company that works with a selective group of artists from around the world, transforming their 2D artwork into luxury fashion and apparel products.  I saw some really positive media reviews on the Wall Street Journal, Women’s Wear Daily, TechCrunch, Fashionista, Fashion Times, and a few other magazines.

Vida founder Umaimah Mendhro told the magazine “Racked” that her goal at Vida is to “use technology in a way that would bridge the gap between designers, producers, and shoppers.  We believe there’s an overwhelming amount of choice. You want to go to a place where every single piece will be beautiful and fit your aesthetic.”

Racked “reports that in order to “create that aesthetic,” Vida collaborates with artists, painters, photographers, and designers from around the world to create unique and beautiful modal scarves, silk sleeveless tops, and silk tees. Art work is loaded to a digital file, and Vida’s partner-factories digitally print the images onto fabric to fulfill orders

What got me really enthusiastic, however, was the chance to really do some good in the world with a socially-conscious company–at the same time as my designs were made into apparel which people could wear with style, grace and pride.  As I noted above, one of the best aspects of the program is that for every VIDA product sold, VIDA offers literacy programs–in reading, writing, and math–for the actual makers of the products, starting with the VIDA factories in Karachi, Pakistan.

And so, over the last couple of days, I have searched though the nearly 100,000 photos residing on my computer in order to find some that I thought would look best on beautiful scarves and lovely silk tops.  Now to be honest, my wife Anne, gave me some much needed advice, though my wife and daughter always tell me that I have a real knack for picking out beautiful clothes as gifts.  There are now four products up on the site, and if I sell at least three pre-orders of any item, VIDA will make the products.

The great news, at the time of writing this post, is one of my designs has already gone into production- the “Columbines in the Wild” design, based on a photograph which I captured of columbines on a path leading to the Quabbin Reservoir.

There’s still time to purchase one of my first four designs. As mentioned, the “Columbines in the Wild” scarf is definitely going to be produced. With the other 3 designs, there is a time period of seven days to pre-order. I have to make a minimum of 3 pre-orders of each design for it to go into production.

I’m really thrilled to offer this brand new collection to you! Please pop on over to my Mitchell R. Grosky ShopVida website to view the collection.  As an incentive for new customers, Vida is offering 20 percent off your first order when you sign up.  and use the coupon code VOICES to get 25% off (that’s just $30 for each scarf).  As an added incentive VIDA ships absolutely FREE if you buy any TWO items or if you spend a total of $75 dollars.  That makes these modal scarves and silk tops incredibly reasonable!   Remember, pre-orders are only available for another 7 days.

Here are the images I chose.

Columbines in the Wild — Modal Scarf

1-Columbine Paint Full size

The beauty of wildflowers bordering the Quabbin Reservoir is the inspiration for this light and luxurious scarf.   Featuring the photography and digital painting of Mitchell R. Grosky, this lovely scarf adds the perfect finishing touch to your wardrobe– glorious columbines lighting up this path leading to the Quabbin Reservoir in Central Massachusetts.

Columbine Model

This scarf is made out of 100% Micro­Modal® by Lenz­ing, a lux­u­ri­ously soft botanic silk fab­ric made out of Euro­pean beech­wood. Because of modal’s botanic ori­gin, it is par­tic­u­larly eco-friendly and its fine­ness is com­pa­ra­ble to that of nat­ural silk. Micro­Modal® offers a soft, beau­ti­ful sheen, with col­ors that are bright and vibrant.

The com­pletely nat­ural fiber of this scarf is made in a fully inte­grated facil­ity in Aus­tria, opti­mized for pro­duc­tion syn­er­gies and energy con­ser­va­tion by using eco-friendly pro­duc­tion processes. The fab­ric is woven in a small fac­tory in Pak­istan. VIDA col­lab­o­rates with the owner and work­ers of this fac­tory to pro­duce the per­fect thread-count and weave for opti­mal soft­ness and sheen.

AND …these scarves are huge! They are more like shawls. Because of the hand­made process, they range in size from 24.5” – 25”  x 76” –77.

Each piece is uniquely designed and custom-printed, and may vary slightly upon receipt. If pre-order goal(s) are met, item(s) will be shipped 30-60 days after the pre-order window closes, which may vary by product.  Your credit card will be refunded the full amount for any product(s) that do not meet the pre-order goal.

Nubble Light Seascape — Modal Scarf

One of America’s most-beloved lighthouses is the inspiration for this beautiful scarf.   Featuring the photography of Mitchell R. Grosky, the scarf depicts waves crashing powerfully on craggy rocks just in front of York, Maine’s Nubble Light.   Made with soft, luxurious fabric, this scarf will add a bold, modern statement to any wardrobe.

1-Nubble Light final saturated

This scarf is made out of 100% Micro­Modal® by Lenz­ing, a lux­u­ri­ously soft botanic silk fab­ric made out of Euro­pean beech­wood. Because of modal’s botanic ori­gin, it is par­tic­u­larly eco-friendly and its fine­ness is com­pa­ra­ble to that of nat­ural silk. Micro­Modal® offers a soft, beau­ti­ful sheen, with col­ors that are bright and vibrant.

Nubble Model

The com­pletely nat­ural fiber of this scarf is made in a fully inte­grated facil­ity in Aus­tria, opti­mized for pro­duc­tion syn­er­gies and energy con­ser­va­tion by using eco-friendly pro­duc­tion processes. The fab­ric is woven in a small fac­tory in Pak­istan. VIDA col­lab­o­rates with the owner and work­ers of this fac­tory to pro­duce the per­fect thread-count and weave for opti­mal soft­ness and sheen.

AND …these scarves are huge! They are more like shawls. Because of the hand­made process, they range in size from 24.5” – 25”  x 76” –77.

Each piece is uniquely designed and custom-printed, and may vary slightly upon receipt. If pre-order goal(s) are met, item(s) will be shipped 30-60 days after the pre-order window closes, which may vary by product.  Your credit card will be refunded the full amount for any product(s) that do not meet the pre-order goal.

Boston Harbor — Sleeveless Silk Top

The magnificent, picturesque Boston Seaport is the inspiration for this lovely silk top.

2-Boston Harbor Canvas 16x20 paint

Cut with a flattering A-line and a rounded asymmetric hem, this silk top features the photography and digital painting of Mitchell R. Grosky.  It strikingly showcases the natural beauty of the Boston Seaport along with the magnificence of the Boston skyline, and will make you look and feel effortlessly beautiful – day or night.

Boston Harbor Model

Each piece is uniquely designed and custom-printed, and may vary slightly upon receipt. If pre-order goal(s) are met, item(s) will be shipped 30-60 days after the pre-order window closes, which may vary by product.  Your credit card will be refunded the full amount for any product(s) that do not meet the pre-order goal.

Siz­ing Chart for the silk tops are as fol­lows.
Note: tops fit true to size but a drapey cut — please size down if you pre­fer a snug fit.
Point of Mea­sure­ments
Small: Bust — 32″, Hips “38” (US Size 0–2)
Medium: Bust — 34″, Hips “39” (US Size 4–6)
Large: Bust — 38″, Hips 40″ (US Size 8–10)

 

Kansas Sunflowers — Modal Scarf

The vibrant beauty of sunflowers is the inspiration for this beautiful, luxurious scarf.  Featuring the paintography of Mitchell R. Grosky, this lovely scarf depicts the bright, vivid colors of a field of Kansas sunflowers,  and would be a delightful accessory for any wardrobe.

1-e Flowers Paint

This scarf is made out of 100% Micro­Modal® by Lenz­ing, a lux­u­ri­ously soft botanic silk fab­ric made out of Euro­pean beech­wood. Because of modal’s botanic ori­gin, it is par­tic­u­larly eco-friendly and its fine­ness is com­pa­ra­ble to that of nat­ural silk. Micro­Modal® offers a soft, beau­ti­ful sheen, with col­ors that are bright and vibrant.

Sunflower Model

The com­pletely nat­ural fiber of this scarf is made in a fully inte­grated facil­ity in Aus­tria, opti­mized for pro­duc­tion syn­er­gies and energy con­ser­va­tion by using eco-friendly pro­duc­tion processes. The fab­ric is woven in a small fac­tory in Pak­istan. VIDA col­lab­o­rates with the owner and work­ers of this fac­tory to pro­duce the per­fect thread-count and weave for opti­mal soft­ness and sheen.

AND …these scarves are huge! They are more like shawls. Because of the hand­made process, they range in size from 24.5” – 25”  x 76” –77.

Each piece is uniquely designed and custom-printed, and may vary slightly upon receipt. If pre-order goal(s) are met, item(s) will be shipped 30-60 days after the pre-order window closes, which may vary by product.  Your credit card will be refunded the full amount for any product(s) that do not meet the pre-order goal.

It is a privilege for me to introduce this lovely collection to you.  Simply CLICK HERE to buy any one (or more!) of these scarves and lucious silk shirts, and don’t for­get to include coupon code VOICES to get 25% off (that’s just $30 for each of these lovely scarves–and $56.25 for a beautiful silk top!  Please help me to spread the word by shar­ing this post with your friends and fam­ily through social media or in per­son.

I really feel that these high fashion scarves and tops would make an absolutely gorgeous gift for a special person in your life. And when was the last time you bought something gorgeous just for yourself?  You know you deserve it!  Remember, the pre-order period expires just one week from today! Please check out my new Vida Voices fashion line at shopvida.com

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A Fond Farewell to Leonard Nimoy: A Friend from My Childhood

nimoy collage

Rest in Peace, Leonard Nimoy! Few things make me feel as old as the passing of an actor who was so much a part of my childhood–my teen years and beyond! We have lost an extremely talented, very good man.

Spock’s famous quotes go well beyond his iconic “Live long and prosper” and his raised eyebrowed “Fascinating . . .” You might recall his “Change is the essential process of all existence” or “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one” or “Insufficient facts always invite danger” or “Without followers, evil cannot spread.”

Yes, I certainly am fully cognizant that in just the past year alone, a number of people have passed away who have likely had a far greater impact on our world; yet with Leonard Nimoy’s passing, a part of my childhood goes with him, and I am confident that many share that feeling.

From William Shatner: “”I loved him like a brother. We will all miss his humor, his talent, and his capacity to love” and from George Takei ”

The word extraordinary is often overused, but I think it’s really appropriate for Leonard. He was an extraordinarily talented man, but he was also a very decent human being. His talent embraced directing as well as acting and photography. He was a very sensitive man. And we feel his passing very much. He had been ill for a long, long time, and we miss him very much.”

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In his role as Spock, Leonard Nimoy once said, “You have been, and always shall be, my friend.” I turn this very phrase back on this larger-than-life yet all-too-human man whom I viewed only on a television and movie screen. May your kind and gentle spirit not only speed to the heavens, but may it also imbue each one of us every day!

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In Praise of Teachers: A Letter for Teachers, Parents, Students, and the Community

 

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In Praise of Teachers:  A Letter for Teachers, Parents, Students, and the Community

 

Teachers Appreciation Week gives us all a chance to look back at the extraordinary teachers who have impacted us throughout our childhood and throughout both our lives and those of our children.  For those of us in the field of education, we also have the chance to remember teachers with whom we have worked.  I have been fortunate enough to have worked closely with over 400 teachers in 40 years of education as a Massachusetts teacher and principal.  Through my work, I feel that I have learned a great deal about teachers and the incredible responsibilities that are part of the profession.  Of course, to paraphrase Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s  in The Little Prince,there are things we see and know with our eyes, and others–sometimes even more important–that we see and know with our hearts.    I have observed and admired teachers all my life, and I write this letter to each and every one of you–to every teacher I have had the pleasure of knowing.  I invite you all, and all your colleagues, your students far and wide, and the greater community of parents and townspeople  to read along or listen in.

 

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Dear Teachers,

 

I have seen you as each new year begins in late August, frantically running from WalMart to Kmart to Target to Staples to the Dollar Store—spending hundreds of dollars of your own money to purchase motivational posters, extra crayons and glue, marbled composition books, stickers that say “Awesome Work” or “I’m Proud of You.”  I have seen you spend the full week before school begins putting up backings for bulletin boards, re-stocking your classroom libraries, and putting together folders for Day One.  I have watched you as you try to map out once more your whole year, and vowing that this year you will be the best teacher that your children have ever had—the best teacher that you can be.  I was with you—in spirit—all those nights in August when you couldn’t sleep because you were so excited—and more-than-a-bit nervous, as well—because of all those new kids that you were about to greet in just a couple of weeks.  Even after you finished that Master’s or CAGS degree—piling on still more college bills–even after spending  5 or 6 weeks in summer taking courses to continually learn new skills for teaching students—still you worried how you could be possibly be prepared for the multitude of students about to enter your classes—students with such a wide range of skills and talents and with an equally large range of backgrounds and personalities—as well as family, personal, and academic problems.  Still you approached that first day with eyes filled with hope and hearts filled with compassion—with dreams of helping each and every student to learn, to achieve, to grow—to reach for the stars and to ultimately achieve his or her dream.

 

I have seen you work so very hard—day in and day out–as teachers.  I watch you literally run around the room in pursuit of that ever-elusive goal—helping every single student to understand and master a skill on which you are focusing that day or that week.  You kneel down beside little kindergarten desks to check the formation of their letters; you bend over middle school desks to check a student’s map of the United States; you run back and forth to the whiteboard to demonstrate the correct way to calculate the volume of water in a container.  You run from the SmartBoard to the children’s workstations, from their computers to their reading circles.  You are up and down and up and down and up and down, and you are constantly in a whirlwind of motion–and by the end of the day, you just KNOW that you have run a 10 kilometer/6.2 mile road race (if not a warrior run or a half-marathon) because your legs and your back and your shoulders are absolutely killing you.

 

And that doesn’t even begin to touch on how emotionally drained you are.  You have made about one thousand judgments and decisions every hour.  “Does Linda or Jason really understand this concept?”  “Should I give another example?”  “Should I ignore that child who is whispering?”  “Should I correct him or her?”  “Should I try some proximity control?”  “Should I praise that student for her answer?”  “What should I say—‘good job’ or ‘nice work’ or ‘great answer’?”  “Should I explain WHY  it’s a great answer?”  “Should I give the kids a break now—or wait 5 minutes?”  “Should I make that little joke now to liven up the class a bit, or will that break everyone’s train of thought?”  “Should I call on Jennifer now—or Taylor—or Alex–or Javier—or Aliyah—or Noah—or Desiree—or Tyrone?”  “Should I allow Susan to get a drink now—or Joshua to run to the bathroom now—or Mark to go to his locker to retrieve his homework—or Kadence to call her mom to bring in the money for the field trip?”  “Should I correct Sophia’s poor grammar in her excellent answer to my question about the story we just read, or should I just compliment her for thinking creatively and expressing herself so clearly?”  You are constantly scanning the rows or the groups of tables for students who look confused or uncertain or excited or bored—and you are constantly reacting to each of those students.

 

I have been there with you and felt your heart skip a beat when that light comes on in a child’s eyes and he says, ”Mrs. Johnson, I get it!  NOW I get it!”  I have felt your heart swell to twice its size when you read a sophomore’s essay in which he writes, “One day I will hold my Mom’s hand and tell her that she has always been my hero because she has sacrificed so much to keep our family together.”  And I have been there, as well, when a child’s suffering becomes your suffering.  I have seen your pain  as a child confides in you that he just doesn’t have any friends—or that the kids on the bus call him names.  I have seen the tears stain your cheeks when a child explains to you that her dad is not coming home anymore.  I have felt your chest and throat tighten up when you see a child come in with bruises, both seen and unseen.  I know how you grieve when a child loses a friend or family member to an accident or to drug or alcohol abuse.   And all those times when a child struggles to understand but the understanding will not readily come, no matter how hard he or she tries—those times, too, cause your heart to ache, and make you even more determined to find a way to reach that child.  And I know how many times those children and their problems keep you up late at night—wondering if and how you can help, and praying that you can find a way.

 

And I know about the long, long hours that you put in before and after school.  I know how often you get up at 5:00 in the morning to put the finishing touches on your lesson plans for that day or that week.  I know how regularly you spend 2 to 3 to 4 to 5 hours a night or sometimes even more on schoolwork.  You get home from school, help the kids with their homework, prepare dinner, clean up, and then spend until 10 or 11 o’clock correcting papers and getting ready for the next day.  Over the course of a week you correct hundreds of spelling, grammar, math, geography, history, science quizzes.  In a year, those hundreds become 5 to 10 THOUSAND quizzes and tests.  In a career, that amounts to maybe 250-500 THOUSAND quizzes and tests—that you painstakingly design, prepare, and correct.  You collect the data gathered from those tests and analyze it, deciding what you need to re-teach, and to whom, and in what manner.  And then there are the writing assignments—the paragraphs, the compositions, the journals, the lab reports, the essays, the book reports, the research papers.  You know that teaching is a seven-day a week job because you spend so many hours on Saturday and Sunday reading and commenting on hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of papers.  “Why does Gatsby confide in Nick?” — “Explain how an airplane flies” —  “What can you do to help our environment?” —  “Consider the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government in explaining the balance of powers” —  “What character changes most in this book, and explain how he or she changes” —  “Solve this algebra problem and explain each step as you do it” —  “Explain impressionism and Monet’s style” — “What is meant by good sportsmanship?”  —“What is a Shakespearean Hero?” — “How is haiku formed?” — “What does Robert Frost mean in the last line of the poem?” — “How can you make good choices?”  I have noticed that often the majority of your February or April vacation (sometimes both) is taken up with correction and grading of these kinds of papers.  And then there are the seemingly never-ending progress reports and report cards—totaling and averaging hundreds (perhaps thousands) of grades, and writing or typing comments on report cards.  How many late nights and occasional all-nighters you have had to endure in order to meet progress report or report card deadlines!

 

I know about the moments of self-doubt too—times when you wonder if you are really making a difference, times when you wonder if you can possibly correct one more spelling quiz, times when a student moves out of the district AGAIN—just as you were beginning to finally get through to her.  There are the times you wonder if anyone notices how hard you are working, how much you care, how creative your lessons are, or how many extra things you are doing for kids.  I am well aware of all those extra things you do as, well—the poetry club, math club, drama club, computer club, chorus, student council that you advise.  You organize geography bees or spelling bees or math competitions.  You coach students after school to prepare them for the MCAS testing.  I have been there too as you coached football or wrestling or softball or cheerleading or basketball.   Many of you reach into the community or beyond to bring science or art or music programs to our schools for enrichment.  And those field trips to Davis Farm, the Red Apple Farm, the Science Museum, Theater at the Mount, the Museum of Fine Arts . . . I realize how hard it is to organize those trips for your classroom or for the entire school—and yet you do it—voluntarily—every year!    I have stood in awe as I saw you organize and conduct and chaperone a school trip to Nature’s Classroom or Canada or Washington, D.C.  The fundraising activities, the meetings with administration, parents, and kids—unbelievable—but you did it all!  And how about all those school activities that you helped out with?  Those field days, school dances, talent shows, author teas, game nights, toy bingo events, school plays,  lip-sync competitions, spirit days?  And then there are those programs for peer mediation, training active bystanders, and organizing friendship groups.

 

But even with all the extra activities, you save your most incredible effort for the classroom:  the classroom, where you try your very hardest every single day to reach every single student.   You prepare lesson plans using backward design.  You  consistently use state frameworks and address learning standards.  You remind yourself of what Rick Lavoie said—that “Fair does not mean treating every child the same; that fair means giving each and every child what he or she really needs to be successful.”  So you teach not just to the middle of the class, but to every child.  You sometimes group students by interest or ability or randomly.  You set up learning stations.  You constantly monitor how students are doing—if they are understanding.  You ask questions and try to make sure that you are asking students to use their higher order thinking skills.  You use the District Curriculum Accommodation Plan (DCAP) and knowledge gleaned through scores of workshops to address differences in learning styles and abilities.  You are familiar with and constantly review IEP’s and 504 plans and DCAP’s to ensure that you are meeting the many and varied needs of all students.  You develop ISSP (Individual student success plans), as well, whenever needed.  You put into practice differentiated instruction and gear your efforts to address multiple intelligences of students.  You administer DIBELS and Fountas and Pinnell tests, MCAS tests or PARCC tests and use the results of testing to plan and modify your instruction.  You request Child Study Team meetings when children have special problems, and you use the recommendations from those meetings to modify and improve your instruction and create successful outcomes.  You try your hardest to motivate your students to learn—you challenge them, you reward them.  You send home positive notes in agendas or on special cards or stationery.  You call home whenever you can to help parents to become partners in their child’s education.  You discuss triumphs, and challenges, and problems—and you work cooperatively and helpfully and positively with parents.

 

And more than anything, you let children see how much you care—because you DO care about each one of them—more than you can ever say.  You show it by how hard you work, by the words you use with children and parents.  You show it by the thoroughness and creativity of your plans.  You show it by how well you teach—how much attention you pay to each child and to the goal of having each child really master the material.  You show it by all the extra things you do, the special things– the smiles, the warmth, dedication and commitment.

 

And I am there, with you, as well, when you receive those very personal special rewards at the end of the year—children who leave your class with strengthened skills in reading, math, science, social studies, art, music, phys. ed. and more—as well as higher levels of confidence.  You have taught them to carefully consider their options before making choices.  You have taught them to put themselves into the shoes of another before making judgments.  You have taught them to treat others the way they would hope to be treated.  You have taught them to care about others—their neighbors, their classmates, their peer in other states or countries.

 

And so, my fellow teachers–those who served long before, and those who serve still–I want to tell you all on this day and on every day–that you will always have my profound gratitude, my unending thanks for all of your extremely hard work, your caring, your dedication, and your commitment to your students and to your position.  Yours is the job from which all others flow–the job from which dreams– and careers– and lives are made.  As Astronaut Christa Mcauliffe observed, you do indeed “touch the future”—and we are all the better for your tremendous efforts in doing so.

 

Sincerely and warmly

Mitchell R. Grosky

Former Athol-Royalston (Massachusetts) Teacher and Principal

Current ARRSD School Committee Member

 

 

 

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The 2014 Boston Marathon –Remembering Sean Collier, Martin Richard, Lingzi Lu, and Krystle Campbell

As the 2014 Boston Marathon begins in Hopkinton, Our Four Heroes Watch From Above.

As the 2014 Boston Marathon begins in Hopkinton, Our Four Heroes Watch From Above.

In Tribute . . . As I watch the Boston Marathon, I like to think that somehow, somewhere, and in some way, the spirits of Officer Sean Collier, Martin Richard, Lingzi Lu, and Krystle Campbell are looking down on the start of the race–knowing that they are remembered lovingly by family, friends, runners, and “Bostonians” from every state and country, and proud that we all carry on–standing strong together–determined to defeat hatred and violence and equally committed to build a better world for all! God bless each of these brave souls and their families and also all those who were injured in the bombing. We will always remember and honor you!

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In Memory of President John F. Kennedy

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I was there–in Texas–no, not in Dallas, but in Austin, the next stop on President Kennedy’s trip through Texas. I was 12 years old then, and I not only deeply respected John Fitzgerald Kennedy as our nation’s President, but I truly believed that I loved him, as well, as a young, vibrant leader who would lead us into both the outer reaches of space as well as into a new prosperity in America. In my young, idealistic innocent mind and heart, he would almost singlehandedly lead us into a more kind, more just nation and world. The poverty of which I was just becoming aware would be no more. The prejudice and racism which I saw when I stared at the separate water fountains and restrooms at the pro wrestling (rasslin’) matches I attended monthly would dissipate and then vanish altogether–vestiges of another time and place as the new age of Camelot convinced so many of us that there really was a shining city and fleeting wisps of glory to come.

I was in seventh grade then—in junior high, and we were so excited, so absolutely thrilled to be getting out of school early to go to the parade in downtown Austin–the parade in which our President would smile that broad smile of his and offer us all a friendly, energetic wave–the parade which was–tragically–never to be. My brother Geoff–one year my junior (and my best friend, as well)–was the first to sense that something was amiss. As Austin was the capital city of Texas, Geoff was privileged to have Governor John Connally’s son in his sixth grade class, and when young Mark Connally was called suddenly and urgently from class, there was a sense that something was definitely wrong.

Hearing the news, I was stunned—we ALL were stunned and shocked and grief-stricken–beyond my ability to describe it. Dismissed early, we all went home to watch the tragedy unfold on the national news—black and white TV–but burned into our consciousness–believe me–in living color.

I remember the depth of emotion I felt in the days to come–the overwhelming sadness and despair–as we watched the assassin himself killed and then the funeral procession for the President, the salute by John-John, and then shared sad, bitter tears in the realization that not only was President Kennedy gone, but that somehow, things would never be the same again.

As a twelve-year-old who loved to write, my grief flowed from an aching heart just as surely and continuously as the ink in the cartridge pens we used in that day. I wrote the following words:

THE DEATH OF PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY
by Mitchell R. Grosky

Our leader has departed–
His heart, his soul gone too.
His memory will long remain
in everything we do.

Our lives, our dreams were shattered
on this outrageous day.
Our eyes are filled with tears;
Our President’s passed away.

He tried so hard for freedom–
for rights for one and all.
He tried to keep us happy;
How could this great man fall?

He tried to make our country
greater than ever before.
He tried to do all this.
Yet hatred sealed the door.

It was a beautiful morning–
More beautiful than ever before.
No one knew or had any idea
of what Fate held in store.

Suddenly three shots rang out,
and hit him in the head.
A short time afterwards,
our President was dead.

It must have been a madman
to do a thing like this!
His aim was sharp and careful;
His bullet did not miss.

An unforgivable act
was carried out this day.
The world is deep in sorrow;
our President’s passed away.

I remember the poem word for word, as my beloved mother had me repeat it verbatim so many times over the years for our relatives and her friends. As a retired English teacher, I look back at it with mixed feelings–the forced rhyme and curious, childlike wording all too evident to someone who spent his life focusing on the power and beauty of the written word.

Yet, as I recite the words once more–as I–and all of us–acknowledge the passing of 50 years since our President’s death, my eyes once again fill with the tears of a future that was never to be–of a President who though imperfect in many ways–still made us believe in ourselves and in a better America and a better world.

I think that I was raised to believe that we all must do our parts to make the world a better place, but–looking back–maybe it was this particular time in my life–this oh-so-sad time–that forced me to finally look in the mirror and to face a solemn truth. Perhaps that was the time that I first saw and accepted that it was OUR job–MY job and that of my three brothers and one sister–and all my friends who were growing all-too-quickly toward adulthood…..that it was our job to do something good and kind and decent–maybe even noble with our lives. The world should be a better place because one has lived–that’s the way one person said it.

That was the lesson I learned from one of the saddest days in my life–that we can–and we MUST–make a difference.

Don’t let it be forgot
That once there was a spot
For one brief shining moment that was known
As Camelot.

Whether Camelot was real,
or just was an illusion,
I can tell you that it was real
in the mind of this 12-year-old boy.
And so…
So many years later,
I thank President Kennedy for leaving that lesson–
that message to me
and to so many others throughout the world.

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President Obama Expertly Balances the Threat of Force With the Wisdom of Diplomacy

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Having watched carefully the President’s speech on Syria this evening, I want to say–unequivocally–that I was not only very impressed with the President’s clear and compassionate explanation of his thinking on the Syria crisis, but am even more impressed by what he has managed to accomplished with his very skillful use of the credible threat of military force combined with behind-the-scenes attempts at diplomacy.

Most intelligent analysts that I have listened to in the past hour or so have agreed (a few reluctantly) that if we had been told a year ago, that Syria and Russia–because of the credible threat of a military strike ordered by President Obama–would have agreed 1. to admit that they DO have chemical weapons; 2, that they would agree (finally) to the chemical weapons treaty that they have long refused to sign; and 3. that they would be willing to hammer out an agreement to give up those weapons to the supervision of Russia, the U.N. and other countries—-IF we were told that that all of that would happen within a year, then we would have considered it a MIRACLE. 

Those who know say to make no mistake: it is ONLY because of Obama’s threat of force that there may be a diplomatic solution to this problem. It seems to me that the President is putting into action here the thoughtful diplomacy that he talked about when he first ran—and is combining it with the strong military he has always said is important. 

Unfortunately, this President can NOT win with SOME of you. Some said he should use force, but apparently he didn’t do it quickly enough. Some said that he should not use force; he should go to Congress. When he did that, some said that he was weak; he should have just decided on his own. Some said that he should not use force; he should use diplomacy. When he sent Sec. Kerry to talk diplomatically and when he spoke to Putin in Europe (where most experts figure he told Putin clearly that we were ready to use force) and when we now have a possible diplomatic solution–many say that it is not Obama we should thank and that Putin and Assad will not follow through on any commitments. 

Yet isn’t that the risk of any treaty or agreement? Should we, then, never undertake a treaty for fear a country may violate it—-or should we take steps as Reagan AND Obama have said to (trust, but) VERIFY???? In my mind, this is a great thing that this administration has accomplished–not with force–but with the threat of force and the skill of diplomacy in answer to Assad’s atrocious violation of international law in using chemical weapon to murder 1000 adults and over 400 children. Please, for once–give credit where credit is due. If this were Reagan or Clinton or Kennedy, Teddy (Speak softly but carry a big stick) Roosevelt or even Eisenhower who accomplished all of this, people would be acclaiming their genius. Be fair.

What frustrates me is that people can still be so negative–even insulting–toward our President when he accomplished all that I mentioned above (in Paragraph one–points 1, 2, and 3) with only the THREAT of military force—with no lives lost—not even one? To many people, that is an historical accomplishment. Most prominent Republicans even believe that he was RIGHT to go to Congress and to give them a chance to debate—which they have done! Sorry, what he has done in the past 3 weeks—with the help of Sec. Kerry—is what future historians will say was brilliant–and courageous—just as they now say about Kennedy in the Cuban Missile Crisis. 

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